Weird Universe Archive

January 2009

January 21, 2009

Squeekums the Rat Mannikin

Fully articulated and extremely realistic. Comes with detachable tail and the capability of IV access at the caudal vein site. Also, replaceable ear sets. Price: only $729.

Or you could trap a real one outside for free. Seem to be plenty in the alleyway behind my house.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 21, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Medicine

Exploding Casket Syndrome

From Grave Matters by Mark Harris:

Various microbes are involved in the breakdown of the human body. In the airless environment of the sealer casket, it's the anaerobic bacteria that thrive. Unlike their oxygen-fueled aerobic counterparts, these agents attack the body's organic matter by putrefying it, turning soft body parts to mush and bloating the corpse with foul-smelling gas. In entombment in the aboveground mausoleum, the buildup of methane gas has been sufficient in some cases to blow the lid off caskets and marble door panels off crypts. To address what became known in the industry as the "exploding casket syndrome," manufacturers added "burpers" to their sealer caskets, gaskets that release — or "burp" out — accumulated gases.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 21, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Death

January 20, 2009

Virile Fish, Dumb Dogs, Bethrothed Frogs

News of the Weird Daily
Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things to Worry About

A Swedish researcher warned that if we don't stop breeding dogs just for cuteness, some species'll [CORRECTION: breeds'll] wind up being dumber than turkeys. Daily Telegraph (London)

On the other hand, a Univ. of Rhode Island researcher said that business is booming at the Mediterranean fishery located at the mouth of the Nile River, attributable to all the nutrients in the water from sewage and fertilizer runoff. URI press release

Recurring Theme: Once again, in Tamil Nadu, India, villagers got together and, to stay free of disease, prophylactically married off two of their daughters (each age 7) to, er, frogs. The Times of India

A Los Angeles Times report says more than 200 airline passengers have now been charged with Patriot Act-terrorism just for ordinary, non-terroristic obnoxiousness that was prosecuted just fine under federal law before the Patriot Act came along. Los Angeles Times

Australian novelist Harry Nicolaides was sentenced to three yrs in prison in Thailand for insulting one of the country's crown princes. (Bonus: He did it in a novel that sold 7 copies.) BBC News

Comments on Things to Worry About?
Comments 'worry_090120'

Your Daily Loser
Travis Bennett, 30, was arrested for the burglary of a pharmacy in Orem, Utah, where "hundreds" of OxyContins were stolen. Bennett was found later near the store, passed out, having apparently gobbled down a few as he was fleeing and wiping himself out on the run. KSL-TV (Salt Lake City)
Comments 'travis_bennett'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Police say that Alvin Meyer, 63, went to ManorCare nursing home to visit his invalid-wife and while there decided to get some strange by feeling up another invalid. Cincinnati Enquirer
Comments 'alvin_meyer'

Today's Newsrangers: Justin Warner, Hal Dunham, Kurt Knochel

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Jan 20, 2009 - Comments (0)

Repo Chick

Remember one of the weirdest films ever made, REPO MAN? This month marks the start of filming for a sequel titled REPO CHICK. Let's hope it can live up to its predecessor.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 20, 2009 - Comments (2)
Category: Aliens, Armageddon and Apocalypses, Business, Death, Movies, Paranormal, Pop Culture, Unsolved Mysteries, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1980s, Cars

Dr. Seth Arnold’s Great Infantile Regulator


For Christmas this year, I received Picturesque Rhode Island, an 1881 guidebook to my native state. I love such antique manuals, as they often hold quaint forgotten information about familiar places.

(Looking online, I discover that the entire book has been digitized here, so that you can have your own virtual copy.)

The front and back sections of the volume are full of ads. Here are two for some nostrums that I am sure contained plenty of dope.

No wonder the citizens in the drawings all look so relaxed and peaceful!

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 20, 2009 - Comments (11)
Category: Medicine, Regionalism, Advertising, Products, Babies and Toddlers, Nineteenth Century

The Force Trainer

The Force Trainer, coming out later this year from Uncle Milton toys, reads your brain activity via a wireless headset, and then translates your brain waves into physical action. Namely, it activates a fan which raises or lowers a ball inside a tube.

Boring! They've gone with the wrong movie. If they were coming out with the Stephen King Firestarter Trainer, that would have been interesting.

At the very least, they should have included the ability to activate Jedi Force Lightning.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 20, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Movies, Toys

Without You

Mark Gormley is, without a doubt, an up-and-coming musical star. He really rocks out in this video.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 20, 2009 - Comments (13)
Category: Music, Video

January 19, 2009

The World Continues to Disappoint, Plus “Cletus ‘n’ Catfish”

News of the Weird Daily (Part II)
Monday, January 19, 2009

More Things to Worry About

Cliches Come to Life: Kenneth Dailey confessed to the murder, and re-confessed, but a court released him because the police didn't say, "May I?" (though prosecutors still think they can convict him). WSMV-TV (Nashville)

What budget problems? The city commissioners in Weston, Fla., are set to vote tomorrow to approve the final payment on the $141,000 to count the trees in town (in case, y'know, a hurricane comes along, and they need an accurate count of the damage). South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Update: Zimbabwe printers introduced four new currency notes, in the denominations of Z$10, Z$20, Z$50, and Z$100 (er, trillion, in each case). BBC News

A debt-collection agency in Lithuania has hired the country's "most famous" witch to help reckon with overdue accounts [Ed.: but, Ho, Ho, Ho, those backward people . . putting their faith in witchcraft . . instead of just borrowing trillions of dollars to bail out stupid people!] Associated Press via Arizona Republic

The wealthy, Harvard-educated director of an Iranian cultural organization was sentenced to two yrs in prison in London for slicing pages out of rare books in a library (Reasoned the judge, "You have a deep love of books, perhaps . . . to excess"). The Independent (London)

Police in Milton, Ky., arrested Clester "Cletus" Mullins for the murder of Catfish Jones. Madison (Ind.) Courier

Comments on Things to Worry About?
Comments 'worry_090119'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Allan Mailloux, 45, must be a driven man because the high temperature in Madison, Wis., that day was minus-2 (F), yet he just couldn't stop himself from walking around with his junk hanging out. Wisconsin State Journal
Comments 'allan_mailloux'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
You might wonder why Marie Peterson, 60, Spring Hill, Fla., would even have a need to shoplift K-Y, but maybe as a hair gel, or perhaps she's a surgeon. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)
Comments 'marie_peterson'

Today's Newsrangers: Scott Langill, Karl Olson, Steve Miller, Sandy Pearlman, Bryce Jackson, Ginger Katz

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Jan 19, 2009 - Comments (0)

Super-sized Elephant Ear Plant

I want to see a Weird Universe reader grow this as a houseplant. Order your seedling here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 19, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Agriculture, Asia, Natural Wonders

A Pedophile in Paradise, Plus Pro-Abortion Donuts

News of the Weird Daily (Part I)
Monday, January 19, 2009

Can't Possibly Be True: Hundreds of employers blatantly violate federal law by screwing our soldiers in Iraq
It's as plain as day that employers can't discriminate against their Nat'l Guardsmen et al who get pressed into active duty. Who doesn't know that? But a Des Moines Register investigation revealed that it's happened at least 203 times in Iowa since 9-11, and probably several thousand times nationally, according to Labor Dept. figures. Des Moines Register
Comments 'iowa_employers'

Pedophiles and nudism don't mix—oh, wait, actually . . .
British judge Beverly Lunt has OK'd pedo Robert Enright, 51, to hang out at naturist gatherings even though nekkid kids are running around. There's no "evidence" that Enright got close to any of the under-16s that he's barred from mingling with, and, just to fill you in [Ed.: and never mind how I know this]: Open gatherings of nudists are just about the least-turgidifying events on the planet. Daily Telegraph
Comments 'pedophile_nudist'

The fire chief who moved his whole family into the station
You're just supposed to bunk down there when you're on duty, and then go home when your shift is over, but Chief Robert Bird of the volunteer dept. in Gainesville, Va., moved his wife and autistic daughter in years ago and redecorated the quarters, and nobody seems to mind that much. After all, he's a volunteer. Washington Post
Comments 'family_firehouse'

Krispy Kreme's pro-abortion donuts
Tomorrow, nationwide, the company will give anyone a free donut of his or her choice from the KK inventory, and that fact has really riled up a woman named Judie Brown, head of the American Life League. "The unfortunate reality of a post-Roe v. Wade America is that 'choice' is synonymous with abortion access, and celebration of 'freedom of choice' is a tacit endorsement of abortion rights on demand," she said. Miami New Times
Comments 'abortion_donuts'

The most cynical man in America (also the smartest and now one of the richest)
John Paulson (no relation to Hammerin' Hank) knew back in 2006 that everybody on Wall Street was crazy. Unlike certain other people who knew this, and taught it, and wrote about it, Paulson had the onions to bet money on it with his hedge fund. For the last two years, he's scoured the market for "investments" with which to clean up on the collapse. When the experts initially said there'd be a quick recovery, Paulson knew better and doubled down. When the experts said the recession would be moderate, he doubled down again. And yet because he's profiting on the miseries of today, some people want to add him to the list of genuine villains (such as Kerry Killinger, who practically crucified his Washington Mutual employees if they didn't write a quota of stupid mortgages, or Robert Rubin, whose Citigroup shareholders lost more than 70% of value since he joined the firm and began earning his $115m, yet who admits to even fewer mistakes in 8 yrs [i.e., none] than George W. Bush). Portfolio
Comments 'john_paulson'

Update: Underwater ironing
The record is now 86 scuba divers with ironing boards, simultaneously ironing linen items within a 10-minute period (besting the Guinness Book record of 72). UI is an offshoot of what started as Extreme (legitimate) Ironing, like on mountain peaks, with a real hot iron powered by a generator. Underwater, though, it's hard to get a crease. Daily Telegraph (London)
Comments 'underwater_ironing'

Update: Asexuals push for greater recognition
In fact, several on-the-edge issue groups are likely to try to create buzz this year because 2010 is show time for the revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and people who think they're normal don't want to be in it. (In addition to the stigma, they'd also get a Dewey Decimal-like code number that makes it irresistibly easy for shrinks to bill insurance companies.) The 2004 study that supposedly showed that 1 percent of Brits aren't sexually attracted to anybody should show that the asexuals are just another average interest group. ABC News
Comments 'asexual_respect'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
The humble and angelic Zachary Moir, 19, Deltona, Fla., is charged with disrespecting his own mother (throwing a taco at her, over a silly video game). Orlando Sentinel
Comments 'zachary_moir'

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Jan 19, 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.

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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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