Weird Universe Archive

April 2014

April 30, 2014

You Be the Electronic Man!

[Click to embiggen]

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 30, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Robots, Toys, 1950s

Ham Banana Rolls

Recipe from the Dec 1947 issue of Woman's Day, via Retro-Rama Mama.

The Retro Recipe Attempts blog decided to make the thing, and their verdict was that "it actually wasn’t as bad as you’d expect from ham stuffed with a mustardy banana. If you got a bite with a good distribution of banana, ham, mustard, and cheese, the flavors almost worked. ALMOST. (If you got a bite with just banana and American cheese, well, barf.)"

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 30, 2014 - Comments (10)
Category: Food, 1940s, Bananas

April 28, 2014

Easter bunny controversy

An Easter ad campaign recently generated controversy over in Europe. A Swiss shopping center promoted the opening of a new shop by running an advertisement showing a rabbit that (through the magic of photoshop) appeared to be wearing a pair of panties. A representative from an animal protection group said, "From our point of view, the respect of the rabbit has been badly damaged." And went on to suggest that the image could promote unwholesome feelings of desire towards animals.

This isn't the first time WU has reported on an Easter bunny controversy. Two years ago we called attention to an ad for Cadbury's caramel nibbles that featured a similarly provocative rabbit.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 28, 2014 - Comments (16)
Category: Animals, Advertising, Easter

The Big Ballet

One only hopes that the current ill will towards Russia does not prevent the 2014 tour of The Big Ballet.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 28, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Dance, Russia, Obesity

April 27, 2014

Banks Taking The Moral High Ground?!

JP Morgan Chase has closed the accounts of porn actors, sending them letters to inform them of the action, but giving no reason for it. Laughable considering banking actions and practices of the last few years have been much more obscene than anything in a porno movie. They can find and close a few individual accounts connected to the porn industry quick enough, but millions in drug money is still getting laundered somewhere without much trouble, interesting.

Update: A further story here maintains two new points 1) Spouses with separate accounts are also targeted, and 2) the government may be behind the move.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 27, 2014 - Comments (14)
Category: Can’t Possibly Be True

News of the Weird (April 27, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M368, April 27, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

First-term U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida is already among the House’s most conservative members, but his Republican primary challenger claims to be even more so--but with a quixotic, long-time hobby as a costumed, role-playing “gamer.” Challenger Jake Rush (in his day job, a lawyer) portrays supernatural characters as a prominent member of the national Mind’s Eye Society and Florida’s Covenant of the Poisoned Absinthe, including a vampire named “Chazz Darling,” who, according to a Yahoo message board once left an explicit, body-parts-bloodying threat to a role-player with whom he had been feuding. (The Florida political report SaintPetersBlog broke the story--and was quickly criticized, less by Rush’s political defenders than by the indignant “cosplay” community, feeling mocked.) [SaintPetersBlog, 4-1-2014] [, 4-1-2014]

Government in Action

A scandal erupted in 2013 at Minot (N.D.) Air Force Base when missile-launch specialists were charged with cheating on proficiency tests, but additional documents uncovered by the Associated Press in March 2014 show that the problem was worse than originally reported. The overall missile-launch program, run by “missileers,” was judged “substandard”--the equivalent of an F grade in school--and “rehabilitated” in the eyes of Air Force officers only because the 91st Missile Wing Command’s “support” staff (cooks, drivers, clerks, etc.) scored very high and brought the Command’s overall performance to the equivalent of a D. [Associated Press via PBS Newshour, 3-14-2014]

The tax software company Vertex reported in March, via the Tax Foundation, that tax-hating American states have somehow organized themselves into nearly 10,000 sales/use-tax jurisdictions with distinct rules, coverages, or exemptions. Ironically, states criticized as tax profligates sometimes have the simplest systems (e.g., one set of rules covering the entire state, such as in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.) while states regarded as refuges from intrusive government often have the most complicated (e.g., 310 different jurisdictions in Utah, 587 in Oklahoma, 994 in Iowa, and 1,515 in Texas). [, 3-24-2014]

Formally asking a sweetheart to “please be my [boyfriend/girlfriend]” is said to be a traditional romantic milestone in Japanese relationships, and the town of Nagareyama in Chiba Prefecture now provides a government document to commemorate that big step (for a filing fee, of course). In fact, according to the news site, since only one party need file the document, the town hopes the form will become a strategic step to declare one’s love without the need for messy, face-to-face, rejection-risking confrontation (and also become a robust municipal-revenue producer). [RocketNews24, 3-10-2014]

Great Art!

British artist Millie Brown, 27, profiled January in London’s Daily Mail, creates Jackson Pollock-style canvases by vomiting on them after ingesting colored soy milk. Brown (whose work hangs in London’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! showcase) said she fasts for two days prior to public performances and, as the show starts, times her ingestions so that the proper hues don’t prematurely mix in her stomach. Her appearance, at work, in a Lady Gaga music video brought her a somewhat larger audience. Said the understated Brown, “I am able to challenge people’s perceptions of beauty.” [Daily Mail, 1-31-2014]

Paris’s Hunting and Wildlife Museum hosted, from April 1st-13th, artist Abraham Poincheval’s real-time demonstration of “birth and rebirth”--his living completely inside a hollowed-out bear carcass the entire time, eating, drinking, reading, sleeping, and relieving himself (down the bear’s legs) before a live camera, with a viewing window for spectators. Poincheval, who in a previous installation lived for a while in a hole, likened the experience merely to the cramped quarters of astronauts. [Huffington Post, 4-11-2014]

Police Report

Petty Theft: (1) Although Douglas Lydic, 29, escaped from a patrol car in December in Commodore, Pa., while handcuffed (and was soon re-captured), prosecutors declined to charge him with fleeing since he was merely being “detained” at the time. However, they did charge Lydic with theft of the handcuffs. (2) Petty and Tacky: Dustin Bell, 25, wearing a police officer’s badge that had been stolen from the Sand Springs, Okla., department, apparently only casually considered how to wield his newly-acquired “authority.” He was arrested in April after asking at a Tulsa tanning salon for a law-enforcement discount--to get a $34 session for $10. [Associated Press via, 12-25-2013] [KOTV (Tulsa), 4-6-2014]

Misunderstanding: Four Maine State Police troopers rushed to a home in the town of China in January, alarmed by 911 calls about an assault in progress (according to neighbors who reported raucous screaming). Trooper Thomas Bureau found that the suspected “crime scene” was the home of a pig farmer, who showed troopers the pen out back in which a male had been placed with five sows “in heat” and that the squealing (either by the sows or the beleaguered male) was not unusual. [Morning Sentinel (Waterville, Me.), 2-5-2014]

Hard Times Ahead: (1) Ms. Terry Boyd, 52, was ordered to probation in Wausau, Wis., in February on charges of imprisoning two men in a second-story bedroom, leaving them screaming for help from a window. According to police, Boyd had refused to release the men until at least one agreed to have sex with her. (2) After Maria Montanez-Colon, 58, called 911 in February in Punta Gorda, Fla., the responding officer reported that she immediately began fondling him, describing herself as “horny,” noting “I haven’t been penetrated in years.” The officer politely declined and warned her about frivolous 911 calls, but Montanez-Colon was arrested shortly afterward when she called again, asking the second responding officer, “How else am I going to get [to have sex]?” [Wausau Daily Herald via Stevens Point Journal, 2-28-2014] [The Smoking Gun, 2-25-2014]

Possibly DUI: (1) Michael Moore, 61, who had left home in a huff on March 4th after his wife accused him of excessive drinking, was arrested later that night in Hobe Sound, Fla., after more drinking at a bar. He suggested to police that he knew he was drunk but had taken the wheel to try to “drive it off.” (2) Bryan Hill, 24, was arrested in Indianapolis in March, passed out in the driver’s seat of his car at 4 a.m. wearing only a t-shirt, underwear, and one sock. The officer said Hill “did have pants on, but they were on his arms. Both arms were inserted into the legs of his jeans.” [WPLG-TV (Miami), 3-7-2014] [The Smoking Gun, 3-24-2014]

New Frontiers in Rehab

(1) Japan’s largest, most influential organized-crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi, recently launched an extensive anti-drug, humanitarian campaign with a website and folk-song-like ballad extolling the group’s civic-mindedness backing up photographs of earnest, joyful men at work in their communities. (2) Italy’s former premier, Silvio Berlusconi, booted out by voters last year after he finally embarrassed them (and who is awaiting sentence for tax evasion and trial for bribery), began a comeback in March--by becoming the face of a dog-and-cat rescue program. “Dogs and cats,” he assured supporters, “will help [the Forza Italia party] win the European elections.” [The Guardian (London), 4-2-2014] [The Independent (London), 3-30-2014]

Redneck Chronicles

In April, Louisiana state senators rejected Sen. Elbert Guillory’s over-the-top campaigning to make “chicken boxing” legitimate, dismissing his proposed bill and leaving the “sport” banned along with cockfighting. The proposed law would still have permitted sharp spurs on fighting roosters’ legs but required promoters to cover them with rubber gloves. Guillory had pleaded with colleagues, “[There would be no] blood . . . no knives . . . no cruelty . . . no abuse,” as he futilely held up pairs of the tiny “chicken boxing” gloves. [Times-Picayune, 4-7-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) Mr. Yafait Tadesse was sentenced in federal court in March to a year in jail for filing fraudulent tax returns for certain “Walmart employees,” from fictitious addresses, for 2012 and 2013. Among the fake returns that Tadesse apparently failed to double-check was that of supposed Georgia Walmart employee “Eric Holder”--the U.S. Attorney General. (2) Ryan Trembly, 29, was charged with trying (futilely) to rob Bubbles Hair Salon in Annapolis, Md., in April. Explained the salon’s receptionist, “He was like, Give me all your money, and I said, Not today! Who tries to rob a salon?” Trembly left, to the sound of her laughter, and was picked up in a car found to belong to his mother. [Fox News, 3-13-2014] [WJZ-TV (Baltimore), 4-10-2014]

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

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Apr 27, 2014 - Comments (6)

Video Enhanced Gravemarker

Invented by Robert Barrows (of R.M. Barrows Advertising), who writes:

The Video Enhanced Gravemarker will have a tremendous impact on our society and the funerary industry. Some of the impact it might have may be along the following lines:

The invention will change a major aspect of civilization. Cemeteries will come alive with stories told through video-tombstones.
It will change the way we look at life and death and it will even change the way history is told.
When people start recording their own obituaries for playback in video-tombstones, it will force them to examine their lives in ways they may not have even considered before.
It will also create two new industries:
1) Manufacturing video-tombstones
2) Producing videos for use in video-tombstones

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 27, 2014 - Comments (8)
Category: Death


Ol' Blue Eyes fights prejudice with a smile and a song. Where's Frankie and his good-natured common sense when we need him today?

Posted By: Paul - Sun Apr 27, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: Ethnic Groupings, Music, PSA’s, Racism, 1940s

April 26, 2014

The Republic of Indian Stream


I love these charming bits of history that reveal a more eccentric America, where things were more fluid, creative and wild.

More info here and here.

And here's what the bustling center of the Republic and its citizens look like today.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Apr 26, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Politics, Regionalism, Curmudgeons and Contrarianism, North America, Nineteenth Century

Pigeon Blood Visine

Back in the 17th century, if you suffered from a burst blood vessel in your eye, the medical treatment of the day called for squirting pigeon blood in your eye. This was to be repeated 5 or 6 times. The treatment is recorded in a number of medical manuscripts, such as this anonymously authored one from 1663 preserved in the Wellcome Collection. [via The Recipes Project]

For a stroke or pricke in the eye if it causeth payne:
Take a pidgeon and let him blood in one of the winges in the vein & let the blood spinne out of the veine into the eye & it will helpe you yf you use it 5 or 6 tymes.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 26, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Medicine, Seventeenth 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.

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