Weird Universe Blog — May 18, 2017

Win A Houseboy Contest

In my physical copy of LIFE magazine for December 20, 1963, this ad occupies page 89.

In the scanned copy at Google, there is an entirely different ad on page 89. The image you see here is my scan of the paper copy.

I have no explanation for this. Did LIFE print regional issues with different ads?

In any case, I could find no other complete representation of this ad online. (There's a scan of the top part alone, for some reason.)

Thus does WU contribute to the world's stock of knowledge.

Posted By: Paul - Thu May 18, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Ethnic Groupings, Food, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1960s

May 17, 2017

Goblu and Beatosu, Ohio

The 1978-79 Michigan Highway map included some creative geography. If you looked at the part of the map that depicted neighboring Ohio, you found two new towns. There was Goblu, shown just east of Toledo near Bono, and Beatosu, shown to the west near Elmira. These names sounded a lot like the cries of University of Michigan football fans against rival Ohio State University.

They were included in the map at the order of Peter Fletcher, the highway commission chairman, who said he included the names to demonstrate his "loyalty to the Athens of the West, the University of Michigan." The fictitious towns were deleted from the next edition of the map. The map with the towns is now a collector's item. One is currently available for $32.55 on eBay.

More info: wikipedia

Lansing State Journal - Dec 23, 1977 (click to enlarge)

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 17, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Geography and Maps, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, 1970s

Mystery Illustration 46

Match the men to their professions.

1) Mathematician
2) Economist
3) Psychologist
4) Entomologist

The answers are here.

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed May 17, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Authorities and Experts, 1930s

May 16, 2017

Long arm saves dolphin

February 1978: A dolphin named Dr. Spock who lived at Marine-World swallowed a 3-inch bolt. The animal doctors there didn't have any instruments long enough to reach into the dolphin's stomach and remove the bolt. So, hoping to avoid surgery, they called up basketball player Clifford Ray of the Golden State Warriors and asked him if he would be willing to use one of his four-foot long arms to reach into Dr. Spock's stomach. Ray hurried over, removed the bolt, and saved Dr. Spock's life. Ray said that Dr. Spock later always recognized him when he visited Marine World and would come over to say hello.

More info: SFGate, NY Times

Muncie Star Press - Feb 25, 1978

Ray shows off the bolt to his teammates
Hattiesburg American Sun - Feb 26, 1978

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 16, 2017 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, 1970s

Unauthorized Dwellings 1

The theme of people living secretly where they should not be living is a perennial one. Here is an instance from the Sixties.

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue May 16, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Unauthorized Dwellings, 1960s

May 15, 2017

Granny Gowns

In 1965, "granny gowns" became the favorite fashion among teenage girls. These featured long, ankle-length skirts, long sleeves, and high, round necklines. They were seen as a reaction against miniskirts and other skin-revealing fashions.

In November, 1965 one girl got sent home from school for wearing a granny gown — told it violated the school policy against "extreme clothing."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Dec 22, 1965

Orlando Sentinel - Nov 25, 1965

Asbury Park Press - Nov 20, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 15, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Fashion, 1960s

Captain Sky

His Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 15, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Aliens, Eccentrics, Music, 1970s

May 14, 2017

News of the Weird (May 14, 2017)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M527, May 14, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Sweet, Sweet Revenge: It is legal in China to sell electric "building shakers" whose primary purpose apparently is to wreak aural havoc on apartment-dwellers' unreasonably noisy neighbors. Models sell for the equivalent of $11 to $58--each with a long pole to rest on the floor, extending, ceiling height, to an electric motor braced against the shared ceiling or wall and whose only function is to produce a continuous, thumping beat. found one avenger in Shaanxi province who, frustrated by his miscreant neighbor, turned on his shaker and then departed for the weekend. (It was unclear whether he faced legal or other repercussions.) [, 4-14-2017] [Oddity Central, 4-17-2017]

Can't Possibly Be True

Mats Jarlström is a folk hero in Oregon for his extensive research critical of the short "yellow" light timed to the state's red-light cameras, having taken his campaign to TV's "60 Minutes" and been invited to a transportation engineers' convention. In January, Oregon's agency that regulates engineers imposed a $500 fine on Jarlström for "practicing engineering" without a state license. (The agency, in fact, wrote that simply using the phrase "I am an engineer" is illegal without a license, even though Jarlström has a degree in engineering and worked as an airplane camera mechanic.) He is suing to overturn the fine. [The Oregonian, 4-25-2017]

Last year, surgeons at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), for only the second time in history, removed a tumor ("sitting" on the peanut-sized heart of a fetus) while the heart was still inside the mother's womb--in essence successfully operating on two patients simultaneously. The Uruguayan mother said her initial reaction upon referral to CHOP's surgeons, was to "start laughing, like what, they do that?" (The baby's December birth revealed that the tumor had grown back and had to be removed again, except this time, through "ordinary" heart surgery. [KYW-TV (Philadelphia), 3-30-2017]

The word "Isis" arrived in Western dialogue only after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as an acronym for the Islamic State, and the Swahili word "Harambe" was known to almost no one until May 2016 when the gorilla "Harambe" (named via a local contest) was put down by a Cincinnati zoo worker after it had dragged an adventurous three-year-old boy away. In April, a Twitter user and the website Daily Dot happened upon a 19-year-old California restaurant hostess named Isis Harambe Spjut and verified with state offices that a driver's license (likely backed by a birth certificate) had been issued to her. ("Spjut" is a Scandinavian name.) [, 4-12-2017]

News You Can Use

Earn $17,500 for two months' "work" doing nothing at all! France's space medicine facility near Toulouse is offering 24 openings, paying 16,000 euros each, for people simply to lie in bed continuously for two weeks so it can study the effects of virtual weightlessness. The institute is serious about merely lying there: All bodily functions must be accomplished while keeping at least one shoulder on the bed. [The Guardian, 4-4-2017]

Government In Action

Sidewalk Wars: (1) Thirty-four residents of State Street in Brooklyn, N.Y., pay a tax of more than $1,000 a year for the privilege of sitting on their front stoops (a pastime which, to the rest of New York City, seems an inalienable right). (The property developer had made a side deal with the city to allow the tax in exchange for approving an architectural adjustment.) (2) The town of Conegliano, Italy, collects a local tax on "sidewalk shadows" that it applies to cafes or awninged businesses but also to stores with a single overhanging sign that very slightly "blocks" sun. Shop owners told reporters the tax felt like Mafia "protection" money. [New York Post, 1-23-2017] [The Guardian, 1-17-2017]

Finer Points of the Law

"Oh, come on!" implored an exasperated Chief Justice Roberts in April when the Justice Department lawyer explained at oral argument that, indeed, a naturalized citizen could have his citizenship retroactively canceled just for breaking a single law, however minor--even if there was never an arrest for it. Appearing incredulous, Roberts hypothesized that if "I drove 60 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone," but was not caught, and then became a naturalized citizen and years later, the government "can knock on my door and say, 'Guess what? You're not an American citizen after all'?" The government lawyer stood firm. (The Supreme Court decision on the law's constitutionality is expected in June.) [New York Times, 4-27-2017]

Wait, What?

Emily Piper and her husband went to court in January in Spokane, Wash., to file for a formal restraining order against a boy who is in kindergarten. Piper said the tyke had been relentlessly hassling their daughter (trying to kiss her) and that Balboa Elementary School officials seem unable to stop him. [KXLY-TV (Spokane), 1-9-2017]

A private plane crashed on take-off on April 15th 150 feet from the runway at Williston (Fla.) Municipal Airport, killing all four on board, but despite more than a dozen planes having flown out of the same airport later that day, no one noticed the crash site until it caught the eye of a pilot the next afternoon. [Gainesville Sun, 4-17-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

Didn't Think It Through: (1) Edwin Charge Jr., 20, and two accomplices allegedly attempted a theft at a Hood River, Ore., business on April 23rd, but fled as police arrived. The accomplices were apprehended, but Charge took off across Interstate 84 on foot, outrunning police until he fell off a cliff to his death. (2) Police said Tara Cranmer, 34, tried to elude them in a stolen truck on the tiny Ocracoke Island, N.C., on April 22nd. Since it is an island, the road ends, and she was captured on the dunes after abandoning the truck. [KPTV (Portland), 4-25-2017] [Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, 4-27-2017]

The Aristocrats!

Variations of the Semen-Weaponization Fetish: (1) Timothy Blake, 28, faced several charges in January after admitting to a spree of semen incidents at a Walmart in Marietta, Ohio. The liquid was his semen, he finally admitted, but he squirted it at his female victims only from a syringe rather than the old-fashioned way. (2) Brian Boyd, 27, was charged in January with squirting women from a syringe in a similar series of incidents at a Tampa Target store. However, though Boyd had simulated masturbation, the syringe itself contained only white liquid "hair conditioner." [Marietta Times, 2-28-2017] [The Smoking Gun, 1-18-2017]


Italian Surgeon Sergio Canavero (notorious as the world's most optimistic advocate of human brain transplants), now forecasts that a cryogenically frozen brain will be "awakened" ("thawed") and transplanted into a donor body by the year 2020. His Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group claimed success in 2016 in transplanting a monkey's head, with blood vessels properly attached (though not the spinal cord). Canavero promised such a head transplant of humans by 2018, though problematic because, like the recipient monkey, the recipient human would not long survive. Of the subsequent brain transplant, one of the gentler critics of Canavero said the likelihood of success is "infinitestimal"--with harsher critics describing it in more colorful language. [Daily Telegraph, 4-27-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (September 2013)

The question in a vandalism case before the U.S. Court of Appeals in July [2013] was whether Ronald Strong’s messy bowel movement in a federal courthouse men’s room in Portland, Maine, was “willful” or, as Strong claimed, an uncontrollable intestinal event. Three rather genteel judges strained to infer Strong’s state of mind from the condition of the facility. A cleaning lady had described the feces as “smeared,” but Judge Juan Torruella took that to mean not “finger smears,” but “chunks,” “kind of like chunky peanut butter.” Two other judges, outvoting Torruella, seemed skeptical that feces could have landed two feet up the wall unless Strong had intended it. (Torruella countered by imagining himself as perpetrator, that surely he would sully the mirrors, but that all mirrors were found clean.) [, 7-26-2013]

Thanks This Week to Pete Randall, Liz Bean, Don Cole, and Steve Dunn, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 14, 2017 - Comments (4)

The Hallway Shot

Similarly styled corporate group photos from the 1950s and 60s, emphasizing the long, windowless hallway of the office building.

The photos come across as a bit odd and creepy nowadays, as if the worker drones have temporarily emerged from their holes. But back then these long hallways evidently were a source of corporate pride.

The top photo has recently been circulating online with the (false) caption, "Doctors in a mental asylum."

Allied Chemical researchers. 1967.

Research lab hallway at opening of Niskayuna, NY GE Research Center, 1950.

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 14, 2017 - Comments (1)

Follies of the Madmen #314

I'm just glad this was not an ad for TOILET paper.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun May 14, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, 1930s

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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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