News flash: Germans eat dirt!
Not only that, they pay for it. I was at a joint birthday party for a couple I know last night whose kid has been sick, and at one point, her mother stirred some brown stuff into some water and the little girl drank it. "What's that?" one of the Americans asked. "Heilerde," she was told; "healing dirt." What? I said.
But there it was, a brown box full of...dirt! "Oh," I was told by a psychotherapist who was there, "it's very good! It's particularly good for an upset stomach." I dipped a finger in and tasted some. Dirt. Sandy dirt, but dirt.
I guess it's possible that some dirt somewhere contains enough basic chemical that it does, indeed, fight acid stomach, but this sort of early 20th-century packaging and breathless description of its magic powers was enough to get my skepticism up. Somehow, I think I can stay healthy without eating dirt.
Biscuit update: It's now been revealed that Randy "Biscuit" Turner died of causes related to untreated Hepatitis C, and the details aren't pretty, so I'll not repeat them here. There's also some evidence that his siblings aren't the monsters some of the people on the Yahoo group I've been reading made them out to be, and that some care to preserve his body of work will be taken, especially since the siblings apparently attended last night's wake-cum-gallery-opening of his one-man show in Austin, and were undoubtedly confronted by a wave of affection for their departed brother. I'm cautiously optimistic that this will turn out for the best, and if, as has been suggested, a non-profit to preserve his work is formed, I'll let you know here.
Meanwhile, tributes continue to pour in on the Yahoo list, and one of them recalled something about Biscuit I'd forgotten, but which brought a smile to my face when I read it. There was a point where he was wearing his hair in good old punk spikes, but had shaved a bit in the center of the front of his head. There, he affixed a little blue toy car. At the time, he was working at a Kinko's near the University of Texas campus, and I do remember running into him when he was coiffed like this. "Oh, don't worry," he told me. "I glued it down real good." Unlike spikes, this seems never to have caught on.
Prof Dr Dr update: He's fine, if bored, and in a Swiss hospital. He called me this morning to tell me so, and mentioned the lifestyle changes he's going to have to make, which are as you'd figure they'd be. Close call, but he'll be okay.