Getting to the Bottom of Valentine's Day

I love ya, you bum.

A professor of psychology who studied the symbolism, origin and history of Valentine's Day said the traditional double-lobed heart symbol on candy and cards is inspired by the shape of female buttocks as they appear from behind, according to Discovery News.

The "essential literary and speculative evidence from mythology and secondary sources" leads to the theory, Prof. Galdino Pranzarone of Roanoke College in Salem, Va., told Discovery News.

The fact that the symbol doesn't resemble the human heart organ is one fairly glaring piece of evidence, he said.

"The twin lobes of the stylized version correspond roughly to the paired auricles and ventricles [chambers] of the anatomical heart," Pranzarone told Discovery News, adding that the organ "is never bright red in color" and the "shape does not have the invagination at the top nor the sharp point at the base."

The ancient Romans and Greeks may have started the link between the heart symbol and female anatomy, Pranzarone said. The Greeks associated beauty with the female behind's curves, he said.

"The Greek goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, was beautiful all over, but was unique in that her buttocks were especially beautiful," he told Discovery News. "Her shapely rounded hemispheres were so appreciated by the Greeks that they built a special temple Aphrodite Kallipygos, which literally meant, 'Goddess with the Beautiful Buttocks.' This was probably the only religious building in the world that was dedicated to buttock worship."

Guess He Really Better Not Throw Stones!

An Albany, Ore., man is living inside a volcano he built himself out of recycled foam, according to local WLS-TV/DT 7 News.

Steve Fletcher's foam home even has a hot tub made of foam. Fletcher, who owns a spray foam insulation business, said he'd been searching for a method of recycling leftover foam when it hit him — his house!

"When we moved here, it was a gravel pit, so it looks better than it did," Fletcher's son, Markus, told WLS-TV/DT.

Calling it a work in progress, Fletcher said he's not finished with it yet — even though the foam home has become a local landmark with waterfalls and a 30-foot pond.

Fletcher also plans to build a floating foam car that could be driven into the Willamette River.

— Click in the video box above or click here to see a video on the foam home.

Meet You by the Jungle Gym for a Toke?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Police said a first-grader found more than 20 bags of marijuana in her locker.

The 6-year-old Franklin Magnet School student "took her hat out of the locker to go home from school ... and when she went to put it on, the bags fell out," said school district spokesman Neil Driscoll on Monday.

The student made the discovery Thursday and immediately reported it to a teacher, Driscoll said.

It's unclear where the drugs came from, but they appear to have been in her locker throughout the school day, said police spokesman, Sgt. Tom Connellan. She apparently did not wear the hat to school that day. Principal Frank Fiello said the locker is really more like a cubby space with a hook and a door. The lockers don't lock, he said.

"This is absolutely, no question, in all the years I've been in education, the most unusual thing I've seen," Fiello said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Molly R.

Why Not? I Know How to Walk

CARROLLTON, Ill. (AP) — A toddler in Illinois apparently isn't interested in taking baby steps when it comes to driving.

Police said the boy, who will turn 2 next month, worked his way into the driver's seat of his mother's van when she went into a convenience store. She left the engine running and her child in his safety seat.

Vicki Evans of Carrollton said she glanced outside and saw her van crossing the road. She took off after it. The van ran through a car-wash bay and two panels of fencing before hitting the side of a house.

Evans' son was in the front seat, unhurt.

The toddler was too short to reach the gas pedal, so police said the van must have just coasted after he got it into drive.

No citations were issued.

— Thanks to Out There reader Shannon O.

Like Giving Candy to a Baby

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A 10-year-old boy thought he was giving candy to his friends on the school bus.

But prosecutors in Fort Wayne, Ind., said the youngster was actually passing out the illegal drug Ecstasy.

Investigators are trying to figure where the kid got the pills. Some of the students put the pills in their mouths but spit them out because they tasted bad. Some students reported stomachaches and one felt tingling down the arms.

The driver then collected the bag of turquoise pills. Police estimate the value of the stash of more than 130 Ecstasy tabs at about $3,000.

The Forest Park Elementary student who passed out the Ecstasy told police that he got the pills from the house where he goes to wait for the bus.

The hallucinogenic pills were about the size of an aspirin and had a check mark on them, similar to the Nike swoosh trademark. Authorities have yet to file charges in the case.

— Thanks to Out There reader Betsi A.

Apparently There Are Eight Suckers Born Every Minute

TOKYO (AP) — Eight people in southern Japan forked over a collective $1.27 million to a man who promised huge returns involving fake American $1 million bills and then disappeared with their money, a news report said Thursday.

The United States Treasury does not make $1 million bills.

The eight, including three who have filed for personal bankruptcy because of the huge outlays in the scam, are considering filing a criminal complaint with police, the national daily Asahi Shimbun said.

Police in Kumamoto, 567 miles southwest of Tokyo, could not immediately comment on the report.

The unidentified investors first heard of the $1 million note from a 52-year-old president of a construction material company in early 2003, according to Asahi, citing several investors.

The president told them about a "rare" $1 million bill that was for sale in Chengdu, China, and invited them to pool money to buy several such notes promising a return 10 times of their investment, the report said.

The investors were told that the U.S. government printed the bills in 1928 when Chiang Kai-shek was still in power in China to allow Americans to bring their assets back home, Asahi said.

The president showed them a thousand of the $1 million notes featuring a portrait of George Washington at a Tokyo hotel, according to Asahi. The investors were told the notes could be exchanged for smaller denominations in Hong Kong, but no exchange ever took place, it reported.

"We continued to fork over money because we were promised, 'You'll get several hundreds of millions of yen in three days,' or 'You'll get that amount in a week,'" one investor was quoted as saying.

By last March, the eight had paid a total of $1.27 million, but the company president said the bills would be exchanged by the end of April and he disappeared, according to the report.

The largest U.S. denomination ever produced was $100,000 between 1934 and 1935, according to the Treasury.

Giddeyup There Pahrdner (Hic)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota bar owners may want to install hitching posts and bike racks out front.

Gov. Mike Rounds announced Wednesday that he has signed a bill into law exempting horses and bikes from drunken driving laws. It goes into effect July 1.

As earlier reported in Out There, legislators offered the so-called "beer-for-your-horses" bill as part of an effort to update the criminal code.

"If I'm going down the road with my family, I'd much prefer to have a drunk on a Schwinn coming at me than a drunk in a Chevy," said Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown.

Charging intoxicated horse and bike riders with drunken driving makes a joke of drunken driving laws, he said. People still could be charged with being a public safety hazard, a misdemeanor.

Sen. John Koskan, R-Wood, though, objected to the change. He said horses on highways can be dangerous, adding that prosecutors oppose the bill.

"Just because it's a horse doesn't mean it's safe to be out on the road," Koskan said.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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