Weird Universe


Noisy Falls

No one disputes that the scenic waterfall near the Italian town of Bellano is very loud when its running (see video below). Sometimes the water is diverted to power a hydroelectric plant. But an unusually wet summer has made the falls even louder than normal, causing tensions to flare in the town. Some residents complain they can't easily hear their TVs over the sound. So they've taken their complaints to a regional environmental protection agency, which has now fined the town €650 for noise pollution. [Telegraph]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Oct 11, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Government, Natural Wonders

Innovative Projects in Canada

Canadian tax dollars at work! Back in 1984 (source: Montreal Gazette - Oct 17, 1984), the Canada Council gave the following grants to fund Canadian artists who had "innovative" projects:

Jim Freedman got $4,885 to write a book on "professional wrestling as it relates to small towns, offering reasons for its decline in popularity."

Richard Lyle Hills received $3,125 to write "a collection of short stories examining the lives and values of those who work at construction jobs."

Joanne Claire was granted $8,200 to write "a book which questions the beliefs and assumptions upon which our lives are based."

Daniel Boudereau and Helene Cosette got $14,700 to develop "a performance integrating movement and color by acrobats inside a multi-chambered cubic structure."

Thirty years later, what became of these projects? The only one I could track down was Jim Freedman's wrestling book, which was published by Crowbar Press in 1988 as Drawing Heat (Amazon link). And it actually sounds like an interesting book.

But all the other projects — nada. Did they actually produce anything with the money given to them?

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Sep 19, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Government, 1980's

Yogurt Tax

Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington DC and now a Councilmember, has reportedly taken a stand against taxing yogurt, saying that a yogurt tax is "crazy," and pointing out that "Yogurt is really more healthy than some other things, as is cottage cheese."

However, there isn't actually a yogurt tax. Barry apparently misheard a reporter who asked him about a so-called "yoga tax," which is a proposed tax on gyms and health clubs.

I grew up in DC when Barry was mayor, so it gave me a warm glow to see that he's still making the news.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jun 24, 2014 | Comments (8)
Category: Government, Regulations

Groucho Sells Bonds


Who would buy anything that Groucho was trying to sell? I can't imagine this campaign moved too many bonds.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Dec 31, 2013 | Comments (15)
Category: Government, Money, Advertising, 1940's

Mystery Cabinet


Who are these fanciful fellows? Answer after the jump.

More >>
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Nov 12, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Government, 1950's, Europe

Federal Employee of the Year:  2011

2011 Federal Employee of the Year from Partnership for Public Service on Vimeo.

It takes a huge talent for boredom to make one of the worst disasters of the past decade seem vapid. "The pressure was somewhere between high and low." Duh....

If only this fellow had been in charge of TIMBER BRIDGE INSPECTION, life would have been perfect.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Oct 04, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Authorities and Experts, Boredom, Destruction, Government, Officials, Science

Charley in New Town

Once upon a time, the suburbs were going to be utopia.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Aug 21, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Domestic, Dreams and Nightmares, Government, Urban Life, Utopias and Dystopias, 1940's, Europe

The National Scream

The National Scream by Robert Awad & by David Verrall, National Film Board of Canada

The Canadian National Beaver is missing!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Jul 12, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Government, Humor, 1980's, North America

E-Plates - the future of driving

License plates may not seem like a product that requires improvement, but Compliance Innovations begs to differ. They've come up with "e-plates" that use an electronic ink display. They cost a lot more than traditional plates — over $100 versus less than $5. However, they allow the DMV or police to remotely change what the license plate displays. So if you're late with your registration payment, "Expired" appears in bright red letters. No state has yet decided to adopt these e-plates, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. [epoch times]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jun 25, 2013 | Comments (10)
Category: Government, Cars

Miss Treasury Department

Shown is Helen G. Sweeney who won the title of Miss Washington D.C. back in 1924. But she also served, more specifically, as Miss Treasury Department.

Apparently young women were chosen to represent all the various offices of the federal government. So in addition to Miss Treasury Department there was:
  • Miss Bureau of Standards (Betty Grace Tucker)
  • Miss Veterans Bureau (Elsie L. Schulze)
  • Miss Commerce (Estelle Meisenheimer)
  • Miss Navy (Etelka Kearney)
  • Miss State Department (Adeline Shuler)
  • Miss Post Office (Ellen S. Waller)
  • Miss Department of Justice (Helen T. Gallagher)
  • Miss Civil Service (Irma Beaver)
  • Miss Labor (Margaret McKinley)
  • Miss Bureau of Engraving (Elizabeth Thompson)
  • Miss War Department (Pearl B. Henry)
  • Miss Government Printing Office (Evelen M. Smith)
  • Miss Agriculture (Jewell Sager)
  • Miss Interior (Minnie Jean)
  • Miss Federation (Margaret M. Mattare)
  • Miss Interstate Commerce (Sarah M. Boyle)
  • Miss U.S. Employee's Compensation Commission (Edith S. Webb)
Source: The Washington Post, Dec. 1, 1924
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Jun 22, 2013 | Comments (6)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Government, 1920's
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.