I found the most incredible thing at this year's Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, which is a massive affair with huge tents all over Tucson and dealers from the far ends of the earth. The show's one of the area's biggest events and worth all the trouble to visit. You will see things you had no idea existed. This year I learned about agates with water inside. I bought three--they were about $11 each (sold by pound). You can hear the water sloshing inside when you shake them. The water is at least hundreds of thousands of years old.
OK. That's the Good part. Now the Bad.
Have you ever heard of an ovarian dermoid cyst? You can see actual pictures of these online, but I wouldn't do a search if I were you. When people scream "Don't look!" usually you shouldn't.
I found ovarian dermoid cysts while doing a search for a picture of the Siamese twins who were recently separated. They were of the two-headed baby sort (craniopagus parasiticus) and just enough details were given to make me very curious. Anyway, one of the ways that Siamese, or conjoined, twins can manifest is as an otherwise normal baby with its underdeveloped twin inside. It's called fetus-in-fetu. Like the agates, there's a surprise inside. Unlike the agates, it ain't cool. And, shudder, sometimes they can grow.
OK...that's pretty horrible, but let me tell you about those ovarian dermoid cysts, which were mentioned as sometimes being confused with fetuses-in-fetu. Maybe just knowing you could confuse them is enough to drive you off, but if you're still with me here an ovarian dermoid cyst is a cell that could have become an egg opting to go it alone and make a baby. It doesn't work, but the resultant mass can contain skin (the dermoid part of the name), teeth, hair, bone, etc.
I wrote to a friend with OH MY GOD HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF AN OVARIAN DERMOID CYST? as the subject line. She answered that Margaret Drabble had written a short story about one called "Hairball" and that it was one of the most memorable sick/bad/mean/woman stories ever written. Naturally, I ordered the book that had it (Wilderness Tales). She was right. I guess that 20 years of small farming didn't fill enough of my brain cells with terrible images. Sheesh.
Now, for those of you who haven't cancelled your subscription to the Saint Report and run screaming for drugs, alcohol, or the River Nepenthe, here's the Ugly. There are creatures on the bottom of the sea that make Alien look like Tab Hunter. I found them while looking online for anything uglier than a ratfish. I thought that ratfish were the nadir in looks (apex of ugliness?), but they are just plain janes compared with these little darlings (click pictures to learn more). I'm also including a babirusa, just for fun--they aren't sea-creatures, but they sure aren't attractive.