Although he was hardly as famous as Stradivarius, Gustav Fassauer-Ferron created some violins that still have their fans today. As one site says, "Pupil of Oswald Schaller of Frankfort (Germany), with whom he underwent a thorough training, proof of which is found in his work. Well made instruments after the Guarneri I. H. S. model, adorned with an orange oil varnish. His violins are esteemed by both artists and amateurs." You can hear one of his instruments in the video.
But when he wasn't busy making full-size ones, he turned out the occasional miniature. Don't you wish you had this for those times when you wanted to mock someone's self-indulgent hard-luck story?
I guess it's some kind of achievement to be judged the most entirely average, but still, I don't think "Miss Typical" pageants are often held nowadays. They seem to belong to an age when conformity was thought to be more of a virtue. Rachel Reber here won "Miss Typical Freshman Coed" title back in 1941.
Marilyn Charleston was judged Miss Typical Teen of Nevada:
Britain’s “weirdest support group," AMMACH, got a nice write-up in the Daily Mirror. The “Anomalous Mind Management Abductee Contactee Helpline” comforts about 1,500 true believers a yr, including the lady who inexplicably has been abducted more than 1,000 times. Co-founder Miles Johnston uses a wall stud detector to find the alien “signature” on the abductee’s skin’s atoms--a signature sure to have been registered by the other dimension--and the atoms show up under UV light. These people need support precisely because they’re sane, i.e., being sane, they know full well that all of us know they’re nuts. Daily Mirror
Sounds Like a Joke a Nestlé Marketing Executive Who’s Just Taken Sodium Pentathol: Introducing the company’s new bottled-water, “Resource,” which is just “water” but for a woman “who is a little more on the trendy side and higher-income side”--a reflection of who she is as a woman in the very deepest and most personal sense of her very being, the executive said. It’s for the woman who is “proud to carry around Resource as her bottled water accessory . . ..” In other words, it’s for women who were crushed to find out that Walmart sells Evian. Salon.com
Beauty Park Medical Spa in Santa Monica offers the $575 “Male Laser Lift,” aka “tackle tightening”--removing hair, discoloration, and wrinkles on the scrotum. It was supposedly inspired by a joke George Clooney made a while back in an interview--that H’wood’s latest craze was “ball-ironing,” which itself was just a step up from Lewis Black’s observation that Wall Street executives’ latest perq was the personal ball-washer. Yo, gettin’ real. Salon.com
More Things to Worry About
Journalist Stacie Borrello toted the numbers up, and it’s 11 to 4, or 21-4. “4" is the number of Americans killed domestically so far this year by terrorists (all in Boston). “11" is the number of Americans killed by gun shooters aged 3-6. Add 10 to get the number wounded by gun shooters aged 2-6. OpposingViews.com
Scotland’s parliament will vote soon on a bill to formally assign a social worker to every child in the country. It’s still to be determined just how active or powerful the shadow parent will be. In principle, it’s as much to help dumb parents as it is to rescue at-risk children. Still . . .. Daily Telegraph (London)
Wait, What? Elementary school teacher Carie Charlesworth was fired by a Catholic school near San Diego . . because her husband was threatening to kill her--which supposedly put her kids in danger. KNSD-TV (San Diego)
Destination--Ninth Circle of Hell: Cheryl Tchida, 51, has a 19-yr-old daughter with dwarfism and a mental age of 5 so the thing to do with her, Cheryl thought (according to police), was pimp her out at $200/per to several men over a six-week period, and now the kid’s pregnant. New York Daily News
Laura Fong, 18, of Barrow, Ga., ignored several reasonable inquiries by her mother as to who had eaten her fried chicken, and then apparently grew weary of the inquisition. Fong was arrested later after her mother, her shoulder bleeding from a deep bite and a dumbbell attack, called the cops. Barrow Patch
Recurring Theme: Oldenberg, Germany,’s annual cow beauty contest is back, with 250 contestants. The money fact here is that there are 12 professional cow hairdressers who work the show, trimming belly and leg hair (to display the veins, the powerful legs, bulging udders, and strong bone structure). The Local (Berlin)
Colombian poet Raffael Medina Brochero, vowing that he’d never run out of money again on the road while performing, said he’s aiming to pre-fund his upcoming trip to Europe . . . by selling his testicles for US$20,000. Colombia Reports
Urban Legend? Probably not, since, after all, it’s Japan. Teens’ latest craze is when a girl lets you lick her eyeball. Apparently it’s like getting to 2nd base with her. Ophthalmologists are horrified (pinkeye and eye chlamydia) Shanghaiist.com
Americans Starting to Suck at BS’ing
The best Aron Roy, 23, could do when arrested for kidnaping a teenage girl in Fremont, Calif., was to ‘splain that it was an accident, that he got into the wrong car, which is why he ordered her to take off her clothes. ABC News
In Fort Pierce, Fla., Martin Perez, 33, took off his shoes to reveal that he had a packet of cocaine between his toes . . but that it wasn’t his cocaine, that it belonged to someone else. TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)
Rodger Kelly, 50, was arrested in St. George, Utah, for rape, but, y’see, what happened was that he put his penis inside the woman only to warm her up because it was cold outside where he found her, and he needed to get her temperature up. Seriously. Salt Lake Tribune
Your Weekly Jury Duty [In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]
Randy Zipperer, 49, arrested in Deltona, Fla., for stabbing his brother because he thought the guy stole his mac-and-cheese. The brother also might have made Randy spill his beer. [ed.: Sometimes ya need to take a look at the victim, too, before you judge.]WPBF-TV (West Palm Beach)
Newsrangers: Steve Manousos, Aaron Nachsin, Steve Dunn, Bob Wagner, and Perry Levin, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors
Artist Lisa Park wears a headset that monitors her brainwaves, which are then translated into sound waves that vibrate pans of water. So she's making the pans of water splash and bubble with her mind.
Or, at least, that's what she says. It occurs to me that no one would know the difference if she sat there looking very serious, wearing a headset that did absolutely nothing, while speakers randomly turned on and off beneath the water.
News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M323, June 16, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd
PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Orestes De La Paz’s exhibit the Frost Art Museum in Miami, Fla., in May recalled Chuck Palahniuk’s novel and film “Fight Club” in which the lead character Tyler Durden’s principal income source was making upscale soap using discarded liposuctioned fat fetched from the garbage of cosmetic surgeons (thus closing the loop of fat from rich ladies recycled back to rich ladies). De La Paz told his mentor at Florida International University that he wanted only to display his own liposuctioned fat provocatively but decided to make soap when he realized that the fat would otherwise quickly rot. Some visitors to the exhibit were able to wash their hands with the engineered soap, which De La Paz offered for sale at $1,000 a bar. [WLRN-TV (Miami), 5-16-2013]
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
PREVIOUSLY: As recently as mid-May, people with disabilities had been earning hefty black-market fees by taking strangers into Disneyland and Disney World using the parks’ own liberal “disability” passes (which allow for up to five relatives or guests at a time to accompany the disabled person in skipping the sometimes-hours-long lines and have immediate access to the rides). The pass-holding “guide,” according to the New York Post, could charge as much as $200 through advertising on CraigsList and via word-of-mouth to some travel agents. Following reports in the Post and other outlets, Disney was said in late May to be warning disabled permit-holders not to abuse the privilege. [New York Post, 5-14-2013; NBC News, 5-31-2013]
PREVIOUSLY: After setting out to create a protective garment for mixed martial arts fighters, Jeremiah Raber of High Ridge, Mo., realized that his “groin protection device” could also help police, athletes, and military contractors. Armored Nutschellz underwear, now selling for $125 each, has multiple layers of Kevlar plus another fabric called Dyneema, which Raber said can “resist” multiple shots from 9mm and .22 caliber handguns. He said the Army will be testing Nutschellz in August, hoping they can reduce the number of servicemen who come home with devastating groin injuries. [KSDK-TV, 5-6-2013]
PREVIOUSLY: “Ambulance-chasing” lawyers are less the cliche they formerly were because of bar association crackdowns, but firetruck-chasing contractors and “public adjusters” are still a problem--at least in Florida, where the state supreme court tossed out a “48-hour” time-out rule that would have given casualty victims space to reflect on their losses before being overwhelmed by home-restoration salesmen. Consequently, as firefighters told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in May, the contractors are usually “right behind” them on the scene, pestering anxious or grief-stricken victims. The Sun-Sentinel found one woman being begged to sign up while she was still crying out for her dog that remained trapped in the blaze. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 5-18-2013]
Researchers writing recently in the journal PLoS ONE disclosed that they had found certain types of dirt that contain antimicrobial agents capable of killing E.coli and the antibiotic-resistant MRSA. According to the article, medical “texts” back to 3000 B.C. mentioned clays that, when rubbed on wounds, reduce inflammation and pain. [Popular Science, 5-22-2013]
PREVIOUSLY: Researchers writing in May in the journal Pediatrics found that some infants whose parents regularly sucked their babies’ pacifiers to clean them (rather than rinsing or boiling them) developed fewer allergies and cases of asthma. (On the other hand, parental-cleansing might make other maladies more likely, such as tooth decay.) [New York Times, 5-6-2013]
Leading Economic Indicators
PREVIOUSLY (and, in fact, last week the nine Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Yr Editor that this story is weird; they ruled that human genes cannot be patented.): Until recently, apparently, gene mutations were considered merely freaks of nature, but that was before Myriad Genetics obtained binding U.S. patents for mutations it discovered--now known as BRCA-1 and BRCA-2. Those mutations were in the news in May when actor Angelina Jolie announced that she had chosen to have a double mastectomy based on the presence of the cancer-causing mutations, which she had learned through a Myriad Genetics test costing about $4,000. There is no price competition for the test, due to the patent, and Jolie, along with oncologists and ob-gyn doctors, fret that the test is too expensive for tens of millions of women around the world whose lives could be saved by knowing their status. [Marketplace.org, 5-14-2013]
Back in 1973, Shirley Haycock declared her intention to cross the Atlantic in a 16-foot canoe. Some news reports initially stated that she was 86 years old, which would have made her plan really unusual. She was actually only 40. But she was the Director of Activities at a senior citizens center, and she called her canoe the "Senior Citizens Ark," which was probably the source of the confusion. Her plan was to use the publicity from the trip to raise funds for the center she worked at. [Deseret News - Feb 15, 1973]
The Coast Guard tried to stop her from going, but realized that it didn't have any legal means to do so. But they needn't have worried. She set off twice, but never got very far. It wasn't until 2012 that someone actually did cross the Atlantic in a canoe.
After failing to cross the Atlantic, Haycock decided to become a coal miner, and was Utah's first female coal miner. Seems like she was a bit of a character.
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.
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