Weird Universe Archive

October 2014

October 23, 2014

Smog Rings

Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has come up with a plan to use "patented ion technology" in order to create the world's largest smog vacuum cleaner. He'll then place his smog vacuum in a Beijing park, start vacuuming up the smog, and turn the dirt and dust he collects into "smog rings." More info at his site.



Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 23, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Art, Jewelry, Urban Life

October 22, 2014

Dagwood, the table-tennis-playing cat

From an AP story that circulated in August 1951 (example here):

PORTLAND, Ore. — This cat made such a pest of herself when Ted Matson tried to play table tennis that he finally put her on one side of the net and let her try the game on her own. That was six years ago, and the cat, Dagwood, has been playing ever since. She's adept at both the two-handed smash and the one-handed volley.

This cat was obviously born before her time. In the age of YouTube she would have been a global celebrity.



Update: Thanks to mindful webworker who found a video of Dagwood on YouTube. And as Cezar noted, it seems that Dagwood appeared on an episode of MASH. So I guess she kinda was a global celebrity.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 22, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Sports, Cats, 1950s

Tarzan of the Canines



Original page here.

Do we dare to believe this Weekly World News article? Well, the case was reported a year prior in a reputable newspaper.

image

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 22, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Bad Habits, Neuroses and Psychoses, Children, Parents, Dogs, 1980s

Medical Reference Book

Handy in or out of the operating room.



Order Yours Here

Posted By: Expat47 - Wed Oct 22, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Surgery, Books

October 21, 2014

Pee Pocket

The Pee Pocket is yet another device that allows women to pee standing up. (I'm pretty sure I've posted about several other such devices.) It was designed by a heart surgeon. But what caught my eye were the possible plans to come out with a camouflage version of it marketed to hunters. Says the inventor in an interview with Local News 8 of Idaho Falls: "Hunters have all this garb and warm gear on, and they can't get it off. When they go to the bathroom, it's not just unzip. Sometimes it's cold, and it doesn't reach, so they put this inside the clothes to give them the extra length they need to pee without taking off all the garb."

I guess it's important that the hunters stay fully camouflaged while relieving themselves.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Oct 21, 2014 - Comments (8)
Category: Body Fluids

Follies of the Madmen #232



Existential candybars, as only David Cronenberg could direct it.

For more weirdness, try his new novel.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Oct 21, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Surrealism, Candy, 1990s

October 20, 2014

Breaking Bad Toys

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Toy'sR Us is going to carry Breaking Bad action figures and accessories which include bags of pretend crystal meth. I think the pretend crystal meth should be pop rocks!

Posted By: patty - Mon Oct 20, 2014 - Comments (12)
Category: Cult Figures and Artifacts, Drugs, Products, Retailing, Can’t Possibly Be True

Feces by mail

In the past, if you wanted to send someone a package full of a pile of feces, you had to collect the feces yourself, put them in a box, and take it to the post office. But now the internet can take care of all that messy work for you. The website shitexpress.com offers "a simple way to send a shit in a box around the world." Right now, it looks like you can only send horse manure. But options will surely expand as the service becomes more popular.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 20, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Excrement

Octagon Houses

image

For a brief time in the USA, eight-sided houses were a thing. Based on the crackpot theories of one fellow.

The example above can be found in my native Rhode Island. I used to marvel at it all the time when I was younger.

Read the history here.

Order a book here.


Posted By: Paul - Mon Oct 20, 2014 - Comments (10)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Eccentrics, Nineteenth Century

October 19, 2014

News of the Weird, August 19, 2014

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M393, October 19, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

"Selfie fever" has begun to sully the sacred Islamic pilgrimages to Mecca, according to scholars who complained to Arab News in September. What for centuries has been a hallowed journey intended to renew the spirit of Islam (that all Muslims are called upon to experience at least once) has become, for some in the so-called “Facebook era,” more resembling trip to Disneyland, with visitors to the Sacred Mosque texting friends the “evidence” of their piety. (Another scholar complained in a New York Times opinion piece in October that Mecca is often experienced more as a packaged tour by marketers, centered around Mecca's upscale shopping malls rather than religious structures.) [Arab News, 9-30-2014; New York Times, 10-1-2014]

The New Normal

Just in time for California's new law requiring explicit consent for students’ sexual activities is the free iPhone/Google app, Good2Go, which the developer promises will simplify the consent process (and even document it). As described in a September Slate.com report, Good2Go requires the initiator to send the prospective partner to at least four smartphone screens, wait for a text message, provide phone numbers (unless he/she is a multiple-user with an “account”) and choose accurately one’s sobriety level--all before “the mood” evaporates (ending the app’s usefulness). It took the tech-savvy Slate writer four minutes to navigate the process--and she was still unclear which sexual activities had been consented to, since those specifics aren’t referenced. (Update: Good2Go was pulled from the market a week later.) [Slate.com, 9-29-2014] [Slate, 10-7-2014]

New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell manages his own "fantasy league" team by “drafting” NFL players for virtual competitions based on their real-life statistics of the previous weekend. Donnell lamented to New Jersey's The Record in October that he had benched virtual “Larry Donnell" on his fantasy team the week before because he thought his other tight end (“Vernon Davis”) would do better. In reality, real Donnell had a career-high game, with his three touchdowns leading the real Giants to a 45-14 victory. However, Donnell's fantasy team lost badly because virtual "Larry Donnell" (and his weekend statistical bonanza) was on Donnell’s bench. [WCBS-TV, 10-2-2014]

A Perfect World

In August Tampa Bay Times reported a dispute in Dunedin, Fla., between 12-year-old lemonade-stand operator T.J. Guerrero and the adult neighbor (Doug Wilkey) trying to close him down as an unlicensed entrepreneur, despite T.J.'s business plan for assisting his favorite animal shelter. Of course, T.J. was quickly inundated with donations, media praise, and more lemonade sales. Wilkey, however, is under investigation by the city after a tipster revealed that Wilkey himself might operate a home-based financial-services business not properly licensed. [Tampa Bay Times, 8-28-2014]

The Campaign Trail

"My Friends, I Am a Man of Action!": Roger Weber, running for a Minnesota House seat in November, is now being sued by a neighbor over a property-line dispute near Nashwauk, Minn. Rather than working with an arbitrator or mediator or letting the legal process run its course, Weber in 2013 took a chain saw and sliced completely in half the large, two-car garage that Weber says sat half on his property and half on the neighbor's. [St. Paul Pioneer Press, 9-22-2014]

Sensitive in Vermont

(1) Lianne and Brian Kowiak of Waterbury, Vt., complained to Ben & Jerry's in September that its new ice cream flavor, "Hazed & Confused," was "shock[ing]" and "upset[ting]" and should be changed immediately. Though most customers recognize the name only as a play on the 1993 cult movie "Dazed & Confused," the Kowiaks insist that they never be reminded that their 19-year-old son died in a college hazing incident. (2) In Winooski, Vt., in August, the local eatery Sneakers Bistro earned public advertising space by beautifying one of the city's flower beds, and managers used it for the quixotic ad, "Yield Sneakers Bacon." After one woman complained that the sign disrespected those who do not consume pork, Sneakers took it down. [WCAX-TV (Burlington), 9-22-2014] [WPTZ-TV (Plattsburgh, N.Y.), 8-25-2014]

The Foreign Press

Medical Marvels: (1) In October, workers at a clinic in Honda, Colombia, reported helping a 22-year-old woman who came in several days earlier with vegetation growing from her vagina. She said her mother had told her that inserting a potato (now sprouting) was effective contraception. (2) An 18-year-old woman was admitted to Bishkek Hospital in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, in September with severe stomach pains, which doctors discovered was due to her long-standing habit of chewing both discarded hair and her own. Doctors removed a hairball that weighed 8.8 lbs. (and a Yahoo News report had a photo). [United Press International, 10-2-2014] [Yahoo UK News, 9-29-2014]

The family of Kai Halvorsen of Lillestrom, Norway, planning a holiday in Thailand, feared that their bulldog, Igor, would be traumatized, having never been left alone. Halvorsen and a friend arranged with Labben Kennel to make a replica of the family living room to calm Igor’s anxiety. The two men painted walls the same shade of gray, brought in the family couch, built a replica coffee table, and moved in Igor’s bed, carpet, pillows, and blankets. (However, according to the friend, Igor spent most of the holiday cavorting outside with his new friend, Helga, the St. Bernard.) [United Press International, 9-8-2014]

Perspective

Prosecutors in Killeen, Tex., are seeking the death penalty for Marvin Guy, who in May shot one SWAT officer to death and wounded three as they conducted an unannounced (“no-knock”) drug raid on his home at 5:30 a.m.--leading Guy to believe hoodlums were breaking in and thus provoking him to grab his gun and start firing. (The tip given to police was bogus; no drugs were found.) However, in December, 90 miles away in another Texas county, a mistaken SWAT-raid victim, Henry Magee, also killed an officer under similar circumstances (except that Magee actually had some marijuana) but was cleared in the shooting by a grand jury’s acceptance of self-defense. Guy is black; Magee is white. [Killeen Daily Herald, 9-22-2014] [KBTX-TV (Bryan-College Station), 2-7-2014]

Creme de la Weird

Harmonic Convergence of Perversions: (1) Palm Beach County, Fla., sheriff’s deputies searching the home of child-pornography suspect Douglas Wescott, 55, stumbled upon about 50 dead cats stored in four freezers. Wescott’s computers were seized, but he seemed to protest more their removal of his 30 to 35 live cats. (2) In September, following a months-long trial in Canada’s Nunavut territory, defrocked Catholic priest Eric Dejaeger, 67, was found guilty of 31 counts of raping children and one of raping a sled dog. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9-10-2014] [Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News, 9-12-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) William Dixon, 21, was arrested in Brentwood, Tenn., in August fleeing a Best Buy store after arousing suspicion. According to the police report, Dixon, on foot, ran across all lanes of Interstate 65, but the chase ended when he collided with a tree. (2) In October, a man unnamed in news reports snatched a bottle of wine from the shelf of a Sainsbury’s supermarket in East Grinstead, England, and dashed for the door. However, he ran into a shelving unit and knocked himself unconscious. [BrentwoodHomePage.com, 8-21-2014] [East Grinstead Courier, 10-9-2014]

Walter Morrison, 20, a United Parcel Service baggage unloader at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport, apparently intended only to swipe random parcels but inadvertently came upon, in one package, a diamond (later found to be worth about $160,000). Police charging him in September said he took the diamond to his apartment, where he traded it to his roommate for a gram of marijuana (around $20, retail). [The Smoking Gun, 9-26-2014]

A News of the Weird Classic (Novemebr 2010)

Surreal Estate: Sixty-two percent of the 12 million people of Mumbai, India, live in slums, but the city is also home to Mukesh Ambani's 27-story private residence (60,000 square feet, 600 employees serving a family of five), reported to cost about $1 billion. According to an October [2010] New York Times dispatch, there are "four-story hanging gardens," "airborne swimming pools," and a room where "artificial weather" can be created. Ambani and his brother inherited their father's textile-exporting juggernaut but notoriously spend much of their time in intra-family feuding. A domestic-worker neighbor told the Times that she makes the equivalent of about $90 a month. [New York Times, 10-29-10]

Thanks This Week to Steven Lobejko and Ken Wilkens, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Oct 19, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category:

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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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