Weird Universe Archive

June 2014

June 17, 2014

Upside-Down Artist

Dana Helms calls herself the "upside-down artist" because she completes all of her work upside-down. And then she turns it rightside-up for display.

I guess this might be a useful trick for learning how to draw. Though I suspect my own attempts at drawing would look equally distorted whatever way round I did them.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 17, 2014 - Comments (19)
Category: Art

June 16, 2014

Collecting Dirt

Back in 1936, Patricia Salter had an unusual hobby for a 12-year-old girl. She collected dirt. Whenever I come across stories like this, it always makes me wonder what became of the collection. I'm guessing that at some point it must have been tossed in the trash, or dumped outside.

But it looks like there are some like-minded dirt enthusiasts in the present day, over at the Museum of Dirt.

Source: The Washington Post - Feb 9, 1936

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 16, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Hobbies and DIY, Collectors, 1930s

June 15, 2014

Father’s Day Greetings

Happy Fathers Day

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 15, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Holidays, Husbands, Parents

How to pick-up women

Bryan "Double B" Barton of Sacramento teaches a class on how to pick-up women. In it, you'll learn lines such as these:

“Do you have something in your eye… oh wait, it’s just a sparkle.”
“You’re so beautiful you made me forget my pick-up line.”
“Are you a parking ticket? Because you got fine written all over you.”

There's also a technique he calls the "neg" which is "an insult wrapped in a compliment, and it’s basically to say I know you’re here, but I’m not in awe of you."

Full story (with video) at

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jun 15, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, Love & Romance

Follies of the Madmen #221


Family lives in eerie black hole environment, stores floating possessions at many levels but without formal order.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 15, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, Appliances, Family, 1950s

News of the Weird (June 15, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M375, June 15, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Thirty thousand spiders led by members of the British Tarantula Society gathered in Coventry on May 18th for the annual BTS exhibition, with a “Socotra Island blue baboon” spider taking “Best in Show” for first-time entrant Mike Dawkins. According to news reports, judges ignore spiders’ personalities and select by objectifying the body--seeking “shiny coats, correct proportions, an active demeanor, and proper stance” (which means that “all eight legs should be upright and perfectly poised”). Veteran judge Ryan Hale said winning does not necessarily make a spider more valuable but is likely to enhance the keeper’s reputation in the tarantula-training community. [Mother Nature News, 5-23-2014]

Government in Action

Susan Coppinger, 47, was promoted by the city of Boston in January to a job paying $38,800 in the Inspectional Services Department--even though a month earlier she had been arrested for bank robbery. In fact, police said it was her second robbery of the same Santander Bank in nearby Quincy. Apparently, the city’s human resources office does not monitor mugshots on, but in April, the city finally secured Coppinger’s resignation. [WCVB-TV (Boston), 4-1-2014]

For panicking drivers headed in an emergency to University Hospital in Tamarac, Fla., ready to turn left into the ER because of bleeding, shortness of breath, etc., the city still requires patiently waiting for the traffic light to turn green--no matter what--and has a $158-per violation red-light camera perfectly aimed, according to a WPLG-TV investigation reported in March. The station noted that the traffic magistrate handling appeals serves at the pleasure of the city and so far has not relented on tickets involving even provable emergencies. [WPLG-TV (Miami), 3-2-2014]

Alarmed that its internal rating system revealed that some employees actually perform better than others, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced in May that it was scrapping the system. Agency director Richard Cordray expressed dismay that the system failed to reveal worker disparities that matched up on the basis of age, race, union status, and longevity with the agency, and said that until they find a system that proves, for example, that union members work just as well (or badly) as non-members, all employees will be paid as if they were doing excellent work. [American Banker, 5-19-2014]

Great Art!

Weird Japan: When Ayano Tsukimi, 64, moved from Osaka back to her home village of Nagoro, she found a population of only 37 people and set out to “replace” those who had moved away--by creating life-size stuffed dolls, with unsettling facial features, which she positions around town as if to suggest a larger population. Tsukimi estimated that she has created about 350 “inhabitants,” and, reported Global Post in May, “imagines a future where she’s outlived all her neighbors, and only dolls remain.” [Global Post via The Week, 5-10-2014]

Food trucks are ubiquitous in many urban areas, bringing ethnic foods to street corners, and now in the New York City neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Soho, art impresarios bring stage presentations to the insides of 24-foot trucks parked on the street. Typically, ticket-holders (fewer than 20) climb in for a 30-minute play, followed by a 15-minute “intermission” a few steps away at a neighborhood bar, and then it’s back in the truck for another half-hour. One art-truck producer blamed outlandish New York City real estate prices for the turn to mobile sites. [, 5-22-2014]

China’s pre-eminent (and perhaps most terrifying) performance artist, He Yunchang, 48, acknowledged to Agence France-Presse in May that he will do “anything” to advance “art”--as long as it does not kill him. Mr. He most famously removed part of a rib on opening day of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 (on the “lucky” date of 8-8-08) and in 2010 assembled 25 people to vote on whether he should be slashed from collarbone to knee and left bloody on a bed. (Cutting won, 12-10, with three abstentions, and a doctor reluctantly made the incision.) A gallery owner in Australia told AFP that He’s “pain” and “discomfort” “have a transcendent quality” and are “silent rebukes” to Chinese people who endure hardship just for money--ironically believing money will protect them from suffering. [Agence France-Presse via Rakyat Post (Kuala Lumpur), 5-9-2014]

The Itella postal service of Finland announced in April that it would soon sell stamps featuring 33 designs honoring the late Finnish homoerotic artist Touko Laaksonen, better known as “Tom of Finland.” None were to be “hardcore” images, although a more-explicit companion exhibit will open soon at Finland’s Postal Museum. (Finland, however, is not among Europe’s leaders in progressive treatment of gays.) [Global Post via, 4-16-2014]

Police Report

Dan Greding, working on contract with the city of Santa Barbara, Calif., was busy at work one February day installing signs on street lamps warning that only “75 Minute Parking” was permitted. On one block, three signs were called for, but the last one required Greding to drill into concrete, insert screws, and wait for the concrete to dry--which apparently took more than 75 minutes, and a passing police officer ticketed his truck. Greding’s first appeal of the citation was denied, but a second appeal was pending at press time. [KEYT-TV (Santa Barbara), 5-7-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

The 9-1-1 call at 1:50 a.m. on May 29th came from a driver who said he was lost on Deen Still Road near Polk City, Fla., and being chased by wild hogs. A sheriff’s deputy fairly easily “rescued” Andrew Joffe, 24, but then discovered that Joffe (a) had an active arrest warrant and (b) was in possession of a GPS device that he admitted stealing from a car that evening. The Polk County sheriff told reporters that it was “unusual” for an absconding thief, with a warrant, to bring himself to deputies’ attention like that but acknowledged with a wink that “it does get pretty dark out on Deen Still Road in the middle of the night.” [WWSB-TV (Sarasota), 5-29-2014]

The Aristocrats!

(1) Gregory Schwartz, 40, was arrested in Clairemont, Calif., in March, charged with crawling under a ladies’ restroom stall door at a Big Lots store to molest a shopper. (Schwartz was dressed as a Barbie doll.) (2) Jeremy Grinnell, 42, pleaded guilty in May in Grand Rapids, Mich., to having propped up a ladder under a couple’s bedroom window in November and climbed up to watch them having sex. (At the time, Grinnell was a local pastor and a professor at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.) (3) Police in Ypsilanti, Mich., made an arrest in May to end a six-months’-long reign of disgust in which someone frequently defecated on the same slide in Prospect Park--even, amazingly, on the coldest days of the season. [KNSD-TV (San Diego), 3-2-2014] [Grand Rapids Press, 5-13-2014] [Ann Arbor News, 5-14-2014]

Recurring Themes

(1) A 51-year-old man drowned in Adelaide, Australia, in February--the latest person to inadvisedly jump into the water to retrieve a low-price belonging--this time, his toy boat that had gone awry. (2) A man and woman, both age 40, died in Williamsport, Pa., in February--discovered in their car in their closed garage with the engine still running and the car nearly out of gasoline. Thus, the partially-clad couple appeared to be the most recent to have suffocated in that manner while having sex. [Australian Associated Press via The Advertiser (Adelaide), 3-1-2014] [Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.), 2-2-2014]

Readers’ Choice

In April, police in Ottawa, Ontario, arrested a 62-year-old man as the one who had been indecently exposing himself to visitors to Mooney’s Bay Park. Detained was Donald Popadick, whose family name (according to diligent journalism by the National Post) is present in only three Canadian households and is perhaps derived from the Serbian name Popadic. (Popadick’s arrest was made by Sgt. Iain Pidcock.) [National Post, 4-29-2014]

Thanks This Week to Wayne Saddler, David Swanson, David MacDonald, Andrew Hastie, Lynn Marshall, Steve Dunn, Rick Sabadka, Peter Trobridge, and Paul Baez, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jun 15, 2014 - Comments (7)

June 14, 2014

The women rat-catchers of World War II

During World War II, rat catching was one of the traditionally male jobs that was taken over by women. At least in the UK. I like the part of this article that details the "grim satisfaction" the women got from smashing rats with shovels:

The anti-rat workers have had some peculiar first reactions on meeting their adversaries. One, seeing her first dead rat, exlaimed: "Oh, you poor darling."
Despite all their modern training and equipment, it's sometimes necessary to rely on primitive methods — like bashing out the enemy's brains with a spade. The girls get grim satisfaction from this hand-to-hand combat. They know they're doing every bit as much to help win the war as are their brothers and sweethearts who are hunting rats in uniform.

Source: Miami Daily News-Record (Miami, Oklahoma) - Nov 18, 1943

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jun 14, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, 1940s

Dana Michel

Yes, it appears this "dance" is performed with clown nose and ripped panties around the ankles. But why not get the explanation of her "art" direct from the horse's mouth?

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 14, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: Annoying Things, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Innuendo, Double Entendres, Symbolism, Nudge-Nudge-Wink-Wink and Subliminal Messages, Stereotypes and Cliches, Performance Art

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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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