Weird Universe Archive

January 2014

January 27, 2014

Editor’s Note (January 27, 2014)

Yr Editor continues to experiment with what will be the News of the Weird Pro Edition profile for 2014, but that means sporadic postings instead of something a reader can count on. (Alex and Paul, on the other hand, are totally regular, so we have that going for us.) I didn’t like doing the once-a-week thing, but I liked the daily postings last week, and I believe I can handle those most weeks. I’ll try them again in a few days. When I decide on the profile, I will give readers various ways to stay in touch. Over and out.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Jan 27, 2014 - Comments (8)

Know the language of drugs

From the Huron Daily Plainsman - May 28, 1971.

The Northwestern National Bank evidently thought it was important people know the correct terminology. Click the image for a larger version.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 27, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Drugs, 1970s, Slang

Blast Stools


Stools made by blowing up sheet metal.

Read more here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 27, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Explosives, Furniture, Avant Garde

January 26, 2014

News of the Weird (January 26, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M355, January 26, 2013
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Everyone’s Above Average: Ask Americans how they stand compared to their fellow countrymen, and in survey after survey, the vast majority rank themselves “above average” in such areas as driving skill, sexual prowess, and general honesty. A recent study of English prisoners, published in the British Journal of Social Psychology, revealed that those miscreants think they, too, are in the upper half. They rate themselves above average (whether compared to Britons in prison or in society at large) in compassion, generosity, dependability, trustworthiness, and honesty. In fact, the only trait on the University of Southampton survey on which the criminals failed to rank themselves as better than the typical Brit was “law-abidingness.” On that trait, the inmates rated themselves merely as “average.” [Pacific Standard magazine, 1-7-2014]

Compelling Explanations

Pastor Ray Scott Teets, 66, of Fallen Timbers Community Chapel in Springhill Township, Pa., arrested in November for alleged “inappropriate contact” with an 11-year-old girl (daughter of parishioners) on at least three occasions, denied to police that the meetings were inappropriate. The girl, he said, requested counseling with him and suggested that sessions take place in the storage shed in back of the chapel. (The girl said there were six meetings, lasting about 15 minutes each, and denied initiating them.) [WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh), 11-22-2013]

Robert Bourque, 55, was convicted of DUI in Sarnia, Ontario, in October but continued to deny the charge. He admitted he had four beers on the day of the traffic stop but said the Breathalyzer result was misleading because he had recently poured alcohol into his ears to test his theory about how Jesus healed the sick. (Bourque was acting as his own lawyer.) [Toronto Sun, 10-11-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: The mother and other relatives of William Medina, 24, said they felt hurt by the public’s comments suggesting that Medina and his partner in the November Reading, Pa., armed robbery were “thugs.” William was a “family man”--“no big hard criminal,” his mother said. The two robbers, armed and wearing masks, were gunned down by a Krick’s Korner customer who said he feared the worst when he saw the robbers leading a store employee at gunpoint into a back room. A Medina cousin said he deplored people’s taking the law into their own hands. [WFMZ-TV (Allentown, Pa.), 11-5-2013]


Celebrity Ironies: (1) In December, a California appeals court endorsed actor Tippi Hedren’s victory suing the lawyer who had earlier failed to win compensation for her from a 2006 studio accident. In Hedren’s most famous movie role, she was attacked by birds in Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film, and in 2006 had been clobbered by falling scenery caused by birds nesting in an attic over a stage. (2) A man who won a Hollywood raffle to watch the finale of “Breaking Bad” with cast members was arrested in Fort Myers, Fla., in January and faces his own intent-to-sell drug charges. Two weeks earlier, unrelated to the show or the raffle, a man with the same name as the show’s protagonist (Walter White) was sentenced in Billings, Mont., to 12 years in prison on drug charges. [Hollywood Reporter, 12-16-2013] [Naples Daily News, 1-1-2013] [Billings Gazette, 12-16-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Too Much Information: Arvind Kejriwal, fresh from his electoral victory as chief minister of the state of New Delhi, India, was to report to work on Monday, December 30th, to begin fulfilling his anti-corruption administration--one that promised unprecedented “transparency” to make government visible to constituents. However, the transparency of his first public announcement was perhaps over-the-top--that he was taking the day off because of a bout of diarrhea. Said a colleague, “When the chief minister gives you a minute by minute update on his bowel movements, hail democracy.” [Agence France-Presse via South China Morning Post, 12-30-2013]

Officials in Taiji, Japan, announced in October they would build a tourist attraction to publicize a nearby annual dolphin cull in which thousands are killed. Park planners hope to attract visitors to swim and cavort in pools among the lovable, captured dolphins--and also to dine on dolphin meat (and rare whale meat) scored from the culls. Conservationists are of course disgusted by the project. [Japan Daily Press, 10-7-2013]

Fine Points of the Law

PREVIOUSLY: Michael Robertson, 31, argued via a lawyer before Massachusetts’s highest court in November that his arrest for taking “upskirt” photographs of a woman on the subway should be tossed out--asserting that he has a constitutional right to take pictures of anything that is not covered up in public. Said his lawyer (a woman), noting that the victim’s skirt provided only partial covering, “If a clothed person reveals a body part whether it was intentional or unintentional, he or she cannot expect privacy.” (Robertson’s case had been suspended at the trial court while he seeks a ruling on his legal interpretation.) [Eagle Tribune (North Andover, Mass.), 11-4-2013]

Legislation, Not the Constitution, Is the Supreme Law of the Land: The December federal court decision, by Judge William Pauley, dismissing a challenge to the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program, suggested that even if a citizen might prove that his constitutional right to privacy was being violated, that person could never know it in the first place and thus never challenge, because Congress purposely made the NSA program secret. In fact, wrote Judge Pauley, the alleged constitutional violation that created the current lawsuit only came to light because of the unauthorized leaks by Edward Snowden. Therefore, if Congress never amends its secret laws, citizens will never get to find out whether their rights are being violated. [Washington Post, 12-27-2013]


For nearly 30 years, until 2007, the U.S. national symbol, the bald eagle, was endangered and protected, but officially they (along with golden eagles) are now so insignificant that the government is willing to endure dozens of them being chopped to death annually in the blades of “clean energy” wind turbines. An Associated Press investigation in December revealed that the federal government is purposely ignoring the eagles’ attrition out of fear that outraged conservationists’ campaigns will hinder development of wind power as an alternative to coal-produced electricity. (Another recent AP investigation revealed a similar painful choice in the continued commitment to ethanol as a cleaner alternative fuel even though that cleanliness is being increasingly questioned and even though ethanol production requires the massive diversion of corn that could inexpensively feed millions of hungry people worldwide.) [Associated Press via, 12-6-2013]

The Aristocrats!

Love the One You’re With: (1) Lydell Coleman, 36, was charged with felony indecent exposure in Seattle in December. He had allegedly dropped his pants outside the Sub Shop at Westwood Village and begun “humping” the front window. (2) PREVIOUSLY: Edwin Tobergta, 34, was sentenced to 11 months in prison in November after his earlier guilty plea in Hamilton, Ohio, to “having sex,” naked, with a rubber pool float, in front of children. (3) An inebriated Andrew Davidson, 25, was arrested in July on a train between Aberdeen, Scotland, and Glasgow after foisting himself on a beverage cart and “humping” it, shouting “I want to kiss you, I want to [have sex with] you.” [KOMO-TV, 12-25-2013] [WXIX-TV (Cincinnati) via WMC-TV (Memphis), 11-5-2013] [Metro (London), 1-7-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

According to a police report, Tevin Monroe, 31, walked into a McDonald’s in Norfolk, Va., in December to inquire about a job, asked a manager for an application, and was told that the form was available online and that he should go download it. The manager’s response left Monroe dissatisfied, and he lifted his shirt to show the manager the gun in his waistband. The manager quickly located a paper application for Monroe (but also discreetly summoned police, who arrived and arrested Monroe while he was still filling out the form). [WVEC-TV (Norfolk), 12-17-2013]

Suspicions Confirmed

PREVIOUSLY: University of Alabama football fan Adrian Briskey, 28, was charged in December with the fatal shooting of a 36-year-old woman (also a ‘Bama fan) at a postgame gathering in Hoover, Ala., to commiserate over the team’s last-second loss to arch-rival Auburn. According to the victim’s sister, Briskey was angry at the woman because she was insufficiently distraught at the game’s outcome. [WBRC-TV (Birmingham), 12-9-2013]

Thanks This Week to Jan Wolitzky and Andres Velasco, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jan 26, 2014 - Comments (4)

Follies of the Madmen #215

Does anyone under the age of fifty even know who Felix the Cat is anymore? Having a character born in 1919 as your "hip" cartoon representative seems a somewhat dubious move to me. And Felix is only onscreen for like a millisecond.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jan 26, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Cats, 1910s

Feather Death Crowns

A bit of Appalachian folklore:

Back when feather pillows were the norm in Appalachian households, it was not uncommon to find a hardened mass of feathers whose quills had turned inward and locked together forming a disc, or crown, in the pillow of the gravely ill, or recently deceased. Finding such an artifact in the pillow of someone ill was a sure sign that the person would die within the next three days, but it was a comforting symbol when found in the pillow of the recently deceased. Finding a crown in a person's pillow meant that the person has gone to Heaven. [Source: Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State]

People collect these things. The Museum of Appalachia in Tennessee has the largest collection. also has a whole bunch of pictures of them.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 26, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Death, Superstition

January 25, 2014

The Texas All-Girl Track Club, 1964

The Texas Track Club is celebrated on two counts—its athletic achievements and the uncommon beauty of its girls, who compete in dazzling uniforms, elaborate makeup and majestic hairdos. These hairdos, which are either bouffant or flip if at all possible, may not be aerodynamically sound and may be "out" east of the Hudson, but they are an unqualified sensation at a track meet. "They are our trademark," says Jeanne Ellison, the coach's 16-year-old daughter. "Bouffant is easier to run in because the wind doesn't blow your hair in your face."

Source: Sports Illustrated - Apr 20, 1964

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 25, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Sports, Hair Styling, 1960s

“Now you can SHAVE in your car!”


The dawn of the era of distracted driving.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jan 25, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Advertising, 1950s, Facial Hair

January 24, 2014

Petri Dish Hamburger In Your Future

Line up for your very own hamburger grown in a petri dish!! Volunteer tasters concurred that it tasted "close to meat".

Here's the "faux" burger fried up and ready to serve. It does look tasty.


Here's the link to the future hamburger:

Don't forget to read the "insect-based" burger information.

You want that "beetle-burger" with mustard?

Posted By: gdanea - Fri Jan 24, 2014 - Comments (8)
Category: Food

The Human Bellows

Not much info seems to remain about Art Hubell and his sideshow act. Except for this one picture. I wonder how he discovered he had this talent. [via Flickr]

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 24, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Human Marvels

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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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