Weird Universe Blog — February 15, 2017


In the early 1950s, Steven Warren opened the Foundation for Better Reading — a Chicago-based school that taught speed reading. One of the gadgets used in the school were these "eye-analyzers" that allowed an instructor to watch the eye movements of a student, and tell them when they were moving their eyes too much.

Newsweek - Jan 11, 1954

Chicago Daily Tribune - Apr 22, 1951

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 15, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: 1950s, Eyes and Vision

February 14, 2017

The Paper Clothing Fad

Paper clothing — a fashion fad of the 1960s. It was disposable consumer culture taken to an extreme. Wear your clothes once or twice, and then just throw them away instead of washing them.

Info from wikipedia:

Paper clothing, in the form of women's dresses and other clothes made from disposable cellulose fabric, was a short-lived fashion novelty item in the United States in the 1960s...

By 1967, paper dresses were sold in major department stores for about $8 apiece, and entire paper clothing boutiques were set up by companies such as Abraham & Straus and I. Magnin. At the height of demand, Mars Hosiery made 100,000 dresses a week. Other items made of paper included underwear, men's vests, bridal gowns (expensive at $15), children's pinafores ("just the thing for ever-sprouting sprouts") and even rain coats and bikinis ("good for two to three wearings")...

But as the novelty appeal of paper clothes wore off, their downsides became more apparent: they were generally ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear, their garish colors could rub off, they were often flammable, and of course they very soon ended up as waste. By 1968, paper clothing had disappeared from the market.

The Warren County Observer - Jan 24, 1961

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 14, 2017 - Comments (8)
Category: Fashion, 1960s

The Sky Is Your Target!

"Air Flash from the Joneses!" What if they had to deal with drones?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 14, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: War, Civic Duties, Air Travel and Airlines, 1950s

February 13, 2017

Sneeze cured deafness

1973: Jean Haynes was almost deaf since birth, but then an allergic reaction triggered a bout of sneezing. Seems that she sneezed quite a bit. But finally, she gave one big sneeze, and suddenly she could hear again.

This falls into the recurring weird news theme of accidental cures (such as people who get hit in the head and are cured of blindness).

But I'm also reminded of the cases of people who blew their nose and had an eye fell out.

La Crosse Tribune - Jan 9, 1973

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 13, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Health, 1970s

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 2

"Portrait Of Picasso" (1947) by Salvador Dali

Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 13, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, Russia

February 12, 2017

News of the Weird (February 12, 2017)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M514, February 12, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Ewwww! On January 31st, doctors at Stanley Medical College and Hospital in Chennai, India, removed a live, full-grown cockroach from the nasal cavity of a 42-year-old woman whose nose had been "itchy" earlier in the day. Two hospitals were unable to help her, but at Stanley, Dr. M.N. Shankar, chief of ear-nose-throat, used an endoscope, forceps, and, for 45 minutes, a suction device--because, he said, the roach "didn't seem to want to come out." Another doctor on the team noted that they've removed beads and similar items from the nasal cavity "but not a cockroach, especially not one this large (demonstrating the splayed-out trespasser in full wingspan)." [Times of India, 2-3-2017]

Can't Possibly Be True

Zachary Bennett and Karen Nourse have found Manhattan quite affordable, reported the New York Post in January--by simply not paying, for six years now, the $4,750 monthly rent on their loft-style apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood, citing New York state's "loft law," which they say technically forbids the landlord from collecting. Since the other eight units of their building are "commercial," the landlord believes it doesn't need a "residential certificate of occupancy," but Bennett and Nourse believe the law only exempts buildings with at least two residences, and for some reason, the landlord has obstinately declined to initiate eviction or, until recently, to sue (for back rent, fees, and electricity). [New York Post, 1-8-2017]

Update from "Big Porn": The colossus PornHub dot com, in its annual January rundown, reported its several sites had 23 billion "visits" in 2016 (about one-fourth from females)--during which its videos were viewed 91 billion times. In all, earthlings spent 4.6 billion hours watching PornHub's inventory (that is 5.2 centuries' time doing whatever people do when viewing porn). U.S.A. took home the gold for the most "page views" per capita, just nipping Iceland. Online visitors from the Philippines, for the third straight year, remained (per capita) on the sites the longest per visit. The top search term on PornHub from U.S. computers was "step mom." [The Daily Dot, 1-5-2017]

Unclear on the Concept

Late last year, Oxford University professor Joshua Silver accused Britain's Home Secretary of a "hate" crime merely because the Secretary had made a speech urging that unemployed Britons be given preference for jobs over people recruited from overseas. Silver denounced this "discrimination" against "foreigners" and made a formal complaint to West Midlands police, which, after evaluation, absolved Secretary Amber Rudd but acknowledged that, under the law, the police were required to record the Secretary's unemployment speech as a "non-crime hate incident." [BBC News, 1-12-2017]

The British Medical Association issued a formal caution to its staff in January not to use the term "expectant mothers" when referring to pregnancy--because it might offend transgender people. Instead, the Association's memo (reported by the Daily Telegraph) suggested using "pregnant people." The BMA acknowledged that a "large majority" of such people are, in fact, "mothers," but wrote that there may be "intersex" and "trans men" who also may get pregnant. [Daily Telegraph, 1-29-2017]

Leading Economic Indicators

In 2001, Questcor Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to make Acthar Gel, a hormone injection to treat a rare form of infantile epilepsy and gradually raised the price from $40 a vial to $28,000 a vial. The British company Mallinckrodt bought Questcor in 2014 and apparently figured the vials were still too cheap, raising the price to $34,000. However, the Federal Trade Commission noticed that Mallinckrodt also during the latter period bought out--and closed down--the only company manufacturing a similar, cheaper version of the product, thus ensuring that Mallinckrodt had totally cornered the market. In January the FTC announced that Mallinckrodt agreed to a $100 million settlement of the agency's charge of illegal anti-competitive practices. ("$100 million" is only slightly more than the price of giving one vial to each infant expected to need it in the next year.) [Futurism, 1-18-2017]

Precocious: Girl Scout Charlotte McCourt, 11, of South Orange, N.J., saw her sales zoom recently when she posted "brutally honest" reviews of the Scouts' cookies she was selling--giving none of them a "10" and labeling some with dour descriptions. She was hoping to sell 300 boxes, but as of the end of January, had registered 16,430. For the record, the best cookie was--of course--the Samoa, rated 9, but long-time favorites like the Trefoil ("boring") rated 6 and the Do-Si-Do ("bland") 5. The new gluten-free Toffee-tastic was simply a "bleak," "flavorless" "wasteland.") [, 1-31-2017]

"Less Cowbell!"

Applicants for passports in Switzerland are evaluated in part by neighbors of the applicant, and animal-rights campaigner Nancy Holten, 42, was rejected in January because townspeople view her as obnoxious, with, said a Swiss People's Party spokesperson, a "big mouth." Among Holten's "sins" was her constant criticism of the country's hallowed fascination with cowbells--that make, according to Holten, "hundred decibel" "pneumatic drill"-type sounds (though a hit song, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," by the group Blue Oyster Cult, skillfully employed the cowbell--before it was satirized in an epic "Saturday Night Live" sketch starring Christopher Walken). [The Independent (London), 1-19-2017]

The Aristocrats!

In January, Texas district judge Patrick Garcia was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after a dispute outside the courthouse in El Paso. An April trial date was set for Garcia, who was accused of giving the middle finger, in public, to another judge. [Associated Press via KTVT-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth), 1-20-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time: A so-far-unidentified suspect pointing a gun attempted a robbery at a laundromat in Upper Darby, Pa., in February. (The official reason for not identifying him was that, though detained, he had not yet been booked; less likely, perhaps, police might have been trying to spare him embarrassment in that the laundromat's overnight clerk, a woman named Naou Mor Khantha, had simply taken his gun away from him and shot him three times. He was hospitalized in serious condition.) [LINK UPDATED] [Delaware County Daily Times, 2-2-2017]

Undignified Deaths

What Goes Around, Comes Around: (1) In January, Jesse Denton, 24, driving a stolen truck, tried to flee police on Interstate 95 near Brunswick, Ga., but accidentally crashed head-on into another vehicle. Seconds later, Denton was then fatally hit by another motorist as he ran across the highway to escape the crash scene. (2) A 37-year-old Saanich, British Columbia, man did not die but nearly bled out before being heroically rescued following his parking-rage blunder. Angered that another driver had parked too close to his own car, he grabbed a knife and stabbed a tire on the other vehicle with such force that he wound up slashing the main artery in his leg. [Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville), 1-26-2017] [Global News BC, 1-27-2017]

The Passing Parade

(1) Thomas Pinson, 21, was arrested in St. Petersburg, Fla., in January and charged with domestic battery for roughing up his mother (even though, presumably lovingly, he had her full name tattooed on his chest). (2) Police arrested a 22-year-old knife-wielding man in a restroom on a train in Dusseldorf, Germany, in January. The man, naked, appeared "quite annoyed" at being hassled, did not have a ticket to ride, and said he was using the knife to shave his genital area because he was not welcome at home. [The Smoking Gun, 1-9-2017] [Associated Press via WJLA-TV (Washington, D.C.), 1-10-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (May 2013)

The Washington Post reported in April [2013] that the federal government spends $890,000 a year on totally useless bank accounts. The amount is the total of fees for maintaining more than 13,000 short-term accounts the government owns but which have no money in them and never will again. However, merely closing the accounts is difficult, according to the watchdog Citizens Against Government Waste, because they each previously housed separate government grants, and Congress has required that, before the accounts are "closed," the grants must be formally audited--something bureaucrats are rarely motivated to do, especially since, as Citizens noted, there is no additional penalty for not auditing. [Washington Post, 4-24-2013]

Thanks This Week to Bruce Strickland, Mark Lillicrap, and Andrew Hastie, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Feb 12, 2017 - Comments (3)

Anti-Mosquito Leggings

I'm a bit surprised these anti-mosquito leggings never (to my knowledge) caught on, because if they actually worked then who cares if they looked dorky. Then again, I suppose DEET had already been discovered.

Danville Morning News - Apr 6, 1937

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Apr 1, 1937

Harrisburg Evening News - Apr 2, 1937

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 12, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Fashion, Insects, 1930s

February 11, 2017

Chicken’s Symphony

Not bad, for a chicken.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 11, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Farming, Music

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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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