Weird Universe Archive

January 2014

January 20, 2014

News of the Weird / Pro Edition (January 20, 2014)

News of the Weird Pro Edition
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
January 20, 2014
(datelines January 11-January 18) (links correct as of January 19)

Americans tiptoe around the role that genes play in intelligence. Science says genes, in most cases, lock in the range your intelligence will fall almost immutably into. Conservatives seem at war with the science ("All ya need to succeed is hard work"), but liberals are at war with science, too ("All ya need to succeed is opportunity"). Chinese appear more respectful of the science. A dynamic gene-study firm is now proposing to map genes of math prodigies and average people and then, a few steps later, to tell prospective parents which of their embryos might turn out the smartest person. “t’s a controversial topic, especially in the West,” said an official with the Chinese firm BGI. “That’s not the case in China.” World’s Greatest Newspaper

Update: David Eckert’s rectum has probably recovered by now after his rude treatment by sheriff’s deputies who thought he had hidden drugs in the non-sunshine at a traffic stop and, with health care personnel in Hidalgo County, N.M., subjected him to one indignity after another, but finding nary a trace [Weird Universe, 11-12-2013]. However, last week he acquired 1,600,000 reasons to forgive and forget, and those were only the reasons supplied by the sheriff’s office. His lawsuits against the medical center and personnel are still on the table. (Figure 40 percent to the lawyers, leaving him $960k, and say he seethed and grimaced and diarrhea’d up for five days afterward . . .. Each of those 120 hours made him $8,000 richer for his pain and annoyance.) Associated Press via

OK, This Goes Too Far: A company called 3D Babies will take your ultrasounds and construct an actual 3-D print doll of your fetus . . that you can hold . . and rock . . and totally bore your friends with . . for $600. (Bonus: Or . . you can get a doll of the Kim Kardashian-Kanye West crotchfruit for just $250.) [ed. I’ve already changed my mind. This is not too far. Bring it on.] (Oh, and that other thing: 3D Babies needs to get the project funded first.)

Sad: Yr Editor already takes much heat for his admiration for London’s Daily Mail, but I acknowledge one area of the World’s Greatest Newspaper as excessive: They enable joyousness out of people who have situations calling for concern. In fact, self-esteem movement or not, they need help, such as Ms. Sarah Massey, 33, of Chicago, who appears damned proud of having a 7-ft-circumference butt. Take a look. She looks anything but concerned. World’s Greatest Newspaper

Chuck’s Weekly (coming soon, Daily!) Cite-Seeing Tour

Is it Christopher Pagano’s (a) public masturbation habit or (b) his obsession with cheese that more needs to be addressed in counseling?

Running for Orlando City Councilwoman: a 21-time arrestee (even though she’s been seriously rehabbing). Orlando Sentinel

Greater Fool Theory (idiot investors hastily copy Google’s purchase of Nest Labs but buy the wrong Nest, driving its price up 10-fold from "worthless").

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Worst elementary school in NYC, dilapidated, junk-laden, and no one cared (surely not the principal) until the press got on it. New York Post

Many, many problems with U.S. medical insurance, but at least old men are getting their (overpriced) vacuum penis pumps. Washington Times

Some Tar Heel basketball players might not know how to read very well. So? There are agents for that. The Wire

Promised Land: A teen night club used Martin Luther King’s image to publicize an upcoming twerking party. WAGA-TV (Atlanta)

Strange Old World

A Japanese mayonnaise-flinger (tagging high school girls). Japan Crush

Chinese girl, 12, relieved of a 1.1-lb. hairball (70% size of her stomach). Global Times (Beijing)

Metal poles coming up through the train car’s floor will get riders' attention. Brisbane Times

(He’s single, ladies!) Amon Haji, 80, of southern Iran, says he hasn’t bathed since he was 20 (and smokes caca in his pipe). Tehran Times [January 7]

Lawsuit! I used Close-up toothpaste for 7 yrs and still never got a date (plus, my boss slapped me when I tried to kiss her). Metro Naija (Lagos)

In England, only a suspended sentence for unsuccessfully wrangling urine from teen girls. WSCountyTimes

A truckload of real caca, dumped outside France’s lower house in disgust at President Hollande. Agence France-Presse via Google News

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

Does Patrick Brennan, 48, of San Jose, Calif., look like someone with a double skill-set (arson and sex crimes)? San Francisco Chronicle

Newsrangers: Gerald Davidson, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Jan 20, 2014 - Comments (5)

Life in America:  1959

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 20, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Customs, 1950s, North America

Puss Sunday

The folks of County Clare, Ireland, have a rather unpleasant way of celebrating what is there known as "Puss" Sunday — the first Sunday in Lent, — by making general sport of all young women who failed to get husbands before Ash Wednesday, and are, consequently, left over for another season, and are known as "pussy" girls. It seems to be a local April fool's day for the spinsters, with whom the small boys have a good deal of fun, it being one of their favorite amusements to dip their hands in flour and leave the imprint of their fingers on the backs of these luckless ones, or to mark them with chalk, as they appear in the street, as unmistakable signs that they are still in the market.

Source: Good Housekeeping - May 29, 1886

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 20, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Holidays, Nineteenth Century

January 19, 2014

News of the Weird (January 19, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M354, January 19, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

A veteran University of Colorado administrator is on forced leave after her sideline made news in December. Resa Cooper-Manning, 54, “cultural diversity coordinator” in the Ethnic Studies department at CU Denver, also ran a phone-sex business for which she took calls ($1.49 a minute, “phone sex that will rock every part of your body,” according to her website) during hours she worked for the University. Said her daughter-in-law, “I’ve been in her office, and she’s said, ‘Oh, let me be right back, I have a phone call.’ She takes them very discreetly, shuts her door . . ..” A KCNC-TV investigation found that the phone-sex hours listed on the website had recently been cut back, from “7:30 a.m. until late at night” to “weekdays after 3 p.m.” [KCNC-TV, 12-12-2013]

Great Art!

South Africa, still transitioning to freedom after apartheid, has been slow to embrace the “performance art” that is a staple of American and European popular culture, but artist Anthea Moys is creating her own space, according to a December Wall Street Journal dispatch from Johannesburg. Recently she played an exhibition soccer game--alone against an 11-player lineup. Her “team” quickly fell behind, but sympathetic spectators wandered onto the pitch to help her, and she managed to lose by only 12-0. Before that, she had entered a 60-mile bicycle race in Johannesburg, and, dressed properly in helmet and Spandex, she mounted a stationary bike at the starting line and began pedaling furiously as the other cyclists took off. “I’m not very competitive,” she said. “I’m interested in the joy of games and how people view them.” [Wall Street Journal, 12-27-2013]

Australian performance artist Casey Jenkins admits that her signature engagement is “confining” and “slightly uncomfortable,” but that “Casting Off My Womb” is nonetheless an important work. Jenkins spends 28-day cycles knitting cloth from wool that has been inserted into her vagina--symbolizing the creation of “life” emerging from the natural female cycle. The output, she said, “records a female life in all its natural states.” (Jenkins’s work is perhaps borrowed from classic performance work by the artists Carolee Schneeman, in 1975's “Interior Scroll,” and Yoko Ono, in 1965's “Cut Piece.”) [The Independent (London), 12-17-2013]

Government in Action

Florida's second-most populous county, Broward, announced in December it was removing the "agricultural" tax break for 127 properties because it appeared their “farming” work was a sham. Broward’s Property Appraiser estimated the county had lost "hundreds of millions of dollars" over the years granting the bogus reductions--as landowners were blatantly housing just a few cows (in some cases, merely renting them) to graze and calling that “agricultural.” The appraiser’s office, after auditing only a few of the exemptions, found, for example, that land occupied by a government-contract prison was “agricultural” (with a rent-a-cow arrangement). [WPLG-TV (Miami), 12-17-2013]

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: The Ontario College of Trades ministry, finally implementing a long-ago reclassification of about 300,000 professionals, announced in November that barbers would immediately face fines if they had not acquired new licenses demonstrating proficiency with perms and highlighting and other aspects of women's hairstyling. Even barbers who had cut men’s hair for decades and with no desire to accept female customers would probably need a costly study program for the upgrade, which news reports estimated at 2,000 hours and $5,000 or more. Said one exasperated old-timer, "We're barbers, not neurosurgeons." [CBC News, 11-2-2013]

Suspicion Confirmed: A September report from the National Bureau of Economic Research revealed that almost 9 percent of all federal government spending occurred during the last week of the government's fiscal year, as agencies scrambled to buy things they previously had not needed but suddenly did--because the money would otherwise disappear. Further, the report found that contracts made during that perhaps-frenzied final week were from double to more than five times as likely to be poorly-executed as contracts made earlier in the fiscal year. [Foreign Policy (December 2013) via Chicago Tribune, 12-18-2013; Social Science Research Network, 9-22-2013]

The Army Corps of Engineers said in December that it “continuously strives to implement lessons learned from its work in the extremely challenging Afghan environment”--apparently its primary response to an inspector general’s report that it wasted $5.4 million on trash incinerators for a forward operating base that were late, in disrepair, dysfunctional even if working properly, health hazards for troops, and ultimately abandoned on site, unused. The project was termed “a complete waste,” but the Corps pointed out that money was actually saved by not repairing expensive equipment that would not have worked, anyway. [Fox News, 12-16-2013]

Police Report

PREVIOUSLY: From the Home (Alaska) Tribune: On November 11th, police were called at 2 a.m. by Robert Tech, 47 (better known as “Turkey Joe”), who said he was assaulted by Charles Young, 61 (“known in town” as “Yukon Charlie”). Joe was talking too much, Charlie told officers, and he had to keep hitting Joe because he would not shut up. Joe, whom officers found inside the bus he has been living in, said he declined to fight back because “I’ve been a leader of men all my life.” Charlie was arrested. [Home Tribune, 11-19-2013]

PREVIOUSLY: Low-Tech Thief: Kevin Cook, 25, told police that he was mugged in New York City’s Central Park on December 28th but that the thief had grabbed only his cell phone. Since it was a “flip phone,” the thief took a bemused look at it, asked, “What the [expletive] is this,” threw it back to Cook, and walked away empty-handed. Cook, perhaps a bit defensive, pointed out that it was a new-style flip phone. [New York Post, 11-29-2013]

Disability or Disguise? Police in Denver, Colo., said the same man (still on the loose), in his 50s and about five-foot-eight, robbed three banks in the area in December and faces up to 60 years in prison if caught. Either he employs a finely-detailed disguise, or he is robbing banks under a significant disability, for in each job he wears a “medical mask” and lugs around a portable oxygen supply. [KMGH-TV (Denver), 12-31-2013]


PREVIOUSLY (WITH UPDATE): Medics and excessively-confident law enforcement officers are facing federal lawsuits after, first, David Eckert, in New Mexico, and then a 54-year-old woman in El Paso, Tex., were repeatedly anally examined in ultimately fruitless searches for ingested drugs. Search of Eckert began when a traffic officer thought he was “clenching” his buttocks during a stop; search of the woman began at the Mexico border when she was selected randomly for “additional screening” and a police dog gestured toward her. Both victims endured hours of detention and bodily invasions, as officers and medics, continually finding nothing, used different tests to justify their initial suspicion. (Eckert received three enemas and a colonoscopy.) Not a single trace of drugs was found on either victim, and both have sued for the trauma and because both medical centers, in Silver City, N.M., and El Paso, billed the victims personally for the forced procedures. (Update: Eckert settled last week with the sheriff for $1.6 million, but his lawsuit against the medical personnel is still on the table.) [KOB-TV (Albuquerque), 11-5-2013] [Reason, 12-19-2013] [Associated Press via, 1-14-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

PREVIOUSLY: They, Too, Saw Those Movies: Two men broke into a home in the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles in December, unaware that the resident had moments earlier called 911 after glimpsing them on his surveillance camera. When police arrived outside, the perps asked the resident to tie all three of them up so that all would appear to be “victims” of the invaders, who had supposedly fled. The resident complied, but when police entered the home, the resident of course immediately squealed on the tied-up perps, ensuring their arrest. Two associates, who were outside standing lookout, were also arrested. Said one officer, “That’s what you call felony stupid.” [Los Angeles Times, 12-28-2013]

From the November 11th weekly report of the Dakota County (Minn.) Sheriff came word from the Hastings Police Department that a sergeant arriving to investigate a fight in a store’s parking lot in fact encountered only a single car with several young men inside. The sergeant said he strolled up to the car to ask about a fight but was pre-empted when one of the men said, “I know why you’re here,” and pulled three pairs of pants, shoplifted from the store, from inside his shirt. He was arrested. [Dakota County Sheriff Report, 11-11-2013] (scroll to last item)

Thanks This Week to Mark Dubbin, Robert Jay, Craig Cryer, and Kent Harris, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jan 19, 2014 - Comments (6)

Mischief Again!


I understand Michael Bay has already optioned this book for his next film, due to its over-the-top action.

View the whole book here.

The author.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jan 19, 2014 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Cats, Dogs, 1950s

Chicken-flavored vegetarian ham

I have a hunch this doesn't taste anything like chicken, ham, or chicken-flavored ham. Product details at

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 19, 2014 - Comments (29)
Category: Food

January 18, 2014

Upside-Down House

British artist Alex Chinneck does strange things with buildings. His latest project involved flipping a London building upside-down so that the front door is now at the top. (He didn't actually turn it upside-down. He attached a brick veneer to the outside to make it look that way.)

In an earlier project, a building's brick veneer appears to be sliding off the house.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 18, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Architecture, Art

January 17, 2014

Grave Warmer

If you've ever wondered how they bury people when the ground is frozen solid, this is how. Or they jack-hammer the earth for hours. But this is the preferred method. More info here.

I guess in the old days they would store the body in a shed and wait until the ground thawed. That works also.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 17, 2014 - Comments (12)
Category: Death

Go! Push Pops

The Push Pops are a radical, transnational queer feminist artist collective. Geared toward engendering ‘Embodied Feminism,’ the collective is primarily concerned with the expenditure and conservation of the self in relation to the Other. Employing the female body – that which is bound to a cross-cultural language of desire, signification and power – in tactical, ideological strategy, the Push Pops utilize gesture, exclamation and popular idiom to embody a new and discursive physicality. Neo-Dada, Fluxist and Feminist, their performance work posits the body as a danger to the operation of reason and male economy of lack. A wild leap, an elusive slogan, a paroxysm of the flesh – The Push Pops reinscribe the body through participatory ritual, spontaneous performance and interactive multi-media installation.

There's as much of this as you can stand on YouTube. Or at their home page.

Caution: lots of patriarchy-demolishing swears in the second video.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 17, 2014 - Comments (10)
Category: Feminism, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Avant Garde

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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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