Category:
History

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

Follies of the Mad Men #5

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[NOTE: this is actually two image files, upper and lower, and you need to click on each one for enlargement. From The Saturday Evening Post for October 23, 1965.]

Sorry I didn't get this one up in time for Fourth of July--but then again, WU hadn't debuted then!

In any case, this ad is very confused. It seems to be appealing to the mystical vibe of the ever-iconic American War of Independence, what with the flintlock pistol and all. But then again, Sexy Car-crawling Girl is patently an attempt to attract the Pepsi Generation, those wild 'n' wacky "rebellious" kids, with their surfboards and long hair and love beads.

So who's supposed to want to buy a Polara? Mom and Pop Daughters-of-the-American-Revolution? Or little Janie Peace-Sign?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 22, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Guns, History, Patriotism, 1960s, Cars

Barnyard of the Gods

At the fascinating blog of my pal, Rudy Rucker, I recently found the archaically NSFW image hidden beyond the jump. Rudy utilized a picture taken by a friend of his, while I've found my image at a site claiming the sculpture in question is housed at the Secret Museum of Naples.

In either case, I thought this was just the kind of bizarre thing WU readers might care to ponder.






More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 16, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Art, Gods, History, Museums, Sexuality

Amazonian Miracle for Sale!

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If only you had been reading Popular Mechanics magazine for February 1929! Then you could have purchased the same Purple Ray healing device that Wonder Woman uses! Okay, so it was a "Violet Ray." Same difference, right?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 14, 2008 - Comments (15)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, History, Inventions, Medicine, Science, Technology, Comics, 1920s

Happy Hula-hooping!

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Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of the Hula Hoop!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 13, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Anniversary, Business, Products, Customs, Decades, 1950s, Fads, History, Inventions

Daring Polish Aviator—Times Two!

Synchronicity in the creative arts is pretty weird. The independent invention of very similar things. Charles Fort, one of the masters of all things weird, even had a term for it: "steam engine time." Fort's notion was that when an era was ripe, it called forth certain creations multiple times, without coordination among mere humans.

I was reminded of this recently in a small way while watching the 1942 film TO BE OR NOT TO BE. In this film, Robert Stack plays a dashing Polish aviator named Lieut. Stanislav Sobinski.

What other fictional dashing Polish aviator premiered right at this time? None other than Blackhawk, who debuted in August of 1941.

Could it be a simple case of the Blackhawk comic influencing the scripter of To Be or Not to Be? Unlikely, given the short span between the debut of Blackhawk and the release of the Robert Stack film, which had to be in production for some time prior.

It's more likely that the plight of Poland under Hitler's invasion called forth the notion of a national hero. But why aviator? Just the romance of aerial combat, I suppose.

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Here're pictures of Blackhawk and Stack in his role (leftmost figure, below) to compare. Stack is out of uniform in this shot, but when he's wearing his flying outfit, the resemblance to Blackhawk is uncanny.

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Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 13, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Art, Comics, Celebrities, Decades, 1940s, Forteana, History, Historical Figure, Hollywood, Inventions, Movies, Synchronicity

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

Talkin’ ‘bout My Degeneration

BOOMERS DEFIANTLY PROCLAIM: "WE'RE DRUG-ADDLED, MUSIC-DOMINATING, FREE-LOVE GROOVIES TILL THE GRAVE!"

"Geezers still get lucky, sez study"
"You go, granny!

"Today's 70-year-olds are having more and better sex than oldsters of the past, new research in the British Medical Journal shows. Women are especially satisfied...."

Report: Illegal drug use up for boomers
"Some moms and dads might want to take a lesson from their kids: Just say no.

"The government reported Thursday that 4.4 percent of baby boomers ages 50 to 59 indicated that they had used illicit drugs in the past month...."

Old bands never really die
"Your favorite ’90s band broke up? Fear not, they’ll be back.

"Seventies and ’80s bands, too. And if not this year, maybe next.

"This summer’s concert calendar boasts tours by reunited rockers and relics — Stone Temple Pilots (split in 2003) and New Kids on the Block (split in 1994) — and recently re-energized bands such as the B-52’s, the Black Crowes, Motley Crue and Yes. A round of reunion shows filled last summer’s slate as well, with the Police, Led Zeppelin, Genesis and Van Halen playing their time-tested hits for fans...."

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 11, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Customs, Death, Drugs, Fashion, History, Music, Sexuality

The Old Leather Man

I'm eager to read The Old Leather Man when it appears in October from Wesleyan University Press. It sounds like prime historical weirdo material.

"In 1883, wearing a sixty-pound suit sewn from leather boot-tops, a wanderer known only as the Leather Man began to walk a 365 mile loop between the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers that he would complete every 34 days, for almost six years. His circuit took him through at least 41 towns in southwestern Connecticut and southeastern New York, sleeping in caves, accepting food from townspeople, and speaking only in grunts and gestures along the way. What remains of the mysterious Leather Man today are the news clippings and photographs taken by the first-hand witnesses of this captivating individual. The Old Leather Man gathers the best of the early newspaper accounts of the Leather Man, and includes maps of his route, historic photographs of his shelters, the houses he was known to stop at along his way, and of the Leather Man himself. This history tracks the footsteps of the Leather Man and unravels the myths surrounding the man who made Connecticut’s caves his home."

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 09, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Hermits, History, Historical Figure, Regionalism, Travel, Books

Obama Lincoln

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Check out this new portrait from famed painter Ron English, and read what happened in Boston when it was recently displayed.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 09, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Business, Advertising, Government, Officials, History, Historical Figure, Politics

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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.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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