Weird Universe Archive

September 2013

September 30, 2013

Reverse Panhandling

A Michigan couple stood roadside with signs that read, "NO, I Am Not Homeless, I Am Not Hungry. Can I Give YOU A Dollar" handing out 100 $1 bills to passing motorists. They also buy bus passes and hand them out while riding the bus. They just like to do good deeds for strangers.

Posted By: patty - Mon Sep 30, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Charity

Blasphemy Day

image
Today is Blasphemy Day! %&#&^%%$#%^&%^$*$#!!!!!

Posted By: patty - Mon Sep 30, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Curses

Black Art

A type of stage magic based on the principle that "bright colors show up on stage, and anything covered in black disappears." [via Deceptology]

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 30, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Entertainment, Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand

Where’s Wenda/Wilma?

imageimage

I never realized there were female counterparts to Waldo, nor that one could purchase Halloween costumes along those lines. But the disparity between Wenda and Wilma--or is that just two conflicting sides of the same woman?--is very confusing.


Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 30, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Costumes and Masks, Holidays, Sex Symbols, Books

News of the Weird 2.0 (September 30, 2013)

News of the Weird 2.0 / Pro Edition
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
September 30, 2013
(datelines September 21-September 28) (links correct as of September 29)

Least Competent Child: Age not known, but this North London gal got trapped on a swing in a public park, and so entangled herself that it took firefighters 15 minutes to figure it out. (Bonus: Due to communications problems, three trucks and a total of 15 emergency personnel responded to the “distress” call.) World’s Greatest Newspaper

The Power of “One Person”: Check these two instances from last week (but there’ll be more) where public officials have decided something, but then, reportedly, one person complains, and the officials shrivel up. (1) A set of nicely-designed traffic barriers, blending with the street, will now be redone because some lady in the Pittsburgh suburb said they reminded her of a row of penii. (2) Officials at Hendersonville (Tenn.) High School, in the heart of Christian America, thought they had a duty to expose the kids to other views, via inspirational field trips to synagogues and mosques, but of course one parent objected that it would turn the kids into terrorists, and that was the end of that. U-S-A! U-S-A! Pittsburgh Post-Gazette /// Times Free Press (Chattanooga)

What does a lawyer do when his landlord-client is caught red-handed spying on his tenant-babes via peepholes? Well, the lawyer examines the applicable statute, fixates on the requirement that peeping is only illegal if for “sexual gratification,” and then whines indignantly that there is no evidence the client was “aroused” when he was caught perving. (Actually, Yr Editor noticed that the crawl space for the peeping would appear to make it very difficult, if not painful, for the landlord to be aroused while peeping.) Des Moines Register

Update: Yr Editor made a big deal in NOTW M336 [9-15-2013; WU, 7-15-2013] about our ridiculous tolerance for high-frequency investment trading, as if it’s a national treasure. And now: On September 18th, the Federal Reserve announced an about-face of sorts of its plans to stop goosing the economy. For most investors, the about-face would be a “buy” signal but only at a price that were low (to reflect prevailing pessimism about goosing). The Fed’s news was scheduled for a 2 p.m. release, and the Fed has made it clear that 2 p.m. means 2:00:000000000, period. Somehow, thousands of computer-driven “buy” trades were executed in Chicago within 4 milliseconds after 2 p.m. (actually, 1 p.m. in Chicago). People who calculate these things believe it would take at least 7 milliseconds for the Fed’s announcement to have moved electronically from the New York Fed’s office to Chicago. (1) Who cheated? (2) How’d they cheat? (3) Maybe they didn’t cheat, but just willed a new law of physics to get electronic blips to Chicago faster. (4) Why is 4 milliseconds so damned important? [Oh, right, money! I forgot.] (5) In what possible way is “society” [i.e., U-S-A! U-S-A!] benefiting from this steroidal version of algorithm-driven trading? (6) Why don’t we just track down these quants and give them a series of bloody, deep-vein, bone-rattling wedgies so they’ll go do other things--more socially-productive things? Mother Jones /// CNBC

Can’t Possibly Be True: Sheriff’s deputy / Piece of Work Darrell Mathis of Newton County, Ga., close to Atlanta, was busted for calmly running a dope-selling business . . while in uniform . . from his squad car . . after bragging that he does it all the time. CNN

“Patrick,” 23, a Western lowland gorilla, was finally ushered out of the Dallas (Tex.) Zoo, and on to a zoo in Columbia, S.C., because he wanted only to be alone or hang with his human handlers and visitors and not with “his own kind”--and especially not with horny females of his own kind. Associated Press via WHTM-TV (Harrisburg, Pa.)

A University of Florida veterinary school professor was arrested for taking upskirt photos with a camera-pen. His initial explanation implied that he felt a duty to document that female students were arriving in class without proper underwear, but then had no explanation for the other prolonged close-ups of coeds’ chests. The Smoking Gun

Pretty good research shows that people who attend church regularly are, in general, happier, more optimistic, healthier, than non-church-goers. That partly reflects the what-me-worry? attitude produced by all-in reliance on an omnipotent spirit [OS], but it also reflects just hanging around a social group of happy, optimistic, healthy people. Hence, a UK social invention--the full-service church that offers everything a church-church does . . except that pesky OS app. “Sunday Assembly Everywhere”’s Credo: “[L[ive better, help often, and wonder more.” (In fact, the atheists are complaining that SAE isn’t negative enough in denouncing the OS, presumably because SAE is too busy being joyous.) [Yr Editor’s Deep Thought of the Week: I thought I was SAE material, but maybe I’m just Patrick.] SAE may be coming soon to your town, too. The Week

Editor's Note

Yeah, I’ll be back tomorrow, and yeah, I’m still futzing with format. The fact is, obviously, I’m not really a “blogger.” I’m still a “newspaper columnist.” I write 800-1100 words, in a selection of news summaries, crafted to entertain a “reader” (not necessarily a “browser” or a “scanner”). Obviously, unlike Alex and Paul and our guest bloggers, I have never taken advantage of two primary characteristics of the “blog”: images and commentability. Nonetheless, I work hard and seek to continue whatever I was doing before Alex, Paul, and I started this thingie, which was to reach a particular audience that prefers the product I’m good at. (I’ll still post to Weird Universe, but I keep thinking another audience is reachable if I weren’t so “bloggish.” If anyone knows WTF I’m saying to myself has any reaction, please e-mail me at Weirdnuz at Earthlink dot net or Chuck at WeirdUniverse dot net, both of which I monitor more frequently than I do the Comments.)

Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]


Mr. Bee O’Brien, 49, has given up on finding work so it’s no wonder he’d trash the Job Centre site in Manchester, England, when his benefits spigot froze up, even temporarily. Nonetheless, can y’all think of any reason off the top of your head why Bee might not have employers begging to hire him? Manchester Evening News

Newsrangers: Cindy Hildebrand and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Sep 30, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category:

September 29, 2013

Junk Mail

Several Japanese pornographers put themselves out of business by mailing out their catalogs of illegal porn a bit too randomly. The Osaka Chief of police received 3 catalogs which resulted in a raid and six arrests. Perhaps they should compile a mailing list for future use.

Posted By: patty - Sun Sep 29, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Goofs and Screw-ups

The Harp Guitar



"You got harp in my guitar!" "You got guitar in my harp!" Two great tastes in one.

Learn more here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 29, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Music

Weekend Hobos

In this 1991 article, the AP described "weekend hobos" as practitioners of a sport that was "catching on among business people and other professionals." I'm curious if that's still true. Are there a lot of people out there who take off their jacket and ties at end-of-work on Friday, and spend the weekend hopping trains?

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 29, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Sports

News of the Weird (September 29, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M338, September 29, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: “With its neatly cut lawns and luscious tropical vegetation,” wrote a BBC News reporter in July, Miracle Village, Fla., is an “idyllic rural community” of 200 residents--about half of whom are registered sex offenders, attracted to the settlement near Lake Okeechobee because laws and ordinances elsewhere in Florida harshly restrict where they can live (e.g., not within a half-mile of a school or park). Incumbent residents might have been apprehensive in 2009 when a pastor started the local rehabilitation ministry (one even called it a “nightmare on elm street”), but since then, no one could recall a single impropriety involving an offender, and, lately, 10 to 20 more arrive each week (screened to keep out diagnosed pedophiles and those with a history of drugs or violence). [BBC News, 7-30-2013]

Can’t Possibly Be True

Dana Carter’s debut as principal of Calimesa Elementary School in California’s San Bernardino County was quite inauspicious, as parents quickly objected to his August policy of requiring kids to drop to one knee when addressing him. One parent said her daughter was forced to kneel while awaiting his attention and then to rise only when he lifted his arms. Carter said he would discontinue the policy and insisted he had instituted it for “safety” and not because he imagined himself as royalty. [KCBS-TV (Los Angeles), 8-20-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Many consumers already distrust food imports from China, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture nonetheless announced recently (and “quietly,” according to NPR) that it would exempt four Chinese companies altogether from USDA inspections of their processed-chicken exports. The changes are part of the Department’s money-saving streamlining that also cuts back domestic regulation--proposals that have already drawn criticism from the Government Accountability Office because they would replace many on-site USDA inspectors with employees of the food- processing plants, themselves. [NPR, 9-5-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: It was a tough sell for performance artists Doug Melnyk and Ian Mozdzen to defend their controversial show at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in July. (Wrote one reviewer: “What I saw [on the stage] were not one, not two, but three mayonnaise enemas. do not need to see any more mayonnaise enemas for the rest of my lifetime.”) Explained Melnyk, to a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reporter in July, if all you’re trying to do is “figure out what people want and you make it for them, that’s not art.” “[Y]ou’re just a shoemaker.” [Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 7-20-2013]

Unclear on the Concept

In August, the Mother Nature Network website showcased an array of camping gear seemingly designed for the daintiest of those ostensibly “roughing” it. The Blofield outdoor couch inflates in minutes to produce a facsimile of a Las Vegas lounge sofa. The Rolla Roaster’s 42-inch-long steel fork assures elegance (and evenness) in marshmallow-roasting. For fashion-conscious backwoods women, Teva makes high-heeled hiking sandals ($330). The mother of all Swiss army knives, by Wenga, has so many gadgets that it more suggests a parody of a Swiss army knife. To be a camper is to sleep in a tent, though, and why not the trailer-mounted Big Sky Lodge tent (seven feet high, 146 square feet of hardwood-floored space, including closets and a wine cooler)? [Mother Nature Network, 8-9-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: A July direct-mail campaign by Canada’s Conservative Party, intended to show concern for the disabled population, might have fallen short, according to a Toronto Star report. The first wave of brochures, “Supporting Jobs for All Canadians” (meaning the disabled as well), featured the well-known wheelchair symbol and a message in a series of Braille dots. However, the brochure was useless to blind recipients, who could neither see the dots nor read them, as the dots were printed on a flat surface. [Toronto Star, 7-26-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: By her own admission, Joan Holt, 61, of St. Louis, Mo., has difficulty writing, is easily distracted, needs frequent breaks, and “reads about two and a half times slower than her peers”--yet wants to be a lawyer. She filed a lawsuit recently against the Law School Admission Council for special accommodations to take the “standardized” admissions test after the Council offered to grant her “only” 156 extra minutes for the exam. She also demanded a room by herself with a “white noise” machine and the ability to bring a computer and food and drinks to the exam. (States have made similar accommodations for bar exams--but those applicants have already successfully endured the intellectual rigors of law school.) [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9-5-2013]

Inexplicable

PREVIOUSLY: Is oral sex permitted in Orthodox Judaism? If so, must any lubricant used be kosher (or is kosher required only for substances ingested into the body)? These questions were not answered by California’s Trigg Laboratories, which decided recently to vie for a kosher label for eight lines of “Ecstasy” lubricant under its “Wet” label--and, following an inspection by the Rabbinical Council of California, was granted it. Many authorities believe that non-kosher products can be used if, like lipstick, they are “applied” but not ingested. [The Guardian (London), 7-17-2013]

Because We Can, That’s Why: Two one-time roommates at the University of Michigan announced in August that they have developed a smartphone app to accommodate the questionable number of people who seek an easy way to share leftover food on restaurant plates (to save it from wasteful discarding). Using smartphones’ location service, one diner could offer to clean another’s plate or have a stranger rush to his own table for scraps. “We’re not gonna make millions,” one of the developers told NPR in July. [NPR, 7-29-2013]

People Different From Us

PREVIOUSLY: Jian Yang, 33, a media executive in Singapore, told Reuters in September that he was concerned about the diminishing respect the Mattel Corporation is giving Barbie, reducing production in favor of trendier dolls like those modeled after the “Twilight” characters. Yang is apparently protective of his collection of more than 6,000 Barbies that dominate his rowhouse--which he estimates has cost him the equivalent of nearly $400,000 since he took up the obsession at age 13. He said his parents have come to accept his passion but acknowledged that he had a few “ex-girlfriends” who felt “insecure” around his supermodels. Yang also owns about 3,000 non-Barbies and on his last trip to New York, bought 65 more. [Reuters, 9-2-2013]

Perspective

It is now well-known how America’s wounded warriors are victimized by the huge backlog of unaddressed Department of Veterans Affairs disability claims, with waits of many months or years. Nonetheless, the Department is so proud of shrinking the backlog that it has begun to issue bonus checks to bureaucrats who meet the Department’s numerical case goals in case-reduction (according to data from the Office of Personnel Management reported in the Washington Post in August). However, another Washington Post story, in September, reported that backlog reduction likely resulted merely from quickly approving the easier cases--while the roster of serious or complicated cases continued to grow (along with appeals of decisions too-hastily made by the bonus-clutching Department employees). [Washington Post, 8-25-2013] [Washington Post, 9-10-2013]

Undignified Deaths

(1) A 40-year-old woman was killed in a near-head-on collision in August in Spring Lake, Fla., while joy-riding on a back road at night on her dirt bike. She was accidentally hit by her husband, who was also joy-riding, in his all-terrain vehicle, and who also died. (2) A 50-year-old man in Berne, N.Y., was killed in August when, driving an all-terrain vehicle, he virtually decapitated himself on nearly invisible wire strung across a road as one of a series of booby traps he had installed to protect his marijuana plants. [Tampa Bay Times, 8-17-2013] [Albany Times Union, 9-1-2013]

A News of the Weird Classic (November 2010)

About 20 percent of Japan's adult-video market is now "elder porn" with each production featuring one or more studly seniors and Shigeo Tokuda, 76, among the most popular. He told Toronto's Globe and Mail in October [2010] that he still "performs" physically "without Viagra," in at least one role a month opposite much younger women. His wife and adult daughter learned only two years ago, by accident, of his late-onset career (which began at age 60 when a filmmaker hired him for his "pervert's face"). Tokuda figures the "elder porn" genre will grow with Japan's increasing senior population. [Globe and Mail, 10-3-2010]

Thanks This Week to Matt Catlin and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 29, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category:

September 28, 2013

The Torture King

I haven't been able to find much information about R.H. "Skeets" Hubbard, except that he was a sideshow performer in the 1950s, whose talents included driving an eight-inch spike into his head, and pulling a wagon with his eyelids. He was sometimes called "The Torture King," "The Human Plank," or "The Human Blockhead." Tough way to make a living.





Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 28, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Human Marvels, 1950s

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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.

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