Derby Turds: An Artist Is Selling Kentucky Derby Winner Silver Charm's Poop for $200

Jeff Haynes, AFP/Getty Images
Jeff Haynes, AFP/Getty Images

Kentuckians take their horse racing pretty seriously—so seriously, in fact, that one local artist is hoping to sell the poop of a Kentucky Derby winner for $200 a pop. As the Lexington Herald-Leader reports, Coleman Larkin collected the feces of Silver Charm, the 1997 winner of the world-famous race, and preserved these “meadow muffins” in 16-ounce Mason jars filled with clear epoxy resin.

The goods are being marketed as “Derby Turds,” and part of the proceeds will benefit Old Friends Farm, the Georgetown, Kentucky-based home for retired Thoroughbreds where Silver Charm now resides. In case counterfeit caca is a concern, each jar comes with a tag to prove that the poo did indeed come from a champion horse.

For what it's worth, Silver Charm was one of the most popular race horses of the late 20th century, according to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 2007. He also won the 1997 Preakness Stakes and nearly secured the Triple Crown, but ended up losing the Belmont Stakes.

Larkin said in a statement that preserving the poop is a labor-intensive process. “The most difficult step is probably the one where I have to ask the type of people that own million-dollar Thoroughbreds if I can please have some horse turds to put in jars,” he said.

So what exactly is one supposed to do with a jar full of horse droppings? Kentucky for Kentucky, the outlet that’s selling a limited supply of Derby Turds online and in its Lexington store, has a few suggestions: “Put it on the mantle in your Old Kentucky Home and be whisked away to a sophisticated world of mint juleps and seersucker every time you see it. Set one on your windowsill and let the sunlight sparkle upon this exquisite specimen of equine excrement. Or plop one in your fluorescent dungeon of an office as the perfect metaphor for your life of neverending horseshit.”

[h/t Associated Press]

A 17th-Century Book With a Hidden Compartment for Poison Is Selling for $11,000

Abebooks
Abebooks

Most rare books are noteworthy for their illustrations or prose. But there's something different hiding between the covers of a folio currently for sale for $11,000 on AbeBooks: The book acts as a miniature apothecary cabinet with spaces for storing jars of poison.

The secret storage box masquerading as a manuscript was likely assembled sometime in the 19th century, Atlas Obscura reports. It uses the leather binding of Sebastião Barradas's Opera omnia, vol. III—a theology text from the mid-17th century—as its shell. Two hundred years or so after the original book was published, someone pasted together the pages and hollowed them out to make room for a discreet apothecary lab. A shelf holds four glass bottles measuring 10 centimeters high. Tiny drawers are labeled with the names of poisonous plants—such as hemlock, foxglove, and Devil's snare—in German, suggesting the book safe was crafted in Germany. On the inside of the front cover, a memento mori illustration depicts two skeletons above the Latin Bible quote "Statutum est hominibus semel mori," which means, "All men are destined to die once."

The Vienna-based antique bookseller INLIBRIS is selling the oddity through Abebooks. The sellers don't know the full backstory of the object, but they suspect it's not as dark as the skulls and poison labels suggest. Rather than being an authentic lab used by a poisoner, the book was likely made as a gag item.

The book may have been intended as a hoax, but that doesn't mean it can't be used as hidden storage today—ideally for something other than poison. Curio collectors can purchase the item for $10,924.51.

Book with secret compartment.
Abebooks

Secret compartment with bottles in book.
Abebooks

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Cheese Made from Celebrities' Microbes Is On View at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

iStock/bhofack2
iStock/bhofack2

London's Victoria & Albert Museum is home to such artifacts as ancient Chinese ceramics, notebooks belonging to Leonardo da Vinci, and Alexander McQueen's evening dresses—all objects you might expect to see in a world-famous museum. However, the cultural significance of the selection of cheeses now on display at the museum is less obvious. The edible items, part of a new exhibition called FOOD: Bigger than the Plate, were cultured from human bacteria swabbed from celebrities.

Though most diners may prefer not to think about it, bacteria is an essential ingredient in many popular foods. Beer, bread, chocolate, and cheese all depend on microbes for their signature flavors. Scientists took this ick factor one step further by sourcing bacteria from the human body to make cheese for the new exhibit.

Smell researcher Sissel Tolaas and biologist/artist Christina Agapakis first conceived their human bacteria cheese project, titled Selfmade, in 2013. When a chef and team of scientists recreated it for the Victoria & Albert Museum, they found famous figures to donate their germs. Blur bassist Alex James, chef Heston Blumenthal, rapper Professor Green, Madness frontman Suggs, and The Great British Baking Show contestant Ruby Tandoh all signed up for the project.

A display of the human-microbe cheese at Victoria & Albert museum
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Once the celebrities' noses, armpits, and belly buttons were swabbed, their microbiome samples were used to separate milk into curds and whey. The curds were then pressed into a variety of cheeses: James's swab was used to make Cheshire cheese; Blumenthal's, comté; Professor Green's, mozzarella; Suggs's, cheddar; Tandoh's, stilton.

The cheeses are being sequenced in the lab to determine if they're safe for human consumption. But even if they don't contain any harmful bacteria, they won't be served on anyone's cheese plates. Instead. they're being kept in a refrigerated display at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Museum-goers can catch the cheeses and the rest of the items spotlighted in FOOD: Bigger Than the Plate from now through October 20, 2019.

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