Weird Universe Archive

February 2009

February 13, 2009

RIP Lee Redmond’s Fingernails

Let's take a moment to mourn the end of Lee Redmond's nails. She was the Guinness record holder for having the longest fingernails on both hands, having not cut them since 1979. However, she was in an accident on Tuesday. She's injured, but okay. However, her nails broke off.

You can see her below on the Ellen Show.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 13, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Body, World Records

Do-It-Yourself Coffin Kits

If the cost of funerals has you down, consider building your own coffin. sells a simple pine coffin kit for $795. Though that seems like a lot to me. Surely it wouldn't cost more than $50 to get some plywood from Home Depot and make something entirely from scratch.

For the furry and feathered members of your family, there are options as well, such as the Farewell Burial Coffin Kit. Just the right size for your hamster, budgie or gerbil.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 13, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Death

February 12, 2009

Sludge Management

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 12, 2009 - Comments (1)
Category: Education, Hygiene, Body Fluids, Excrement, Documentaries

Molly Bee, RIP

Her NYT obituary here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 12, 2009 - Comments (3)
Category: Movies, Music, 1950s

You’re In For a Treat Today, Plus Scientologists Build a Time Capsule

News of the Weird Daily
Thursday, February 12, 2009

A stream of news on one topic
(1) The development arm of India's biggest Hindu organization said it's almost ready to market a soft drink made from cow urine (with toxics removed and flavor enhanced, they say) for improved health and looks. The organization and its affiliates have touted bovine-number-one for years as a remedy for obesity, cancer, etc. Explains The Times of London: "Cow dung is traditionally used as a fuel and disinfectant in villages, while cow urine and dung are often consumed in rituals to 'purify' those on the bottom rungs of the Hindu caste system." (2) A South American women's fashion designer, Monica Schultz, currently touring the U.S., has been, or will be soon, indicted because a Bolivian woman died after Schultz injected her with human urine for its supposed health benefits (a cause for which Schultz has been stumping for yrs). [Ed.: That's just one more thing wrong with "Intelligent Design" theory: Why in the world would humans be set up to expel urine in the first place, huh? I ask you (rhetorically, please).] (3) The toxicity of urine made the news in Pottsboro, Tex., over the weekend when authorities raided a home containing 22 dogs, and the "home" in this case was the station wagon the "family" was staying in. Authorities noted that the ammonia level was 23 ppm, almost twice the level that causes problems for human breathing. The Times /// Associated Press via Idaho Statesman /// Austin American-Statesman
Comments 'urine_roundup'

More Things to Worry About

Gildazio Costa, 54, was charged with domestic assault in Framingham, Mass., but the attack apparently came only after an "all-day argument" he and his girlfriend were having "over [what] the public library's operating hours [are]." Metrowest Daily News

The Way The World Works: Turns out (according to bankrupt Circuit City's headquarters) that ya need to pay bonuses to executives to keep 'em on the payroll not just during good times but also during flame-outs (because it takes an exquisite set of skills to help a company document the mess the skills caused). Richmond Times-Dispatch

Ephriam Bennett said he's not guilty of rousting the sleeping man, restraining him with duct tape, and kicking and stabbing him . . because it was self-defense (I mean, after I broke in to the home in the middle of the night, the resident insulted me and took a swing at me, said Bennett, and what was I supposed to do to protect myself?). Associated Press via Portsmouth Herald

The Federal Aviation Admin. revealed that hackers recently broke into its computers, but we can all relax because the only thing they might have gotten were employees' names and Social Security Numbers, i.e., hacked the old-fashioned way, without a CIP device. Washington Post

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer of Snellville, Ga. (pop. 15,000, a suburb of Atlanta), is feuding with City Council Member (and code-violating landlord) Robert Jenkins and has asked the chief of police at least once to walk Hizzhonor to the men's room 'cause he's afraid Jenkins will beat him up. Associated Press via Yahoo

Amanda Gessner, 19, was charged with seven arson counts in Upper Darby, Pa., and was allegedly caught on video whistling while she worked, sorta (singing "The fire company is going to be mad at me"), enhancing her status as a Person With Issues. Philadelphia Inquirer

Loner-ranchers in the Wyoming sticks are getting ticked off at Scientologists because the contractors tearing up adjacent land appear to be working for the Church, possibly constructing an underground vault for stuff like the writings of Mr. Hubbard. Associated Press via Fox News

Comments on Things to Worry About?
Comments 'worry_090212'

Your Daily Loser
This guy in his mid-20s (not named in a Calgary Sun story) got shot while driving around southwest Calgary last Friday night, went to the hospital and got bandaged up, went back out driving on Saturday night, and got shot again (serious but not life-threatening). Calgary Sun
Comments 'shot_twice'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Steven Marcsis, 39, Racine, Wis., was found in a Dumpster at a school, trying to satisfy himself, as they say, and a subsequent search of his home revealed a years-long collection of names and birthdates of local schoolgirl athletes. Journal Times (Racine)
Comments 'steven_marcsis'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Michael McEnry, 55, might be the guy who landed a single-engine plane (with some trouble) at the airport in Bishop, Calif., interfering with another landing (and being somewhat substance-abuse-incoherent when questioned about it). KSRW Radio (Sierra Wave, Calif.)
Comments 'michael_mcenry'

Today's Newsrangers: Ginger Katz, Paul Music, Stephen Taylor, Peter Norquist, Steve Dunn, Peter Collum, David Melcher, Emory Kimbrough, Gil Nelson, David Carter

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Feb 12, 2009 - Comments (0)

The Sheep Market

Aaron Koblin paid 10000 people two cents each to draw "a sheep facing left." You can see the results at The Sheep Market.

He then printed up all the sheep on sheets of adhesive paper (20 sheep per sheet), which he sold for $20 per sheet. It seems like most of the sheets have sold. So by my calculations, that means he netted a profit of $9800 on this, not counting web hosting, etc. Nice way to make some extra money.

Wired has a video of him discussing his project.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 12, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Art

Catapulted Dummy Tests Driver’s Skill

This would be a useful addition in ALL driver's ed courses, especially if the driver was given no warning. From Popular Science, Aug 1935:

So that the driver of a radio car will know what to do if someone darts across a street in front of his speeding machine, instructors of a police school at Hendon, England have devised an ingenious training method. The student is required to drive along a test course, and at some unannounced point a concealed catapult hurls a stuffed dummy in front of the car. Observers rate the driver on his ability to stop or swerve in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian. The catapult is operated by a spring, and a jerk on a rope releases its trigger. All drivers of London's police cars receive this training.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 12, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Cops, Motor Vehicles, Cars, 1930s

February 11, 2009

A Drunk, A Loner, A Wuss, And A Homicidal Babe

News of the Weird Daily
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 [part two]

More Things to Worry About

Michael Fenton went on a two-day drunk at an F State resort, and his family couldn't control him, and now that his swan dive from a grand stairway turned out badly for his brain function, he and the family want Marriott to pay for its bad bartending. Naples Daily News

Most delicious 2009 baseball player contract incentive clause: Tyler Walker, Seattle Mariners' pitcher, with an 8-12 won-lost record over the last three seasons, will get $150k when he's this year's AL MVP (and $100k if he's the World Series MVP for the sure-thing Mariners). Los Angeles Times

It says here that Kishore Gaba of India's Jharkhand state is on a mission to write out the name of his first love 2,000,000 times, as punishment for being too timid to ask her out when he was young ("and to teach a lesson" to other wusses), and he's up to 1,400,000 so far. Indo Asian News Service via (Chennai)

A 15-yr-old boy is no longer with us after he broke into a truck in Aurora, Tex., then ran for it when confronted by a neighbor, fell over a spiked fence, and bled to death. WFAA-TV (Dallas)

The mug shot says Potential Babe, but the rap sheet says severe bipolar with homicidal tendencies (tire iron, ax, etc.) [Ed.: But let me say on behalf of all men, sometimes ya can't help rollin' the dice, ya know?]. (Stuart, Fla.)

The Way The World Works: The defense contractor KBR Inc., under criminal investigation for shoddy electrical work that caused the deaths of two soldiers in Iraq, has just been awarded another contract, though it's in a different—oh, wait, it's also for electrical work. Associated Press via Yahoo

Giza Zoo, Cairo's largest, has substantial financial and regulatory problems, which have made it susceptible to employees taking bribes (basically, US$2 will do it) to let visitors step inside some of the cages (OK: elephants, bears, lion cubs).

Police said Thomas Ferkler is one of the more sophisticated burglars they've encountered, but all that expertise goes for naught when you consume your swag (Oxycodone) during the getaway and pass out with your car keys dangling from the trunk that holds the evidence against you. Philadelphia Daily News

Comments on Things to Worry About?
Comments 'cycle_090211'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Dana Thompson, 46, Anchorage, Alaska (and try to put out of your mind what his mom said about him: "He has always been a loner; he doesn't like people. He has never cared much for people, only the people we bring into our home. That's the only ones he's ever made friends with.") Anchorage Daily News
Comments 'dana_thompson'

Today's Newsrangers: Ramey Musgrave, Jeff Hochberg, Sandy Pearlman, Larry Seltzer, Stephen Taylor, Karl Olson, Scott Langill

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Feb 11, 2009 - Comments (0)

Coco Zhao

HEADLINE: Jazz Goes to China, Comes Back Weird.

Courtesy of Coco Zhao.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 11, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Music, Asia

The Passing of a Legend, Plus Our Favorite Oxen (Barack and Tim)

News of the Weird Daily
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 [part one]

Willie Windsor, r.i.p.
Jeez, I just resurrected the story three weeks ago as one of my weekly News of the Weird Classics (from 2005), but maybe you missed it:
Willie Windsor, 54, of Phoenix, Ariz., has for several years lived as a full-time baby, wearing frilly dresses, diapers, and bonnets, sucking on a pacifier, eating Gerber cuisine, and habitually clutching a rag doll, in a home filled with oversized baby furniture. According to a long Phoenix New Times profile in June, the diaper is not just a prop. Windsor said he worked hard to learn to become incontinent, even chaining the commode shut to avoid temptation, and the reporter admitted feeling “disconcert[ed]” that Windsor might be relieving himself at the very moment he was describing his un-toilet training. Apparently, Windsor’s brother, ex-wife, girlfriend, and a neighbor tolerate his lifestyle (though no girlfriend has yet been willing to change his diapers). Windsor is a semi-retired singer-actor and said he’s been celibate for 9 years. [Phoenix New Times, 6-9-05]

Last month, Willie, 57, went to the great bassinet in the sky. His body was found on the 30th, but it was decomposed, so he could have died any time after his last public sighting, attending a musical in Phoenix in January in full baby regalia. (Actually, referring to Willie as "he" is improper, in that his infantile name was "HeidiLynn.") Phoenix New Times
Comments 'willie_windsor'

Unclear on the Concept: The law, versus Roger Barnett
Also in Arizona this week is the trial on the federal lawsuit filed by 16 illegal immigrants against rancher Barnett for depriving them of their civil rights in a 2004 incident. And what, exactly, did Barnett do to oppress them? He confronted them at gunpoint, scared 'em, and told 'em to GTF off his ranch. For Barnett's audacity, the illegals are asking $32m (465m pesos). So, what's one to do when thousands of illegals over a 10-yr period choose your private property as their own international highway to the Promised Land? Washington Times
Comments 'roger_barnett'

"Don't do anything I wouldn't do"
Now, the most comical piece of information about the prolific Ms. Nadya Suleman, 33, mother of 14, is that she plans to support her litter by going back to school (the Pelosi stimulus-package student loans, y'know) and getting a degree in . . counseling! Associated Press via CBS News
Comments 'counselor_suleman'

And now a word from America's creditors
Financial advice from Alion Yao, a top-of-the-line feng shui expert (to a seminar of 170 high-rollers in Hong Kong, reported by the Wall Street Journal): Hold out until after January 2010 before considering investing in the U.S. because its economy is an accident waiting to happen, and the primary indicator of that is that both Obama and Geithner were born under the sign of the ox. A pair of oxen is a terrible sign! (Response by us much-smarter Westerners: How silly! The economy is best judged by applying sophisticated quantitative computer models and . . . oh . . . oh, yeah . . ..) Wall Street Journal
Comments 'american_oxen'

Zun Noon's short-lived fantasy come true
Mr. Noon refused to pay four £50 parking tickets issued under the auspices of the Newham Council in East London. And not only that. He took the Council to court for harassing him about those tickets. And not only that. He won a £20,00 judgment (when no Council rep showed up in court). And not only that. He commandeered bailiffs to raid Council offices for computers, etc., to help satisfy the judgment amount. So, what's the catch? When the Council did finally take his lawsuit seriously, it convinced the judge to make Noon give it all back, plus pay the tickets. Daily Mail
Comments 'zun_noon'

Who knew? A Zoroastrian dating service to discourage marriage outside the faith
About 10,000 Americans are Zoroastrians (fewer than 200,000 worldwide), and the hardcore are worried about assimilation, in that Zoros are so mellow and accommodating. Hence, the lovely Roshan Rivetna's matchmaking service pairs up true believers. (The most recent appearance of Zoroastrians in NOTW was their apprehensiveness in India over the declining population of vultures, which help speed up the disappearance of corpses, thus speeding up the soul's ascension to better things.) New York Times /// The Guardian (London) [the vulture angle]
Comments 'zoroastrian_matchmaking'

Your Daily Loser
The F State's David Hampton, 23, who didn't flee very far because he didn't have enough sense to fill his getaway car's fumes-only gas tank car before (or while) robbing that gas station. WWSB-TV (Sarasota)
Comments 'david_hampton'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Lloyd Alexander, 45, was arrested at a Wal-Mart in Shawnee, Kan., when he wasn't able to control himself genitally while staring at a Hot Wheels display in the toy section. He told police he had a Hot Wheels collection at home and, said a police captain, "seemed to be excited" by the toys. Kansas City Star
Comments 'lloyd_alexander'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Teresa Lynn Brock, 45, Dayton, Ohio, might have been trying to pimp out her 19-yr-old daughter over the telephone (and have had a little smack in her pocket). WDTN-TV (Dayton) via WLWT-TV (Cincinnati)
Comments 'teresa_brock'

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Feb 11, 2009 - Comments (0)

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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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