Weird Universe Blog — October 7, 2021

Underworld Lingo, 1930

Some of these look pretty dubious.


Posted By: Paul - Thu Oct 07, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Crime | Languages | Slang | 1930s

October 6, 2021

Lyndon Johnson’s go-to gift

President Lyndon Johnson met with Pope Paul VI on Dec 23, 1967. The two spoke for over an hour and then exchanged gifts. The Pope gave Johnson a sixteenth-century painting of the Nativity. Johnson, in return, gave the Pope a small bust of himself, Lyndon Johnson.

Pope Paul VI admiring the LBJ bust he just received

It struck people at the time (and ever since) as odd for Johnson to give a bust of himself as a gift to the Pope. But, in fact, the Pope wasn't the only recipient of this bust. It was Johnson's go-to gift for just about everyone: world leaders, congressmen, white house aides, etc. He traveled with a box of them, so he would always have one at hand.

The busts were replicas of a lifesize bust created by sculptress Jimilu Mason. In case you'd like to give one as a gift, they're available for purchase from the Johnson Presidential Library — only $150 each.

More info: Dead Presidents blog

Jimilu Mason poses with her bust of LBJ

Arizona Republic - Jan 14, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 06, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Art | Statues and Monuments | Gifts, Presents, Tributes, and Other Honoraria | 1960s

Fishy Pringles

Get your maritime-flavored Pringles here.

The whole site is full of oddball Japanese stuff.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 06, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits | Junk Food | Asia | Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust

October 5, 2021

Pine Needle Skiing

Pine needle skiing was introduced in the 1930s in an attempt to make skiing a year-round activity. I don't think it survived long past the 30s. This account of the sport, written by Newton F. Tolman for The Atlantic (Feb 1957 issue), explains why:

Skiers just couldn't wait for next winter to come, and some misguided fanatic had discovered pine needles were slippery. Being in the ski business, we felt obliged to go along with the idea. As I remember it, a couple of us outstripped the field, having cheated by gluing celluloid to our ski bottoms.

All known technique was useless. The only way to turn was to jump. You had to fend off the pine trees with your poles. We ended up not only bleeding and bruised, but completely black. Dives into pine needles encrusted everything but our eyeballs with dirt, pitch, and sweat. It really combined two sports - skiing and tar-and-feathering.

The video shows a pine needle ski jump in New Hampshire, 1935:

The images show people skiing at the Pine Needle Ski Slope which opened in Los Angeles in 1939:

source: LA Public Library

source: Vintage LA

Posted By: Alex - Tue Oct 05, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Sports | 1930s

Mystery Illustration 103

What job necessitates this woman's outfit?

The answer is here. (Scroll up a tad.)

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Tue Oct 05, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Costumes and Masks | 1900s | 1910s

October 4, 2021

Long Eggs

Long eggs are either: a) eggs laid by specially bred long chickens; or b) a highly engineered food product created in the 1970s to satisfy the food service industry's desire to have egg slices with a consistent ratio of white and yolk.

You can choose what you want to believe.


The video below shows how long eggs might be engineered. It's in German, but even if you don't speak that it's easy to understand what's going on.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 04, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Food

Suzy Homemaker Is a Square

"She even washes regularly!"

Posted By: Paul - Mon Oct 04, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Domestic | Stereotypes and Cliches | Toys | Children | Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers | 1960s

October 3, 2021

The Gnathograph

The Gnathograph, or 'dental articulator', was the invention of Los Angeles dental surgeon Beverly McCollum. He was also the founder, in 1926, of the Gnathologic Society.

The name 'Gnathograph' derived from 'gnathology,' this being the study of the jaw and masticatory system, from the greek word 'gnathos' meaning 'jaw'.

"The formidable contraption shown in the mouth of Miss Pearl Nord is a gnathograph, invented by Dr. Beverly B. McCollum of Los Angeles and demonstrated before the chicago Dental Society. It records direction of bite and fit of teeth and accurately guides a dentist in straightening crooked teeth or fitting inlays, crowns, bridges and plates."
image source: Agi Haines

Popular Science - June 1939

The band Femur used the image above from Popular Science as the cover art for their album Red Marks.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 03, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions | 1930s | Teeth

October 2, 2021

Martian Blood Concrete

Researchers at the University of Manchester have proposed that future settlers on Mars can create concrete by mixing Martian dust with their own blood and urine. Details from

Water is scarce on Mars and it costs $2 million to send a single brick to the Red Planet, according to estimates. But astronauts can simply make their own concrete on-site using Martian dust and their own blood, according to findings published this month in the journal Materials Today Bio...
The blood-and-dust mixture alone is equivalent to concrete, but researchers say it becomes even stronger when human urea is added to the mix...
Roberts and his team say that animal blood could eventually replace human blood in Martian construction projects, but that would only happen after we send cows to Mars.

Experimental 'astrocrete' made from blood and dust

We've posted before about the use of blood to make concrete. Charles Laleman was granted a patent for this in 1980, but the practice goes all the way back to Roman times.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Oct 02, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Architecture | Space Travel | Blood

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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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