Weird Universe Archive

February 2015

February 3, 2015

Kate Smith and The Loving Spoonful



Nothing says "rock 'n roll" like Kate Smith.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 03, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Music, Pop Culture, Homages, Pastiches, Tributes and Borrowings, 1960s

To All Things Moderation

Good news fellow couch potatoes! Long distance, strenuous joggers have the same mortality rate as sedentary people. On the other hand, the Danish study says moderate jogging does improve the mortality rate. Mmm danish...

Posted By: patty - Tue Feb 03, 2015 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, Exercise and Fitness

February 2, 2015

The War Against Kissing

Back in 1911, Imogene Rechtin led a campaign against kissing, as leader of the World's Health Organization (which, to clarify, had nothing to do with the UN's World Health Organization, founded in 1948). Her followers wore buttons that read, "Kiss Not." One newspaper at the time remarked, "Judging by the facial features of the presidentess of the cult appearing in the public prints, she is immune without wearing the button."


Cincinnati, Feb. 18 — The World's Health Organization is waging a bitter war against kissing, arguing that the practice is a menace to health. The president of the organization, Mrs. Imogene Rechtin, says that, for instance, the germs of consumption are spread by kissing. The organization has had buttons with the words "Kiss not" imprinted therein, which signify that the wearer is a member of the organization and absolutely refuses to impress his lips against another's. Mrs. Rechtin says: "The work of the World's Health Organization is to show the people that the health of our nation demands that we protect ourselves. Do not kiss sick people. In the case of smallpox the disease shows quickly after infection has taken place, but in consumption it does not, therefore do not kiss any one. You are not sure by looking at a person whether he has consumption or not. He may not know it himself. Sometimes he is able to attend to his regular duties till the last. If with the expenditure of $30,000,000, as was spent last year to conquer consumption, to say nothing of the heartaches for the loved ones gone forever, we could say we are now rid of the disease then the crusade against it would die a natural death, but with all this expenditure we are still in the midst of it. We must be more active, more earnest, go to the source of the supply and stop passing the disease from one to another with our mouths." The pledge of the organization reads as follows: "In order to encourage good health and lessen the spread of consumption I desire to join the World's Health Organization and hereby pledge myself to discourage the custom of kissing on the lips whenever it is in my power."

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 02, 2015 - Comments (11)
Category: Hygiene, 1910s

Automatic Telephone Dialer

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So this gadget stored a few phone numbers and allowed the convenience of one-button dialing. Would such functionality have been worth $360.00 even in 1978?

Original ad here.

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Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 02, 2015 - Comments (7)
Category: Technology, Telephones, 1970s

News of the Weird, February 1, 2015

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M408, February 1, 2015
Copyright 2015 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

The Project Theater Board at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., decided in January to cancel its upcoming annual presentation of the feminist classic “Vagina Monologues.” The all-women’s college recently declared it would admit males who lived and “identified” as female (regardless of genitalia), and the basis for cancellation of “Vagina Monologues” was that the unmodifiable script is not “inclusive” of those females--that it covers only experiences of females who actually have vaginas. [MassLive.com (Springfield), 1-16-2015, citing CampusReform.org, 1-15-2015]

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Kathi Fedden filed a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit in December against Suffolk County, N.Y., police after her 29-year-old son, driving drunk in 2013, fatally crashed into an office. She reasons that the son’s death is the fault of the police officer who stopped him earlier that evening and who must have noticed him already drunk but did not arrest him. The officer, who knew the son as the owner of a popular-with-police local delicatessen, merely gave the son a lift home, but the son later drove off in his mother’s car, in which he had the fatal crash. [WNBC-TV (New York City), 12-18-2014]

A generous resident (name withheld by KDKA-TV) of South Oakland, Pa., in seasonal spirit the week before Christmas, invited a pregnant, homeless woman she had met at a Rite-Aid store home with her for a hot shower, a change of clothes, and a warm bed for the night. The resident was forced to call police, though, when she went to check up on her guest and discovered her engaging in sexual activity with the resident’s pit bull. The guest, enraged at being caught, vandalized the home before officers arrived to arrest her. [KDKA-TV, 1-6-2015]

The New Normal

The website/smartphone app “airbnb,” launched in 2008, connects travelers seeking lodging with individuals offering private facilities at certain prices. About a year ago, entrepreneur Travis Laurendine launched a similar smartphone app, “airpnp,” to connect people walking around select cities and needing access to a toilet, listing residents who make their utilities available, with description and price. Laurendine told the New York Post in January that New York City is a promising market (though his two best cities are New Orleans and Antwerp, Belgium). The prices vary from free to $20, and the facilities range from a passably-clean, sweet-smelling room (stocked with reading material!) to a barely-maintained toilet (with no lavatory), but, said one supplier, sometimes people “really need to go, and this will have to do.” [New York Post, 1-18-2015]

Government in Action

Kentucky, one of America’s financially worse-off states, annually spends $2 million of taxpayer money on salaries and expenses for 41 “jailers” who have no jails to manage. Research by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting in January noted that Kentucky’s constitution requires “elected” jailers, notwithstanding that 41 counties have shut down their jails and house detainees elsewhere via contracts with sheriffs. (Though the jailers may be called upon to transport prisoners from time to time, the 41 counties are mostly small ones with few detainees.) Several jailers have full-time “side” jobs, and one jailless jailer employs five deputies while another has 11 part-timers. [Courier-Journal (Louisville), 1-2-2015]

A.K. Verma was an “assistant executive engineer” working for India’s central public works department in 1990 with 10 years on the job when he went on leave--and had still not returned by the end of 2014, when the government finally fired him. He had submitted numerous requests for extensions during the ensuing 24 years, but all were denied (though no agency or court managed to force him back to work). (India’s bureaucracy is generally acknowledged among the most dysfunctional in Asia.) [The Guardian (London), 1-8-2015]

Ironies

Timothy DeFoggi, 56, was sentenced in January to 25 years in prison on child pornography charges--unable to keep his illicit online transactions hidden from law-enforcement authorities. Before his conviction, he was acting director for cybersecurity in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and, one would assume (wrongly), an accomplished user of security software. [Washington Post, 1-6-2015]

After a heavy snowstorm in Frankfort, Ky. (the state capital), in November, with many absences reported, the state labor policy agency (called the Labor Cabinet) was among the agencies needing snow removal at its headquarters more promptly than overworked cleanup crews could provide. A call was circulated for volunteers to go outside and shovel snow, but that job was apparently too laborious for the labor agency; only one went out. [Associated Press via Yahoo News, 11-21-2014]

The Tampa Bay Times (formerly, St. Petersburg Times), reeling financially as many newspapers are, pledged several properties it owns (including its downtown headquarters) to borrow $30 million last year from a distressed-property lender and now announces an intention to pay back that loan by selling the properties. As reported by the local “St. Petersblog” website, the sore-thumb loan was almost exactly the amount the Times paid in 2002 for “naming rights” to the Tampa concert-and-hockey venue, the Ice Palace (which became the St. Petersburg Times Forum and is now Amalie Arena). Thus, St. Petersblog wrote, “Do the math,” concluding that the Tampa Bay Times was pressured to sell its own headquarters building in order to pay for the 12-year privilege of being able to name someone else’s building. [Tampa Bay Times, 1-16-2015; SaintPetersblog, 1-15-2015]

Least Competent Criminals

Not Well-Thought-Out: (1) Shane Lindsey, 32, allegedly robbed the Citizens Bank in New Kensington, Pa., on January 14th and ran off down the street but was arrested about 15 minutes later a few blocks away, having stopped off at Eazer’s Restaurant and Deli to order the chicken and biscuits. (2) Jeffrey Wood, 19, was arrested in the act of robbing a 7-Eleven in Northeast Washington, D.C., on January 10th--because two plainclothes detectives were in the store at the time (though the police badge of one was hanging from a chain around her neck). As soon as the man announced, “This is a stickup,” the detective drew her gun and yelled, “Stop playing. I got 17" (meaning a gun with 17 bullets). [Pittsburgh Tribune-Gazette, 1-14-2015] [Washington Post, 1-12-2015]

Recurring Themes

In weird-news (and medical) literature, the rectum is a place for storage of contraband (and, occasionally, for getting things undesirably lodged). In what a National Post of Canada reporter believes is a brand-new example of the former, a gastroenterologist at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s hospital found a vial of urine inside a man who reported to the ER with abdominal pains. According to the doctor’s medical journal case description, the rectum was chosen in order to keep the urine at body temperature for an imminent methadone clinic drug test, which, if the urine passed “clean,” would have entitled the man to the privilege of “take-home” methadone that he could either bank for later use or sell on the street. (He feared the loss of privilege, though, if the urine tested at room temperature.) [National Post, 1-1-2015]

Rose Ann Bolasny, 60, of Great Neck, N.Y., last year created a trust fund for her three-year-old Maltese (dog), Bella Mia, that will allow spending $100,000 a year on fashions and spa treatments so that Bolasny can pamper “the daughter I never had.” Bella Mia reportedly has 1,000 outfits in her custom-made walk-in closet, including ball gowns, along with diamond and pearl jewelry, and she sleeps on her own double bed. Previous News of the Weird reports of ridiculously rich dogs involved inheritances, but Bolasny still lives with her husband and has two adult sons (who, incidentally, are said to be fine with their mother’s intention to will Bella Mia a house in Florida if she outlives Bolasny and her 82-year-old husband). (By the way, the average annual income for a human being in Bangladesh is the equivalent of about $380.) [Daily Mail (London), 1-16-2015]

A News of the Weird Classic (July 2011)

On May 21st [2011], Jesse Robinson either established or tied the unofficial world record for unluckiest underage drinker of all time when he was booked into the Hamilton County, Ohio, jail, for underage consumption. According to booking records, Robinson's date of birth is May 22, 1990. [HamiltonCountyJails.info, 5-23-2011]

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

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Feb 02, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category:

February 1, 2015

Breaks Will

A great moment in the history of 'oops': Back in 1911, a lawyer accidentally tripped and smashed the phonograph record on which Hodson Burton had recorded his final will, revealing where he had hidden his fortune. (If this lawyer was true to form, I'd guess he still made sure to submit a bill for his services.)

I wonder if Hodson Burton's fortune has ever been found.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 01, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Law, 1910s

Tanya Tagaq



Her Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 01, 2015 - Comments (12)
Category: Music, Avant Garde, Native Americans

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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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