Category:
Government

The Wildflower State

Texas license plates currently display the slogan "The Lone Star State." But before that became the license plate motto, state residents had to fight off a number of attempts to display slogans that weren't quite as manly.

In 1985, Texas highway commissioners voted to display "The Wildflower State" on Texas tags. The phrase would have been printed over a faint outline of a bluebonnet. The idea prompted 57 state lawmakers to sign a letter of protest. Critics complained that the slogan "dealt a blow to the Texas mystique." So the commissioners backed down.

Then, in 1989, the commissioners wanted to display "The Friendship State" on plates. After all, the state motto is "Friendship." But again, popular protests complained that the phrase was "too wimpy."

It was only in 1992 that the commissioners finally gave in to popular demands and started printing "The Lone Star State" on plates.

If you're interested in the history of Texas license plates, Wikipedia has a list of their design by year.

Longview News Journal - July 26, 1985



Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 23, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Government, Motor Vehicles

The City Flag of Tampa

Our own Chuck Shepherd, longtime resident of Tampa, Florida, can salute his city's improbable flag as one of the ugliest banners in the history of banner-dom. He modestly suggests that more people should know of it, to induce further laughter and insults.

And yet, surprisingly, neighboring burg of St. Pete has a halfway decent ensign--if you like pelicans.





Full article here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Apr 22, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Annoying Things, Government, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Regionalism, Chuck

Pack It Right



This Department of the Army video continually uses a woman in a well-stuffed bikini to illustrate how to "pack it right."



Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 28, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Government, PSA's, Sex Symbols, 1970s

How I Stole Elections



Marlin Hawkins served as an elected official in Conway County, Arkansas for 38 years — for most of that time as sheriff. He built up a legendary political machine, being able not only to win reelection for himself (19 times) but also to deliver votes for other candidates. He often boasted that he could accurately predict the outcome of every election in the county.

It was long suspected that he was rigging the elections, especially since absentee voters would always vote for him by a wide margin, but no one could ever prove anything.

After he retired in 1978, Hawkins eventually wrote his autobiography, which he brazenly titled How I Stole Elections (available on Amazon). He joked that he "stole" them by "treating my neighbors right."
But no, he stole them by ballot fraud.

His book came out in 1991. The year after, some people who were remodeling their house discovered a whole stash of marked ballots from a 1968 election hidden in their attic. The house had previously been owned by one of Hawkins' deputies.

Hawkins got away with it because the statute of limitations had expired in 1974. He died in 1995.

More info about him at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

Palm Beach Post - Jan 9, 1992

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 09, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Government, Politics, Books, 1990s

Beneficial Infertility

In 1977, the head of the National Peach Council, Robert K. Phillips, sent the following letter to the U.S. Department of Labor protesting their proposed ban on the pesticide DBCP, which had been found to cause sterility among male agricultural workers who handled it. Phillips noted that some men might actually want to become sterile, so for them infertility would be a welcome benefit of the job.

To: Dr. Eula Bingham, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health

Recently we received the interesting DOL news release concerning worker exposure to DBCP.

It appears to us that you and Secretary Marshall may have overreacted, or at least that is your public posture.

While involuntary sterility caused by a manufactured chemical may be bad, it is not necessarily so. After all, there are many people who are now paying to have themselves sterilized to assure they will no longer be able to become parents.

How many of the workers who have become sterile were of an age that they would have been likely to have children anyway? How many were past the age when they would want to have children? These, too, are important questions.

If possible sterility is the main problem, couldn't workers who were old enough that they no longer wanted to have children accept such positions voluntarily? They could know the situation, and it wouldn't matter. Or could workers be advised of the situation, and some might volunteer for such work posts as an alternative to planned surgery for a vasectomy or tubal ligation, or as a means of getting around religious bans on birth control when they want no more children.

We do believe in safety in the work place, Dr. Bingham, but there can be good as well as bad sides to a situation.

Above all, please don't try to get a ban on the manufacture and sale of the chemical DBCP, because that would cause some losses of agricultural production which would be serious.

Sincerely,

Robert K. Phillips
Executive Secretary, National Peach Council

Despite Phillips's appeal, DBCP got banned anyway, because in addition to the sterility it was linked to various cancers. More info: NY Times, Multinational Monitor.

Mother Jones - Apr 1978

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 25, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Government, Health, 1970s

Proper storage of warheads

A classic example of "officialese," which came to light in 1951. Text from a Royal Navy instruction manual on the proper storage of torpedo warheads:

It is necessary for technical reasons that these warheads should be stored with the top at the bottom, and the bottom at the top. In order that there may be no doubt as to which is the bottom and which is the top for storage purposes, it will be seen that the bottom of each warhead has been labeled with the word TOP.

The Decatur Herald - Aug 30, 1951



Green Bay Press-Gazette - Apr 22, 1962

Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 27, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Government, Regulations, Languages

LSD for Housewives

Posted By: Paul - Sat Oct 01, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Drugs, Psychedelic, Government, Science, Experiments, 1950s

Bugnet!



Does anyone under sixty years old recognize that this bit of lame bureaucratic humor is a DRAGNET parody?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 20, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Government, Insects, Nature, PSA's, Parody

Swinging Little Government



Now, THIS is a great campaign song AND party platform. "Our secret weapon will be the Rolling Stones!"

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 21, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Government, Music, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1960s

Banned Singing of Birds

1957: In order to maintain peace and quiet at night, the Long Beach City Council proposed a ban on "singing of birds" between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The Sedalia Democrat - May 9, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 18, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Government, Regulations, 1950s

Page 1 of 9 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›



Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner




weird universe thumbnail
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.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •