Weird Universe Archive

February 2009

February 9, 2009

Killing, Plucking and Eviscerating Your Chicken

There's nothing weird about butchering a chicken, but I've never seen such a detailed guide to the entire process. Over at, "Frugal Squirrel" shows you what to do. He starts with a live chicken, kills it, plucks it (with an automatic plucking machine), and removes all the innards.

What he finally ends up with looks like what you'd buy in the supermarket.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 09, 2009 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Food

Speech Accent Archive

George Mason University's Speech Accent Archive recorded people from around the world saying the following phrase:

Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.

There's a map you can click on to hear how people from various parts of the world sound saying these words. Even though many of the people are non-English speakers, I thought the Scots and Irish still managed to sound the strangest.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 09, 2009 - Comments (9)
Category: Languages

February 7, 2009

The Dionne Quintuplets

Everyone knows we're in the midst of a new Great Depression. But isn't it a little spooky that so many things from the 1930's are repeating themselves? Such as: a nation, mired in bad economic times, is distracted by a case of multiple births.

Today, we have the "Octo-mom."

But some seventy years ago, it was the Dionne Quintuplets.

Somehow I doubt we as a nation will be still following these 2009 kids six years from their birth.

Nor will there be a mass rush to merchandise the unnatural octuplets.

And of course, the ever-prophetic The Simpsons nailed it all ten years ago, with the episode entitled EIGHT MISBEHAVIN'.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 07, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Babies, Body Modifications, Celebrities, Drugs, Fads, Family, Human Marvels, Obsessions, Pop Culture, Technology, 1930s

Eating a Pig’s Head

The Limeyg blog explores how to eat a roasted pig's head:
We started by tearing off the ears; the skin was fantastic, salty and crunchy, but not worthy of too much attention when the rest of the head was sitting there, full of secrets...
There was a small motherlode of deliciousness at the temple, a couple of inches up behind the eye: it was similar to the oysters on a chicken, except juicier and more tender.

I'm a meat lover, but I think I'd have to pass on this. I don't like my food to be staring back at me.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 07, 2009 - Comments (22)
Category: Food

February 6, 2009

The Chapman Brothers

Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 06, 2009 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Horror, Europe

Bertillon Measurements

You've probably heard of the Bertillon System, one of those discredited "scientific" theories detailing how body measurements indicated racial and/or criminal aspects of a person.

Well, here's how the NYC Police Department went about securing Bertillon measurements, circa 1908--courtesy of the George Bain Collection at the Library of Congress.





Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 06, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Crime, Fads, Science, Anthropology, Experiments, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1900s

Happy cows have names

News from the frontiers of science: Researchers have discovered that if you address cows by name, they produce more milk.

The theory is that calling a cow by its name has a soothing effect on it. It feels more relaxed. Whereas unnamed, stressed out cows produce the hormone cortisol which suppresses milk production.

However, researchers warn that "just giving cows a name" probably won't do much. Ya gotta establish a relationship with the cow. Let it know you care. Link: Scientific American.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 06, 2009 - Comments (11)
Category: Science, Cows

Young Man Standing on His Head

From the Feb. 9, 1948 issue of Life magazine:

Young Man Stands on Head Before 48 State Capitols
For years sensitive citizens have loudly deplored the antique ugliness of the country's older state capitols. Now a hardheaded young Chicagoan named John G. Nichols, who appears upside down all over these two pages, has discarded words for drastic action. To illustrate his monumental distaste for the architecture of most state capitols he has managed to have his picture taken standing on his head before all 48 of them... He stood on his head in rain, snow, slush and mud and often had a terrible time getting people to take his picture. "They thought I was crazy," he explains modestly.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 06, 2009 - Comments (16)
Category: Architecture, 1940s

[Attention!  Your Weird News Will Be Delayed]

Your daily weird news editor tries to post by 9 a.m. Eastern time, but sometimes runs over by an hour or so, but today's won't be done until around 3 p.m. and maybe a little later. Reason: . . umm . . I have distractions. Plus, I don't like to post piecemeal. I like to post only after I've made my rounds and decided which stories I like the best. See ya later.

UPDATE, 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, Friday: Oh, man, am I ever lucky that I don't make any money with this blog! If I were on somebody's payroll, I'd get fired for just up-and-abandoning my post today! Fortunately for me, though, when ya ain't got nuthin', ya got nuthin' to lose. (No, wait, if I were on a payroll, I might have what people call "sick leave"; I haven't had a job that featured "sick leave" since 1980.) Anyway, I've got some news to post, and I'll start that some hour this weekend, and we'll hope for a fresh start on Monday. Cheers.

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Feb 06, 2009 - Comments (16)

February 5, 2009

High Schoolers Hypnotized, Plus Chocolate Dust

News of the Weird Daily
Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things to Worry About

The basketball coach at St. John (Kan.) High School, with a championship heritage to protect but only a 7-6 record this season, sent all but one player through two 45-minute hypnosis sessions . . until the school board found out (and went nuts). Wichita Eagle via Kansas City Star

Jose Rivera, on trial for murder, said he never saw "The Fugitive," said it really was a "one-armed man," not he, who killed that woman (except that when the prosecutor informed him that the woman's neck had two-handed choke marks, he said, Oh, wait, I forgot, yeah, there was another guy with him). San Antonio Express-News

Loo Choon Yong, a member of the Singapore Parliament, pretty much summed up his country's low birth rate: "We should accept that as a people, our procreation talent is not our forte." (Bonus: and since apparently nobody's having sex on Saturdays, Loo is sponsoring a move to a six-day work week) Agence France-Presse via Yahoo

Fine Point of New Zealand law: Telling the boss to "stick this job up your arse" and walking away is not officially a "resignation" (and a gov't agency said the boss should have followed up for clarification). The Press (Christchurch)

Awesome: Fifteen illegals from the Netherlands were smuggled into Britain in a 37-ton tanker filled to half-capacity with chocolate powder destined for a Mars Candy factory. Daily Telegraph

Austrian anti-discrimination law is being tested by a Salzburg insurance company, which advertised recent job openings by limiting them to Capricorn, Taurus, Aquarius, Aries, and Leo (who are supposed to be way-high-performing). [Ed.: A good editor'd be checking the signs of Madoff, Fuld, Thain, et al, but I'm busy today. Sorry] Daily Mail (London)

Alcohol Was Involved: A 22-yr-old soccer fanatic, returning by bus from a big Manchester United match, apparently mistook the bus's exit door for the restroom door and fell onto the highway, where he was run over. United Press International

Comments on Things to Worry About?
Comments 'worry_090205'

Your Daily Loser
A 68-yr-old South Korean woman, Ms. Cha, was just reported to have failed the written portion of her driver's test for the 771st time. Agence France-Presse via Yahoo
Comments 'driver_test'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
George Bartusek Jr., 51, Cape Coral, Fla., was arrested in the parking lot of a Publix grocery store doing what a police report termed "distateful" things to a blow-up doll. Fort Myers News-Press [yep, mug shot!]
Comments 'george_bartusek'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
And of course that's true in Iraq, too! For a change of pace, let's judge the guilt or innocence of a woman arrested in Diyala province. Ms. Samira Jassam, 51, was charged in January with recruiting maybe 80 women to be suicide bombers. (Background: Allegedly, her m.o. was to have them raped, thus making it easier to persuade them toward martyrdom since Muslim rape victims have dismal lives, anyway.) Agence France-Presse via Herald Sun (Melbourne)
Comments 'samira_jassam'

Today's Newsrangers: Terry Summers, James Wicht, Stephen Taylor, Mark Neunder, Scott Langill, Robert Waters

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Feb 05, 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.

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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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