Weird Universe Archive

July 2008

July 29, 2008

Gamucci Electronic Cigarettes

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Perhaps it's because I've been a non-smoker my entire life, but I really don't understand the point of the Gamucci electronic cigarette. From their website:

Gamucci is a rechargeable electronic cigarette. It is a completely non-flammable product that uses state of the art sophisticated micro-electronic technology to provide users a real smoking experience without the tobacco and tar found in real cigarettes. It looks like, feels like and tastes like a real cigarette, yet it isn't. It is so much more. It is truly a healthier and satisfying alternative. Join the Revolution today!

So basically it's a miniaturized fog gun that you hold in your mouth. Sounds like a swell way to join the revolution!

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Technology, Products

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

Follies of the Mad Men #6

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[From The Saturday Evening Post for January 29, 1966.]



Of course, the very first thing you'll load aboard your interstellar ship is a new Frigidaire. What's that you say? These women are not astronauts, but rather futuristic housewives, and the Fridge remains earthbound? Then why are they wearing those bubble helmets? Future pollution? But what about the helmet that features a cutout? And the slit glasses? If only the geniuses who created this ad were still around, we could ask them to explain....

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (13)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, Fashion, Food, Futurism, Literature, Science Fiction, Travel, Space Travel

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Tuesday

DNA comes through again: The murderer swore he never raped her, and he didn't!
David Steffen is on death row for the aggravated murder of an Ohio woman in 1982, with the aggravated part being that semen was found on the probably-a-virgin victim. He admitted the killing, but vehemently denied the sex, and, of course nobody believed him. Then Kenneth Douglas was arrested this past March for drug trafficking, and a routine DNA test on him matched the murder victim's semen, and, yes, yes, Douglas used to work for the county coroner! And, yes, Douglas was, er, that kind of guy! (Well, according to police, he was.) (Steffen might still be screwed, though, because at trial, in an attempt to create an aura of candor, he admitted that he wanted to have sex with the victim but held back, and capital murder includes "attempted" rape, too, so he's still on death row for now.) (Bonus: The victim's parents were ecstatic at the news . . because it means, ahem, their little girl was a virgin all her life.) Cincinnati Enquirer
Comments 'david_steffen'

Sounds Like a Joke: Praying for cheaper gas, and now, fasting against gang crime
The "Midwest co-chair" of the "Pray at the Pump" movement said God seems to be working for them, with the recent, slight drop at the pump. (Bonus: They actually gathered at a St. Louis Mobil station and sang "We Shall Overcome.") (Seriously) In Salinas, Calif., the mayor, exasperated that his city has suddenly become a haven for gang shoot-outs, is leading the town in a fast until gangs go away. "People say that fasting couldn't possibly work," he said, "but the evidence suggests otherwise." Associated Press via Yahoo // Los Angeles Times
Comments 'praying_fasting'

Update: The latest stop on the Virgin Mary's World Tour
(an appearance on a disgusting-looking floor drain of a restaurant undergoing renovation in the aforementioned town of Salinas) KGTV (San Diego)
Comments 'virgin_mary'

School sued for making it too easy for trespassers
The teenagers decided to climb on the roof of the elementary school in Port Jervis, N.Y., one night in January, and one fell through a skylight to her death, and now, obviously, the parents say that's the school's fault because there were milk cartons sitting there, and everybody knows that when kids see milk cartons lying around, they want to use them to get up on the roof. Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.)
Comments 'school_trespassers'

The F State's signature academic institution
The University of Florida was named by Princeton Review yesterday as the best college in the entire United States of America . . er . . for partying (and also for not having to study much). However, this scholarship-belittling accolade is undermined by a report that the school is in the academic vanguard, in that it offers a graduate concentration in . . comics (for English majors). So there. Mixed signals. Miami Herald // Christian Science Monitor
Comments 'university_florida'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Ben Hawkins, 44, charged in Cincinnati with an elaborate (yet still tacky) scheme to get to fondle little girls. Cincinnati Enquirer
Comments 'ben_hawkins'

More Things to Worry About on Tuesday
A canned eel drink went on sale in Japan this month, and eel is so popular that authorities are worried about "eel fraud" cases [Ed.: Like, what, is somebody substituting slugs for eel? What's lower than eel?] . . . . . Motorist Darrell Favorite, 39, crashed into a house, and since he wasn't wearing a seat belt, he, personally, landed on the roof . . . . . A British cosmetics company introduces Guy-liner and Manscara, and says it's not just for transvestites! . . . . . Vice President Cheney said he couldn't give a speech to the Disabled American Veterans convention in Las Vegas unless they all got their prosthetics on and were in their wheelchairs with their bladders evacuated two full hours before his arrival (Security, you know).
Comments 'worry_080729'

Editor's Notes
I was too subtle yesterday in referencing the Museum of Sex's chief consultant on the odd-mating arrangements of animals. Fascination with critter copulation is only one facet of Joan Roughgarden's bio. She's a Harvard Ph.D, and a serious Christian, and has challenged the specifics of the natural theory of sexual selection, and, for 52 yrs, was Jonathan Roughgarden. Today's Newsrangers: Scott Langill, Karl Olson, Ronald Shimek
Comments 'editors_080729'

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category:

July 28, 2008

Dakota Joe

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Have a gander at Dakota Joe. He and his dog Digger are the mascots for a national Vacation Bible School Camp program. Because, you see, ultra-rationalist archaeology professors who believe fervently in the scientific method, despite having encountered various paranormal phenomena which themselves contradict Gospel, are the perfect spokepeople for Biblical inerrancy.

Seriously, though, shouldn't Spielberg & Lucas be suing the pants off these guys?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (9)
Category: Education, Hollywood, Law, Lawsuits, Movies, Pets, Dogs, Religion

Fuller’s Fog Gun

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Buckminster Fuller was great at dreaming up inventions that, he hoped, would help humanity by making people's lives easier and less stressful. However, most of them never caught on. One of his ideas was the fog gun.

The basic concept was to combine the cleansing effects of wind and heavy fog. His system used compressed air, atomized water and liquid soap. Standing in the blast of this "fog gun" for approximately ten minutes would completely clean a person. From buckminster.info:

His fog gun....afforded a new kind of bathing. It combined compressed air (over 200 pounds/square inch) and atomized water with triggered-in solvents. The kinetic force of the high-pressure air stream was utilized without the skin-damaging effect unavoidable in high-pressure needle-pointing of water streams...

The best part was that you could leave the fog gun running for an hour, and it only used a pint of water. And, "If fog gun bathing were done in front of a heat lamp, all the sanitary & muscle-relaxing effects of other types of bathing could be effected without the use of any bathroom."

Fuller described the fog gun in his first book, Nine Chains to the Moon, published in 1938, the title of which referred to the idea that if all the people in the world stood on each other's shoulders, they would form nine chains to the moon. Back then the world's population was about 2 billion. Now we're at over 6.6 billion, so presumably we're looking at about thirty chains to the moon.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Bathrooms, Inventions

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

Plants With Eyes

A strangely disturbing video. The computer graphics are so hyper-realistic that it's easy to think these plants are real. I was uncertain for a while until I did some research and learned that it's a video created by animation studio 1st Avenue Machine. Their website states that they create "high end design work by employing 3D in ways that blur the line between what we perceive as real and impossible." The music is "Sixes Last" by Alias.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Video

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Monday

Weirdest animal mating arrangements
NYC's Museum of Sex commissioned a Brooklyn artist to make renditions of animals goin' at it, like Bambi in a threesome, "GG-Rubbing Bonobos," and something called "Gay Dolphin Blow-Hole Sex" And then there's the spotted hyena:
You'll find it difficult not to notice that both the male and female have penises. The female, it turns out, has a scrotal sack, too. For reproductive purposes, the male transfers his sperm through the female's penis, which doubles as her clitoris. 'When the male inserts himself into the female, it looks like a mid-air refueling' [said biologist Joan Roughgarden, the chief consultant]
Yes, of course! Intelligent design! Bloomberg News (photos at Link!)
Comments 'hyena_sex'

Dispatches from death row: KFC and a rimshot
In Oregon, Tremayne Durham, charged with capital murder, bargained a life sentence with no appeal and . . and . . a buffet of KFC, Popeyes, Haagen Dazs, and carrot cake (and in August, when the actual sentencing is done, pizza and more ice cream). (Fast food is much cheaper than challenging death-row appeals.) And Christopher Emmett was executed in Virginia, but left 'em laughing: "[T]ell the governor he just lost my vote. Y'all hurry this along. I'm dying to get out of here." Bada bing! The Oregonian // Associated Press via Law.com
Comments 'kfc_rimshot'

Zimbabwe has solved its hyper-inflation
According to Gideon Gono (governor of the country's central bank [ROTFL!]), since the brand-new bill in the denomination of $1,000,000,000 [CORRECTION: It's a $100 billion bill] will not buy even a loaf of bread, the solution is simple: remove some zeros. "This time . . . those zeros . . . are going for good." (Yesterday, a laptop computer was advertised for Z$1.2 quadrillion.) Washington Post
Comments 'zimbabwe_zeros'

A conservative U.S. Senator's simple request
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma intransigently votes No on any new program, regardless of popularity, which overlaps an existing program without regard to what the duplicative effects will be, i.e., Is there a problem with trying to figure out whether this program will actually help things? To almost all his colleagues, of course, "Yes" is what helps you get re-elected; "No" is a loser. The Senate this week will try to pass a package of 80 new programs over Coburn's No, including, ah, a new facility to house the Smithsonian Institution's orchid collection and setting up a commission to develop a traveling exhibit on the War of 1812. Washington Post [Warning: link might have that obnoxious, irritating photo of that cleft-lip kid]
Comments 'senator_coburn'

Killing in the name of Islam is OK to almost a third of British Muslim university students, according to this poll
It looks like a comprehensive, academic-like work (but ya don't know how the questions were worded). More: 25 percent have little or no respect for gays (among non-Muslims: 4 percent). 55 percent said Islam is incompatible with democracy. Guardian
Comments 'muslim_students'

Your Daily Loser
He hasn't committed a crime, so the newspapers won't report his name, but he stands by his "out of gas" car on the side of the road and asks gracious, kind-hearted Texans to please go fetch him a gallon for free, except that he's there every day, and he's not out of gas, and cops found four full cans in the truck. Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Comments 'stranded_gas'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
David Marler, possibly is the kind of person who would bite off a hunk of a man's ear in a fight. [Ed.: His middle name's Wayne, but we only do murderers in News of the Weird] Tulsa World
Comments 'david_marler'

More Things to Worry About on Monday
During a spat, Marlene Mackenzie, 76, fired a deadly cocktail glass at husband Robert, 80, and got him in the head; he gone . . . . . Saudi tribes are being ravaged by the economy, too, in that some murder-victim families now demand millions of bucks in blood money from poor perps' families; pay up or he dies . . . . . U.S. House and Senate: 17 percent female; Rwanda Parliament: over 40 percent female . . . . . Dermatologists' waiting rooms: Melanoma? Siddown, wait your turn; Botox? Please step into our lounge, We'll be right with you, Can we get you some refreshments? . . . . . At the intersection of Drake and Green Meadow in Oshtemo, Wis. [CORRECTION: It's Mich.] (near Kalamazoo), yesterday, three different drunk drivers crashed within two hours . . . . . A mountain of garbage fell over on scavengers at a Guatemala City dump, killing 4 (14 more, missing) (to add to the 8 killed in a similar avalanche at another of the city's dumps in June). Today's Newsrangers: Frank Brown, Paul Music, Stephen Taylor
Comments 'worry_080728'

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category:

Armor of God Pajamas

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From armorofgodpjs.com:

God gave me the idea how wonderful it would be if all children could have the opportunity to put on a pair of pajamas that symbolized the Armor of God...

I can't remember the last time I went to church, but if I ever go again, I'm wearing a pair of these.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Fashion, Religion

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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.

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.

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