Category:
Eccentrics

Random Rant

I dug this out of my files, and although it's nearly twenty years old, a good psychotic rant never goes out of style.

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Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 05, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Eccentrics, Education, Literature, Obsessions, Scholarship, School, 1980s

Riding the Rails

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Of course we all know that the image of a hand-pumped railroad trolley is a comedy staple. But I find the notion of special little motorized vehicles adapted to ride the rails just as funny. As you might predict, there's an organization dedicated to hobbyists and collectors of these miniature rail-mounted transports, and it's to be found here.

My local newspaper has a great article about a fellow who restored the vehicle pictured to the right.

I imagine a Farelly Brothers movie in which the hero confounds the bad guys by making his unpredictable escape in such a vehicle--at a whopping 5 MPH!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Eccentrics, Collectors, History, Inventions, Technology, Travel, Transportation, 1950s, Cars

Pelmanism

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Old self-improvement schemes never die. Recently, I spotted this antique advertisement from 1954 that alerted me to the existence of Pelmanism, the brainchild of William Joseph Ennever.

The Pelman Institutes of England and America apparently once claimed over half a million followers. But now they're long gone. Yet that has not stopped at least two folks from trying to resurrect the copyright-abandoned mind-strengthening course and claim and market it as their own. You can see their pages here and here.

Oddly enough, the last vestige of Pelmanism most people know, without realizing its true origin, is the card game we call Concentration or Memory or Pairs.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Eccentrics, Fads, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Games, History, Historical Figure, New Age, Self-help Schemes

Perfectible Worlds

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A new book titled Perfectible Worlds by the photographer Sage Sohier, devoted to people who amass oddball collections, seems a winning item for all readers of WEIRD UNIVERSE.

[Photo copyright by Sage Sohier.]



Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 02, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Eccentrics, Collectors, Geeks, Nerds and Pointdexters, Photography and Photographers, Books, Roleplayers and Re-enactors

Jetpack Dreams

That most silly and pointless and inutile, yet much desired of flight mechanisms, the jetpack, is back in the news. You can read a New York Times piece about the latest model here.



And a review copy of this book recently arrived in my mailbox, portending lots of fun.











Yet such mechanisms pale before the magnificently insane accomplishment of Yves Rossy, who, a couple of years ago, basically turned himself into Iron Man. Watch his jet-powered flight below.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, Flight, Inventions, Literature, Science Fiction, Movies, Obsessions, Pop Culture, Technology, Travel, Yesterday's Tomorrows

Micronations

The concept of micronations is a fascinating idea. I utilized the notion in one of my recent stories, the title piece from The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories. But I hardly began to exhaust the narrative possibilities of the idea.










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Here's a recent article on one such place, the Republic of Molossia.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Performance Art, Customs, Foreign Customs, Eccentrics, Government, Officials, Regulations, History, Law, Military, Obsessions, Patriotism, Politics, Travel

Spit-take

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This fellow has many cuspidors.

This museum actually wants them.

Two simple facts. Yet what a wealth of weirdness.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 27, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Agriculture, Customs, Eccentrics, Hygiene, Museums, Obsessions, Regionalism

Ho, Ho, Ho, Hangman!

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Who knew that Serbia boasted so many high-placed fans of Rankin-Bass animation?

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 24, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Celebrities, Crime, Stupid Criminals, Eccentrics, History, Historical Figure, Military, Movies, Cartoons, Prisons, Torture, 1990s

The Song-slinging Senator

Yes, that musical genius of the legislature, Orrin Hatch, is at it again. Read about his latest musical composition in this article.

Then visit the site that holds all his marvelous music.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 20, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Celebrities, Eccentrics, Government, Officials, Music, ShowBiz

eden ahbez and Nat King Cole and “Nature Boy”

I love the singing and musicianship and general personal integrity of Nat King Cole. Hearing him immediately brings me back to my childhood in the late 1950's, the height of Cole's popularity.

Of course, like many popstars of the 1950's, Cole's star was eclipsed with the rise of rock 'n' roll, and the hippies, in the 1960's.

But curiously enough, Cole played a tiny self-defeating part in that very movement, with his song "Nature Boy."

The tale behind that song involves one of the first proto-hippies--a beatnik, I suppose--named eden ahbez.
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Ahbez is one of the twentieth century's bonafide wonderful weirdos, but pretty much forgotten these days.

Why not listen to "Nature Boy" to commemorate ahbez and King?

You might even want to pick up one of ahbez's CD's!




Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 12, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Decades, 1950s, 1960s, Eccentrics, History, Historical Figure, Music, Weird Names

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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.

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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.

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