“Ben Abeba Restaurant, Ethiopia.”

Ben Abeba is a restaurant of wide-open spaces, located next to the historic architectural wonders of Lalibela.
Perched high on a hill on the north side of town, it’s often described as looking like a bouquet of flowers or some sort of cooking pot.
The whole enterprise was the dream of owner Susan Aitchison, a retired home economics professor who came to Ethiopia from her native Scotland, initially to help a friend set up a school. Faced with leaving such a magnificent place and going home to Glasgow, she opted to stay.
A chance ride with a local transportation company owner led to a business partnership, and to one of the best restaurants in Lalibela.
Aitchison and her partner, Habtamu Baye, hired local architects to put her ideas into motion, and the curved decks jutting out from the building’s central, spiraling staircase give patrons unobstructed views of the breathtaking river valley below.


The award-winning restaurant serves a menu mixing traditional Ethiopian dishes and western fare, sometimes combining the two.
Rising to the challenges of running a restaurant in a place with sometimes-sketchy electricity and less than reliable refrigeration, they pride themselves on giving valuable training to their young local staff, and especially their sourcing of local ingredients.
See more via Ben Abeba – Lalibela, Ethiopia | Atlas Obscura

“Disposing of the Dead.”


via Wikipedia.

In 1843, the Scottish cemetery designer, John Claudius Loudon, explained that the purpose of a burial ground was to dispose of the dead ‘in such a manner as that their decomposition, and return to the earth from which they sprung, shall not prove injurious to the living.’
A decade earlier, London cemeteries had reached critical mass. Death rates were rising within the city due to overcrowding and outbreaks of cholera, tuberculosis, diphtheria, smallpox and typhus.
Burial grounds were bursting at the seams, causing one Reverend John Blackburn to remark:
I am sure the moral sensibilities of many delicate minds must sicken to witness the heaped soil, saturated and blackened with human remains and fragments of the dead…
The rate at which burials were growing was mind-boggling. According to one report, many cemeteries around London were burying as many as 11,000 people per acre.
To put this in perspective, most cemeteries today accommodate 750-1,000 burials per acre—a tiny fraction of what was acceptable in the past.
Bodies were literally crammed on top of one another. Most graveyards contained open pits with rows and rows of coffins exposed to sight and smell.
Pit burial was so common in London that two men asphyxiated on the methane and other gases emanating from decomposing bodies after falling twenty feet to the bottom of one such pit in the early 19th century.
For those living nearby, the smell was unbearable, especially during the summer months. The houses on Clement’s Lane in the East End of London backed into the local churchyard, and ‘ran with stinking slime.’
The stench was so overpowering, that occupants kept their windows shut all year long. Even the children attending Sunday school could not escape these unpleasantries. They learned their lessons as insects buzzed around them, no doubt originating from inside the church’s crypt which was crammed with 12,000 decomposing bodies.
Even after the chapel was closed in 1844, it continued to be used, this time for ‘Dances on the Dead’ (see illustration, below) until the bodies were eventually moved to West Norwood Cemetery a few years later.
Read more great content via Public Health & Victorian Cemetery Reform – The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice.

“Winslow’s Highly Addictive Sleeping Syrup”.

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup was marketed as nothing short of a miracle syrup for mothers, struggling to get their children and infants into a pain-free sleep.

mrs-winslows-soothing-syrupImage: US National Library of Medicine via The Quack Doctor.
First hitting the market in 1845, the story goes that it was a pair of chemists that first marketed the medicine in quantity.
It was based on an old home remedy from the real Mrs. Winslow, the mother-in-law of one of the chemists. A nurse who often cared for young children, she had concocted the “soothing syrup” and, in all fairness, it did exactly what it claimed to do.
It also contained 1 grain of morphine per fluid ounce, along with some alcohol for good measure.
In addition to relieving teething pain and helping children get to sleep, it was also said to be one of the best remedies on the market for diarrhea and other stomach issues – a now-known side effect of the morphine.
The New York Times even published a series of letters in December of 1860, written by parents who were grateful for the fast-acting syrup that allowed not only their child to sleep, but the whole family.
There were no more endless nights, no more crying, no more hours upon hours of pain, all thanks to a remedy that cost a mere 25 cents per bottle.
It’s not known how many children and infants died from the syrup, but in 1868, one of the developers and manufacturers of the formula – the son-in-law of Mrs. Winslow – was testifying in court.
At the time, he went on record as stating their annual sale was more than 1.5 million bottles, but it was decades later in  – 1911 – before the American Medical Association spoke out against the dangers of the syrup.
And it was almost another two decades before it was finally off the market.
via Urban GhostsRetro Fails: 10 Vintage Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drugs Which Proved Extremely Dangerous – Urban Ghosts.

“Cards Not to Give on Valentine’s Day.”

creepy-vintage-valentines-day-cards-4 Valentine’s Day Cards with Funny Quotes that You Might Not Want to give on Valentine’s Day.


They say romance is dead but, judging by these cards, that might be a good thing…


creepy-vintage-valentines-day-cards-33Source: vintage everyday: 37 Valentine’s Day Cards With Funny Quotes You Might Not Want to Read on February 14th

White Coke for Zhukov.

Marshal Georgy Zhukov (shown here with a General’s insignia) reportedly requested the manufacture of a colorless, unlabeled variant of Coca-Cola, known later as “White Coke”.
Georgy Zhukov was a Soviet war hero with a serious drinking habit. The man loved Coca-Cola.
However, the Soviet government considered Coke a sign of American imperialism and forbade its citizens from enjoying the soda. Unwilling to give up his favorite beverage, Zhukov asked America for help, and the Coca-Cola Company rose to the occasion.
What’s red, white, and enjoyed across the planet? Coca-Cola! The sugary soft drink is the world’s bestselling soda, but despite its international appeal, Coke is usually associated with America.
And that posed a pretty big problem for Georgy Zhukov.
Zhukov was a Soviet general and successfully defended Leningrad from the Nazis, was appointed Commander in Chief of the USSR’s western front, and fought the Germans at Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, and Berlin.
However, when the Russian officer wasn’t crushing enemy troops, he was refreshing himself with the cold, crisp taste of Coca-Cola.
It was pretty easy to find a bottle of Coke during World War II, even if you were a soldier in the middle of a combat zone.
On top of that, the US government considered Coke crucial to defeating the Axis powers, going so far as to exempt the Atlanta-based corporation from sugar rationing.
With Zhukov pursuing the Germans across Europe, it was only a matter of time before he discovered America’s ice cold sunshine. In fact, Eisenhower himself gave Zhukov his first bottle, and soon, the Soviet general was a Coke addict.
But when the war ended, Zhukov realized his drinking habit was in danger. Only this Soviet officer wasn’t going to give up so easily. Desperate for his soda pop, Zhukov went to the highest authority outside Russia: Harry Truman.
He asked the President if America could secretly send him a stash of Coke . . . but not just any Coke. These drinks had to be special. If someone saw him chugging a dark brown American soft drink, he’d probably end up in a Siberian gulag.
The first problem was the drink’s instantly recognizable brown color. However, a Coca-Cola chemist experimented with the recipe and found a way to create a clear soda. Secondly, the curvy bottle had to be redesigned as it was a dead giveaway.
The final product was White Coke, a clear liquid in a straight bottle, complete with a red Soviet star on a white cap. Now Zhukov could safely sip his soda in public.
via When Coca-Cola Made ‘White Coke’ For A Soviet War Hero – KnowledgeNuts.

“Why Fashion is obsessed with Ugly Shoes.”

Christopher Kane sent Crocs down the runway of his spring/summer 2017 collection.
(“Crocs” are quite possibly the ugliest but most comfortable shoes ever. everyone wears them from babies to old farts and rich kids to poorish kids. they are very heinous looking). via Urban Dictionary.
From pool slides to Crocs, it seems that every season there’s a new “ugly” shoe to be coveted by the more adventurous fashion crowd. And despite, everything they go against, for some reason stiletto-clad editors and style gurus everywhere are favouring the acrimonious trend for garish footwear.
Vogue revealed 2017’s wardrobe ‘essentials’ and they are bizarre.
But, not any ugly shoe will do. Oh no, it has to be just the right kind.


Chunky, clinical and vaguely orthopaedic-looking. Podiatrists everywhere are cheering for joy, we’re sure.
For a few seasons now, gross fugly shoes have been creeping and quietly elevating themselves from fashion taboo to street-style staple.
When the Scottish designer Christophrt Kane decided to send Crocs down the runway of his spring/summer 2017 collection the fashion world divided but alas, months later, Vogue have hailed the rise of the controversial shoe as this season’s must-have trend.
Source: Why the fashion industry is obsessed with ugly shoes | The Independent