Weird Universe Archive

January 2013

January 15, 2013

E.F. Hutton Coloring Book

Back in 1987, the financial firm E.F. Hutton had just suffered some bad years that included scandals and major losses. So the senior executives came up with what they thought was a great idea. They'd boost the morale of all their 18,500 employees by sending everyone a coloring book (with crayons) that laid out the problems faced by the company in grade-school language. The book included "cute drawings of houses, racing cars and children" while warning employees that they all had to work harder because "we're no longer the nicest house on the block." The gesture was received by the Hutton employees about as well as you might think it would be. [google news archive]

Those coloring books are now collector's item. The going price on eBay is $125.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 15, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Books, 1980s

January 14, 2013

No Death Star For Defense Department

After an online petition to build a planet-destroying "Death Star", the U.S. government has decided against building the "Star Wars" weapon.


The government response even uses some Star Wars language, "This isn't the petition response you're looking for." You can check out the document here.

Here's the link to the Twitter response by Darth Vader, which begins with "A serious mistake, Mr. President" --


What could you build for $850 trillion? Or is it $850 quadrillion? Pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Posted By: gdanea - Mon Jan 14, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy

Alfred, Meet Jimmy

Recent scholarship has traced the roots of Mad magazine's Alfred E. Newman back to the nineteenth century. But I don't believe anyone has ever before noted his resemblance to this animated version of Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen, as seen in the 1942 Superman cartoon "Showdown," embedded above.


How fitting that today both Jimmy and Alfred are owned by the same company, Warner Bros.!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 14, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Humor, Magazines, Twins, Lookalikes & Doppelgangers, Comics, 1940s, Nineteenth Century

Special Announcement: Book Talk in San Diego

I was invited to give a talk at the Upstart Crow bookstore in downtown San Diego (Seaport Village), and I happily agreed because it's a great store. I'll be there at 7pm this Thursday (Jan 17) talking about mad scientists. The real-life kind, not the fictional ones. Which is the theme of my last two books, Elephants on Acid and Electrified Sheep.

So if any Weird Universe readers will happen to be in the San Diego area on Thursday, you now know where to find me.

Of course, this raises the question of whether there are any WUvies (besides myself) in San Diego. If there are, I'd love to meet you! Or if you don't live in SD, but know someone who does, send them down! Help fill up the place (because I hope I'm not going to be talking to an empty room).

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 14, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Alex

The lengthy url takes you to a website created by artist Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung. He refers to the site as "" Elsewhere he explains that the site is an artistic experiment in bad website design: is a website whose sole content consists of splash pages — the opening pages for most websites, usually containing a small amount of graphics. After clicking through all the splash pages the spectator will find there is actually no core content, opening the question of definition regarding content in web pages. is designed to be user-unfriendly, aiming to serve as a counter structure to the model of most successful websites — portal sites where all the links are contained in one interface in order to generate a maximum number of hits, instead 60X1 is designed to generate a minimum amount of hits with it's long domain name, one way navigation and it's big file sizes of images, existing as an experiment to test viewers' patience and expectation, as well as calling the internet into question as a forum for communication.

The challenge, as you click through the splash pages, is to find the word "enter" which is hidden somewhere on each page. Until you find that word, and click on it, you won't be able to get to the next page. I got about five pages in before I gave up. So I guess his experiment in bad site design worked! I've reproduced a few of the splash pages below.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 14, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Internet, Strange Websites

January 13, 2013

Pro Speech 1

Every morning I sample the previous day's offering from the 24hr news channels where one expects to find the apex of professional journalism. And, for the most part, they do a pretty good job but, from time to time, the need to fill the airways with voice out stripes the abilities of these reporters. Scripted or not the inanity of some of the statements is just too hard to ignore.

Headlines that lie like a cheap rug are also going to be mentioned as they are totally out of control and should be, in many cases, reported to the Better Business Bureau for false advertisement!

Following in the footsteps of He Who Blazed the Trail I've already retired some of the most inane verbal ejaculations of our time:
"you know what?" If I knew what then I'd not have to be listening to you!

"like": like, you know, like if you don't know, like why "like" is, like not
going to be, like, you know, actually listed here then, you know what,
you're not like paying attention.

So, you know what, here I hope to actually spearhead a section where we can hold these pros up to the light and, like, have a chuckle at their expense. Of course, this is all done in good fun and not meant to be vicious or condescending in any way, actually.

The rules are simple:
1) The speaker has to be a pro. ie: on the payroll.

2) You can use the ramblings of the interviewee if the interviewer's choice is incapable of shedding any light on the story. ie: The "suspect's" next door neighbor's second cousin's dog walker's brother.

3) Where possible the pro's name and affiliation should be given full credit but the interviewees must remain anonymous. (They didn't spend 4 years and $120,000 learning to talk.)

"Many of the same investigators were back at the theatre in July."
ABC: Clayton Sandell
Really??? You mean Aurora, CO reuses their detectives??? How energy
efficient of them.

"Gorillas, who share 97% of our DNA are soooo similar to us!"
ABC: Dan Harris
You mean except for the hair, long arms, stance, and copious amounts of

"... the actual, alleged rape ...."
FOX: Megyn Kelly
She's actually alleged to have possibly said something like this, maybe.

(When highlining) "you need a good sense of balance too!"
DW News: Louise Houghton
Highlining is slack-rope walking across mountain peaks so, yea, balance
would come in handy.

Lottery Winner Murdered: Widow Questioned By Police
ABC: Catchy headline but no where in the clip was murder mentioned

Sleep-Drug Dose Lowered in Effort to Curb Drowsiness Dangers
ABC: If you don't want to sleep, why'd you take a sleep-drug?
Lisa Stark then takes the drug, gets into a driving simulator, and falls
(wait for it......) ASLEEP! Seriously powerful reporting!

Posted By: Expat47 - Sun Jan 13, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: TV News

The Shark From Jaws

Actually, it's the shark from Jaws 2, but I assume Spielberg used something similar for Jaws. For full body shots of the shark, he used an animatronic model called Bruce.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 13, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Movies, Robots, 1970s

The Sculptures of Sarah Braman




Of course, these are the ones the innocent janitor always throws out into the trash. She recently received a ten-thousand dollar prize for excellence.

A gallery of images here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jan 13, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art

January 12, 2013


Let me know at which point you bail from this piece. But if you love it instead, be prepared to pay a high price for each CD--for some unfathomable reason.

More about the musician.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jan 12, 2013 - Comments (13)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Music, Avant Garde, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

12th century reliquary that looks like the Aurora shooter

I was looking through a book of art history when I came across this photo of a reliquary of St. Vitale, made around 1170. A reliquary is a container for holding sacred relics, such as the bones or body parts of saints. This reliquary, made out of bronze with encrusted enamel, held pieces of what were supposed to be St. Vitale's skull. The skull pieces "could be placed in (and removed from) the container through a concealed opening at the rear of the sculpted head." To be honest, I'm not sure which St. Vitale this is supposed to represent, because there are a couple of them.

But what really struck me, as soon as I saw the photo, was how much the reliquary, with its creepy staring eyes, resembled James Holmes, the Aurora shooter. Compare for yourself!

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 12, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Costumes and Masks, Death

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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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