Weird Universe Archive

December 2013

December 8, 2013

News of the Weird (December 8, 2013)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M348, December 8, 2013
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

Is the signature smell of Texas A&M University more “Italian lemon, bergamot, and iced pineapple" (that open into "a body of vivid florals, raw nutmeg, and cinnamon") or more "bat feces" and "chili-fest stink"? The two commentaries were contrasted in a November Wall Street Journal report on the introduction of Masik Collegiate Fragrances' Texas A&M cologne (one of 17 Masik college clients) at around $40 for a 1.7-ounce bottle. Louisiana State University’s scent conjures up, insisted one grad, the campus's oak trees, but so far has pulled in only $5,500 for the school. (To a football rival of LSU, the school’s classic smell is less oak tree than “corn dog.”) The apparent gold standard of fan fragrance is New York Yankees cologne, which earned the team nearly $10 million in 2012. [Wall Street Journal, 11-9-2013]

Recurring Themes

Among America’s most prolific “fathers” (in this case, perhaps better considered “egg-fertilizers”) are Nathaniel Smith, age 39, who claimed on TV’s Divorce Court in September that he is the father of 27, and the late Samuel Whitney, whose grown stepdaughter Lexie Woods learned that he claimed 54 before he died in July at age 89. Smith (known in Dayton, Ohio, as “Hustle Simmons”) insisted that he is a fine father (doesn’t smoke or drink, keeps contact with most of the kids, has “only” 21 child-support orders out), and besides, he told WHIO-TV, “I know of people who have even more than me.” (Among Whitney’s belongings, said Woods, were a “pile” of birth certificates and a stash of maximum-strength Viagra. “He was a likeable man, a ladies’ man.”) [WHIO-TV, 9-10-2013] [Arizona Republic, 8-24-2013; New York Daily News, 8-27-2013]

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Latest Collateral Damage: (1) In October a 28-year-old man reeling from a domestic argument in Port Richey, Fla., put a gun to his head and, against his girlfriend’s pleas, fired. As a neighbor across the street stood on her porch, the suicide bullet left the victim’s head and made three wounds on the neighbor’s leg, sending her to the hospital. (2) About a week later, on the Norwegian island of Vesteroy, a moose hunter missed his target but hit an obscured outhouse in the distance, wounding a man in his 70s as he answered nature’s call. He was airlifted to Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo. [Tampa Bay Times, 10-17-2013] [NewsInEnglish.no (Oslo), 10-25-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: In November, barely two weeks after a small plane carrying 10 skydivers left no survivors when it crashed on the way to an exhibition near Brussels, Belgium, nine skydivers were able to dive for safety on another plane headed for an exhibition near Superior, Wis. News stories did not address how experienced skydivers escaped one plane but not the other. [WCCO-TV (Minneapolis), 11-2-2013; CNN, 10-19-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Animal Sacrifice--in America: In September, Orthodox Jewish communities once again staged traditional kaparot, in which chickens are killed in a prescribed way for the purpose of “transferring” a believer’s latest sins over to the chicken (whose death banishes the sins). (In many such ceremonies, the chickens are donated for food, but protesters in Los Angeles criticized rogue practitioners who simply tossed carcasses into the trash.) In November Miami-Dade County animal services found a severely-injured chicken with a family’s 4x6 photograph protruding from its chest, having been haphazardly “implanted,” along with a note containing several hand-written names, apparently a casualty of local Santeria services. [Los Angeles Times, 9-11-2013] [WSVN-TV (Miami), 11-18-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Some Americans still believe that stock-market sales are typically made human to human, but the vast majority of buys and sells now are made automatically by computers running pattern-detecting programs designed to execute millions of trades in some cases less than one second before rival computer programs attempt the same trades. In September, a Federal Reserve Board crisis involved, at most, 7 milliseconds' time. The Fed releases market-crucial news typically at exactly 2 p.m. Washington, D.C., time, tightly-controlled, transmitted by designated news agents via fiber optic cable. On September 18th, somehow, traders in Chicago reportedly beat traders elsewhere to deal an estimated $600 million worth of assets--when theoretically, access to the Fed’s news should have been random. (In other words, the drive to shave milliseconds off the “speed of light” has become quite profitable.) [CNBC, 9-24-2013; Mother Jones, 9-24-2013]

Toilets are always a favorite protest symbol, most recently employed by David Labbe, disputing a zoning decision by officials in Augusta, Maine, preventing the sale of his house to Dunkin Donuts (for, he said, three times what he paid), and he has begun lining his property with up to 100 discarded toilets. Augusta-native Labbe says he has given up on his city and his neighbors (who fear traffic problems if a Dunkin Donuts opens). (On the same day, coincidentally, toilets made news in Los Angeles, where Yo Yo Li was about to open the city's first toilet-themed restaurant, patterned after several in Taiwan in which diners squat at tables and eat off commode-shaped serving vessels.) [Portland Press Herald, 10-14-2013] [Los Angeles Times, 10-14-2013]

In November, Michael Brown, 19, became the most recent person with poor decision-making skills forced to report to a police station (this, in College Station, Tex.) in the middle of the night to ask that officers please remove the handcuffs he had been playing around with. (Following the officers’ mandatory records check, it was learned that Brown had an arrest warrant for criminal mischief, and following a mandatory search, that he also had two ounces of marijuana in his pocket.) [The Eagle (Bryan-College Station), 11-14-2013]

Can’t Possibly Be True: Twice again, in November, men wrongfully convicted of major, chilling crimes, who were finally freed after serving long sentences, claimed upon release that they were--somehow--not bitter. Ryan Ferguson was released in Missouri in November after serving almost 10 years for a murder he surely knew nothing about (convicted because a prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence). Derrick Deacon was freed in November in New York after nearly 25 years--served because the eyewitness (who finally recanted) had identified Deacon out of fear of retaliation by the Jamaican gang member she actually saw. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11-13-2013] [New York Post, 11-21-2013]

It was Linda Ducharme’s turn in the spotlight in November as one of a seemingly increasing number of people who commit to bethrothing themselves to inanimate objects (“objectophiles,” “mechaphiles”). The Gibsonton, Fla., woman’s spouse is a Ferris wheel called the Sky Diva, and their relationship was chronicled on the Logo TV channel’s show “What!?” (Most famously, Erika La Tour Eiffel of San Francisco staged her 2008 wedding to the Eiffel Tower.) [WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 11-13-2013] [Daily Telegraph (London), 6-4-2008]

PREVIOUSLY: Many men have fallen for underage-sex stings (tricked by NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” or by law enforcement nationwide), but perhaps Cliff Oshman, 64, of Daytona Beach is the first to have brought his wife and young daughter along to meet the girl he was seducing. Oshman was arrested in October, and as usual, the “victim” did not exist except as a persona of an undercover cop. [Orlando Sentinel, 10-5-2013]

Dwarfs formerly could volunteer to be playfully treated in American nightclubs, but such venues now appear limited to Europe. (1) A club in the German coastal town of Cuxhaven might be in trouble following a September incident in which a 42-year-old dwarf accidentally fell off of a podium while engaged in the club’s regular dance contest, “Lilliputian Action,” in which customers chase an elusive dwarf. (2) London’s Hippodrome Casino has reportedly run a series of ads seeking dwarfs (maximum height: four feet nine inches) for a special crew of bouncers and door guards to be unveiled in December. [The Local (Berlin), 9-24-2013] [Heart Radio (London), 11-19-2013]

Update

A formal investigation into the strange death of British intelligence code-breaker Gareth Williams concluded in November with a police judgment that the death was an accident, despite the body’s having been discovered inside a zippered and padlocked garment bag in an otherwise unused bathtub in his London apartment. An earlier inquest into the 2010 death had unsatisfactorily failed to rule out foul play, setting up the police examination, but two facts stood out, according to the officer in charge : The key to the padlock was found within easy reach of the bag, and, according to experts, even though no usable fingerprints or DNA was found in the apartment, it had not been “deep-cleaned” (as might be expected in a death with intel-op implications). [New York Times, 11-14-2013]

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

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Dec 08, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category:

December 7, 2013

The Assassin Brothers

Nowadays, with a name like 'The Assassin Brothers', these two would probably be offered a reality TV show deal .


Exeter and Plymouth Gazette – October 18, 1895
via the British Newspaper Archive

AN AWKWARD CHANGE OF NAME.
There are in France two brothers with the surname of Assassin, who recently obtained the necessary permission from the high functionary called the Keeper of the Seals to change their name to one less offensive. After mature reflection, they decided to change their name to Berge. Now that it is too late to alter it, they have discovered, to their intense annoyance, that their new name happens, by a singular coincidence, to be that of the chief assistant to M. Deibler, the public executioner, who will, in all probability, succeed to M. Deibler's gruesome business.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 07, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Weird Names, Nineteenth Century

Santa Claus’s Punch & Judy



Santa Claus finally brings the puppet ultra-violence to Xmas that the holiday has traditionally lacked.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 07, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Holidays, Puppets and Automatons, Toys, 1940s

December 6, 2013

Cake Invoice Gets Amazon’s Attention

What do you do when Amazon won't pay your bill? MusicBrainz worked with Amazon, but they forgot to pay for three years. When you send a cake invoice reminder, it gets paid!!

image

After three years, I hope they paid some interest.

Posted By: gdanea - Fri Dec 06, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Business

Follies of the Madmen #213

image

"Three out of four furries choose our suits!"

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 06, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Business, Advertising, Products, Fashion, 1950s

Fear of Cows

The Royal Mail has stopped mail delivery to Jeff and Sheila White. It says that this is due to concerns about the safety of the country path leading to their home. The Whites say its because the postman has a "fear of cows." Well, cows can be pretty scary, especially when they attack! [Daily Mail]

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 06, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Cows

December 5, 2013

Hillbilly Comics

image

image

image

image

[Click on any image to enlarge]

Read them all here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 05, 2013 - Comments (9)
Category: Regionalism, Stereotypes and Cliches, Comics, 1950s

Uphill Skiing

Instead of going down the slope, you go up it, using a parachute to drag you. The inventors of this sport call it "wind mountaineering". And they're trying to raise money to help them commercialize the idea. Their site is upski.com.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 05, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Sports

December 4, 2013

Wotties

What's a Wottie? It's a cross between a Rottweiler (the female) and a West Highland Terrier (the male). There are some really great pictures at the link.

Posted By: patty - Wed Dec 04, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: Animals

Bacon-Scented Deodorant

"It's like an aphrodisiac for your armpits." Available from J&D's Foods for only $9.99.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 04, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Bacon

Page 7 of 9 pages ‹ First  < 5 6 7 8 9 > 




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
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 •