Weird Universe Archive

November 2023

November 25, 2023

Everyone left early again

How a wonky thermostat turned a family into social outcasts.

Life - Oct 8, 1951

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 25, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Advertising, 1950s

Strange to Your Ears



Jim Fassett started as a broadcaster on WBZ Boston in the 1920s. He eventually moved to New York where he took a position with CBS Radio. In the 1950s, he hosted a radio programme which highlighted his interest in the manipulation of sound on tape. The programme was called Strange to Your Ears and some of the results of that show became the basis of this LP.

Over the course of the album, Fassett plays weird and other-worldy sounds which he then proceeds to deconstruct revealing the original sound source. There are sound sources like roosters crowing and babies crying.





Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 25, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Radio, 1950s, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

November 24, 2023

Lucky Break Wishbone v Sears

In 1999, after eating Thanksgiving dinner, Ken Ahroni came up with the idea of making plastic wishbones as a novelty item. He used the actual wishbone from that dinner as the model on which he based the design of the plastic ones which he marketed as "Lucky Break Wishbones."



A few years later Sears got wind of Ahroni's plastic wishbones, thought they might be a fun item to sell around Thanksgiving, and asked him to send a few samples. Ahroni happily did so, but then Sears turned around and sent his samples to a Chinese company that used them as a reference to make cheaper wishbones that Sears proceeded to sell.

Ahroni sued Sears for copyright infringement, and a jury awarded him $1.7 million.

Hard to feel much sympathy for Sears since they undeniably ripped off his idea. But in terms of copyright infringement it was an odd case since a wishbone doesn't seem like something that would be protected by copyright.

I don't think Ahroni is selling his plastic wishbones anymore. His website (luckybreakwishbone.com) has been abandoned.

More info: The Trademark and Copyright Law blog

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 24, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Lawsuits, Thanksgiving

November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving ride on a turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!

Richmond Times-Dispatch - Nov 27, 1930

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 23, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Thanksgiving

November 22, 2023

The Honeywell Kitchen Computer

In 1969, Neiman Marcus offered a Honeywell "kitchen computer" in its Christmas catalog. The price tag was $10,600, which is equivalent to about $80,000 today. The price included a two-week course in programming, which was required to know how to use the computer. The computer could supposedly store recipes and help housewives plan meals.

No one ever bought one. Or rather, no one ever bought the "kitchen computer," but a few people (engineers, and the like) did buy the H316 minicomputer, which is what the kitchen computer really was. Neiman Marcus and Honeywell had simply repackaged the H316 as a kitchen computer.

Nevertheless, the "kitchen computer" is now credited as being the very first time a company had offered a home computer for sale. One of them is on display at the Computer History Museum.

More info: wikipedia

image source: Divining a Digital Future, by Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell



If someone had bought one of the kitchen computers, it would have been pretty much unusable, because a user had to communicate with it in binary code, using a series of 16 buttons on the front to enter data. From Wired:

The thought that an average person, like a housewife, could have used it to streamline chores like cooking or bookkeeping was ridiculous, even if she aced the two-week programming course included in the $10,600 price tag. If the lady of the house wanted to build her family’s dinner around broccoli, she’d have to code in the green veggie as 0001101000. The kitchen computer would then suggest foods to pair with broccoli from its database by "speaking" its recommendations as a series of flashing lights.


image source: The Computer, by Mark Frauenfelder

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 22, 2023 - Comments (5)
Category: Technology, Computers, 1960s

November 21, 2023

Electrify Your Wife

In a similar vein to other ads from that era, such as "Recipe for boiled wife" and "Beat your wife tonight (at bowling)."

Life - Dec 12, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 21, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Advertising, Wives, Marriage, 1960s

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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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