Weird Universe Archive

November 2008

November 14, 2008

Speedfit Treadmobil

The Speedfit Treadmobil is either a brilliant idea or a completely stupid one. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Arguments in its favor: probably puts less stress on your knees than regular running, and you may be able to pick up some speed on flat surfaces.

Argument against it: You'll look like an idiot on it.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 14, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Products

A Vibrating Toilet Seat, Buddha in a Wasp Nest

and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Friday (and . . and . . the only edition today . . busy again . . sorry)

Robber promises bank's Customer Service will hear about this!
He tried to knock off a Susquehanna Bank branch just after it opened yesterday morning, only to discover that cash drawers had not yet been delivered to the three tellers. Jeez, was he upset! As he walked out the door empty-handed, he told everyone he was gonna file a complaint! (There were customers around, though, and one tipped cops, who arrested Joseph Goetz, 48.) York (Pa.) Daily Record
Comments 'moneyless_bank'

Michigan preacher imprisoned for explaining to the judge what God has in store for him
Rev. Edward Pinkney was convicted on a vote fraud charge and so much disagreed with the judge's verdict that he pointed out to His Honor that he should expect curses, fever, "extreme burning," and other payoffs from a vengeful Lord, but another judge interpreted that as an illegal threat and sent the Rev to prison. The ACLU backs the Rev. Associated Press via Fox News
Comments 'michigan_preacher'

Another Second Life divorce
This couple, though, met in a chatroom, got married in real life and on Second Life, but then she strayed to World of Warcraft and he had an avatar affair on Second Life, and they got a real-life divorce. She's now involved with a man from WoW, and the ex-husband gave his story to a reporter only via his SL avatar. (Link has photos illustrating exactly why SL is so popular, i.e., your avatar can be 10 times better looking than you are.) Daily Mail (London)
Comments 'secondlife_divorce'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Lori Brutsche-Ely, 41, who might have gotten a little out of control at a Halloween party (5 felonies, 3 misdemeanors). Idaho Mountain Express (Ketchum)
Comments 'lori_brutscheely'

More Things to Worry About on Friday

Might as well reserve this 11-yr-old kid a cell on Florida's death row right now because it's only a matter of time (torched a cat, threatened to give his pregnant sister a "c-section," popped his mother with a saw). (Stuart, Fla.)

Minnesota Buddhists envision "the seated Buddha" in, um, a wasp nest. Associated Press via Winona Daily News

Tennessee's House Republican leader says he's pretty sure that his 17,000 comic books don't have to be declared as an "investment," on ethics disclosure forms. Knoxville News-Sentinel

It's huge news in Laurel, Miss., that local guy Johnny Henry made a splash at the recent Las Vegas Int'l Inventors Convention, with his "vibrating toilet seat" ("It's to make you feel good while you're there"). Leader-Call (Laurel)

The sacred institution of marriage: Italian man granted divorce on the ground that his mother-in-law gave him hell. The Times (London)

Today's Newsrangers: Bruce Alter, Mark Neunder, Larry Ellis Reed
Comments on More Things to Worry About on Friday?
Comments 'worry_081114'

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Nov 14, 2008 - Comments (0)

Saran Wrap Race

If you must mummify yourself in plastic wrap and hop about, do so on a soft grassy surface.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Nov 14, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Accidents, Education, Injuries

PX:Direct Jail Products

Inmate uniforms, modular holding cells, handcuffs, transport hoods, leg irons, belly chains, and multi-point restraint systems. PX:Direct has it all for the correctional facility do-it-yourselfer.

I'm sure there must be some legitimate reason an individual might need to buy this stuff. I just can't think of one off the top of my head. Wait. Here's an idea. Amateur experimenters could use it to recreate the Stanford Prison Experiment in their basement.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 14, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Prisons

November 13, 2008

The Holiness of Mate-Swapping, Mummifying, and Vibrating

and the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Thursday

Headline in the Brisbane Times, suggesting there's nothing the gov't of South Australia can't do: "Desert To Be Closed Due To Heat Risk" Brisbane Times

Jam-packed lede sentence: "Candice Clark, a small-time thief who snatched her toddler from Florida custody in 2006 and was arrested later in Wisconsin with a dead woman in her backyard and a severely abused boy in her closet, has been sentenced to 55 years in prison." Tampa Tribune

Yesterday's big argument at the U.S. Supreme Court ostensibly involved a nuanced first-amendment issue, but it was all about Corky Ra and our old friends at the Summum religion, which is into mummification and the importance of vibrating. CNN /// Slate

There was a workplace fatality at an Iowa vehicle repair shop, with this key reporting: "The brace Rafael cut off was the only thing holding up the frame [of the vehicle] that crushed Rafael. [Rafael] did not think ahead of what would happen when [he removed] the brace." Des Moines Register

The Church of England decided that mate-swapping and vicaring don't mix. The Times

Researchers put some numbers on what spammers need to stay in business: If a fake pharmacy makes one sale a day from 13m e-mails sent out, they'll clear $3,500,000 a year.

On March 24, 1989, President George H.W. Bush was just getting started on his term, Monica Lewinsky was in 10th grade, and the Exxon Valdez spilled some oil, and this week a federal judge will finally authorize the checks to go out to the fishermen whose livelihood was destroyed that day (or their estates). Anchorage Daily News

Professor Music's Weird Link o' the Day
We've reported several times on the Kanamara Matsuri festival in Kawasaki, Japan, where for 300 yrs or so, people have gathered to celebrate the, um, male member. Here are some recent snapshots that photographer Tony McNicol features on his website. [None of the links are Safe for Work] [Note: If you're just learning of this festival for the first time, be relieved that Google has 14,600 hits on it, and "japan fertility festival," without quotes, brings 155,000.]

Today's Newsrangers: Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Jakob Derksen, Ian Pert, Emmitt Dove, Casey Burns, Paul Music, Cindy Hildebrand, Nancy Hackett, Perry Levin
Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Thursday?
Comments 'cycle_081113'

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Nov 13, 2008 - Comments (4)


Most Supreme Court cases are as dry as a particle-board sandwich. But not the one you can read about here. That's because this case involves a genuine wackjob cult named Summum, which believes, amongst other things, in sacred mummification of pets.

A visit to their site will be time well spent.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 13, 2008 - Comments (9)
Category: Animals, Business, Products, Death, Eccentrics, Frauds, Cons and Scams, New Age, Pets, Religion, Lawsuits, Myths and Fairytales

World’s Weirdest Comics

I can heartily recommend this book to any reader interested in oddball comics or strange corners of pop culture in general. The authors are acknowledged comics experts, and they've dug up some very bizarre comics, here shown as cover images only, no interior pages from the offenders. Your life will never be the same, after you've been introduced to, say, All-Negro Comics or Hansi, the Girl Who Loved the Swatstika.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 13, 2008 - Comments (14)
Category: Comics, Books

More items for the list

Here are some more objects to add to the rectum-themed Name That List challenge of a few days ago:

A 50-year-old vicar told the medical staff at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital that the potato they had to surgically remove from his rectum got up there on account of a perfectly innocent accident. He fell backwards onto it while hanging curtains in the nude. Absolutely no sex games were involved, thank you very much!

A nurse at the hospital also claimed to have seen a cucumber, a Russian doll, and a carnation removed from the rectums of patients.


Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 13, 2008 - Comments (24)
Category: Accidents, Sexuality, Fetishes

Ugly Woman, Ugly Bananas

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

An educated, responsible professional manager recently lost $400k in retirement savings
Of course lots of those types have lost that, and more, recently with the stock market crash, but this woman actually was untouched by the crash. That's because she had already lost hers in a Nigerian scam. (Bonus: She apparently saw it coming practically the whole way but says she couldn't stop sending them money, anyway.) KATU-TV (Portland, Ore.)
Comments 'nigerian_scam'

North America's least-decisive judge
Guy files a lawsuit demanding $2B from Microsoft, Wal-Mart, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Univ. of British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and other entities who have propagated brain waves to control his mind, and are even continuing their nefarious scheme at this moment to keep the lawsuit out of court. But Justice Fraser Wilson, clearly impervious to the brain control, refuses to dismiss the lawsuit, not quite sure yet whether there's anything to it. Vancouver Sun
Comments 'brainwave_lawsuit'

Your Daily Losers
Six guys were arrested for a ham-handed burglary of a rich guy's home in Bentonville, Ark., which was especially easy to solve when they agreed to accept $30 cash from a curious recycler for the bar of solid silver that they stole, worth $15k. Associated Press via Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Comments 'silver_thieves'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Raymond "Chuck" Foster, 44, who was charged with murder even though the local sheriff said he couldn't "imagine anyone feeling endangered" by being around him. Associated Press via AOL
Comments 'raymond_foster'

More Things to Worry About on Thursday

Worst-case scenario for a Korean woman addicted to cosmetic face surgery [yes, with photos] [Not Safe for Stomachs] Daily Telegraph (London)

The southeastern-Turkey city of Batman sued Warner Brothers, seeking a piece of the caped crusader franchise. Variety

If you're a military vet and file a disability claim today, you likely won't hear from the VA before May 2009, and if they turn you down then, and you appeal, don't expect action during Obama's first term (but a lawsuit filed Monday demands 90-day and 180-day deadlines, respectively). Washington Post

Update: The European Commission has scrapped some of its "ugly fruit and vegetable" rules, so too-bent cucumbers are now legal (but too-bent bananas are still restricted). New York Times

Comments on More Things to Worry About on Thursday?
Comments 'worry_081113'

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Nov 13, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Bananas

Phone Spell

What phonespell does: "Enter a 6 to 10 digit phone number and we'll show you what words and phrases your phone number spells."

The only semi-meaningful phrase in my phone number was "alpa".

Please don't leave your full number (spelled out) in the comments, even if it is something really cool. We don't want to be responsible for crazy people calling you.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 13, 2008 - Comments (13)
Category: Technology

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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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