Weird Universe Blog — January 19, 2020

The Beautiful Beauty Mask

Patented in 1954 by Ann S.V. Mann of Petersburg, Virginia.

It functioned like any other beauty mask. Its primary difference, claimed Mann, was that her mask had the outer appearance of a "strikingly beautiful woman":

An object of my invention is to provide a facial mask that is self-conforming to feminine faces in a manner to exploit their beauty and, through exterior surface ornamentation and adornment, to enhance that beauty and maintain it unimpaired over the entire time the mask is worn; so that a woman wearing the mask during her hours of sleep can rest serene in the assurance given by her mirror that, far from appearing grotesque, she is in reality a thing of beauty and that, actually, she sleeps in beauty...

The exterior surface of the plastic film body 5 is painted or otherwise decorated to create eyebrows, lashes, nose and mouth lines, etc., so designed as to give the facial appearance of a strikingly beautiful woman. This artistic treatment is an important feature of the invention. Beauty is accentuated in every way possible in all phases of the invention.

Due to the uncanny valley effect, she may actually have ended up creating something that looked more grotesque than a regular mask.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 19, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Inventions | 1950s

Hey, Big Brain

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jan 19, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Humor | Music | 1950s | Brain

January 18, 2020

Human-Animal Breastfeeding

In his 1826 book A Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children, the American physician William Potts Dewees offered this advice for pregnant women:

The Wikipedia article Human-animal breastfeeding offers some background info:

The breastfeeding by humans of animals is a practice that is widely attested historically and continues to be practised today by some cultures. The reasons for this are varied: to feed young animals, to drain a woman's breasts, to promote lactation, to harden the nipples before a baby is born, to prevent conception, and so on.

English and German physicians between the 16th and 18th centuries recommended using puppies to "draw" the mother's breasts, and in 1799 the German Friedrich Benjamin Osiander reported that in Göttingen women suckled young dogs to dislodge nodules from their breasts. An example of the practice being used for health reasons comes from late 18th century England. When the writer Mary Wollstonecraft was dying of puerperal fever following the birth of her second daughter, the doctor ordered that puppies be applied to her breasts to draw off the milk, possibly with the intention of helping her womb to contract to expel the infected placenta that was slowly poisoning her.

Animals have widely been used to toughen the nipples and maintain the mother's milk supply. In Persia and Turkey puppies were used for this purpose. The same method was practised in the United States in the early 19th century; William Potts Dewees recommended in 1825 that from the eighth month of pregnancy, expectant mothers should regularly use a puppy to harden the nipples, improve breast secretion and prevent inflammation of the breasts. The practice seems to have fallen out of favour by 1847, as Dewees suggested using a nurse or some other skilled person to carry out this task rather than an animal.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 18, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals | Medicine | Nineteenth Century | Pregnancy

January 17, 2020

Harmless Hunter

In 2012, the brothers Randy and Michael Gregg tried to raise money to produce their 'harmless hunter' or 'kill shot' gun. Though it wasn't actually a gun. It was a camera shaped like a gun. From their Kickstarter page:

This can be used year round when game is out of season to satisfy the lust for hunting while getting you ready for the harvest season.  The cross hairs will show on the photo where the shot would have been, the background will show if the shot was safe or unsafe.  It will help teach gun safety by operating like a lethal hunting rifle, except, it takes pictures and fires no projectiles...  Ethical shot placement and the sport of hunting are taught all in one!  You will be able to post "KillShots" on a website that will come with the rifle. 

They never succeeded in raising enough money. Apparently the idea appealed neither to hunters nor to wildlife photographers.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 17, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Guns | Inventions | Photography and Photographers

Screwball! Comics

My pal Paul Tumey just released his magnum opus, a history of "screwball" comics. I'm reading my copy now, and it's great.

If you go to the link, you get a PDF copy of one of his newsletters to sample what he's all about.

Order yours today!

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 17, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Humor | Comics | Books | Twentieth Century

January 16, 2020

Capitalist Man

The New York Post has an interview with the performance artist who calls himself "Capitalist Man." His gimmick is that he carries around a see-through briefcase, which he claims contains $500,000 in hundred-dollar bills, and he's trying to find someone willing to buy it for a million dollars.

The price tag, he says, is "$500,000 for the cash, $500,000 for the concept." Any interested buyer gets to examine the bills before purchase.

Capitalist Man says that if someone does buy his briefcase full of money, his profit will go entirely to charity. But so far, he has no takers.

Image source: Facebook

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 16, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Money | Performance Art

January 15, 2020

Youth and Aging

In 1991, the Pennsylvania legislature's Youth and Aging Committee changed its name to the Aging and Youth Committee. Why?

Some suggested that the change was made because people got confused about the panel’s name. "When you say ‘youth and aging’ repeatedly and quickly, some people hear the word euthanasia,” said Kevin Murphy, press secretary for the state Department of Aging.

Philadelphia Inquirer - Jan 23, 1991

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 15, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: 1990s | Puns and Other Wordplay

Mystery Illustration No. 91

Why is this fellow dressed in this manner?

Answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 15, 2020 - Comments (1)

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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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