Weird Universe Archive

April 2013

April 12, 2013

Sideways Art


The Fossil Hunters is a painting by Edwin Dickinson, created between 1926 and 1928. Its claim to fame in the history of art is that it was accidentally hung sideways first at the Carnegie International Exhibition of 1928, then subsequently at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at the New York Academy of Design, where it received an award. Finally someone noticed that it was incorrectly oriented (according to what Dickinson said was supposed to be the right-side up).

I think it looks better on its side (below). At least, I can kinda make some sense out of the painting from that angle. But then, who said art was supposed to make sense!

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 12, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: Art, 1920s

Batbaby

Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 12, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Death, Horror, Humor, Parody, Music, Fictional Monsters

April 11, 2013

King Ding Dong





If only the psychedlic-era King Ding Dong had been allowed to rule the Hostess company, they might still be with us today.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 11, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Royalty, Advertising, Chocolate, Junk Food, 1970s

Big Lavatory Concept

Researchers at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences put on their thinking caps and came up with a revolutionary idea. They call it the "Big Lavatory Concept" or BigLavC for short. Their idea is to take existing airplane toilets and make them jumbo sized, so they'll be easier for overweight and disabled people to use. [news.com.au]

I'm all for bigger toilets, but since there's a limited amount of space in an airplane, if you make the bathroom twice the size, won't that mean you'll end up with fewer bathrooms overall? And thus longer lines for the loo?

But of course, I'm being naive. These big bathrooms will probably only be for first-class passengers. And to make room for them they'll get rid of the economy-class toilets entirely and just hand out buckets.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 11, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Bathrooms, Flight, Air Travel and Airlines

April 10, 2013

Parakeet demands tax refund

It's a long-standing tradition in the media to come out with stupid tax stories around April 15. Here's one from 1955.

Jo-Jo Kay the parakeet was paid $615 a year by the Kay Jewelry chain to go around to their stores and say the phrase "It's Okay to owe Kay." Of this money, $20.50 went to income tax and $12.30 to Social Security. However, Jo-Jo claimed $25 in deductible travel expenses and $1 in charitable contributions (given to the zoo). This dropped his total income to $589, which was less than the $600 personal exemption. So Jo-Jo asked for a refund.

The IRS responded by pointing out that Kay Jewelry wasn't paying Jo-Jo the minimum wage, which meant they were liable to have their property (including Jo-Jo) seized as a penalty.

The picture shows Jo-Jo standing on the head of Internal Revenue Commissioner T. Coleman Andrews. [Milwaukee Sentinel — Jun 24, 1955]

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 10, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Government, Money, 1950s

Bernard Wheatley, Hermit

image

The man depicted above is Dr. Bernard Wheatley who, after the deaths of his family, chucked a flourishing career to live as a hermit on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Read a long and fascinating article about him here.

In 1957 Dr. Bernard Wheatley - an African American physician from the Virgin Islands - made a pilgrimage to Kalalau Valley. Distraught after the death of his wife and son in a car accident, he kept questioning the meaning of life and other ontological problems until the answers finally came. In a remarkable religious conversion-like revelation he realized that life is eternal. He abandoned his medical practice, sold all his worldly possessions and sought a quiet, secluded place where he could earnestly seek truth without distraction. He arrived on the remote Island of Kauai and after seeing Kalalau from a ridge-top lookout in Kokee, he knew that he had found his home.... He passed on December 3, 1991 at the age of 72. His ashes were spread in Kalalau.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 10, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, Religion, Hermits, 1950s, 1960s, South Pacific

April 9, 2013

Most Unfortunate Clown Motto Ever

image

More info here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 09, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Clowns, Sexuality, Comics, 1950s

The Disappearance of Baldheaded Row


Miss Georgia D. George wasn't correct in her prediction that baldness would disappear by the year 1950. Though she was correct that "baldheaded row" would disappear by then.

The term was unfamiliar to me, so I had to look it up. It indicated the front rows at burlesque and variety shows, which were full of baldheaded men leering up at the girls (or so the joke went). The disappearance of baldheaded row was, of course, due to the declining popularity of burlesque shows, and not to any advance in the hairiness of men.


Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 09, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Rants, Warnings, Jeremiads, Prophecies and Cassandra-like Figures, Graphics

April 8, 2013

Mystery Gadget 17

image

I've had to obscure some clues, but maybe you can still guess the purpose of this hi-tech gizmo from 1972.

If not, the answer is here. Just scroll down a bit at the link.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 08, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Technology, 1970s

Cockroach Racing

Cockroach racetracks were just one of the products sold by the International Mutoscope Reel Company. But the sales just weren't enough to save the company from bankruptcy in 1949.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 08, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Sports

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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.

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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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