Weird Universe Blog — April 24, 2017

Telephone Marathons

Back in 1961, the fad of holding marathon telephone calls swept college campuses. The girls dormitory would call the boys dormitory, and then people would take it in turns to keep the phone call going for days, or weeks. Of course, the dormitory phone would be tied up that entire time... so too bad if you had to use it for an actual call.

The longest telephone marathon I can find a record of took place at Southern Illinois University in 1965, where they planned a 2½ month phone call. Though I don't know if the full call was actually completed.

(above and below) Dec 1961: Western Michigan students talked on the phone for 504 hours.

Southern Illinoisan - June 30, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 24, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Fads, 1960s, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

Mystery Illustration 43

What hideous problem afflicts this man? Halitosis? B.O.? Blackheads?

The answer is here.

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 24, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Body, Advertising, 1920s

April 23, 2017

The Dimple Maker

Invented by Mrs. E. Isabella Gilbert in 1936 (although I think similar gadgets had been on the market before). They came with these instructions: "Wear dimplers five minutes at a time, two or three times a day, while dressing, resting, reading or writing. Look into the mirror and laugh. There will be a semblance of a line where you should always place the dimplers until your dimples are made."

According to History By Zim: "The American Medical Association argued that the 'Dimple Maker' would not make dimples or even enlarge original dimples. They also stated that prolonged use of the devise may actually cause cancer."

Louisville Courier-Journal - June 19, 1937

Battle Creek Enquirer - June 19, 1937

Detroit Free Press - Aug 9, 1936

Medford Mail Tribune - Nov 22, 1936

Update: I was curious to know when exactly the American Medical Association denounced the Dimple Maker, since the History by Zim blog didn't mention a date. I tracked it down to 1947, when the AMA put together a collection of quack medical products that it displayed on a nationwide tour of museums.

The Philadelphia Inquirer - Jan 11, 1948

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 23, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Inventions, 1930s

April 22, 2017

The City Flag of Tampa

Our own Chuck Shepherd, longtime resident of Tampa, Florida, can salute his city's improbable flag as one of the ugliest banners in the history of banner-dom. He modestly suggests that more people should know of it, to induce further laughter and insults.

And yet, surprisingly, neighboring burg of St. Pete has a halfway decent ensign--if you like pelicans.

Full article here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Apr 22, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Annoying Things, Government, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Regionalism, Chuck

Artist Lays Egg

Chuck mentioned a few weeks ago that French performance artist Abraham Poincheval would soon be sitting on a dozen eggs until they hatch. He's now well into the process of doing that and has hatched nine eggs already. [Heat St.,]

Poincheval hatching eggs

Back in 1946, the legendary PR man Jim Moran did something similar. He sat on an ostrich egg for 19 days until it hatched, to publicize the movie The Egg and I.

Jim Moran with egg

But the most famous case of a human incubating an egg may be from 1958 when Mrs. Ella Petry carried an egg in her cleavage for 21 days to prove that she could hatch an egg that way. It started as a dare in her neighborhood pub. And yes, the egg did eventually hatch.

The Louisville Courier-Journal - June 4, 1958

Mrs. Petry's stunt was recreated in 1969 for Lord Snowdon's TV documentary "Love of a Kind" that explored the strange relationships between people and their pets. The documentary then sparked an extended debate in the British press over whether it was actually possible for a woman to incubate an egg that way. Would there be enough warmth? The scientific director of the British Egg Marketing Board eventually weighed in on the debate and said yes, it should be possible. In fact, it was apparently an ancient custom among peasant women in Italy to do exactly this. The gender of a chick hatched in a woman's bosom is said to foretell the gender of the woman's next child.

Daily Sketch reporter Erica Wallace recreates Ella Petry's incubation stunt. Life - Dec 12, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 22, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Publicity Stunts, Performance Art, Farming

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 3

Continuing our survey of "Early Twentieth-Century Art That Might Have Irked A Soviet Premier, Based On His Explicit Disdain For Such Experimental Creations."

"In the Beginning" by Lawrence Atkinson.

Atkinson's Wikipedia entry.

An essay on Atkinson.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Apr 22, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, 1930s

April 21, 2017

7 Clicks (April 21, 2017)

7 Clicks
A Weird Universe News Service
April 21, 2017

The Russell 2000 small-stock index does very well (since mid-2014 up, oh, around 18%), but not as well as one of the 2,000--the mysterious Chinese loan company called Wins Financial Holdings, which bafflingly gained 4,555 percent at one point before falling back. [Business Week (4-3-2017)] (paywall!)

Nor can anyone figure out why Juicero should exist: a $700 machine (with wi-fi) that squeezes the juice out of pre-cut fruit and veggies. (Do it by hand, you say? Juicero's CEO calls that "hacking.") [BBC News]

This very day, a jury is still deliberating super-Sovereign tax-avoider Winston Shrout. His "foolproof" defense for issuing homemade "International Bills of Exchange" supposedly "worth" $1tn [yep, with a T] came with the fine print: "Void where prohibited by law." [The Oregonian]

A court in Ivrea, Italy, convinced itself (wussily, but OK) of a link between cell phone overuse and a brain tumor. [Associated Press]

Sussex University researchers' magnetic scanning of brains of people on psilocybin, ketamine, or LSD found way-different brain functioning. Way, way-different. [Daily Mail]

City University of NY biologists remind us that the "hangdog" look is evolutionary, adopted by dogs from wolves that needed to give off subservience vibes. [NY Post]

The Elves and Fairies Woodland Nursery in Dorset got preschool accreditation with its all-day-outdoor curriculum of kids working with their hands--and knives, saws, kitchen utensils, etc. (Learn arithmetic? Hey, count the carrot slices in that soup you're making.) [Metro News]

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Apr 21, 2017 - Comments (0)

Longest Sermon Ever

Back in 1937, Rev. A. Earl Lee set a record for preaching the longest sermon ever, preaching continuously for 21 hours. "He ate regular meals, preaching between bites, changed his clothes, and even took a bath while continuing the sermon by talking into a portable microphone."

Bradford Evening Star - June 29, 1937

However, it seems that world's longest sermon has been a hotly contested record. Today the record is up to 53 hours and 11 minutes. That record was set in 2014 by Florida pastor Zach Zehnder. Although it seems that he took some brief breaks for power naps. Is that allowed? Apparently so. In the video below you can watch the last 11 minutes of his sermon — and most of the rest of it is on YouTube if, for some reason, you want to sit through it.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 21, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: World Records, 1930s

Billie Carleton’s Death and the Birth of a Genre

Original article here.

How did the hedonistic death of one minor actress lead to Fu Manchu and the Yellow Menace?

Read the whole story here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 21, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Addictions, Crime, Death, Literature, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1910s

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