Weird Universe Archive

August 2013

August 18, 2013

News of the Weird (August 18, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M332, August 18, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: At age 20, Kyle Kandilian of Dearborn, Mich., has created a start-up business to fund his college expenses, but it involves a roomful (in the family home) of nearly 200,000 cockroaches. The environmental science major at University of Michigan-Dearborn breeds them--species ranging from the familiar household pests, which he sells on the cheap as food for other people’s pets, to the more interesting, exotic Madagascar hissing roaches and rhino roaches, which can live for 10-15 years. (Kandilian told the Detroit Free Press in July that of the 4,000 cockroach species, only about a dozen are pests.) Why not (the Free Press asked) choose a more conventional “pet”? Because “[m]ammals smell,” he said. (Missing from the Free Press story: details on the likely interesting initial conversation between Kyle and his mother when he asked if he could have 200,000 cockroaches in the house.) [Detroit Free Press, 7-28-2013]

Can’t Possibly Be True

PREVIOUSLY: A 55-year-old woman in the Netherlands seemed to be experiencing orgasms emanating from her foot, she said, and Dr. Marcel Waldinger of Ultrecht University (writing in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, online in June) produced a possible explanation. The applicable left-foot nerve enters the spinal cord at about the same level as the vaginal nerve, Waldinger wrote, and the woman’s recent foot injury might have caused the nerves to cross. The woman reported “five or six” orgasms per day that felt exactly like “regular” orgasms and, she said, were making her feel terribly guilty and embarrassed. After treatment with a nerve anesthetic, she reported being orgasm-free (in the foot, at least) for eight months. [CBS News via KHOU-TV (Houston), 7-1-2013]

The intersection of West Gateway Boulevard and North Congress Avenue in Boynton Beach, Fla. (pop. 60,000), is nine lanes wide, busy even at 11 p.m. on Sunday night, as it was in July when a 2-year-old girl darted across, and a combination of good fortune and sometimes-rare Florida driver alertness allowed her safe arrival on the other side without a scratch. “It’s a miracle,” said Pastor Harry Scott, who witnessed it. “I’m telling you the truth.” Mom Kayla Campbell, 26, was charged with felony neglect, as she appeared “oblivious,” said police, to the child’s absence from home. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 7-9-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: An unnamed restaurateur from Nagoya, Japan, has filed a lawsuit against an affiliate of the country’s largest organized crime syndicate, Yamaguchi-gumi, demanding a refund of “protection” money she had been paying for more than 12 years (in total, the equivalent of about $170,000). The affiliate, Kodo-kai, burned down a bar in 2010, killing people, in a similar protection arrangement that went bad, and the plaintiff said she, too, was threatened with arson when she decided to stop paying. According to an expert on Japanese “yakuza,” a relative of one of the victims of the 2010 fire may also sue Kodo-kai. [Japan Today via Quartz, 7-18-2013]

Unclear on the Concept

In June, following his guilty plea in Corpus Christi, Tex., to possession of child pornography, Jose Salazar, 70, offered to perform public service to reduce the 12-year sentence a federal judge had handed him. Salazar said he “had a lot to offer society,” according to an Associated Press story, and could be “useful” in mentoring children. [Associated Press via Beaumont Enterprise, 6-21-2013]

At Atherstone, England’s, Twycross Zoo, a program is underway to try to teach quarter-ton giant tortoises to speed up. An extended outdoor pen had been built for Speedy (age 70), Tim, 40, and Shelly, 30, but that meant it took a longer time to round them up for bed at the end of the day. The Leicester Mercury reported in June that zoo officials were trying to use the lure of food to get the tortoises to significantly improve their way-under-1-mile-per-hour gait. [Leicester Mercury, 6-21-2013]

Actually, It Might Enhance the Experience: The British sex toy manufacturer Ann Summers issued a recall in June of a certain model of its popular Ultimate O Vibrator because of a problem with the electrical charger. The company said it was being cautious but that the risk of danger is low. [Daily Telegraph, 6-14-2013]


PREVIOUSLY: Tina Marie Garrison, 37, and her son Junior Lee Dillon, 18, of Preston, Minn., were charged in June with stealing almost $5,000 worth of gopher feet from the freezer of a gopher trapper in Granger, Minn., and selling them for the local offered bounty of $3 per pair. Garrison, Dillon, and the victimized trapper were friends, and it was not clear why the personal, thinly-populated gopher-foot market would not have deterred Garrison and Dillon. [Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.), 6-18-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Louann Giambattista, 55, a 33-year-veteran American Airlines flight attendant, filed a lawsuit against the company in July alleging that it had subjected her to baseless hassles because of co-workers’ accusations that, said her attorney, were wrongly “making her out to be a nut.” One of the accusations was that she was “hiding rats in her underwear [and pantyhose] and sneaking them onto planes” based apparently on Giambattista’s hobby of raising pets at home. The airline has allegedly subjected her to enhanced security measures for more than a year, allegedly causing her post-traumatic stress disorder and “debilitating anxiety.” [New York Post, 7-7-2013]

Strange Old World

In July, the governor of Gorontalo province in Indonesia decreed that female secretaries should be replaced immediately with males. He was responding to a recent excessive spate of extramarital affairs by male bureaucrats with their female secretaries. (“[O]ld women who are no longer attractive” could also be hired, he said.) [Agence France-Presse via Fox News, 7-14-2013]

People With Issues

PREVIOUSLY: (1) Gerard Streator, 47, pleaded guilty in June in Waukesha, Wis., County Court to public lewdness and placed on probation after his arrest last year of going through the motions of intercourse with a discarded couch on a public street. An off-duty police officer thought initially that he had caught a couple, but on closer inspection, he realized Streator (who was aroused) was alone. (2) The day before, in Osterund, northern Sweden, a 35-year-old man was arrested after a surveillance camera revealed him to be the one who repeatedly punctured Per Edstrom’s bicycle’s tires and who that evening was seen sitting on the bicycle pleasuring himself while holding a photograph of Edstrom’s girlfriend. [The Smoking Gun, 6-24-2013] [The Local (Stockholm), 6-23-2013]

Undignified Deaths

(1) PREVIOUSLY: A 28-year-old man was accidentally killed in Shelby, N.C., in April. Police say he had trespassed on a salvage lot at 5 a.m. and was underneath a wrecked car trying to steal a catalytic converter when the jack slipped, and the car fell on him. (2) A 42-year-old man was shot and wounded while on his front porch in Antioch, Calif., on Friday morning, June 28th. He was treated and released, but then walked out on his porch the next morning and was again shot, this time fatally. [Shelby Star, 4-1-2013] [San Francisco Chronicle, 6-29-2011]

A News of the Weird Classic (April 2009)

When Alcoa, Inc., prepared to build an aluminum smelting plant in Iceland in 2004, the government forced it to hire an expert to assure that none of the country's legendary "hidden people" lived underneath the property. The elf-like goblins provoke genuine apprehensiveness in many of the country's 300,000 natives (who are all, reputedly, related by blood). An Alcoa spokesman told Vanity Fair writer Michael Lewis (for an April 2009 report) that the inspection (which delayed construction for six months) was necessary: "[W]e couldn't be in the position of acknowledging the existence of hidden people." (Lewis offered several explanations for the country's spectacular financial implosion in 2008, including Icelanders' incomprehensible superiority complex that convinced many life-long fishermen that they were gifted investment bankers.) [Vanity Fair, April 2009]

Thanks This Week to Jim Knuth, Bruce Leiserowitz, and James White, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Aug 18, 2013 - Comments (3)

August 17, 2013

Guinea Pig Love

A German University was ordered by a court to move their guinea pig enclosure due to all the noise the animals were making. Much of it during sex due to the lab policy of unrestrained breeding. They are apparently free love guineas.

Posted By: patty - Sat Aug 17, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals

How to make akutaq

To make akutaq, also known as "eskimo ice cream," you mix together berries (blackberries, salmonberries, etc.) with fat. Nowadays it's common for people to use crisco as the fat, but traditionally people used reindeer or moose fat. If you happen to have either of those on hand, they're preferred. To finish off the recipe, you can also mix in some fish and sugar. Yum!

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 17, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: Food

August 16, 2013

LP Cover Lover


An outstanding collection of weird album covers can be found at LP COVER LOVER.

They have put the risque ones on their Tumblr site.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 16, 2013 - Comments (9)
Category: Art, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Music, Sexuality, Collectors

Pax Victis

In 1930, the residents of Dedham, Mass. paid $12,600 for a war memorial on which was inscribed the phrase "Pax Victis." But six years later a Latinist pointed out that the phrase meant "Peace to the conquered," which didn't quite sound right. It's along the lines of 'Slavery is Freedom.' So the city paid $400 to change the inscription to "Pax Victoribus" -- "Peace to the victorious." But apparently that didn't sound quite right either because eventually it was changed to read simply "Pax." [Waterville Times - Apr 16, 1936 (pdf)]

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 16, 2013 - Comments (12)
Category: Statues, Monuments and Memorials, War, 1930s

August 15, 2013

Delicious London

A reproduction of London landmarks done in bread.

Posted By: patty - Thu Aug 15, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Food

Where’s Mrs. Veal—That Cat Lady?

Not for the faint of heart!!

When Janet Veal hadn't been seen for a while, the officials were notified.

Travel down this lovely country road and you'll find her house.


They had to use a ladder to get into the house for some reason, and found a dead dog, a dead cat, and several live cats.

What had the animals been living on?

Parts of Mrs. Veal.

Her partially eaten body was disconcerting for the officer who discovered her and the coroner who determined she died of natural causes.

Here's the link to the official story from the Daily News.

What's the lesson? Don't have a heart-attack with a house full of animals if you want an open casket?

Or is there another lesson?

Posted By: gdanea - Thu Aug 15, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: Animals

Fear of Flying

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 15, 2013 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Nature, Cartoons

Name That List, #21

What is this a list of? The answer is below in extended.
  • Count Lemonade
  • Duke Marmalade
  • Duke Red-Cheeked
  • Duke of Varieties
  • Duke Outpost
  • Count Torrential Stream
  • Count Red Terrier
  • Baron Syringe
  • Baron Dirty Hole
  • Count Number Two

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 15, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Name That List

August 14, 2013

Shakespeare Got It Wrong

When Shakespeare wrote, "First kill all the lawyers." he may have gotten it wrong. Insurance adjusters seem to be closer to the mark. Trying to cheat someone out of insurance for cancer treatment over a 26 cent error is just heinous.

Posted By: patty - Wed Aug 14, 2013 - Comments (11)
Category: Health

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Who We Are
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.

Chuck Shepherd
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.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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