Weird Universe Archive

December 2008

December 19, 2008

Ear-Piercing Your Cat, Sucking Your Firecracker

and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Friday, December 19, 2008 [and today, the only edition]

Sallie Mae to family of dead Marine: Hey, ya think credit grows on trees?
After college, Ian McVey passed up big bucks to join the Marines, and was about to ship out for Iraq when a bad driver fatally creamed him, and two of his student-loan lenders told the grieving family not to bother with the loans, but not the other lender, Sallie Mae, the U.S.'s major originator of federally-insured student loans. Bonus: Apparently Sallie Mae deals with its customers, even grieving ones, strictly by robot. Boston Globe
Comments 'salliemae_marine'

Roy Pearson is down to his last, oh, two years of appeals
A D. C. Court of Appeals panel unanimously tossed out Pearson's $54m lawsuit against the dry cleaner for those damned pants (formerly worth $67m, he said), but of course the judges were overly respectful, instead of telling him, say, "Give it up, you big fool, you're embarrassing the entire U.S. legal system, you need serious counseling and pharmacological help." He has two more threads left: He can ask the D.C. court as a whole to reconsider it, and if they say no, he can ask, pretty please, the U.S. Supreme Court. He will lose both, easily. So? You got a problem with that? Washington Post
Comments 'roy_pearson'

Recurring Theme: Not my fault I rammed into the back of that truck, drunk
Blood-alcohol was 3x the state limit, and the crash killed her passenger-boyfriend, but it turns out, according to this lawsuit, that it was not her fault at all, but actually the fault of these 16 parties, including insurance companies and banks and, of course, that dumb driver who allowed himself to get hit. And what about my Lexus? They need to buy me a new Lexus! (Bonus: Her dad's a judge.) Houston Chronicle
Comments 'lawsuit_lexus'

Your Daily Loser
Cops don't have a name yet, but they found his ladies' restroom cam and checked out the memory card, and the only image on it so far was . . the guy who set up the restroom cam. Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
Comments 'restroom_cam'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
The taboo against self-pleasuring is damned powerful! That taboo apparently caused some men in the Melbourne, Fla., area to forgo their own hands and go do business with Bridget Rivera and Joni Jankowski. WFTV (Orlando)
Comments 'rivera_jankowski'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Robert Barie, 56, Jacksonville, Fla., might have been arrested for merely trying to freshen his breath. First Coast News (Jacksonville) via WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg)
Comments 'robert_barie'

More Things to Worry About on Friday

Job opening for a couple: $100k/yr, with free Pacific island housing, light duties (but one of which is enduring a fog horn that goes off every 20 seconds, 24/7). Deutsche Presse Agentur via Earth Times

Perhaps Kansas's sexual-consent law needs rewriting . . if it now can't keep a woman in her 40s with a mental capacity of a 3-yr-old from "consenting" to sex with her caregiver. Kansas City Star

"This is your pilot speaking. We have to turn around and go back to Cardiff because I'm not qualified to land the plane here in Paris. Sorry 'bout that." USA Today

Can't Possibly Be True: A Pennsylvania woman was selling kittens tricked up with ear, neck, and tail piercings. Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre)

California's Supreme Court OK'ed lawsuits against good Samaritans if they step in and save your life but manage to be a little too rough in the process. Los Angeles Times

A Thai teenager, showing off, put a firecracker in his mouth and lit the fuse and, yeah, blew his face open. (Bonus: The local paper described the mouth action as a "sex act.") Phuket Gazette [Ed.: Relax; it's pronounced poo-ket]

Today's Newsrangers: Paul Music, Stephen Taylor, Tamara Mills, Sandy Pearlman
Comments on More Things to Worry About on Friday?
Comments 'worry_081219'

Editor's Note
I regret to report that I will be taking a week off from posting the news, following the post of Monday morning, December 22. After that one, you'll next see me on a post of Monday morning, December 29. My pals Alex and Paul have promised to continue to keep you entertained in the interim.

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Dec 19, 2008 - Comments (0)

Name That List, #10

What is this a list of? Click on "More" or "Comments" for the answer.
  • A thank-you note for 'What Would Jesus Do?' thong underwear;
  • W-2 forms;
  • A feather;
  • A photograph of a nude pregnant woman;
  • A ticket to Handel's "Messiah";
  • A love poem comparing the relationship to free samples in a grocery store;
  • Airplane tickets;
  • A prescription for Zyrtec;
  • A sheet of notebook paper announcing 'I am stealing your watch, you moron';
  • A piece of raw bacon.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 19, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Name That List

December 18, 2008

Sniffing, Cave-Dwelling, Anger-Mismanaging

and the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Thursday, December 18, 2008

Usually when the wife lowers her head to hubby's precious jewels, it's a cause for rejoicing, but not when she only wants to sniff his stuff to see if he's been out messin' around. (Stuart, Fla.)

Imagine the shock at the funeral of Wang Diange, when his body just up and exploded (creating a change in his "cause of death" from "lightning strike" to "accidental bodily reception of a weather-busting silver iodide rocket"). Daily Telegraph (London)

Asian-like behavior in Ottawa: a man and woman making 10,000 vengeance calls to 911 because of anger over the gov't's handling of a child custody case. New York Times

In a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, this month, highly-seasoned streets (not de-icing salt, but de-icing garlic salt!). Associated Press via Yahoo

A guilty plea to violation of U.S. anti-gambling law, by another member of that fabulous family from India, the Dikshits. Associated Press via New York Times

In absolute numbers, the equivalent of six percent of the entire population of the U.S. lives in caves in China (20m people), but a lot of them are quite comfy (electricity, plumbing, cable TV, no interest-rate-resetting mortgages). McClatchy Newspapers

Today's Newsrangers: Steve Dunn, Keith Donovan, Bruce Alter, Sandy Pearlman, Philip Urban, Kathryn Wood, Emmitt Dove, Mindy Cohen, Stephen Taylor
Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Thursday?
Comments 'cycle_081218'

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Dec 18, 2008 - Comments (0)

Christmas in the Congo

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 18, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Holidays, Music, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1950s

Iranian Rap by Gholi

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 18, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Music, Stereotypes and Cliches, Foreign Customs, Middle East

Lamp Cord Lighter

File this under Useless Inventions. From Popular Science, Feb 1929:

Novel Lamp Cord Holds Cigarette Lighter
An electric lamp cord suspending a heating element from which the smoker can light his cigar or cigarette is the latest novelty for the living room. The lighter comes in a variety of colors to match the twisted silk-covered wire cord and so has the appearance of a tassel at the end of the cord. Pressing a button turns on the electric current for the heating element. Another switch, located higher on the cord, governs the lighting of the lamp. The device is installed by simply unscrewing the electric light bulb, screwing in a special socket, and replacing the bulb.

Actually, I don't think it would be that hard to make something like this. I'm pretty sure you can buy all the parts off-the-shelf (heating element, cord, etc.). Maybe I'll go into business selling these on eBay.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 18, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions

Singing Underwear, a Self-Bagging Woman

and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Thursday, December 18, 2008 [and as things stand now, there will be an Afternoon Edition today, but maybe not]

Cutting-edge Middle Eastern technology: sexy Syrian lingerie
Bras and panties are available with tiny chips that play music, or light up, or glow in the dark, and there's a nasty version of The Clapper, where a loud noise close by causes the bra straps to release and fall off. And it's all kosher, so to speak, with Islam as long as the practitioners are married to each other. BBC News
Comments 'syrian_lingerie'

A fine point of Oregon law, in fact, a microscopically fine point
It's such a fine point, you won't be able to see it with the naked eye. Prosecutors charged a 17-yr-old boy for having sex with his 14-yr-old girlfriend, but the grand jury rejected it. Not to worry, though, because the prosecutor went ahead as if they had indicted. Then the grand jury foreman read about this in the newspaper and went public, causing the charges to be dropped . . and refiled as different charges . . which sounds like it's unconstitutional double jeopardy . . but the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the argument that since the original court never had jurisdiction over the case, it wasn't double jeopardy . . even though the reason there was no jurisdiction was that . . there was no legal indictment in the first place. Seriously. Register-Guard (Eugene)
Comments 'double_jeopardy'

Working on a fine point of Texas law
They're not there yet, but Great American Insurance Company has taken the position that it will only pay death benefits in fires to people who were actually roasted by flames. The company has an exclusion in its policy for death by "pollution," y'know, greenhouse gases, vinyl chloride and fertilizer runoff in water, things like that, and it says, well, smoke is air pollution, so no benefits for fire victims who merely asphyxiate. Houston Chronicle
Comments 'pollution_insurance'

Your Daily Loser
He tried to rob a San Antonio, Tex., fast food joint with a box cutter, but (1) got laughed at by the cashier, (2) told that if he needed money, he should go get a job, and (3) so as not to leave empty-handed, robbed a customer of his wallet, which turned out to have no money in it. He was arrested. Associated Press via New York Times
Comments 'robber_laughedat'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Robert Owens, 57, might be a pervert. Whaddya think? WEWS-TV (Cleveland)
Comments 'robert_owens'

More Things to Worry About on Thursday

Lame: He said he didn't put the plastic bag over the prostitute's head and choke her (to take back his $100) but that he was just holding it out, y'know, and, hey, she just walked head-first right into it. Australian Associated Press via Herald Sun (Melbourne)

Explanation needed: Lesbian high schoolers in Vancouver get pregnant at up to 7 times the rate of hetero girls (maybe closeted girls are trying harder to beat down their gayness?). Vancouver Sun

A 68-yr-old woman is no longer with us, probably because when stuck in her car on railroad tracks with a train bearing down, she chose to call 911 instead of . . getting out of the car! KNTV (San Francisco) via MSNBC

Recurring theme: It's a new frontier in animal-hoarding, by this German senior citizen, living in a two-room apartment with his 1,500-1,700 parakeets. Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle

Comments on More Things to Worry About on Thursday?
Comments 'worry_081218'

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Dec 18, 2008 - Comments (0)

Foot in Brain

A colorado surgeon found a tiny foot, hand, thigh, and parts of an intestine growing inside the brain of a 3-day-old baby. has a picture of the brain-foot.

It's not clear whether this was a case of "fetus in fetu" (a fetus growing inside its twin) or fetiform teratoma (a kind of tumor).

Wikipedia has a good article on Teratomas, noting that teratomas have been reported to contain "hair, teeth, bone and very rarely more complex organs such as eyeball, torso, and hand." There was even one case of a mature teratoma being "reported to contain a rudimentary beating heart."

For your entertainment, here's a photo (from Wikipedia) of a cystic teratoma containing hair.


Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 18, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Babies, Body Modifications, Medicine

December 17, 2008


The animation you are about to see was created entirely with pushpins in a board, by Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker.

Let's let my pal, author and art expert Luis Ortiz, explain:

During the 1930s animators Alexander Alexeieff and wife Claire Parker invented a push-screen frame, basically a board with thousands of pins embedded into it. The pins were pushed into the board at various heights, using specially shaped tools, and lighted from different angles to create shadow pictures that could be filmed one frame at a time. I saw their version of Night on Bald Mountain, which preceded Disney's, back in the 1980s at film historian Cecile Starr's home (she owned a 16mm copy) and I remember being very impressed. But this unique method was too labor intensive (even by film animation standards), and for most of their later work the Alexeieffs used object animation.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Dec 17, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Music, Cartoons, 1930s

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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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