Weird Universe Archive

September 2013

September 24, 2013

It Pays to Be Ignorant

We could use such a satirical show today.

Full history here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 24, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Radio, Stupidity, Television, 1940s, 1950s

September 23, 2013

The Man Who Owned the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth, a dedicated altruistic soul who ran it until his death in 1912.

But he also had to be a canny businessman, and in 1878 he had the entire holdings of the enterprise put into his name as sole proprietor.


That paragraph above comes from this Australian newspaper, which state that at time of Booth's death the Australian holdings alone amounted to "over half a million pounds."

I find the figure of £975,000 for worldwide holdings from this 1912 biography of Booth. An online inflation calculator for British pounds figures that sum equals £81,700,000.00 today.

So the selfless General was a multimillionaire when he was Promoted to Glory and passed on the Sally to his son Bramwell.

I can't find any data on when the Booth family gave over control of the Army to some kind of board of directors. I assume they did. Did they?

Does any WU-vie have the answer?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 23, 2013 - Comments (17)
Category: Charities and Philanthropy, Money, 1910s

The Shocking Stocking

What a brilliant invention! Mouse-killing pantyhose stockings*. These were unveiled in 1941 at the Annual Congress of the Inventors of America in Los Angeles, but they never appear to have gone into commercial production.

*Note: Pantyhose were only invented in 1953 by Allen Gant, Sr. They were brought to market in 1959.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 23, 2013 - Comments (10)
Category: Inventions, 1940s

News of the Weird 2.0 (September 23, 2013)

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

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
September 23, 2013
(datelines September 14-September 21) (links correct as of September 22)

Tacky Tacky: A colleague ratted out Beverly Hills, Calif., police Sgt. Terry Nutall for sneaking a peek (for “no legitimate law enforcement purpose”) in February 2012 as ambulance personnel were hauling away the nude body of Whitney Houston. “Damn, she’s still looking good, huh [after briefly pulling the sheet down past her hoo-hahtic area]?” Los Angeles Times via Kansas City Star

The Hipster Industry: (1) Gawker came across a Brooklyn woman trying to create a job for herself as a “book therapist” ($30 an hour for helping clients figure out what to read, buy, give). (2) The Brooklyn restaurant Eat has begun featuring a Sunday dinner at which conversation is banned. Purpose: contemplation, focus. Gawker /// Wall Street Journal

“UCLA Doctors Successfully ‘Vacuum’ 2-foot Blood Clot Out of Patient’s Heart” (as an alternative to open-heart surgery). Whoa! UCLA Press Release

The city council of Topeka, Kan., empowered the Human Rights Commission to do even more things that horrify its homies at Westboro Baptist Church. (Bonus: One councilman is openly bi-sexual, and it’s not even chairman Chad Manspeaker.) Predictably, Westboro then poured a big pitcher of hate on ‘em. Huffington Post

Perspective: Floridians have been under water-use restriction ever since I moved here in the early 1990s. (Basically, it’s a miracle of nature that all these people and golf courses magically get water whenever they turn on the tap.) Now, the water management district in central Florida is about to allow Niagara Bottling Company to double its water contract, taking more than 300m gallons of my water a year out of state. Officials: What crisis? Orlando Sentinel

Round Up the Usual Suspect: Indicted for child rape in Chattanooga, Tenn., was Mr. John A. Raper, 19. Times Free Press (Chattanooga)

Christopher Deas has been banned from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro campus after one too many incidents of foot worship . . crawling around on the floor under library tables. WGHP-TV (Greensboro)

A UK appeals tribunal reinstated a Welsh cop, ruling that he had every right to take a break once in a while for a “spot of tea’--or to nail a married woman not his wife, either one. (Bonus: He conscientiously kept his gun at the ready, i.e., around his ankles, the whole time.) BBC News

[Editor’s Note: Still futzing with NOTW 2.0 style and format. More stories tomorrow.]

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

Tori Manger, 19, and Tawny Manger, 23, were charged with assisting their mom’s scheme to steal from the animal shelter where mom worked, near N’awlins. Damn right they were railroaded! Free the Manger Two! Yowza! Hubba hubba! WWL Radio

Newsrangers: Sandy Pearlman, Neb Rodgers, Steve Dunn, John McGaw, David Swanson, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Sep 23, 2013 - Comments (2)

September 22, 2013

The Backwards Multilingual Singing Career of Jeanette

Because the USA market for music is so huge, singers from other countries are always trying to break in, abandoning their native languages for English.

Maurice Chevalier. Charles Aznavour. Julio Iglesias. Shakira. The list goes on and on.

What's stranger is someone who abandons a career singing in native English to become a star abroad.

Such was the case of Jeanette.

Born in the UK and raised in America, she tried to be a folkie.

But failing that, she moved to Europe and became a great success, singing mostly in Spanish.

Of course, looking like a beautiful flower child didn't hurt!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 22, 2013 - Comments (10)
Category: Languages, Music, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1960s, 1970s, Europe, North America

News of the Weird (September 22, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M337, September 22, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

First Amendment Blues: In the public libraries of Seattle (as in most public libraries), patrons are not allowed to eat or sleep (or even appear to be sleeping) or be shirtless or barefoot or have bad body odor or talk too loudly--because other patrons might be disturbed. However, in Seattle, as the Post-Intelligencer reported in September, librarians do permit patrons to watch hard-core pornography on public computers, without apparent restriction, no matter who (adult or child) is walking by or sitting inches away at the next screen (although librarians politely ask porn-watchers to consider their neighbors). Said a library spokesperson, “[P]atrons have a right to view constitutionally protected material no matter where they are in the building, and the Library does not censor . . ..” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9-8-2013]

Cultural Diversity

Japan and Korea seem to be the birthplaces in the quest for youthful and beautiful skin, with the latest “elixir” (as usual, based on traditional, centuries-old beliefs) being snail mucus--applied by specially-bred live snails that slither across customers’ faces. The Clinical Salon in central Tokyo sells the 60-minute Celebrity Escargot Course session for the equivalent of about $250 and even convinced a London Daily Telegraph reporter to try one in July. (Previously, News of the Weird has informed readers of Asian nightingale-feces facials and live-fish pedicures.) [Daily Telegraph, 7-13-2013]

Unclear on the Concept: Among people earnestly devoted to palmistry (the foretelling of the future by “expert” examination of the inner surface of the hand), a few in Japan have resorted to what seems like cheating: altering their palm lines with cosmetic surgery. According to a July Daily Beast dispatch from Tokyo, Dr. Takaaki Matsuoka is a leading practitioner, preferring an electric scalpel over laser surgery in that the latter more often eventually heals over, obviously defeating the purpose. He must be careful to add or move only the lines requested by the patient (e.g., “marriage” line, “romance” line, “money-luck” line, “financial” success line). [, 7-12-2013]

Latest Religious Messages

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Iran’s INSA news service reported in January that officials in Shiraz had acquired a finger-amputation machine to perhaps streamline the gruesome punishment often meted out to convicted thieves. (A masked enforcer turns a guillotine-like wheel to slice off the finger in the manner of a rotary saw.) Iran is already known for its reliance on extreme Islamic Sharia, which prescribes amputations, public lashings, and death by stoning, and Middle East commentators believe the government will now step up its amputating of fingers, even for the crime of adultery. [Daily Telegraph (London), 1-28-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Smiting Skeptics: Measles, despite being highly contagious, was virtually eradicated in America until a small number of skeptics, using now-discredited “research,” tied childhood vaccinations with the rise of autism, and now the disease is returning. About half the members of the Eagle Mountain International Church near Dallas have declined to vaccinate their children, and as of late August, at least 20 church families have experienced the disease. The head pastor denied that he preaches against the immunizations (although he did tell NPR, cryptically, “[T]he [medical] facts are facts, but then we know the truth. That always overcomes facts.”). [NPR, 9-1-2013]

Outraged Jewish leaders complain periodically about Mormons who, in the name of their church, posthumously baptize deceased Jews (even Holocaust victims)--beneficently, of course, to help them qualify for heaven. In 2012, church officials promised to stop, but reports still surface that not all Mormons got the memo. Thus inspired, a “religious” order called the Satanic Temple conducted a July “pink mass” over the Meridian, Miss., grave of the mother of the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, Rev. Fred Phelps Jr.--posthumously “turning” her gay. (Westboro infamously stages small, hate-saturated demonstrations denouncing homosexuals and American tolerance.) Ten days later, Meridian prosecutors charged a Satanic Temple official with misdemeanor desecration of a grave. [Huffington Post, 7-24-2013] [New York Times, 3-2-2012]

Questionable Judgments

Australia’s chief diplomat in Taipei, Taiwan, said in August that he was suing local veterinarian Yang Dong-sheng for fraud because Dr. Yang backed out of euthanizing the diplomat Kevin Magee’s sick, 10-year-old dog. Instead, Dr. Yang “rescued” the dog, who is now thriving in a several-rescued-dog kennel he maintains after he patiently treated their serious wounds and illnesses. Magee’s lawsuit claims, in essence, that his family vet recommended euthanization, that he had paid for euthanization, and that “Benji” should have been put down. Dr. Yang said the fee Magee paid was for “medical care” and not necessarily euthanization. (Benji, frolicking outside when a reporter visited, was not available for comment.) [Taipei Times, 8-17-2013]

In August, a prosecutor in Houston, Tex., filed aggravated rape charges against a 10-year-old girl (“Ashley”) who had been arrested in June and held for four days in a juvenile detention center. A neighbor had seen Ashley touching a 4-year-old boy “in his private area,” according to a KRIV-TV report--in other words, apparently playing the time-honored, rite-of-passage game of “doctor.” [KRIV-TV (Houston), 8-21-2013]

Squirrels Gone Wild

PREVIOUSLY: Smithsonian magazine detailed in August the exhaustive measures that military officials have taken to finally block relentless Richardson’s ground squirrels from tunneling underneath Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and interfering with the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles on 24/7 standby. For example, officials had to use trial-and-error to plant underground screens deeper into the ground than the squirrels cared to dig. A day after that report was published, a bus driver in Gothenburg, Sweden, crashed into a tree (with six passengers requiring hospital treatment) after swerving to avoid a squirrel in the road. On the same day, a New York Times reporter disclosed that his own news monitoring for 2013 revealed that squirrels have caused 50 power outages in the U.S., in 24 states so far this year after invading electric company substations. [Smithsonian blog, 8-30-2013] [The Local (Stockholm), 9-1-2013] [New York Times, 8-31-2013]

Progressive Governments

PREVIOUSLY: In July, the Czech Republic approved Lukas Novy’s official government ID photo even though he was wearing a kitchen colander on his head. Novy had successfully explained that his religion required it since he is a “Pastafarian”--a member Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (a prank religion pointing out that all deities’ power and wisdom comes from followers’ faith rather than from tangible proof of their existence). [Daily Mail (London), 8-1-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: In August, a judge in Voronezh, Russia, accepted for trial Dmitry Argarkov’s lawsuit against Tinkoff Credit Systems for violating a credit-card contract. Tinkoff had mailed Argarkov its standard fine-print contract, but Argarkov computer-scanned it, changed pro-Tinkoff provisions into pro-Argarkov terms, and signed and returned it, and Tinkoff accepted it without re-reading. At least at this stage of the lawsuit, the judge appeared to say that Argarkov had bested Tinkoff at its own game of oppressive, fine-print mumbo-jumbo. [Kommersant (Moscow) via Daily Telegraph (London), 8-8-2013]

The Pervo-American Community

PREVIOUSLY: He Had A Different Dream: Barely two months before the 50-year commemoration of the “March on Washington,” Park Police arrested Christopher H. Cleveland and charged him with shooting “upskirt” photos of unsuspecting women lounging on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. According to the officers, Cleveland (who said he was unaware that the photos were illegal) had a computer in his car that contained at least 150 PowerPoint slide presentations of at least 30 images each of his multitude of female photo victims. [Washington Post, 9-5-2013]

A News of the Weird Classic (July 2010)

While the morbidly obese struggle with their health (and society's scorn), those who eroticize massive weight gain are capturing increased attention, according to a July [2010] ABC News report. Commercial and personal websites give full-bellied "gainers," such as New Jerseyan Donna Simpson, and their admiring "feeders" the opportunity to express themselves. Simpson became a 602-lb. media sensation in March [2010], when she began offering pay-per-view video of herself to an audience of horny feeders. Wrote another gainer-blogger, "Lately, I've been infatuated with the physics of my belly . . . how it moves with me." When he leans to one side, he wrote, "I feel a roll form around my love handle." One sex researcher called it a "metaphor of arousal." In the end, though, as a medical school professor put it, "The fetish may be in our heads, but the plaque is going to be in [their] arteries." [ABC News, 7-1-10]

Thanks This Week to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 22, 2013 - Comments (6)

The Fire Escape Parachute

Patented by Benjamin Oppenheimer in 1879. I wonder if he ever tried testing it.

Be it known that I, Benjamin B. Oppenheimer, of Trenton, in the county of Gibson and State of Tennessee, have invented a new and Improved Fire-Escape, of which the following is a specification.

The accompanying drawing represents a side view of a person with my improved fire escape or safety device, by which a person may safely jump out of the window of a burning building from any height; and land, without injury and without the least damage, on the ground; and it consists of a parachute attached, in suitable manner, to the upper part of the body, in combination with overshoes having elastic bottom pads of suitable thickness to take up the concussion with the ground.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 22, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Patents, Nineteenth Century

September 21, 2013

Trick Rostrum

From Popular Science - Oct 1954. Most conferences would be livened up by this gadget. Would be useful at the Oscars as well.

Trick Rostrum Makes Long Stories Short
Scientists rigged up this remote-controlled rostrum to gag long-winded speakers. If a speaker talks too long, a puff of smoke blows up in his face and laugh-provoking cartoons appear on a screen behind him. The electronic gadgets at the chairman's elbow also speed up the clock when a talker gets behind schedule and warn him two minutes before he is due for "the works." Standard Oil scientists say the system has cut down wordage at meetings.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 21, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions

Antics of the Artists

The filmmaker's home page.

Those wacky, outrageous bohemians!

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 21, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Aliens, Literature, Movies, Avant Garde, Surrealism, Fictional Monsters

September 20, 2013


CMYK by Marv Newland, National Film Board of Canada

More trippy stuff to start your weekend.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 20, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Products, Cartoons

Page 3 of 9 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›

Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

weird universe thumbnail
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.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
April 2024 •  March 2024 •  February 2024 •  January 2024

December 2023 •  November 2023 •  October 2023 •  September 2023 •  August 2023 •  July 2023 •  June 2023 •  May 2023 •  April 2023 •  March 2023 •  February 2023 •  January 2023

December 2022 •  November 2022 •  October 2022 •  September 2022 •  August 2022 •  July 2022 •  June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •