August 28, 2016

News of the Weird (August 28, 2016)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M490, August 28, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

The phenomenal Japanese singer Hatsune Miku (100 million YouTube hits) is coming off of a sold-out, 10-city North American concert tour with high-energy audiences (blocks-long lines to get in; raucous crowd participation; hefty souvenir sales)--except that "she" isn't real. Hatsune Miku is a projected hologram on stage singing and dancing (but her band is human), and her May show in Dallas (according to a Dallas Observer review) typically ignited frenzied fans who know the show's "every beat, outfit . . . and glow stick color-change." Her voice, a synthesized "vocaloid," is crafted in pitch, timbre, and timing to sound human. (The latest PlayStation brings Hatsune Miku into the home by Virtual Reality.) [Dallas Observer, 5-16-2016]

The Finer Points of Law

Make Up Your Mind, Feds: On August 11th, the federal government's Drug Enforcement Agency famously refused to soften the regulation of marijuana, leaving it (with heroin) as a harsh "Schedule I" drug because (citing Food and Drug Administration findings) it has "no medical use." However, as the Daily Caller pointed out, another federal agency--Department of Health and Human Services--obtained a U.S. patent in 2003 for marijuana-derived cannabinoids, which HHS pointed out have several medical uses (as an antioxidant and for limiting neurological damage following strokes). [Daily Caller, 8-17-2016]

Priorities: (1) "[P]ets are better protected than young kids under Oregon abuse laws," lamented a prosecutor in May because, unlike the pet law, the "child abuse" law requires proof the victim experienced "substantial" pain--which a young child often lacks vocabulary to describe. (Simply showing welts and bruises is insufficient, the Court of Appeals has ruled.) (2) That same Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in June that Thomas Wade, 44, was not guilty of a crime when in 2013 he unzipped his pants, reached inside, and at that point cursed the woman he had confronted in a public park. "Distasteful," wrote the Court, but it was an exercise of Wade's free speech right. [The Oregonian, 5-21-2016] [The Oregonian, 6-10-2016]

Texas! In August, Houston defense lawyer Jerry Guerinot announced his retirement from death-penalty cases, leaving him with a perfect record (for that area of his practice): He lost every single time. Twenty-one clients received the death penalty, and 10 have been executed (so far). He made no excuses, pointing out that "gang members, serial killers, and sociopaths" were entitled to representation, too, and that he has taken more than 500 non-capital cases to trial (with, presumably, more success). [Associated Press via Fox News, 8-13-2016]

Tourists Gone Wild

(1) Tourism officials in Iceland recently posted "hundreds" of signs at visitor attractions showing a squatting person in silhouette, with a small pile on the ground underneath--and the familiar diagonal line (indicating "don't"). (Critics of the signs reluctantly admit Iceland's chronic shortage of public restrooms.). (2) In a July-released YouTube clip, a Disney fan posted shot after shot of "rude" Chinese tourists at Shanghai Disneyland, coaxing their small children to urinate in public rather than in restrooms. (3) The Tourism Bureau of Japan's Hokkaido island recently rewrote its etiquette guide for visitors to underscore the inappropriateness of "belching or flatulence" in public. [Daily Mail (London), 7-20-2016] [Daily Mail (London), 7-19-2016] [Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News, 4-28-2016]

Leading Economic Indicators

Suspicions Confirmed: (1) A New York Times reporter, describing in June the rising prices of prescription pharmaceuticals, noted that a popular pain reliever (probably describing oxycodone) was available on the Paterson, N.J., black market for $25 a pill, while heroin was going for $2 a baggie. (2) The economic growth rate in Ireland for 2015 was revised--upward--in July. Its gross domestic product was originally estimated as 7.8 percent, but subsequently--adding the paper value of several "inversions" (U.S. companies "moving" to Ireland to reduce U.S. taxes)--Ireland found that it was actually growing at 26.7 percent. [New York Times, 6-14-2016] [New York Times, 7-13-2016]

Awesome!

(1) Investigators revealed in July that an off-duty Aurora, Colo., sheriff's deputy had justifiably fired his gun to resist a parking lot mugging--and that, furthermore, one of the bullets from Deputy Jose Marquez's gun had gone straight into the barrel of one of the handguns pointed at him. (The investigators called the shot "one in a billion.") (2) Matthew Lavin, 39, drew Internet acclaim in July after he was gored through his left thigh while "running with the bulls" in the annual spectacle in Pamplona, Spain. Interviewed in his hospital bed by Madrid's The Local, he called it "the best time ever" and said he looked forward to another run next year. [Denver Post, 7-13-2016] [The Local (Madrid), 7-13-2016]

Ironies

Gary Durham, 40, was shot to death during a heated road-rage incident in Plant City, Fla., on August 10th. Durham had served 10 years in prison after an aggressive road-rage episode in 2001 in which he pursued another driver and knocked him to the ground, causing the man to hit his head, fatally, on the pavement. (Included in Durham's 2002 sentence was an order to take anger management classes.) [Tampa Bay Times, 8-11-2016]

Wait, What?

The Borough Council of Pompton Lakes, N.J., was surprised to learn in June that, because of an existing local ordinance, dogs were not permitted in its brand-new Pompton Lakes dog park (created with great fanfare in an area of Hershfield Park). The Council vowed to fix the problem. (2) In June, a police watchdog agency in Dublin, Ireland, asked officers ("gardai") across the country to try to carry out house raids at "reasonable hours" so that they do not disturb the occupants. (In one complaint, gardai staged a 3:15 a.m. raid to search for evidence of stolen vehicle accessories.) [The Record (Hackensack), 6-13-2016] [Irish Independent, 6-12-2016]

A 9-year-old girl named Irina won a contest in Berezniki, Russia, in August for letting mosquitos bite her more often that they bit other contestants. It is the signature event of the annual Russian Mosquito Festival, and her 43 hits were enough to earn her the title of "tastiest girl." The annual Great Texas Mosquito Festival in Clute, Tex. (south of Houston), apparently has nothing comparable. [Washington Post, 8-15-2016]

The Passing Parade

(1) The Elanora Heights Public School (a primary school in Sydney, Australia) recently banned clapping during student assemblies in an effort to help pupils with noise anxieties. To show audience approval, students are asked to "punch the air," "pull [on their] faces," or "wriggle about." (2) In July, The Nairobian newspaper reported the remarkable career of "Rosemary," reputed to be the Kenyan capital's oldest prostitute--still going strong at 64 after more than 5,000 clients. She said she could make it through 40 on a good day, but never missed church on Sunday. [Sky News (London), 7-20-2016] [The Nairobian, 7-16-2016]

Least Competent Criminals

Didn't Think Ahead: (1) In July, Joshua Jacobs, 30, accidentally knocked down a traffic sign at 12:45 a.m. in Vero Beach, Fla., and, spotting a sheriff's deputy, sped away. The deputy gave chase--especially, he said, given the fully-grown marijuana plant resting in the bed of the pickup. Jacobs was arrested. (2) Jeremy Watts, 30, and Jessica Heady, 24, were charged with aggravated burglary (a PlayStation and other electronics from a man's home) in Clarksville, Tenn., in August. The pair later offered the haul to a Cash America Pawnshop but did not realize that the home they had burglarized was the pawnshop manager's. [TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.), 8-2-2016] [Leaf Chronicle (Clarksville), 8-3-2016]

A News of the Weird Classic (October 2012)

Researchers writing in the journal Animal Behaviour in July [2012] hypothesized why male pandas have sometimes been seen performing handstands near trees. They are urinating, the scientists observed, and doing handstands streams the urine higher on the tree, presumably signaling their mating superiority. A San Diego Zoo researcher involved in the study added that an accompanying gland secretion gives off even more “personal” information to other pandas than the urine alone. [Live Science, 8-28-2012]

Thanks This Week to the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Bob McCabe, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Sandy Pearlman, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Peter Smagorinsky, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle).

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Aug 28, 2016 - Comments (0)
Category:

Anti-Aging Mouthpiece


Searching for that youthful look? Forget expensive surgery or dangerous therapies! Japan has the answer and it is as simple as it is, well, unusual. Just pop the colorful Pupeko gently into your mouth, clench your jaw and breath in and out. This will then start training and tightening your cheek and jaw muscles, helping to offset the signs of aging and bringing a fresher, youthful look back again to your cheeks!

This easy-to-use beauty and skincare product was developed by an ordinary housewife. Chikako Hirama was simply concerned about her own age and wanted an easy way to combat those telltale lines. Just try the yellow or pink Pupeko daily using such techniques as puffing out your cheeks or sucking them in while breathing through the mouthpiece. Then you can try it while keeping your head upright to give your neck and other muscles further exercise training.

Buy yours here for $36.

via Book of Joe

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 28, 2016 - Comments (13)
Category: Inventions, Chindogu

Go Topless Day:  August 28, 2016



Needless to say, bare chestal areas of XX-chromosome carriers in video and at homepage.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Aug 28, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Body, Censorship, Bluenoses, Taboos, Prohibitions and Other Cultural No-No's, Holidays, Parades and Festivals

August 27, 2016

Unfazed By Fire

People who ignore fires burning around them, even as firemen battle to control the flames, seems to be a recurring theme in weird news. For instance, in addition to the case below, we've also seen the Thurlow family who wouldn't let a fire cause them to miss the latest episode of St. Elsewhere.

The Sikeston Daily Standard - Feb 19, 1959



Crocks of Granite. In Detroit, while fire blazed in the kitchen of Frank Collins' Bar, while the building filled with smoke, while firemen dragged hoses through the barroom and water sloshed on the floor, seven steady customers refused to budge from their bar stools.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 27, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category:

Mystery Illustration 29

image

image

image

image

It seems as if the ad agency could not quite settle on one model for their spokesperson for this product. (Maybe #2 and #4 are the same guy?)

In any case, what was this hirsute fellow pitching? Underwear? Soap? Cars? Cigarettes?

The answer is here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 27, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Advertising, 1970's, Hair and Hairstyling

August 26, 2016

Mailed herself to the Beatles

June 1966: 12-year-old Beatles superfan Carol Dryden of Sunderland, England came up with an ingenious scheme to meet the Fab Four. She packaged herself inside a box and arranged to have a friend mail her to them — addressed "to the Beatles, care their fan club, London." Shipping cost $8.47.

But Carol only got as far as the railway station, where a clerk noticed the box she was in wobbling back and forth. Inside of it, Carol, overheated and running out of air because she hadn't made any holes in the box, was trying to take off her sweater.

Carol confessed, "I hadn't thought about fresh air or food. All I wanted was to see the Beatles. I don't know what I would have done had I really arrived on their doorstep. I suppose I would have fainted."

The railroad refunded the freight charge.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - June 16, 1966

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 26, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Amateurs and Fans, 1960's, Postal Services

Adolph Heilborn’s Theories on Women

I can learn little personally about Adolf Heilborn (1873-1941). But his book THE OPPOSITE SEXES caused a bit of a stir when it appeared in 1927, given that he described the female human as the missing link between ape and male human. Naturally, there was, um, a little pushback.






Original article here.


Here is the bio of his opponent.



But maybe it was all a joke! If this bookplate belongs to the same fellow, we can see he had a sense of humor.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 26, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Eccentrics, Feminism, Forgotten Figures and Where Are They Now?, Science, Anthropology, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1920's, Men, Women

August 25, 2016

Paid half to ex-wife

Robert Lucas and Rita Cohen met while both were undergraduates at the University of Chicago, and they got married in 1959. They had two sons together, but eventually things didn't work out. They separated in 1982 and divorced a few years later, citing "irreconcilable differences."

But Rita evidently had faith in Robert's talent, because she instructed her lawyer to add a clause to the divorce settlement specifying that if Robert won the Nobel Prize by October 31, 1995, she would receive half the prize money.

Robert was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics on October 10, 1995 — 21 days before the clause would have expired.

Asked about having to pay half the prize to his ex-wife, he noted philosophically that, "A deal is a deal." But added, "Maybe if I'd known I'd win, I would have resisted the clause."

More info: LA Times (Oct 21, 1995)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Oct 21, 1995

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 25, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Divorce

Oriental Rock



One plus for Haley: does not rhyme "fella" with "yella."

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 25, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Music, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1950's, Asia

August 24, 2016

Shoes Concealed in Buildings

In the 1950s, the Northampton Museum (home of the "World Famous Shoe Collection) began to receive reports of shoes that had been found hidden in buildings. The shoes, usually discovered by people doing renovations or repairs, were concealed under floors, inside walls, in chimneys, above ceilings, etc.

Eventually the Museum received enough of these reports that they realized the concealment of the shoes wasn't an accident, but rather that hiding shoes inside a building was an ancient, deliberate practice. Ever since then, the Museum has kept a record of all concealed shoe finds (the "Concealed Shoe Index"). As of 2012, the index had over 1900 reports of shoe concealment from all over the world (but mostly Europe and North America).

image source: wikipedia


The Museum curators aren't entirely sure why people hide shoes inside buildings, but the leading theory is that it's a form of protection superstition, done to ward off forms of evil such as witches, bad luck, or the plague.

Shoe historian June Swann, former keeper of the Northamton Shoe collection, notes in a 1996 article about concealed shoes that there are all kinds of weird superstitions associated with shoes:

there is much recorded on other shoe superstitions, which are rife wherever shoes are traditionally worn. They are symbols of authority, as in the Old Testament. They are linked with fertility: we still tie them on the back of wedding cars. And they are generally associated with good luck (witness all the holiday souvenirs in the shape of shoes). But most of all they stand in for the person: it has been a common practice from at least the sixteenth century to at least 1966 to throw an old shoe after people ‘for luck’.

Why the shoe? It is the only garment we wear which retains the shape, the personality, the essence of the wearer.

Just recently, maintenance workers at Cambridge University found a 300-year-old shoe hidden inside a wall.

And earlier this year, a Michigan family discovered 53 pairs of shoes behind a wall in their home — concealed there since the 1970s. Though in that case, it was theorized that the hidden shoes weren't warding off bad luck, but instead were evidence that a previous owner of the home had a shoe fetish.

via TYWKIWDBI

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 24, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Rituals and Superstitions, Shoes

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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