Weird Universe Blog — September 25, 2017

Prettiest Waitress and Most Handsome Bellboy Contest

This item in our "Odd Beauty Contest Files" appears to represent a one-time-only competition, held as part of the famed 1939 World's Fair.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 25, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, 1930s

September 24, 2017

Karen Eland - Coffee Artist

Artist Karen Eland specializes in painting with coffee and beer. I think that the coffee painting came first, and she later diversified into beer.

It makes me wonder how many other drinks it's possible to paint with. Wine? Whiskey? Coke? Root Beer?

Her website:

Mona Latte, 1998

The Drinker, 2011

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 24, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Coffee and other Legal Stimulants


LIARTOWN Commercial from Feral House on Vimeo.

This is of course a "must-purchase" item for WU-vies.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 24, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Humor, Parody, Books

September 23, 2017

Cosmic Welcome Mat

The latest from artist Jonathon Keats: a "cosmic welcome mat" to greet visitors from outer space. The mats will be placed at various locations around the Bedford Park campus of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, to coincide with the 68th International Astronautical Congress that will be taking place nearby. The mats will be examined periodically to check for signs of extraterrestrial visitation.

From a press release:

"Years ago, Fermi famously questioned the existence of intelligent life throughout the universe," says experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats. "Fermi asked, 'Where is everybody?' Maybe the reason we've never encountered aliens is that they never felt invited. From an outsider's perspective, human behavior can appear pretty unfriendly, and that impression has some truth to it."

To counter the hostility of his species, and to communicate hospitality to aliens, Mr. Keats enlisted the most welcoming of human inventions. His cosmic welcome mat, developed in consultation with Flinders space archaeologist Alice Gorman, translates the concept of welcomeness into a visual language that all sentient beings can potentially comprehend.

"In fact, the mat comes in four different versions," says Dr. Gorman. "Since we can't make any assumptions about beings we've never encountered, and certainly can't assume that they're versed in human culture, it's important to present them with different options built on different premises." For instance, one version of the mat expresses welcomeness in terms of geometric fit, while another does so by biological analogy, evoking room for growth.

Dr. Gorman and a team of Flinders students will rigorously monitor use of the intergalactic doormats, employing standard archaeological sampling techniques. The carpeting will be regularly vacuumed for sediment. Comparison of sedimentary deposits can provide important data about how effectively welcomeness has been communicated by each design. These data will inform future iterations of the mat, slated for distribution worldwide, and potential future deployment on the International Space Station.

The concept reminds me of the various UFO landing ports that have been constructed throughout the world, such as the one in Lake City, PA. Also relevant is Douglas Curran's book, In Advance of the Landing, about objects built by people in anticipation of the arrival of extraterrestrials.

More info:

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 23, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Aliens, Art, Furniture

Easy Does It:  Canned Goods Rule

The bad-acid-trip Good Fairy of Canned Vegetables talks about marketplace disruptions and paradigm shifts, and serves as Cupid. Be sure to enjoy the suicidal tomatoes plunging to their canned goods deaths.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 23, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Business, Advertising, Corporate Mascots, Icons and Spokesbeings, Products, Retailing, Food, Cartoons, 1940s

September 22, 2017

Cobra Asparagus

Weird biology.

Green Bay Press Gazette - July 20, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 22, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, 1960s

The Internet Pinball Database

With over 67,000 images, you could spend endless hours at the IPDB.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 22, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Games, Twentieth Century

September 21, 2017

The Exploding Recipe

May 1978: Random House issued a recall of a cookbook, Woman's Day Crockery Cuisine, after realizing that one of the recipes "could cause a serious explosion."

The recipe in question was for "Silky Caramel Slices." The problem was that it instructed people to heat an unopened can of condensed milk in a crockpot for four hours. A statement from Random House noted, "If the recipe is followed, the condensed milk can could explode and shatter the lid and liner of the crockery cooker."

What the recipe neglected to mention was that you should add water into the crockpot surrounding the can. Initially I thought you should open the can also, but my wife (who's heard of this technique of cooking condensed milk on a stove top) corrected me. You keep the can closed so that the milk doesn't boil out of the can.

Marilynn Marter, writing in the Chicago Tribune (May 25, 1978) explains:

The recipe in question was for Silky Caramel Slices and called for heating a can of sweetened condensed milk in a crockpot. Because of an unfortunately elusive line that should have instructed folks to fill the pot with water, following the recipe appears to have resulted in some unintentional pop-top cans and badly damaged crockpots...

The conditions that have made this underground recipe successful and therefore popular, especially with children, are water and temperature. By being heated in boiling water, the temperature of the can and milk do not exceed the boiling point. After a few hours of this, the sugared milk turns to a caramel pudding. In the Crockpot, however, especially without water, the temperature can build up rather like a pressure cooker. That was the most immediate cause of the problem.

Front Cover

Back cover
The 'exploding' recipe (Silky Caramel Slices) is listed third from bottom, right-hand column.

The Tennessean - May 9, 1978

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 21, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Food, 1970s, Weapons

A Kookie Little Paradise

Since when did Tarzan inhabit the jungles of the Caribbean?

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 21, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Music, Nature, 1960s

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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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