HOBART, Ind., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A snow sculptor in Hobart, Ind., is fighting warmer, then colder temperatures to keep a 10-foot yard sculpture of King Kong upright and menacing.
Jim Mackey, a former animator for an advertising firm before retiring, began the project Thursday, and each day since has battled thawing with fresh snow to perk up the giant ape, the Gary Post-Tribune reported.
He packed snow into blocks, and then spray-painted the gorilla brown. But the details, such as the eyes, nose and teeth kept melting away, so he's compromised by replacing the eyes with painted golf balls, and crafting the muzzle out of wood, the newspaper said.
He said he's placed lights around Kong in the evening, but said "the police aren't too happy about it, because everybody slows down and they're afraid there'll be an accident."
Stalin sought human-ape super warrior
EDINBURGH, Scotland, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Recently uncovered secret documents in Russia reveal that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin wanted to develop a super army by cross-breeding humans and apes.
Documents form the 1920s show scientist Ilya Ivanov was ordered to research the development of such a super-warrior and fodder for the Soviet workforce, The Scotsman newspaper reported Tuesday.
Stalin, the account says, told Ivanov, "I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat." Soviet social engineering sought to make a "living war machine," the newspaper said.
The documents claim Ivanov's attempts to use monkey sperm in humans failed, the Scotsman said. Ivanov was exiled to Kazakhstan in 1931 and died a year later.
U.S. surge in vaginal reconstruction
NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Hymenoplasty, a controversial procedure prevalent in the Middle East and Latin America, is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, a report said.
Vaginal surgery that includes reattaching the hymen -- long considered the only positive proof of virginity -- is one of the fastest growing plastic surgery segments, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says.
Gynecologists who market hymenoplasty say business is booming for the procedure some undergo to improve their sex lives, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"Revirgination" can be had for as little as $1,800 at New York's Ridgewood Health and Beauty Center owned by Cuban-born Esmeralda Vanegas.
Vanegas promotes hymenoplasties in her magazine, Esmeralda.
"Losing your virginity is like losing a member of your family," Vanegas told the newspaper. "We can make it seem like nothing ever happened."
While some criticized the surgery dishonest and immoral, hymen repair dates back to the rise of midwives, said June Reinisch, director emeritus at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.
Thief makes off with Ronald McDonald
LINCOLN, Neb., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A Nebraska grandmother wants Ronald McDonald returned to her backyard after thieves made off with the 8-foot fast food icon.
The 8-foot statue of the McDonald's clown stood behind Marie Siefker's house in Lincoln for 15 years. But last Saturday, when she pulled into her driveway, the statue was gone.
"That was very devastating," she told the Lincoln Journal Star. "I don't know who could be so mean."
Siefker, a longtime McDonald's employee, acquired Ronald when the restaurant where she worked was redecorated. The person who was supposed to pick up Ronald failed to show up so she gave him a good home.
Ronald has been a popular figure at birthday parties for her grandchildren and at Easter egg rolls and other festivities. Siefker said that all the children wanted to be photographed next to him.
She does not know if the thief stole Ronald as a prank or to sell him to a collector. The figures can bring several thousand dollars.
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