Weird Universe Archive

December 2008

December 25, 2008

Angry Santa

Here's a treat from weird news of Christmases past. Published in the Miami Herald, Jan 4, 1984:

A disgruntled investor dressed as Santa Claus abducted his broker from a Christmas party and punished him for 12 days in a homemade torture chamber because $500,000 in deals had gone sour, police said Tuesday. Broker Robert J. Haye, 49, of Mount Lebanon was freed by police Monday at a farm 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. He was found chained and handcuffed to a bed in the makeshift torture chamber...
Haye was kept in a small trailer inside the building that contained the bed, an electric chair and a pine box resembling a coffin with spikes inside, police said. He had been drugged and shocked repeatedly, police said.
"Over the 12 days, he was beaten and tortured," said Detective Lt. Leo O'Neill. "His nose was broken. He was placed in the chair at various times and interrogated. He had been given junk food. We were lucky to find the victim alive."

Phillippi was arrested at his home, and police later recovered the Santa Claus suit.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 25, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Crime, Christmas

Rogue Snowman

Merry Christmas! The snowman just burnt the house down.

Hallmark cards has recalled 7000 snowman-shaped snow globes which were acting as magnifying glasses when placed in sunlight and igniting nearby materials. Anyone who owns one of these snow globes is advised to keep it out of the light.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 25, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Products, Christmas

Name That List, #11

What is this a list of? Click on "More" or "Comments" for the answer.
  • A large, ribboned bunch of dried flowers that looked like the wedding bouquet from The Corpse Bride;
  • cast-iron prawns;
  • A breathtakingly tiny set of lingerie;
  • Vast quantities of scented candles;
  • Enough wine and spirits to keep a cellar stocked until the second gold rush;
  • top-quality olive oil;
  • Dodgy-looking mince pies;
  • Slightly used toiletries;
  • Dragon figurine sporting reading glasses and a mortarboard.


More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 25, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Name That List

December 24, 2008

Panda Rap

Posted By: Paul - Wed Dec 24, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Music

Rockin’ & Rollin’ With Santa Claus

Posted By: Paul - Wed Dec 24, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Holidays, Music, 1950s

December 23, 2008

Pictures of Towels

You can find groups on the internet dedicated to just about anything. Still, this one seems to me to be scraping the bottom of the barrel:

Pictures of Towels
This group is for pictures of towels and writing about towels. All types of towels are welcome: bath towels, hand towels, dish towels and tea towels.

Doesn't seem to have had much activity lately. I can't imagine why not.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 23, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Obsessions

Merry Christmas from the Family

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 23, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Holidays, Music, Regionalism, Stereotypes and Cliches

Creative Grooming

The Sandy Paws Grooming Shop of Yucca Valley, CA has won many creative grooming awards. It's not hard to see why:





Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 23, 2008 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals

Cat-Rat Cooperation Disproves Darwin

Chuck's post last week about the guy who trained a rat to sit on top of a cat sitting on a dog, reminded me of the groundbreaking research of Dr. Loh Seng Tsai, conducted back in the late 1940s/early 1950s.

Dr. Tsai trained a cat and a rat to cooperate together in order to get food. From the LA Times, July 15, 1951:

The latest research was done with the aid of special apparatus composed of three sections separated by electrically controlled screen gates. First section is the entrance or release box, where a cat and a rat assemble for a test. The second section is the reaction chamber where cooperation takes place.

To get into the third section, where a dish of food awaits, the cat and mouse must each step on a floor button simultaneously. When this is done by perfect cooperation the gate drops and both animals thus gain admittance to the food chamber.

Dr. Tsai reported that, "Soon all the pairs of cats and rats began to work together. Finally their cooperation was so perfect that they took only three seconds to reach their food from the entrance."

Dr. Tsai figured that these results disproved Darwin's concept of the Survival of the Fittest. He told the LA Times reporter: "In the face of the fact that even alley cats and rats live together, eat together, sleep together, play together and work together, Darwin's theory seems at most only a half-truth."

What's really amazing is that this guy was a professor of biology at first the University of Chicago, then Tulane, then UCLA, and yet he didn't seem to have a clear understanding of what Darwin meant by the Survival of the Fittest. Nor, as far as I can tell, did anyone ever call him out as a crackpot. In fact, there was talk of nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 23, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Science, Experiments

December 22, 2008

Karmic Revenge, Middle-School Bartenders, Slutty Horses

and the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Monday, December 22, 2008 [and the last news post until December 29!]

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Carol Ann McCaleb, 50, New Port Richey, Fla., was arrested most recently for battery. St. Petersburg Times Blogs
Comments 'carol_mccaleb'

Eyewitness News
[news video goin' around]
This is the predictable result when two bus drivers not much good with snow/ice then fail to respect a steep hill. KOMO-TV (Seattle) [scroll down at link for photos]
Comments 'eyewitness_081222'

Professor Music's Weird Link o' the Day
It says here you can actually buy an Artificial Virginity Hymen to stain the sheets just right. Salon /// Gigimo.com
Comments 'artificial_hymen'

More Things to Worry About on Monday

Even in a recession, there's one town so rich that they tip all the municipal employees about $1,000 at Christmastime. Associated Press via Yahoo

Sneezing, doctors found, can be triggered by sunlight, eyebrow-plucking, or, er, thinking about sex. The Independent (London)

Karmic revenge writ large: A fire that killed 100 cats was caused by mice chewing through electrical wiring. Toronto Star

Throwback: Kyle Davies, who makes $427k (probable Kansas City Royals' number-three starting pitcher), actually has a 9-to-5 off-season job. (Bonus: He works construction, is "the most dependable worker you can find.") Kansas City Star

A middle school in Norwalk, Conn., caught three kids selling mixed drinks (seriously) on a school bus. Norwalk Advocate

What's the world coming to? "Kentucky Asks Feds For Help As More Horses Diagnosed With STD" WLWT-TV (Cincinnati)

Two of the hot toys this season are the Gotta Go Doll ($39.99), with the, er, interactive toilet, and Baby Alive ($59.99), which comes with its own food and toilet and "may stain some surfaces" if Baby's got the runs. Washington Post

Today's Newsrangers: Stephen Taylor, Mindy Cohen, Gil Nelson, Sandy Pearlman, Caroline Lawler, Jessica McRorie, Tom Carney, Ian Pert, Ginger Katz, Peter Hine, Sara Scharf
Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Monday?
Comments 'cycle_081222'

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Dec 22, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category:

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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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