Weird Universe


Abe Lincoln’s Ghost


Don't go mistaking any old tall ghost for Lincoln.

Original article here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Jan 16, 2014 | Comments (9)
Category: Dreams and Nightmares, Politics, Superstition, 1980's, Nineteenth Century

Do the President Twist

Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Dec 19, 2013 | Comments (9)
Category: Music, Politics, 1960's

Abstract Controversy


This painting was commissioned and displayed in a public building in the 1960s. It immediately aroused ire and controversy and disgust. Can you guess why?

Answer after the jump.

More >>
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Oct 20, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Art, Confusion, Misunderstanding, and Incomprehension, Death, Politics, 1960's

Dwight Eisenhower, Artist


I did not know, until I saw a mention in The New York Times for September 15, 2012, that President Dwight Eisenhower had been an amateur painter.

What a token of a distant, more civilized era. Imagine a current President having the time to devote to such fripperies.

An article, with pictures, about his career exists. PDF here.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Feb 25, 2013 | Comments (6)
Category: Art, Politics, Historical Figure, 1950's

Election Laws Sixty Years Ago

Modern U.S. elections have their problems, but at least election laws aren't as blatantly racist as they were as late as the 1950s. For instance, in Oklahoma, in the 1950s, if you wanted to run for public office you first had to file a form with the state declaring what race you were. There were only two options. If you were of "African descent" you were "Negro." If you were anything else (Chinese, Australian aboriginal, etc.) you were "White." If you indicated you were "Negro," then this descriptive term was placed in parentheses after your name on the ballot. "Whites" were not similarly labeled.

A black Oklahoma City attorney, A.B. McDonald, filed suit against the State Election Board in 1954 alleging discrimination. The District Court dismissed his case, ruling that, "The placing of the word 'Negro' on a ballot after the name of a candidate is merely descriptive and properly serves to inform the electors of the fact that the candidate is of African descent."

The Supreme Court eventually overturned the District Court's ruling, deciding that the Oklahoma law was unconstitutional. As for A.B. McDonald, I haven't been able to find much information on his subsequent career. All I found was a short paragraph in Jet magazine (Mar 1959) indicating that he had some other problems in his life:
Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Nov 05, 2012 | Comments (7)
Category: Politics, Racism, Judges, Lawsuits

Squatter Rights

Heidi Peterson left her Detroit home empty for a year, and when she returned, she says, she found a woman, Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, squatting there. The woman refuses to leave, and apparently you can't just kick someone out who's squatting. You have to go to court, prove you own the property, and then get an eviction order. So now both women are living there together.

Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, for her part, says she's not squatting. She insists she has a lease. [Yahoo! News]

Whatever the case may be, the experience certainly qualifies Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair to occupy the highest office in the land and squat in the White House for four years. So she's campaigning as a write-in candidate for President, and wants your vote. That's her below, posing with George Washington. Remember her name on election day!

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Oct 16, 2012 | Comments (9)
Category: Law, Politics, Strange Candidates

Let them eat chicken!

The price of chicken is soaring in Iran. So much so, that an Iranian police chief, Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, has issued a statement urging television stations to not broadcast images of people eating chicken, for fear that the sight of such gustatory delight will cause poor people unable to afford chicken to rise up in revolt. He says, "Certain people witnessing this class gap between the rich and the poor might grab a knife and think they will get their share from the wealthy." []

First the chick-fil-a protests, and now this. Seems like this is the year for the politicization of the chicken.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Aug 21, 2012 | Comments (5)
Category: Food, Politics

Lyndon Johnson Lifts Dogs By Their Ears

Even if Mitt Romney becomes president, his decision to drive 650 miles from Massachusetts to Ontario with his dog in a carrier tied to the roof of the car will remain a black mark against him in the eyes of many people. Wikipedia calls it his "Dog Incident." However, he's not the only person in Presidential history to have suffered from a dog controversy. Back in 1964, Lyndon Johnson caused an uproar when he showed reporters how he could pick up his two beagles, named 'Him' and 'Her,' by their ears. Dog lovers were not amused.

Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Apr 28, 1964
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Aug 14, 2012 | Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Politics, Dogs

Voters with amnesia

A study recently published in the American Journal of Political Science (pdf) found that patients suffering from profound amnesia can still make pretty good voting decisions. That is, even though the patients couldn't remember who the candidates were, or what their positions on issues were, they still somehow picked out the ones whose political views were similar to their own. From the abstract:

We report here that amnesic patients, despite not being able to remember any issue information, consistently voted for candidates with favored political positions. Thus, sound voting decisions do not require recall or recognition of previously learned associations between candidates and their issue positions. This result supports a multiple memory systems model of political decision making.

I'm not sure whether these results have any relevance to the American electorate. After all, the amnesic patients once knew the candidates' positions, but forgot them. But what about voters who don't know the positions and issues to begin with?
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jul 29, 2012 | Comments (5)
Category: Politics, Psychology

The Congrelephant Bus

[From Life magazine for October 18 1954]

A strange vehicle rolled down Denver's Ivanhoe Street one day last week and pulled to a stop in front of No. 626. It had once been a bus until Mrs. Ellen Harris, G.O.P. candidate for Congress in Colorado's First District, gave it the jawbreaking name of "Congrelephant," and made it over. From the front hung an elephant's trunk spouting smoke. It had a tail and four-foot ears, and big blue eyes were painted on the windshield.

[From Time magazine for October 18 1954]

Surely there is a place for a revived Congrelephant Bus in this election year.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Jul 21, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Politics, 1950's, Bus
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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.