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.]
September 3, 2008
for September 25 1950.]
Pure jittery brainbuzz in a handy grenade-shaped shaker.
Beware of putting anything in your mouth that comes from a company named "International Minerals & Chemical Corporation."
Back in 2001, Simon Bradshaw and his colleagues published a tongue-in-cheek article in Plotka
analyzing the utility of a chocolate teapot. They were inspired by the phrase (common in the UK) that something is as "useful as a chocolate teapot." Their conclusion was that chocolate teapots are indeed not very useful since they leak everywhere, and therefore they "serve as an excellent baseline of uselessness against which to compare other, similarly dysfunctional, items."
The article became a minor classic of scientific humor. (Yeah, science humor tends to be a bit nerdy) and was replicated
by other researchers.
More recently, the Naked Scientists (authors of Crisp Packet Fireworks
) decided that the problem was that the teapot was too thin. If you make the chocolate thick enough, it'll hold the hot water and brew tea. But how thick? Two centimeters proved to be enough.
When chocolate melts it doesn't become totally liquid immediately, it remains quite viscous. Unless you apply a fairly large force to the melted chocolate, it seems to sit there. Chocolate is also mostly made of fat, which is a good thermal insulator (whales use blubber as a form of insulation). This means that the molten chocolate near the hot water protects the less molten chocolate below it, insulating it from the heat of the water. Also, it takes a significant amount of energy to melt chocolate, so it will take a significant amount of time to move heat into the solid chocolate, thus slowing its melting.
The main structural design defects were the lid, which melted, and the spout, which collapsed after the tea was poured.
A businessman has built an upside-down house in Trassenheide, Germany. He says that it's meant to be "an experiment for the senses." Not only is the house upside-down, but so is everything in it. You enter the house through the attic and ascend to the ground floor. I assume the plumbing fixtures are just for show and don't actually work.
Pics can be found here
, and here
Swiss gov't's state-of-the-art animal-protection law
Among other things, ya have to take a class in treating pet dogs well; ya have to humanely knock out goldfish before flushing them down the toilet; ya have to afford hamsters and gerbils daily face time with at least one of their own kind; and ya have to offer your pet pigs a refreshing shower once in a while to get the mud off. Agence France-Presse via Yahoo
The miracle baby who survived--thanks to zip-lock bags
The ultrasound showed the little thing was in serious trouble, forcing doctors to bring it out way-prematurely, and it turns out that the perfect way to keep little Billy (2 lbs., 2 ozs.) in the incubator was inside a Tesco supermarket plastic sandwich bag. Daily Telegraph
Those clever Orthodox Jews!
It's big business to parse the Torah and think of technological ways to make yourself comfortable while obeying Jewish law. There's a lamp that has a twistable shade to block out distracting light during the day (because ya can't turn on electric stuff during the Sabbath). "Every day, God gives us things to take advantage of," said an Israeli researcher. Can't write something down during the Sabbath? Use disappearing ink! New York Times
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it
Dan Mason is perhaps about to finally be indicted in Colorado for the murder of his wife in 2004 because he's about 0-for-10 in explaining inconsistencies about her last will 'n' testament and how she fell off a cliff during a "fishing trip." The clincher: She screamed to him to come help her, he insisted, but then the coroner reported that her neck had snapped instantly upon impact, making screaming impossible. In that case, said Dan, it was "an angel" I heard. Yeah . . yeah, an angel! An angel screamed at me! Associated Press via Summit Daily News
(Summit County, Colo.)
The market for cremation-ready corpses in China
Tradition says the body must be buried, but the gov't demands the more-efficient cremation, so, presto, a black market in which gangs kill ne'er-do-wells on the street and sell the corpses to rich people so they'll have something to submit for cremation when a relative dies (and then they bury the relative). Reuters via Yahoo
Your Daily Loser
Lorenzo Knight, 22, on the run from the victim after stealing a camera from a car, tried to hide in a porta-potty, but the victim saw him and tipped it over, (a) sealing him inside and (b) er, shaking up the potty's contents. Tampa Tribune
Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Now, try to be fair to Gene Bush, 52, who was picked up in L.A. after allegedly shooting at a traffic light with a few of his alleged 10,0000 bullets, in an incident that allegedly had something to do with a paper he was allegedly carrying, dubbed "The Secret." Los Angeles Times
[news videos goin' around]
snapshots from 15 of the world's most bizarre themed restaurants (only 5 of which ever made News of the Weird) (with favorites including the one where all the seats are toilets and the one where the food arrives in a, uh, cadaver, and you have to, like, do an autopsy to get at it. South Florida Sun-Sentinel [link from Fark.com]
More Things to Worry About on Wednesday
You'd think a guy who's been sitting in jail for 2 yrs awaiting trial would notice that his lawyer hasn't been by to see him lately, but Joseph Shepard apparently had extremely low expectations of the Missouri Bar
. . . . . Mumbai industrialist Mukesh Ambani is building a $2B, 27-story, 400,000-sq-ft home
(that requires 600 assistants to maintain) . . . . . An Israeli court ruled that the Palestinian Authority has to pay that $116m U.S. judgment against it
for killing that American couple in a terror attack in 1996, so, that check'll be in the mail real
soon . . . . . The ESPNU channel is beaming Friday night U.S. high school football games across the globe, which means there'll be offshore Internet point spreads and betting
. . . . . Last weekend was the annual birthday celebration of a long-since-expired millionaire whose will requires his heirs to gather every year and party (or else get disinherited). Today's Newsrangers: Paul Music, Roger Gulbransen, Michael Richardson, Barry Rose
September 2, 2008
Nick sent us a bunch of youtube links about the art of circuit bending. He writes:
there is a hobby that nobody talks about called circuit bending. It's great fun, I've done it a few times and I've got a few friends that are really into it. Circuit bending is the act of cracking open a musical toy,radio, tape machine, cd player, walkie-talkie etc. and hapazardly/randomly poking around the ciruit board with a couple of wires to get unique sounds out of whatever you're "bending". You then solder the wire at the points you want and voila, you have a brand new musical insrument. Some people get really crazy with it and add new parts like light sensors, switches, buttons etc. and get some really wild effects.
This reminds me of a dream I've had for years. I want to hack into one of those Big Mouth Billy Bass animatronic toys and make it sing "Let the Eagle Soar"
by John Ashcroft. It would be the ultimate piece of kitsch. I guess that makes me a would-be circuit bender. But I don't have the skills to make it happen. Also, I doubt my wife would allow me to keep it in the house.
A recent study
published in the journal Respiratory Research
found a correlation between growing up with dogs and snoring as an adult. The authors found the correlation after giving a questionnaire about snoring frequency to 16,190 randomly selected men and women. The other factor associated with habitual adult snoring was growing up in a large family. The authors conclude:
exposure to a dog as newborn, and growing up in a large family appear as possible risk factors for snoring in adulthood. We speculate that these factors may enhance inflammatory processes and thereby alter upper airway anatomy early in life causing an increased susceptibility for adult snoring.
Their theory sounds rather unlikely. After all, correlation does not equal causation. I grew up with a dog, and I don't snore. But then, my family wasn't very large either. (Thanks to KT Jayne!)
It's a question I've wondered about before. (I once posted about it
on the Museum of Hoaxes.) The possible record holders include:
1) a 1½ mile-wide eye
created by Tom Van Sant in the Mojave Desert back in
1980. It was made by placing mirrors in the desert whose reflection could be seen by a satellite passing overhead.
2) A 7-mile-long pencil drawing created by thousands of volunteers on an 800-pound roll of paper back in 1991.
But there's a new challenger. An artist calling himself "Ando" created a sketch that occupies 4 million square meters of desert in the Australian Outback. It shows a Stockman (an Australian Cowboy). He calls it "Mundi Man"
and claims it's the largest work of art.
Four million square meters would be about 1.2 miles in length on each side, which would make it smaller than Van Sant's eye. So I don't think Ando does hold the record.
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.