Weird Universe Archive

April 2009

April 22, 2009

Extreme Croquet

Croquet as she should be played. I and my sibs independently invented this style of playing nearly forty years ago.

If you're in New England, why not visit the Connecticut society for this sport?

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 22, 2009 - Comments (18)
Category: Injuries, Sports

Underwater Mouse

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Here's a picture I always enjoy: a mouse breathing "underwater," in a specially prepared solution. You can read about the experiment here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 22, 2009 - Comments (11)
Category: Animals, Science, Experiments

Fifty-Pound Boots

An advance in penal technology that never caught on. I found this in the San Antonio Evening News, Nov 3, 1922:

Fifty-Pound Boots to Hold Criminals
Shod with the fifty-pound "Oregon" boot of metal, dangerous criminals have little, if any, chance of escaping by making a desperate dash for liberty, especially while on long railroad journeys in the custody of an officer of the law.
This shackling device is adapted from the old ball and chain, which it is to supercede. It consists of a steel frame work that fits over the shoe in the manner shown in the accompanying illustration. The "upper" is finished off as a fifty-pound collar.
A prisoner thus shod is able to walk but slowly and with some comfort. However, if he should make any attempt to escape by running, the heavy metal collar of the boot, it is claimed, will break his leg.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 22, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Prisons, Shoes

[News] Chuck’s Links for Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A new English-language e-zine, Jihad Recollections, gives tips to mujahadeen on how to eat right and exercise, to be a lean, ripped machine for killing all those enemies of Islam. (Imagined by ABC News reporter: "[Darling,] Do I look fat in this suicide vest?") ABC News

Back on the research radar: the fact that scorpion venom kills the cells of brain cancer (now that Univ. of Washington scientists have found "nanoparticles" that deliver the venom to just the right place). [Ed. "Nanoparticle" is scientific jargon for "some ultra-tiny-something that can't possibly be real and therefore you have to just trust us, OK?'"] KSL-TV (Salt Lake City)

I Don't Think So: A fired information-systems guy said the porn on his office computer must have been downloaded by someone else (all 24,000 images, organized into file directories). Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Internet Queen Susan Boyle, the frumpy Scottish singer, has been offered $1m by porn company Kick Ass Films of Los Angeles if she'll give up her virginity on camera. New York Daily News

Recurring Theme: Parking meter collectors do embezzle coins from time to time, but in Alexandria, Va., William Fell, 61, is The Man! ($170k in one year, probably four tons' worth, stored in his home) Washington Post

A crook who needs seasoning: stole iPods and computers from the Wal-Mart where he worked but then posted them for sale on the employee bulletin board. Billings Gazette (Billings, Mont.)

And another one: Teenager breaking into cars at 1 a.m. was so surprised that a uniformed cop was still in one of them, just coming off-duty, that right there on the spot, the boy got the runs. (Seriously.) Deseret News (Salt Lake City)

Town officials in Webster, N.Y. [CORRECTION: Mass.], would like you to know that the nearby lake is "Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg," not "Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaoggagoggchaubunaguhgamaugg." Associated Press via Boston Herald

[Jury Duty] Mr. Tahl Fishman, 35, Cleveland, Ohio, might or might not have tried to lure a 10-yr-old girl (via the Internet) for sex. Plain Dealer

Today's Newsrangers: Tom Barker, Kevin Tohill, Harry Farkas, Scott Langill, Tom Burnett

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Apr 22, 2009 - Comments (11)
Category:

April 21, 2009

Robo-mower!

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[From Look magazine for August 19, 1958. An ad from "America's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies."]

"Go, Robo-mower, and bring me the shapely form of my next-door neighbor's sunbathing wife!"

Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 21, 2009 - Comments (14)
Category: Business, Advertising, Utilities, Landscaping, 1950s, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

When Geese Attack!

Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 21, 2009 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Violence

The Bicycle Shower


Combining your workout with a shower could save some time, I suppose. Though I'm not sure if that was the intended purpose of this invention. From the Chicago Tribune, Jan 18, 1903.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 21, 2009 - Comments (14)
Category: Bathrooms, Exercise and Fitness, Hygiene, Inventions, 1900s

[News] Chuck’s Links for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Suspicions Confirmed: A recent British reality show mingled (a) five people who have histories of serious mental illness with (b) five who don't, then ran them through provocative situations, then asked three mental-health professionals to try to ID which ones were which. The pros would have done better flipping a coin. In other words, we're all nuts. New York Times

The reporting's not good here, so I don't stand behind it, but it says here that the adult daughter of a 67-yr-old man diagnosed with colon cancer has been drinking his daughter's breast milk regularly and that, hey, it helps. Yahoo Lifestyle [EDITING UPDATE: Well . . . that "the adult daughter of" doesn't really belong in the sentence, now, does it?]

Jealousy at Club 1245 in Akron, Ohio: An incumbent stripper stabbed a new-hire stripper with a stiletto shoe. (Bonus Leading Economic Indicator: Incumbent's 45 yrs old, newcomer's 52.) Akron Beacon-Journal

In London, some critics of police brutality propose making riot-control cops wear jerseys with numbers, like football players, to make it easier to ID them. Daily Star

KTRK-TV (Houston, Tex.) has the photo of Daniel Duran being led away by police after the bank robbery bag he got from a Wachovia branch exploded on him, bloodying his, er, lower abdomen . . on down further. KTRK-TV

This one's not really that weird; I just wanted the opportunity to pay a tribute by using "polopponies" in Weird Universe. [If you know what I'm talking about, great.] South Florida Sun-Sentinel

One of the hottest-selling books in India, especially among business students: Mein Kampf, which is viewed nowadays as a self-improvement guide and management text. Daily Telegraph (London)

London's Daily Mail made Freedom of Information Act demands on local councils' expenditures on political-correctness jobs, finding, e.g., a "toothbrush advisor" for schools, a "befriending coordinator," a "breastfeeding peer support coordinator." Daily Mail

Today's Newsrangers: Paul Blumstein, Scott Langill, Melinda Boyer

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Apr 21, 2009 - Comments (3)
Category:

Boys Will Be Boys

The Washington School for Boys Drama Club, circa 1910. (via Shorpy)

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 21, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Photography and Photographers, Gender, 1910s

April 20, 2009

Follies of the Mad Men #64

A prosperous banker-type, an American Indian, a sailor (or is he a Turkish immigrant?), and what looks to be Uncle Sam, are all sitting around in front of a billboard, having a gay old chat, when out of a handy box pops the sexy cigarette fairy, who dispenses butts to all, even scattering them around in bountiful waste. Then a sign is unfurled, claiming WE ALL SMOKE.

Massive WTF attack, all thanks to Thomas Alva Edison!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 20, 2009 - Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Movies, Tobacco and Smoking, Nineteenth Century

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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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