Norris Kellam's great talent in life was floating. For which he earned the name "The Human Cork." In May 1933 he attempted to break the world record for staying afloat by floating in a saltwater pool in Norfolk, Virginia for over 86 hours. Unfortunately he didn't make it. After 71 hours and 19 minutes he was overcome by sharp cramps and sunburn and had to climb out of the pool.
It's titled "Shiki no Kusabana," which means "Flowers of Seasons." It's 22 pages long, written in Japanese and Chinese scripts, and features 12 line drawings of flowers. Also, it measures less than a millimeter in height and width.
Norway's VGTV is conducting (or probably has by now conducted) a 30-hour interview with author/chess-player/historian/politician Hans Olav Lahlum, aiming to set a record for the longest interview ever. The station is hoping that people will really start tuning in as the interviewer and interviewee grow progressively more sleep-deprived. Because the Norwegians, you see, are big fans of "Slow TV." Previous hits have included a documentary on firewood and a 134-hour live broadcast of a boat trip. [Wall Street Journal, VGTV]
Whatever happened to long-distance bed pushing? It was a craze that swept across colleges in 1961. Time magazine (Feb. 24, 1961) reported on it:
The latest caper in Canadian colleges is bed pushing. Born at the University of Rhodesia, and perfected—as was last year's college craze, phone-booth stacking —at South Africa's University of Natal, it spread over some sort of Commonwealth bush telegraph. Last week Canadian college students from Nova Scotia to British Columbia were indefatigably mounting beds on wheels and pushing them over highways, prairies and frozen lakes. The current world's record of 1,000 continuous miles is claimed by a team from Ontario's Queens University, which kept its Simmons rolling day and night for a week.
I found reports of students continuing to push beds long distances as late as 1979 when a new world record was set (1,980 miles by students from Pennsylvania's St. Vincent College who pushed a bed in laps around a shopping center). But then the fad seemed to fade away. At least, I haven't been able to find reports of more recent updates to the record.
The picture below shows students from Ontario Western University pushing a bed along a highway back in 1961.
Mustafa Ismail won the 2013 Guinness World Record for having the largest biceps. He's called the 'Egyptian Popeye.' He insists his bulging arm muscles are 100% natural, and according to albawaba.com, 'Japanese doctors' have examined him, looking for any signs of doping or suspicious needle marks, and have pronounced him to be the real deal. But I'm having trouble believing that. Arm muscles simply don't develop like that naturally.
Mike Carmichael of Indiana owns the World's Largest Ball of Paint. It started out back in 1977 as an ordinary baseball -- and then he began to paint it. Many thousands of coats later, it weighs over 3000 pounds, has become a roadside attraction, and is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest ball of paint in the world (I'm not sure if there are any competitors to the title).
According to Mike's website, for $10 he'll write anything you want on his paint ball and send you a picture of it. His website was last updated in 2007, so I'm not sure if the offer still stands, but if it does I'd be tempted to put a message from Weird Universe on it. Any suggestions?
Watch Travis Fessler set the record by stuffing 11 cockroaches in his mouth. According to an article on Cincinnati CityBeat, he says doing this hurts because the roaches have sharp barbs on their legs, and they try to crawl down his throat. So I'm crossing this off my bucket list.