Weird Universe Archive

September 2014

September 22, 2014

Last Week in Weird (September 22, 2014)

Last Week in Weird
datelines 9/10/2014--9/19/2014
[Links, chronological, on Extended page]
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Ted Bundy Was Cuddly, Sometimes: Chimpanzees--even those with little or no human contact--are vicious, natural-born killers, prone to mob violence and leader-assassination (according to a team of 30 researchers writing last week in Nature).

Speaking of “Bundy,” Cliven’s in the news again. One of his cows got loose, wandered onto I-15, collided with a car. Cow gone, driver hospitalized, driver suing Bundy (whose chutzpah has allowed him to say that the hole in the fence that let the cow out was the responsibility of the gubment). (Bonus: Bundy’s thinking of suing the woman for the loss of his cow.)

Tacky: Los Angeles attorney Svitlana Sangary faces California Bar discipline for posting Photoshopped shots on her website that makes it appear as if she mingles with Obama, Clooney, Kardashian, Clinton, Biden, Schwarzenegger, and DiCaprio. [Also, with Trump and Dr. Phil, but those might be self-regulating.]

Least Competent (I): India’s new gov’t TV news channel had to “reassign” an anchorwoman for referring to China’s President Xi Jinping as “Eleven Jinping.” Seriously.

Recurring: Caught allegedly ripping off gov’t disability checks his disability insurance company by claiming he was “89% disabled” when he’s actually an MMA competitor and a contestant on TV’s Survivor: Blood vs. Water: former NFL star Brad Culpepper, who’s now a highly visible, prominent personal-injury attorney (and gym maniac) in Tampa. The company is suing.

The Job of the Researcher: “Liberals Smell Better to Other Liberals than to Conservatives” (says a barely-justified article in the American Journal of Political Science).

Questionable Judgment: American Matthew Miller wandered into North Korea in April, with a “wild ambition” to experience North Korean prison life in order to research its treatment of “human rights.” After a 90-minute trial for a trumped-up “espionage” charge, it was learned that Miller’s research would take place over a period of the next 6 yrs.

Least Competent (II): In its maiden mission, the brand-new Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent mistook a Pakistani Navy ship for its American target in port in Karachi, and all the Al-Qs were either killed or captured. [Ed. Note: Either that happened, or U.S. intel’s getting better at planting stories.]

Jim Bakker (with his reformed slut of a wife, Lori) no longer runs the Praise The Lord Club but rather competition, maybe, for Walmart--selling hundreds of items on his website, though they are termed “love gifts” sent as gratitude for donations to their ministry near Branson, Mo. There’s a range of Silver Solution products (great for health--unless it turns you blue and dead, which happens). Jewelry. Warm clothes. 93 Food Items, including Soynut Butter, Jim’s Favorite Ketchup, Vegetable and Fruit Powders. 22 Survival Items. A generator. Nothing’s offered at “sale” price, though. Holy Jesus!

Great Art! Opening soon in Beijing: I Am Stephon Marbury (“China’s first fusion of sports, music, dance, and multimedia for a sports-themed youth theater event”). Marbury was a college basketball whiz, NBA semi-failure, a whiz again in China’s pro league--and now an inspiration for all the carpetbagger-type people coming not from America to Beijing but from rural China to Beijing. (He has only a small role in his own production, since he doesn’t do Mandarin.) (Bonus: There is an actual Stephon Marbury statue in front of his team’s arena.)

First World Dilemmas: “It’s definitely a thing,” said a NYC plastic surgeon, referring not to Ebola but to women who seek lipo on their, um, calves . . so that the hot new winter boots will fit over their pudgy lower legs. The horror! Plus, the recuperation time is up to 10 months, so surgery this yr is for the fall season next year.

Wait, What? ”Mucus-Harvesting Drone Could Help Researchers Study Whales” (Well, they need to check whales’ stress levels, and mucus provides the most reliable breakdowns, but it’s super-icky to go out in a boat and wait until the whale blows a snot rocket from its blowhole, so--.)

Lede Sentence (from Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News) Says It All: “A defrocked Catholic priest was found guilty Friday of raping dozens of children and a dog in the Canadian Arctic.” [ed.: Any questions?]

Update [dateline 8-20-2014]: Kopi Luwak, the coffee from pre-shat beans that News of the Weird first mentioned in 1993, is such old news that a Canadian entrepreneur is now taking it to elephants, to pre-poop beans coming through pachyderms (better, because they’re herbivores, and not the carnivores necessary for Kopi Luwak, which comes from wild Asian cats).

More in extended >>

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Sep 22, 2014 - Comments (3)

Microwaved iPhone

Artist Kenny Irwin is selling a microwaved gold iPhone 6 on eBay for $6,660. Yes, he purposefully microwaved it. He's also signed and dated his creation. Irwin warns that, "Winner bidder will receive two NO A LONGER WORKING iPHONE because IT HAS BEEN MICROWAVED."

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 22, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Art, Telephones

Follies of the Madmen #230


From Look magazine for September 13, 1962.

Compare to Follies #227.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 22, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Surrealism, 1960s, Hair and Hairstyling

September 21, 2014

The Cartoon that United Morey Amsterdam and Zsa Zsa Gabor

Get the whole fascinating story at this blog.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 21, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Spies and Secret Agents, Cartoons, 1960s

News of the Weird (September 21, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M389, September 21, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

New Frontiers in American Vacuousness: The WE cable network disclosed in August that it had ordered a nine-episode adaptation of a British series, "Sex Box," in which a couple enters a large opaque chamber on stage and has intercourse. The pair, pre- and post-coitally, are clothed and seated before a panel of probably-D-List celebrities, and will respond to questions and comment on their feelings and techniques (likely enduring praise and criticisms about their “work”). The series will debut sometime in 2015. (However, as the Daily Beast website pointed out, it might also be true that, still, in 2015, even a split-second’s glimpse, on any broadcast-TV show, of a female nipple would create a national scandal.) [The Daily Beast, 8-21-2014]

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

The "trendy" 25Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, located adjacent to the Berlin Zoo and offering some of the best views of the city from its floor-to-ceiling windows, has famously positioned the rest rooms of its Monkey Bar in front of the windows, also, and those heeding nature’s call are clearly visible to gawkers. Guests are merely warned, by the Trip Advisor website, and by the hotel itself (with the admonition, "Please be careful. Not only the monkeys are watching.”). [Daily Mail (London), 7-30-2014]

London designer Gigi Barker recently unveiled the Skin chair (priced at the equivalent of about $2,500), made of leather but with a "pheromone-impregnated silicone base" that makes it feel (and smell, perhaps) like one is "lounging in the fleshy, comforting folds of a man's belly.” The Skin was scheduled for exhibition this month at the London Design Festival. [Quartz, 7-25-2014]

China’s insurance companies offer some of the world’s quirkiest policies, according to a September Reuters dispatch from Hong Kong. People’s Insurance Group, for example, will pay out in case a customer’s children display disappointingly “mischievous and destructive” habits. The Ancheng company offers a policy protecting a customer in case of having his mouth burned eating “hotpot.” Ping An Insurance Group (actually, the world’s second-largest by market value) has recently offered an “accidental pregnancy before honeymoon” policy, and is one of three companies that competed to sell couples compensation in case a marriage is disrupted by a “concubine.” [Reuters via Business Insider, 9-1-2014]

Unclear on the Concept

New Orleans Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King, already indicted for falsifying her home address in her 2013 campaign for office, was spotted by a Times-Picayune reporter on August 20th filing three registration papers for the November 4th election in which she swore (under oath) to three different addresses--two of which appeared to be clearly erroneous. Her lawyer told the newspaper that the judge, who was suspended by the Louisiana Supreme Court following her indictment, had merely "misinterpreted" the instructions. [Times-Picayune, 8-21-2014]

As part of a nationwide distribution of surplus military equipment, ten Texas school districts eagerly acquired a total of 64 M-16 rifles, 18 M-14s, 25 automatic pistols, and magazines capable of holding 4,500 rounds of ammunition. District officials referred generally to the need to protect against school attacks such as the notorious incidents in Colorado and Connecticut, but a local Houston area police chief, seeking to reassure a nervous public, promised that his equipment would be used only by tactically-trained officers and that, otherwise, would be locked in the department’s armory. A critic of the program told KHOU-TV that statistically, the typical active-shooter school situation lasts 12 minutes, hardly enough time to get to the armory and load up. [KHOU-TV, 9-5-2014]

Fine Points of the Law

In July, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Detroit, ruling on a judicial corruption complaint, managed to describe the actions of a Michigan state judge, “Hon.” Wade McCree, as "often reprehensible"--in that he had been carrying on a romantic affair with a woman involved in a child custody case he was judging. (The woman, of course, received favorable rulings.) However, the Court of Appeals judges told the unlucky father that Judge McCree cannot be sued because judges are generally immune from lawsuit. (Subsequently, Judge McCree was removed from office by the state Supreme Court.) [Detroit Free Press, 7-26-2014]

Nick Olivas, 24, is a rare American. At age 14 (an age that, in Arizona, makes him legally incapable of consenting to sex), he fathered a daughter with a 20-year-old woman--paternity that he learned of only two years ago. The mother filed against Olivas for child support that now totals $15,000. Olivas is rare in that most states exempt rape victims from child-support orders--except that, since Olivas never made a police report of the incident, Arizona Child Support Services will not exempt him, and instead has obtained an order garnisheeing his wages at $380 a month. [Arizona Republic, 9-2-2014]

According to legal scholars consulted by the Associated Press, it is conceivable that Nicole Diggs, of Yonkers, N.Y., even if convicted of negligent homicide in the upcoming trial in the death of her severely disabled 8-year-old daughter, could nevertheless inherit the remains of the child's $2 million trust fund originally established for her care. Evidence is strong that Diggs had neglected the child's hygiene and diet for stretches at a time and overtrusted her less-caring new husband with the girl's well-being, but New York law uniquely still allows, in principle, a convicted mother to inherit from the child as long as she did not "intentionally" harm her. [Associated Press via, 9-1-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

(1) Clearwater, Fla., police pulled over a "suspicious" car on July 24th and ultimately arrested the driver and his passenger. The back seat was loaded with potted plants--in fact, potted pot plants (i.e., marijuana)--so crowded that the leaves and branches of some plants were sticking out of the car’s windows. (2) Daniel Warn, 28, was arrested in July in Costa Mesa, Calif., and charged with the burglary of an El Pollo Loco restaurant--a caper that was captured on surveillance video. Police were notified later that day when Warn--wearing the same distinctive hat and bright green shirt worn by the burglar--came to the restaurant to order a meal. [WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg), 8-6-2014] [KCBS-TV (Los Angeles), 7-18-2014]

Of Course!

Jonathan Thomas, 50, was charged with DUI and disorderly conduct in Washington Township, Ind., in August after driving through two backyards one Friday evening and getting his vehicle stuck in the second. Police reported that Thomas “show[ed] his teeth to officers” and later “growled” at hospital security staff. Thomas’s day job is director of the Porter County Animal Shelter. [Times of Northwest Indiana (Valparaiso), 8-4-2014]

Just Like the Script: (1) In August, a Bradenton, Fla., deputy sheriff was forced to duplicate a classic scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when he was advanced upon by a menacing-looking, samurai-sword-swinging, 31-year-old man. The deputy, perhaps as nonplussed as Indiana Jones was, shot him dead. (2) Rule Number 9: The 15-year-old granddaughter of Cliven Bundy (the Nevada rancher whose dispute with the federal government caused a notorious standoff in March) told Las Vegas’s KSNV-TV that her dad (Bundy’s son) was withdrawing her from her high school because officials would not allow her to carry a knife on campus. She said her dad has taught his kids (just like “NCIS”’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs) to “always” carry a knife. [Bay News 9 (St. Petersburg), 8-28-2014] [KSNV-TV, 8-28-2014]

Undignified Deaths

(1) Annual Bunyola “fiestas” on the Spanish island of Mallorca were canceled in September out of respect for an 18-year-old man who fatally hit his head after receiving an electric shock on a lamp post he was leaning against as he urinated at a street corner. (2) A 23-year-old medical student suffered a fatal heart attack in September while perusing a sex magazine as he attempted his fourth sperm donation in a week at a clinic at China’s Wuhan University. (3) A 15-year-old boy driving a “skid loader” on a farm near Lancaster, Pa., suffocated in August when the machine accidentally flipped him directly into a manure pit (the sixth such death locally since 1989, according to the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal). [The Local (Madrid), 9-1-2014] [Daily Mail (London), 9-12-2014] [Associated Press, 8-9-2014]

Thanks This Week to Russell Bell, Craig Cryer, and Terry Young, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 21, 2014 - Comments (6)

September 20, 2014

Orange Is the Old Black

image image

To investigate the conditions in the New York State prison system for women circa 1916, socialist reformer Madeleine Zabriskie Doty arranges to have herself incarcerated, masquerading as a real criminal, under the name "Maggie Martin."

Read her experiences here, in SOCIETY'S MISFITS.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 20, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Crime, Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers, Reformers, Do-gooders, Agitators and SJWs, Performance Art, Books, 1910s

Staggering Beauty

A useless, time-wasting distraction from the site (You need to have javascript enabled on your browser to get it to work.)

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 20, 2014 - Comments (10)

19,998 And Counting

This entry is weird only in the fact that it's happened to one of our own through the magic of the internet. The number in the title represents the number of times the photos in this person's on-line offering have been looked at by visitors to either the site itself, Google Maps, or Google Earth. The back story goes something like this:

Several years ago I posted a single, simple little photograph of a village lane that could have been constructed a hundred, a thousand, or more years ago. To my surprise, it was, very quickly, viewed hundreds of times and I'm certain there weren't that many inhabitants of that village! A few year later I offered a nice little photo of a freshly painted iron bridge in Southern Georgia. To date, that photo has been views (and hopefully enjoyed) over 1,500 times.

Many years ago I held a one-man photo exhibition of my B&W work that was critically acclaimed in a few news papers, inspired at least one budding photographer, and proved that one professor really didn't know everything he thought he did about photography. Oh, yea, and almost 200 people came to see the show. A whole TWO HUNDRED!

As of today, I've been able to reach out 19,998 times to people all around the world. What an amazing thing that is both for me, as an artist, and for the person who's seen my offerings and been inspired to visit the places, or been given an opportunity to remember a good time in their life, or to just enjoy the photo for itself. What a rush!

If you'd like to view the photos you're most welcome to follow this link. And, if you've got some photos you think people would like to see put them up share the fun.

Posted By: Expat47 - Sat Sep 20, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Photography and Photographers

September 19, 2014

The Coldest Case

It appears that the 126 year old cold case of Jack the Ripper has been solved by DNA testing. A shawl that was alleged to have been found next to Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper's victims, carries mitochondrial DNA profiles from both Eddowes' line and the familial line of one of the Ripper suspects. Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski, who subsequently spent his later years in mental asylums, lived in the area of the killings, and was a suspect, left his DNA behind on a bloody shawl. That shawl turned out to be a time capsule for justice.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 19, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Crime, Death, Evil, Science, Historical Figure, Seventeenth Century, Blood

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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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