Weird Universe Archive

February 2013

February 6, 2013

News of the Weird (February 6, 2013)

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

Hand-Picked and Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

© 2013 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Kila Raipur, India: The annual, four-day “Rural Olympics” is a big deal in northern Punjab state--similar to the “redneck olympics” held in a couple of places in America. Events include holding bicycles with or pulling heavy equipment with your teeth or your hair or your earlobes; speed turban-tying; and letting tractors drive over you. Wall Street Journal (photos!) /// World’s Greatest Newspaper (photos!)

Albuquerque: Mortician Lester Salazar apparently kinda lost it (again) last week, first sighted running down a road naked and later playing bumper cars and trying to ram two sheriff’s deputies. A neighbor told KOB-TV that last year Salazar was caught naked with a phone cord wrapped around his package, which the police report helpfully tells us was to make him feel in control and powerful. KOB-TV

Belo Horizonte, Brazil: In this exciting city [NOTW M283, where entrepreneurs set up a “love hotel” for horny dogs], three people arrested last month in separate incidents were John Lennon Ribeiro Siqueira, John Lennon Fonseca Ferreira, and John Lennon Camargos Gomes. Plus, a drug dealer was found dead, a Mr. John Lennon Sebastiao da Silva. World’s Greatest Newspaper

Saudi Arabia: Another crazy-uncle Muslim cleric has spoken, on al-Majd TV: Saying that he’s heard of sexual assaults on very young girls, he says the Quran actually requires (though no one knew this) face-veil burqas even for babies. Al-Arabiya consulted other religious authorities, who all want Sheikh Abdullah Daoud to shut up. (Dubai)

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

New Port Richey, Fla.: Mr. Bienvenido Cintron, 34, was charged with attempted kidnaping. (Would anyone out there have any particular grooming tip for Mr. Cintron that might make a jury less hostile to him?) BayNews9 (St. Petersburg-Tampa)

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Feb 06, 2013 - Comments (3)

Borden Ice Cream Ads

I watch only one half-hour of TV per week--THE SIMPSONS--so I am not really qualified to assert this. Maybe a reader can clarify. Are there such things nowadays as TV ads for ice cream? I think not. In the 1950s, Americans had to be trained to consume luxuries like ice cream. Now we eat it automatically, three times a day! So why waste money on ads?

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 06, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Addictions, Eating, Business, Advertising, Television, Junk Food, 1950s

Dr. Chase’s Nerve Food

Alvin Chase was a successful 19th-century peddler of dubious medical remedies, but his name kept being used to sell medicine throughout the 20th century. His "nerve food" contained arsenic and strychnine (and other good stuff). The Lake Country Museum has a short bio of him:

Born in New York State in 1817, Alvin Chase came to Ann Arbor in 1856 to pursue a medical degree after a career as a traveling peddler of groceries and household drugs. While taking classes at the University of Michigan, he supported his family by selling home medical remedies and household recipes that he had picked up in his travels, starting with a single page of hints and cures.
Chase only audited classes at the U-M, since Latin was required to complete the program and had not been taught at the "log school" he'd attended in New York. He earned the title "doctor" in 1857 after spending sixteen weeks in Cincinnati at the Eclectic Medical Institute.
After returning to Ann Arbor, Chase practiced medicine and continued to expand his book of recipes. To the modern reader, many of his remedies seem very quaint. Besides cures for five kinds of "apparent death," they included tinctures, teas, and ointments made from plants, tree bark, and–in one case–cooked toads. But at a time when doctors were still bleeding patients or poisoning them with mercury, his cures may have been as much help as anything the local doctor prescribed.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 06, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Medicine

February 5, 2013

New Gold

Scientists have discovered a bacteria that ingests toxic mine runoff and excretes gold. You can't teach a trick like that!

Posted By: patty - Tue Feb 05, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Science

Smoke Smoke Smoke

The first musical anti-smoking propaganda?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 05, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Music, Smoking and Tobacco, 1940s

Horse Odometer

From Munsey's Magazine, 1895. (via Paul Collins)

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 05, 2013 - Comments (9)
Category: Inventions, Travel, Nineteenth Century

February 4, 2013

Nigerian Pen Pals


Wait a minute--my spam filters are all set up to protect against "Nigerian pen pals!" Not to vilify a whole country just on account of a few million citizens who are scammers, but I don't think Nigeria would be my first choice when seeking global camaraderie.

But if you're interested, here you go.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 04, 2013 - Comments (11)
Category: Crime, Foreign Customs, Africa

Deer thinks it’s a sheep

The UK's National Trust Charity explains:
National Trust shepherd Andrew Capell discovered the deer while counting his flock at Dunwich Heath in Suffolk recently. The little deer appears to have become separated from his herd before attaching himself to the first group of animals he came across. He has been living, eating and sleeping with his 100 new friends for about two weeks now and shows no sign of leaving. The sheep do not seem to mind their new guest and have adopted him into the flock.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 04, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals

February 3, 2013

News of the Weird (February 3, 2013)

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

Hand-Picked and Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
Sunday, February 3, 2013

© 2013 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Berlin: The upper Parliament passed Germany’s first anti-bestiality law, and it wasn’t easy, in that the “zoophiles” are organized (“Zoophilic Engagement for Tolerance and Enlightenment”) and busy educating Germans that human-animal sex is entirely consensual and that their own “partners” always get moist/erect. Major point: How can Germans allow the slaughterhouse but denounce “romance”? New York Times

Soweto, South Africa: Bands of middle-class-and-below teenagers prance around town in designer clothes, dropping wads of cash (ripped from their parents), then sometimes trashing the duds for fun. They are izikhotanes, and they gross out many people who are apartheid-survivors. “This isn’t what we struggled for.” BBC News

Bettendorf, Iowa: Sherwin Shayegan [NOTW M258] has apparently relapsed. He’s hanging around college and high school locker rooms again, either asking for, or tricking boys into giving him, piggyback rides. /// (Sherwin Shayegan profile)

Seoul: Defectors report that North Korean women genuinely (not jealously) dislike large chests. One said she added chives to her diet because she heard it prevents gazongas from developing. Global Post via Fox News

Kensington, Australia: Prison researchers re-discovered the phenomenon of jerry-built inmate penile implants. Not every inmate goes for it, of course, but the incidence is high enough to be study material. Conclusion, according to, after synthesizing the research: The prisoners are risk-takers, anyway, and they get bored in prison, and this seems like an exciting thing to do. (Implant materials: silicone, sutures, buttons, dice, deodorant roller balls, melted toothpaste caps, "sticky tape")

Burbank, Calif.: Jorge Sanchez, 35, shoplifted 24 quarts of motor oil by strapping them to his body and dashing out of the Costco. (Bonus: Security guards couldn’t catch him, even though, when spotted, he still had 15 quarts strapped in. Dude’s in shape!) Turns out he’s in the auto-servicing business, and oil is just too expensive to even buy wholesale. KCBS-TV (Los Angeles)

Memphis: Evidence is coming out in the massive cheating scandal by schoolteachers, paying people to take standardized qualifications tests for ‘em. The major ring was busted when the same impersonator showed up for the morning test and the afternoon test at the same site and both times was wearing the same pink baseball cap. New York Times

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

Chattanooga: Laura Morgan was charged with the fatal beating of her 73-yr-old live-in guy, using the butt of a shotgun. But our dainty Laura actually loves men (for a price, anyway), plus she uses a wheelchair, plus she has no legs. Couldn’t be Laura. WBIR-TV (Nashville)

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Feb 03, 2013 - Comments (7)

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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.

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