3 More Weird Foods For You To Try (That You Could Totally Make Yourself)

So, I just realized it’s been a while since I talked about food here. And that’s a shame because I REALLY do enjoy preparing, cooking, and trying new meals.

For this installment, I wanted to focus on delicacies that we common folk could prepare ourselves. So let’s dive into gastronomic adventure with…

A-Ping

You’ve heard of fried green tomatoes, but have you ever seen fried hairy spiders?
Source: The Telegraph

We Americans may balk at the idea of eating anything that resembles a bug (though many of us are totally cool with crabs and lobsters for some reason), but in Cambodia, fried tarantulas or A-Ping are the dish that saved the people.

During the reign of Pol Pot, many people were forced into hard labor and starved to death. These hairy buggers then quickly became a primary food source as they were plentiful, easy to harvest (just jam a stick into their nest and pull them out when they bite onto it), and super healthy; having more protein than a 6oz steak. Frying them with sugar, salt and garlic also give them the flavor of marinated fried chicken.

What’s more, they’re cheap. At only a few cents a spider, A-Ping is a major part of the Cambodian economy that almost anyone can grab at a street vendor and families often make a good business selling it.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Don’t be fooled, friend; that ain’t fried chicken.
Source: The Telegraph

The wise reader will note that The Rocky Mountains are nowhere near the ocean and, therefore, cannot produce oysters. So, what are Rocky Mountain Oysters if not oysters? Well, their alternative name – Montana Tendergroin – may give it away.

That’s right; they’re fried bull testicles.

Like most non-traditional cuts of meat, Rocky Mountain Oysters came out of necessity. After castrating a bull to prevent unauthorized breeding that can lead to injured cattle, what are you supposed to do with his berries? Throwing them away would be wasteful, so why not eat them?

If you’ve ever had a chicken fried steak, these are very similar. Really, they’re no different from any other cut of beef. Once you get over where the meat came from, you may find you enjoy having balls in your mouth (enjoy that one, folks – I don’t get a chance to make raunchy jokes like this often).

Mamajuana

And now, a selection of liquor to complement our strange meal.
Source: Sunrise Villa

And to close out our buffet of the bizarre, let’s booze it up with some tree bark brew (that alliteration was more work than you think, by the way).

Mamajuana is a traditional tincture (that’s fancy-talk for herb-infused alcohol) from the Dominican Republic that contains rum, red wine, honey and a variety of herbs. What’s great is that you can steep this fine drink yourself and can buy the herbs pre-assembled so that they meet all FDA regulations. After that, it’s just a matter of choosing your favorite rum, red wine, and honey in your preferred amounts and let steep for a few days. Best of all, it’s common practice to reuse the herbs for months or even years. So you don’t need to keep buying a new starter kit when you’ve killed the batch. Hooray for exotic eating on a budget!

In addition to being touted as a powerful aphrodisiac, Mamajuana is also often used for fever, body aches, and fatigue. In fact, former Boston Red Sox pitcher and Dominican native Pedro Martinez attributes his teams 2004 World Series Championship victory to taking team building shots of the stuff. So, who knows? Maybe this little brew is just what you need to step up your game.

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3 More Wonderfully Weird Music Genres

So, while glancing at the last months worth of articles, I noticed a trend of pessimism that needs to be curtailed.

To that end, I’ve decided to delve deep into The Archive and provide a continuation of my exploration of bizarre and brilliant things going on in music. Let’s not waste time and get right into the fun bits.

All-Female Metal Tributes

I was born and raised as a metalhead. My parents fed me a steady stream of the Hair Metal they grew up with like KISS and Poison as well as Hard Rock (all Metal’s common ancestor) like AC/DC and Aerosmith. However, as I grow older, I’ve noticed a problem with Metal; despite how many girls I know that love it, the only time you see women in the genre are on the questionable and often exploitative album art.

Apparently, some lovely ladies agreed that this was wrong and took it upon themselves to take a few extraneous Y-chromosomes out of the sound by forming all-female tribute bands dedicated to some of the greats of Metal. Some notable bands in the genre include Judas Priestess, Hells Belles, and my favorite on the basis of the name alone; Vag Halen.

It’s no mistake that this is the first genre I cover in this article after verbally tearing Meghan Trainor a superabundant sphincter last week. It seems that many female artists are forgetting that feminism is NOT narrow-minded self-interest and nursing a superiority complex. We need more people in the world that actually care about adding to the scope and range of voices heard in media. And that’s why I love this genre.

It’s also why I love…

Queercore

In much the same way that the above mentioned all-female metal tributes were born from women being excluded from the Metal scene, so to was queercore (aka; homocore) born from the inherently homophobic vibes of 80’s hardcore punk and created an alternative for those being excluded that enjoyed the sound.

Bands and artists in queercore use the same naming conventions as our AFMT friends above. Only instead of feminizing existing bands and songs, they ‘gay them up’ as it were. This results in bands like Youth of Togay, Cockwind, and Gayrilla Biscuits.

My favorite though has to be Black Fag – who not only donate the proceeds from tours to charities in the gay community but also do the best cover of T.V. Party I’ve ever heard.

Chap-Hop

And you thought this was just going to be politicized tribute bands…

You know what my beef is with modern mainstream rap? The class is gone. Back in the day, rap and hip-hop were fun and happy, even as they talked about serious issues. Old school rappers in the 80’s and early 90’s would still brag and boast, but did so with an air of dignity. Basically, rap forgot how to be a gentleman.

Leave it to the British to remind us how to be classy.

Chap-hop is the combination of modern rap and that distinctly British men’s fashion trend; chap. The result is a sound that blends rap-style production with a sound that wouldn’t be out of place on a 1900’s photograph and coats it in hilarious boasting lyrics about stereotypically gentlemanly things like tea, mustache grooming,  and playing cricket.

Chap-hop has bled into another odd subculture, steampunk, and you can find many chap-hop artists like Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer, Poplock Holmes, and Professor Elemental performing at conventions.

3 Bizarre But Interesting Music Genres

Those of you who follow my #MusicMonday posts on Facebook and Twitter will know that I’m always on the lookout for new music while rediscovering old favorites.

Recently, with the help of Sam Sutherland of the entertaining and informative This Exists, I’ve found several genres that, while I’m still somewhat unfamiliar with, I’m eager to learn more about and find more of. What’s more, I’d like to share them with you.

Vaporwave

Taking it’s name from the term Vaporware, Vaporwave is an oddly soothing genre of music born from other odd genres like Seapunk and Plunderphonics in that it is mostly constructed from samples of other audio clips to create an almost unrecognizable and unique audio track.

Most music videos attached to Vaporwave tend to be collages of clips of commercials and T.V. shows from the 80’s and 90’s. This is appropriate given the genres ideology.

These images combined with it’s similarity to New Age, Smooth Jazz, and Muzak in tone cause the songs to become a parody of hyper-consumerist society as they are non-commercial music that draws inspiration from some of the most commercially driven imagery and sound.

In short, Vaporwave is the witter, more subtle, New Age version of Anarcho-Punk.

I’m always excited to learn more about politically charged art and I hope to find more examples of great Vaporwave.

SoundClown

Users of SoundCloud might have accidentally stumbled across these while looking for that new experimental Trap beat they heard so much about.

While not music in the traditional sense, SoundClown or Weird SoundCloud are short audio tracks usually under a minute long made purely for comedic purposes; usually highlighting how silly certain aspects of pop culture are in a unique way.

In addition to being simple, humorous, and not taking up to much valuable head space after listening, SoundClown also acts as a sort of internet comedy time capsule – blending together various examples of silliness into something short and easy to digest. This makes it perfect for cataloging pop culture in a humorous way, as well as providing a quick emotional pick-me-up during times when you may feel blue.

I’m not sure that it’s art, but I do know that I like it. And that’s good enough for me.

Black MIDI

No, that’s not Black Metal’s digital cousin.

For the uninitiated, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is popular format that makes most forms of electronic music possible. It allows multiple instruments to be played from a single controller and is the preferred format for samplers, synthesizers, and drum machines.

Now imagine if a MIDI chip tune didn’t just play a few notes, but played ALL THE NOTES.

Black MIDI’s get their name from the fact that, when translated to sheet music, the sheet seems to turn black with notes. If you ever wondered if someone ever wrote a song to be intentionally impossible to play with human hands just to drive perfectionist musicians insane, know you know.

The hard part isn’t finding samples of these bewilderingly complex songs so much as finding a computer that can handle them. Many of the files for these song are huge and contain note counts in the several billions.

If you dare to challenge your computer with these songs, keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Your processor may burst into flame as it barfs concentrated sound at you.