Weird Universe Archive

September 2013

September 16, 2013

Mystery in the Kitchen

Mystery in the Kitchen by Don Haldane, National Film Board of Canada

Invisible supercilious foppish food policeman invades a family's life and assigns all nutritional malfeasance to the "emotional" mother/wife.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 16, 2013 - Comments (1)
Category: Food, PSA’s, 1950s, North America

News of the Weird 2.0 (September 16, 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 16, 2013
(datelines September 7-September 14) (links correct as of September 15)

“I know of people who have even more than me,” said Nathaniel Smith, 39, father of 12 boys and 15 girls. He promises he’ll be a great dad. After all, he doesn’t smoke. WHIO-TV (Dayton)

The Permanent Campaign for Parental Licensing: “I was mad, and I was making a point [by dangling her urchin out a window 12 ft up]. I can do what I want with my baby. Nobody can stop me.” Police in Tampa finally did, arresting Aisha Clark, 25, but the excellent BayNews9 reporter wasn’t able to arrest that actual “point” from Clark’s mind. BayNews9 (Bright House cable Tampa Bay)

Phoenix New Times’s stylebook made this sound even worse than it was. Bad enough Christopher Jackson thought he had a right to brand a C and a J onto his girlfriend’s vulva when she passed out. But when the vulva is mistakenly called that inside organ with the especially-sensitive tissue, owwwww! Phoenix New Times

It still happens. A perp fleeing the crime scene trips over his own saggy pants and gets caught. (Bonus: It was a good-looking white guy.) MyNews13 (Bright House cable Central Florida)

Old Friends: Huffington Post catches you up on “Lizardman” Eric Sprague’s latest look. (The last NOTW report had him only half-finished, apparently.) And BBC News shows the latest length of Christine Wilson’s world-record fingernails. Huffington Post /// BBC News [Christine might be Not Safe For Stomachs]

Latest from the Debacle of Department of Veterans Affairs: [In retrospect, it was genius to appoint a general to run the Department because no self-respecting general will quit on the commander-in-chief--since resignation in fury would be Secretary Shinseki’s only hole card to get the president’s and Congress’s attention. So, wounded warriors, might as well dig that bunker deeper.] DVA has made significant progress reducing the case load, it proudly trumpets. Reality: It fast-tracked all the easy cases, meaning it stuffed the difficult, non-visible-brain-injury cases. And then, of course, there are appeals where DVA has low-balled injuries to speed them along, and there are now 256,061 appeals pending--about 50 percent higher since Obama took office. (But good news! Congress will probably renew well-off farmers’ subsidies again [$5bn] and continue paying the 2,300 recipients who have grown zero crops for the past 5 yrs--including the 622 with zero crops in the last 10. So Congress has that going for them.) Washington Post /// New York Times

First Things First: Brooklyn cops derailed an ethnic drug operation. Pity da po’ fool who needed his “DOB” or his “white lady” between sundown Fridays until after sundown Saturdays--closed for business. Associated Press via Brooklyn Daily Eagle

There are perverts, and there are tacky perverts. So the flasher in Sweden followed the lady home and stuck his own package through the mail slot in her front door. The Local (Stockholm)

“Through the yrs, there have been a lot of interesting things here,” said the curator at the Sedro-Woolley Museum in Washington state. This time, it was the burglar, naked and bleeding, and having spent hours (according to surveillance video) “rearranging ladders, broken boards, and pieces of an antique stove . . ..” KIRO-TV (Seattle)

Good to Know: If you use spray deodorant, just do a spritz or two, please. (It’s a way-rapid skin-coolant.) Otherwise, you could look like this Scotsman. Scottish Daily Record [Not Safe For Stomachs]

What would a family reunion be like at the Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaeles’ house? World’s Greatest Newspaper

On successive days in Cabell County, W.Va., and Hollywood, Calif., Superman, Batman, and Captain America performed real-life heroics. (Bonus: One of the rescue-ees: Wonder Woman) WCHS-TV (Charleston, W.Va.) /// KABC-TV (Los Angeles)

“Driver Arrested on Suspicion of Drug Use Was Carrying Bottle of Friend’s Urine” (Of course he was.) Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio)

American Engineering Genius: Federal law pretty much prohibits sale and manufacture of machine guns for civilians, but a Texas company has found a loophole (acknowledged by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives) and will soon sell you your own $6k tommy gun (mimicking a full-auto’s 7 to 17 rounds per second). Said one gun dealer, “It’s not as easy [to use as a full-auto], but it’s fairly idiot proof.” Hey . . fairly! World’s Greatest Newspaper

[Whew! Yr Editor’s tired. More tomorrow. (Yes, I’m fooling around with formats.)]

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

“Performing lewd acts while watching teen girls shower”? Him? Frederick Schulte? Nawwww! South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Newsrangers: Roy Henock and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Sep 16, 2013 - Comments (1)

September 15, 2013


Castoreum, a secretion from the bowels of beavers, is used as vanilla flavoring. Disturbingly, although the story is out of Sweden, it is mentioned that castoreum is used as a 'natural flavoring' in products in the United States as well.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 15, 2013 - Comments (10)
Category: Food

Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Holy Card

Back in 2009, I posted about The Pope's Cologne, a fragrance supposedly identical to that worn by Pope Pius IX. But I failed to mention what is perhaps the cologne's most interesting feature. It comes with a scratch 'n' sniff holy card. So if you ever need a little papal pick-me-up, just scratch the card and inhale the scent of Pope Pius.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 15, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Religion, Perfume and Other Scents

News of the Weird (September 15, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M336, September 15, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

Beginning in 2011, about three dozen people in Tokyo have been meeting every Sunday morning at 6 a.m. on a mission to scrub down, one by one, the city’s grungiest public rest rooms. “By 7:30,” according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed an outing in August, the team had left behind a “gleaming public toilet, looking as good as the day it was installed.” Explained the hygiene-intense Satoshi Oda (during the week, a computer programer), the mission is “for our own good”--work that leader Benjyo Soujer compares to the training that Buddhist monks receive to find peace. (In fact, to fulfill the group’s motto, “Clean thyself by cleaning cubicles,” the scouring must be done with bare hands.) Another squad leader spoke of a sad, growing apprehension that the younger generation no longer shares the Japanese cultural conviction that rest rooms should always be clean and safe. [Associated Press via WTVY-TV (Dothan, Ala.), 8-28-2013]

Medical Marvels

Colleagues were stunned in May when ABC News editor Don Ennis suddenly appeared at work wearing a little black dress and a red wig and declaring that he had begun hormone therapy and wanted to be called Dawn Ennis. As co-workers accommodated his wishes (which did not seem so unusual in contemporary professional society), Ennis began to have second thoughts, and by July had blamed his conversion on “transient global amnesia” in May, brought on by marital difficulties, and had returned to work as Don. Apparently the primary lingering effect is that he must still deal with Dawn’s hormone-induced breasts. [New York Post, 8-6-2013]

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a mirror that makes a person appear happy even when not. A built-in camera tracks facial features in real time, then tweaks the image to turn up the corners of the mouth and to create the beginnings of a smile in the eyes. Of what practical use would such a mirror be? Other Japanese researchers, according to a report in August, believe that happy-face mirrors in retail stores would improve shoppers’ dispositions and lead to more sales. [, 8-7-2013]

A home ownership boom in China has led to heavily-attended housing fairs, in which builders compete zealously to sell their homes, leading to offbeat schemes to draw attention. Among the latest, according to China Daily, is one that dresses female models in bare-backed evening wear, with sample floor plans and other housing information painted onto their skin, and sends them wandering through the crowds. [News Limited (Sydney), 8-13-2013]

Animals Gone Wild

PREVIOUSLY: SyFy Channel’s recent original movie “Sharknado” briefly became a media sensation in July with a storyline involving large schools of oversized sharks lifted from the ocean by waterspouts and deposited, alive (and angry!) on land to wreak havoc. But as the website Mother Nature News subsequently reported, animals actually have been lifted to land in that fashion in the past. Previous, documented news reports of the phenomenon include airborne fish (mudfish in the Philippines, perch in Australia); frogs (in Odzaci, Serbia, in 2005); jellyfish (Bath, England, in 1894); worms (Jennings, La., in 2007); and, according to an 1887 New York Times story, eight alligators in Silverton Township, Minn. [, 7-28-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Two macaques escaped from the Straussberg Adventure Park in eastern Germany in July, apparently on the run from the jealous bullying of “Cornelius,” the resident alpha male. When Park officials re-captured the two, they reported that (even though everyone seems to be against “bullying” these days) “Fred” and “Richard” would have to be castrated. It was not punishment, the officials explained; it was to calm them and reduce the overall “hormone imbalance” in the Park, since males greatly outnumber females. [Spiegel Online, 8-1-2013]


The Costa Rican government announced recently that it would close all its zoos, effective March 2014, and free animals either to the wild or to safe “retirement” shelters. Since the country is known for its expansive biodiversity (500,000 unique organisms, despite occupying barely more than 1/100th of 1 percent of Earth’s area), it is time, the Environment Minister said, to allow the organisms to interact instead of imprisoning them. Costa Rica is also one of only four countries to ban the exploitation of dolphins. [Global Post (Boston), 7-22-2013]

Leading Economic Indicators

PREVIOUSLY: In July, following sustained criticism, Thomson Reuters business information company suspended an advance-release service for the crucial monthly “consumer confidence index” that has been known to signal stock markets to abruptly “buy” (driving up prices) or “sell” (sending them lower). The University of Michigan prepares and distributes the index promptly at 10 a.m. on release date, but Thomson Reuters offers two advance peeks. It pays the school about $1 million a year to see the index at 9:55 a.m., to share with its best customers. The suspended program gave an even earlier tip-off--at 9:54:58--and high-frequency trading firms paid $6,000 more a month for those two seconds, which allowed their computer robots to execute hundreds of thousands of trades before other professional traders had access to the index. [New York Times, 7-8-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: First-World Problems: Self-indulgent New York City parents have been hiring “play-date” coaches for their pre-school youngsters, apparently out of fear that the kids’ skill set for just having fun might not impress admissions officers at the city’s elite private schools. The CEO of one consulting outfit told the New York Post in July that $400 an hour gets expert monitoring of a 4-year-old, in small groups, evaluating, for example, how the child colors in a book, shares the crayons, holds a pencil, and follows the rules of “Simon Says.” [New York Post, 7-19-2013]

An unidentified school in the West Coast Conference recently self-reported a violation of controversial NCAA rules that restrict privileges for student-athletes, ordering a member of its women’s golf team to pay back $20 after she washed her car using a hose (and water) belonging to the school but which were not available to other students. (A University of Portland coach said he heard about the violation at a conference meeting, and Yahoo Sports, seeking confirmation, reported that an NCAA spokesman soft-pedaled the illegality, calling the school’s action a “miscommunication.”) [Yahoo Sports, 5-29-2013]

Fine Points of the Law

PREVIOUSLY: The question in a vandalism case before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston in July was whether Ronald Strong’s messy bowel movement in a federal courthouse men’s room in Portland, Me., was “willful” or, as Strong claimed, an uncontrollable intestinal event. Three rather genteel judges strained to infer Strong’s state of mind from the condition of the facility. A cleaning lady had described scattered feces as “smeared,” but Judge Juan Torruella took that to mean not “finger smears,” he wrote, but “chunks,” “kind of like chunky peanut butter.” Two other judges, outvoting Torruella, seemed skeptical that feces could have landed two feet up the wall unless Strong had intended it. (Even so, Judge Torruella was unimpressed, implying that if he were intending to smear feces in a men’s room, he surely would sully the mirrors, but that all mirrors were found clean.) [, 7-26-2013]

People With Issues

John Anderson, the Town Administrator of Derry, N.H. (pop. 34,000), was accused by police in August of indecent exposure and lewdness after, naked, inviting a DirecTV salesman into his home and performing unspecified conduct in front of the man. Anderson was previously town manager of Boothbay Harbor, Me. [Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.), 8-16-2013]

A News of the Weird Classic (February 2010)

In January, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers confiscated a live, bejeweled beetle that a woman was wearing as an "accessory" on her sweater as she crossed into Brownsville, Tex., from Mexico. Blue jewels were glued onto the beetle's back, which had been painted gold, and the mobile brooch was tethered by a gold chain attached to a safety pin. Even though the woman orally "declared" the animal, the beetle was confiscated because she had not completed the bureau's PPQ Form 526, which is necessary to bring insects into the country. Reportedly, such jewelry is not that rare in Mexico. A spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was, of course, appalled. [Brownsville Herald, 1-21-10; The Guardian (London), 1-22-10]

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

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 15, 2013 - Comments (6)


Time to get trippy.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 15, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Surrealism, Cartoons

September 14, 2013

Time Management by Jonathon Keats

Artist Jonathon Keats, whose career we've been watching for some time here at WU, has sent us a personalized email to let us know of his latest project. Which means he knows we're watching him, and he's watching us back. It's like a closed circle of weirdness!

His latest project involves time management. Traditionally this involves being managed "by corporate decree or motivational techniques." But his idea is to manage time itself using the principles of relativity.

It's known that gravity warps the fabric of time, so that time runs slower for objects near a high-gravity object (such as a star or planet) relative to an object not near such an object. So he's formed a company, Spacetime Industries, which is selling a "time ingot" that can be placed beside your bed or on your desk for "temporal micromanagement."

The ingot is made of a "high-density alloy that warps the four-dimensional fabric of the universe" that slows time for those in its vicinity. How much slower? You'll gain an extra second of time every billion years. And this extra second will only cost you $29.99.

Keats is holding a special event on Sep 26th at the Modernism Gallery in San Francisco to demonstrate the use of time ingots and answer questions. You can read more about his project here [PDF].

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 14, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: Art

Malibu High

Trailer is safe for work. Whole film assuredly not.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 14, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Education, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Sexuality, Teenagers, 1970s


Hercules, the world's largest cat, is a liger. A liger is produced by breeding a male lion and a female tiger. The offspring grows to be larger than either parent. Ligers do not exist in the wild they are only bred in captivity. The opposite cross of a male tiger and a female lion is called a tigon. Here is a page of multiple pictures of both of these beautiful animals.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 14, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals

September 13, 2013

Orson Welles on Gambling

Back in 1978, Orson Welles did an advertising film for Caesars Palace, designed to teach would-be tourists how to gamble. I guess he needed the money. But he nevertheless goes through the rules of baccarat, craps, etc. with his distinctive style.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 13, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

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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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