Weird Universe Archive

August 2008

August 24, 2008

Bowanga Bowanga

BOWANGA BOWANGA, or "The White Sirens of Africa," is a lot less fun over sixty minutes of viewing than this select snippet pretends. So be content with what you see here, and save yourself a rental.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Aug 24, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Fashion, Hollywood, Movies, Nature, Sex Symbols, Foreign Customs, Marriage, 1950s, Dance

They Never Said It

In my 'Odds and Ends' folder on my computer I've got a file called "They Never Said It." In it I put every example I come across of a famous line of dialogue that was never said by the fictional character it's attributed to. It's a fairly short list so far (a list of misquoted real-life people would be much longer), but this is what I've got:

"Beam me up, Scotty."
Never said by Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek television series.

"Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts."
The signature line of Sgt. Joe Friday, lead character of the 1950s' television drama Dragnet. The closest he ever came to saying it was, "All we want are the facts, ma'am."

"Elementary, my dear Watson."
Never uttered by Sherlock Holmes in any of Arthur Conan Doyle's writings (though Holmes does, once, say 'Elementary'). The phrase was first used in a Sherlock Holmes movie in 1929.

"Play it again, Sam."
The actual line said by Ingrid Bergman's character in Casablanca is, "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'."

"What is it, girl? Timmy's fallen in the well?"
It's the signature line from the Lassie TV series, but it was never uttered. Timmy never fell down a well.

"Greed is good."
Attributed to Michael Douglas's character Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. The actual line is "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." Though in the trailer for the movie the line was shortened to "Greed is good."

"You dirty rat."
James Cagney's most famous line that he never said. The actual line from the 1932 film Taxi! is "Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I'll give it to you through the door!"

"Judy, Judy, Judy."
Cary Grant's most quoted line. The closest he ever came to saying this was in the movie Only Angels Have Wings, in which his character's former girlfriend was called Judy and he said things such as, "Hello, Judy" or "Come on, Judy."

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 24, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Literature, Movies, Television

August 23, 2008

It Takes a Weirdo to Know a Weirdo

Under the aegis of my pal, Gorgeous and Brilliant Editor Ann VanderMeer, the legendary magazine WEIRD TALES is entering a renaissance. But Ann & company surely haven't forgotten the past, as they've compiled a list of the 85 weirdest storytellers of the past 85 years, to celebrate the zine's long existence.

And perhaps you won't be entirely surprised to learn that our own Chuck Shepherd made their honor roll! Don't let that sunny, smiling countenance to the right trick you into imagining he's not the equal of Stephen King or Warren Zevon!

Way to go, Chuck! H. P. Lovecraft is beaming down on you from above. Or up at you from below. Or through the cracks of the spacetime continuum.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 23, 2008 - Comments (7)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Celebrities, Eccentrics, Horror, Magazines, Pop Culture, Weird Universe, Chuck

The Birds

A year ago, when I read this article about a local couple whose house was besieged and befouled by vultures, I just shrugged it off.

But now, encountering fresh news about a horde of filthy egrets, I realize that everything Alfred Hitchcock tried to warn us about is coming true!

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 23, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Hygiene, Excrement, Movies, War

August 22, 2008

Listening to Reverse Lyrics

Are musicians placing hidden (often Satanic) reverse lyrics in their music? It's an old controversy, but also one that can offer an interesting psychological demonstration of the power of perceptual expectation. Which means, in plain English, that our brain makes our ears hear what it expects to hear.

Check out Jeff Milner's site devoted to backmasking. He has samples of popular songs. First play the songs forward. Then listen to them reversed. They probably sound like gibberish.

But next click the button to reveal the reverse lyrics that you're supposed to be able to hear and listen to the reversed music again. You should now be able to "hear" the reverse lyrics... because your brain is expecting to hear them. The British Psychological Society's blog writes:

Once the expectations for what to hear are in place, they can't be undone. You can't unhear the devilish lyrics once you know about them. This is a powerful demonstration of how our perceptual experiences are based not just on what is served up by our senses, but also on what our brains bring to the table.

My favorite reverse lyric was the one in Pink Floyd's Empty Spaces.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 22, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Music, Psychology

Follies of the Mad Men #14

Yes, we believe our clients are dumber than a sack of troll dolls, and are not afraid to insult them to their faces.

This illustration, by the way, comes from the great Abner Dean.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 22, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Business, Advertising, Insurance, Death, Explosives, Pets, Dogs, Stupidity

The Split Atom

Collecting weird books is one of my hobbies. And I'm not alone, as you can see from this site.

Surely the novel depicted here, which I purchased a month ago at an SF convention, is museum-worthy. Amazingly in this day and age, I can't find any info about it or its author online. Thankfully, the previous owner xeroxed a page about the author and left it inside the book for me to reproduce here.

I can hardly wait to sit down with this one!

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 22, 2008 - Comments (9)
Category: Eccentrics, Futurism, Literature, Books, Science Fiction, War, Weapons, 1940s

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Friday

It had to happen: a fight club to make Chuck Palahniuk's seem for sissy boys
Electrically charged knives hum and crackle as two fighters circle each other on the gym floor, slashing and kicking out. Closing in, they throw punches and swing elbows before crashing to the mat to grapple as the crowd cheers them on. One slips a hand free and sends a several thousand volt jolt into his opponent's ribs to end the fight. Two more fighters quickly take their place, swinging hefty sticks, thwacking, punching, and head-butting each other in a brutal battle accompanied by the rhythmic thumping of drums.
This would be the Los Angeles-area Dog Brothers fight club. No referees, few rules. You can wear a fencing mask. Yee-oww. Reuters //
Comments 'dog_brothers'

If Larry Pollard weren't busy helping Michael Peterson, he'd be one of those 9-11 conspiracy guys
Michael Peterson was convicted of killing his wife in 2001 by whomping her with a fireplace poker, but his pal Larry Pollard had a theory that he's stuck with since then, that it was actually an owl gone bad that attacked her, and now he's found a investigator's report that a microscopic piece of feather was found at the crime scene so there ya go! And now that he's looked again at all the evidence against Michael, he sees some things that nobody else seemed to see during Peterson's 14-week trial in Durham with high-paid lawyers! News & Observer (Raleigh)
Comments 'larry_pollard'

Doctor's double-whammy: First, his indecent-exposure conviction was upheld, and second, everybody in Houston knows he's only got "2.8" inches
Fortunately, he has kids at home so the Houston Chronicle doesn't name him, to spare them schoolyard abuse. But, yeah, the Court of Appeals let stand his conviction for fooling around with an undercover officer in a men's room. He tried to say he's too small to have flashed anybody, but the really embarrassing part is his other defense (of innocent explanation), that within a minute or two of meeting a perfect stranger in a men's room, he'd offer to pull up his shirt and compare stomach muscles. Houston Chronicle
Comments '2point8_inches'

Update: That condemned man in Texas gets a 6-month reprieve
A federal judge stayed the execution mentioned here yesterday, ruling that there is an obvious issue of whether Jeffrey Wood is insane. The U.S. Supreme Court has barred the execution of insane people, but Texas law requires that such an insane person prove that he is insane in order to get a hearing on whether he is insane. Federal judge Orlando Garcia says that is "insane." New York Times
Comments 'texas_insane'

Your Daily Loser
William Nguyen, 24, arrested in New Orleans for armed robbery, wrote in a very emphatic confession that the only reason he did it was to bring himself to the attention of Det. Sgt. Roy Phillips of NOPD because, quote, "I WANT TO BE A C.I. ASAP" (meaning confidential assistant [CORRECTION: "informant," of course, not "assistant"], as soon as possible, with those six letters repeatedly underlined). Times-Picayune
Comments 'william_nguyen'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Brandon Bagnes, 31, of suburban Salt Lake City, has a problem with kids and a problem with diapers. His mom says the latter is a medical problem, but the long arm of the law says the problems are one and the same. KCPX-TV (Salt Lake City)
Comments 'brandon_bagnes'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Mr. Igor Kenk has been charged in Toronto with having stolen bicycles in his shop . . as many as, er, 2,396. Police haven't figured out yet exactly what his angle was. But all that's irrelevant to us; we just need to see what the dude looks like. New York Times
Comments 'igor_kenk'

More Things to Worry About on Friday
In Ohio, some election officials are so concerned about keeping voting machines secure that they, er, take them home at night during election season (a "sleepover") to, uh, guard them . . . . . At the Muslim shrine of Khan Jahan Ali in Bangladesh, where pilgrims throw sacrifices (hens, usually) into a five-crocodile pond for blessings, one croc forcibly accepted pilgrim Rubel Sheikh as its blessed lunch . . . . . News That Sounds Like a Joke: Britain's Nat'l Health Service reduced fees paid to dentists, and now, two yrs later, a big drop in crowns and a corresponding rise in extractions! . . . . . The cameraman on that notorious Baltimore "Stop Snitching" video of a couple of yrs ago was sentenced to 30 yrs on drug and gun crimes (Bonus: Yep, somebody snitched on him). Today's Newsrangers: Bob Pert, Gary Goldberg, Christopher Nalty, Tim Farley, Stephen Taylor, Liana McGowan
Comments 'worry_080822'

Editor's Notes
(1) For those on the DailyWeird e-mail list: It appears that certain e-mail platforms do not support the clickable links that you get on this page (and in RSS feeds). I fiddled around with the settings yesterday, which is why you got several copies of yesterday's e-mail. The good thing about Google Groups is that it's free; the bad thing is that if you can't get it to plug 'n' play, you're SOL because there's no support, whatsoever. Please, if you subscribe to DailyWeird, and you do NOT receive clickable links, please send me a message (a) only from the e-mail address on your Google Account and (b) only to this address, for this mission only: [email protected]. Please write me at that address only, and please do not store that address because I'm going to close the box soon. Thank you for your help. (2) In fact, here's a reward for reading this far. Last week, The Smoking Gun posted this police report from Broomfield, Colo., that you probably didn't see: the "massage parlor" arrest of the 48-yr-old Ms., er, Mi Sook Yoo. (3) Reminder: During August, no Saturday post of Chuck's Hand-Picked Overnights.
Comments 'editors_080822'

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Aug 22, 2008 - Comments ()

August 21, 2008

Third Eye Camera

Designed by Wayne Martin Belger:

4”x5” camera made from Aluminium, Titanium, Brass, Silver, Gem Stones and a 150 year old skull of a 13 year old girl. Light and time enters at the third eye, exposing the film in the middle of the skull.

But does it come with a tripod?

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 21, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Photography and Photographers, Technology

A Bicycle Built For Two

This is a classic (and quite famous) weird photo.

Charles Tripp, the "Armless Wonder," performed with Barnum's circus. He could do just about anything with his feet, including shaving and carving wood. Eli Bowen was known as the "Legless Acrobat." He also toured with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. It was when the two of them paired up together that they achieved the peak of their popularity. This photo apparently happened spontaneously. From
While the pair posed for promotional photographs one of them spotted a tandem bicycle. In no time at all the two gents not only mounted the bicycle-built-for-two, but rode off together laughing as boys would. The photographer quickly snapped the pair mid-ride and the resulting surreal photograph still draws perplexed smiles.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 21, 2008 - Comments ()
Category: Human Marvels, Photography and Photographers, Theater and Stage

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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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