Weird Universe Blog — February 24, 2021


Getaway, by Ronald George Eriksen 2 (is the '2' an alternative form of Jr.?), offers instruction on evasive driving techniques. Or, as he says, how to handle a car in the event that someone tries to kill or kidnap you while you're in the car. It was published by Loompanics in 1983, but you can read it for free at

In it, you'll find tips such as how to make a smoke screen blow out of your exhaust:

A cheap but effective smoke screen can be made as follows: First drill a hole into the exhaust manifold of your car, and weld the nozzle of a small plant sprayer over it. A gas line is then run from the nozzle to a pump and container containing castor oil inside the vehicle. Clouds of smoke are produced by pumping the castor oil onto the hot exhaust manifold.

Also, how to do a bootlegger's turn:

(1) Speed at around 25-30 mph.

(2) Get off the gas and crank the steering wheel to the left ¼ to ½ of a full turn. At the exact same time, hit the emergency brake hard. Those of you with manual transmissions will have to depress the clutch, also.

(3) When your vehicle is at approximately 90 degrees, release the emergency brake, step on the gas, and straighten out the steering wheel. If you have a manual transmission, you will have to let the clutch back out as you are hitting the gas.

(4) Get out of the area fast.

Bootlegger's Turn

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 24, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Motor Vehicles | Cars | Books

February 23, 2021

The Stasi Scent Library

The East German Stasi did a number of strange things, but perhaps the strangest was its attempt to create a scent library of its population. It was analogous to a fingerprint library, and was based on the premise that everyone had a unique scent which could be used to track them, if need be. From Dog Law Reporter:

The most interesting use of police dogs concerned scent identification, a method analyzed by Dutch and other researchers, but adapted by the unique paranoia of the Stasi. As early as 1973, the Stasi began collecting smell samples of a large number of citizens. Sometimes this was done with a special chair that the subject was asked to sit on during a visit to the police station. The chair had a dust cloth on top of the seat that was clamped into place by a removable frame. The subject had to sit in the chair for ten minutes, but after the interrogation was over, the dust cloth was removed and stored in a glass jar.

Sometimes Stasi officials did not bother with being subtle and merely told subjects to put a cloth under their armpits or even under their pants in the groin area. The cloth was carefully handled by tweezers in an effort not to allow contamination by other human scents.

Stasi Smelling Jars

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 23, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers | Police and Other Law Enforcement | Smells and Odors

The Cure

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 23, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Music | Television | 1960s | Diseases | Love & Romance

February 22, 2021

The Blanc Mask

A new face mask that not only filters air but also prevents facial recognition.

More info:, gizmodo

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 22, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Fashion | Health

February 21, 2021

The Mechanized Restaurant

British inventor Thomas Maldwyn Lewis and his partners apparently had some expertise in conveyor-belt technology. So they cast about for novel ways to apply this knowledge. What they came up with was the "mechanized restaurant". Their idea was to put diners on a conveyor belt and move them past serving stations. From their 1948 patent:

In accordance with our invention, the customers are provided with seats and if desired footrests moving in a continuous manner along with a table or like surface, the different courses being placed upon the table at definite positions in the travel of the table so that when the traverse of any particular seat is completed, the occupant has completed his meal and may move to a seat in a lounge or the like to rest and/or to finish his meal with a coffee or the like which may be supplied just before the said traverse is completed.

The inventors argued that this mechanization of the dining experience would "expedite the delivery of meals and enable more meals to be served with the use of a given floor area than is at present possible."

That may be true, but I doubt many restaurant owners would want to invest the money to build one of these, just for the sake of potentially serving a few more meals.

Not to mention the problem of slow eaters. I'm imagining a crowd of diners standing at the end of the conveyor belt, plates in hand, trying to finish their meals.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 21, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Restaurants | Technology | 1940s

Feminine Hygiene Ads 70s, 80s, 90s

Maybe nearly 500 of these ads is a little excessive for one playlist? See what you think! Here's the first, below, and the rest are here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 21, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Business | Advertising | Hygiene | Women | Twentieth Century

February 20, 2021

Suing the Devil

1971: Inmate Gerald Mayo made legal history by trying to sue "Satan and his staff" for violating his rights by "placing irresistible temptation in his path." The judge dismissed the case because Satan lived outside the court's jurisdiction, and federal marshals were unable to bring him to the court.

Pomona Progress Bulletin - Dec 9, 1971

Suing the Devil was also the theme of a 2010 film starring Malcolm McDowell as Satan.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 20, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Religion | Lawsuits

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 33

Nude Woman with Upraised Arms ca. 1926
Gaston Lachaise American

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 20, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Art | Avant Garde | Statues and Monuments | Body Modifications | 1920s | North America

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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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