Welcome to the very first contest sponsored by your pals here at WEIRD UNIVERSE.
Here's the deal:
The single prize is a used but in-good-shape trade paperback copy of Ricky Jay's Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women, an essential handbook for any true lover of the weird.
The challenge: to win the book, you must identify the painting and artist behind this little visual snippet to the right. The painter is one of the more famous outsider artists of the past 200 years. With luck, this challenge will be neither too easy nor too hard. If the contest goes on for any length of time without a winner, I'll post more snippets of the canvas, and other clues.
Please make your guess in the COMMENTS section of this post, not through email. Priority of the response, in the case of multiple correct guesses, determines the winner.
When we have a winner, I'll get their snailmail and post the book with some of my mailart on the envelope.
I'll be away in Seattle from Friday October 10 through Monday October 13, attending the launch party of my new novel, Cosmocopia. But I've stacked up four posts in the queue, all new FOLLIES OF THE MAD MEN. Enjoy!
We here at Weird Universe were excited to learn that we were mentioned today on NPR's WAIT WAIT DON'T TELL ME. We figure this makes us celebrities (in our own minds). [Thanks to Scott Edelman for letting us know about our radio fame!]
The mention occurred during a segment in which they were quizzing TV psychologist Dr. Phil about fringe political candidates. Before the quiz, they noted that the info came from WU. You can listen to the broadcast here.
So welcome to any NPR listeners who first heard of us today. We're glad to have you with us.
I'm home now from my trip to the West Coast for only twelve hours, but I made sure that my first task was to read the last week's worth of WU posts and comments. Unfortunately I don't have a second, in the face of various deadlines, to respond to every single great comment on the assorted FOLLIES OF THE MAD MEN posts. But rest assured that I enjoyed each one, and continue to be amazed at the sagacity and enthusiasm and wit of the WU family of readers and contributors.
As for Chuck and Alex, they did tremendous work taking up my slack, with dozens of really great posts. If I can single out one, it would be Alex's talking goats video, which confirms that the earlier image I posted of goat testicles was accurate.
And that's what we're all about: accuracy in weirdness.
Please have one more FOLLIES, following this post. Then, tomorrow, even more goodies!
I'm off to visit relatives on the West Coast for a bit more than a week, verifying the existence of The Curly Horse That Looks Like A Stuffed Toy. But thanks to the miracle of semi-not-dumb software, I've stacked up posts in the WU queue, to release one per day.
What are they?
One hundred percent installments of FOLLIES OF THE MAD MEN!
You'll be treated to man-sized tissues and oversized-liquor bottles, salt-shakers full of deadly substances and animalized businessmen, among other goodies. I'm sure you'll enjoy this parade of wacked Madison Avenue brainstorming.
I won't be able to participate in the comments threads till I get back, but rest assured I'll read them then!
Under the aegis of my pal, Gorgeous and Brilliant Editor Ann VanderMeer, the legendary magazine WEIRD TALES is entering a renaissance. But Ann & company surely haven't forgotten the past, as they've compiled a list of the 85 weirdest storytellers of the past 85 years, to celebrate the zine's long existence.
And perhaps you won't be entirely surprised to learn that our own Chuck Shepherd made their honor roll! Don't let that sunny, smiling countenance to the right trick you into imagining he's not the equal of Stephen King or Warren Zevon!
Way to go, Chuck! H. P. Lovecraft is beaming down on you from above. Or up at you from below. Or through the cracks of the spacetime continuum.
Welcome, friends, to an exciting new world of weird!
In fact, many worlds—and so big, we could only call it—
WEIRD UNIVERSE is the new superblog that brings together three well-known creators and experts in all things weird.
Alex Boese runs The Museum of Hoaxes, a well-known enterprise devoted to debunking in amusing fashion the more outrageous claims foisted on a credulous public.
Paul Di Filippo has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer, and has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with his three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck Shepherd 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.
Now these three staunch and intrepid correspondents—under a beautiful new banner by legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott—are pooling their expertise to bring you the most wide-ranging daily collection of weird reading material anyone could ask for.
WEIRD UNIVERSE will feature Chuck Shepherd’s daily feed on the most oddball news items of recent vintage. Regular posts such as “Follies of the Mad Men”—a history of Madison Avenue’s more dubious achievements—will alternate with lists, historical oddities, commentary and speculation. Together, the mix will cover every aspect of a human and natural cosmos that is not only “stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine.”
We believe in the power of the weird.
To entertain, to elucidate, to edify. To humble, to horrify, to honor. To shock, to surprise, to scandalize.
Most vitally, we believe in the power of the weird as the final frontier of gloriously untameable human nature. In a world that grows increasingly homogenous, regimented, authoritarian, timid and fearful, the weird stands as humanity’s last best hope for spontaneity, ingenuity, bravery, goofiness, laughter, astonishment, and crazy wisdom.
We believe in the power of the weird.
Visit WEIRD UNIVERSE, and you will too!
For more information, contact any or all of the participants:
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.