The Drink That Comes With a Human Toe

Dawson City in Yukon, Canada, has a history as a gold mining town—the kind of place where people are forced to invent new ways to entertain themselves during the long, cold winter nights.

According to local legend, one Captain Dick Stevenson was cleaning out an old miner's cabin there in 1973 when he found a surprise: a mummified human toe floating in a jar of alcohol. Less inspired minds might have thrown the toe away, or perhaps tried to donate it to a museum. Instead, Stevenson created a unique drink—one part toe, one part champagne. 

As Dylan Thuras of Atlas Obscura explains in the video above, the drink, known as the Sourtoe Cocktail, became a hit at a local hotel bar. Thousands of of brave souls have tried it, and some have taken home the certificate awarded to those who follow the drink's only real rule: "You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow—but the lips have gotta touch the toe." You can try the cocktail today at the Sourdough Saloon in the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, although the champagne has been replaced by a less-classy, though perhaps more appropriate, shot of whiskey (usually).

The toes in the drink have a habit of disappearing—people swallow them, accidentally or otherwise, and steal them. In fact, there've been so many disappearing digits that there's now a $2,500 fine for swallowing the toe. The bar is currently said to be on its tenth toe; fortunately, they always keep one on reserve. 

While the Sourdough Saloon may be the only bar to serve a cocktail garnished with human flesh, drinking alcohol that's been used to preserve humans or other animals is not totally unheard of. In Britain, the phrase "tapping the admiral" (to drink a small bit of a strong drink) refers to a folk legend in which the body of Admiral Horatio Nelson was preserved in a cask of brandy or rum after his death in the battle of Trafalgar. When the body arrived back in England, the cask was found empty, because (it's said) thirsty sailors had bored small holes in the cask to suck out the drink with a straw. We think we'll stick with wine.

Banner image via John MutfordCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Canadian Man Named Lorne Grabher Stripped of His Right to Have a ‘GRABHER’ License Plate Is Appealing the Court’s Decision

Lorne Grabher shows off his forbidden license plate.
Lorne Grabher shows off his forbidden license plate.
CBC News, YouTube

For about 25 years, Nova Scotia, Canada, was home to a vanity license plate emblazoned with “GRABHER.”

Lorne Grabher had given it to his father as a 65th birthday gift in 1991, and it eventually passed to Lorne himself. Anyone who knew the Grabhers no doubt recognized the last name, but the same couldn’t be said for one passerby, alarmed at what seemed like a blanket imperative for abduction and assault. In November 2016, the anonymous individual filed a complaint with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, who informed Grabher that his plate would be revoked the following month.

Grabher, proud of his Austrian-German heritage and outraged at what he considered to be a violation of his rights, sued the Registrar. This past January, CBC News reported that the Nova Scotia Supreme Court sided with the Registrar, ruling that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not extend to this particular situation.

“The seven letters (‘GRABHER’) on a government-owned license plate can be interpreted as promoting sexualized violence (without full contextual information),” the court stated in its decision. “Preventing harm that could flow from such a message on a government plate must be seen as pressing and substantial.”

Though disappointed with the outcome, Grabher was determined to continue the fight, even if that meant taking the case all the way to Canada’s Supreme Court.

“I’m not giving up,” he told CBC News in January. “I’m in it for the long haul.”

True to his word, Grabher is now filing an appeal through his lawyers at Calgary’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms on the grounds that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does, in fact, cover personalized license plates, and there is no evidence to suggest that Grabher’s plate actually promotes sexualized violence [PDF].

While you wait for the next chapter of this epic battle of wills to unfold, check out 11 other controversial license plates here.

[h/t CBC News]

Oregon Police Are Cautioning People Not to Call 911 When Their Toilet Paper Runs Out

Running out of Charmin does not rise to the level of an emergency.
Running out of Charmin does not rise to the level of an emergency.
belchonock/iStock via Getty Images

Concerns that Americans may be short on toiletries amid the coronavirus situation have led to some people hoarding essentials like toilet paper, causing others to see their own stock run low. While supply chains have reassured consumers that restocking toilet tissue is no issue, some residents of Newport, Oregon apparently consider their shortage of two-ply to be an emergency matter.

CNN reports that the Newport Police Department issued an exasperated warning on its Facebook page for residents to stop calling 911 to report they’re low on toilet paper.

“It’s hard to believe we even have to post this,” the message reads. “Do not call 9-1-1 just because you ran out of toilet paper. You will survive without our assistance.”

The post goes on to sardonically suggest some historical alternatives for manufactured toilet paper, including “old rope and anchor lines soaked in salt water” and “sea shells.” In case readers don’t get the message, the post also notes—somewhat ominously—that Newport is a “coastal town.”

Obviously, running low on bath tissue can be an inconvenient matter, but the Newport PD wanted to remind people that an unwiped bottom does not rise to the level of an emergency requiring first responder intervention.

[h/t CNN]