Weird Universe

November 30, 2008

World’s Most Dangerous Road

For those who did not get enough excitement with the "King's Path" post, here is the Yungas Road.

Dangerous road in the world
by boufa
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Nov 30, 2008 | Comments (2)
Category: Death, South America, Cars

November 29, 2008

Bernie Krause

The musician Bernie Krause has had an arguably weird and fascinating career. He's gone from being a minor pop star to being a scientist in the field of bio-acoustics, or the noises of the natural world. Along the way he came up with the concept of "biophony," short for the biological symphony that each ecosystem makes.

The first clip below shows him at work, while the second is a trailer for his concepts.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Nov 29, 2008 | Comments (1)
Category: Music, Nature, Science

Ian’s Shoelace Site

Ian's Shoelace Site promises that it brings you "the fun, fashion & science of shoelaces". Wondering why your laces keep coming untied? Or maybe you're looking for some new ways to tie your shoes? Ian's is the place for you. There's even a frequently updated page of shoelaces in the news (example: "a hapless burglar was left hanging upside down against a window after trapping a shoe lace during a break-in"), as well as a Shoelace Urban Myth Warning:

It is widely mis-reported that shoelaces were invented by Harvey Kennedy on 27th March 1790. This date is centuries after shoelaces were in common use and is clearly NOT correct.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Nov 29, 2008 | Comments (5)
Category: Fashion

Other World Kingdom

According to Wikipedia, the Other World Kingdom is "a large commercial BDSM facility, resort and micronation." It's located in a 16th century chateau in the Czech Republic. OWK describes itself as "the private state of supreme women":

The goal of the OWK is to get as many male creatures under the unlimited rule of Superior Women on as much territory as possible. Gradual realization of this goal in its final consequence will mean the introduction of an Absolute Matriarchy - the only righteous social order.

However, the OWK is not a sex resort. According to wipipedia:

The forms of domination appear to be severe, with little if any sensuality or seductive qualities. Psychodrama does not seem to be a concept the ladies there understand or practice. There is reportedly NO sexuality or sexual contact at the OWK, and the behavior seen in videos seems to bear this out.

If this sounds like a place you'd like to visit, you better do so soon. The OWK has recently been put up for sale. The asking price is eight million euros.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Nov 29, 2008 | Comments (3)
Category: Hotels

November 28, 2008

A Hairball, Beetle Larvae, Brian Williams’s Ties

and the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Friday

At a zoo in China, they've supposedly watched gay penguins trick straight penguins out of their eggs (leaving stones in their place). [Ed.: That's what it says here. I only know what I read in the papers.] Daily Telegraph (London)

An Ohio woman gets her writerness on, daily, by waxing baroque about, um, Brian Williams's neckties. Associated Press via Washington Post

Manabu Mizuta, 35, was arrested in Osaka prefecture, charged with releasing hundreds of beetle larvae on a commuter train "to see women get scared and shake their legs." Agence France-Presse

Recurring Themes galore: (1) Another janitor accidentally trashed an underappreciated art project (Bonus: Woman climbed into the Dumpster to look for it); (2) Another incompetent multi-tasker (texting-driving) (Bonus: He won't be doing it again.) (3) Another cat lover with too many (Bonus: "This is the first [case] I've been to where the people were actually sleeping with dead carcasses"); (4) Another girl with a hairball in her stomach. Atlanta Journal-Constitution /// KQRE-TV (Albuquerque) /// Springfield (Ohio) News Sun /// The Times of India

Professor Music's Weird Link o' the Day is a nice place to pass the day browsing some unusual things (architecture, scenery, etc.) . . . and then there's this . . little . . exhibit of mighty pixellation power put to questionable use: Marika Takahashi's Fitness Video.

Today's Newsrangers: P.L. Bartnicki, Paul Music, Gil Nelson, Eli Christman, Jenny Beatty, Stan Rummel, Emory Kimbrough, Ginger Katz, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, Sam Gaines
Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Friday?
Comments 'cycle_081128'
Posted By: Chuck | Date: Fri Nov 28, 2008 | Comments (0)

Encyclopedia of Strange Things

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Strange Things, by Boris Servais, is a book you won't find for sale on Amazon. Servais had it "Produced in Italy by a specialized printer for small-size books, it collects odd discoveries and inventions around nostalgic aviation, astronautics, time trips or science fiction warfare." Below is an example of one of the entries. (via Book By Its Cover)

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Nov 28, 2008 | Comments (4)
Category: Art, Books

Curfew Breakers, or, Hooked

If you decide, after viewing the CURFEW BREAKERS clip, to rent this film, you'll have to look for it on DVD under its alternate title, HOOKED. It's a glorious mess, but not quite as outrageously stupid or weird as some of its ilk.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Nov 28, 2008 | Comments (1)
Category: Cops, Drugs, Education, Family, Juvenile Delinquency, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Movies, 1950's

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Opera is inherently weird: people singing their every speech. But with classical opera, one doesn't notice the effect so much, since they've always been around.

But relatively recent operas, especially with contemporary settings, somehow magnify the weirdness.

Take, for instance, 1964's THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG. A simple love story, it features a script in which every single line is sung. Thus, at about the 3:30 mark in the opening clip below, you can hear the immortal lyric, "Check the ignition on the gentleman's Mercedes."

Apparently, the entire film is available on YouTube in nine parts, for your operatic enjoyment.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Nov 28, 2008 | Comments (3)
Category: Movies, Music, 1960's, Cars

Name That List, #7

What is this a list of? (Googling is cheating.) Click on "More" or "Comments" for the answer.
  • a two-story high cream colored teapot
  • a matching blue vase
  • a giant yellow umbrella
  • an ornamental fishing boat
  • a crescent moon icon

More in extended >>
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Nov 28, 2008 | Comments (5)
Category: Name That List

Christmas Caca, Vampire Banality, Butt Advertising

and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Friday

Catalonia (Spain), where they practice Christmas like no place else
News of the Weird mentioned this once before [NOTW 740, 4-14-2002], in passing, but Der Spiegel now has a full takeout: the centuries-old tradition in Spain's Catalonia region of celebrating defecation in Christmas nativity scenes (Seriously.). There are several theories, e.g., pooping is one thing we all have in common. The classic dumper ("caganer") is a farmer, off to the side in the scene (sorta like a Where's-Waldo thing), but the region's artists have created all kinds of pants-down, squatting figurines, including a certain outgoing POTUS. SpiegelOnline /// Wikipedia (caganer)
Comments 'caganer_christmas'

To be a vampire in America is pretty boring
The "Atlanta Vampire Alliance and its research arm, Suscitatio Enterprises LLC, have been working for two years to collect useful data on the community," reports the Washington Post, and 700 have come forward. (Story spoilers: Many are "psychic" vampires, sucking only "energy" from others, and the "sanguinarian" vampires don't really drink a lot of blood. And "good" vampires operate under the code of the Black Veil, which requires only willing donors. A few sleep in coffins, but only because they're personally into that.) Washington Post /// ///
Comments 'boring_vampires'

British strip club news
(1) The Platinum Lounge in Chester will sell ads (10cm x 15cm) stenciled on dancers' butts. (2) The Lap Dancing Ass'n (!), which fears its clubs' getting re-classified from "entertainment" to "sexual encounter establishments" (which would mean a hefty tax increase) told a Parliamentary committee that sex has nothing to do with their work. "[O]ur premises are not sexually stimulating. It would be contrary to our business plan." Chester Chronicle /// The Guardian
Comments 'british_strippers'

Your Daily Losers
Brandon Ramsey and Hayes Robinson III were arrested in Chipley, Fla., after tossing the same Molotov cocktail at each other. Those things explode when the bottle breaks, spraying the gasoline inside against the burning rag jammed into the top of the bottle. Neither Ramsey nor Robinson seemed aware that Molotov cocktails don't work so well with plastic bottles. Daily News of Northwest Florida
Comments 'ramsey_robinson'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Michael Bessigano will stand trial in January for downloading images of bestiality, following his release from prison earlier this yr for having sex with a chicken. [Ed.: Not that I'm personally worried about this, but the way the story's written, there is a federal law against mere possession of bestiality images, which I find sorta shocking, uh, professionally, that is.] Times of Northwest Indiana (Munster, Ind.)
Comments 'michael_bessigano'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
In Reno, Nev., they say that Fernando Gallegos, 46, is one of the baddest dudes they've ever seen, but sometimes, reputations get established so unfairly, and he could've just been railroaded. Reno Gazette-Journal
Comments 'fernando_gallegos'

More Things to Worry About on Friday

China's Yingkou Donghua Trading Group lost $416m of investors' money so, naturally, the gov't bailed out the company . . uh . . wait . . no, actually, the gov't executed the chairman. Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle

Planned Parenthood of Indiana announced it would sell $25 gift certificates for the holidays, redeemable for such services as contraception, breast exams, and STD screenings (and, yes, that other, uncontroversial thingy they do). WISH-TV (Indianapolis) via WAVY-TV

Current political-correctness wisdom: (1) California kindergarteners couldn't dress up as Indians and pilgrims for Thanksgiving; (2) The Carleton Univ. Students' Assn in Ottawa kicked "cystic fibrosis" off its list of charity-support recipients because almost all those afflicted are white males. Los Angeles Times /// Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

South Africa's National Intelligence Agency is allegedly shelling out $70k to hire 25 traditional healers to cleanse the agency of evil spirits [Ed., to Obama administration: Maybe . . .?] BBC News

Comments on More Things to Worry About on Friday?
Comments 'worry_081128'
Posted By: Chuck | Date: Fri Nov 28, 2008 | Comments (0)
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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.