Weird Universe Archive

January 2013

January 26, 2013

Floating inside a giant inner tube, 1972

Crazy college students back in the 70s. Looks like it would have been fun!

SEATTLE, May 12, 1972 -- Pool Cocoon -- Students at the University of Washington went floating on an inner tube one better recently. They made their own inner tube and floated in it. The huge plastic tube was kept expanded by air forced from a blower. Black tape at the top was used to join two sheets of plastic to form the tube.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 26, 2013 - Comments (12)
Category: Swimming, Snorkeling, and Diving, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

News of the Weird (1-26-2013)

The News of the Weird Blog
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Hand-Picked and Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
Saturday, January 26, 2013

© 2013 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lund, Sweden: Face it, Yr Editor is a forlorn sucker for dung beetle research, especially by the renowned Lund University. The Takeaway: The beetles use the Milky Way stars to make sure they roll their balls far away--lest “competitors” try to rob them. (Proof: “The researchers even taped makeshift cardboard visors to the beetles’ heads” to block their view of the sky, and indeed, the beetles tended to roll the balls in circles and wind up back at the original turd.) Seriously. Los Angeles Times

Portland, Ore.: There’s no one hornier* than Russell Gordon, 44, who police said used a camera-in-a-pen at a co-worker’s desk to record her breast-pumping. [*Well, maybe Alejandro Razo, 61, who was arrested at Sherman Oaks Hospital near Los Angeles for being having sex with a corpse] The Oregonian /// KTLA-TV (Los Angeles)

Cañon City, Colo.: The umbrella organization for 170 Catholic health facilities has some ‘splainin’ to do, like, to the Pope. After a woman’s twins died in the womb following an alleged error, the hospital is shrugging off the damage in court by calling the twins mere fetuses (which, under state law, but not Vatican law, they are). Colorado Independent (Denver)

Poland: Inglot Cosmetics supposedly has a Muslim-friendly nail polish, the “halal certified” 02M Breathable because with ordinary nail polish, the woman cannot bathe properly for prayer, since the polish seals off the nail. (Plus: Since women are not required to pre-prayer-bathe during the Curse, wearing ordinary nail polish to prayer signals that you’re just coming out of heat.) The Evolution of Ideas blog (November 2012) via New York Magazine (January 2013)

Prague, Czech Republic: Beer:CzechRepublic::Wine:France, and in many places, beer is the cheapest drink on the menu (than even water). Now, the gov’t proposes to require pubs and restaurants to offer at least one drink cheaper than beer, and presto--controversy. (Fun Facts: Per capita, Czechs drink 2x the beer that Americans do, plus beer is sometimes delivered to pubs in tanker trucks like what we use to deliver gasoline to service stations.) Wall Street Journal

Boca Raton, Fla.: The ancient doctrine of “adverse possession” lets squatters convert abandoned property for their very own so it won’t go to waste. It’s still on the books most places. In an mansionized neighborhood in Boca Raton, Fla., a $2.1m, 7500-square-foot home, foreclosed on by Bank of America, is being squatted on by a Brazilian full of joie de vivre (ed. My French-Portuguese dictionary is packed away in the attic), and it’s driving the posh neighbors crazy. BofA has shown interest, but, they’re BofA, which doesn’t always hardly ever gets things right. South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Orlando Sentinel

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . until the mug shot is released]:

Shelby County, Ala.: Barry Vick, 41, charged two weeks ago with domestic violence after a relative was slashed. Your call. (Birmingham)

Posted By: Chuck - Sat Jan 26, 2013 - Comments (2)

January 25, 2013

Leggy Dolls

Somehow, Barbie doesn't seem so anatomically impossible anymore.

More info here.

More pics here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 25, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Body Modifications, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Toys, 1970s

News of the Weird (1-25-2013)

The News of the Weird Blog
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Hand-Picked and Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
Friday, January 25, 2013

© 2013 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Port Canaveral, Fla.: Thank God for the War on Terror! A routine Patriot Act ID check on a vacation cruise ship turned up Robin Hall, who 22 yrs ago skipped out on a court date over swiping a pack of cigarettes. Off to Gitmo!. But she languished in jail several days, without bail, because of the holiday.) WESH-TV (Orlando)

Bakewell, Australia: “For someone to steal dog sperm is a pretty low act.” (Agreed.) NT News (Darwin)

Idaho Falls, Id.: Mark Carroll, 18, was charged with armed robbery of the midnight-shift clerk at a Maverik convenience store. The midnight-shift clerk was his mother. (I know what you’re thinking, but police cleared her. It was an outside job.) KIDK-TV (Idaho Falls)

Moline Acres, Mo.: Tammie Jackson complained that her daughter Gabrielle, 13, is being bullied at school because she has large breasts, and wants a transfer. A school official said she’d look into the bullying charge, but beyond that, Get over it, because there ain’t no school where teenagers ignore large breasts. KTVI (St. Louis)

New York City: Timothy Silo, 42, a probationary (i.e., no rights) cop, sued when NYPD fired him after its shrink said, though Timothy is not a problem drunk, he’s likely to become one. New York Post

Kerry County, Ireland: In a cliche come to life for this country, councillors voted to empower police to issue permits allowing certain people to drive drunk. The theory is that old people who live in the mountains are often alone and depressed and that they need to get out and enspiritize themselves, and, besides, few people live in those areas, and drivers can usually make it home encountering no other drivers. (Alternative theory: The vote was 5-3, and “several” of the five own pubs.) BBC News

North Fort Myers, Fla.: Police haven’t determined what Gregory Bruni, 21, was on, but he invaded an occupied home, naked, babbled in gibberish, scrambled through the house, took a dump by the front door, and responded to being shot at three times (all misses!) by dropping to the floor and masturbating. (Drug researchers, if you recognize these symptoms, notify the NFM police.) WBBH-TV (Fort Myers)

Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . until the mug shot is released]:
Gretna, La.: Without looking at the headline, guess Ralph Wille Jr.’s alleged crime. Bad contest. Everyone I show it to gets it right. WWL-TV (N’awlins)

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Jan 25, 2013 - Comments (3)

Highlights from Thom Browne’s Spring 2012 Collection

The no-neck look

The skirt-around-your-knees look

Lobster-claw arms, and (for men) suit shorts

See the full collection at

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 25, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Fashion

January 24, 2013

News of the Weird 2.0 (1-24-2013)

The News of the Weird 2.0 Blog
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Hand-Picked and Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
Thursday, January 24, 2013

Scientology: You won’t read a more entertaining review of Lawrence Wright’s new book than that by Michael Kinsley in last Sunday’s New York Times. Wright ostensibly explores why seemingly normal people would devote themselves so slavishly to a rigid set of philosophies when Scientology did not have the head start that other religions have. (That is, people choose to be Christian, or Muslim, or Jewish, etc., largely because of their rich histories and from parental or community indoctrination. And even though many people see through those “rich histories” as being mostly legend, those histories are far, far less fanciful than Scientology’s.) By contrast, Scientologists had to figure everything out by themselves--and they’re doing it about as well or poorly as any self-acknowledged “empty-feeling”-inspired people might be expected to do it. And through it all, the jury is still out on whether founder L. Ron Hubbard has been, for 27 yrs now, just giggling in his grave. New York Times

One More Crazy Egyptian Cleric: Rasmi Ajlan apparently startled his interviewer with Rep.-Todd-Akin-like pontifications on sexuality, e.g., a man doesn’t want to be “irrigating the seed of another” and the more a man copulates with his already-pregnant wife, the smarter the child will be. The newly-impressed interviewer could only respond, “Allahu Akbar! This is the wondrous scientific nature of Islam.” (The politically-correct crowd is quick to call these crazy-cleric stories “hoaxes.” Yr Editor usually doubts the “hoax” angle. More likely, it seems, is that there might be an Arabic-English translation disagreement or that the unorthodox view is simply a dispute over Quranic language--or that Islam, like other religions, simply has a few crazy uncles.) YouTube via Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (Washington, D.C.)

Something Else You’d Know Way Before Now If You Always Read News of the Weird: Many of Las Vegas’s homeless do have homes--in the “flood tunnels.” After a day of scrounging for loose change in downscale casinos, they retreat to surprisingly elaborate digs (and hope the periodical surges don’t wash away their possessions, which would do dozens of dollars’ damage). Of course, since News of the Weird was on this story in 2009, citing a pictures-galore story from London’s The Sun, you would not have been surprised to read the Globe and Mail story last week. (Several NOTW readers denounced me in 2009 because I cited The Sun. Note to Skeptical Readers: Only if everything in a newspaper is false can you disbelieve a story only on the basis of where it appeared. But of course, not everything in The Sun is false. Therefore, to evaluate the story, you have to, like, um, y’know, actually evaluate the story [cf. Some facts reported by your least-favorite conservative or liberal commentator are actually true, and thus you don’t win your argument simply by citing the source].) The Globe and Mail (Toronto) /// The Sun (upated 2009 story)

© 2013 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Jan 24, 2013 - Comments (3)

Follies of the Madmen #197


As gross-outs go, the notion of a giant head raining its dandruff on helpless humans (or is that a normal-sized head raining on shrunken doll people?), is pretty far up the scale. Not sure, however, that it makes me want to buy the product.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 24, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Disasters, 1940s, Hair and Hairstyling

Menstruation Machine

MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) brings us the Menstruation Machine, created by the artist Sputniko!:

The metal device, which looks like a chastity belt and is equipped with a blood-dispensing system and electrodes that stimulate the lower abdomen, replicates the pain and bleeding of the average five-day menstruation period. It is designed to be worn by men, children, postmenopausal women, or whoever else wants to experience menstruation... Since the 1960s, advances in hormone-based contraception have, by suppressing ovulation, made monthly periods no longer biologically necessary. Sputniko! notes that the Menstruation Machine may be particularly desirable in a future in which menstruation in fact becomes obsolete.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 24, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Art, Body, Torture

January 23, 2013

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids

How a sardonic adult western ever loaned its name to a sappy kids' cartoon will remain forever a mystery. Whose brainstorm was that? In any case, please revel in the ghastly animation.

And if this happens to be a potent nostalgic item for you, you can buy the recently released complete series at Warner Archives.

Wikipedia entry here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 23, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Music, Spies and Secret Agents, Television, Cartoons, Psychedelic, 1970s, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

How often are barrister’s wigs washed?

In the UK, and in some countries formerly part of the British Empire, they maintain the strange habit of making barristers (attorneys) wear wigs. Apparently these wigs, traditionally made out of horsehair, are very expensive, so barristers often own only one. And according to the South China Morning Post, barristers rarely wash them, so over time the wigs start to smell bad:

Tong said he had never washed or dry-cleaned the wig before, for fear that it would fall apart. "It is made of horsehair that is glued together and is not very strong."
In fact, few lawyers would have their wigs cleaned as there is an odd perception that an old and discoloured wig is a better symbol of seniority. But the rows of white curls can become stale and smelly as they absorb sweat and oil from the scalp. A court dress shop in Admiralty charges HK$760 to wash it.

This info is seconded by

The aim of most barristers is to achieve a wig with a worn and matured look to create the impression of experience when standing before a judge.

"None of them likes to look the new boy," says David John Harris, manager of the legal department at Ede and Ravenscroft, which has been manufacturing wigs for barristers, judges and royalty since 1726. "If it is really grubby looking, it looks like they've been around," he says.

Barristers will go to great lengths to make their wigs look fashionably old. There are a number of tried and tested ways to age one, including stamping on it, kicking it in the dirt, giving it to kids, letting the dog at it, or shaking it in a Hoover bag...

Wigs should last for 100 years but are often damaged by perspiration. Ede and Ravenscroft suggests cleaning wigs every four to five years, while Thresher and Glenny recommends every 25 to 30 years. "The longer you leave it, the better it is," says Hill.

The sweet smell of tradition!

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 23, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: Fashion, Headgear, Law

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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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