Category:
Books

The odds of writing Paradise Lost…

...by drawing the text letter by letter (and word for word) from a bag containing the twenty six letters of the alphabet, each letter being replaced after being drawn.

For anyone planning to attempt this, John Venn (the guy who invented Venn diagrams) helpfully calculated the odds in his 1888 book The Logic of Chance.

The odds come out to 1 in 26350,000. In other words, not impossible. So start picking those letters!




Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 11, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Literature, Books

Moby-Dick?

One of the great mysteries in American literature is the title of Herman Melville's 1851 novel, Moby-Dick. Or is it Moby Dick? Should the title be hyphenated, or not?

The first American edition had a hyphen in the title. But confusingly, inside the book the whale was referred to as Moby Dick, without a hyphen — except for one single time, on page 609, when the name was hyphenated because it spanned two lines.


There have been many subsequent editions. Some of them have a hyphenated title. Some of them don't. It seems to be totally random. But because that first edition had a hyphen, scholars consider that to be the correct spelling. So the title of the book is Moby-Dick, but the name of the whale is Moby Dick.

But why the hyphen? There's a number of theories. Perhaps Melville just liked hyphenated titles. One of his earlier works, White-Jacket, was also mysteriously hyphenated.

Or perhaps the hyphen was a mistake. Supporters of this theory note that the title was changed at the last minute, from The Whale to Moby-Dick, and the title change was communicated to the printer by Melville's brother, Allan. So maybe Allan made a mistake, and it was never Herman's intention to hyphenate the title?

We'll never know. It'll always be one of those mysteries that literary scholars love to debate. (such as here, here, and here).

Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 17, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Literature, Books

Lou Bunin’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND





It's harder to be more surreal than the original, but this mixed live-actor stop-motion version by Lou Bunin tries hard.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 24, 2016 - Comments (0)
Category: Surrealism, Books, Fantasy, Stop-motion Animation, 1940s

The Giant Bible of 1917

Why, one hundred years later, can I find no extant traces of this massive Bible?



Original text here.



Original article here.



Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 03, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Engineering and Construction, Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Religion, Books, 1910s

How to Hide Anything

How To Hide Anything, by Michael Connor (Paladin Press, 1984). The entire book can be viewed or downloaded for free at archive.org.

With little effort and expense, you can hide cash, armaments and even family from the menacing eyes of burglars, terrorists or anyone. Learn how to construct dozens of hiding places right in your house and yard. Here are small hiding places for concealing money and jewelry and large places for securing survival supplies or persons. More than 100 drawings show how to turn ordinary items into extraordinary hiding places.








And also by the same author — Sneak It Through: Smuggling Made Easier.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 16, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Books

The Geography of Madness

The notion of Koro, or supernatural penis theft, is practically a NOTW trademark. I'm pretty sure I first learned about this delusion from Chuck about thirty years ago.

Now we can learn even more, thanks to a new book which covers this exotic madness, plus many others.

From the publisher's site:

"The Geography of Madness is an investigation of 'culture-bound' syndromes, which are far stranger than they sound. Why is it, for example, that some men believe, against all reason, that vandals stole their penises, even though they’re in good physical shape? In The Geography of Madness, acclaimed magazine writer Frank Bures travels around the world to trace culture-bound syndromes to their sources–and in the process, tells a remarkable story about the strange things all of us believe."

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 30, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Regionalism, Books, Mental Health and Insanity

The Book of Asses

image

[Click to enlarge]

At time of posting, one used copy seen online for $50.00.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 02, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Books, 1970s, Butt

The Electric Pencil



Sounds pretty much like prime fodder for WU-vies.

"Around the year 1910, a patient at State Lunatic Asylum No. 3 in Nevada, Missouri, who referred to himself as The Electric Pencil, executed 280 drawings in ink, pencil, crayon and colored pencil. These beautiful drawings of animals, people and buildings were executed on both sides of 140 ledger pages, each bearing the name of the hospital in official type across the top, thus dramatizing the interface of the institutional and the creative. The Electric Pencil's drawings were sewn into a handmade album of fabric and leather, which shortly afterwards was lost--for a century."

Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 29, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Cult Figures and Artifacts, Eccentrics, Books, Twentieth Century, Mental Health and Insanity

Ad - Buy Paul’s Books

Buy one book on Amazon .. get Emails to buy others. Found this in my inbox while drinking my coffee.

image


For anyone wanting a list here is what he has written I've purchased.

Strange Tides
Cosmocopia
Shuteye for the Timebroker
The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories
Joe's Liver *Paul is looking for a donor liver?*
Roadside Bodhisattva
Harsh Oases
Little Doors
The Steampunk Trilogy
Spondulix
Ribofunk
A Princess of The Linear Jungle
Stink Lines
Seeing is Believing
iCity
Flesh Flowers
The Paul Di Filippo Megapack

any to add Paul ?


Posted By: BrokeDad - Sat Feb 20, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Books, Paul

True Legend

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Andres Ruzo grew up with the story of the boiling river as told to him by his grandfather. Later, as a geoscientist, he decided to try and validate the legend. The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon is the story of how, as a man, he proved the legend that captivated him as a boy.

Posted By: patty - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Geography and Maps, Science, Books, Myths and Fairytales

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

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 Shepherd
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.

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