Weird Universe Blog — December 4, 2016

Bosch Parade

Explanation here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Dec 04, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Parades and Festivals, Surrealism, Europe

December 3, 2016

Seven Warning Signals of Cancer

Nice photo. Though the connection between Sophia Loren and warning signals of cancer completely escapes me.

The ad ran in magazines and newspapers in 1967 and '68, such as here: Broadcasting - Dec 2, 1968.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 03, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Advertising, 1960s

The Littlest Maniac

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 03, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Children, 1900s, Brain Damage

December 2, 2016

Hallucinogenic Fish

Sarpa salpa (above) is a type of sea bream found in the Mediterranean as well as in temperate areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It has one unusual quality. Eating it can cause hallucinations. For this reason, it's sometimes called the "dreamfish."

People have known about this for a long time. Apparently Sarpa salpa was occasionally eaten for recreational purposes during the Roman Empire.

A 2006 article in the journal Clinical Toxicology describes some medical case reports involving dreamfish consumption. For instance, in 1994 a 40-year-old man on vacation in the French Riviera ate some, and the next day the hallucinations began:

he began to experience blurring of vision and hallucinations involving aggressive and screaming animals. Agitation and disorientation led him to seek medical assistance (he was not able to drive anymore as he was seeing giant arthropods around his car). Physical examination upon arrival at the hospital emergency room demonstrated no notable abnormalities: no fever, no sign of focalization or sensory-motor deficit, and normal hemodynamic status except for sinusal tachycardia linked directly to the mental disturbances. During hospitalization, the patient recovered rapidly with complete resolution of symptoms within 36 h post ingestion. He was unable to recall the hallucinatory period.

Similarly, in 2002 a 90-year-old retiree ate some sea bream, again in the French Riviera, and experienced hallucinations involving "human screams and bird squealing."

A case described on Wikipedia seems to have been far more pleasurable. In 1960, National Geographic photographer Joe Roberts purposefully ate some broiled dreamfish: "he experienced intense hallucinations with a science-fiction theme that included futuristic vehicles, images of space exploration, and monuments marking humanity's first trips into space."

The authors of the Clinical Toxicology article note that cases of hallucinogenic fish poisoning (ichthyoallyeinotoxism) are often confused with ciguatera poisoning — the latter caused by fish flesh contaminated by "various toxins produced by the benthic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus."

Ciguatera can also cause hallucinations. However, it may also kill you, whereas you should recover from the dreamfish hallucinations within 36 hours.

(Thanks to hotsauce269 for letting us know about the dreamfish.)

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 02, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Drugs, Fish

Special Chinese Kid’s Book

Who could resist spending $57.40 plus $10.00 shipping for a book with this description:

Turtle with a small purple alien friend scientific expedition. Crossing the Sea like Crossing the Sea two stories travel the world. Little Turtle purple alien with friends explore the ocean together. they saw the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. but dangerous whale is near! Little purple alien turtles have a friend who has a cool graduated spaceship! Spaceship. turtles and small purple alien friends a series of scientific adventures. They leap into space. understanding the mystery of the eight planets; they cross the center of the earth. after a dangerous volcanoes . But not all smooth sailing expedition. when they go to sea. but accidentally be swallowed into the stomach.

Item is here at time of posting.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 02, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Confusion, Misunderstanding, and Incomprehension, Books, Asia, Mistranslations

December 1, 2016

The New Look in Hot Water Bottles

From 1948. Dreamed up by the folks at B.F. Goodrich.

And it's still a popular look in S&M gear.

The Akron Beacon Journal - Jan 1, 1948

Palm Beach Post - Jan 5, 1948

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 01, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, 1940s

The Tubby Hubby Diet

Original ad here.

Original ad here.

I just cannot believe the arrogant sexism and objectifying behavior of Josephine Lowman! I feel cheap and soiled, on behalf of all tubby hubbies.

LATE ADDITION TO THE POST: I could not resist adding this new term I just thought of: "schlub-shaming."

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 01, 2016 - Comments (1)
Category: Body, Dieting and Weight Loss, Public Humiliation, 1950s

November 30, 2016

Anti-Hero Hostility Dart Board

In 1967, artist Robert Cenedella came out with the "Anti-Hero Hostility Dart Board," featuring "photographic images of some of your favorite anti-heroes." Consumers could choose between an "LBJ, Lady Bird, Humphrey, Castro, Hochi Minn, De Gaulle, Nasser, Nixon, Bobby Kennedy, Reagan, or Sigmund Freud" dart board.

In a later interview, Cenedella said that, "For a few dollars extra, you could put a relative or an ex-wife there." He added, "I had more success in doing these gimmicks than I did at my art."

The following year, Cenedella discontinued the dart boards, citing his concern that the nation had become too violent.

As far as I know, Cenedella's Hostility Dart Board was the first commercially sold, political-themed dart board. But nowadays they're fairly common., for instance, has a bunch of them.

La Crosse Tribune - June 12, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 30, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Politics, Products, 1960s

Why Can’t My Teacher Look Like Mr. Novak?


I like the bits of "Monster Mash" stuff that are gratuitously inserted.

Of course, students lusting after teachers is now the stuff of prison sentences.

Understand the central reference here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 30, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Education, Music, Television, Sex Symbols, Teenagers, 1960s

November 29, 2016

An Unfortunate Error

Marshall George Cummings, Jr. of Oklahoma was charged with snatching a purse from a woman on October 14, 1976. His case came to trial in January 1977, and Cummings asked to represent himself, which the court allowed. However, during the cross-examination of witnesses, Cummings proceeded to make what the state later described as an "unfortunate error." He conducted the cross-examination in the first person. Specifically, he asked the main witness, "Did you get a good look at my face when I took your purse?" The jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Cummings later appealed his sentence, arguing that the court had erred by allowing him to represent himself and that "there was not a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel." As proof of this he pointed to his blunders during the trial. The state argued back that his incompetence could not have been foreseen in advance, and that he had been fully advised of his rights.

Cummings also complained that the prosecutor had used prejudicial "showboating" tactics during the trial. For instance, Cummings alleged that at one point the prosecutor had removed a document from his file "in a manner reminiscent of a musketeer unsheathing his sword to do battle with enemies of the king."

The appellate court decided that the errors cited by Cummings weren't sufficient to reverse his conviction. However, it did modify his sentence, reducing it from ten years to five.

You can read the full text of the appellate court's decision at

Asbury Park Press - Jan 5, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 29, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Stupid Criminals, 1970s

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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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