Andy P. Tucker was a disabled veteran who enjoyed collecting mechanical pencils. In 1951, he sent this letter (or versions of it) to newspapers throughout the United States:
I don't know what kind of response he got, but here's a picture of him in 1952 with his collection. The picture ran in various papers.
I can't find any information about what became of Tucker's collection. Was it thrown away when he died? Or is it sitting in a box in someone's basement? Who knows.
However, Tucker isn't the only person to have collected mechanical pencils. Jonathan A. Veley now maintains what he calls his Mechanical Pencil Museum, with an accompanying Leadhead's Pencil Blog. But a search of Veley's blog doesn't produce any references to Tucker, so I'm not sure if Veley is aware of his predecessor.
The dark heart of a popular British pass-time was thrust into public view this week when allegations of sabotage, rustling and murder shook the world of... competitive budgerigar breeding.
On the eve of the prestigious Cornwall Budgerigar Show, the aviary of Andrew Pooley, one of South England's top budgie breeders, was broken into and 21 of his best birds were stolen. Worse still, several birds were badly injured and one, reigning "best of breed" title holder Penmead Pride, had been killed. Stamped on by the callous intruders.
Because their distinctive markings would be instantly recognised among the close-knit budgie fancying community, the score of stolen budgies are unlikely to ever make another show appearance. And that might suit the culprit just fine, if his intention was to eliminate the competition by fair means or (can't resist, sorry) fowl. Pooley had left the shed unlocked briefly when he ran an errand to the nearby town of Camelford from his home in Delabole in Cornwall, and only noticed something was wrong at 9.45 that evening, when he came to make a final check on his prized birds and was - in an suitably Harrissian moment - startled by the silence of the budgies. Police are still investigating whether this is the work of a competitor but Mr. Pooley is in no doubt.
"The person or people who did this must have known exactly which ones to take because they only targeted my show team," he told reporters (Daily Mail).
When I was very little, growing up in a small suburb of Charleston, South Carolina, one of the most exciting things to do was to sit outside the barber shop and wait for the train to roll through town. Some people might say that would be as boring as watching grass grow, but they are not "railfans". So what's a railfan? The people who camp out for hours, and even days, to watch a train go by. According to Train Magazine, there are over 175,000 railfans in the United States and more than 24,000 railfan videos on YouTube. Bill Taylor, from Montana, sums it up the best by saying "It's an orchestra of motion." Learn more about railfans here.
"Droppedit" is a man who knows exactly what he likes, and that is "movie and TV scenes in which women happen to lose their shoes." I think it's fair to say that his catalog of such scenes (with accompanying pics) will never be equaled.
Everyone knows we're in the midst of a new Great Depression. But isn't it a little spooky that so many things from the 1930's are repeating themselves? Such as: a nation, mired in bad economic times, is distracted by a case of multiple births.
Paul Di Filippo
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.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.