Weird Universe Archive

October 2008

October 27, 2008

King of Drunks, Teen-age Punks

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

The lawyer for the world-famous drunk Henry Earl, 58, said his client is checking in voluntarily to four-month rehab. The over/under on sticking it out, though, was probably in the range of three, four days, since a Smoking Gun records search found he's been locked up drunk 1,333 times. Lexington Herald-Leader /// The Smoking Gun

Dining and dashing by these teen gals: Filling out a comment card and leaving it on the restaurant table is OK, as long as you don't forget and sign it with your real name. Bismarck Tribune

Fun spoiled: Long after the annual Asheville (N.C.) Zombie Walk (through town) had been scheduled, for yesterday (maybe 700 living dead expected), Sarah Palin's campaign (and Secret Service!) also scheduled a stop in town. (You can relax.) Citizen-Times (Asheville)

Girlfriend denied him sex, he went upstairs and urinated on her dog . . The Aristocrats! Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc, Wis.)

Sounds Like a Stale 1970s Joke: Another one of those global navigator mindless-obedience mistakes, but, well, it was in Poland. Agence France-Presse via Yahoo

Professor Music's Weird Link
This guy's been keeping score at home on people who set dates on which they're sure the world will end (more than 200, explained). I don't know how authoritative it is, but at least give him credit for commandeering the neat web address Library of Date-Setters of The End of the World

Today's Newsrangers: Candy Clouston, Karl Olson, Jerry Whittle, Erik Gliedman, Julie Kipp Nicholson, Tom Sullivan, Lee Strickler, Sam Gaines
Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Monday?
Comments 'cycle_081027'

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Oct 27, 2008 - Comments (0)

The Academy of Mystic Arts

[From Amazing Science Fiction magazine for August 1973.]

The "Academy for Mystic Arts" which sponsored this ad seems no longer to exist, although there are other, newer organizations with that name. The original Academy has left very few traces behind on the internet, although one lead seems to point to a connection with the famed astrologer named Zolar.

I love the testimony at the end about how relations with the boyfriend have improved. Well, of course they have--you put a zombie spell on him!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Oct 27, 2008 - Comments (9)
Category: New Age, Paranormal, Advertising, 1970s

Follies of the Mad Men #40

[From Life magazine for May 18 1962.]

There's nothing oddball about this ad--except its incredible lameness! Look at those stupid birds that dominate three-quarters of the page. What do they tell the reader about the product? Absolutely nothing! This full-page ad could have run as a tiny spot with the same text at the back of the magazine for a fraction of the cost. And it would have achieved the same results.

Imagine the malicious glee at the ad agency that created this: "We just grossed a hundred K for two blotches of paint!"

Posted By: Paul - Mon Oct 27, 2008 - Comments (12)
Category: Animals, Business, Advertising, 1960s

A Dog with Alzheimer’s, Panties with Banana Plants

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

Chicago Tribune investigation reveals specific men with small dicks
The Tribune found well over 100 men who have publicly but bogusly claimed military medals for bravery. The Trib looked mainly at self-submitted bios in the Who's Who in America series and in newspaper obituaries, and then got those men's military records via the Freedom of Information Act. Then, the Trib called up a lot of them for comments. Responses ranged from full-denial mode, to opening a new round of B.S., to a few soulful admissions. (Also a possibility: A few who never got such medals have actually convinced themselves they did.) Chicago Tribune
Comments 'bogus_medals'

Things people believe (continued)
Indonesian villagers caught an "elder" in the act with a cow, which in that village means only one thing: The cow will have to be towed out to sea and drowned, and the man will have to be on the boat and shed the clothes he was wearing at the time of the act, in order for the whole episode to be cleansed from his soul. (Since the man owned the cow, this remedy caused him a big financial hit, as well.) (Bonus: The cow was pregnant [but, no, no . . ..].) Jakarta Post
Comments 'elder_withcow'

Your Daily Loser
Recurring Theme: Philip Waldbauer, 29, was arrested upon complaining to police that he had just been ripped off when his $10 purchase of "grass" turned out to be grass. Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa)
Comments 'philip_waldbauer'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Lede sentence: "A Newburgh firefighter became an ad hoc surgeon Friday, called upon to use a pneumatic saw to cut a piece of steel pipe off a 73-yr-old man's penis." Delicacy was required. Times Record-Herald (Middletown, N.Y.)
Comments 'penis_ring'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Robert W. Love, facing a prostitution charge in Orlando (though maybe he's not the kind of guy who would do something like that). Orlando Sentinel [Warning: Website has a mugshot gallery that could put a major dent in your productivity today.]
Comments 'robert_love'

More Things to Worry About on Monday

Fine Points of the Law: A federal judge in Los Angeles hit the Mongols street gang where it hurts, in the, uh, logo. Since they're engaged in criminal racketeering, the feds think they have the authority over all the "property" the Mongols use, which includes their registered trademark. Anything with the logo on it gets confiscated. Associated Press via New York Post

Dog with Alzheimer's: Freddie, a 14-yr-old (that's 98) terrier, was pulled aboard by a fisherman about a mile out to sea. He had been walking along the shore and become "disoriented." Daily Mail (London)

They robbed the First Bank in Florissant, Mo., then dashed out onto Interstate 70 for their daring getaway . . right into a massive traffic backup already teeming with cop cars because of an accident. Game over. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Consequences of not teaching physics in high school any more: Three teenagers were treated for burns after one lit a cigarette in their car following a session of huffing. Longmont Times-Call (Longmont, Colo.)

Your daily lesson in the Malay language: Masuk dari buntut [roughly, "enter via the buttocks"]. This came up in a parliamentary Q&A with Malaysia's deputy transport minister about upgrading airport runways. Electric New Paper (Singapore)

Elite anti-smuggling expertise at the airport in Sydney, Australia: Caught a woman trying to sneak three banana plants into the country, in her underwear. (Sydney)

Comments on More Things to Worry About on Monday?
Comments 'worry_081027'

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Oct 27, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Bananas

Lost in Translation

I'm posting this from a Starbucks in Bremen, Germany. (I'd prefer to be in a German cafe, but Starbucks turns out to be the easiest place to find an internet connection.)

Most Germans speak very good English. Which means it's not common to find the kind of bizarre translation errors that are a common feature of Japanese or Chinese English. But they do pop up occasionally. I walked past this sign outside my hotel in Bremen at least ten times before I noticed that something was wrong with it.

This German department store would probably have to change its name if it wanted to open a chain in America.

Finally, when I saw these "Berliners" (jelly donuts) on sale, it reminded me of one of the most famous mistranslation urban legends of all time: the claim that when Kennedy proclaimed "Ich bin ein Berliner" to a crowd in Berlin on June 26, 1963, that he was actually proclaiming he was a jelly donut. Yes, a Berliner is a jelly donut, but the word can also mean a citizen of Berlin, and everyone in the crowd would have known what he meant.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 27, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Regionalism, Signage, Travel

October 26, 2008

Christmas on Mars

Is there a better "mainstream" weird band than the Flaming Lips? Possibly not. And surely their long-awaited feature film Christmas on Mars will be excessively weird as well.

Here's the trailer. Despite the allusion therein to a 2003 release, the delayed film has not yet appeared, although it will have a showing this Halloween in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Oct 26, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Holidays, Movies, Music, Performance Art, Surrealism

October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Drop

The incredible Sandy Pearlman delivers us this gem.

Happy Halloween!

Posted By: Paul - Sat Oct 25, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Agriculture, Customs, Destruction, Holidays, Cars

What Makes Us Tick

Ha-ha-ha-ha! The Stock Market as savior of our nation! (Here in two parts.)

Posted By: Paul - Sat Oct 25, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Money, Cartoons, 1950s

October 24, 2008

Sturdy Raccoons, Soft Skulls, Lame Brains

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

Bonus Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Randy Cummings, 43, sweetheart or not? The Star Press (Muncie, Ind.)
Comments 'randy_cummings'

Who knew? (I): Cop zaps raccoon (in self-defense), but tasers . . don't work on raccoons! Associated Press via Houston Chronicle

Who knew? (II): If a bull stomps on your head, it not only scrambles your brains but can actually leave your skull lopsided. Daily Mail (London)

Everybody knows Americans are cynical about the efficiency of gov't (Iraq reconstruction, Katrina, the economy), but still, it's a little too ballsy if you're on the lam for a murder in Maryland and you dare to truthfully fill out a gun-purchase application (with waiting period) in Virginia, like Barry Roberts, 46, did. Daily Press (Newport News)

Doesn't get it: Arrested for theft in Barre, Vt., and as he's being booked, he tries to steal a photo off the stationhouse bulletin board. Associated Press via Yahoo

Professor Music's Weird Link
Here's yet another person who maybe over-admires something you never really gave much thought to: She has formed the now-100-member Pylon Appreciation Society to pay tribute to those pole complexes that hold up power lines.

Today's Newsrangers: Rahul Dodhia, Perry Levin, Janet Carey, Jayne Boller, B.J. Herbison, Steve Miller, Jamie Anderson, Candy Clouston, Craig Cryer, Phil Daley, Paul Healey, Emmitt Dove, Mark Neunder, Paul Music, Jim Campbell, Stephen Taylor, Mindy Cohen
Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Friday?
Comments 'cycle_081024'

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Oct 24, 2008 - Comments (0)

A Triumph of Nominative Determinism

Nominative Determinism is the term for people whose last names have apparently influenced their destiny. One of the most famous instances is Cardinal Sin of the Phillipines.

But the obituary pages this week bring perhaps the supreme example. Please go read about the death of William Headline, news editor for CNN.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Oct 24, 2008 - Comments (16)
Category: Weird Names, Obituaries

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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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