Weird Universe Archive

May 2014

May 18, 2014

News of the Weird (May 18, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M371, May18, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

Too Much Money: Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp. (and the world’s fifth-richest person according to Forbes magazine) is a big basketball fan and was reported in April to have an interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team. An Ellison associate told the Wall Street Journal, for example, that Ellison has basketball courts on at least two of his yachts and shoots hoops for relaxation on the open water. To retrieve his errant shots that go overboard, Ellison hires a ballboy in a powerboat to trail the yachts. [Wall Street Journal, 4-30-2014]

Latest Religious Messages

Speaking on a popular Christian Internet podcast in March (reported by Houston’s KHOU-TV), Pastor John Benefiel of Oklahoma City’s Church on the Rock described how, in a 2007 blessing, he might have prayed “too hard.” He was attempting to help drought-stricken Texas and Oklahoma by using a specific prayer message (the “Baal divorce decree”), but that inadvertently resulted, he said, in “every lake” in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri rising above flood stage, causing thousands of people to lose their homes and 22 their lives. [KHOU-TV, 3-26-2014]

In his March 23rd sermon (according to Huffington Post), Phoenix, Ariz., pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church explained in detail why women in the congregation must refrain from speaking during services. Citing 1 Timothy 2:11 and 1 Corinthians 14, Anderson said the woman should learn only “in silence.” “Now obviously, before the service begins,” he conceded, “there’s chatting and talking going on that’s perfectly legitimate. [And when] we all sing praises to God, of course the ladies should also lift up their voices. But when it’s learning time, it’s silence time [for females].” (Also, he said, since the comment “Amen” means “That’s true,” it would be inappropriate for females to utter it.) [Huffington Post, 3-26-2014]

At one Hindu temple in India’s Kerala state, the religious gift of choice--both for offerings to the deity Lord Muruga and for distribution from the deity to devotees--is the chocolate candy bar, which visitors bring in cartons, according to a March report by the Press Trust of India. (Muruga is the son of the lord Shiva and was originally worshiped as a child, leading to speculation that he would respond to chocolates.) [Press Trust of India via NDTV, 3-11-2014]

Details! After convicted murderer Loren Larson, Jr., filed a federal lawsuit in Anchorage, Alaska, claiming that his prison wristband ID “defil[ed]” him religiously because it was a “mark of the devil,” a Goose Creek Correctional Center official lectured him on the Book of Revelation. Actually, wrote the official, we would be commanding the “mark of the beast” only if we ordered the ID either “in the right hand” or “in the forehead,” and neither is required by current wristband policy. (Hence, the double-murderer, serving 198 years, still qualifies to avoid hell.) [Anchorage Press, 3-20-2014]

An unnamed British inmate published a letter in a prison newspaper in April alleging continuous religious discrimination against him by guards and officials. The man claims he is a practicing Jedi (and of course cannot reveal his name because he fears retaliation “from the dark side”) and complains that Jedi-ism, though officially recognized as a religion in the UK (the 7th-most popular, according to the census, with more than 175,000 adherents) is nonetheless unacknowledged by the National Offender Management Service. [The Guardian (London), 4-17-2014]

Cultural Diversity

Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo aroused worldwide ire in February when it slaughtered and publicly dismembered a healthy young giraffe (“Marius”) in order to feed a hungry lion. Then, in March, the Zoo killed four healthy lions to make room for a new male. Also, reported in April, Denmark has no law against humans having sex with animals (unless it amounts to torture). Animal rights campaigners have recently expressed alarm that Denmark will become a destination for “animal sex tourism” attracting horny “zoophiles” from around the world. [Agence France-Presse via The Guardian (London), 3-25-2014] [, 4-2-2014]

Questionable Judgments

Manhattan’s New York Sushi Ko is only the most recent sophisticated restaurant to feature creative dishes made with Hormel Spam, and gourmets and hipsters in fashionable neighborhoods have flocked to the foods. Spam is a well-known delicacy in Hawaii, and the New York facilities offer the island’s musubi (fried Spam, rice, seaweed) and other Spam fried rice bowls with seared ahi and flourishes of fresh pineapple, according to an April report on Sushi Ko’s chef playfully acknowledges that his contents are fresh--”fresh from the can” and sourced locally--”from the nearest bodega.” [, 4-1-2014]

Oh! Canada! Skylar Murphy, 18, happened to show up at Alberta’s Edmonton International Airport in September 2013 with a black-powder-loaded pipe bomb in his carry-on, ready to board an international flight. Agents confiscated the bomb but allowed Murphy to continue on his trip, and in fact police were not notified, nor were possible “terrorism” ties examined, until four days later. (Canada’s version of the Transportation Security Administration is not allowed to apprehend or detain passengers.) In December, the harsh hammer of justice finally slammed down on Murphy. He was fined $100 and sentenced to a year of probation. [CTV News (Toronto), 1-15-2014]

Unclear on the Concept: Britain’s most-tattooed man (the former Matthew Whelan, 34, now “King of Ink Land Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite”), whose body is 90-percent ink-covered, finally acknowledged in March that he needed to undergo laser removal to clear up his skin. However, “Body Art,” as he is known, then explained that he was spending the equivalent of about $10,000 on removal just so he could start over with new tattoos. [New York Daily News, 3-29-2014]

Least Competent First-Responders

(1) In February, East Detroit High School swim instructor Johnathan Sails, 24, sitting at poolside, dived in to help a drowning student--but only after first going to the locker room to change from his street clothes. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter when the student died. (2) When a 6-year-old girl had her finger severed by a closing door in school in December, administrators at the Dickinson School District near Houston merely called her parents to come take the girl to the hospital. The principal denied it was an “emergency,” since the girl’s finger, after all, had already been bagged in ice. (3) When a fire alarm sounded in February at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minn., one girl was in the school swimming pool, and the outside temperature was minus-5(F), but several faculty members insisted (by protocol) that she leave the building dressed as she was (barring her, even, from waiting in a teacher’s car because it is against the rules). [WJBK (Detroit), 2-11-2014] [KRIV-TV (Houston), 12-11-2013] [WCCO-TV, 2-28-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

At a press conference in April, as Houston police officers announced they were after two burglars who had broken into Katz’s lingerie boutique, surveillance video showed two armed men cautiously creeping through the store until one accidentally bumped the other, apparently startling the bumped man, who turned and fired--causing the first man to fire back. Officers counted nearly a dozen bullet holes in the store. Said the Houston press briefer, these are “by far some of the clumsiest crooks that I’ve [ever] seen.” [KHOU-TV, 4-30-2014]

Readers’ Choice

In a popular April “viral” Internet news story, three young men were spotted on late-night surveillance video at a drinking-water reservoir near Portland, Ore., with one of them relieving himself into the 38-million-gallon facility. Utility officials initially decided to flush the entire contents rather than endure complaints by customers (most of whom were likely unaware that the same reservoir routinely tolerates wild-animal urination long ago declared no health risk). Dallas Jeffrey Delynn, 18, was charged with trespassing and unlawful urination and might receive a sentence similar to that of Portland’s last reservoir urinater (merely 24 hours’ community service). By contrast, a week later in San Antonio, Tex., Daniel Athens, 23, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his own late-night tinkle. Athens had pleaded guilty to urinating against an outside wall of The Alamo (of course a sacred Texas monument). [The Oregonian (Portland), 4-17-2014] [The Smoking Gun, 4-15-2014]

Thanks This Week to Scott Christiansen and Roy Henock, and to the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Bob McCabe, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Sandy Pearlman, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Peter Smagorinsky, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle).

Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 18, 2014 - Comments (8)

Plasticine Rhythm

It's a long way from Gumby!

Posted By: Paul - Sun May 18, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: Surrealism, Stop-motion Animation

May 17, 2014

Hope & Faith

How long will these sweet, innocent babies survive this way? There is just no way to know. As was said in the above clip, there have only been 35 cases ever reported. Good luck Faith and Hope.

Posted By: patty - Sat May 17, 2014 - Comments (1)
Category: Babies

The Incredible Dr. Steel

I suspect that Dr. Steel, Big Jim and Big Jeff were just showing off for each other prior to a gay orgy of epic proportions.

And by the way: what parent would buy this toy based on the incredibly primitive drawing in the newspaper ad below? And why are the Doc's pants photorealistic, and the rest of him just like a stick figure?


Posted By: Paul - Sat May 17, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Toys, Martial Arts, 1970s

Toilet Aficionados

This is just one of many videos posted by "toiletfan1" on YouTube, in which he documents various toilets that he comes across throughout the U.S. He's got over 4000 toilet videos. notes that toiletfan1's oeuvre is but one small part of the much larger outpouring of toilet videos and pictures online, in which "toilet aficionados" document the history, art, and design of toilets.

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 17, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: Bathrooms

May 16, 2014

Smell Phone

The oPhone is a new phone that promises to allow one to send scents via a mobile phone.

People have been speculating for a long time about the possibility of transmitting smells in the same way that we do sounds and images. But personally I've never understood the appeal of the idea. Beyond a small group of people such as perfume makers, how often do most people need or want to share smells long-distance?

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 16, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Telephones

The Zimphone


When telephones were the cutting-edge of technology, cheap knockoffs arose. This Radio-Shack-style wired intercom sought to cash in on Ma Bell's high standards. Imagine stringing one mile of wire from your house to your friend's home through the neighborhood.

There are several sets for sale on eBay as I post.




Posted By: Paul - Fri May 16, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Communications, Imitations, Forgeries, Rip-offs and Faux, Technology, 1950s

May 15, 2014

Wireless Armour

Guys, you can now protect your dangly bits from electromagnetic radiation by wearing this silver-threaded underwear. But it'll only be sold if the Indiegogo funding goal of £30,000 is reached. So far, they're about a third of the way there.

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 15, 2014 - Comments (0)

Ski Cycling

Posted By: Paul - Thu May 15, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers, 1950s, Europe, Motorcycles

May 14, 2014

Greatest Kitty Ever

This amazing cat saved his boy from a vicious dog attack! Good Kitty!

Posted By: patty - Wed May 14, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Animals

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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.

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