Ken Gidney made $1.4 million catching ants. He supplied the ants for the Uncle Milton Ant Farm sets. He got the job in 1956 (by being first in line in response to the job ad) and continued at it for over 20 years, getting paid 1 cent per ant.
His technique: "At first I excavated and I would catch 'em on broom straws. Then I found I could dig a narrow hole alongside an ant hill and place a baby food jar next to it." He would blow into the hole using a plastic hose and the ants would scurry out into the jar.
"arno steguweit is europe's only water sommelier, and a certified wine sommelier in germany. after ten years in the hospitality business, including creating europe's first water menu, arno's role focuses on how best to taste and recognise quality within different waters."
You have to give Arno credit for creating his own job category. I wonder how much business he gets. Check out his website here. [via]
During World War II, rat catching was one of the traditionally male jobs that was taken over by women. At least in the UK. I like the part of this article that details the "grim satisfaction" the women got from smashing rats with shovels:
The anti-rat workers have had some peculiar first reactions on meeting their adversaries. One, seeing her first dead rat, exlaimed: "Oh, you poor darling."
Despite all their modern training and equipment, it's sometimes necessary to rely on primitive methods — like bashing out the enemy's brains with a spade. The girls get grim satisfaction from this hand-to-hand combat. They know they're doing every bit as much to help win the war as are their brothers and sweethearts who are hunting rats in uniform.
Source: Miami Daily News-Record (Miami, Oklahoma) - Nov 18, 1943
Here's a weird job you can do at home — raise cockroaches. Yuan Meixia of China is making a good living doing it, having transformed her house into a cockroach farm. This involved cementing shut every crevice and hole in the house so the critters can't escape, and replacing all doors with zippered silk nets.
According to the South China Morning Post: "Yuan places honeydews, apples and rice bran on shelves at each end of the room, where the insects swarm and feast. On the living room table is a bag of glucose for the baby cockroaches, or nymphs, which resemble little red beans."
She sells the roaches to a local pharmaceutical company.
Jimmy Tayoun was a Philadelphia City Councilman who got busted for accepting bribes and concealing income from the IRS. As a result, he spent some time in a federal prison, but he used the experience to good advantage by penning a 64-page guide of practical advice for those on their way to prison, which was published upon his release in 1995. He titled it, Going To Prison? It seems like a book that deserves a place in any library of the weird. [Allegheny Times]
He also set up a 1-900 number to answer questions from "fearful first-timers," charging them $2.50 a minute to select from a menu of seven topics. In this way, according to wikipedia, he pioneered the profession of "prison consultant" (apparently he was the first to use the term), that being someone who "provides newly convicted criminals with advice on how to cope and survive in the unfamiliar surroundings of prison."
Jimmy's tips included these words of wisdom:
Bring a good amount of cash if you can.
Ask the custodial officer for a couple more razors, some more soap, and later for toothpaste. After a while you will learn where it is stored, check the door until you find it open, and help yourself — though never take too much since your lockers do get checked
See a dentist before serving time
Be wary of probation officers
Never snitch on another inmate or guard
Bring two pairs of eyeglasses, though "nothing fancy schmantzy"
Get a doctor's note to avoid being assigned a top bunk
Arrange private transportation to prison to avoid being handcuffed on the trip
Judi Collora, owner of Mrs. Doe Pee's Buck Lures, makes her living selling deer urine. She sells it to hunters who use it to lure deers. Apparently it's a pretty good living. Businessweek.com figures she's a multimillionaire.
Some factoids about the deer urine business: 1) it's seasonal, because deers pee more in the summer than they do in winter. 2) the urine is collected by means of a two-story barn. The deer are on the top floor, and their urine drips through grates into vats on the first floor.
Despite her success, Collora is worried about the future. She fears that an Obama victory in November will cause the collapse of the deer-urine industry. So it sounds like Romney has the deer-urine vote in the bag.