Weird Universe Archive

December 2008

December 29, 2008

A Clown in the Restroom, Plus America’s Least Competent Bank Regulator

More Things to Worry About Today
from News of the Weird Daily, Monday, December 29, 2008

Darrel Dochow, who is apparently the type of bank regulator that America deserves, was put on leave while they investigate his having let the IndyMac Bank backdate a major document this yr so it could avoid triggering gov't scrutiny; Dochow had worked his way back up the ladder after his demotion for screwing up the regulation of the Lincoln Savings & Loan in 1989. Los Angeles Times

The organizers of one of those "taste of" festivals (delicious dishes of Hobart, Australia) thought it'd improve the fair-goer's experience to station a clown in the restrooms, reading poetry. The Mercury (Hobart)

An East London schoolteacher who was choked by a student lamented that the reason no colleague stepped up to rescue him was the culture of teachers' fear that touching a student would bring a lawsuit for assault. Daily Mail

In other UK education news, "hundreds" of schools have been instructed to refrain from marking student papers in red, which is "confrontational" and "demotivating" (with green or pink the more soothing choice). Daily Mail

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Latisse, a prescription drug whose main use is to promote eyelash growth. Reuters

A Vietnam war hero and former Navy Dept. official, Wade Sanders, 67, pleaded to possession of child porn, offering the Pete Townshend defense that his motive was "pure and innocent," that he was just researching the mistreatment of children. San Diego Union-Tribune /// The Guardian (Townshend story)

From the Daily News of Northwest Florida: "When the homeowner asked the [trespassing] woman what she was doing . . . she left the yard in anger, knocking over a dryer located . . . in the front yard. Then she threw her broom in the neighbor's yard." Daily News of Northwest Florida

Those of us of the Reading-Books Persuasion lament the financial condition of independent booksto– . . . well, we needn't worry about Quail Ridge Books & Music of Raleigh, N.C., whose owner just admitted that he had no idea an employee had embezzled $350k over the last 3 yrs. News & Observer

Manhole cover designs might be interesting to look at, but as always, some people take it too far (in Japan, of course). Mainichi Daily News

Comments on Things to Worry About?
Comments 'worry_081229'

Your Daily Loser
Randy Shoopman Jr., 33, was arrested in California but accused back home in Tahlequan, Okla., of five burglaries, and will be extradited. Police got his DNA from his tobacco spit, which he hocked on the floor at each crime scene. Associated Press via Dallas Morning News
Comments 'randy_shoopman'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Christopher Sefakis, 41, was arrested in South Lebanon, Ohio, on an Internet sex sting about a half-hour after he was at the police station registering as a sex offender from his previous conviction in an Internet sex sting. (Bonus: He parked in the same parking space as the first time and was arrested by the same cop.) Cincinnati Enquirer
Comments 'christopher_sefakis'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Pastor Kenneth Huneycutt, 60, might have molested those two little boys, but on the other hand, he might be just an innocent, helpless victim of his blood-pressure medication. Daily Oklahoman
Comments 'kenneth_huneycutt'

Professor Music's Weird Links
Michael Mararian . . might need professional help. According to him, he has a "poetic propensity for taking traditionally cheerful images and concepts [of children] and turning them into frightening, yet humorous, tableaus." In other words, he gleefully draws kids experiencing underwear-soiling terror. Inkydreadfuls.Citymax.com
Comments 'michael_mararian'

Today's Newsrangers: Ginger Katz, Tom Barker, Dave Shepardson, Nicholas Wells, Michael Ravnitzky, Larry Seltzer, Steve Miller, Sandy Pearlman, Mark Neunder

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Dec 29, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category:

Guide to Bovine Reproduction

There's a lot of good information to be found over at the Visual Guide to Bovine Reproduction. For instance,

Estrus detection: "The cow that stands to be mounted is the cow in heat. Cows are bisexual, hence may be mounted by a bull or another cow. Standing to be mounted is the gold standard of estrus detection."

And also:

Cow Eating Placenta: "It is not uncommon for a cow to eat her fetal membranes. This may cause digestive problems. It is an old-wives tale that the fetal membranes contain hormones that will benefit uterine involution. Some believe that it is the instinct of the cow "remove the evidence" to discourage predators."

What I find strange is the design of the site. For some reason, you don't really expect a guide to bovine reproduction to have fancy scrolling menus.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 29, 2008 - Comments (8)
Category: Animals

The Number 47

47, as wikipedia notes, is "the natural number following 46 and preceding 48". There are some other interesting things about the number:
  • There exists a 47 society... which propagates the belief that the number forty-seven occurs in nature with noticeably higher frequency than other natural numbers, that it is the quintessential random number.
  • The number 47, its reverse of 74, or a multiple of 47 occurs in some way or other in almost every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its spin-offs Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • 47 is the telephone dialing country code for Norway

Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 29, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Television

The High-Tipping Priest, Freelance Superheroes, Traumatic Insemination

News of the Weird Daily
Monday, December 29, 2008

One of New York City's highest-tipping clubgoers is an Episcopal priest
Well, he also has a side business selling meds for hemophiliacs. "I work hard. I make good money. How I spend it, that's my business," said Fr. Gregory Malia, 43, who drives in often from his Pennsylvania parish. Once, he bought a"$35k" bottle of champagne at the club, which came with an auto-tip of $7k for the server, and he kicked in another $10k for the lady. Apparently, there's good Blue Cross money in hemophilia meds (and Blue Cross sued to get some of it back). New York Daily News
Comments 'hightipping_priest'

Free-lance superheroes on the loose
In Orlando, a 'hood is patrolled by Master Legend and the Ace; in Arizona, it's the Green Scorpion; in Mountain View, Calif., the Eye; and that's just a few, according to the World Superhero Registry. No eccentric billionaires on the list. Just caped crusaders taking on crime. Rolling Stone
Comments 'freelance_superheroes'

The "traumatic insemination" of the female deep-sea squid
It's pitch black more than a mile down, so it's hard to find a mate anyway, but then for the smaller male, it's a demolition derby to get the sperm inside the female, and she finds the experience so awful that she gives motherhood just one shot, period. Said one researcher, "Reproduction is no fun if you're a squid." For one thing, the sperm deposit can be 3% of the female's total body weight. For another, in some species, there's no receptacle; the male just slashes her open somewhere and shoves the sperm in with his up-to-3-ft-long penis. For another, he could miss and accidentally stab himself, because it's dark. Spiegel Online
Comments 'squid_insemination'

NATO allies make Afghanistan safe for, er, dogfighting
The Taliban outlawed it, but it's back, twice a week in Kabul and in other places, a centuries-old tradition crucial to owners' community bragging rights. One saving grace: The dogs (mostly mastiff breeds) don't fight to the death, but just until one taps out (backs off, tail between legs). New York Times
Comments 'afghan_dogfighting'

Making diesel fuel from liposuctioned fat
Here's where Hollywood can go genuinely green (and not just fatuously bluster): A Beverly Hills surgeon said he's turned patients' fat into fuel for his and his girlfriend's SUVs (a gallon for a gallon). That'd be even better than rich women's lipo'd fat being used to make beauty soap sold to rich women, as in Fight Club. There's a problem with the surgeon, though, 'cause he's in some litigation trouble and might be just blowing smoke. Maybe it's legit, though. Forbes
Comments 'liposuctioned_diesel'

DIY genetic engineering: It's not rocket science, apparently
Ordinary biology majors, using store-bought equipment, are supposedly doing rudimentary life-form-altering in their own basements. Right now, it's just stuff like transfering the fluorescent gene into forms where it doesn't belong, but you're entitled to get a little nervous here. Associated Press via Yahoo
Comments 'diy_genetics'

Luckily, the public orgy scheduled for Tel Aviv has been canceled
Our friends the Raelians (the sexuality-intensive "religion" based on strange visitors from another planet) (no, not the e-meter people, the other guys) had hoped to bring 250 people together to all have happy endings at the same time on January 22 to show the power of the orgasm to foster world peace. And this was way before Israel attacked Gaza! So now, if the orgy were still on, they'd surely need more than 250 orgasms to whip such a massive military show. Ynet News (Tel Aviv)
Comments 'orgy_telaviv'

F State gov't workers pile onto a public-treasury-busting loophole
NOTW reported last yr that a high official in one county had officially retired, sat out 30 days, and come back at the same job with the same pay (in addition to his full retirement benefits). In some states, once word got out like that, "the people" would have repaired the loophole. In the F State, not so much. There are now at least 9,397 people frolicking in the loophole, including 220 elected officials and a few high-ranking state judges. St. Petersburg Times
Comments 'florida_doubledipping'

Editor's Note
For this holiday week, the daily news feed will be limited to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with five-day posting returning Monday, January 5th. News feeds will continue to be in two parts, with the familiar regular features ("Your Daily Jury Duty") in the afternoon posts. Onward!

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Dec 29, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category:

December 27, 2008

Jesus Freak Documentary

A fascinating time capsule from 1971. Thirty minutes long, but watch at least the first five or so.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 27, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Bums, Hobos, Tramps, Beggars, Panhandlers and Other Streetpeople, Drugs, Eccentrics, Family, Children, Parents, Hygiene, Nature, New Age, Pop Culture, Religion, 1970s, Facial Hair, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

December 26, 2008

Worst. Spy Movie. Ever.

1) Incoherent script.

2) Lame humor.

3) No chemistry between Peck and Loren.

4) Primary villain looks like Peter Sellers as Inspector Clousseau.

5) Sophia Loren as an Arab.

6) Gregory Peck takes a psychedelic trip on a bicycle.

7) Secondary villain uses term "daddy-o" excessively.

8) Poison eyedrops.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 26, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Movies, Stupidity, 1960s

Finnish Railways Ad

I think this might be an advertisement for improvements in Finland's Railway System.

On the other hand, it could be the trailer for a new Tolkien-style fantasy involving petrified swamp cherubs, the skinnier younger brother of Colonel Sanders, stone giants that become the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and the Joker's Mother.


Finnish Railways - New age of trains from Misko Iho on Vimeo.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 26, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: PSA’s, Foreign Customs, Fantasy, Transportation, Europe

Death Laid an Egg

I've never seen this movie, but the plot summary sounds promising:

A love triangle develops between three people who run a high tech chicken farm. It involves Anna (who owns the farm), her husband Marco (who kills prostitutes in his spare time) and Gabriella (the very beautiful secretary). Marco continues to kill as jealousy becomes more prevalent on the farm.

It was released in Italy in 1968 as Morte ha fatto l'uovo and in the US as Death Laid an Egg. Looks like the soundtrack is available on Amazon, but not the movie itself. The trailer is on YouTube:

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 26, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Movies

Electrocution

Flickr user Bre Pettis has posted a photoset: 30 Ways to Die of Electrocution.

Watch out for those Christmas trees!

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 26, 2008 - Comments (7)
Category: Death

December 25, 2008

Merry (Weird) Christmas!

image

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 25, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Holidays, Religion, Royalty, Children, Foreign Customs, 1970s

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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.

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