I live by the code of the parking chair. Someone (the writer didn't even know that the magnificent parking chair had a name, let alone all that it stands for) fired off a letter to my local paper today vilifying the practice, and it had me outraged. I've since submitted a rebuttal. In the course of research for the letter, I found the following recent story from The Morning Call in Allentown, PA detailing what can happen when you don't respect the parking chair. The police may have assured the man he did nothing wrong by moving the chair, but I bet he doesn't do it again. And if you believe in the chair like I do, you can always show it!
Chris Dimino, a student at a visual arts school, invented the Corona Matic waffle maker as an assigned project. The students were told to take an obsolete item and remake it into something useful and different. Thus the old typewriter becomes a cool keyboard shaped waffle maker. There are other interesting inventions at the site as well, like the Uno, a single wheel motorcycle and others. First link the waffle maker, second link the list of weird and wacky inventions.
An amateur photographer caught some great pictures of a group of Macaque monkey playing in the snow. They made some snowballs and, according to the man who took the pictures, they were throwing them at each other. The animals live in the mountains of Japan and survive the cold weather due to hot springs that are there. The pictures are too large to post here but enjoy them at the link.
Owners of cars parked along the street near a building site in Warsaw, Poland got a nasty surprise last Wednesday. They returned to their cars to find them covered in quick drying cement. It seems a cement mixer exploded at the building site depositing it's contents all over the street and everything on it. Now all involved insurance companies are pointing the finger at each other while the car owners fume.
A New York jeweller briefly owned the world’s most valuable pet earlier this year when his golden retriever swallowed a $20,000 diamond by mistake. Sollie, the dog, had accompanied his owner George Kaufman to the latter’s jewellery shop where Mr. Kaufman and his partner were intending to inspect some gemstones. Unfortunately a diamond weighing 3 carats fell to the floor where it was immediately snatched up by Sollie and swallowed. After a vet recommended that nature be allowed to take its course, Kaufman spent the next three days carefully collecting and dissecting everything Sollie produced before finally retrieving the gem (Telegraph).
Perhaps he should have contacted Ireland’s first official dog-waste removal company, Mr. Scoopy-Poo. The brainchild of Irish entrepreneur William O’Brian, Mr. Scoopy-Poo (motto, “Business stinks – but it’s picking up!”) will clean up after your dirty dogs into biodegradable bags and hygienically dispose of them, for a price of course. After all, where there’s muck there’s brass, and occasionally diamonds (Irish Examiner).
But O’Brian may be missing a trick here, why dispose of faeces when you could be selling it as the latest must have fashion item? What sounds like insanity may be an idea whose time has come. How else can you explain not one but two manure-based products in the same week?
First up is London based artist and designer INSA, who has produced a pair of 10” stilettos incorporating elephant dung. And this isn’t just dung from any old elephant either, this is dung from the very same elephant family that produced the infamous extra ingredient for a series of paintings made by artist Chris Ofili in the 90s. Yup, in these shoes you are literally standing on celebrity elephant dung (Huffington Post).
And hot on the precipitous heels of INSA is Geneva based watchmaker Yvan Arpa, who has crafted his latest $11,000 wrist-candy from toad skin and dinosaur doo. The watches, to be made and sold by Swiss watchmakers Artya, feature a face cut from a 100 million year-old “coprolite”, or fossil faeces, left behind by an ancient plant-eater in what is now the United States. And the quality American materials don’t just amount to a pretty face as the strap is lovingly crafted from the hide of an American cane toad. The mechanism though is pure Swiss craftsmanship (Star Tribune).
"To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle"—George Orwell
"A little learning is a dangerous thing"—Alexander Pope
"Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns"—Rome Daily Inquirer, 7-18-64A.D.
Texas Public School Officials Set to Inbreed Knowledge: A solid majority of the state's Board of Education don't much believe in "evolution" or in "separation of church and state" or in the weaknesses of capitalism, and they are determined that their own kids, and all other Texans', learn the correct things. They are in the process of prescribing the content for the state's textbooks (as opposed to what other states do, which is to select among what scholars in the relevant fields write). New York Times
Possibly joining the Texas Board of Education soon is a genuine cipher candidate, Tony Cunningham, who won a district's Republican primary with 58 percent of the vote, even though the Party establishment knew nothing about him (which in one sense makes him perfectly well qualified to write school textbooks). Plus, Cunningham admits to filing for the office only because he mistakenly thought it was a paid gig–based on numbers on the back of the form, which were actually a schedule of fees.) San Antonio Express-News
Sticks and Stones and Words May Break My Bones: The county school board chairman in St. Petersburg, Fla., called the gang of disruptive kids that made life miserable for teachers and students in one middle school "hoodlums"–a word that for some reason created waves of indignation among community leaders who specialize in becoming offended. Hence, based on the whims of a few, another perfectly serviceable dictionary word nears retirement. St. Petersburg Times
The Continuing Campaign to Make Americans Perfect: New York state Assemblyman Felix Ortiz of Brooklyn introduced legislation to prohibit restaurant chefs from adding salt to their dishes. Whatever is individually virtuous must be mandatory. WNEW-TV (New York City)
With all this talk of ground-effect craft on WU recently, perhaps you feel like owning one, and not just a rusting cold-war relic either. Well now you can as self-taught New Zealand mechanic Rudy Heeman has decided to sell the pride and joy it took him 10 years to build, a flying hovercraft.
At low speeds the vehicle behaves much as any hovercraft would, covering most surfaces with the usual ease, but over 70 km/h the craft's detachable lightweight wings kick in and it takes to the air. But despite being surprisingly nimble in flight, Heeman's invention, called the "WIG", doesn't require a pilot's license to fly (in New Zealand at least) since like all hovercraft it is classed as a marine vehicle. Video in the link (Sky News).
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 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.