Weird Universe Blog — January 11, 2019

The rookie rower who failed to cross the Atlantic

Even though he had only been on the ocean once, while taking the Newfoundland ferry, Arthur Russell figured he could row across the Atlantic. He practiced for two years on his rowing machine and then set off from Halifax harbor. Six hours later, he had to signal for help and was rescued.

Edmonton Journal - May 31, 1990

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 11, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Boats | Oceans and Maritime Pursuits | Sports | 1990s

Mystery Gadget 70

What is this tool used for?

Answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 11, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Technology | 1980s

January 10, 2019

The Jump-Roping Rabbi

Rabbi Barry Silberg set a world record in 1975 for jumping rope for five hours. According to Guinness, the current record, set in 2009, is 33 hours 20 minutes. That's not even close. So why such a huge difference? Did shoes get better, or something?

Moline Dispatch - June 25, 1975

Green Bay Press Gazette - Mar 31, 1975

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 10, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Sports | World Records

The Toothbrush Twig

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 10, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Hygiene

January 9, 2019

Art Disposal Service

A variation on the weird-news theme of art mistaken for trash -- art purposefully thrown away as trash. From

In the late '60s, artist John Manno used to park his van in front of chic Los Angeles galleries. It had a large sign on its side that read, “Art Disposal Service.” Manno was there to get rid of unnecessary art. He eventually leased a San Diego franchise of Art Disposal Service to local artist Bob Matheny, who taught in the art department at Southwestern College. Matheny signed a contract, kept the name, and quickly designed a lab coat for himself. For the last 40 years, Matheny, now 84, has tried to get artists, collectors and curators to take their excess art to the dump.

via Esoteric Survey

New York Times - Nov 17, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 09, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Art | Garbage, Trash, Waste and Other Detritus

January 8, 2019


A new device that promises to help treat male infertility by keeping your little men cool. From the manufacturer's website:

CoolMen is an innovative device that stabilizes the temperature of the testicles in the optimum range. In a short time, CoolMen significantly improves semen parameters, contributing to increased fertility of the pair. CoolMen can record data about temperature and time of use as well as types of activity (sleep, sitting, physical activity) by wirelessly transferring it to the mobile application on the smartphone. These data can then be analyzed by the andrologist to improve the treatment process.

More info: India Times,

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 08, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions | Genitals

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 18

Brassaï (Gyula Halász)
Prostitute Undressing

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 08, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Art | Avant Garde | Sexuality | 1930s | Russia

January 7, 2019

Juror spots stolen shoes

Either this was an ingenious way to get out of jury duty, or a truly random coincidence.

What I find particularly odd is that the shoes were obviously pretty crappy, with paint spots and frayed laces. So somewhat weird that someone would steal them in the first place, and then choose to wear them while serving as a witness at a trial... and then, by sheer chance, the owner of the shoes happens to be in the jury.

Fort Lauderdale News - Jan 18, 1986

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 07, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Crime | Shoes | 1980s

Follies of the Madmen #405

Ancient Romans drank vodka? Oh well, I suppose the ad is as authentic as the movie it references--which is actually one of my favorite comedies.

Ad source.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 07, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Business | Advertising | History | Unexplained Historical Enigmas | Alcohol

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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