Weird Universe Archive

July 2008

July 7, 2008

Put your gas masks on!

I came across two unusual photographs of gas masks while browsing in the library recently. The first is from 1939 (from the collection Photohistory of the 20th Century). The caption reads:

This bizarre photograph of a scantily clad London chorus girl wearing her gas mask was used as part of the official campaign to take the terror out of wearing gas masks. One of the great British fears at the beginning of World War II was that the country would be attacked from the air, with poison gas. Gas masks -- 38 million of them -- were distributed to all civilians, men, women, children and babies. Government propaganda stressed the importance of becoming familiar with their use.

I doubt the image did much to take the terror out of gas masks, but I'm sure it made the fetish crowd happy.

The second photo is from Scientific American (October, 1922). The caption reads:

This mask enables its wearer to work for half an hour in atmospheres laden with noxious gas.

Coincidentally, this very much resembles the uniform worn by the staff of Weird Universe while we work.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 07, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Obsessions, Fetishes, Technology

Name That List, #1

Jincy Willett, one of my favorite writers (who just came out with a new book, The Writing Class), offers an interesting puzzle. The challenge is to identify this list. Googling is cheating.
  • The spur of cheese.
  • The mustard-pot of penance.
  • The cobbled shoe of humility.
  • The furred cat of the Solicitors and Attorneys.
  • The Teeth-chatter or Gum-didder of Lubberly Lusks.
  • The Ape’s Paternoster.
  • The Fat Belly of the Presidents.
  • The Merciless Cormorant, by Hoxinidno the Jew.

Jincy doesn't give the answer, and neither will I. Leave your guesses in the comments.

(Of course, the real challenge is to see how long before you break down and google. Took me about a minute.)

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 07, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Literature, Quizzes, Name That List

More Muscles than Brains

image

When I first saw the ad for this device in the pages of Scientific American, I thought it was a joke. But it's true. For only 1.5 times the price of a 2008 Hyundai Accent--a whopping $14,615--you can buy a machine that does everything you can do with a jump rope, two cinder blocks, the branch of a tree and a bicycle tire inner tube.

If you can't wait to purchase it, visit Fast Exercise now.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 07, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Products, Inventions, Medicine, Sports, Technology

Follies of the Mad Men #1

Madison Avenue! Home to brilliant, canny advertising geniuses, who can convince millions of people to buy or believe anything! And then again, even Homer nodded.

Yes, it's true. Back in 1962, some genius of a press agent thought the image of the National Rifle Association could be improved by creating a cartoon spokesman who would offer rhymed messages about not accidentally offing your friends.

image

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 07, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Guns, NGOs

Welcome!

Welcome, friends, to an exciting new world of weird!

In fact, many worlds—and so big, we could only call it—

WEIRD UNIVERSE.

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:

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Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 07, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Weird Universe

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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.

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

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