Weird Universe Archive

June 2014

June 4, 2014

Follies of the Madmen #220


What product can this staged photo from 1969 possibly be advertising?

For the answer visit the original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jun 04, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Police and Other Law Enforcement, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1960s

Orto the Aquarium Man

Orto's gimmick is that he would eat and drink things while submerged in a tank of water. According to Newsweek (June 30, 1947), "Here his barker tries to convince skeptics he is smoking a cigarette while submerged."

Sounds like quality entertainment!

EXPENSIVE SHOW — Cigarettes pass as money in most European countries these days. So when this street entertainer in Rome put on an underwater smoking act, he was really burning money. The "Aquarium Man" in the tank smokes a whole cigarette before the fascinated crowd. Later he ate and drank under water while the announcer harangued the crowd.
The Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) - Jun 23, 1947

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 04, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: Entertainment, 1940s

June 3, 2014

Base Jumping with a dog

Dean Potter hates being apart from his dog, Whisper, so much that he takes her base jumping with him. He documents his adventures with Whisper in a new short film, When Dogs Fly, the trailer for which is below. You can find more info about Potter and Whisper at

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 03, 2014 - Comments (4)

The Good Old Days of Electronics


Sure, it's only 25 inches on the diagonal, with the resolution of an Etch-a-sketch. But look at that wood cabinet!

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 03, 2014 - Comments (11)
Category: Money, Technology, Television, 1970s

June 2, 2014

Peter Penny and his Magic Dollar

Back in the 1940s, it became popular for business groups to put out "publicity comics" whose purpose was to instill in youth business-friendly feelings. One example was "Peter Penny and his Magic Dollar" put out by the American Bankers Association. The plot of the comic was that Bob, a schoolboy, wants to know about banks, so his mentor, Peter Penny, takes him around on a magic dollar to teach him about all the wonderful things that banks and bankers do.

I can't find a complete copy of this comic online, but a few pages of it can be read over at

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 02, 2014 - Comments (15)
Category: Business, Advertising, Comics, 1940s

God’s Cartoonist

Everything you ever wanted to know about the famous Jack Chick and his pamphlets.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 02, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Rants, Warnings, Jeremiads, Prophecies and Cassandra-like Figures, Religion, Outsider Art, Books, Conspiracy Theories and Theorists

June 1, 2014

Ferret Legging

Chuck has mentioned the sport of ferret legging before in a column, so it's not entirely new to WU. Wikipedia offers this description:

Ferret legging is an endurance test or stunt in which ferrets are trapped in trousers worn by a participant. Also known as put 'em down and ferret-down-trousers, it is a sport that seems to have been popular among coal miners in Yorkshire, England. Contestants put live ferrets inside their trousers; the winner is the one who is the last to release the animals. The world record is five hours and thirty minutes. The sport may have originated during the time when only the relatively wealthy in England were allowed to keep animals used for hunting, forcing poachers to hide their illicit ferrets in their trousers…
The sport is said to involve very little "native skill", simply an ability to "have your tool bitten and not care".

Nick Roberts, back in 1972, took the sport to an unusual extreme. From The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) - Oct 30, 1972:

And here's a video I found in which ferret legging is demonstrated. Except that what's shown doesn't seem to be a true form of the sport, because the contestants are allowing the ferrets to poke their heads out of the trousers, whereas the idea is to trap them inside, thereby generating a panic response.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jun 01, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Sports

News of the Weird (June 1, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M373, June 1, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

In April, Anton Purisima filed a claim in Federal District Court in New York City that the Lowering The Bar blog calculated was for the largest monetary demand ever made in a lawsuit--“$2,000 decillion” (or 2 followed by 36 zeroes, which of course is many times more money than exists on planet Earth). Purisima’s lawsuit names Au Bon Pain, Carepoint Health, Kmart, the New York City Transit Authority, and LaGuardia Airport among the parties allegedly causing him so much distress (by fraud, civil rights violations, and even “attempted murder”). Lowering The Bar also noted that “$2,000 decillion” could also have been accurately nominated as “$2 undecillion” or even “two octillion gigadollars.” [Purisima v. Au Bon Pain, et al, Case No. 1:14 CV 2755 (SDNY, 4-11-2014) via Lowering The Bar, 5-13-2014]

The Continuing Crisis

Only in Florida: (1) Calvin Rodriguez was arrested in Port St.. Lucie, Fla., in May as the man who had been using a shaved key to steal a series of cars from parking lots. His spree came to an abrupt halt as he sped away from police in a stolen Honda Civic only to crash into a huge alligator in the road. (2) On May 1st, trappers called to Pine View School in Osprey, Fla., south of Sarasota, removed four alligators (one, eight feet long) from the campus while classes were in session (but without disruption). (3) Beachcombers in the Gulf of Mexico town of Redington Beach, Fla., were treated on May 17th to the sight of a full-grown elephant treading water about 20 yards offshore. (The animal had momentarily gotten free after being unloaded for a commercial birthday party appearance.) [WPTV (West Palm Beach), 5-15-2014] [Sarasota Herald Tribune, 5-2-2014] [WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg), 5-19-2014]

Democracy in Action: (1) During a regional session of Spain’s parliament in February, a photographer from the newspaper El Diario Montanes captured a shot of legislator Miguel Angel Revilla looking at a picture of a nude woman (in a magazine otherwise concealed inside a folder). (He explained later that he was of course just reading the articles.) (2) In May, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia of Florida was captured on a C-SPAN camera during a House Judiciary Committee hearing casually eating his earwax. In the sequence, described on a Time magazine blog, he dug into his ear, inspected the results, placed them in mouth, then went “back for seconds.” (Rep. Garcia explained later that he was actually dealing with a “hangnail.”) [Daily Mail (London), 2-25-2014] [, 5-14-2014]

One of the leading theories as to the cause of a radiation leak at nuclear waste dump near Carlsbad, N.Mex., in February is the facility’s recent, unanticipated switch to “organic” kitty litter. Previously, an unorganic variety had been used to absorb liquid in the waste drums shipped to the facility from bomb-making plants that had been temporarily storing the waste pending creation of a permanent nuclear waste storage site. [Associated Press via (San Francisco), 5-13-2014]

First Things First: Trustees of the University of Illinois announced in March that, based on an unreported number of suggestions by students, it would expand the student health insurance plan soon to fix an apparently glaring oversight: the absence of coverage for student sex-change surgery (which, according to the school, would increase students’ premiums by only $2 a semester). [Associated Press via Crain’s Chicago Business, 3-6-2014]

Latest Religious Messages

In April, India’s Delhi High Court judges declined to halt the local government’s program of posting pictures of deities on the walls of buildings in order to discourage public urination (that surely no one would soil his lord). The plaintiffs pointed out that the campaign was so clearly ineffective that perhaps the deities’ images were even making the problem worse--that “evidence” so far shows that confronting the images might even increase “pressure on the bladder.” [India Today, 4-12-2014]

An unnamed, 60-year-old Buddhist monk was arrested in Nantou County, Taiwan, in April after, said a convenience-store manager, he was caught red-handed swiping packets of beef jerky. "I don't know why," he told police, "but lately I had this craving for meat." He also had trouble with honesty, initially denying his guilt before finally confessing to the officer that "I have let Lord Buddha down." (Buddhists traditionally are strict vegetarians.) [Taipei Times, 4-13-2014]

Fine Points in the Law

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in 2013 that it was not necessarily illegal for teachers to send students sexually-oriented text messages--that the state law banning the practice violated “free speech.” As a result, in February 2014, prosecutors in Tarrant County dropped their case against a junior-high teacher who had exchanged 688 text messages with a 13-year-old female student over a six-day period in 2012, on topics such as “sexual preferences and fantasies” and whether either of them ever walked naked around the house. The messages would be illegal, the Court had ruled, only if they led to a meeting or an offer of sex. [KTBC-TV (Austin), 2-24-2014]

Despite a 1971 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring that governments could not punish people who are merely “annoying,” dozens of towns (according to a March Wall Street Journal report) continue to regard the behavior as criminal. (The justices decided the word is too “vague” to give fair warning of which behaviors are illegal, but an Indiana deputy attorney general told the Journal that anyone with “ordinary intelligence” knows what is annoying.) New York has such a law, as do Lawrence, Mass., and Cumberland, Md.--among the 5,000 mentions of forms of “to annoy” in a computer search of municipal ordinances. (Britain’s House of Lords in January blocked a proposed anti-annoyance law.) [Wall Street Journal, 3-29-2014] [BBC News, 1-8-2014]

Among the discretionary punishments authorized to Georgia judges is banishing an offender from the county in which he committed the crime. Complained driver Ricardo Riley (who as of February is barred from Walton County), “I didn’t commit no murder, I’m not a sex offender, I’m not a criminal. I just got a speeding ticket.” Judge Brad Brownlow, perhaps irritated at Riley’s request to reduce the original $250 fine, instead piled on punishments--including banishment. Walton County is just outside the Atlanta metro area, and Riley, from adjacent Gwinnett County, has friends and co-workers who live in Walton--but whom he can no longer visit. [WSB-TV (Atlanta), 2-6-2014]


The U.S. Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, in his latest report on agency employee bonuses in April (covering late 2010 through 2012) disclosed that $2.8 million of the high-performance prizes went to employees with discipline problems--including about 1,150 workers who owe about $1 million in back federal taxes. The inspector general acknowledged that the bonuses “appear to create a conflict” regarding the “integrity” of the program. (The Treasury Department pointed out somewhat proudly that the Department’s rate of tax delinquencies is only about one-eighth the delinquency rate in the United States as a whole.) [Associated Press via WTOP Radio (Washington, D.C.), 4-23-2014]

Least Competent Advertising Writer

The Asia Pacific branch of the worldwide advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather finally apologized in May for a recent “Bounce Back” ad in India for Kurl-On mattresses (whose general theme proclaims mattresses so comfortable that users “bounce” up after landing on them). Previous versions had lauded Steve Jobs (for “bouncing back” from his mid-career firing by Apple) and Mahatma Gandhi (for “bouncing back” to become a spiritual leader). In the problem ad, the Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai (who was nearly killed in 2012 by Muslim extremists) is shot in the head in a cartoon but “bounced back” after landing on a Kurl-On mattress. [Yahoo News, 5-15-2014]


Ethan Couch, 17, was convicted of DUI manslaughter last year after killing four people but benefited at sentencing from a counselor’s testimony describing him as a victim of "affluenza"--that children of wealthy families hopelessly feel “entitlement” and are prone to irresponsibility. In April, the Vernon, Tex., hospital providing Ethan’s court-ordered rehabilitation announced that Ethan's “wealthy” parents would nonetheless be billed only for about 6 percent of the cost of treating the “affluenza”--$1,170 of an anticipated $21,000 monthly tab--with Texas taxpayers picking up the remainder. [KDFW-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth), 4-11-2014]

Thanks This Week to Gary DaSilva and Robin Daley, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jun 01, 2014 - Comments (4)

More Stephen Cohen

Perhaps you recall a recent report (I seem to recall Chuck covered the incident) about a performance artist in Paris who attached a rooster to his genitals for a public parade. That was Stephen Cohen, and here's more about him.

Caution: some mild, non-sexualized nudity.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 01, 2014 - Comments (1)
Category: Body, Eccentrics, Performance Art, Africa

Page 7 of 7 pages ‹ First  < 5 6 7

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
June 2024 •  May 2024 •  April 2024 •  March 2024 •  February 2024 •  January 2024

December 2023 •  November 2023 •  October 2023 •  September 2023 •  August 2023 •  July 2023 •  June 2023 •  May 2023 •  April 2023 •  March 2023 •  February 2023 •  January 2023

December 2022 •  November 2022 •  October 2022 •  September 2022 •  August 2022 •  July 2022 •  June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  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 •