A MAN DIED LAST week after eating an “upside-down nut”, I heard from Steve Hyde, a reader in Taiwan.
How did such an innocent object kill a perfectly healthy 37-year-old?
The newspapers explained that betel nuts which grow pointing skywards are fine, but the ones which “grow pointing down are poisonous”.
Betel nuts are always sold in Taiwan by pretty young women, which explains the picture above.
It's odd how communities often have their own “innocent item that kills” myths.
In South Korea, it is widely believed that the air from electric fans will kill you if they run for more than a few hours in an enclosed space.
If this were true, everyone in Asia would be dead.
In Facebook land, an item about diced onions being poisonous is going viral.
If that were true, all French people would have dropped dead. The French put diced onions into everything, including jam, fruit juice, perfume, shower gel, suppositories, etc.
CONGRATULATIONS TO Jayme Leon, 50, of Oregon, who zooms into our "Overreaction Top Ten." Last week, he asked his local McDonald's for a burger with no onions. Finding onions in his burger, he threw his drink across the room, smashed the cash register and got himself arrested, a police report said. Can anyone top that?
STILL ON THE theme of overreaction, Newsweek printed a silly cover story called Muslim Rage.
Irritated by the implication that they're always angry about everything, jovial Muslims (yes, they exist) sent ironic Twitter messages pretending to have been enraged by trivial things.
A woman with a head covering wrote:
#Muslimrage: Having a good hair day. But no one knows.
From a food lover:
#Muslimrage: Knowing deep down in my heart that bacon, pork chops and barbecue ribs probably taste amazing.
Someone who has been fasting wrote:
#Muslimrage: Doing Ramadan in Iceland where the days are 23 hours long.
A parent wrote:
#Muslimrage: Lost your kid Jihad at the airport. Can't yell for him.
A GUY IN Russia died at the age of 122 the other day. In an interview, he said he had lived so long by abstaining from women, alcohol and tobacco. I imagine his last words were probably: “If there's no reincarnation, I am so screwed.”
A SEA CREATURE with a penis on its head has been found in the waters of Vietnam. After much debate, scientists named it Phallostethus cuulong.
What more proof do you need that scientists have no sense of humor? I can think of loads more memorable names.
There are lots of fun writers around, including a few acclaimed ones, like Jeffrey Eugenides and Chang-rae Lee, but as often happens the attention tends to go to those more famous in other media – TV documentary maker John Pilger and rock singer Nick Cave (pictured). Writers do tend to be rather low-key individuals. Even at our own gatherings, we prefer to highlight others, curiously enough.
Sorry to hear that business is down on Grandpa Fardel’s island (from the comments to the previous post). Must think of a way to increase visitors. Maybe we should all fly there for a party. Or invite him to Asia? And Rafan, sorry to hear you have also had bad news. There’s definitely some negative energy around these days.
No sign of my book. It was being printed in China over the past couple of weeks but mysteriously failed to arrive at the Hong Kong warehouse. Probably stopped at the border—that’s the current theory.
Perhaps staff at the border felt like a good read.