December 4, 2008
According to The Overview Institute
, the Overview Effect "refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, hanging in the void, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, the astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us become less important and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this 'pale blue dot' becomes both obvious and imperative."
The purpose of the Overview Institute is to "promote and support widespread experience of [the Overview Effect], through direct space travel, and newer, more powerful and more publicly available space art, multi-media and education."
Nice idea, but being the cynic that I am, I'm pretty sure it's going to take more than being blasted into space to cure people of their prejudices and tribal loyalties.
December 3, 2008
Apparently, the Albert Lea
does things differently, and its links to stories expire whenever something changes in the story. If you tried to link to the story from Monday's or Tuesday's News of the Weird Daily feed, but were unsuccessful and gave up, you can try again here
. If you don't know what I'm talking about but want to find out, go to Tuesday's post here [first story]
. Other websites have solved the problem by screen-capturing, and then posting, the story, which is a copyright no-no for a news-aggregater site like ours even though newspapers have not yet been active in chasing violators (and we'll leave it to others to be the ones caught on the end of a roll of the dice if that time comes).
The year 2008 marks the twentieth anniversary of a classic tome: HIGH WEIRDNESS BY MAIL
In those antique pre-internet days of the book's debut, your only resources for contacting and receiving strange information was the USPS. There are plenty of cheap copies of HWBM available online, if you want to get a nostalgic snapshot of that era.
But the SubGeniuses behind the book have also launched THE HIGH WEIRDNESS PROJECT
, which strives to replicate the book as a web-based experience.
Pay them a visit, and get your slack on.
and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Wednesday, December 3, 2008 [and, although there's probably enough news for an Afternoon edition today, I'm too busy to handle it so I'll see ya tomorrow morning]
Business plans, civic plans
An academic adviser at Ohio State and an 8-yr-veteran children's sex-abuse case worker were involved in a Consumer Reports-type rating service of hookers around Columbus (the case worker was a best-buy). Then the adviser tried to run a raffle on the chance to win the aforementioned platinum-standard woman from a mere $10 ticket. The adviser requested low bail from the judge because after all, he's a married man and has a respectable job with a venerable institution. (2)
"I'm seeing a level of ignorance out there like you wouldn't believe," said Daniel Essek, 47, talking about his organization Society for Liberty and Prosperity and explaining why it's important to once again challenge whether the President-elect is a natural-born American. The SLP will meet Saturday night at his home in Whitley County, Ky., and he hopes to have more members by then than just himself ("president") and his wife ("treasurer"). SLP is against "barbarism, collectivism, Communism, conformitism [sic]
, despitism [another sic]
, fachism [again]
, favoritism, imperialism, institutionalism, liberalism, Nazism [perhaps, perhaps not]
, nepitism [OK, last one]
, progressivism, racism, sexism, and Socialism." And of course, tax increases. Columbus Dispatch /// Lexington Herald-Leader
A first-grader in Pembroke Pines, Fla., was suspended for (allegedly) holding a kitchen knife up to a classmate's nose and stealing his dollar. (2)
An 11-yr-old in Estero, Fla., was actually arrested and cuffed for pointing a steak knife at his mother and threatening to kill her (something about "homework"). (3)
The 8-yr-old Arizona boy being held for murdering his father and another man last month has given several explanations, but the best IMHO is that the kid kept count of the number of spankings he'd endured in his life, and when the magic "1,000" was reached, his father was going down (but remember now, he's eight; he didn't exactly have a pre-built grasp of numbers when his mother squeezed him out) South Florida Sun-Sentinel /// Naples Daily News /// Arizona Republic
Your Daily Loser
Benedict Harkins, 46, submitted an insurance claim for a trip-and-fall back injury from a badly-placed rug at the entrance of the Farm Fresh Market in Jamestown, N.Y. But then police informed him that the entrance has a surveillance camera, and video caught him lowering himself to the floor and arranging the rug in such-and-such a way. Claim, er, withdrawn (but charges filed against him, nonetheless). Buffalo News
People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Earl Brown's sex life used to be
worse than yours because he's no longer with us, since he was (allegedly) shot by Mrs. Brown because she was weary of his constantly pestering her for sex. As you can see from her photo . . .. KSHB-TV
Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
These ladies might have come from a family of hand-me-down assaulters (mother beat daughter; daughter beat younger brother). News & Observer
More Things to Worry About on Wednesday
Michael Schwab, 52, said he had received an urgent message from God last Friday that a certain lady driver up ahead of him "was not driving like a Christian
" and "needed to be taken off the road," which led him to chase her, and eventually both crashed (with (minor injuries). USA Today
People Different From Us: A 20-yr-old F State woman would like to help police find her ex-boyfriend, who she says stole the wig right off her head and whom she has lived with for eight months, but she only knew him by his first name
(and the first letter of his last name). TCPalm.com
News that sounds like a joke . . well, no, it must be a joke, except that it's tough to make jokes about animal abuse: London's Daily Telegraph
reported a case of bestiality with what purports to be a photo of the actual victim (a horse), but since it was a sex crime, the newspaper placed a black privacy bar over the victim's eyes
. [Ed.: In any event, out of solidarity, Weird Universe is not releasing the victim's name.] Daily Telegraph
(Recurring Theme) Public-housing activists in Malaysia used the quaint Third World protest tactic (which, of course, should be widely embraced in the U.S. but is not) of demonstrating while butt-naked
. Agence France-Presse
New York City's real-estate-registration procedures are so Ehhh-Whatever that a Daily News
reporter walked into the city property office, filled out paperwork, and 90 minutes later had a legitimate-looking deed to the Empire State Building. New York Daily News
Today's Newsrangers: Stephen Taylor, Mindy Cohen, Sam Gaines, Tom Barker, Bruce Leiserowitz, Harry Farkas, Sandy Pearlman, Bruce Alter
Comments on More Things to Worry About on Wednesday?
The CasAnus was designed by the Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout
. He writes
This house takes its shape from the human digestive system. While CasAnus is anatomically correct, the last part has been inflated to humongous size. CasAnus is made to function as a hotel, including a bed and a bathroom.
If you stayed there, you could say "This place is crap," and not necessarily mean it in a pejorative sense.
Also by van Lieshout, along similar lines, is the BarRectum
(aka Asshole Bar):
The bar takes its shape from the human digestive system: starting with the tongue, continuing to the stomach, moving through the small and the large intestines and exiting through the anus. While BarRectum is anatomically correct, the last part of the large intestine has been inflated to a humongous size to hold as many drinking customers at the bar as possible. The anus itself is part of a large door that doubles as an emergency exit.
Wikipedia offers this definition of Couvade Syndrome
Couvade syndrome is a medical/mental condition which "involves a father experiencing some of the behavior of his wife at near the time of childbirth, including her birth pains, postpartum seclusion, food restrictions, and sex taboos".
Another term for it is a sympathetic pregnancy. But some cultures take the concept a step further. From The Art of Folly
by Paul Tabori:
In Brazil the new father is deliberately made ill. They use the sharp teeth of the aguti to gash his body. Then the wounds are washed with poisonously burning tobacco juice or a liquid in which black pepper has been mixed. The "father/mother" suffers duly while playing his strange role. In some other tribes he is subjected to a strict diet, not for days, but for weeks, during which he gets so little to eat that he becomes skin-and-bone. Among the Vaga-Vaga tribe, for instance, he is forbidden to eat bananas, coconuts, mangoes, sugar cane, poultry, pork, and dog meat.
No dog meat. That's rough. But my favorite Couvade ritual comes from the Huichol Indian tribe
During traditional childbirth, the father sits above his labouring wife on the roof of their hut. Ropes are tied around his testicles and his wife holds onto the other ends. Each time she feels a painful contraction, she tugs on the ropes so that her husband will share some of the pain of their child's entrance into the world.
The thumbnail shows a yarn drawing owned by the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco that depicts this ritual.
December 2, 2008
As we all prepare for our imminent minimum-wage jobs during the economic meltdown, let us study how to perform them to the best of our abilities, with a cheerful smile. Consider the job of "supermarket checker," circa 1965.
and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Tuesday, December 2, 2008 [and, alas, since it's Tuesday, there won't be an Afternoon Edition]
Elderly abuse in Minnesota
[Ed.: I'm anxious about submitting this one for Your Daily Jury Duty. Brianna Broitzman, 18, a nursing assistant, and some colleagues face charges of abusing and taunting elderly Alzheimer's patients. Guilty? Take a look. See what I mean?] Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune [LINK UPDATED ONCE AGAIN, different from yesterday's update: The deal is, every day, they change the date on the story, whether they've updated the story or not, so here's the URL, and if you're reading this on December 4th, change the 03 to 04 and see if that works, or go to the newspaper and search, but, beware, just clicking the following URL, as opposed to clicking the newspaper name, above, will take you away from this window] ]http://www.AlbertLeaTribune.com/news/2008/dec/03/breaking-charges-filed-good-sam-case/]
Fine points of the law: urine steam
A judge in Ireland has (apparently, once again) tossed out DUI cases on the technicality that, before administering the breathalyzer, an officer must monitor the suspect for "20 minutes," and according to the judge, if the suspect turns his back to pee, the 20 minutes has to start over, or else the subsequent breath reading is invalid. And why is the "front" view so important? Only then can the officer detect whether urine steam is rising from the urinal, entering the suspect's nostrils, upping his breath reading. Belfast Telegraph
Here are more Americans who will just have to step up their intelligence level if we are to move forward as a nation . . .
Some black community leaders in Danville, Ill., are complaining loudly that the white basketball coach at Danville High is guilty of "racial profiling" for cutting eight black players from the team. Yeah, but it's an all-black team, anyway. (Doesn't matter.) Yeah, but if we keep those eight, we'll have to cut eight black kids who are better players. (Doesn't matter.) (Besides, say the leaders, you cut them because some wear braids, and white people can't handle braids.) Yeah, but two players we kept have braids. (Doesn't matter.) News-Gazette
(Danville) [story in slight violation of my staleness rule]
Your Daily Loser
Jason Fernandez, 21, has been arrested in DeMotte, Ind., in a routine attempted-rape case (done in because he left his eyeglasses at the scene, and they were of an easily-traceable "exclusive" brand sold only at Wal-Marté). [Ed.: However, Jason is here primarily because the website The Weekly Vice had the ingenuity to also find Jason's MySpace page. I'm not sayin' you need to browse it, but it's backup in case you wonder why Jason is Your Daily Loser.] Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican /// Jason's MySpace page
Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Dr. Parag Bhatt, 44, is on trial in England for acting like a gynecologist when he's just a general practitioner. So, is "She said" the valid marker, or is "He said"? Daily Mail
More Things to Worry About on Tuesday
A Belgian firm apologized for portraying Adolf Hitler
in an ad as a young hunk (with his swastika armband . . tight against his . . rippling . . bicep . . .). Daily Mail
There is no recession, what with a single, 2-lb. truffle
selling at auction for $200k [Ed.: Be sure to give thanks that your taste buds aren't so refined that you absolutely require truffle flavoring.] Reuters
An Australian men's magazine that bought 130,000 plastic breasts [Ed.: 260,000?]
from China for a reader promotion reported that the shipment has been lost at sea. Australian Associated Press via WA Today
Instant karma: Two brothers stole a car and sped away from police, heading against traffic on Interstate 70 near St. Louis, and died in a head-on collision with another car, which had also been stolen
(but whose occupants survived). KSDK-TV
Note to Brian Russell, 21: That thing about cops in one county not being able to chase you into the next county?
That's just a crutch that TV writers use. WMTW-TV
Today's Newsrangers: Paul Healey, Scott Langill, Jerry Whittle
Comments on More Things to Worry About on Tuesday?
Oh, I feel so incompetent! And the sad fact is that I saw it coming all the way but went blank when fingers met keyboard. I am
a sports fan. I did know
that Plaxico Burress also accidentally shot himself over the weekend (which would have made five I should have included as Losers yesterday, not four). I was beside myself when I realized my gaffe. Please forgive me. Associated Press via Fox News
All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, 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.