Weird Universe Archive

December 2008

December 17, 2008

Al Capone, a Church Elder with a Speculum

and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Wednesday, December 17, 2008 [and it's that time of the week when your news editor gets too busy for an afternoon post!]

It was just "their time": undignified deaths
(1) A 65-yr-old woman drove up to an ATM in Port Angeles, Wash., Saturday, opened the door a bit to pick up something that had fallen to the ground, had the car inch forward on her, and the door fatally squeezed her head when it contacted a protective post. (2) A 60-yr-old man, tossed in the air by joyous celebrants at his retirement party in Japan, was apparently abandoned in mid-air, hit the floor, and later died in the hospital. (3) A 43-yr-old man in Benton City, Wash., apparently set fire to a motor home to hide evidence that he had burglarized it but then failed to outrun the flames. Associated Press via Seattle Times /// Mainichi Daily News /// Associated Press via Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Comments 'undignified_081217'

Your Daily Loser
If you decide to stiff a cab driver for the fare, better be able to run faster than the taxi (unlike this 22-yr-old guy). Star News (Wilmington, N.C.)
Comments 'outrun_cabbie'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
A House of Yahweh elder, Yedidiyah Hawkins, 41, was sentenced to 30 yrs by an Abilene, Tex., judge for his freelance gynecological exam of an 11-yr-old girl, even though he used a real speculum to check for "cervical cancer." (Bonus: He already has four wives.) Associated Press via Houston Chronicle
Comments 'yedidiyah_hawkins'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
F State drifter Roderick Woodruff, 43, might possibly have been exposing himself on a not-clothing-optional beach. WWSB-TV (Sarasota)
Comments 'roderick_woodruff'

More Things to Worry About on Wednesday

Puzzle solved: Why would an employer hire back a guy convicted two yrs ago of stealing $2m from him? (Answer: It's a car dealership, and car dealerships need business types like him, with his, er, skills-set.) Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.)

A United Airlines bartend—er, flight attendant—allegedly overserved booze to a passenger, and the man's wife is suing because he then got drunk and roughed her up. Chicago Tribune

Andres Cantu, 55, was arrested in Pharr, Tex., for allegedly molesting two young relatives (which came to light when one, a 9-yr-old girl, responding to a class assignment, wrote that her "wish list" for Santa was that the guy stop fondling 'em). The Monitor (McAllen, Tex.)

Pauline McCook of Isle of Sheppey, England, reported that someone stole her life-size statue of Al Capone. (Buried lede: WTF is a woman in England doing with a life-size statue of Al Capone in her yard?) BBC News

Good for them: The gov't of China, rushing to shore up its manufacturing standards, announced it was banning, effective immediately, lye and boric acid as food additives. Associated Press via Rocky Mount (N.C.) Telegram

A $2 million downtown improvement project in Winters, Calif., has drawn criticism because its pedestrian traffic barriers look way too phallic. KOVR-TV (Sacramento)

Comments on More Things to Worry About on Wednesday?
Comments 'worry_081217'

Eyewitness News
[news videos goin' around]
This little 4-yr-old is making all the TV and Internet news for wandering around Beaumont, Tex., at 4 in the morning, and happening to find the one store in the neighborhood (a Family Dollar) where the manager forgot to lock up that night. KFDM-TV (Beaumont)
Comments 'beaumont_4yrold'

Today's Newsrangers: Sam Gaines, Sandy Pearlman, Stephen Taylor, Nancy Hackett, Jeff Smith, Roger Meiners, Casey Burns

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Dec 17, 2008 - Comments (0)

Dr. Dove’s Unicorn Bull

In 1933 Dr. W.F. Dove, a biologist at the University of Maine, conducted an experiment to find out if he could create a "unicorn bull." He removed the two knots of tissue on the side of the bull's head that would normally have developed into horns and transplanted them to the center of the forehead. The experiment was a success. A single, massive horn grew there.

The unicorn horn made the bull the unchallenged leader of its herd. But Dr. Dove observed that the unicorn bull was actually an extremely docile creature. He wrote:

Although he is an animal with the hereditary potentiality for two horns, he recognizes the power of a single horn which he uses as a prow to pass under fences and barriers in his path, or as a forward thrusting bayonet in his attacks. And, to invert the beatitude, his ability to inherit the earth gives him the virtues of meekness. Consciousness of power makes him docile.

Link: Unicorn Garden

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 17, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Science, Experiments, 1930s


Cereality claims to be "an idea whose time has come." It's a cereal bar:

customers choose from their favorite brands and toppings. Pajama-clad Cereologists™ fill the orders. And customers choose and add their own milk, just the way they like it.

I'm sure there must be people who think this is a great idea, but I'm not one of them. I can't imagine ever wanting to make a special trip to get a bowl of cereal. But then, I'm not a cereal fan. Every morning it's oatmeal for me.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 17, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Food, Restaurants

December 16, 2008

Witch, Eggbeater, Nails

and the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Tuesday, December 16, 2008 continues its Weird Europe series of countries' Christmas icons with Italy's La Befana, the ugly ol' witch who keeps track of who's naughty (and in one version is rather Stephen-King-like in the way she does it). Spiegel Online

A South Korean mother and father were fined the equivalent of $60,000 for failing to bring up their 18-yr-old son properly, in that he's a rapist. BBC News

Arrested in Madison, Ind., for hitting a guy with a hammer: Mr. Jamel Nails, 29. Madison Courier

Recurring Theme: If ya find a bomb, ya really have to leave it where it lies and go report it (but two small-town Oregon cops thought the thing to do was bring it inside and call the bomb unit, and one of those cops is no longer with us). Associated Press via Houston Chronicle

Police say two armed men were arrested in Plant City, Fla., after breaking into a home early Sunday morning and, when confronted, one held a knife to the resident's neck and demanded . . an egg-beater. [That's all. Really. Check it out.] Tampa Tribune

Gregory Pike had to go to court in San Francisco on a dope-possession charge, and since he's the guy famous on the Internet for the "Dog Cat and Rat" video, and since he didn't know anyone to look after his little fellas, he was allowed to bring them into the courtroom (whereupon they reflexively formed their tower right there, i.e., rat sits on the tabby, which is sitting on the Rott-Lab dog). San Francisco Chronicle

Today's Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, David Melcher, Bryce Jackson, Ginger Katz, and Ed Chebret, and a thanks to a host of contributors of the Mexican kidnaping
Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Tuesday?
Comments 'cycle_081216'

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Dec 16, 2008 - Comments (0)

New Smokey the Bear PSA

Remember our earlier post, VISION IN THE FOREST, where Smokey the Bear appeared to a young girl during the 1950's?

Well, the new Smokey PSA is disturbing in its own fashion, as it promotes the notion that any of us could turn into a bear at any time.

Maybe they were inspired by an earlier version that follows second here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 16, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Body Modifications, PSA’s, Surrealism

Magnetic Man

Miroslaw Magola calls himself Magnetic Man. According to his website:

Miroslaw Magola is a man with an unusual gift; he can lift objects off the floor, transport them through the air and force them to stick to his body - all using the power of his mind. The objects can be anything from metal pans to marble statues, and weight seems to be no problem.

Check out the videos of Miroslaw sticking pots to his forehead. They're comedy classics. I'm more inclined to attribute his ability to sticky skin than to magnetism. A bit of glue might also help.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 16, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Human Marvels

False Confessions, Fulsome Compulsions

and the Morning Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The other major multiple-false-confession case
Two weeks ago we reported the new U.S. one-case record for multiple false confessions (6), but there's still this one going on from Norfolk, Va. The parents of the murder victim listened to at least one direct, personal, unequivocal admission and understandingly can't get beyond that. On the other hand, there's only DNA from one of the five confessors, and he said he did it alone, and the "Norfolk 4" have become Hurricane-Carter-type celebrities. Anyone can understand a guy weary of police questioning who just, exasperated, says, Yeah, OK, I did it, Whatever, but then there are these four guys, who tell how they "did" it. Except that they probably didn't do it. Washington Post
Comments 'norfolk_confessions'

Nikki Ebben is a handful
She's 31, kinda cute, husband stands by her even though she's maxed out 15 credit cards totaling $80k causing her parents not to speak to her for a while because she owed them so much money. Her story's the lede in the Wall Street Journal illustration of compulsive shopping in this time of steep retailer discounting. "I loved the high I got when I clicked the 'submit' button" when ordering clothes online (e.g., 17 pairs of $400 designer jeans). Big unopened inventory of stuff at home. Another victim of the disorder had 220 pairs of shoes. It's a coke habit sanctioned by the entire global economy. Wall Street Journal
Comments 'nikki_ebben'

Can't possibly be true: underappreciated poets?
Twelve Seattle poets went for a polar-bear dip in Green Lake for the sole purpose of calling to public attention the fact that poets don't get no respect, y'know? Seattle Times
Comments 'poets_swim'

Last 9-11 lawsuit holdouts may get the go-ahead today
Of the nearly infinite ways in which there can be "two kinds of people in the world": Some people grieve their loss of loved one on 9-11 over months or years, accept the generous gov't compensation, and move on. Some, like these three, won't give it up, creating a perpetuating, life-consuming level of grieving that also offers no guarantee that they'll ever learn anything useful that they didn't know seven Decembers ago. This week, a judge in New York may set a trial date. Boston Herald
Comments '911_lawsuits'

A cyanide-spewing millipede, a spider bigger than a dinner plate
About 600 sq. km of land around the Mekong River that runs from through Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam has at least 1,000 species of plant and animal that no scientist had ever seen before. Rabbits with stripes, Laotian rock rat . . . mmmm, good eatin'. The Times (London) via The Australian
Comments 'mekong_species'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Buying real estate is stressful, which might be why this client, doing a home walk-through with his broker, felt that he had to make himself feel good as he was talking to her. Fond du Lac (Wis.) Reporter
Comments 'masturbating_client'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Jon Solnicka, 41, who might have done nothing more than invite some neighborhood girls to swim in his pool. KTAR Radio (Phoenix)
Comments 'jon_solnicka'

More Things to Worry About on Tuesday

The sour economy hits Las Vegas hookers, but only the mid-rangers (not streetwalkers or top-shelvers) because, in economists' lingo, the business is a "Giffen good," and if you lower price, you bring on sleazier clients. Las Vegas Sun

Mayor Blanca Figueroa of South El Monte (a Los Angeles suburb) prefers the quiet of late night to get her office work done, but she's feuding with the city council, which has just retaliated by locking city hall at 11 p.m. and taking the mayor's key away. Seriously. New York Times

Kidnaped (probably for ransom) in Saltillo, Mex.: Felix Batista, 55, one of Latin America's foremost consultants on how to deal with kidnaping for ransom. New York Times

Sonia Ringoir, 31, was charged with selling her newborn twins to get money for liposuction, but she indignantly denied it, pointing out that she actually gave the babies away for free. The Sunday Times (London) via Fox News

Comments on More Things to Worry About on Tuesday?
Comments 'worry_081216'

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Dec 16, 2008 - Comments (0)

Hair Trader

In the current economic recession, a lot of people are making some extra money by selling whatever gold they have in their house. Another option is to sell your hair.

Hair Trader describes itself as "the world's largest independent hair sale site."

I'm curious if there are any buyers other than wig makers. If so, what possible use could they have for someone else's hair?

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 16, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Body

December 15, 2008

Dog DNA, Human Tattoo, Fox Urine

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

Man's best friend comes through again: One's implanted chip helps ID the owner, who was wandering around town disoriented, and another's DNA was found on caca on the rapist's shirt, helping to convict the guy. North Bay (Ontario) Nugget /// KDFW-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Mom with her two kids (on the run from Philadelphia child-welfare people who had ordered 'em taken away) hid them out for two weeks in a hollowed section of a plastic playground set in a Fort Lauderdale park that she had tunneled up into (and actually laid low while neighborhood children played on it). Miami Herald via McClatchy News

Fine Point of Australian law: illegal just to watch . . not just child porn . . but child-abuse "cruelty." Sydney Morning Herald

Minnesota Readers' Choice: (1) "Darnell Lewis," under St. Paul, Minn., police questioning, didn't have any ID cards on him but he did have "Frazier" tattooed on his neck, and "Darnell Frazier"'s got outstanding warrants. (2) A Willmar, Minn., victim of house-toilet-papering struck back against the teen vandals, with a SuperSoaker containing fox urine and water (and that might have been going too far, legally). Star Tribune /// West Central Tribune (Willmar)

Complicated: Lawrenceville, Ga., police said they were looking for a man dressed as a woman as the person who had knocked off several local banks, but the culprit was finally ID'd as a teenage girl, they guess, dressed up to resemble what a man dressing as a woman would look like. WSB-TV (Atlanta)

Inadvertent British cheap shot: A London disk jockey said the failing economy would force him to sell off his trademark gold crowns to his fans and worried that "I don't know if I'll be noticed [if I have] white teeth." BBC News

Hooters is doing OK overseas, with 67 franchised, tight-topped, orange-shortsed hot spots in 26 countries, including Jim Li's five in China, where they're called the, er, American Owl. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Fayette County, Tex., dog hoarder (42 English fox terriers in a 5x9 trailer) (with the usual flooring appointments of feces and urine) has blamed their condition on the UFO's constantly circling her home. Houston Chronicle

Professor Music's Weird Link o' the Day
And speaking of UFO's, here's a nice compilation of all the smoking-gun photos of alien life forms (all dead, of course) recovered on Earth, along with the compelling explanations that they are in fact exactly what the UFO hunters say they are.

Today's Newsrangers: Ginger Katz, Sandy Pearlman, Stephen Taylor, Mindy Cohen, Jerry Whittle, and Tyler Hewitt, and a whole bunch of nice people on the Readers' Choice stories
Comments on the Afternoon Edition of Chuck's News of the Weird Daily for Monday?
Comments 'cycle_081215'

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Dec 15, 2008 - Comments (0)

Cartoon from Dubai

You probably won't want to watch all seventeen minutes of this cartoon, an episode of FREJ, a Dubai cartoon for adults, especially since there's no English translation. But the opening credits are awesome, and the whole thing provides a glimpse into a mysterious other world.

I love how women's veils have been depicted as these weird hockey-player faceguards.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 15, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Foreign Customs, Cartoons, Middle East

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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.

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

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