Weird Universe

April 1, 2009

Death by Molasses


We're a couple of months late with this one: sorry! The 90th anniversary of the Great Boston Molasses Flood, which killed 21 people.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Apr 01, 2009 | Comments (12)
Category: Death, Destruction, Food, 1910's, North America

[News] A Carousel of Losers

Thomas Meehan, 59, drove to the State Patrol office in Tacoma, Wash., to register his car, as required by law, but you'd think he would've sobered up first. KIRO-TV (Seattle)

A Brookeville, Ind., couple (Lloyd Conn, 34, and Tiffany Hollins, 21), who are registered with the local parole office and theoretically know they can be visited at any time, were visited Monday (and troopers found a gun, a meth lab, and five pickup-truckloads of what they suspect are stolen goods). Kentucky Post

Apparently Walter Aaron, 26, couldn't think of a better way to pick up quick money than to steal an excavator from a construction site and smash through a SunTrust bank in Atlanta. (He was still behind the wheel when cops arrived.) WGCL-TV (Atlanta)

Recurring: Two men in Austin, Minn., called police to report that someone broke in and stole their marijuana (along with smoking devices that had "sentimental value"). They can't be charged with a crime, though, because, well, the thief completely cleaned 'em out. Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.)

Recurring: Eric Fortune, 19, Denmark Township, Ohio, goaded his stepbrother to shoot him in the leg so he could see what it felt like. (It hurt a lot; he started crying.) Star Beacon (Ashtabula)

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Here's a chance for Jury Nullification: Could it really be a crime that a woman happens to be completely naked below the waist in public as she is picking up dog litter? Oughtn't we to free Susan Bell? Portsmouth Herald [LINK FIXED]

Posted By: Chuck | Date: Wed Apr 01, 2009 | Comments (8)

March 31, 2009

[News] More Things to Worry About Today

Readers' Choice: DUI on a lawnmower, a mobility scooter, a horse, fine. Now, DUI on a tricked-out barstool. Associated Press via CBS News [photo!]

I've known 100 lawyers who'd take this case for free: Air-O-Matic's iPhone app Pull My Finger was the best-selling electronic whoopie-cushion until recently when InfoMedia's iFart overtook it, but it wasn't fair, said A-O-M because InfoMedia was using its "trademarked" p-m-f phrase in its marketing (because InfoMedia says the phrase is way-generic and therefore un-trademarkable). Denver Post

Your Daily Loser
Marckenly Estima, 23, an enterprising rapper in Port St. Lucie, Fla., wanted police cars in the background of his new video, and he and his cameraman were chatting it up with officers in the parking lot of the police station when the cops ran his name through the computer and found a warrant for skipping out on a trial.

Today's Newsrangers: Paul Music, Bruce Alter, Gerald Sacks, Karl Olson, Emory Kimbrough, Gary Goldberg, Scott Langill, and many finders of the barstool story.
Posted By: Chuck | Date: Tue Mar 31, 2009 | Comments (8)

Follies of the Mad Men #61

[From Playboy magazine for September 1971.]

Oh, yeah, a belt your Dad would wear back in 1971 could trigger all that groovy hippie stuff. Note the sign that uses Frank Zappa's name for cachet. Did he sue, I wonder?

Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Mar 31, 2009 | Comments (13)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Fashion, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1970's

New York City Driving—1928

I have no idea of the provenance of this material. Is that Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd driving? Is that really Babe Ruth in the back seat? But I do know it's amazing.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Mar 31, 2009 | Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Motor Vehicles, Movies, 1920's

[News] Things to Worry About Today

Religious cult member Ria Ramkissoon had been refusing to testify against Queen Antoinette for her ritual that ultimately killed Ria's son, in that she thought maybe the Queen could resurrect him, but now Ria's driven a hard bargain with Baltimore prosecutors: She'll testify, but they have to agree in writing to drop all charges when her son comes back to life. (Yeah, we can do that, they said.) Washington Post

Is Marc Beaumont, Esq., such a cad that he'd charge his client for the time they spent in bed, or is she (also a lawyer) just nuts (and by the way, how did she ever get any clients at all when her actual name is Anal Sheikh)? Daily Telegraph

U.S.'s World-Famous Higher Education: Northern Illinois Univ. researchers found that people who do consensual S&M have higher stress and testosterone during, but calm down afterward! New Scientist

An arbitrator chastises an employer for "willfully" and over a long period of time violating the venerable Fair Labor Standards Act (the "employer" in this case being, um, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Washington Post

Worse Sex Life Than Yours: He was arrested after being spotted lying on his back in a dressing room at a Kohl's Department Store peering up at the woman in the next booth. Associated Press via

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Michael Shoemaker, 42. Doesn't matter what he's charged with. WMAR-TV (Baltimore)

Posted By: Chuck | Date: Tue Mar 31, 2009 | Comments (15)

Defense Mechanisms

Strange forms of defensive behavior, from the animal kingdom. Camponotus Saundersi is a species of Malaysian ant that can cause itself to explode at will. It does so by contracting its abdominal muscles, which ruptures its body and sprays poison in all directions. This ability is known as autothysis. [wikipedia]

Then there's the horned lizard found in the southwest United States. When threatened, it increases the pressure in its sinus cavities until the blood vessels in the corners of its eyes burst. This causes blood to squirt at its attacker. Check out the National Geographic video. I don't understand why coyotes would be deterred by the squirting blood, but apparently it works.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Mar 31, 2009 | Comments (15)
Category: Animals

Das Kapital, the Musical

I've found a new musical to add to my ongoing list of strange musicals. It's Das Kapital, the Musical. It comes to us from China. Here's the plot, such as it is:

In the first half of the story, the employees discover that their boss is exploiting them and learn of the “surplus theory of value.” However, they react differently to the knowledge of their exploitation: some are willing to be exploited by the company, and the tighter they are squeezed, the more they feel they are worth. Others rise in mutiny, but this ruins the company and leaves them out of work. Still others band together and use their collective wisdom to deal with the boss.

Sounds thrilling. Here's the rest of the list:
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Mar 31, 2009 | Comments (8)
Category: Theater and Stage

March 30, 2009

[News] More Things to Worry About Today

Worse Sex Life Than Yours: Bob Epley, 56, Nashville, Tenn., was arrested for hiring kids for sex, specifically, to "place him in a stranglehold with their legs" "in order to create an autoerotic sensation." The Tennessean

Even now, some people still have too much money: The sculpture of a cat that will go to auction in May in NYC is expected to bring $16m-$22m. Reuters

William Bieber, 35, was arrested in Chehalis, Wash., for sneaking meth into his wife's water because, nursing their 3-month-old, she seemed not to have any energy left for cleaning the house. Associated Press via Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A slightly intoxicated motorcyclist crashed into wild pigs on the road in 2003 and messed himself up badly, and a jury decided that was California's fault for not putting up "Wild Pigs" signs on the highway. (Bonus: Good luck collecting $8.6m from a state that's almost bankrupt.) Associated Press via KOVR-TV (Sacramento)

Recurring (embarrassing) Theme: A Saginaw, Mich., man [Ed.: No, not the one humping the vacuum cleaner at the carwash] got his finger stuck in his car's gas tank, and it took firefighters 4 hours to get it loose. Saginaw News [finger] /// Saginaw News [vacuum]

Recurring Theme: It says here that a newspaper in Quanzhou, China, reported a suicidal Chinese woman's jumping off a building and landing on a non-suicidal man, killing him (her boyfriend!) but sparing her. Daily Telegraph (London)

Your Daily Loser
Brian Round, Eustis, Fla., apparently one of the thousands of 17-yr-olds confident that they've got everything figured out, called up his friends and told them he had been "messing with people" using his police-style lights in his car but was sure he was home-free because none of his friends "would rat me out." Brian was making the calls on his cell phone from an interrogation room at the police station during a break, and he didn't think anybody would be monitoring. Orlando Sentinel

Today's Newsrangers: Tom Barker, Paul Woolwine, Andrew Gibson, Matt Mirapaul, and a boatload o' people who tipped me to the carwash case last week (which I had already covered when the poor guy was arrested)

Posted By: Chuck | Date: Mon Mar 30, 2009 | Comments (11)

The Riverbank Carousel

It seems to me that the Riverbank Carousel should be a must-see for all WU-vies. It's designed from children's drawings, as you'll read if you follow the link above.

image image
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Mar 30, 2009 | Comments (4)
Category: Art, Surrealism, Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts, Children, 1990's
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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.