Weird Universe Archive

February 2013

February 28, 2013

When Thief Meets Thief

One of the weirdest writers in history was Harry Stephen Keeler.

His sentences were as eccentric as his plots. Viz:

"I know how to get to the inside of a chilled-steel receptacle with no more noise than a cockroach, drunk after emerging from an uncorked gin-bottle in a garbage can, would make as he sneaked back to Mrs. C., waiting up to biff him on the beezer for leaving her to mind the youngsters while he went skyhooting. "

That gem comes from When Thief Meets Thief.

You may read the first chapter here.

Or listen to it below.

Or buy the book here.

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For subsequent chapters, visit here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 28, 2013 - Comments (18)
Category: Literature, Stupid Criminals, Outsider Art, 1930s

West End, New Jersey

West End, New Jersey has a minor claim to fame as the birthplace of Dorothy Parker. It used to be its own village, but now I think it's just a suburb of Long Branch. But what makes it unusual is its name. It's surrounded on three sides by Long Branch, and on the other side it faces the Atlantic Ocean. So what exactly is it on the west end of?

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 28, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Geography and Maps, Weird Names

February 27, 2013

House Buried by Tumbleweeds

Are you where the wind blows? Maybe you shouldn't take down a fence if there are tumbleweeds around.



This report shows trucks blown over, a helicopter turned upside down, and this poor guy's house COVERED in tumbleweeds.

Posted By: gdanea - Wed Feb 27, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature

Charley Says



In this dangerous world, God help all kids who don't have a child-sized cat friend with feline Tourette's Syndrome.

So popular, they have been collected on DVD.



Not to be confused with this other "Charlie says!"


Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 27, 2013 - Comments (10)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Death, Disasters, PSA's, Advertising, Candy, Cats, Europe

Keep On Trucking

It was back in 1970 that "trucking" became all the rage. The "Youthbeat" column in the Winnipeg Free Press (Oct 19, 1970) attempted to explain what the phenomenon was all about, and how it originated:

"Trucking," the expression for an exaggerated let-it-all-hang-out style of walking, is catching on.
The walk, which emphasizes a long forward step with the body tilted backward and the arms flapping in a Jackie Gleason and-away-we-go style, represent something similar to the Negro spirituals' "we shall overcome."
The walk says: "regardless how much we may be put down, we'll keep on trucking."
The expression originates in a blues song played by Duke Ellington in the 1930s. The lyrics say, "keep on trucking, truck your troubles away."
Kids say trucking around in school halls and outside makes you forget about frustrating classes.
The movement was popularized by the underground press. A cartoon strip which I believe originated in the Los Angeles Free Press and was printed locally about a year or so ago showed a grotesque person "trucking."

The cartoon the writer was referring to is, I believe, this one by R. Crumb:


And here's a page from a 1970 issue of The Student Life showing some young people trucking (via Pomona College's Photostream):

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 27, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Fads, 1970s

February 26, 2013

The Original Rock Dinner

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Original page here.

In 1939, Kent Knowlton of Randsburg, CA, assembled a curious meal of petrified food for his amusement and that of others.

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We have a record that it was still being exhibited a year later. Then, the "Original Rock Dinner" vanishes from history--until this very year!

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An article on the "ghost town" of Randsburg features what appears to be a photo of the petrified food, nearly 75 years after its debut. I'd recognize that "cauliflower" anywhere!

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 26, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Eccentrics, Collectors, Food, Regionalism, 1930s, 1940s, Natural Wonders

Name That List, #20

What is this a list of? The answer is below in extended.
  • A telephone powered by the sun's rays which transmits sound waves for hundreds of feet
  • A kit for assembling an atomic radiation detector
  • A flying saucer that floats on a magnetic field
  • An assembly kit for a turboprop engine that really works
  • A typewriter that signals in Morse code
  • A back-yard roller coaster
  • An HO scale electric auto set
  • Giant-size dolls that not only walk, but talk


More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 26, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Name That List

February 25, 2013

Best Nap Ever!!

This kid is having too much fun during his nap -- I wish I had thought of that when I was in a crib.



Chances this video follows the kid the rest of his life? High School? Wedding?

Posted By: gdanea - Mon Feb 25, 2013 - Comments (1)
Category: Boredom

Dwight Eisenhower, Artist

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I did not know, until I saw a mention in The New York Times for September 15, 2012, that President Dwight Eisenhower had been an amateur painter.

What a token of a distant, more civilized era. Imagine a current President having the time to devote to such fripperies.

An article, with pictures, about his career exists. PDF here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 25, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Art, Politics, Historical Figure, 1950s

Kangaroo Meat Scandal, 1960

The horse meat scandal is widening in Europe, with reports now surfacing that Ikea's meatballs have been found to contain horse. Ikea insists the meatballs sold in the U.S. are horse-less, even though the U.S. and European meatballs come from the same supplier.

Of course, the U.S. has its own history of meat scandals, such as back in 1960 when Pennsylvanians got "hopping mad" to discover kangaroo meat was being mixed into their sausages and bologna.

In the past, I've purposefully had horse sausage and kangaroo filet. Or, at least, that's what I was told I was being served. Who knows. Maybe they were both really pork. I would never have been able to tell the difference.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 25, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Food

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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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