I discovered Oddee the other day, a website dedicated to all manner of weird and wonderful things. Check out the 15 Coolest Bookshelves or the 8 Most Creative Wallets. Marvel at 20 Awesome Pavement 3D Illusions or the 10 Most Creative Ice Cube Trays. Those of you with stomachs stronger than mine might wish to examine the 12 Most Extremely Modified People (I didn’t last long on this page) or the 10 Most Frightening Torture Techniques From The Middle Ages (or this one).
There are loads and loads of entertaining links to check out at Oddee – perfect for a five minute distraction at work or a funny email to a friend. I’m planning on using them every now and then in the next little while as fillers when I can’t get to the computer for long enough to write a proper post.
Another list I came across was the 20 Most Amazing Coincidences, and I spent most of the time alternately rolling my eyes and nodding to myself as I acknowledged how incredible these things were, assuming they actually happened.
I’ve always been fascinated by stories about identical twins who are separated at birth and go on to lead similar, if not identical lives, so this coincidence that rocked in at #4 on the list gained my immediate attention.
The stories of identical twins’ nearly identical lives are often astonishing, but perhaps none more so than those of identical twins born in Ohio. The twin boys were separated at birth, being adopted by different families. Unknown to each other, both families named the boys James. And here the coincidences just begin. Both James grew up not even knowing of the other, yet both sought law-enforcement training, both had abilities in mechanical drawing and carpentry, and each had married women named Linda. They both had sons whom one named James Alan and the other named James Allan. The twin brothers also divorced their wives and married other women – both named Betty. And they both owned dogs which they named Toy. Forty years after their childhood separation, the two men were reunited to share their amazingly similar lives.
I also quite liked this one, coming in at #16.
Morgan Robertson, in 1898, wrote “Futility”. It described the maiden voyage of a transatlantic luxury liner named the Titan. Although it was touted as being unsinkable, it strikes an iceberg and sinks with much loss of life. In 1912 the Titanic, a transatlantic luxury liner widely touted as unsinkable strikes an iceberg and sinks with great loss of life on her maiden voyage. In the Book, the Month of the Wreck was April, same as in the real event. There were 3,000 passengers on the book; in reality, 2,207. In the Book, there were 24 Lifeboats; in reality, 20.
Months after the Titanic sank, a tramp steamer was traveling through the foggy Atlantic with only a young boy on watch. It came into his head that it had been thereabouts that the Titanic had sunk, and he was suddenly terrified by the thought of the name of his ship – the Titanian. Panic-stricken, he sounded the warning. The ship stopped, just in time: a huge iceberg loomed out of the fog directly in their path. The Titanian was saved.
But I reckon #5 is my favourite.
In the 19th century, the famous horror writer, Edgar Allan Poe, wrote a book called ‘The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym’. It was about four survivors of a shipwreck who were in an open boat for many days before they decided to kill and eat the cabin boy whose name was Richard Parker. Some years later, in 1884, the yawl, Mignonette, foundered, with only four survivors, who were in an open boat for many days. Eventully the three senior members of the crew, killed and ate the cabin boy. The name of the cabin boy was Richard Parker.
Onto the tracks. The song connection here is purely title related. I would like to thank the James twins for leading me to discover Cass McCombs though. I searched in vain through my music library for a suitable track to accompany this story and was forced to look elsewhere. This is what I came up with, it’s gorgeous, and I’m on the hunt for more of Cass McCombs stuff. Is that fate, or what?
I’ve included this for the ‘this boat is sinking’ line. And because I saw an Unplugged gig of hers from 1994 on telly the other day. I love Annie Lennox but my goodness she was a scary looking lady in this particular recording. I too agree with the popular opinion that she and David Bowie are twins separated at birth, just like the lovely James brothers. There can be no other explanation.
This one is purely title related too. I did do a ‘cannibal’ mp3 search over at Elbows, but it kept throwing up Cannibal Corpse tracks, and my stomach was still feeling pretty queasy from the yucky body mutilations I’d been unfortunate enough to witness earlier on this evening. Shudder.
Update: Checking in this morning (still in Oz), I saw that Chris pointed out to me in the comments that this post is very similar to the opening monologue about chance in ‘Magnolia’, a movie that I hadn’t heard of until now. I tracked it down on YouTube and it’s pretty bloody cool! Especially the last part about the Barringers and the mistaken shooting (though this is based upon a hypothetical theory). Unreal. Check it out below. And thanks Chris!