Weird Universe Archive

April 2013

April 17, 2013

Jimmy Tayoun, Prison Consultant

Jimmy Tayoun was a Philadelphia City Councilman who got busted for accepting bribes and concealing income from the IRS. As a result, he spent some time in a federal prison, but he used the experience to good advantage by penning a 64-page guide of practical advice for those on their way to prison, which was published upon his release in 1995. He titled it, Going To Prison? It seems like a book that deserves a place in any library of the weird. [Allegheny Times]

He also set up a 1-900 number to answer questions from "fearful first-timers," charging them $2.50 a minute to select from a menu of seven topics. In this way, according to wikipedia, he pioneered the profession of "prison consultant" (apparently he was the first to use the term), that being someone who "provides newly convicted criminals with advice on how to cope and survive in the unfamiliar surroundings of prison."

Jimmy's tips included these words of wisdom:
  • Bring a good amount of cash if you can.
  • Ask the custodial officer for a couple more razors, some more soap, and later for toothpaste. After a while you will learn where it is stored, check the door until you find it open, and help yourself — though never take too much since your lockers do get checked
  • See a dentist before serving time
  • Be wary of probation officers
  • Never snitch on another inmate or guard
  • Bring two pairs of eyeglasses, though "nothing fancy schmantzy"
  • Get a doctor's note to avoid being assigned a top bunk
  • Arrange private transportation to prison to avoid being handcuffed on the trip

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 17, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, Prisons, 1990s

Cascarets

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image

"Trust in God, and keep your Bowels open" is my new motto for every situation.

Original ad here.

History of Cascarets.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 17, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Medicine, Excrement, 1900s

April 16, 2013

Compressorhead





Their homepage here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 16, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Music, Robots

April 15, 2013

Arthur Clarke Predictions in 1974

In this clip from 1974, Arthur C. Clarke predicts the computer will taken as much for granted in our homes as a phone. (Still have a land-line?)

As they are standing by the massive main-frame computers of the day, it reminded me how noisy they were.



How many correct predictions can you find?

Posted By: gdanea - Mon Apr 15, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Futurism

Cat Theater Reopens

Good news. The Moscow Cat Theater (previously mentioned, quite a few times, by Chuck) has reopened after a year-long absence. Below are some videos of the cat theater in action.



Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 15, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Theater and Stage, Cats

Twinkle, The Star That Came Down From Heaven

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In the mid-1960s, when I was in elementary school, I had a subscription to HUMPTY DUMPTY MAGAZINE. A very weird comic strip therein was titled "Twinkle, The Star That Came Down From Heaven." (Seen above, drawn by Jerry Smath, and courtesy of the Flickr stream of Glen Mullaly.) Even as a kid, I knew it was strange. A living, sentient star who manifested on Earth in a bipolar costume and kept his face-equipped iconic star head? And did he come from the celestial heaven or the Christian Heaven? Far out!

Little did I know until recently that "Twink" had earlier adventures in the 1940s, in the pages of CALLING ALL KIDS, that were even more bizarre in their fashion. Unfortunately, no information remains about the writer and/or artist who was crazed enough to invent Twinkle.

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You can read several issues here.

This issue appears to be Twink's origin story.

I love those giant railroad engineer/welder's gloves he wears in his 1940s incarnation.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 15, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Comics, Children, 1940s, 1960s

April 14, 2013

Prison Sign Language, 1941

Back in the 1940s, talking wasn't allowed in the dining room of the Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison. So the convicts developed a primitive sign language to communicate what food they wanted:
  • Upheld hand: more bread, please
  • Upraised fist: more potatoes
  • Upheld knife, fork and spoon: more stew
  • Washing motion with the hand: water
  • Thumb up and index finger straight out: coffee or tea
  • Open and close the hand as if milking a cow: milk, please!
  • Hand flat and passed back and forth across the plate: gravy
  • Fork held up: meat
  • Thumb thrust through the fingers: vinegar
  • Two fingers thrust out: salt and pepper
  • If the person at the end of the table beats the table with his spoon: dessert is on the way
[Milwaukee Sentinel — Nov 16, 1941]

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 14, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Languages, Prisons, 1940s

The Undying Monster



Trailer above, film below!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Apr 14, 2013 - Comments (1)
Category: Movies, 1940s, Fictional Monsters

April 13, 2013

The Almost Millipede—only 750 legs

I feel cheated. I thought there were real millipedes -- with one thousand legs. After reading the article here:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/11/121114-leggiest-animal-millipede-illacme-plenipes-silicon-valley-science/

I discovered there is no creature with one-thousand legs.

But this one comes close:

image

Thought extinct, they have been rediscovered in Silicon Valley and may be lost again due to habitat loss.

Not to be sexist, but one interesting fact from the story may explain women's fascination with shoes. The female has 750 legs; the male only 550.

It can also spin its own clothes.

Posted By: gdanea - Sat Apr 13, 2013 - Comments (1)
Category: Insects

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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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