In the late 1990s, psychic Terrie Brill of Elk Grove, California made headlines by claiming that roadkill could be used to predict the future. Specifically:
Running over a cat is a sign you're about to have a spiritual crisis.
Running over a deer means you're about to hurt someone you love.
Crushing a crow with your car means you're not prepared for the future.
Rolling over a snake could mean you're about to have a heart attack or other serious accident.
If you run over a dog, expect your friendships to take a turn for the worse.
If a bee collides with your windshield, you need to make more time for yourself.
... mashed mosquitos have no effect whatsoever on your future.
Brill died in 2001, but her son maintains a Facebook page about her
, promoting her posthumously published book The I-Factor
. Unfortunately, the Facebook page doesn't seem to contain anything about the roadkill predictions.
Edmonton Journal - Sep 8, 1998
If there were a Cheapskate's Hall of Fame, the Chicago Board of Education would surely have to be in it. In 1994, after gym teacher Clarence Notree heroically saved a group of children from a gunman who had entered the school gym by shielding them with his body, the Board of Education informed him that he wasn't entitled to Workers Compensation for his injuries because saving children wasn't technically part of his job.
After a protracted legal battle, he did finally get a settlement of $13,447.
More info: NY Times
Opelousas Daily World - Sep 30, 1994
Franklin Daily Journal - Sep 30, 1994
As far as I can tell, their claim to this record remains unchallenged.
Palm Beach Post - Nov 1, 1997
Not as bad a job as being a gasmask tester
. But still, pretty bad.
The patient sits behind a privacy screen and exhales into a tube. The breath evaluator sniffs the breath coming from the tube and assesses it.
San Francisco Examiner - Oct 21, 1997
Donald Drusky, of McKeesport, Pa. (which happens to be my mother’s hometown) specifically wanted God “to grant him the guitar-playing skills of famous guitarists, along with resurrecting his mother and his pet pigeon.”
Suing God, and perhaps even winning, would seem to be the easy part. Collecting payment is what’s hard.
Asbury Park Press - Mar 16, 1999
We’ve posted before about sologamy
, which is the term for marrying yourself. Back in 2017, we described it as a growing trend. But apparently the woman who gets credit for pioneering this practice was Janet Downes of Nebraska who, on June 27, 1998, married herself. She recited her vows in front of a mirror.
Downes died in 2007. But in a post over at realdivasride.com
, she recollected about her self-wedding and explained how it came to be:
In 1998 I was about to celebrate my 40th birthday. I had a wedding theme planned for my party and everyone thought I was nuts. Maybe I am a little but I got tired of seeing everything in the stores that was related to ‘40’ being in black. So I decided to poke a little fun at society because I didn’t feel old. That coupled with the fact that after 19 years of adulthood, I was finally at a place in my life where I was happy with almost every aspect of my life. I’d been married & divorce twice at that time, yet I no longer needed a man to ‘fulfill’ me. I had 3 beautiful children (Nicole, Jasmine & Eugene Jr.) and for the first time, was satisfied with my body. You know what I mean ladies? We always seem to feel that our breasts are too small or too big. Always complaining that something is wrong with our hips, butt or legs. We can always find something wrong with ourselves when we look in the mirror. One day I woke up & decided, I was happy with who I was, just the way I was. So that led me to, marrying myself. I didn’t know it at the time but that little stunt got me international fame. It seems that I was the first woman to think of it and actually carry it out. It was a beautiful wedding and I am happy with myself, even now.
Calgary Herald - June 18, 1998
A few months ago I posted about an art disposal service created in the 1960s by artist John Manno
. Turns out that art disposal services are a recurring theme in the art world, because another one was created in the 1990s by Thomas O’Day who (evidently unaware of the earlier one) billed it as the world’s first.
Some details from the LA Times (Feb 3, 1995)
When asked by a college art gallery in Spokane to do an exhibit, O’Day instead suggested that he bury some of his artwork near the gallery with the plan to dig it up 20 years later.
More details (including a video) at O'Day's site.
“I didn’t want to show the work,” he said. “The idea of burying it allowed the work to still be around and go through a process. The first law of conservation is: ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’”
That burial would eventually lead O’Day to establish the “Waste to Energy to Waste Project: The World’s First Art Disposal Service.” Any artist wishing to dispose of art can employ his service, which uses a variety of means, including burial and explosives, to eradicate the work or transform it into another form.”
Some of his other artistic endeavors similarly involved the destruction of art, such as Flambé
, “a 1990 performance in which, while a waiter flambéd a stew for a formal dinner party, O’Day flambéd one of his drawings.” And ik-splod
, “1992, staged at a private airstrip in Ione, Wash. O’Day commissioned an explosives expert to blow up 50 of his pieces, dating from 1979 to 1992.”
Seems to me that O'Day can be categorized as part of the Destructivist Art Movement
In January 1995, Macarthur Wheeler and Clifton Johnson robbed a bank in Swissvale, Pennsylvania. However, they had a plan to avoid detection: they rubbed lemon juice on their faces. Their reasoning was that lemon juice can be used to make invisible ink, so surely it would conceal their faces from surveillance cameras as well. They even tested this hypothesis by taking polaroid pictures of each other smeared with lemon juice, and it seemed to work.
Unfortunately, they showed up just fine on the bank's cameras, and they were identified and arrested several months later when the footage of the robbery was broadcast on a local news show.
This odd crime has an interesting postscript. The psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University read about it, and it inspired them to start thinking about the problem of stupidity: this being that stupid people often don’t realize they’re stupid. In fact, they think they’re quite smart, which leads them to do incredibly dumb things. This phenomenon (of dumb people not being able to recognize the limits of their competence) is now known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. In the journal article in which they introduced the concept
, Dunning and Kruger cited the lemon-juice bandits as their inspiration.
Tyrone Daily Herald - Jan 8, 1996
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Mar 21, 1996
Invented circa 1992 by Allen Gross. It was intended to be a more humane rattrap. Instead of killing the rats, it flung them up to 50 feet into a cage or bucket. The dazed, but still living, rodents could then be either turned over to authorities or released into the wild. Noted Gross, “I didn’t want the (rodents) squashed or turned into meatloaf.”
Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Feb 14, 1992
Staunton News Leader - Feb 14, 1992
Turns out this wasn't the first rat-flinging trap to be invented. Back in 1912, a similar device debuted, also called the Ratapult. Though it wasn't intended to be in any way humane:
A metal arm, operated by a powerful spiral spring, is released, and, passing through a slot in the cavelike compartment in the manner of a catapult, it strikes the unfortunate rodent with a blow of sufficient force to break every bone in its body and hurl the carcass at least fifteen feet away from the trap, far enough away so other rats will not be warned against the trap.
Vergennes Orwell Citizen - Jan 9, 1913
In 1973, Professor Robert Gunn advanced this theory.
Twenty years later, he was still pursuing the idea, as you can see in the scientific paper at the link.
To reappraise a prior study of hangover signs and psychosocial factors among a sample of current drinkers, we excluded a subgroup termed Sobers, who report "never" being "tipsy, high or drunk." The non-sober current drinkers then formed the sample for this report (N = 1104). About 23% of this group reported no hangover signs regardless of their intake level or gender, and the rest showed no sex differences for any of 8 hangover signs reported. Using multiple regression, including ethanol, age and weight, it was found that psychosocial variables contributed independently in predicting to hangover for both men and women in this order: (1) guilt about drinking; (2) neuroticism; (3) angry or (4) depressed when high/drunk and (5) negative life events. For men only, ethanol intake was also significant; for women only, being younger and reporting first being high/drunk at a relatively earlier age were also predictors of the Hangover Sign Index (HSI). These multiple predictors accounted for 5-10 times more of the hangover variance than alcohol use alone: for men, R = 0.43, R2 = 19%; and for women, R = 0.46, R2 = 21%. The findings suggest that hangover signs are a function of age, sex, ethanol level and psychosocial factors.