Weird Universe Archive

November 2008

November 19, 2008

Follies of the Mad Men #45

[From Life magazine for September 30 1940.]

What kind of kids would a shellfish and a bottle have, and how would they go about reproducing?

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 19, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Food, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Foreign Customs, 1940s

Ghost Riders in the Sky

I don't think we heard enough of Vaughan Monroe's big hit in yesterday's Forest Service post, so here's the whole thing.

We know here at WU that mortal cows are deadly--so just imagine how evil a ghost cow is!

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 19, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Music, Paranormal, Regionalism, 1940s

LIFE Photo Archive

Google recently announced it's struck a deal to host the entire photo archive of Life magazine. Millions of photos (including many previously unpublished ones) will be made freely searchable online. If you're the kind of person who likes to browse through archives searching for weird stuff, it's pretty much a goldmine.

Only about 20% of the archive is online so far, but I've already had fun browsing through it. Below are a few photos I found doing a search for bird experiments.

The LIFE captions are pretty dry. I thought they could be improved by coming up with new captions in the style of LOL Birds. I'm sure the WU readers can come up with better captions than I was able to.

LIFE caption: Visual perception experiment on chickens, showing chick wearing a rubber helmet with prisms in the eyepieces, 1953.

My caption: "Mommy told me to wear my safety helmet!"

LIFE caption: A vision experiment being done on pigeons at Maryland University, May 1962

My caption: "I'm watching you!"

LIFE caption: Chicken playing baseball during an animal experiment, October 1948.

My caption: "Canz I play too?"

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 19, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Photography and Photographers, Science, Experiments

Body Swaps, Shark Fecology

and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Wednesday

Set me up with Jessica Alba's husband
Swedish researchers, speaking at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, said they know how to induce "body-swap illusion," where they can get you to touch someone else's body, only it would feel like someone else is touching you. So, does that mean that if I could get Alba Man to be my headset mate for the researchers, and if he then started, y'know, conjugaling up, then would I feel what he's feeling? Why, I think it might mean that! Science News
Comments 'bodyswap_illusion'

Researchers ecstatic about shark fecology
The latest BBC Natural World TV report, on the whale shark, interviews a guy who calls the excretions "scientific gold" and is "so excited" about it because they finally get to see what whale sharks eat. Perhaps the sharks are just modest, but they usually repair to the deep floor to do their duty, and thus science hasn't been able to grab samples to analyze. "It has been really exciting," said Dr. Meekan, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. BBC News
Comments 'shark_fecology'

And then there's Canadian science
The new Minister of Science and Technology in Canada is the Hon. Gary Goodyear, who was a Member of Parliament and whose science and technology expertise is in chiropractic (with a fellowship in clinical acupuncture). Wikipedia via SomeCanadianSkeptic blog
Comments 'gary_goodyear'

Your Daily Loser
Not Cut Out for a Life of Crime: The last brush with the law by Jesse Masa, 37, was when he smashed an SUV into a store window so he could grab a TV set, and during his getaway accidentally drove it into a backyard swimming pool. This time, all he did was try to extort $250 from a guy under threat that he'd damage the guy's car if he didn't get the money (thus setting himself up for an easy police sting). Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph
Comments 'jesse_masa'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
The barely-repentant Lucas Knudson, 32, drew a fine for his behavior on an April airline flight in Australia in which he unzipped and assumed an upright position for four minutes under the tray table, very much disturbing a female seatmate. He testified at first that he was merely "adjusting" his "tight" jeans. However, it was reported that after the woman got up and moved, Knudson lay down across the seats for a nap with his stuff still out, and he acknowledged that that he had touched himself, briefly, to make himself more comfortable. Northern Territory News (Darwin) [with hard-to-explain photo]
Comments 'lucas_knudson'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Careful, now, this is a heinous crime, so don't convict 'em unless they're really heinous-looking: Stephanie Bell and Janice Mowdy. WAPT-TV (Jackson, Miss.)
Comments 'heinous_mugshots'

More Things to Worry About on Wednesday

Steven Butcher, 50, a homeless transient, was sentenced to four years in prison for being the one responsible for a pair of California fires, and under terms of the law, he'll also be on the hook for the damage the fires did, er, $101 million, and it would really help the state's current budget crunch if Butcher could take care of that right away. Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle

People Different From Us: Boy, 16, came home Monday afternoon with a fast-food order, but his father yelled at him for getting the order wrong, so the boy shot his dad in the head, and when the police arrived, shot himself. (Bonus: The family is "very reclusive," said a neighbor.) Houston Chronicle

Johnny Lindner, 48, allegedly robbed Young's market in Bishopville, S.C., but his getaway car broke down, and he hailed a taxi to take him to "Lydia" (S.C.), but the driver didn't know how to get there and so stopped to ask directions at one of the few places open at that time of night, Young's market, where the investigating cop and the robbed clerk were just standing there when the taxi pulled up. Busted. WIS-TV (Columbia) via

Comments on More Things to Worry About on Wednesday?
Comments 'worry_081119'

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Nov 19, 2008 - Comments (0)

November 18, 2008

Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre

In his Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre Wilhelm Staehle places silhouettes over Victorian paintings, and adds a subversive caption. Two of my favorites below.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 18, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Humor

Vision in the Forest

More proof that one line-item in the Forest Service budget was devoted to extra-potent hallucinogens.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 18, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Government, Nature, Documentaries, 1950s, Fictional Monsters

Candy Canary

Evangelical female body-builders. I don't believe my brain has ever had cause to assemble that phrase before. But then I learned of Candy Canary.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 18, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Body Modifications, Human Marvels, Religion, Women

Pumpkin Boating

In Damariscotta, Maine they launched a new tradition this year. An Annual PumpkinFest and Regatta. By "Regatta" they mean putting outboard motors on giant pumpkins and motoring in them around the bay. has pictures.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 18, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Parades and Festivals

The Fat, the Fatuous, the Fiery, the Fierce

and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Tuesday [and, because it's "Tuesday," and news is light, the only edition today]

Genuine Pentecostal cult, about 20 miles outside the D.C. beltway
Calvary Temple preaches the literal word of the Bib—uh, rather, the literal word of Pastor Star R. Scott, and he has increasingly hardened the battle lines: Either you accept his interpretations, or you're gone, and if that means jettisoning your kids or your spouse, too bad. Followers are down, from thousands to 400, but they're hardcore. (Bonus: The Bible says that, if the apostle's wife dies, the apostle gets to marry a 20-yr-old virgin, buy Ferraris, and set up a "racing ministry." That Bible, that sure is a good book.) Washington Post
Comments 'pentecostal_cult'

The tyranny of the dumb
It's not quite on the level of that black Washington, D.C., bureaucrat who raised hell when someone (correctly) used the word "niggardly" in a meeting, but Univ. of Arkansas law professor Richard Peltz was still slandered as racist for having used a piece from The Onion to make the point that America hasn't worked out all its racial problems yet. The Black Law Student Ass'n demanded Peltz's hide, apparently finding it too difficult to follow the "satire" thing (e.g., if it says X, it must mean X, or, wait, does it means the opposite of X, or, gee, how are we supposed to tell which one, and oh, goodness, this is all so confusing!). (Bonus: The BLSA guys also said The Onion was well-known for being politically "conservative.") Inside Education
Comments 'tyranny_dumb'

Your Daily Loser
F Stater Anthony Zitnick, 21, was apparently just showing off to his new chick that he knew a guy who legally kept wild animals at home, and he'll show you how cool he is by taking her over to check 'em out (since he knew the guy was away for the weekend). In the next scene in our drama, the couple has surreptitiously entered the house, and a cougar has jumped the girl, and has her head in its mouth, and she's shrieking and bleeding, and Anthony's just standing there, petrified (but a neighbor rescued her). Miami Herald [with Zitnick mugshot]
Comments 'anthony_zitnick'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Traci Gilson, 21, Foresthill, Calif., who, for all we know, might have just been involved in a little lovers' spat like we all have from time to time (or, she could have set her man on fire—one or the other). KXTV (Sacramento)
Comments 'traci_gilson'

More Things to Worry About on Tuesday

With states passing laws restricting where registered sex offenders can live, more and more are homeless, but that's no excuse for RSO Eric Kaminski to be living behind some bookcases at a Univ. of Illinois library in Urbana. Associated Press via Springfield Journal-Register

Huntington, W.Va., wins the CDC's award for fattest, most diabetic, most toothless metro area, but residents seem nonplused about it, maybe because Huntington's pretty healthy compared to the state's rural areas. Associated Press via ABC News

Why not? She's an artist; she has a glass eye; why not replace it with an eye that holds a webcam (web, via a cellphone), so the world can see exactly what she sees, no more, no less? New York Daily News

A changed referees' decision at the end of Sunday's Steelers-Chargers game did not affect the result result (Steelers win, either way) but the gamblers' point spread, all by itself, caused an estimated $32m to get picked out of the pockets of Charger bettors (when the game ended on the original call) and handed to Steeler bettors (when the final call was changed).

Earning a DUI on a riding lawn mower has been accomplished before, but this is probably a first where the passenger, sitting on the mower's hood and equally under the influence, also gets ticketed, for failure to wear a seat belt. Post-Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.)

It's bad enough if a folding Martha Stewart lawnchair pinches someone's fingertip off, but what are the odds that the victim is a (1) hand model and (2) professional magician (3) who plays the banjo in his act? Associated Press via ABC News

Taking second jobs may become standard in the failing economy, but if you're a sex-abuse caseworker for Children's Services, you can't work on the side as a whore. WBNS-TV (Columbus, Ohio)

Today's Newsrangers: Steve Miller, Sam Gaines, Ed Babcock, Vernon Balbert, Jim Quiggle, Scott Langill
Comments on More Things to Worry About on Tuesday?
Comments 'worry_081118'

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Nov 18, 2008 - Comments (0)

November 17, 2008

Follies of the Mad Men #44

[From Life magazine for September 30 1940.]

Either a 20th-century man's shoe has been transported through time back to pre-Columbian America, confounding the primitive redksins, or else some 20th-century Native Americans on some especially traditional and cloistered reservation somewhere are incredibly ignorant.

Or, some Madison Avenue genius thought this was brilliant.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 17, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Fashion, Shoes, Anthropology, 1940s, Time-travel, Native Americans

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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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