Weird Universe Blog — June 19, 2021

Dummy Divorce

Photo source: The Baltimore Sun Baltimore, Maryland 21 Aug 1953, Fri • Page 4

Text source: Los Angeles Evening Citizen News (Hollywood, California) 21 Aug 1953, Fri Page 11

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 19, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Law | Puppets and Automatons | Husbands | Wives | Divorce

June 18, 2021

Puppet Officer Brendan O’Smarty

1993: Under pressure from his superiors to stop carrying his ventriloquist dummy with him while on patrol, San Francisco Police Officer Bob Geary decided to take the matter to the voters. He formed the "Committee to Save Puppet Officer Brendan O'Smarty" and succeeded in putting the issue on the ballot.

The voters decided by a narrow margin of 51% to 49% to allow him to continue patrolling with Brendan O'Smarty.

This turns out not to be the first puppet officer we've posted about. Just a few months ago, Paul posted about puppet officer Jerry McSafety. I wonder how many more puppet officers there are?

More info: wikipedia, alchetron

Geary with Puppet Officer Brendan O'Smarty

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 18, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Police and Other Law Enforcement | Puppets and Automatons | 1990s

Rubber Biscuit

A classic bit of aural weirdness.

Their Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 18, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Jabberwocky, Scat Singing, Nonsense Verse and Glossolalia | Music | 1950s

June 17, 2021

Stamp-Licking Animals

Martin Wainwright tells the following story in The "Guardian" Book of April Fool's Day:

[The journalist James] Bone described on one occasion how a desperate contributor of 'pars', small fillers for the popular press, went to send a letter from a post office and noticed that the pet cat on the counter was sitting with its tongue out. On a whim, he gave it his stamp to lick which it did. The next day a very short story appeared under the headline: Post Office novelty — Stamp-licking cat of Charing Cross'.

Like the best April Fool's jokes, this was to girdle the Earth. Not only was the post office besieged by punters wanting to send catlick mail (until the cat was driven demented and fled after two days) but the story spread and resurfaced for years. Animal protection societies weighed in, MPs spoke and the innocuous prank took off. Bone's friend was send clippings from across the country and, as the years went by, from Australia, Shanghai and the United States.

This suggests that stamp-licking animals were a journalistic invention. However, there do seem to have been some real-life examples of the phenomenon.

Longview Daily News - Dec 13, 1974

The Bloomington Pantagraph - Mar 11, 1951

"Ashley practiced stamp-licking until he had the task down purrfectly, then offered to kick off the Organization for Responsible Care of Animals' public appeal... In return for his generosity, each donor will receive a thank-you note enclosed in an Ashley-licked envelope with stamp attached."
Lancaster Sunday News - Oct 6, 1985

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jun 17, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Cats | Dogs | Postal Services | Stamps

Atomic Survival Jacket


Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 17, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Death | Inventions | War | Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters | 1950s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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