Back in the 1930s, the Jockey underwear company got the idea of showing off their products by having their models wear cellophane and staging a "cellophane wedding." The first picture seems to be a trial run of this stunt, in which the company created outfits that were only half cellophane.
But in 1938, they staged a wedding with full cellophane outfits at the National Association of Retail Clothiers and Furnishers convention. The story goes that a picture of this event subsequently ran in Life magazine, by which means it then came to the attention of Adolf Hitler, who used it as an opportunity to fulminate against America's moral decline.
This page semi-coherently explains: "...a ceremony in the Newar community in Nepal in which pre-adolescent girls are 'married' to the bel fruit (wood apple), which is a symbol of the god Vishnu, ensuring that the girl becomes and remains fertile. It is believed that if the girl's husband dies later in her life, she is not considered a widow because she is married to Vishnu, and so already has a husband that is believed to be still alive."
About a year ago I posted about a wedding at which the bridegroom dropped dead of a heart attack right after saying "I do." I thought that had to qualify as one of the worst weddings ever, but this one is pretty bad also. As reported in the Chicago Tribune - Sep 21, 1907.
Brightwater sewage plant in King County, WA is advertising its availability for weddings. Which sounds a bit weird until you see that it's actually a nice location (well, nice enough; I suppose it depends on how picky one is), and comes at less than half the cost of comparable facilities. So I'd definitely consider it if I were planning a wedding. Why not? However, some people, such as the wedding planner in the video, seem outraged at the mere thought of it.
While it might be fairly common for couples to get a divorce in the United States these days, it's certainly not easy. There are questions of support, custody issues if there are children involved, and bitter arguments over who gets to keep what; all of which can drag a divorce into months of stress. But what is it like in other cultures and in other times? In centuries past, in China, a divorce could be granted for any number of reasons, so long as the bride's family agreed to take her back. Aborigine women in Australia can convince their husbands to grant a divorce but if that's not working, then all they need to do is elope with someone else. The ancient Athenians and modern-day Eskimos share an extremely simple divorce process - live separately as though they were never married. In the UK, a man tired of his wife could slip a halter around her neck, lead her into town to the cattle market, and sell her to the highest bidder. Japan had a much more advanced view, however. Marriage was not sacred and divorce was not immoral - it was merely a mismatch between families. Women's dowrys were returned in the hopes of encouraging re-marriage. You can read more on Purple Slinky, and on Hope's Blog, and in this review.
I might have mentioned it before, but I'm planning on getting married this summer. To that end, I've been browsing the web, looking for stories about wedding related disasters, hoping to learn from the mistakes of others. Just this evening I found a bit of advice that had not occurred to me - think about what your new name will be, especially if you are considering whether or not to hyphenate. And here's why.
First up, apologies if this post contains more typos than usual, I'm sending it from my new ultra-small netbook and I'm still getting used to its itty-bitty keyboard. Which brings me nicely to my first story. That according to a survey for satellite channel SKY-HD, British consumers waste £52 billion a year on hi-tech features they don't use. For example, half of the people polled did not know their high definition television also required a hi-def signal source such as a blu-ray player or HD satellite receiver – like the ones sold by SKY-HD perhaps (Telegraph).
And it's not just the the British, military officials in Russia recently discovered 100 front-line battletanks parked and forgotten by the side of the road near Yekaterinburg in the Urals. Locals say the tanks, which were unguarded and unlocked, have been there for several months and lack only ammunition and the all important starter keys (Reuters).
Someone who might have had a use for those tanks were guests at a wedding in New Delhi in India recently. The Hindu ceremony was somewhat marred when an elephant hired for the event went on a rampage after becoming aroused by the smell of a nearby female in heat. The amorous pachyderm then proceeded to crush 20 limousines, smash through a nearby mall and mount a truck before it could be tranquilised (Orange).
Also losing it this week was the man on the RyanAir flight who found he had won 10,000 euros on a scratchcard he bought on the budget flight from Poland to the UK. Furious that the airline had not seen fit to equip all their planes with the requisite amount of cash onboard, hence he could not be given his prize there and then as he demanded, the unnamed passenger ate the winning card rather than wait to claim it at his destination (BBC News).
They say news travels fast, but in the speed stakes it can’t hold a candle to dumb. Circling the blogosphere like an angry Superman is news that security guard Jason Cooke has managed to sight the Loch Ness monster on Google Earth. The object, which Cooke claims exactly matches the descriptions of Nessie, is clearly visible as a quadrupedal, long-necked plesiosaur-like creature, and in no way could be the wake behind a boat or anything mundane like that. This latest find comes as a relief to many cryptozoologists, who had expressed concerns that the dearth of recent sightings might mean Nessie had fallen victim to Global Warming (Telegraph).
Or perhaps this is simply proof that Scottish universities have got the jump on their transatlantic counterparts? In a move nearly, but not quite, totally unlike Jurassic Park, Professor Hans Larsson of McGill University in Montreal has announced that he hopes to de-evolve chickens back into their dinosaur ancestors. Larsson stressed that he is not aiming to recreate whole dinosaurs at this time, but by switching on or off certain genes in chick embryos he hopes to induce atavistic dinosaur anatomy in the full grown animals (AFP).
Not @%#&?! likely! But this post is on a subject close to my heart, pain (must see a doctor about that).
Cartoon expletives aside, a bit of invective can do you the world of good, or so said scientists recently. A research team from from Keele University asked volunteers to hold their hand in freezing water for as long as they could manage while repeating either an innocuous word or the swear-word of their choice. The swearers held out for an average of two minutes, while non-swearers managed only 1 minute 15 seconds. But while Rohan Byrt of the Casual Swearing Appreciation Society claimed the study demonstrated the benefits of swearing, team leader Richard Stephens warned that everyday swearing would lessen its painkilling effects. "Swearing is emotional language" he explained, "but if you overuse it, it loses its emotional attachment" (BBC News).
From this week, pregnant women throughout Britain considering "letting it out" to help with the pain might also want to direct their curses towards Dr Denis Walsh, associate professor of midwifery at Nottingham University in England. In an article in the journal Evidence Based Midwifery, Dr Walsh claimed last week that the pain of childbirth was useful and a "timeless rite of passage", and women should not be trying to avoid it with epidural anaesthesia. Walsh based his statement on the fact that the use of epidurals has almost doubled in the past two decades, claiming that in 20% of cases, the procedure was unnecessary. While some, like Dr. Justin Clarke of the Birmingham Women's Hospital, rejected Walsh's data, saying it was wrong to characterise modern women as "less stoical", others supported him, such as Mary Newburn of the National Childbirth Trust who spoke of there being an "epidural culture" (Telegraph).
But perhaps women might be convinced to trade in the needle for a fancy rubber suit? Baltimore company Under Armour has developed a hi-tech, full length bodysuit that is said to allow athletes recover more quickly after strenuous activity. Under Armour's "Recharge" range gently squeezes the athlete's body forcing excess fluid out of the muscles and back into the bloodstream over a period of hours after a workout, reversing the "pumped" effect of the exercise. Research by the University of Connecticut showed that doing so resulted in subjects feeling less soreness and swelling of the muscles and recuperating faster (Journal Gazette).
In Saudi Arabia it is the groom who traditionally bears the cost of the marriage, and often men will put off the event to save for a bigger ceremony. So the prize of an all-expenses-paid wedding by a Saudi charity is quite an offer, even when it does come with a catch. To enter the draw you have to give up smoking. The charity "Purity", who is behind the campaign, will award the grand prize plus 20 runners-up prizes of free furniture in August, with all the winners being drawn from those men who complete a seven-day course on quitting. Hundreds of men have entered, including one who admitted taking up smoking just so he could enter by quitting (BBC News).
Mind you, it might be as well to get as healthy as possible before the big day, because according to recent research, marriage puts pounds on you. Lona Sandon, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, claims that newlyweds commonly gain up to 10 pounds in the months following the wedding. But before anyone assumes this is scientific proof that your partner has let himself/herself go, be advised that most often both partners gain weight together (Examiner).
Meanwhile, in Japan, most of the weight gain is starting to happen before the ceremony, as it is becoming increasingly common for the bride to be "eating for two". What was a shameful thing in Japan less than a generation ago is now being increasingly celebrated as a dekichatta kon or "double joy" wedding. According to Chika Hirotani of Watabe Wedding as many as 20% of weddings they supply are so blessed (Telegraph).
Another sort of double joy wedding also took place in Russia this week, when twin brothers married twin sisters in a twin ceremony. Alexei and Dimitry Semyonov finally tied the knot with their sweethearts Lilia and Liana after the four of them met at a dance party a year ago (MOS News). A video of the ceremony is also available (if you sit through the advertisement).
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.