September 6, 2008
A week or so ago, Alex told us how to make our own Baconhenge
. But perhaps that's not enough bacon for you. In that case, why not nosh on some Bacon Beans
as a snack?
Update: Swaziland's King Mswati continues to live large in a dirt-poor nation (and his people love it)
To celebrate turning the big-4-oh, he had a 15,000-seat stadium built and ordered BMWs for visiting dignitaries. Forbes estimates he's worth $200m and skims millions a yr from the gov't and business. He has made News of the Weird several times, e.g., his 5-yr ban on all sex by virgin women (to reduce the sky-high HIV rate) (didn't work) (and personally he promptly broke the rule, anyway) (but he paid the fine, which was one cow). In a new documentary, he admits that poverty makes him "sad" and that "sometimes . . you wish to help them but the funds are always not enough." No matter. Even his critics agree that he is seriously beloved, even by the beggars. New York Times
Your Daily Loser
Patrick Dodenhoff, 39, charged with flashing people on a couple of California beaches, was actually arrested while hiding in the brush at "Pirate's Cove," which is a locally-well-known nude beach. (Seriously.) Monterey County Herald
Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Jesus Perez, 71, charged with killing a homeless man in Miami. WPLG-TV
More Things to Worry About on Saturday
The suburban-Pittsburgh couple weren't running a swingers' club out of the private home in the nice neighborhood but had actually been operating, in that home, for 7 yrs, Saturday night church services,
where congregants went at it religiously . . . . . It's Good to Be a British Prisoner (continuing series): Why, this guy, whose sentence was up 2 yrs ago, still refuses to leave!
. . . . . Fine Points of the Law: The Iowa Supreme Court tossed out a conviction for "indecent exposure" against a guy caught at night outside women's windows moaning and with baby oil on his hands; the justices pointed out that, after all, no one actually saw his stuff. Today's Newsrangers: Cindy Hildebrand, Bobby Stout
September 5, 2008
In this NEW YORK TIMES article
from today, scientists reveal their latest findings about which brain cells are excited during the recall of memories, and how closely memory tallies with literally re-enacting the events. And they use a tantalizing example:
After briefly distracting the patients, the researchers then asked them to think about the clips for a minute and to report “what comes to mind.” The patients remembered almost all of the clips. And when they recalled a specific one — say, a clip of Homer Simpson — the same cells that had been active during the Homer clip reignited. In fact, the cells became active a second or two before people were conscious of the memory, which signaled to researchers the memory to come.
Why is Homer Simpson singled out as the test case? Obviously because the human brain has specific neurons that emulate or actually induce and compel Homer-Simpson-style behavior.
And there in a nutshell you have the whole basis for ninety-nine percent of the contents of WEIRD UNIVERSE.
magazine for April 13 1959.]
Of course, we all recall personally or at least have heard of the Davy Crockett Craze
of the mid-1950's, when Disney's promotional genius had kids everywhere running around in coonskin caps. But who among us lately has dared to summon up memories of the Castro dressup craze from a few years later?
Yes, once upon a time, at the start of his revolution, Castro was received in the USA as a hero of the oppressed peoples of Cuba, and seen as a fit role model for tykes to imitate.
Please click on the image for the full glory of this era, and excuse any flash glare from my poor photo skills. I had to photograph rather than scan, to capture the full impact of the double page spread.
Photographer Denis Darzacq captures images of people in the act of falling down
In the rough manner of architecture, he opposes the elasticity between his body and his desires. This gravitation exercice requires Discipline, even if it's not the one we've learned in classrooms.
I'm not sure exactly what that means, but his photos are cool.
Palm Beach County lost 3 percent of the votes cast in the primary last week (Ummm, nothing to see here, folks, just . . ..)
OK, so the intended-Democrat-friendly butterfly ballot from 2000 turned out to be way-un-friendly to Democrats. And the entire state has chucked the touch-screens from 2004 (paper-trail problems). So now they're onto state-of-the-art Sequoia optical-scan machines. In one judicial race, fella won by 17 votes, triggering a statute-mandated recount, which he proceeded to lose by 60 votes, and in the process the total of all ballots cast in the county fell from 102,523 scanned by precinct machines to 99,045 scanned by central-office machines. La-de-dah-de-dah . . .. Just move on along . . .. Palm Beach Post
Particle accelerators in the news
In France, they're being used to examine the glass content in bottles of wine to authenticate the age. But of course on September 10th in Switzerland, they'll turn on the mother of all particle accelerators, which will either devour life as we know it or reveal stuff that might make Stephen Hawking's toes curl, e.g., Hey, a Higgs Boson! Expected results: more knowledge of hadrons, quarks, thingies, and doohickeys, and also of whether people involved in this expensive project will ever be trusted with grant money again. Reuters via Yahoo // Agence France-Presse via Yahoo // "Large Hadron Rap" on YouTube
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals foiled again in its continuing campaign to de-emphasize the "justice" angle in capital punishment
Charles Hood's departure date was to be next week, but this time, a panel of outsiders convinced the state att'y-gen'l and governor to intervene and actually hold a hearing on whether Hood had been convicted by a prosecutor who was shtupping the judge during the trial. "Everybody" around the courthouse at the time knew they were hittin' it, but it was a small town, and nobody would go on the record. (On top of the story since 2005: Salon.com) New York Times
Update: By the way, Lizardman was at that Ripley's opening, too (not just yesterday's Cat Man)
Erik Sprague is also a News of the Weird Hall of Famer, he of the surgically split tongue that he has trained to do the woman-delighting trick of moving both halves independently. [Link has straight-up interview snippet with Cat Man] Daily Telegraph
(London) // The Lizardman
Your Daily Loser
Kody Merrival, 21, was picked up in Iowa City after using a stolen credit card, which worked fine the first time, but then when he used it again, he signed his real name on the receipt, and then when he used it the third time, and the merchant asked for additional ID, he showed 'em his real ID. Iowa City Press-Citizen
[news videos goin' around]
Apparently a big volcano in El Salvador erupted in 1922, which is why they have this-here annual festival where people actually throw fireballs at each other. The Sun
More Things to Worry About on Friday
"Elephant Beats Heroin Habit with Detox" . . . . . One of the last legal brothels in Taiwan shut down, and the madam, 48, had to lay off her last two babes, 41 and 50
(pre-1974 whorehouses are grandfathered-legal) . . . . . The 44-yr-old annual British festival celebrating a village's hero on horseback will this yr have the hero walk through town because insurance for a horse-rider was too expensive
. . . . . Organic frozen yogurt for dogs
at $9 a 4-pack (Translation: Look how cool my dog and I are! Look at meeeeee!) (Bonus: In a taste test, 4 out of 5 dogs preferred regular frozen yogurt) . . . . . The three Filipino surgeons who YouTube'd their removal of a perfume canister from a patient's un-sunshiny place
in January [NOTW M059, 5-25-2008]
were reinstated by the hospital after 90 days in purgatory (Un-bonus: No link to the video because all versions I've ever seen were too grainy, with narrative in Tagalog). Today's Newsrangers: Jessica McRorie, Rob Snyder, Vic McDonald, Paul Music, Bruce Townley
September 4, 2008
for January 10 1944.]
Surely nothing better evokes the confusing and guilty sensations associated with a "what's my name, and where did I leave my panties?" lost weekend better than a forgotten drink high atop a pole you shimmied up while looking for the bluebird of happiness.
I'm home now from my trip to the West Coast for only twelve hours, but I made sure that my first task was to read the last week's worth of WU posts and comments. Unfortunately I don't have a second, in the face of various deadlines, to respond to every single great comment on the assorted FOLLIES OF THE MAD MEN posts. But rest assured that I enjoyed each one, and continue to be amazed at the sagacity and enthusiasm and wit of the WU family of readers and contributors.
As for Chuck and Alex, they did tremendous work taking up my slack, with dozens of really great posts. If I can single out one, it would be Alex's talking goats video, which confirms that the earlier image I posted of goat testicles was accurate.
And that's what we're all about: accuracy in weirdness.
Please have one more FOLLIES, following this post. Then, tomorrow, even more goodies!
Dept. of Homeland Security denied a complicated immigrant-asylum application by looking up stuff on Wikipedia
And the Board of Immigration Appeals also said it was OK, but the U.S. Court of Appeals has now dispensed some sense.
Wired.com Threat-Level blog
Recurring Theme: Anger-releasing service center
It's been done in Japan and Singapore, but now Sarah Lavely has opened her Smash Shack in a downtown San Diego storefront, where when you get really pissed off, you give Sarah $10 or $45, and she lets you break some plates and stuff in one of her rooms. You can even put the bastard's picture on the wall to have something to aim at. San Diego Union-Tribune
The family of that beheaded Canadian bus passenger is suing, er, Greyhound, of course
They're suing the actual lunatic-murderer, too, but that guy's income-producing prospects are dim, and they might as well go Greyhound for the big bucks (which, of course, it's not about,
according to the lawyer). [Ed.: Jeez, if I remember correctly, at least half of all Greyhound passengers at any one time look capable of slicing your neck.] Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News
News of the Weird Hall-of-Famer Dennis Avner, in London
The 50-yr-old computer programer*
, reputed to have the world's most modified body, was scheduled this week at the London opening of a Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. Avner is the Cat Man (fangs, whiskers, clipped ears, striped tats, and a whole lot more). Of course there's a photo (but he's not hard to find elsewhere on the Internet, either). Metro.co.uk
(London) // TattooCulture.ro
Pain art: She hangs from hooks to protest sharks being hung from hooks
Brit Alice Newstead, who's had her torso, arms, legs, stomach, and knees pierced because hanging from hooks is her thing, wants you to know that sharks get a worse deal when they're hung (so that their fins can be sliced off for shark-fin soup). Of course there's a photo (Bonus: Gal appears to be enjoying hereself!). Daily Telegraph
Death art: The goldfish-in-a-blender guy is back
Marco Evaristti's first splash was in 2000 when he put goldfish in 10 electric blenders at a gallery in Denmark and invited visitors to push the buttons. His latest is a deal with Texas death-row inmate Gene Hathorn, 47, who is on his final appeal of a three-murder conviction, and if the appeal fails, Evaristti will have the right to freeze Hathorn's body and chop it up as food for visitors to feed to fish. Daily Telegraph
Your Daily Loser
Police couldn't catch the F State cross-dressing purse-snatcher, but they did get their hands on a clue when one of his bra-stuffings fell out. Florida Today
People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Yeah, this guy again: The Washington state 20-yr-old who flashes baristas in the drive-thru lane [mentioned in this space, 8-21-2008]
now wants the police to know he's grateful that they caught him: "Once you start, it's hard to stop." Everett Daily Herald
[news videos goin' around]
Behold a photo spread from the World Bodypainting Festival!
[Ed.: My fascination with things like this is twofold: First, you have to be weird enough to think of crap like this, and then, beyond that, you have to actually go to a serious amount of trouble to carry it out, requiring, at minimum a total absence of self-doubt.] Pravda
More Things to Worry About on Thursday
King County (Seattle) is sorry that it used its official logo (the face of Martin Luther King, Jr.) on county-branded garbage bags
[Wait, The official logo of King County, Wash., is Dr. King? Can they do that?] . . . . . Riviera Beach, Fla., caught its first perp under the new "pull up your britches" ordinance
. . . . . A new book that encourages girls to be daring suggests that Aussie daughters take up the didgeridoo, but Dr. Mark Rose (identified as an expert on Aboriginal culture) said that's terribly insulting (in that the didgeridoo is for males only!) and that besides, any girl who touches one will become infertile
. . . . . And in more sensible news from Australia, a 19-yr-old man was arrested for excessively, defiantly belching
in a police station . . . . . According to British researchers, the South African bird, the Green Wood Hoopoe, gathers in rival groups, which squawk the ornithological equivalent of "You suck!"
at each other. Today's Newsrangers: Bruce Alter, Matt Mirapaul, Bob Pert, Erik Madsen, Emory Kimbrough, Mark Neunder, Paul Music
[* Words of one syllable, and words accented on the last syllable, double a single final consonant before adding a suffix beginning with a vowel. Hence, "spammer," "befitting," "wandering," "programer"] [Or, y'know, whatever.]
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.