Weird Universe Archive

February 2014

February 19, 2014

The Art of Marilyn Monroe

There have been many, many paintings done of Marilyn Monroe. But I wasn't aware that Monroe was, herself, an artist. She contributed the above sketch, described as being in the surrealist style, to an art exhibit in 1956. The organizer of the exhibit praised Monroe as "a midget picasso." Source: Newsweek - Nov 19, 1956.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 19, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Celebrities, 1950s

The Bullet Knife


Don't bring a bullet-knife to a gun fight. Or a knife fight. Or to any fight, really. It's just plain dumb.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 19, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: 1910s, Weapons

February 18, 2014

Vox Wah-Wah Pedal Commercial

"You can even make your guitar sound like a sitar!"

The history.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 18, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Music, Technology, 1960s

February 17, 2014

Pathogen Art

What some people will do for art! Anna Dumitriu is a UK artist who creates works of art out of clothing and textiles exposed to deadly pathogenic bacteria. However, she "takes pains to tell exhibition-goers that she kills all of the potentially-dangerous bacteria through heat sterilization" before putting it on display. In order to avoid infecting herself she does some of her work (the stuff that involves the most deadly pathogens) in a "custom-built biosecure container."

Below is her VRSA Dress. It's been exposed to Vancomycin-resistant strains of the Staph bacteria. More details at

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 17, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Art

Life in America:  1915

Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 17, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Customs, 1910s, North America

February 16, 2014


Zapping the poor little squirrels, how cruel!

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 16, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Animals


Kayla Finley rented the movie 'Monster-In-Law' on VHS in 2005. Something she likely had forgotten all about in the years since. But back in the day when you rented a VHS tape 2 things were expected of you: 1) Be kind and rewind 2) Return the tape. Kayla forgot number 2. So the store, which has since gone out of business, obviously filed a criminal complaint. Now, I told you that story so I could tell you this, during a routine records check on the young lady the 9 year old warrant for failure to return a VHS tape turned up. Ms Finley was subsequently arrested and jailed for the offense So be warned by this cautionary tail. If you have any old movies laying around the house that you forgot all about, return them. And for God's sakes, be kind and rewind!

Update: Charges were dropped by the store owner.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 16, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Scary Criminals

News of the Weird (February 16, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M358, February 16, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

The semi-obscure Florida Statute 790.15 took center stage in January following a Miami Herald report of a resident of the town of Big Pine Key who routinely target-shoots his handgun in his yard, with impunity, to the consternation of neighbors. The statute permits open-firing on private property (except shooting over a public right of way or an occupied dwelling), and several cities have tried, unsuccessfully, to restrict that right, citing “public safety” in residential neighborhoods. (A 2011 lobbying campaign by the National Rifle Association, and a state supreme court decision, nixed any change in the law.) “Negligent” shooting is illegal but only a misdemeanor. Thus, even skillful shooting next door to a daycare center or in a small yard that abuts a high-trafficked pedestrian street is likely perfectly legal. One Florida legislator who was originally from Alaska noted that even in Anchorage people cannot fire at will in their yards. [Miami Herald, 1-26-2014]

Cultural Diversity

South Korea is a well-known hub for cosmetic beautification surgery, with a higher rate, per capita, than the U.S., but the procedures can be expensive, inspiring many young women recently to resort to do-it-yourself procedures for their professional and romantic upgrades. A December Global Post dispatch noted that some might try to force their eyes to stay open without blinking (using a novel $20 pair of glasses for hours on end) as a substitute for costly “double-eyelid” surgery. Also in use: a $6 jaw-squeezing roller device for the face to push the jaw line into a fashionable “oval” form. One teen told the reporter she applies an imaginative contraption to her face for hours a day, to pressure her nose into more of a point, which is considered a desirable Western look. [Global Post (Boston) via Denver Post, 12-19-2013]

Acquired Tastes: (1) In December, thieves in Wicklow, Ireland, raided a field at the Dominican Farm and Ecology Center, stripping it of its entire run of Brussels sprouts. A relative of the owner said the family was devastated to miss out on the lucrative market for high-end Christmas dinners. (2) In January, Walmart in China recalled its “Five Spice” donkey meat sold in some locations because the popular snack was found to be tainted--with fox meat. [Irish Independent, 12-5-2013] [Reuters, 1-2-2014]

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Labor’s Influence in France: The French social security agency URSSAF initiated an enforcement action in December against the Mamm-Kounifl music-bar in the town of Locmiquelic for underpaying employee contributions--in that the tavern encourages customers to bus their own tables and thus reduces its need to hire more servers. The owner denied he was trying to save money. “It’s [just] our trademark. We want the customer to feel comfortable, a bit like he’s at home.” [The Local (Paris), 12-18-2013]

Questionable Judgments

Interesting Life Ahead: From the birth register of Elkhart (Ind.) General Hospital, reported by The Elkhart Truth, January 19, 2014: “Tamekia Burks, Elkhart, son (named La’Soulja Major La’Pimp Burks, 6 lbs., 8 oz.), 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, January 15, 2014.” [Elkhart Truth, 1-19-2014]

The makers of a product called Poo-Pourri garnered a “coveted” advertising award from USA Today in December as one of the five worst of the year. Toilet users concerned about smell are encouraged to spray Poo-Pourri on the commode, pre-use, and in the television ad, a British-accented female sits on the throne, extolling the product. Opening line: “You would not believe the mother lode I just dropped.” (Nonetheless, USA Today still found two other ads that upset its editors more.) [USA Today, 12-24-2013]

The Continuing Crisis

The Power of Prayer: Nelson Thabo Modupe threatened a lawsuit in January against South Africa’s Eskom electric utility, unless the company paid him the equivalent of about $2.3 million for “saving” the firm that amount during the weeks of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Modupe reasoned that he had joined the Zion Christian Church just before the event and had prayed (“successfully”) to God to spare the utility from blackouts and power reductions during that period (which would have cost Eskom millions more). Modupe, open to negotiation, said he would accept a partnership in the company as a compromise. [Independent Online (Capt Town), 1-24-2014]

PREVIOUSLY: World’s Laziest Dog-Sitter: Tyler Smith, 23, was charged in December with violating the city animal care ordinance in Greenville, S.C., after he posted a photograph on Facebook of his father’s dog being lowered by rope from the second-story balcony of an apartment. According to Smith’s post, it was time for the dog to make a call of nature, but it was raining, and Smith preferred not to go downstairs with him. [Associated Press via Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.), 12-17-2013]


PREVIOUSLY: Three million Americans are infected with Hepatitis C (as are millions more overseas), but a very recent drug, Sovaldi, completely cures it with 84 daily doses. However, its manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, has somehow determined that a fair U.S. price for the drug should be $1,000 per pill ($84,000 for the total treatment). Shouldn’t Gilead reduce the price once it has recouped its expensive investment, asked an NPR reporter in December? “That’s very unlikely we would do that,” said Gilead’s Gregg Alton, “but I appreciate the thought.” (According to NPR, Gilead “developed” Sovaldi merely by buying Sovaldi’s actual developer for $11 billion. At $84,000 income per patient, Gilead would “recoup” that investment from the first 150,000 customers, leaving 2.85 million more U.S. patients to pay $84,000 each, for income of $209 billion.) [NPR, 12-30-2013]

People With Issues

Trevor Robinson, 67, of Skellingthorpe, England, was re-arrested in November for violating a previous Anti-Social Behavior Order by pushing a doll-carrying baby carriage in public. (He was also reportedly performing a sex act on himself.) The 2009 ASBO barred him from possessing dolls, baby carriages, and “any other” means in which children might be transported. Robinson has admitted a problem with dolls--due, he said, to his inability to father children himself. [Lincolnshire Echo, 1-24-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

It Pays to Know Your Rap Sheet: Jerry Pancoast, 42, was arrested on at least four charges after a high-speed chase through Iowa’s Polk and Jasper counties in January following an alleged shoplifting of tweezers and an eyebrow pencil--not even taken by Pancoast but by his companion. Pancoast drove at 100 mph, even on deflated tires and three rims that eventually caused his truck to catch on fire. The episode started as “a simple theft-theft case,” said the arresting officer, until Pancoast abruptly took off. He later explained that he panicked because he knew there were already arrest warrants against him--but a subsequent search turned up none. [Des Moines Register, 1-24-2014]

Recurring Themes

Stories That Never Get Old: (1) PREVIOUSLY: Following the early-January winter storm in East Kingston, N.H., emergency crews came to the aid of a 12-year-old girl who had a “what would happen” moment and tried to lick a metal flagpole in her front yard. (2) Police in the Los Angeles suburb of Harbor City were searching in February for the man suspected of stealing surveillance cameras from a home but not before he apparently failed to distinguish between the lenses (which he took with him) and the recording unit (which remained in the home and captured his face clearly as he removed the camera). [WMUR-TV (Manchester), 1-4-2014] [KNBC-TV, 1-24-2014]

A News of the Weird Classic (November 2010)

Can’t Possibly Be True: Kyle Johnson shattered his skull so badly in a high-speed longboard accident in June [2010] that ordinary "decompressive craniectomy" (temporarily removing half of the skull to relieve pressure) would be inadequate. Instead, doctors at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah, removed both halves, leaving only a thin strip of bone (after placing Johnson in a drug-induced coma) and kept the skull frozen to prevent brittleness. After the swelling subsided, they reattached both halves of the skull to his head and woke him up gradually over a week's time. Johnson admits some memory problems and cognitive dysfunction, most notably his inability to focus on more than one concept at a time--even when they are part of the same scene, such as two crayons on a table. Johnson said he probably won't go back to the longboard (but would try snowmobiling). [Fox News, 8-17-2010]

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

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Feb 16, 2014 - Comments (11)

Tell the Golden Ear

General Electric Co... is celebrating the golden anniversary of its program in Schenectady by replacing plant suggestion boxes with 'golden ears'; employees step on a treadle that activates tape recorders behind each gold-colored 'ear' and speak what's on their minds.
-Newsweek - Nov 26, 1956

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 16, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: 1950s

Peg-Leg Bates

Unfair career advantage: he had to buy only half the number of tap shoes of other dancers.

Wikipedia entry.


Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 16, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: Disabilities, Dance, Twentieth Century

Page 3 of 7 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›

Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

weird universe thumbnail
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.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
April 2024 •  March 2024 •  February 2024 •  January 2024

December 2023 •  November 2023 •  October 2023 •  September 2023 •  August 2023 •  July 2023 •  June 2023 •  May 2023 •  April 2023 •  March 2023 •  February 2023 •  January 2023

December 2022 •  November 2022 •  October 2022 •  September 2022 •  August 2022 •  July 2022 •  June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •