Weird Universe Archive

July 2008

July 27, 2008


This fellow has many cuspidors.

This museum actually wants them.

Two simple facts. Yet what a wealth of weirdness.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 27, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Agriculture, Customs, Eccentrics, Hygiene, Museums, Obsessions, Regionalism

“Now It’s Personal!”


I took this photo yesterday on my walk around Providence. It's an abandoned factory that used to be a Florist Supply Center. Actually, I have a personal connection with this building. Thirty-five years ago, one college summer, I drove an ice-cream truck. This building was the ice-cream wholesaler where I would restock.

In any case, it's half-gutted now and unreachable behind a fence. I was disappointed, because I wanted to capture the weird graffiti I could see. But I took a shot from the street, and, with magnification, the spray-painted message faintly visible right-of-center in the big photo does indeed show up. (And actually, if you click twice on the whole photo, you can see the legend in context.)

What can this possibly mean? The building shows a little fire damage. Maybe the owner suspected arson, and was warning the culprit.

Any suggestions welcome!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 27, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Graffiti

Monkey Pig Scares Chinese

Chinese villager Feng Changlin is now the proud owner of a very strange-looking monkey-like piglet. In medieval times, the birth of such a pig might have been considered an omen of impending disaster. Now it just makes headlines on Ananova.

Back in July 2005 there were reports that the Chinese were planning to send pig sperm into space aboard the Shenzhou VI spacecraft. The plan was to expose the sperm to cosmic rays and microgravity and then fertilize pigs back on earth with it -- just to see what would happen. But to my knowledge, there were never any follow-up reports about the experiment. Could there be a link between the space-pig experiment and Feng Changlin's monkey-pig? Inquiring minds want to know.

On a more down-to-earth note, if you're interested in odd-looking creatures (and who isn't?) check out Sarah Hartwell's incredible site,

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 27, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals

Own your own mankini

This post is specially for Paul, since I know he's a big fan of mankinis. For only $17.99 you too can show off your stuff in a bright green mankini next time you're at the pool or beach. Available from Amazon.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 27, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Fashion

July 26, 2008

They’ll Do It Every Time

When I was a kid, I loved the comic strip THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME, by Jimmy Hatlo. It was one of my first introductions to poking fun at irrational or weird human behavior.

What I did not quite realize is that the strip had a revival under artist Al Scaduto. But unfortunately, he passed away on December 8, 2007, and his last strip ran on February 3, 2008.

Here's an archive of that current version.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 26, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Comics, Customs, History, Newspapers, 1920s

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Saturday

Top 10 improbable religious artifacts
This is Fox News's selection (including Jesus's image on the fish stick and the fish bone), but original links aren't provided, and actually, Chuck can do better. [WeirdU Ed.: Then, why don't you, huh?] All U.S. readers of Weird Universe have one thing in common with the people who are certain that these sightings are "signs": In November, your votes will count no more than theirs. Fox News
Comments 'improbable_jesus'

British prosecutor, age 56 and on disability leave for a year, is trying to pick up side work as a nude model
Clifford Allison, 56, actually will take any show-business work, from acting to voiceovers, but there is his model portfolio, right there on his website, including a nude-perched-on-stool pose. Daily Mail (London) [modest, but maybe Not Safe for Work]
Comments 'naked_prosecutor'

"This case highlights the importance of having comprehensive [health] insurance"
Er, for pets. That was an executive of the insurer PetPlan, referring to Briton Tanya Dickson's cat Hetty, who needed complex facial reconstruction following a run-in with a car (broken jaw, dislocated nasal cavity). She didn't have insurance, and the meter reads £7.5K so far. Daily Telegraph (London)
Comments 'pet_insurance'

The secret to tastier tuna: acupuncture 'em
Calm tuna thrash less during the check-out process, which purifies the blood and improves the flavor, says the president of Osaka's Osakana Planning Company, whose family would appreciate it if you would please believe him. The company already massages its cows and sets its dogs to dancing [WeirdU Ed.: We don't know whether Osakana ultimately does the same thing to the dogs that it does to the cows and the tuna] The Times (London)
Comments 'acupuncture_tuna'

Art that was too explicit to show in 1947 now presents a new problem
The oil painting, Newport Nude, done by a prominent artist but stuffed away for 60 yrs because the model was topless, has finally been dusted off for a show at a Welsh gallery—except now it's being badmouthed because, in the model's hand at the far left of the frame is, God forbid, a cigarette! The Times (London) [Not Safe for Work]
Comments 'newport_nude'

Readers' Choice
Keith Walendowski (who well may be innocent; you'll have to evaluate his mugshot) was arrested in Milwaukee for blasting his dysfunctional lawn mower with a sawed-off shotgun. "It's my lawn mower and my yard, so I can shoot it if I want," he argued, but police said the gun is illegal. It's especially bad since Keith had allegedly been "drinking all morning" before the 9:30 a.m. incident. Journal Sentinel
Comments 'shotgun_lawnmower'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Wyne Johnson [Ed.: I know what you're thinking, but it's Wyne], 17, was picked up by police in the lingerie section of a Belk department store in Macon, Ga., wanking. He said, well, he had just talked to his girlfriend on the phone and "couldn't help himself." Macon Telegraph
Comments 'wyne_johnson'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Ryan Halverson, 18, Freeport, Tex., might possibly have been drunk when cops picked him up and might also have leaned over and licked the arresting cop's face while being searched. KVUE-TV (Austin)
Comments 'ryan_halverson'

More Things to Worry About on Saturday
"Starving Bears Eat Russian Guards" [Sydney Morning Herald headline, on the 30 salmon-starved bears on Russia's Pacific coast that have cornered platinum-mine workers] . . . . . Gwinnett County, Ga., inspectors decided it was close, but that the Super Grand Buffet was cleaner than the Mar y Tierra Family Mexican Restaurant, by a score of 15 to 13 in the 100-point health department evaluation (and both were shut down on the spot) . . . . . Sheriff's deputies went into full red alert after Deltona, Fla., city commissioner Zenaida Denizac found a doll with her photo stuck to its face, along with several voodoo-ish pins sticking in it [link has video]. Today's Newsrangers: Mindy Cohen, Stephen Taylor, Scott Langill, Sam Gaines, and oh-so-many contributors of the Readers' Choice story.
Comments 'worry_080726'

Posted By: Chuck - Sat Jul 26, 2008 - Comments (0)

July 25, 2008

Life Imitates The Simpsons:  The Sip Joint

As anyone who has endured five minutes of conversation with me knows, I'll often relate real-life events to The Simpsons. That show, like the Bible and the works of Shakespeare, has now reached a canonical mass such that you may find a textual reference applicable to any real-world situation.

Today's printed version of THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL offers me another such occasion. There's an article headlined "Police Raid After-Hours 'Sip Joint' in Silver Lake." Inexplicably, though, this piece is not online, so far as I can google. But the barebones of the tale is told in a subheading. "A 17-year-old male who was allegedly caught dispensing beer has been referred to the Youth Services Bureau for prosecution in Family Court."

An older article which is still available gives us this definition of a "sip joint."

"A sip joint, according to the police, is a place where a bar is set up — usually a house — for the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages at times when bars are closed."

Now, I've often been strapped for cash, but I've never once thought of setting up a tavern in my residence. Yet to geniuses like Homer Simpson, such a plan is their first instinct, as we saw at the end of this episode.

The term "sip joint" itself seems exceedingly rare, and perhaps limited to Rhode Island.

Can readers supply instances of this practice, and what it's called, from their own regions?

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 25, 2008 - Comments (18)
Category: Business, Crime, Stupid Criminals, Domestic, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Regionalism

“Go away or I’ll shoot myself!”

I believe that in Bank Robbery 101, the student is generally taught that when a heist goes sour, one should snatch a hostage and threaten to kill he, she or it. But our boy in this case was obviously not in class the day that lesson was taught. When cornered by police, he instead chose to take what our Illustrious Weirdo Chuck Shepherd has termed "the only way out."

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 25, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Stupid Criminals, Death, Guns

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Friday

Update: San Francisco's sanctuary-for-illegals caca hits the fan
Bad enough that minors who are drug-runners get shielded by the city from deportation [NOTW Daily, 7-2-2008]. It came out yesterday, at a court hearing, that back on June 22, a San Fran illegal gunned down three people in a road-rage incident. The shooter apparently had been arrested at least three times, and convicted of at least two felonies, but had avoided deportation because San Fran doesn't approve of federal immigration laws. (Bonus: Besides, the shooter is reportedly a member of the absolutely vicious MS-13 Salvadorean gang.) Associated Press via ABC News
Comments 'sanctuary_illegals'

Update: Formula One head Max Mosley won his "Nazi orgy" trial
The big news, though, was how sweepingly he won. The judge could have ruled for him on the narrower issue of the improper characterization of his dominatrix session as "Nazi"-related, but he went much further: The press has no right, said the judge, to investigate private-type behavior unless a "significant crime" is involved (and this one wasn't). That standard is of course way-different from America's. Daily Telegraph (London)
Comments 'mosley_decision'

To some Israeli Ulta-Orthodox, MP3 players are fine, but MP4s are tools of terrorism
MP4 players (that play video) are widely available in Jerusalem, but for some reason the Ultra group Sicarii decided to hassle this one store, screaming "Terrorists! Terrorists!" out front (referring to the employees). Similarly, to Sicarii: Cell phones OK; text-messaging, evil. Ha'aretz [LINK CORRECTED]
Comments 'mp4_terrorists'

Your Daily Loser
A pathetically unathletic woman in her 20s in London swiped the purse of a 78-yr-old woman and took off running, but granny chased her down and got it back. (Well, actually, she's the granny of an Olympic sprinter, but still, she's 78.) Daily Telegraph (London)
Comments 'granny_chased'

More Things to Worry About on Friday
Self-employed Welsh housepainter Gordon Williams was ticketed for smoking in his van, which is not illegal, except that it is in his case because there's no smoking in the "workplace" . . . . . A 79-yr-old man, sitting in his car observing the steeple being mounted on the new church in Oklahoma City, was killed when the crane lifting it fell over on top of him . . . . . Patients at the Orthopaedic Hospital in a suburb of Milwaukee are a little nervous, since a half-dozen vultures have begun perching on the window ledges . . . . . There's Your Problem Right There: At a minor-league baseball brawl in Dayton, Ohio, a fan was hospitalized after a pitcher for the visitors, throwing at the Dayton dugout, missed and beaned him [I mean, forget the "strike zone"; that pitcher was missing the whole dugout that night] . . . . . Researchers at the Univ. of Cardiff (Wales) made a big-deal presentation on how city streets need to be designed with drunks in mind because they're in danger if they have to stagger around dark, narrow streets and alleys (Seriously).
Comments 'worry_080725'

Editor's Notes:
It appears that I, er, got the facts, um, backward on Wednesday (July 23). The truck driver committing the sat-nav error from Turkey to Gibraltar actually intended to go to Gibraltar, like Rock of Gibraltar, yet wound up in some rural area called Gibraltar-something-or-other in the UK. Not the reverse. Bad Chuck! Today's Newsrangers: Tom Barker, Sam Gaines, Bob Pert, Jerry Whittle, Matt Mirapaul, Bill McCarthy

Comments 'editors_080725'

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Jul 25, 2008 - Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

Hail the Conquering Hero!

Feast your eyes upon a true local hero! He achieved a personal best, nigh-terminal DUI rating of .489, as you can read here.

As the authorities reveal: “'He is in a very small class of people because most people — even heavy drinkers — would be unconscious or approaching death to get up to .5. The danger with this guy is that with that kind of tolerance, you may appear to be fine one moment and unconscious the next.'

"Dasgupta said that for a man to reach a level of .491, he would have had to be drinking whiskey, rum or tequila — 6 to 10 shots — within two or three hours."

But Mr. Stanley Kobierowski also attained the honor of notching up the highest such rating ever recorded in my humble state of Little Rhody.

Way to go, dude!

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 24, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime, Stupid Criminals, Inebriation and Intoxicants, World Records, Cars

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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