Weird Universe Archive

April 2017

April 30, 2017

Around the world on commercial airlines

In 1979, two Vancouver businessmen, Orst Perry and Adolf Schiel, set a world record for traveling around the world on commercial airlines. They started in Vancouver and ended up in Vancouver. They did this in 54 hours, 42 minutes. It cost them $7000 each.

I can think of a lot better ways to spend $7000 than sitting on a plane for several days. But it seems that others have pursued this same record. A press release from Nov 2016 says that Brother Michael Bartlett set a new record for flying around the world on commercial airlines by doing it in 57 hours, 17 minutes.

That's slower than the time set in 1979, but I'm guessing that Bartlett must have adhered to stricter rules. It says that he had to "cross the equator and land at points that are approximately 108 degrees apart and roughly on the same north–south longitude."

Notre Dame Observer - Feb 28, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 30, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: World Records, Air Travel and Airlines, 1970s

The Wurlitzer Electric Piano

Pre-digital, this device worked by striking steel reeds.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Apr 30, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, Technology, 1950s

April 29, 2017

Looking Forward to Being Attacked

In 1977, Lieutenant Jim Bullard of the Memphis police department published a self-defense manual for women titled Looking forward to being attacked. The general theme was that if a bad guy attacked you, it gave you the chance to beat him up, which could be fun. His idea was to use some humor to make the self-defense lessons more interesting.

Some of the self-defense tips from his book:

  • If you're grabbed, don't scream. Even if he didn't intend to hurt you, it'll be an automatic reflex to shut you up.
  • If he grabs for your purse or any personal belongings, let them go. Defend personally. Don't defend property.
  • Don't try to kick, scratch or punch him. Instead, through the principle of attack the "weakest point" you can escape 90 percent of the time.
  • If you have a chance, jab any sharp object including your thumb into his trachea — his adam's apple. That is a man's most vulnerable area.
  • One hundred and fifty pounds of pressure will kill a person. Seven pounds of pressure is all anyone can comfortably stand.
  • The ears are the second most vulnerable area. Slap your hands against them.
  • The eyes are the third choice and always carry your car keys when going to your car in a dark parking lot. If you can, scrape them across the assailant's eyes. Use a ball point pen, if you have it out of your purse.
  • A fourth choice, especially when held around the waist from behind, is to reach back and strike at a man's testicles.
  • If you find a burglar is outside your home, warn him first, and then you can take a cannon and blow him into the next county. 99.6 percent of the time you scream when someone's outside, warn him, he'll run. If he doesn't, you can legally assume he's coming in to kill you. A shotgun is the most efficient weapon. Kill him. You're doing society a favor when you do do it. I've seen those that didn't do it, and it's a very sad case.

More images at Awful Library Books.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 29, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Martial Arts, Books, 1970s

April 28, 2017

Clear Coffee

Clear Coffee (aka "CLR CFF") describes itself as "the first colorless coffee in the world." From the product website:

This refreshing beverage is made from high quality Arabica coffee beans and pure water. It is produced by methods which have never been used before.

That's intriguingly vague. So is it just caffeinated water? Or is it caffeinated water with coffee flavoring?

The reasoning behind it seems to be that it's coffee that won't stain your teeth. If you like your coffee cold and black, this might work as a substitute. But if you drink it hot, with cream and sugar, this isn't going to do the trick.

via Fooddiggity

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 28, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Food, Coffee and other Legal Stimulants

Glass Block Building:  Chicago 1934

What architectural feature of this building is not visible in this picture?

Answer after the jump.

A description of the building here.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 28, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Architecture, 1930s

April 27, 2017

Pre-Dirtied Jeans

Nordstrom is now selling pre-dirtied jeans for $425. And here I've been washing my jeans all these years! It reminds me of that guy back in the 90s who sold shotgun-blasted jeans, though his prices were more reasonable.

I wonder if the dirt washes off.

For slightly cheaper ($395) you can get what looks like paint-stained jeans.


Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 27, 2017 - Comments (7)
Category: Fashion, Overpriced Merchandise

Follies of the Madmen #312

Ah, the hillbilly! What a once-potent icon. Used anywhere these days except Cletus & Family on The Simpsons?

Ad scanned from Playboy for March 1962.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 27, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Fashion, Regionalism, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1960s

April 26, 2017

Macho Cologne

Introduced by Faberge in 1976. It was described as being "packaged with a startlingly new futuristic look." Which is to say that it was packaged as a giant phallus.

I like the ad promoting it as a Father's Day gift. I can just imagine a son or daughter giving this as a present to their dad.

Indianapolis Star - Oct 30, 1976

The Pocono Record - June 17, 1977

The marketing of the cologne must have gained some notoriety. I found a brief discussion of it in an academic study of marketing — Marketing and Semiotics: New Directions in the Study of Signs for Sale (1987):

The juxtaposition of the grossly physical with the structurally normative produces a profound effect: Norms and values become saturated with emotion while emotions are ennobled through contact with values. The monolithic (or rather, ithyphallic) print ad for Macho cologne run by Faberge several years ago, effectively condensing referents to male sexuality, aggression, wealth, and ethnic stereotyping in its rhetorical and iconographic symbolism, nicely illustrates this principle. Thus, symbols function as both storehouse and powerhouse, encoding information which is ultimately authoritative.

Update: Thanks to Brian for drawing our attention to Pierre Cardin Man's cologne, which also featured a suggestively shaped bottle.

And I just noticed that the Father's Day ad features both Macho cologne and Pierre Cardin Man's cologne. So if you gave your dad both, what message would you be sending him?

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 26, 2017 - Comments (8)
Category: Advertising, 1970s, Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents

Tree Spirit Project

Naked people and trees: the book.

Kickstarter here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 26, 2017 - Comments (4)

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