"Dimes on Mars is a private radio station by slobek and tomaz. We specialize in news, storys and radio magazine pieces.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sherringford Sherlock and Count Wampyr

We’ve talked about alternate universe book titles for the past couple of days, but sometimes it’s just the characters who have undergone name changes (and in some cases, sex changes). Here are 10 of them!

1. Scarlett O’Hara was almost named Pansy. In fact, the iconic character didn’t receive her iconic name until just before the story went to print.

2. In early drafts of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly was named Connie Gustafson. That’s an entirely different character, in my opinion. Side note: Truman Capote is thought to have based Holly on several different women, including Gloria Vanderbilt, Oona Chaplin, and Walter Matthau’s wife, Carol Grace. His own mother was probably also an inspiration.

3. Bram Stoker’s notes on Dracula reveal that he had been referring to his famous vampire as “Count Wampyr.” During research, Stoker came across Vlad II of Wallachia, who went by the name Vlad Dracul. He was intrigued enough to change his character’s name.

4. Similarly, Arthur Conan Doyle made notes that indicated he had been considering the name “Sherringford” for Detective Holmes.

5. If that doesn’t throw you for enough of a loop, consider this: Holmes’ assistant was originally going to be called “Ormond Sacker.” Arthur Conan Doyle decided the name was a bit too bizarre and changed it to the decidedly duller “John H. Watson.”

6. Batman’s alter ego was named for Mad Anthony Wayne because the creators were looking for sturdy, historical names that suggested gentry and entitlement. Before “Wayne” was determined, Bruce Adams and Bruce Hancock were considered. Bruce, by the way, came from Scottish patriot Robert Bruce.

7. Before “Nancy Drew” was decided upon, names kicked around for the plucky young heroine included Stella Strong, Diana Drew, Diana Dare, Nan Nelson, Helen Hale and Nan Drew.

8. Small Sam, Little Larry and Puny Pete were all in the running before Charles Dickens settled on “Tiny Tim” for the sickly sad sack in A Christmas Carol.

9. Little Orphan Annie was nearly Little Orphan Otto, until Harold Gray’s publisher at the newspaper syndicate suggested his character looked more female than male and told him to stick a skirt on it.

10. It may have been a much different story if George Lucas had gone with his original “Luke Starkiller” name. Although the Skywalker name prevailed, “Starkiller” has since popped up for other characters.

from Mental Floss

Just Another Michelangelo on the Mantle

Imagine the painting that you’ve always kept on the mantle above the fireplace is suddenly found to be a rare painting by the most famous painter of all time, worth somewhere between 10 million and 300 million dollars. 

This impossibility could be the case for the Kober family in upstate New York. 

They called the painting “The Mike.” Rumor of its origin passed between family members as it changed hands with the generations. Finally in 2003 Martin Kober, newly retired and with time on his hands, decided it was high time to solve the mystery. So he set out, contacting Renaissance art scholars, auction houses, archives and even traveling to Italy to meet with museum directors. There he found Antonio Forcellino, an Italian art historian. 

Forcellino traveled to Buffalo to view the piece, assuming he would report back to his colleagues about this crazy American who thought he had a Michelangelo. 

Forcellino could not believe what he saw. The painting of Mary holding a wounded Jesus is the same moment Michelangelo depicted in the famous Pieta sculpture housed in St. Peter’s Basillica in Rome. Forcellino was dumbfounded. He says, “This painting was even more beautiful than the versions hanging in Rome and Florence.”

The art historian gives several reasons why he believes the painting to be authentic. X-ray examinations revealed that the painting had many alterations, showing that the artist changed his mind. A copy artist, obviously, would not change his mind. Secondly, there is an unfinished portion near the Madonna’s right knee. “The evidence of unfinished portions demonstrate that this painting never, never, never could be a copy of another painting,” Forcellino said. “No patron pays in the Renaissance for an unfinished copy.” 

Forcellino has just finished a book about the piece titled, “The Lost Pieta.” He believes the painting was done around 1545 as a gift for Michelangelo’s friend Vittoria Colonna. Additional evidence includes a letter from the Vatican library discussing a Pieta painting for Colonna. Some experts disagree, saying the painting is a masterpiece from the 16th century, but not a Michelangelo.  

Forcellino, however, is “absolutely convinced” that the painting was a Michelangelo. His main concern became the conditions that the painting had been living in for the past century - air condition, fireplaces, central heating, and stray tennis balls. 

Rest assured, potentially worth millions, the painting is now in a vault and is being prepared for an upcoming exhibit.


20-year-old frozen embryo is born

A 42-year-old Norfolk, Virginia woman has given birth to a healthy boy from an embryo that had been frozen for almost 20 years, reports the journal Fertility and Sterility. The woman received the embryos from a couple who had also undergone the IVF, in vitro fertilization process and successfully conceived. The distinction came in the fact that these leftover embryos have been frozen for nearly 20-years! This means that this newborn has a sibling out there who was conceived at the same time, but is 20 years old.

Oh, the head spinning that happens when technology is applied to the nuances of life. In a separate procedure, a mother froze embryos for her 7-year-old daughter, who was born with condition that could leave her infertile. If the daughter uses these embryos, she will give birth to a half-brother or sister!

In fact, there are roughly 400,000 frozen embryos in existence today. A doctor at the Infertility Center in St Louis (naming it fertility clinic would have been the half-full option) actually advises women to have eggs and ovarian tissue frozen as a sort of safety net in case cancer, life, or age strikes. 

Let us know what you think about these new developments. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday - Alligators, ADHD Aids and Kids


Bullying the Allergies

Kids are bullied constantly for a variety of meaningless traits and style choices, but latest data shows that allergies are newest amongst the list.  As if being a kid in school wasn’t tough enough somtimes now your allergies can set you back.  Does it make it hard to find a date for the prom too?  Hope not.

How was it for you growing up? Is this more of an American/European trait or does this generally occur worldwide? Leave your comments.


A study shows that Kids who are diagnosed with ADHD have a higher risk of Depression and Suicide.  Using a pool of often relatively young persons some as young 6 and 4, studies showed that those diagnosed who had mothers with similar difficulties exhibited high risk factors.  Unfortunately between Cyber- Bullying and hypersexualization, our poor new comers truly have an awfully tight rope to walk.


In the 80s, Cutter Laboratories, a Bayer arm, was a large manufacturer of hemophiliac drugs  which acted as blood clotting agents for those in need.  Worldwide demand was being met.  However, nearly a2 decades later reporters unearth minutes from meetings during the time which suggested that Cutter knowingly distributed solutions tainted with the AIDS virus.  (Note that the image above refers to the Cutter Incident.  A completely seperate case in which Cutter Laboratories distributed live Polio vaccine to unsuspecting…patients.)

Initially, Cutter was producing a formulation of its drug known commonly as the unheated brand, which was cheaper but became contaminated as the sources for plasma were not heavily regulated during those.  Soon realizing what happened, Cutter stopped selling the untreated/unheated variety of the Drug in the west, shipping it’s reserves to Asian markets, among others, in an apparent attempt to sell the remaining dosages of the older drug.  Basically, they KNOWINGLY shipped tainted solutions to quote ‘developing’ markets.  And to make bad matters worse, the FDA, while generally disapproving, requested that the problem be dealt with quietly, in the dark, making that agency complicit.  Not the first time, but hopefully of the last. Read More