Weird Universe Archive

May 2015

May 18, 2015

In-home lice removal

This company has found an odd, but apparently profitable, niche: "personalized and discreet head lice removal services" in the comfort of your own home.

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 18, 2015 - Comments (4)
Category: Insects and Spiders, Jobs and Occupations

Robot Commando Or Zeroids?  Your Choice!





Posted By: Paul - Mon May 18, 2015 - Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Robots, Toys, 1950s, 1960s

May 17, 2015

News of the Weird (May 17, 2015)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M423, May 17, 2015
Copyright 2015 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Is This a Great Country or What? There’s hardly a more “generic” song in America than “Happy Birthday to You,” but to this day (until a judge renders a decision in a pending case) Warner/Chappel Music is still trying to make big dollars off of the 16-word ditty (15 original words plus a user-supplied 16th). Its original copyright should have expired, at the latest, in 1991, but amendments to the law, and technicalities in interpretation (e.g., did the copyright cover all public uses or just piano arrangements?) bring Warner at least $2 million a year in fees. A federal judge in California is expected to rule soon on whether the song is in fact uncopyrightably “generic”--125 years after the Hill sisters (Mildred and Patty) composed it. [CBS News, 3-27-2015]

Can’t Possibly Be True

[PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE] In April, WNBC-TV’s investigative unit in New York City reported on a series of fetish parties in Manhattan reportedly organized by a licensed M.D., in which the consensual activities consisted of saline scrotal inflation, controlled near-asphyxiation, and controlled arterial blood-letting (in which splatters are captured on a canvas as if by made a painter). A club organizer said the “Cirque de Plaisir” was more of a “performance art” display by a few body-modification aficionados than it was a fetish “party.” Local governments were alarmed especially by the blood splatters’ endangering onlookers and promised an investigation. [WNBC-TV, 4-29-2015]

[PREVIOUSLY] Accused amateur serial tooth-puller Philip Hansen, 56, was convicted on two counts in May following a trial in Wellington (New Zealand) District Court. Several women had accused him, during 1988-2011, of holding their mouths open and wriggling teeth out with pliers (and in one case, a screwdriver), motivated by his attraction to “gummy women” as a prelude to sex. He apparently also lauded the “free” service he was providing, since real dentists, he said, would have charged the women. (Hansen allegedly told another woman, with full dentures, how “beautiful” she was--as he was removing the plates, crushing them, and flushing them down a toilet.) [Stuff.co.nz, 4-30-2015; Dominion Post via Stuff.co.nz, 5-6-2015]

Ironies

“The ancient art of yoga is supposed to offer a path to inner peace,” wrote the Wall Street Journal in February--before launching into a report on how many yoga classes these days are so crowded that inner-peace-seekers are more likely than ever either to seethe throughout their session--or to openly confront the floor-hoggers. Explained one coach, “People who are practicing yoga want Zen; they don’t already have it.” [Wall Street Journal, 2-16-2015]

Timely Information: (1) Joseph Forren, 21, with a .172 blood-alcohol level, plowed into a pickup truck in April in Trumbull, Conn. (though with no serious injuries). Police said Forren’s cell phone on the seat still displayed a current text message, “Don’t drink and drive . . . Dad.” (2) According to police records released in April, Mila Dago (now 24 and awaiting trial for DUI manslaughter) was trading sarcastic texts with her ex-boyfriend that night in August 2013 while barhopping (later, registering .178 blood-alcohol), and as she ran a red light, smashed into a pickup truck, injuring herself badly and her friend in the passenger seat fatally. According to the police report, her last text to the ex-boyfriend (three minutes earlier) was “Driving drunk woo . . . I’ll be dead thanks to you.” [Connecticut Post (Bridgeport), 4-27-2015] [Miami Herald, 4-30-2015]

Readers’ Choice: (1) The Indian Journal of Dermatology announced in April that it was withdrawing a recent scientific paper by a dentist in Kerala state, “Development of a Guideline to Approach Plagiarism in Indian Scenarios,” because parts of the article had been plagiarized from a student dissertation. (2) Low voter turnout in non-Presidential years is increasingly problematic in easily-distracted Los Angeles, but the issue was specifically addressed by campaigners in the March 3rd City Council elections--which, of course, only about 9 percent of registered voters cast ballots in. [NPR, 4-2-2015] [LA Weekly, 3-4-2015]

Suspicions Confirmed

In New York City, someone can be fired for being “too nice.” Doorman Ralph Body, 41, was dismissed from his job at an upscale New York City apartment building because he did too many favors for tenants, according to an April New York Post report. Body said he “gave his life” to the residents at the “27" tower in Queens, but “upper management” thought such extra kindnesses violated building policy and ordered his dismissal despite a tenant petition. [New York Post, 4-5-2015]

When the chief auditor for Hartford, Conn., finally got around to checking the finances of the police shooting range recently, he found that the range supervisor had bought 485,000 bullets per year but was using only 180,000--and had no paperwork on where the other bullets went. (In one instance, the supervisor acknowledged having bought 94,500 rounds of .45-caliber ammo two years after the department had stopped using .45s and switched to .40-caliber weapons--but his story was that he needed .45-caliber bullets so he could trade them for .40s.) [Hartford Courant, 5-2-2015]

New World Order

[PREVIOUSLY] Millions of sports fans “draft” their own “fantasy” sports teams--and even the bass-fishing tournament circuit has its fantasy league, where fans select anglers good at exploiting choice spots on the lakes. In March, Alaska Dispatch News reported that, for the fourth straight year, there would be an Iditarod Fantasy League, with a “salary cap” of “$27,000" to pick seven mushers with the best chances to push their dogs to victory, with all-stars going for around $6,000 and promising rookies selling for much less. [Alaska Dispatch News, 3-6-2015]

Compelling Explanations

Alfred Guercio, 54, was arrested in Burnsville, Minn., in March after forcibly entering a neighbor’s home and swiping a knife set that he had given the woman as a Christmas gift. He told the woman, and police, that he was taking the gift back, as he was upset that the woman was failing to appreciate it enough. [The Smoking Gun, 3-17-2015]

Fine Points of the Law

[PREVIOUSLY] John Deere became the most recent company in America to claim that, though a buyer may have paid in full for a device, he may not actually “own” it. Deere claims that because its tractors run on sophisticated computer programs, the ostensible owner of the tractor cannot “tamper” with that software without Deere’s permission--even to repair a defect or to customize its operation. Already, traditional movie videos may come with restrictions on copying, but the Deere case, according to an April report on Wired.com, might extend the principle to machinery not traditionally subject to copyright law. [Wired, 4-21-2015]

Cultural Diversity

The March arranged-marriage ceremony in Kanpur, India, was about to start when cousins of the bride (whose name is Lovely, daughter of Mohar Singh) commandeered center-stage and demanded that groom Ram Baran answer the question, “What is 15 plus 6?” Baran answered, “17,” and in short order, Lovely and her family began to drift out of the room, and the marriage was off. Eventually, according to a Times of India report, the families settled the fiasco amicably, with all gifts returned. [Times of India, 3-13-2015]

A News of the Weird Classic (March 2011)

"You're not going to like this," warned NPR's Robert Krulwich, about to deliver a February [2011] story about visionary robotics developers James Auger and Jimmy Louizeau, who created a carnivorous clock, supposedly able to power itself for 12 days merely on the carcasses of 12 dead houseflies (which the clock traps with fly paper and then mechanically razors in two). The pair also showed a prototype of a coffee table that catches mice by luring them up the table legs with cheese into a hole in the center, where they are guillotined. Auger and Louizeau said their creations are just extensions of TV nature programs showing animals hunting in the wild, but Krulwich fretted about the dangers inherent in "giving robots a taste for [meat]." [NPR, 2-7-2011]

[PREVIOUSLY] CLARIFICATION: The story two weeks ago about the anticipated “sex shop” in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, though reported by many reputable news sources, was in fact (a) about a year old and (b) apparently based on a faulty translation from Arabic, and no such shop can be said to be forthcoming. The “developer,” Abdelaziz Aouragh, apparently disclosed only that he would be “willing” to open such a shop. [Times of Israel, 4-26-2015]

Thanks This Week to Kathryn Wood, Don Peck, Chuck Hamilton, Pete Randall, and Robert Zimmer, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 17, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category:

Sitting and Smiling

Benjamin Bennett has currently uploaded 84 videos to YouTube. They all share the exact same premise. In each video he sits in front of the camera and smiles — for four hours.

His unwavering adherence to the concept has, by now, earned him status as a minor Internet celebrity. (And what higher goal can one really seek in life than to be famous online?)

His most popular video is Sitting and Smiling #5 (below), because this includes a brief moment of drama. In Bennett's own words:

About 2.5 hours into the webcast, I hear someone come into the house, which is odd, because my only housemate is at work, and we aren't expecting anyone. I realize I didn't check to see if the doors were locked before starting the webcast. I hear the person stealthily moving around the house, and then I hear them stealthily climbing the stairs, towards my room. My door opens, and I hear an unfamiliar male voice say "Hello?". Then, after presumably seeing me sitting still and smiling in front of a camera, lit from beneath by a florescent bulb, he promptly descends the stairs and exits the house.

You can see this happen at 2:36:30.

As it turns out, the doors were locked, and he had broken one open. We found nothing missing, as there is not really anything of value in the house other than the laptop I was using to webcast.

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 17, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Boredom, Eccentrics, Video

Writing Better Social Letters

Posted By: Paul - Sun May 17, 2015 - Comments (2)
Category: Etiquette and Formal Behavior, Family, PSA’s, 1950s

May 16, 2015

Inhabited Turtle Shell

For for Frieze art fair in New York, performance artist Kris Lemsalu is lying very still for three-and-a-half hours beneath a giant fake turtle shell decorated with giant rhinestones. And that's it. She calls it an inhabited sculpture.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 16, 2015 - Comments (5)
Category: Art, Performance Art

Robert Baudin, Aerial Counterfeiter

image

Although he seems generally forgotten today, counterfeiter and pilot Robert Baudin was quite notorious while alive, and seems to have had quite a remarkable career, as detailed in the review of his autobiography Fake (see sidebar) quoted below.

image

Kirkus review.

More details of his life here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat May 16, 2015 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Money, 1960s, 1970s, Australia

May 15, 2015

Nudist Lost In Woods

image
A man staying at a nudist camp in the Poconos got lost in the woods. He was missing from some time Monday to Wednesday evening. Three days. Nude. In the woods. Bet it wasn't the vacation he planned.

Posted By: patty - Fri May 15, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category:

Think before you build

Back in the 1930s, Benjamin Klinger spent 4 years building a boat in his basement. Then discovered he couldn't get the boat out of his basement.

Unfortunately, I can't find any report that tells what ended up happening. Did he tear down a wall to get the boat out? Or is the boat still sitting there to this day?


Sources: Milwaukee Sentinel - Jun 22, 1935; and San Bernardino County Sun - Jun 22, 1935.

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 15, 2015 - Comments (13)
Category: Boats, 1930s

Forbidden Zone



Full background here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri May 15, 2015 - Comments (5)
Category: Movies, Music, Pop Art, Surrealism, 1980s, Parody

Page 5 of 10 pages ‹ First  < 3 4 5 6 7 >  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
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 •