Weird Universe Archive

January 2009

January 23, 2009

Electronic Drink Caddie

I'm sure everyone recalls when Alex revealed to us the Uroclub, a mock golf club allowing the user to discreetly pee through the shaft.

Well, I hope that any golfer who employs both the Uroclub and the Electronic Drink Caddie does not mix them up by mistake, either drinking from the Uroclub or pissing into the Drink Caddie.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 23, 2009 - Comments (5)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Sports, Products


We are approaching, in 2011, the one-hundredth anniversary of the creation of Fantomas, villianous antihero adored by the French. But something about Fantomas just doesn't translate to American tastes, and he's never been popular here.

Somehow I don't think this trailer from Fantomas's 1964 self-titled film will help win over the US audience.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 23, 2009 - Comments (4)
Category: Costumes and Masks, Movies, Scary Criminals, Foreign Customs, 1910s

Name That List, #13

What is this a list of? Click on "More" or "Comments" for the answer.
  • Acorn Woodpecker
  • Black-rumped Flameback
  • Blue-bellied Roller
  • Blue Tit
  • Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  • Chinstrap Penguin
  • Eurasian Oystercatcher
  • European Shag
  • Gray-breasted Jay
  • Greenshank
  • Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock
  • Masked Lovebird
  • Peach-faced Lovebird
  • Red-faced Lovebird
  • Redshank

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 23, 2009 - Comments (13)
Category: Name That List

January 22, 2009

Follies of the Mad Men #53

Animal abuse: not a guaranteed winning strategy for your advertisement.

Also: isn't BMW supposed to be a classy car, not the goofball's favorite?

Hamster Crash Commercial - MyVideo

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 22, 2009 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Business, Advertising, Europe, Cars

The Camisards

A group of fanatical religious terrorists, holed up in their mountain redoubts and battling an occupying government. Surely this description must apply to some modern-day group and situation, such as in Afghanistan, or perhaps Africa...? And the terrorists will in all likelihood be Islamic, right?

Well, not all the time.

Consider the French Protestant dissenters known as the Camisards.

I learned about this historical incident from reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey. (You can find the entire text of the book here.) Stevenson traveled through the region once ruled by the Camisards, and evoked the romance of their rebellion.

There, a hundred and eighty years ago, was the chivalrous Roland, "Count and Lord Roland, generalissimo of the Protestants in France," grave, silent, imperious, pock-marked ex-dragoon, whom a lady followed in his wanderings out of love. There was Cavalier, a baker's apprentice with a genius for war, elected brigadier of Camisards at seventeen, to die at fifty-five the English governor of Jersey. There again was Castanet, a partisan in a voluminous peruke and with a taste for divinity. Strange generals who moved apart to take counsel with the God of Hosts, and fled or offered battle, set sentinels or slept in an unguarded camp, as the Spirit whispered to their hearts! And to follow these and other leaders was the rank file of prophets and disciples, bold, patient, hardy to run upon the mountains, cheering their rough life with psalms, eager to fight, eager to pray, listening devoutly to the oracles of brainsick children, and mystically putting a grain of wheat among the pewter balls with which they charged their muskets.

Pretty weird, huh? And right in Europe, not all that long ago.

The last sentence from Stevenson is particularly intriguing, since it conjures up comparisons to the Mai-Mai rebels in the Congo today, who believe that certain magical charms protect them against bullets; that their own bullets are invulnerable to counter charms; and that ritual cannibalism of their enemies is still a grand idea.

Once Europe had its own Mai-Mai's. Perhaps someday Africa will be rid of theirs.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 22, 2009 - Comments (10)
Category: Cannibalism, Death, Frauds, Cons and Scams, History, Historical Figure, Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Paranormal, Religion, War, Weapons, Foreign Customs, Africa, Europe, Eighteenth Century

A Short Post From a Sucked-Dry News Hole During Obamaweek

News of the Weird Daily
Thursday, January 22, 2009

The sophistication and complexity of dung beetles
Observing dung beetles in Peru, researchers from Princeton Univ. realized that some of them are predators, eating live millipedes. This was characterized (in the journal Biology Letters) as unexpected behavior. [Ed.: Alternative, non-Intelligent Design explanation: Sooner or later, it occurred to some of the brighter dung beetles, "Sh*t! We've been eating sh*t! WTF?] Daily Telegraph (London)
Comments 'dung_beetles'

News that sounds like a joke
The wife of former French president Chirac revealed that her husband had been bitten by their tiny Maltese . . whose name is Sumo . . because Chirac loves sumo wrestling. (Bonus: Sumo has been under treatment for depression.) Agence France-Presse via Yahoo
Comments 'chirac_bitten'

Your Daily Loser
Walter Tessier, Amsterdam, N.Y., has apparently committed one of the pettiest petit larcenies of all time: taking a $10.99 lobster back to the Price Chopper store, claiming it that it had gone bad on him, and accepting crab meat in exchange, and then Price Chopper realizing that the lobster had already been eaten but its shell carefully reconstructed, like a Revell kit. Albany Times Union
Comments 'walter_tessier'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Robert Blue, 53, Las Vegas, could be a great father just a little too concerned about his teenage girl's health problems, or he could have issues, like chaining her to the bed to keep her out of the refrigerator so she could drop 25 lbs. to get to her ideal weight for mixed martial-arts competition. KVVU-TV (Las Vegas)
Comments 'robert_blue'

Today's Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, John Kearney

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Jan 22, 2009 - Comments (0)

High-Speed Bus

How would you like to look in your rear-view mirror and see this thing coming up behind you fast? Since America can't seem to get its act together to build high-speed trains, maybe we could have high-speed buses instead. From Popular Science, October 1930:

85-Mile-An-Hour Bus Streamlined
Porthole-shaped windows will give passengers a view of the roadside they are scudding past at eighty-five miles an hour, in a remarkable bus just completed at Paris, France. This juggernaut of the road seats 100 passengers, besides its two drivers. Every part is streamlined for speed, even to the curved emergency door in the rear. The machine is designed for express cross-country travel.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 22, 2009 - Comments (5)
Category: Travel, 1930s

Are you autistic?

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test measures autistic traits in adults. The average score is 16. If you score 32 or higher, no one is saying you're definitely autistic, but you're probably not known for your sparkling social skills. I scored 22, so yeah, I'm on the antisocial side of the spectrum.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 22, 2009 - Comments (19)
Category: Psychology

January 21, 2009

Giant Synaptic Sea Cucumber

Apparently, the Cyrene Reef of Singapore features some crazy wildlife.

giant synaptic sea cucumber ! ....from outaspace from BeachBum on Vimeo.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 21, 2009 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Asia, Natural Wonders

The F State Mind on Sale, Plus Cow-Tipping 2.0

News of the Weird Daily
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Colorado cop whacked out on sodium pentothal
Colorado State Univ. police chief Dexter Yarbrough finally got suspended last month after a bunch of run-ins, and now audio tapes of one of his classroom lectures have been released, demonstrating Dexter as a yeah-tell-it-brutha kinda guy. Oh, yeah, cops are forced to set bad guys up with drug buys, he told the students in the sociology class he also taught. And if they get caught doing that, Oh, yeah, they have to lie about it. Sure, you have to pop the bad guys once in a while in custody, but the way out of that is to tell the media, Oh, that's terrible, we'll have to investigate that. And rape accusations? "[W]omen want the dick, even when they say 'no,' they want the dick." Rocky Mountain Collegian
Comments 'dexter_yarbrough'

For those seeking an explanation of the Florida mind
Charles Griffin, 42, Middleburg, Fla., who calls himself a genius, who "thinks outside the box," has put his brainpower up for sale on eBay (starting: $1.00). Put the F State mind to work for you! Admittedly, "genius" makes him way-atypical of the state, but on the other hand, possessing an inflated opinion of one's self is absolutely representative. WJXT-TV (Jacksonville) via MSNBC
Comments 'fstate_mind'

More Things to Worry About

Things You Thought Didn't Happen: Her son just won the lottery, so she feels she can retire now, at age 72, after 39 yrs managing restaurants . . Mickey D restaurants. Clayton News Daily (Jonesboro, Ga.)

If you ever meet Stephanie Anne Rydesky, avoid working "brownies" into the conversation because that's what triggered her cane attack on her dad and the burning down of his farmhouse. York (Pa.) Daily Record

The highly-indecisive Briton Michael Mason, 66, finally had that sex-change surgery he said he's needed for 50-60 yrs. (Bonus: The brand-new Michelle Mason has fallen in love with a 70-yr-old man who is a former local official with the Conservative Party.) Daily Telegraph

In Boulder, Colo., a cow went out woman-tipping. Associated Press via Yahoo

UK's latest gov't-funded education proposal: An essential way to reduce the schoolyard bullying of gay students is to start teaching "pleasure and desire [of sex] in educational contexts" to kids as young as, er, 5. Daily Mail

A Middle Easterner, in the U.S. illegally, misplaced the claim check for his luggage at a casino and decided to get all huffy with the employees, even making sarcastic comments about the luggage maybe containing a bomb. The Press of Atlantic City

Comments on Things to Worry About?
Comments 'worry_090121'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Matthew Hill, 24, explained that his girlfriend had just broken up with him and that's why he was knocking on neighbors' doors in the middle of the night with his stuff hanging out of his zipper. Journal Star (Lincoln, Neb.)
Comments 'matthew_hill'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Penny Huston, 57, might be guilty of biting her infant granddaughter, but it might have been the dog that bit the girl, or the girl, herself. (Besides, Penny insists, she doesn't have enough teeth left to make the bite marks.) (Cops: Yes, she does.) Muncie (Ind.) Star Press [LINK FIXED]
Comments 'penny_huston'

Today's Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, Meg Barnhart

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Jan 21, 2009 - Comments (0)

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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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