Weird Universe Blog — May 18, 2020


In 1960, Monarch Books announced the launch of Perfume-o-Books. These were books infused with perfume.

They had plans to use a saddle-leather scent for westerns, floral odors for flower-arrangement books, and food scents for cookbooks.

All of which seemed logical. However, they decided to launch the line with three movie tie-in titles: "The Enemy General," by Dan Pepper, "The Stranglers of Bombay," by Stuart James, and "The Brides of Dracula," by Dean Owen. These three titles were each infused with a "Chanel 5 type perfume."

They seem like very odd titles to have been perfumed. And evidently the perfume didn't appreciably help sales, because no more perfume-o-book titles were ever printed.

Richmond Times Dispatch - Apr 17, 1960

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 18, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Books | 1960s | Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents

Mystery Gadget 84

What does this machine do? Hint: it looks enormously overdesigned for its simple function.

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 18, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Technology | 1930s

May 17, 2020

Frederick Newbery’s long-distance milk pipes

Frederick Newbery envisioned pipes transporting milk underground from farms directly into cities. He received a patent for this idea in 1874 (No. 148,620). Though as far as I know, his long-distance milk pipes were never put into practice.

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 17, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions | Nineteenth Century

Your Biological Safety Mask

Posted By: Paul - Sun May 17, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Health | War | Children

May 16, 2020

Harry Partch’s Zymo-Xyl

We've posted before about "hobo composer" Harry Partch. (Specifically, about his composition 'Barstow' inspired by hitchhiker graffiti he found on the outskirts of Barstow, CA).

Another of his oddities was his zymo xyl — a musical instrument he made out of 17 upside-down liquor bottles, 14 oak blocks, hubcaps from 1952 and '52 Fords, and an aluminum kettle top. It was said to sound a bit like a xylophone. He specified that the liquor bottles should include two Old Heaven Hill bourbon bottles, two Gordon's gin, and two Barclay's whiskeys.

You can hear him play the zymo xyl at the end of the clip below.

Los Angeles Times - June 30, 1996

image source: wiktionary

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 16, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Bums, Hobos, Tramps, Beggars, Panhandlers and Other Streetpeople | Music

Citrus & Vegetable Magazine

I cannot find an issue of C&V later than 2014, and the website you see on the cover below seems down. But certainly, if they still exist, they will find it hard to beat the cover for the April 1977 issue.

Posted By: Paul - Sat May 16, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Agriculture | Business | Corporate Mascots, Icons and Spokesbeings | Magazines

May 15, 2020

Sweet Jesus Chocolate

Created in 1991 by Australian philosophy student Richard Manderson. They were Jesus-shaped chocolates filled with raspberry jam so they would "bleed" when bitten.

Weekly World News - May 21, 1991

More info from wikipedia:

Richard Manderson first created a series of small raspberry fondant filled chocolate Jesuses that were sold for consumption to visitors of Gorman House Arts Centre in Canberra, an Australian cultural centre and heritage site that runs theatres, workshops, exhibition space, artists' studios, offices and a café.

When a US newspaper condemned his act of depicting Jesus on a chocolate, Manderson decided in answer to create an actual life-size chocolate Jesus he called Trans-substantiation 2. He did so by filling a plaster mold with fifty-five pounds of melted chocolate. He used chocolate-dipped strings for hair and plastic Easter wrap for a loincloth. Manderson's work was exhibited in public around Easter in 1994, with Manderson inviting the public to come and eat his chocolate Jesus work after the exhibition.

The Jesus Question blog delves more deeply into the history of chocolate Jesuses.

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 15, 2020 - Comments (8)
Category: Religion | Candy | 1990s

May 14, 2020

Drunk Driving Defense

Back in 1971, Melvin Baker offered a novel defense for why he shouldn't have been charged with drunk driving. He was, he said, too drunk to have made an intelligent decision about whether to submit to the breathalyzer test — the results of which led to him being charged. He apparently argued this case all the way up to the New York Supreme Court.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat - July 7, 1971

Details about this case are hard to come by, but this other brief article offers an explanation for why Baker persisted with his seemingly hopeless argument. Because if he had refused to take the test, he would only have had his license suspended. But having taken the test, and failed it, he also faced criminal prosecution. So it was all an elaborate, legalistic ploy to get the lighter penalty.

Long Beach Independent - Sep 7, 1971

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 14, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants | Law | 1970s | Cars

The Painter Joachim Raphaël Boronali

NOTW and Weird Universe have covered innumerable art world hoaxes and farces. Paintings hung upside down, installations destroyed by janitors, large prize money for unmade beds, and so forth. Here is one of the first such japes. A painting done by a donkey with a brush tied to its tail, and exhibited at a famous Paris salon as the work of a new painter named Joachim Raphaël Boronali.

Read the whole story here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu May 14, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals | Art | Avant Garde | Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators | Twentieth Century

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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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