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The psychedelic madness of Louis Wain’s cats
10.29.2014
04:18 pm

Topics:
Animals
Art
Unorthodox

Tags:
cats
Louis Wain
Schizophrenia

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Though I do prefer dogs, I cannot but help but love Louis Wain’s cats—those beautiful playful wide-eyed felines that slowly evolve (disintegrate?) into psychedelic creatures of the electric night. These paintings have inspired considerable speculation with the oft-cited suggestion that Wain’s paintings show his gradual psychosis and descent into schizophrenia.

Louis Wain was born into a working class family in Victorian England in 1860, and died just prior to the Second World War in 1939. He was born with a cleft palate and was kept off school during a large part of his childhood. When he did eventually go to school, he spent most of his time playing truant, wandering the city, people watching. However, he must have been clever for he attended the West London School of Art and became a teacher. When his father died, Louis became the chief breadwinner and decided to make his living as an illustrator for the various top line London magazines. He had his own style and wit, and produced satirical cartoons and illustrations of cats in various human situations: playing golf, singing opera, having a tea party, singing carols, eating cake. He explained the inspiration for his work:

I take a sketch-book to a restaurant, or other public place, and draw the people in their different positions as cats, getting as near to their human characteristics as possible. This gives me doubly nature, and these studies I think my best humorous work.

Yet despite his success, Wain was always in financial difficulties—some of his own making, but most by those business people around him who exploited, used and literally stole from him.

When he was thirty, his sister was committed to an insane asylum—it was the first rumble of the fate that was to befall Wain. He continued providing for his mother and sisters, but he spent long seasons in asylums caused by his psychosis and schizophrenia.

News of his circumstances were publicized by H.G. Wells, who organized the funds to move Wain into a nicer hospital with a colony of cats, along with Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald who personally intervened on Wain’s behalf.

There has been some speculation that Wain’s schizophrenia was caused by toxoplasma gondii—a parasite found in cat’s excreta. Whatever began the illness, Wain was incarcerated in various asylums and mental hospitals for years at a time. The changes to his life were reflected in his art. His paintings of cats took on a radiance and vitality never before seen: the fur sharp and colorful, the eyes brilliant, and a wired sense of unease of disaster about to unfold.

But these paintings look normal compared to the psychedelic fractals and spirals that followed. Though these are beautiful images, startling, stunning, shocking—they suggest a mind that has broken reality down to its atomic level.

Though it is believed that Louis Wain’s paintings followed a direct line towards schizophrenia, it is actually not known in which order Wain painted his pictures. Like his finances, Wain’s mental state was erratic throughout his life, which may explain the changes back and forth between cute and cuddly and abstract and psychedelic. No matter, the are beautiful, kaleidoscopic, disturbing and utterly mesmerizing.

Beginning in the late 60s, Wain’s work came into fashion again and has become sought after by collectors. In 2009 Nick Cave, a Wain enthusiast since the late 70s, organized the first showing of Wain’s work outside of England when he exhibited his work as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties concert series in Australia. Artist Tracy Emin and musician David Tibet are also prominent collectors of Wain’s work.

For images from Louis Wain’s children’s books check here and for more cats check here.
 
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More of Louis Wain’s fabulous cats, after the jump…
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Florida man claims he bit into a ‘snaggletoothed’ rat’s head at popular chain restaurant
10.22.2014
10:39 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals
Food

Tags:
rat


 
Cape Coral, Florida resident, Billy Wilson claims he bit into a “snaggletoothed” rat’s head while eating chili at the popular restaurant chain Golden Corral. Wilson said “The first bite I took out of it was a crunch, and at the time I was like, maybe you know, sometimes you get a hard bean inside of the chili.”

When Wilson spat out the weird “crunch” he quickly realized it was a rat’s head. AND not just any rat’s head mind you. A rat’s head with a snaggletooth!

“When I saw it, I just went into the bathroom and threw up. I was like, ugh, I just couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth,” said Wilson. He added, “It was just nasty.”

The restaurant comped his party’s meal, but the next day he felt queasy and went to the emergency room at Cape Coral Hospital. He said, “I brought the rat up to the ER and they were all horrified, they couldn’t believe it.”

Discharge documents show that Wilson was treated for Gastroenteritis and was prescribed medications for nausea and muscle spasms.

When asked if he planted the rat’s head in the chili, Wilson said, “I would never do that. They have cameras in there and everything. I’m scared of rats.”

Golden Corral is looking into the “rat’s head in the chili incident” and says they’ve been unable to confirm the alleged head but insist they’re “committed to delivering a high quality experience in a clean and safe environment.”

Wilson, naturally, hired an attorney. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out.

 
via KLTV and Arbroath

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Artful, decadent (and slightly creepy) papier-mâché animal masks
10.22.2014
06:24 am

Topics:
Animals

Tags:
Masks

Plague Doctor masks by Krista Argale
“Plague Doctor” masks

Latvia-based artist Krista Argale makes her exquisite masks out of papier-mâché (the process of combining paper, water and glue to create a hardened material), then hand paints them with acrylic and in some cases, adds real fur to bring her spellbinding creations to life. The masks in Argale’s Etsy Shop, MiesmesaBerni have a whimsical and somewhat creepy Victorian vibe. Since starting up almost three-years ago, Argale has sold 1,200 masks to rave reviews from their recipients. Another thing that hit me in all the right spots was her artist’s statement:

I fell in love with the idea to become someone that you are not able to be in this life time. Personally, I knew that I didn’t want to be a superhero. I want to be something different, something from the old days. Most of us are wearing masks sometimes. For a better world - leave on the mask you need.

Indeed. Masks range in price from about $60 - $150 bucks.
 
Wedding guest goat mask by Krista Argale
“Wedding guest” goat mask
 
Panda Bear mask by Panda Bear mask
Panda Bear mask
 
White Cat mask by Panda Bear mask
White cat mask
 
Peter Rabbit mask by Krista Argale
“Peter Rabbit” mask
 
More masks after the jump…
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Big dude gets a moth AND a tick buried in his ear
10.20.2014
11:06 am

Topics:
Animals

Tags:
tick
moth
ears


 
Oh dear god, I watched this video TWICE (not because I wanted to) but to make sure I heard correctly that he also had a damned tick in his ear! Which he does!

In the video you see a large man on the floor and nearly in a fetal position because a moth had flown into his ear canal. The constant buzzing and flapping of its wings was driving the poor guy insane. Instead of taking the guy to the hospital, his friends—all of whom are in a bar (oh gods)—Googled that shit to figure out how to extract it. Aaannnnd… the rest of it is up to you to watch. You’ll wince and want to wear earplugs for the rest of your life after watching this.

Trust.

When I was in Mexico City a few years ago I had a similar experience with mosquitoes. One flew into my ear while I slept and buzzed for about five hours. I never did get that fucker out. I think he just died in there. I can relate to what the guy with the moth in his ear was going through. It truly makes you feel like you are losing your mind.
 

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Crabzilla!: Giant crab spotted off English coast?
10.13.2014
04:20 pm

Topics:
Animals
Idiocracy

Tags:
Crabzilla
crabs

bjmb
 
A giant 50ft crab has allegedly been photographed lurking in the shallow sea waters along Whistable harbor in Kent, England.

The undated image appeared on Weird Whistable, a website dedicated to “phantoms, mysteries, tall tales and artifacts” with the following byline:

Giant Crab

Crabbing is a popular activity for children during the summer. Does this satellite photo of the harbour reveal a giant crab or unusual sand formation?

The picture of “Crabzilla” is curated alongside other “photographic evidence” of the “unnormal,” such as a giant eyeball washed-up on a beach (or maybe a Kraken?), a sea serpent apparently splashing about on the water, an ice mountain created by the frozen sea in 1940, and the paw print of a winged monkey.

All of which looks like the curious invention of an excitable imagination.

Kent Online has a slightly different quote taken from the site, which has (sadly) apparently been taken down:

The website reads: “This shocking image of a giant crab under a popular crabbing spot in Whitstable was taken last weekend.

“The boys were unaware of the danger, but as several passersby shouted to them, the crab slipped silently away under the water, into the dark, sideways.”

Like a Boy’s Own story, it’s always more thrilling when there are people at risk of a hidden, deadly danger.

The online paper is (rightly) skeptical quoting graphic artist Ashley Austen, who said:

“The image of the giant crab can be quite easily recreated in Photoshop.

“All the ‘artist’ had to do is find a suitable image of a crab, overlay it on to the satellite picture of the harbour and apply a few filters to it to get the realistic look.”

The fact Weird Whistable is selling prints of its “unnormal” curiosities says it all…

Crabzilla is already making headlines across Britain’s TV news channels and tabloid newspapers including the front cover of the Daily Star….
 

 
The Star also has a report on the number of Brits scared of zombie attack:

Being attacked by zombies is scaring us to death.

Research by company One Poll, has revealed that fear of the undead is on the rise in the UK.

The poll, which was commissioned by makers of The Evil Within, showed that 27% of the population admitted that they’ve considered what to do if there was a zombie attack.

And 11% of bonkers Brits have even taken the extreme steps of working out an actual survival plan.

One terrified resident, Matthew Hall-Turner, 29, from Cheshire admitted: “I’ve thought long and hard about what I’d do in light of a zombie attack, I think my best bet would be pretending to be one of them, walking really slowly, then escaping when the opportunity arises.”

Who said journalism is dead…?
 
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Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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You gotta have ‘Fwends’: Flaming Lips’ Beatles tribute to benefit animal charity
10.10.2014
01:54 pm

Topics:
Animals
Music

Tags:
Flaming Lips


 
When we last saw our friends (and former Dangerous Minds guest editors) the Flaming Lips, they’d just released Musik, Die Shwer Zu Twerk (“Music that’s hard to twerk to”) as their prog meets krautrock alter egos Electric Würms.

That was in August and already Oklahoma’s ever-prolific fearless freaks are back with their song-for-song Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band tribute album, recorded with a little help from “heavy fwends” like Miley Cyrus, Moby, My Morning Jacket, J. Mascis, Dr. Dog, Phantogram, Tegan and Sara, and Grace Potter. As Electric Würms, The Lips offer a druggy take on “Fixing a Hole.”

All proceeds from sales of With A Little Help From My Fwends will be donated to The Bella Foundation, a non-profit organization based in the band’s hometown of Oklahoma City that assists low-income, elderly, or terminally ill pet owners with the cost of veterinary care.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Two kangaroos kicking the shit out of each other on a residential street in Australia
10.06.2014
08:43 am

Topics:
Animals

Tags:
kangaroo boxing


 
Maybe it’s the music, but I found this video of two kangaroos boxing in the middle of a residential street in Australia oddly soothing. Their boxing techniques are like an art form. A marsupial ballet.

I don’t think I’ve ever watched two kangaroos duke it out for so long. The video is over five minutes and worth the watch. I wonder what exactly they’re arguing over? I mean, what led up to this incident? A fight over a female? A drunken bar argument? Politics? Religion?

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Mourka the dancing cat, pre-Internet trailblazer for today’s ‘cheezburger cats’
10.03.2014
08:36 am

Topics:
Animals
Books
Dance

Tags:
cats
George Balanchine
Mourka


 
As the 1964 book Mourka: Autobiography of a Cat amply demonstrates, cats did not need the Internet to become nationwide sensations; they have been, er, catnip to content providers for decades.
 

 
Mourka was an “alley cat” who belonged to the legendary choreographer George Balanchine. A picture of Balanchine “training” Mourka appeared in LIFE magazine, and the picture proved so popular that a book deal was quickly inked. The author, Tanaquil Le Clerq, was Balanchine’s wife, and the photographer was Martha Swope. This text is from the dust cover of the book:
 

Mourka, an extraordinary alley cat is one of famed choreographer George Balanchine’s prize pupils. He has learned to do entre-chats, pas de chats, and even a grand jeté. When photographer Martha Swope caught Mourka doing one of his spectacular leaps, Life printed the memorable photo and Mourka’s reputation was made instantly for millions of Americans. Here, Miss Swope’s pictures and Miss Le Clerq’s text convey his many exploits and suggest that Mourka may well be the most accomplished feline in the world. [This, of course, was written decades before the advent of Maru.]

Mourka, a native New Yorker, shares a large apartment on the upper West Side with Mr. and Mrs. Balanchine. He spends his summers in Weston, Connecticut, where he indulges in his favorite hobby, bug-watching, and such favorite foods as asparagus, potatoes, peas, and sour cream.

Ballerina Tanaquil Le Clerq, the wife of George Balanchine, was born in Paris and brought to this country at an early age. She won a scholarship to the School of American Ballet at the age of eleven and later danced many leading roles with the New York City Ballet. In 1956, while on a dance tour of Europe, she was stricken with polio which halted her dancing career. Now that Mourka is published, she is at work on her next book, a gourmet cook book to be published by Stein and Day in 1965.

 

Balanchine training Mourka
 
Balanchine put in considerable time “training” Mourka, and on the occasion when Mourka was obliged to present a command performance for the composer Igor Stravinsky, it was the only time that a ballet performance ever gave Balanchine butterflies. According to Balanchine: A Biography by Bernard Taper:
 

While [Balanchine] was away, a friend or Tanaquil’s mother stayed with her, or she often chose to remain alone in the apartment, kept company by Mourka, their white-and-ginger-colored cat, a pampered and much admired creature. Balanchine had trained this cat to perform brilliant jetés and tours en l’air; he used to say that at last he had a body worth choreographing for. He talked of presenting Mourka publicly, in a program titled—in parody of the revolutionary program he had presented as a youth in Russia—“The Evolution of Ballet: From Petipa to Petipaw.” Once, at a party at his apartment during the Christmas season, Stravinsky asked to see Mourka perform. Guests present later said that was the only time they had ever seen Balanchine nervous before a performance.

 

 

 

 

 
via Awful Library Books
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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World’s first ever cake-themed edible Halloween ‘horror farm’
09.15.2014
10:07 am

Topics:
Animals
Art
Food

Tags:
Halloween
Miss Cakehead


 
As grotesque as the above image of a life-size slaughtered pig is, it’s actually a very well-crafted vegan cake made by Miss Cakehead. I’ve been following her work since 2009 and she never lets you down with her genius edible creations. Perhaps you’ll recall back in 2013 Miss Cakehead made a deliciously demented life-size Dexter cake in honor of the TV show’s final season.

This year for Halloween she’s outdone herself with the World’s first ever edible horror farm.

What is a horror farm you ask? Well don’t pry too much because we all know how the curious cat ended up… If you do want to come and investigate the strange goings on here though, you might do well to bring a friend – we don’t want anyone picked off. Those select few brave enough to venture into the woods will witness, gorge, and be hunted through the world’s most terrifying cake installation, and those that make it out will ensure it is THE most talked about scare attraction of 2014.

Now, I’m not entirely sure of this installation’s message since all the “animals” are made of cake. Is it to show meat is murder? The reality of a slaughterhouse? Or is it just a gross-out Halloween attraction that’s not really all that gross in the end? I don’t know.

The “edible horror farm” will be open to the public starting on October 29 and runs through November 1 in Letchworth Garden City, England. More then.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Adorable/creepy child converts his dead rat into into an adorable/creepy ‘ratcopter’
09.12.2014
03:09 pm

Topics:
Animals
Science/Tech

Tags:
rats


 
We all mourn the loss of a loved one in our own time and in our own way, but rarely does the death of a pet inspire such… aerial commemorations. After his pet rat, Ratjetoe was diagnosed with cancer and put to sleep, 13-year-old Pepijn Bruins was absolutely devastated. Then he remembered a tribute that he thought might befit his varmit friend. In 2012, an artist named Bart Jansen collaborated with radio control helicopter flyer Arjen Beltman to turn Jansen’s taxidermied cat Orville into an Orvillecopter.

Pepijn consulted his father and reached out to the duo, who were more than happy to oblige, with Beltman saying, “when I heard how upset he was, I just knew I had to help.” The technical difference between a lightweight ratcopter and a more wind-resistant catcopter proved a challenge of design, but with dedication and innovation, Ratjetoe was reborn and now soars like a glorious bird, a fitting memorial for a dear departed friend. Check out the Ratjetoe copter below, and try not to think of the terror a flying rat could inspire in an unsuspecting passer-by.
 

 
Via artnet

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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