Remember the episode of The Simpsons where dolphins learned to walk on their tails and invaded the land? It's coming true, as you can see from the second picture in this post. Read the horrifying details here.
Hello Weird Universe readers. Some of you may remember back in May when I was posting weird things I found in old magazines, and maybe a few of you were wondering what happened to those posts. Being a college student, I had to go home over the summer, and my parents still don't have an internet connection (technically they have AOL, but that doesn't really count), so I had no way to post anything on Weird Universe for a few months. When I got back to Chicago, it took a while to get settled in, and I finally decided I should start posting again. I will try to post a few things a week from now on.
I feel I should start with one of the most bizarre juxtapositions ever to appear, well, anywhere:
It might be time to update the old adage as, according to a scientist from the Santa Fe Institute, NM, it should be "To war is human". Dr. Samuel Bowles suggests that continual conflict among our ancient ancestors may have driven the evolution of what he terms "parochial altruism", i.e. group sociality and hostility to outsiders. By combining archaeological data on stone age humans with studies of modern tribes, Bowles has developed a model of ancient population genetics and determined that there would have been much more genetic diversity between competing groups than previously thought. In such a scenario, Bowles' results suggest that groups displaying parochial altruism would benefit by having more aggressive warriors less concerned with self-preservation, at the expense of other groups. PA may even explain the extreme habitual sociality of humans (found elsewhere only in insects), which in another paper in the same issue of Science is identified as a possible cause of human culture. Paradoxically, we may be social as individuals because we are anti-social as groups (Independent).
But if we learnt war early on the path to humanity, we may have learnt laughter even earlier. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth analysed the sounds 22 young apes made when being tickled, and concluded that it is laughter. Dr Davila-Ross and her team looked for similar acoustic characteristics to human laughter in the young of several ape species, and found greater similarity in the sounds made by chimpanzees and bonobos (the species closest to humans genetically) than in that of more distantly related apes such as orangutans. The team concluded that laughter must have evolved some time before the major ape groups split apart, 18 million years ago (BBC News).
Finally, this last piece was going to be about gay penguin adoption, but that's already up, so instead I'd like to draw your attention to a new movie by sometime Simpsons writer, Mike Reiss. Called "Queer Duck", Reiss' film is an animated musical about three gay, animal friends, Openly Gator, Bi-polar Bear and the eponymous Queer Duck himself. When QD suddenly finds himself attracted to women, in the shape of new arrival Lola Buzzard, he begins a voyage of self-discovery that sees him experience quack therapies (from the wonderfully named clinic, "Homo No Mo'!") and kidnap and imprisonment at "Home Depot" (the one place no gay would think of looking for him), before the not-unexpected third-reel epiphany. Hopefully it'll be released on DVD soon, because this one's a keeper! (The News-Times).
The embedded video at the bottom of this post consists of an entire feature-length film titled Four Jills in A Jeep. It recounts the based-on-truth activities of four female stars on the USO circuit during WWII. You are kindly invited to watch the whole thing if you wish: there's some good singing, and a few laughs amidst the corn. But if you only have three minutes to spare, please do this:
1) Allow the whole video to load, with the sound off if you wish. It'll take a little bit, depending on your connection, natch.
2) Push the slider to the one-hour-and-nine-minutes mark. That's when our gals arrive at a North African village.
3) Wait patiently until, at the mark of 1:11:27, Kay Francis says "They brought us in on a camel caravan."
There's only one problem. Francis had a famous lisp, so the line becomes: "They brought us in on a camoo cawavan."
Watching this at home, we almost fell out of our seats, and had to replay the line several times to make sure we had heard right, laughing harder each time. I can guarantee you will not witness a funnier line-reading for a long time.
A combination clotheshorse/workhorse, Kay Francis made 67 films from 1929 to 1946. Her life and career are a splurging record of indulgent consumption and extravagant dissipation....She usually drank a tumbler of gin for breakfast, got bored very easily, and slept around indiscriminately [with both men and women], racking up a high number of abortions... Kear and Rossman's book quotes liberally from Francis' diary, even using pull quotes from it on many of the pages, so that you feel their subject is talking directly to you. Kay repeatedly calls herself a bitch and a slut, proclaims her pooped-out boredom, and runs down her list of conquests. "Had merciless afternoon with Maurice (Chevalier)," she reports. "Four times in two hours." Her taste ran to talented directors too, like Goulding, Mamoulian, Lang, and Preminger. She could be generous: "Had to sleep with her because she wanted me," says one entry.