Weird Universe Archive

November 2013

November 26, 2013

News of the Weird 2.0 (November 26, 2013)

News of the Weird 2.0
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
November 25, 2013 (part II)
(datelines November 16-November 23) (links correct as of November 25)

Worse Sex Lives Than You: “Who [well, Brian Hounslow, that’s who] gets up at 8:30 in the morning and decides they’re [sic] going to go to Walmart, take off all their clothes, and masturbate in the women’s bathroom?” “How could you think you weren’t going to get caught?” (Ummm, maybe you didn’t?) KJRH-TV (Tulsa, Okla.)

Also: Jermaine Lloyd, 28, Augusta, Ga., enjoying a Sunday park outing, naked (except for high heels and a turban) but in the process of putting on his pantyhose and pink panties. Augusta Chronicle

(Also, while you’re wasting time anyway, here’s a member of the Australian Parliament tasting his own head-hair. Sydney Morning Herald)

Took It a Step Too Far

OK, hooray for the brave “gender identity disorder” people who withstand society’s scorn and change their birth gender. Now, here’s NYC artist Shakina Nayfack tapping a cancer-type kickstarter-ish fund to underwrite her sex-reassignment surgery. New York Daily News

A teacher in San Jose, Calif., won a defamation jury verdict against two brats who were calling him a perv, leading “personal injury” lawyer Lee Danforth to say, “If this trial prevents one little girl or one mother or father from reporting suspected abuse, then this [verdict] is profoundly sad for our society.” Alternative view: It’s a joyous day when scheming adolescents get called out for promiscuously throwing around career-ending charges against adults they don’t like. San Jose Mercury News

Ms. Fatima Mangre was granted a divorce from her better half. Fatima’s 8. Her dad finally came to the realization that arranging for her to marry at age 4 was maybe too soon. Said he, “Social pressures are high in our [Uttar Pradesh, India] village.” Daily Mail (London)

“Stand Your Ground” needs a thorough national discussion, but here we have Mr. Adric White, 18, out on bond for armed robbery, surprised by a customer while Adric was in the middle of another armed robbery (and leading an employee at gunpoint into a back room). Adric, surely a split-second away from havoc, was then gunned down by the legal-carry customer. Adric’s mom: “If [the customer’s] life was not in danger . . . [he] should have just left the store . . ..” “[W]hat gives him the right to think that it’s okay to just shoot someone?” WALA-TV (Mobile, Ala.)

United Airlines: Look, we’re a good company; we’re willing to pay for our mistakes; please just sign our standard settlement agreement first--the one that says you can’t ever tell a soul that we totally failed to honor our advertised service and almost killed your dog. KNTV (San Francisco)

“Diversity” is good; if you don’t see that, I guess they have ways of making your see it. Littleton Green Community School in Huntington, England, has apologized so piling on them wouldn’t be fair but Yr Ed is not deterred. Good idea: mandatory field trip to a non-Christian religious site just to see something the elementary-school urchins might not otherwise experience. Bad idea: And if parents object, or won’t pay the £5 service charge, we’ll tack a “racial discrimination” note onto their kid’s Permanent Record. Seriously. Daily Mail

Weekly Cite-Seeing

Man Buys House Next to Ex-Wife, Erects Middle Finger Statue --- WJBK-TV (Detroit)

Vietnam Banker Sentenced to Death for Fraud --- AlJazeera

Phoenix Dietitian Warns Against Cotton Ball Diet --- KTAR-TV (Phoenix)

Updates & Recurring Themes

I told you about this guy last month [M342, 10-27-2013], trying to avoid a perving charge on an airline by claiming that his junk was on fire from accidental exposure to peppermint oil (and, because he abandoned a checked bag when he landed, the FBI wanted a piece of him, too). Well . . not guilty, reasonable doubt. (Bonus: the benefit of flaccidity!) Salt Lake Tribune

And it’s time to update Spain’s Catalonia-tradition caganers--the Nativity-scene figurines taking dumps, including the famous and the reverent, such as, ta-daaaa! Pope Francis. Agence France-Presse via The Local (Rome) /// Wikipedia (caganers)

Newsrangers: Michael Cadwalader, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Nov 26, 2013 - Comments (4)

November 25, 2013

Beard Generators

Advertised in the Illustrated Police News - 4 April 1885

Advertised in the 1870s. I think it's also making his eyelashes grow.

via The Quack Doctor

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 25, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Hair and Hairstyling

Toy Hand Grenade


"I'm deeply sorry, Mrs Jones, but the SWAT team had no way of knowing little Tommy wasn't holding a real grenade before they opened fire."

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 25, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, Toys, Comics, 1950s, Weapons

News of the Weird 2.0 (November 25, 2013)

News of the Weird 2.0
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
November 25, 2013
(datelines November 16-November 23) (links correct as of November 24)

An “I’m Offended”-Era Classic: The Army, trying to recruit (physically) strong women for combat, suggested to the PR people to show women in ads that are not all that gorgeous (because, I’m pretty sure research shows) gorgeous women often get perceived as, umm, not the trench-warfare type, and if they “often” are so perceived, that reduces the number of able Army applicants. No sooner than word got out, some of the Usual Suspects complained that the Army was insulting attractive women. These are the same Usual Suspects, of course, that take exactly the opposite position when gorgeous women hit the spotlight. Politico

“The procedure costs about $3,000. And though it may sound scary, Dr. Chynn says he believes it’s actually pretty safe.” [Yr Ed advises to always respect the words “believes” and “pretty,” when they appear as risk modifiers.] Dr. Chynn is “defending” a chick’s decision to get a platinum jewelry implant in her eye socket (but it’s not technically “in the eye,” they say, so . . .). WNEW-TV (New York City)

Always wear clean underwear, and be sure you wipe up the slippery spots on your floor--because if your house catches fire, and a firefighter slips on the slop and falls, you pay . . in the F State area around Weird Central, anyway. Tampa Bay Times

Rulz! Rulz Are For the Benefit of Us All! (1) An elementary school in Crossville, Tenn., thought walk-home students should have to stick around a half-hour after the 2 p.m. bell to keep them safe from all the drive-home pickup parents. Fair enough. But dad Jim Howe wants to personally walk home his 2 urchins, at 2 p.m., and the school won’t let him--under penalty of arrest. (2) The school district in Manitoba has its template for a healthful meal, and no matter what else is in your lunchbox, there better be some “grain.” Kristen Bartkiw’s urchin’s lunch was beef, carrots, an orange, and milk. School’s protocol: Give the urchin a Ritz cracker and fine Kristen $10. Seriously. Daily Caller ///

Your Monday Law School Exam: Pedestrian killed when run over by two drunk drivers. But wait. Actually, he bled to death. But wait. From stab wounds in his arm. But wait. They were superficial, and earlier, he was fine. But wait. He was on the roadway just to walk to the hospital for wound treatment. But wait. Yr Editor’s head is exploding. Winnipeg Free Press

We’ve all figured, What’s the worst that can happen if I just ignore this summons? Jason Bourcier ran up $440 in toll-road tickets he ignored. Forty months later, thanks to the Power of Compound Interest: $200k (negotiated down to $40k, because Jason is, seriously, a professional financial consultant). New York Daily News

From the Homer Tribune (Homer, Alaska): Yukon Charlie was picked up for stabbing the interminably-babbling Turkey Joe, who said he didn’t hit Charlie back because “I have been a leader of men all my life.” (Bonus: Joe lives in a bus.) Homer Tribune

La-La-La-La-La-Can’tHearYou-La-La-La-La-La: For many bureaucrats, “I didn’t make a mistake” is a far more important imperative than “The wrong thing is being done.” Most of the time, fortunately, the stakes aren’t very high. Once in a while, ummmm, you’re building a $200m commercial and residential project in the middle of Hollywood virtually on top of a thing called the California Fault. Los Angeles Times

People With Worse Sex Lives Than You: Y’know, petty sex perps in Florida’s Port St. Lucie-area metroplex are simply no match for’s police writer Will Greenlee. The only issue left is whether local cops now write their official reports for Will’s benefit. Poor William Gibson, 50, of Jensen Beach, who was probably worse for wear for any crime-beat writer, but to Will’s keyboard, ehhh, Will’s got him “airing out” his penis (and taking a post-airing whiff of his fingers) and helpfully explaining that when William “fluffs” his genitals, it’s an action typically applied to pillows. Of course. TCPalm (Stuart, Fla.)

However . . . what do you expect, given America’s poor sex education? For instance, this 12-yr-old boy in Tennessee gets hit on by a former Tennessee Titans cheerleader, and she tries to pull his pants down, and he . . runs to tell his mama. Go figure. Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro) via The Tennessean (Nashville)

Cliche Come to Life: An Army officer whose DNA links him to a series of sexual assaults has been cleared by the judge to try to implicate his (allegedly) evil twin. Associated Press via USA Today

Rodney Rotert pleaded no-contest (prison sentence: deferred) to stealing a classic Camaro (alleged value, $100k), and that’s the end of that, right? Except Rotert is now suing the insurance company that owns it (that paid off the real owner) because, well, Rodney’s still got a bill of sale with the (fake) VIN on it, and dammit, that means it’s really his. Seriously. KOTV (Tulsa, Okla.)

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

David Adam Pate, 24. Guilt? Who cares? Put him out of his misery. FITS News (Columbia, S.C.)

Editor's Note

I’m not done. See ya tomorrow.

Newsrangers: Robert Jay, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Nov 25, 2013 - Comments (2)

November 24, 2013

News of the Weird (November 24, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M346, November 24, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

After its launch was delayed for a month by the Madison, Wis., city attorney, the Snuggle House was cleared and scheduled to open on November 15th to provide in-bed, pajama-clad “intimate, non-sexual touch[ing]” for $60 an hour. “So many people,” said assistant manager Emily Noon, “don’t have a significant other in their lives” and “just need to be held” (including, she said, the elderly and hospice patients, who are part of the target clientele). The city’s delay was, a spokesman said, to assure that Snuggle House had protocols for dealing with “risky” situations in which a customer refuses to take “no sex” for an answer. (Snuggle House has prominent surveillance cameras and panic buttons for the staff.) [WMTV-TV (Madison), 11-13-2013; WKOW-TV (Madison), 10-14-2013]

Oh, Dear!

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Among the underreported catastrophes caused by Hurricane Sandy in the New York-New Jersey area in October 2012 was the tragedy that befell the 27,000-bottle WineCare storage cellar in Manhattan. Though it claimed to have lost only about 5 percent of its inventory when waters from the Hudson River flooded its supposedly secure warehouse, that number apparently did not count the many preserved bottles whose labels washed off, dramatically reducing the value of customers’ toweringly-priced grape and forcing WineCare into bankruptcy court, according to a New York Times report in July. [New York Times, 7-21-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: The California genetic testing company 23andMe was recently awarded a patent for a computer program that lets parents, by running probabilities through the known relevant cell and DNA variables (of over 240 conditions and traits), predict their “perfect” baby. Of course the program can only provide the percentage likelihoods, and a company spokeswoman, anticipating a backlash against the concept of “designer babies,” rejected the idea that 23andMe would work with fertility clinics. [, 10-3-2013]

In July, just days after one-year-anniversary news reminders of the spree killing of 12 people at the Century 16 Theaters in Aurora, Colo., Cassidy Delavergne was arrested after he entered the NCG Trillium theaters in Grand Blanc Township, Mich., wearing full body armor and carrying a loaded gun and a fake CIA badge (and alarming some but not all bystanders). Delavergne explained he that wore the equipment only because he did not want to leave it in his car while he watched the movie--and thought the badge might alleviate other patrons’ fears. [ (Flint), 7-31-2013]

Update: Person-to-person fecal transplants have been mentioned here several times for the bizarre but therapeutic idea that gastrointestinal illness results from an imbalance between healthy and unhealthy gut bacteria--and that a transplant of healthier antigens may relieve the sickness. But what happens if no "compatible" donor is available? Emma Allen-Vercoe and her team at Canada's University of Guelph are thus creating artificial gut bacteria ("robogut") under demanding control conditions, for implantation. (Allen-Vercoe grumbled to Popular Science in August that the most disagreeable part of the job is disposing of excess sludge--the process for which causes “the whole building” to “smell like poop.") [Popular Science, August 2013]

Weird SportsCenter: (1) PREVIOUSLY: A Brazilian minor-league soccer match in September ended in a 2-2 tie only because, with minutes left, the trainer for one team stepped to the goal and cleared two quick tie-breaking shots that his players could not have reached in time. "It was our only chance," he said later. (The referee allowed play to continue.) (2) She Got Game: Bringing her basketball skills to an October five-on-five contest in Thimphu, the Queen of Bhutan, 23, scored 34 points with 3 rebounds and 4 assists, and talked up basketball’s imminent rise in the Asian kingdom to a New York Times reporter. The queen said she, and the king, play almost every day. [Eurosport blog via Yahoo News, 9-8-2013] [New York Times, 10-14-2013]

Super Protests

(1) PREVIOUSLY: Artist David Cerny, fed up with the collapse of the governing parties in the Czech Republic, launched a barge on the River Vitava in Prague in October, holding a gigantic purple hand with middle finger extended, aimed at Prague Castle (the office of President Milos Zeman). (2) In a November protest against Russia’s “police state,” artist Pyotr Pavlensky, in front of horrified tourists at Moscow’s Red Square, nailed the skin of his scrotum into cobblestones near Lenin’s Mausoleum. Pavlensky, who was arrested, earlier called his stunt “a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference, and fatalism of contemporary Russian society.” [BBC News, 10-21-2013] [Metro News (London), 11-10-2013]

Cliches Come to Life

(1) PREVIOUSLY: The Azerbaijani government’s official vote totals for the October 8th elections (showing President Aliyev winning, as expected, with 72.76 percent of the votes cast), was mistakenly released to the public on October 7th. (Officials blamed a computer app “bug.”) (2) Terry Jenkins, 25, was arrested for domestic battery in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in September after, according to the police report, he had asked his girlfriend and her female cousin for a bedroom menage a trois. He then allegedly became enraged when the women paid more attention to each other than to him. [Washington Post, 10-9-2013] [The Smoking Gun, 9-12-2013]


Awkward: (1) PREVIOUSLY: A teenage girl somehow managed to get stuck in a child’s swing on a playground in London in September, and soon three trucks carrying 12 firefighters were on the scene and managed to remove the swing from its frame to free her. (2) New York University student Asher Vongtau, 19, somehow managed to fall into a two-foot-wide shaft between a dorm and a garage in November and remain stuck for 36 hours until campus security officers spotted him and called firefighters. (He was hospitalized in serious condition.) [Daily Mail, 9-23-2013] [New York Daily News, 11-4-2013]


PREVIOUSLY: American Psychiatric Association members have been engaged in well-publicized academic brawls over the last 10 years about the contents of APA’s signature publication, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, whose fifth edition (DSM-V) was released in May. However, despite the thorough airing of contentious viewpoints as to what is and is not a mental illness, its final “consensus” nevertheless labeled “pedophilia” as a sexual “orientation” rather than a “disorder.” Falling under outside criticism almost immediately, APA in October reopened the debate, calling the labeling a “mistake.” (A “sexual orientation” in many state and local jurisdictions affords anti-discrimination rights.) [Washington Times, 10-31-2013]

Least Competent Criminals

Recurring Themes: (1) Steven Campbell, 51, entering a courthouse in Kelso, Wash., in November for a hearing on his previous arrest for possession of methamphetamine, apparently failed to consider that he would be searched and was forced to hand over to courthouse screeners a three-inch methamphetamine pipe with suspected meth residue on it. (2) Andrew Laviguer, 57, was captured and accused of robbing several banks in Oregon and Washington in September, including the Wells Fargo branch in Portland, Ore., that ended the spree (and on whose counter he had mistakenly left his car keys when he fled). [KATU-TV (Portland, Ore.), 11-5-2013] [KOMO-TV (Seattle), 9-14-2013]

Fine Points of the Law

(1) Hells Angels, which in the old days reputedly handled thieves in a different way, filed a lawsuit this time, in October, against Dillard’s department stores--alleging a violation of its Hells Angels Motorcycle Club trademark by the store’s similar design on one of its t-shirts. (2) PREVIOUSLY: A 43-year-old Canadian man is not guilty, argued his lawyer in court in November, of violating a local Dubai law on public insults, even though he used the “f-word,” because he had merely uttered “[f-word] off” and not “[f-word] you.” Explained the lawyer, “[f-word] off” is simply a demand (in Canada, anyway) that someone leave you alone. [San Antonio Express-News, 10-31-2013] [Gulf News (Dubai), 11-3-2013]

A News of the Weird Classic (April 2009)

It was thought to be the backwoods version of an "urban legend," but the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department reported in March [2009] its first documented case of a deer hunter's attempting to avoid detection after shooting a doe (instead of the permissible buck) by gluing antlers onto its head. Marcel Fournier, 19, used epoxy and lag bolts, said a game warden, but the finished product looked awkward because of the angle of placement and the size mismatch of the antlers. (Fournier was jailed for 10 days and fined, and had his license revoked.) [Burlington Free Press, 3-14-2009]

Thanks This Week to Bruce Leiserowitz and Gerald Davidson, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Nov 24, 2013 - Comments (2)

Robot Mouth

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 24, 2013 - Comments (3)

The Day Today

A UK comedy show from 20 years ago, still offering laughs in this era of THE ONION and Borat. Once non-UK listeners get past a few very local allusions.

Full story here.

More episodes on YouTube.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 24, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Humor, Television, 1990s, Europe

November 23, 2013

Big Whiskey

My, what a big bottle you have!

From Life - Mar 31, 1961.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 23, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Advertising, Alcohol

Singing Pills

If your drugs are singing to you, you've probably already overdosed.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 23, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Delusions, Fantasies and Other Tricks of the Imagination, Medicine, PSA’s, 1980s

November 22, 2013

Magneto-Conservative Garments

Advertised in the Los Angeles Herald and elsewhere, late 19th and early 20th centuries:

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 22, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Fashion, Underwear, Medicine, Nineteenth Century

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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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