Weird Universe Archive

November 2021

November 10, 2021

Death By Cactus

Feb 1982: David Grundman of Phoeniz, Arizona decided to go cactus hunting with a shotgun, but a cactus fought back.

David M. Grundman of 3932 W. Kaler Drive reportedly fired at least two rifled slugs from a 16-gauge shotgun at a 26- to 27-foot saguaro and started to shout, "Timber!"

He only had enough time to say "Tim —" before a 23-foot section of the cactus fell and crushed him.

Grundman's death was the inspiration for the song "Saguaro" by the Austin Lounge Lizards.



Arizona Republic - Feb 5, 1982

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 10, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, 1980s

Beatniks Against Polio

What was the secret ingredient that made the rollout of the polio vaccine go so smoothly? Beatniks! If only we had some around today...

Article source: Nashville Banner (Nashville, Tennessee) 16 Aug 1956, Thu Page 13

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 10, 2021 - Comments ()
Category: Medicine, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1950s

November 9, 2021

Earthquake Tower

From Remco. It was released in 1976, following the success of the 1974 movies The Towering Inferno and Earthquake. Kids were meant to destroy the skyscraper and then rescue its occupants using the helicopter, firetruck, and team of plastic rescue workers that came with the toy.

"Turn a real disaster into hours of imaginative, exciting play... comes with a disaster sound effect record to help add exciting sound to the play."

More info: Design You Trust

Detroit Free Press - Oct 14, 1976



Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 09, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Disasters, Toys, 1970s

Pageant Planet

I just stumbled across this website, which curates all the ongoing beauty pageants everywhere. It ties in of course with our WU quest for odd beauty contests. But it's almost too rich, like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course, it doesn't cover great historical items, like best housewife or Miss Atomic Bomb. Nonetheless, you might like to wander its pages.

Miss Gamecock.



Miss Pasadena Livestock Show and Rodeo Beauty Contest

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 09, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, World

November 8, 2021

The Gramocar or Record Runner

The Gramocar has gone under a variety of different names: Chorocco, Record Runner, Soundwagon, and Vinyl Killer. But I like Gramocar the best.

It was invented in the 1970s by a team at Sony who had the idea that instead of playing a vinyl record by spinning the disc and keeping the needle stationary, it would be possible to keep the disc stationary and move the needle. They designed the moving needle as a miniature VW van, with built-in speakers, that drove in circles around the surface of a record.

Sony got a patent on the invention (US4232202) but was initially reluctant to manufacture it, saying, "We are a hi-fi company, not a toy company." But they changed their mind, and some were sold in Japan. In that way, the Gramocar gained enough of a following that other manufacturers eventually began making them. And you can still buy one today at RecordRunner.jp.

More info: New Scientist - Feb 5, 1981



Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 08, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, Technology, Patents, 1970s, Cars

November 7, 2021

Dormice as a delicacy

Recently in the news:

A hoard of 235 frozen dormice have been discovered during a police drugs raid in southern Italy.

The small rodents are believed to be a mafia delicacy served at important banquets. They were found when officers searched outbuildings of a cannabis farm in Reggio Calabria on Saturday.

Apparently dormice have been considered a delicacy since Roman times. Seconds Food History offers some info:

Special outdoor pens were used to raise edible dormice, where they’d be fed acorns, chestnuts and walnuts. When it was time to fatten the rodents, they’d be moved to terracotta containers called dolia. These jar-like vessels were specially designed to replicate the hollow of a tree, with limited space to discourage movement and encourage the storing of fat.

Back in the 1970s, Richard Hunt of High Lane, England had a business selling frozen dormice, "electrocuted and carefully skinned," for $51 each. That would be over $200 each, in today's dollars.

Dormice subsequently became protected under EU law, which must have ended Hunt's business. But has Brexit made it legal again to sell dormouse meat in the UK? I don't know.

Fort Worth Star Telegram - Aug 4, 1977


Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 07, 2021 - Comments ()
Category: Food

“How can explosion touch me?”

The sentence used in the title of this post belongs with Alex's "Strictly feminine is the woman devoid of superfluous hair" in terms of arcane impenetrability the more you repeat it.

Is separate explosion insurance for homeowners still a thing?

Ad source.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 07, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Destruction, Domestic, Codes, Cryptography, Puzzles, Riddles, Rebuses and Other Language Alterations, Insurance, 1930s

November 6, 2021

Inmate seeks transfer

Specifically, he wanted to be transferred to a woman's prison so that he could "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth."

He must have figured it didn't hurt to ask.

Miami News - Nov 10, 1971

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 06, 2021 - Comments ()
Category: Prisons, Gender, 1970s

The Jankó Keyboard

Short video first, then a longer one.

Wikipedia page here.



Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 06, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions, Music

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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.

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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.

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