Weird Universe Archive

August 2008

August 20, 2008

Dog Gas Masks

image provides more information than you probably ever wanted to know about the development of dog gas masks. For instance, one problem the developers of the dog gas masks had, which wasn't encountered by their counterparts working on the human versions, was how to build in a "slobber drain."

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 20, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Inventions, Military

August 19, 2008

Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy

For no perceptible reason, I woke up this morning thinking about Bonomo's Turkish Taffy, a childhood treat I have not pondered in decades. After waxing nostalgic (despite Nostalgic's objections to being waxed), I began to wonder:

If this candy were still being manufactured today, would its allusively Muslim name doom it?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 19, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Food, Pop Culture, Advertising, 1950s, 1960s

The Happy Hour of Aquarius

Are you having trouble getting drunk? Are your mixed drinks not having the proper effect, fast enough, or perhaps engendering too large a hangover? Does your choice of drink preclude picking up the partner you truly desire and deserve at your local bar?

That's because you are not taking astrology into account! Your zodiacal sign is all-important in determining your proper beverage!

Or so we learn from this magazine pamphlet (source unknown, but probably Playboy of a certain vintage).

Read on, after the jump, and you'll learn what cocktail you should be imbibing!

I'm off to have a Stinger!


More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 19, 2008 - Comments (17)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Magazines, New Age, Sexuality, Advertising

Chuck’s Weather Report (rev. 1.0)

As of the 2 a.m. updates, Ms. Fay appears to have spotted juicier targets in the F State than the Tampa Bay area. Unless she further changes her mind, Chuck's Hand-Picked Overnights will return bright and early Thursday morning, and Friday morning. Off Saturday (August malaise). Back Monday the 25th. Off Tuesday (malaise). Back Wednesday the 27th.

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Aug 19, 2008 - Comments (1)

August 18, 2008

Standing Tall At His Funeral

Ángel Pantoja Medina died last week. But, as per his wishes, he was not lying down when his body was shown before the funeral. Instead his body was propped up in the corner. Susan Dilan (who forwarded us this interesting item from a Spanish-language paper) summarizes:

A 24-year old who died last week got his wish and was viewed before his funeral standing up. He had been friends with the owners of a funeral home and had a running joke that he wanted to be viewed that way. They found a way to stand him up in the corner of his home so his friends and family could say their final farewells

The accompanying video is classic. If you didn't know he was dead, you'd think he was just a guy chilling in the corner.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Death

Great Yearbook Photos

"Best Yearbook Photo Ever"
I don't know that this photo ever actually appeared in a yearbook, but it's circulated all around the web with this caption. It could be an engagement photo, but it's more fun to imagine it in a yearbook. [Accordion Guy]

"Most Whipped"
The 2005 Boynton Beach High Yearbook included this shot of Robert Richards being held on a leash by his girlfriend, Melissa Finley. The fact that he's black and she's white didn't sit well with some people, including Richards' mother, who demanded that all copies of the yearbook be recalled. [Palm Beach Post]

Going Medieval
Patrick Agin wanted this photo in his Portsmouth High School yearbook, but the school refused, citing its zero-tolerance weapons policy. Critics of the decision noted that the school mascot was a Revolutionary War soldier carrying a rifle. [NY Times]

Too Pale, Not Smiling
11-year-old Asheana Maiheapt was sick the day class photos were taken, so the school used a picture of her taken by a school photographer. But Asheana's mother hated the photo, arguing that her daughter looked too pale in it and wasn't even smiling. She demanded the school recall all copies of the yearbook. She must have felt much better when the New York Post plastered the photo on its front page. [ABC News]

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Education, Photography and Photographers

Pyramid Power

In this confusing postmodern age, when fresh cults come and go with head-spinning rapidity, it's a comfort to see one with staying power--such as Pyramidology. Perhaps you too feel you could benefit from a stay inside the mystic interior of a large pyramid, but don't have one readily accessible. Well, visiting this popular Russian site might involve a little extra travel for most of us, but surely the benefits would outweigh the expense.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Eccentrics, Fads, Frauds, Cons and Scams, New Age, Paranormal, Unsolved Mysteries, Foreign Customs, Russia

The Virtual Museum of Car Crashes

So many, many incidents in our Weird Universe terminate in car crashes. Yet this Ballardian motif has had to wait until just recently to receive its proper grisly homage, in the form of Car Accidents dot com.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Death, Performance Art, Cars

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Monday

More Earnest Gov't Campaigns to Make Us All Perfect
Britain hands out leaflets and posters to encourage people to firm themselves up while waiting at bus stops by doing Pilates-type stuff, buttock-clenching, etc. And the metro transit company in Austin, Tex., spent $5k on a campaign to give people tips on how to stand properly when the bus accelerates and decelerates. Daily Mail // American-Statesman
Comments 'campaigns_perfect'

Fine Points of the Law
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that three nursing home employees who played with a newly-deceased body for cell-phone-photo kicks did not break the state's patient-abuse law because, well, she was dead. Detroit News
Comments 'patient_dead'

If you're running a promotion contest so stupid that you're bound to attract contestants with problems, you have to protect them
The lawsuit was settled in private, so who knows what they decided, but a widow had sued the Nissan dealer in Longview, Tex., because her husband committed suicide during a break in the contest to see who could hold his hand on a truck the longest. She said he was obviously nutso at the 48-hour mark, ran over to a Wal-Mart, broke into a gun cabinet, pulled one out, and shot himself, and thus, obviously, the Nissan dealer didn't provide a "safe environment" for contestants who had "temporarily lost their sanity." Associated Press via Fox News
Comments 'suicide_contest'

Return of the rush-to-judgment "child molestation" vigilantes
Apparently four elementary school kids in Chickamauga, Ga., accused a possibly-saintly female teacher of abuse. Forensic exams ruled out abuse in two cases, and the teacher has "20 witnesses" to bolster her innocence. Doesn't matter. She's still fired. Not suspended. Fired. No discussion. Unanimous vote. The Chattanoogan
Comments 'rush_judgment'

Update: Fidel's vindication
From NOTW 749 (7-16-2002): "In a May dispatch from Cuba, the Wall Street Journal reported that Fidel Castro proposed in 1987 to alleviate a chronic milk shortage by trying to get his scientists to clone the most productive cows, shrunk to the size of dogs so that each family could keep one inside its apartment. The cows would feed on grass grown inside under fluorescent lights." Well, now, miniature cattle are a big market, with different breeds, even (the Dexter being "the world's most efficient, cutest, and tastiest cows"). Cost: $400 to $4,000, German-shepherd size, 16 pints a day, and proportionately more meat. The Times (London)
Comments 'miniature_cows'

Update: Preacher Todd Bentley
High up in this week's News of the Weird (NOTW M071, 8-17-2008) is the speed-healing, sparks-flying evangelist ("Someone's getting a new spinal cord tonight!") who's been improving market share for four months now in Lakeland, Fla. Well, after M071 was shipped off by Chuck's editor, Todd announced that he and the missus were separating and that he was closing down. Tampa Tribune
Comments 'update_bentley'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Wynford Murray, 35, hasn't even been charged with anything yet, but in Redondo Beach, Calif., the authorities want to ask him if child-molesting is on his To Do list. Daily Breeze (Torrance)
Comments 'wynford_murray'

More Things to Worry About on Monday
Most embarrassing evidence yet of Canadian insecurity: Regulators require that, on a new TV porn channel, at least 15 percent of the sex has to be Canadian sex. . . . . News that sounds like a joke: British fish dentists fixed the teeth of a puffer fish at the Sea Life Adventure Centre . . . . . In Mexico, the latest important food crop to be sacrificed to agriculture's sudden fascination with fuel-motivated corn: agave (tequila) . . . . . The District of Calamity: Washington, D.C., teenage summer-jobs program officials found that 3,000 people that it was paying up to two weeks ago were on the payroll either through gaming or bureaucratic incompetence (e.g., five were over age 50) . . . . . It's good to be the son of the police chief because when dad breaks into your locked bedroom after you've been out drunk-driving, you can sue him for warrantless search and not Mirandizing you. Today's Newsrangers: Karl Olson, Larry Ellis Reed, Stephen Taylor
Comments 'worry_080818'

Editor's Note
As I noted earlier today, the Tampa Bay area is preparing for a direct hit from to-be-Hurricane Fay, so I'll be in another place besides my 19th-floor apartment. I had planned not to post Tuesday morning (August weird-news malaise), but now I'll be out Wednesday, too, and probably Thursday. I'll be perfectly safe; the only issue is how much inconvenience we have to bear after the storm blows through. Could be a bummer.
Comments 'editors_080818'

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (0)

Chuck’s Weather Report

I normally post the Hand-Picked Overnights by 9 a.m. Eastern time, but I'll get to Monday's later today. No post tomorrow (as previously mentioned, August is slow on weird news), and now, no post Wednesday, either, and maybe not Thursday, courtesy of Ms. Fay, the tropical storm whose center, as of this moment, is forecast to rumble right down the sidewalk in front of my building on Tuesday. It's expected to be a Category 1 hurricane, but I live on the 19th floor, which (seriously) makes this a Cat-2 or Cat-3 for me. Thus, (a) I have to evacuate, and (b) I may not have all my windows when I return. Best-case: Back Thursday morning with the news. Worst-case: Blog? What blog?

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (2)

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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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