In my latest about.com article, I explore the phenomenon of Debtor's Revenge — when debtors decide to get even by paying fines with pennies
. Though it's not always pennies. Might be $1 bills, or some other form of deviousness intended to spite the debt collector. There were so many examples of this that I could easily have made the article 10x as long as it was. Also might have mentioned that, if I remember correctly, Chuck once declared this phenomenon "no longer weird."
Just a brief note to let you know I recently landed a new, part-time writing gig as the weird news "expert" for About.com
. Of course, I'm very aware that I'm not anything like a weird news expert when compared to Chuck. But hey, it's their term, not mine. (Chuck tells me he was offered the job back in the 1990s, but didn't take it.)
The deal is to produce 8 short articles a month, on any topic related to weird news that strikes my fancy. Or more broadly, weird stuff in general. The focus will be on themes in weirdness, rather than breaking weird news. I've already got two articles posted: 12 facts about poop that falls from planes and the people it hits
and 7 logo design disasters that made headlines
The latter article, I should note, was inspired by one of Chuck's recent columns
in which he mentioned the state of Tennessee's minimalist new logo, produced at a cost of $46,000. I expect I'll be getting a lot of ideas from here at WU and fleshing them out in more detail over at About.com, and that'll give me the opportunity to crosslink from there back to here. So it'll kinda be like a marriage between the two sites. And I'll periodically give everyone a heads up here when I've posted new material there.
In other words, all the weirdness will continue as usual here. But 8 times a month I'll also be posting over there. So overall, an increase in weirdness!
Tomorrow is April Fool's Day — a day on which the vast majority of people will go about their lives as usual, oblivious of what day it is, and a very few people will go to extreme lengths to prank and play jokes on unsuspecting victims.
I have to confess that I've never played an April Fool prank in my life, and don't really have any interest in changing that. But over at my other home
online, I've delved pretty deeply into the history of this unusual holiday. And this year I took the time to give my list of the Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time
a complete overhaul. So check it out, if interested.
And if you're in the Nova Scotia area, you can catch me on a CBC radio show tomorrow, Maritime Noon
, talking and answering questions about the history of April Fools.
My wife noticed this posted on distractify.com
and brought it to my attention. So I thought I'd share it here.
Occasionally people ask me to sign and write a note in copies of my book, and I never know what to write. But thanks to this receipt, I've now got a go-to phrase!
Fellow WU-vies--thanks to the alertness of several readers, we have been notified of a problem with posting comments. The captcha feature is glitched, working inconsistently. Our Master Hacker Alex (I think he learned all he knows from 1983's WarGames
) is working on a fix now.
Thanks for your patience. Without your comments, the blog would be only half what it is.
Update from Alex:
I "fixed" the problem by disabling the captcha system. Which may leave us wide open to spammers. We'll see how it goes for a few days.
Wow! Allowing comment posting without captchas was like opening wide the floodgates of spam. So that experiment lasted only about 10 minutes. For now I've changed the admin settings so that only logged-in members can post comments. And in the meantime, I'll search for an alternative captcha system that is compatible with our very old blogging software.
I found and installed an alternative captcha system. Let's see if it works! The neat thing is that most people won't see a captcha at all. It only shows if it thinks you might be a spammer, and it then asks you to solve a simple math problem.
I was invited to give a talk at the Upstart Crow bookstore
in downtown San Diego (Seaport Village), and I happily agreed because it's a great store. I'll be there at 7pm this Thursday (Jan 17) talking about mad scientists. The real-life kind, not the fictional ones. Which is the theme of my last two books, Elephants on Acid
and Electrified Sheep
So if any Weird Universe readers will happen to be in the San Diego area on Thursday, you now know where to find me.
Of course, this raises the question of whether there are any WUvies (besides myself) in San Diego. If there are, I'd love to meet you! Or if you don't live in SD, but know someone who does, send them down! Help fill up the place (because I hope I'm not going to be talking to an empty room).
Thanks to the stellar research powers of Alex B., we now have the complete set of these oddball Freudian prompts.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Friends--thanks to the alertness of one of our core WU-vies, Messr. Dumbfounded, we have learned of a grievous but ineluctable Comments Implosion.
When Alex reconfigured the site and banished all the spammers, he implicitly authorized a purge of all past comments made by non-registered commenters.
A goodly number of those comments came from honest readers who had just not bothered to register. They were part of the legitimate conversation concerning previous posts.
Now they're irretrievably wiped.
We regret this accidental purge. Fully half of the pleasures of this site lies in the conversation following each post. We were thrilled to have this conversation archived for the enjoyment of all readers.
But if you recall the horrible spam problem, there seemed to be no other solution.
For now, we are still allowing comments by unregistered folks. We don't want to put up any extra barriers between readers and their public responses. But comments from unregistered folks are always less secure than those from registered WU-vies.
Thanks for your understanding and continued support.
I hope everyone is enjoying having Alex back as much as I am. Yay, Alex!
Perhaps you recall months ago when I touted his new book. Well, that was its UK edition only. Finally, in June, the US edition arrives.
Why not use the link the pre-order your copy now?
Sorry for our downtime! When we got linked-to by BOING-BOING and GIZMODO yesterday, it swamped us!
But we're back, thanks to Tech Wizard Alex!
All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.