Released in 1977, the album Pythagoron consisted of electronic sounds that supposedly stimulated certain brain waves, thereby allowing the listener to get high, without the use of drugs. The Hum blog offers more details:
While obscure, Pythagoron’s sole LP – a distillation of fine art, drug culture, high New Age thinking, and musical Minimalism, is a near perfect image of the outer reaches of its era. Privately issued in 1977 – sold via advertisements in High Times, the album’s origins are mysterious – thought to be a product of USCO (The Company Of Us), one of the earliest multimedia art collectives based in New York – pioneers in the field of immersive sound and light environments...
The album is intended to get the listener high – the aural mirror to Brion Gysin’s Dream Machines, and the step beyond La Monte Young. Capitalizing on the the tonal precision allowed by synthesizers – it attempts to harness the resonant interaction of sound and brainwave patterns to induce states of euphoria – the precursor of more recent efforts in binaural beats and neural oscillation.
1974: The Consumer Product Safety Commission had to destroy eighty thousand buttons it had printed urging people to "think toy safety" after the buttons themselves were deemed unsafe.
The problems with the buttons included sharp edges, lead-based paint, and pins that could be swallowed by children.
Digging deeper into the story, the irony lessens somewhat. It turns out that the problems were identified by the Commission itself because it had followed its own advice and tested the buttons before distributing them.
An ice pick lobotomy involves inserting an ice pick above the eyeball and hammering it into the brain to destroy the frontal lobes. In 1977, the CIA admitted that it had considered doing this to enemy agents as a way to erase their memory following interrogation. This secret program was code-named "Project Artichoke".
However, the agency insisted that by 1972 it had abandoned the idea as too barbaric, and too likely to "invite horrible reprisals".
Some other interrogation techniques that the agency had considered, but rejected, included:
—Placing subjects in a quaking rubber room to produce overanxiety and emotional instability. The CIA review says "for our purposes a quaking room is too much of a torture chamber; however, if some third-degree approach is contemplated at a permanent installation, this one is interesting."
—Shining flickering lights at a prisoner. "The analyst ... mentioned watching a restaurant fan which was too slow, but nevertheless spoiled his appetite."
—Injecting forms of cocaine into a suspect's brain through holes in the skull. "Too surgical for our use."
—Odors were also considered. The documents said that terror has been produced by exposing a subject to a harmless odor, such as geranium, simulating the smell of a lethal gas.
By the age of 28, Richard Pesta had become independently wealthy thanks to a lucrative fiberglass and foam business. So he decided to fulfill his dream of being a superhero, and in 1973 he turned himself into Captain Sticky, "Supreme Commander in Chief of the World Organization Against Evil". The name referred to his fondness for peanut butter.
He drove around Orange County in his Stickymobile looking for crime, outfitted with a peanut butter gun and "peanut butter grenades" made of peanut butter, vinegar and alka seltzer.
He also became a fixture at San Diego Comic Con, and was constantly trying to get Marvel to make a comic book about him, but this never happened.
Apparently his superhero act wasn't entirely just a way to get attention. He used his influence to advocate for various causes such as improving nursing homes and preventing rental-car ripoffs.
1979: James Mack, a candy manufacturer representative, told government officials that banning candy sales from schools could lead to "injury, drug abuse and drinking." His reasoning was that candy provided children with an "island of pleasure," and if denied this they might seek out worse things such as drugs. They might even "leave the school premises [to seek out candy] and encounter traffic hazards".
As described in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Nov 26, 1978):
There is the aquarium tie (a snail, a plant, some gravel and a puzzled guppie floating on the wearer's chest). The Paint-by-Number tie. The captured-flight tie (two broken toy airplanes and a dead moth). The floral arrangement tie (dirt and live plants). The regimental stripe (available in dirt and candy stripes or the more restrained hairline stripes, executed in human hair in gentle tones of rust, brown and gray).
The neon tie, however, is the current front-runner. Larson's favorite, it's a stunning red-and-blue creation that makes a glowing statement about the wearer—providing he's hooked up to a power source.
And these have nothing on the proposed ties. There could be—well, the world's loudest tie (armed with a tiny loudspeaker to broadcast jets taking off); the horror movie or Vincent Price model (containing dry ice, with tiny holes in the front to permit the wearer to trail wisps of fog); the Fit-to-be-Tied Tie (a self-inflating strait-jacket that takes over when you feel you are losing control), and the chow mein tie, inspired by the Seal-a-Meal machine that is basic to the Art-Necko process.
The cowboy tie
People magazine (Jan 15, 1979) listed a few more:
Railroad Tie has an HO-gauge track, pebbles and a miniature crossing sign inside.
Fishing Tackle features Goldfish crackers, a hook, sinker and a rubber worm. Vanity contains false eyelashes and phony fingernails. And for the ghoulish, there's Bones—scrubbed and boiled shortribs.
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.