Weird Universe Archive

February 2015

February 24, 2015

Follies of the Madmen #242

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From American Home for September 1966.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 24, 2015 - Comments (11)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, Dreams and Nightmares, 1960s, Fictional Monsters

February 23, 2015

News of the Weird, February 22, 2015

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M411, February 22, 2015
Copyright 2015 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

A Saratoga Springs, N.Y., resort has begun accepting totally-defeated husbands and wives for a relaxed weekend that includes divorce, bringing to America a concept already successful in six European cities. The Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa charges $5,000 for a couple to check in on a Friday, married, but leave Sunday officially single (complete with all legal niceties and various resort amenities, including, of course, separate rooms). Even though the couple must be fairly level-headed to accept this approach, the facility manager expressed concern that since the resort also books weddings, the uncouplers might inadvertently witness difficult scenes. (Gideon Putnam has hosted four divorces so far, but, said the European founder, “hundreds” of couples have used the services there.) [New York Post, 2-10-2015]

Weird Science

Another Animal With a Worse Sex Life Than Yours: No organism has it tougher than the male South-East Asian coin spider, according to research reported by New Scientist in January. It is somehow driven to mate with a female up to four times larger and who is almost as driven to eat the male as to mate. After insemination, the male impulsively fights off other males’ attempts to disrupt the conception, and that means becoming a more nimble fighter, achieved, according to Matjaz Kuntner of the Slovenian Academy of the Arts and Sciences, by biting off its own genitals, since that organ comprises about one-tenth the spider’s body weight. [New Scientist, 1-16-2015]

Because We Can: Scientists at University of California Irvine (with Australian partners) announced in January that they had figured out how to unboil a hen’s egg. (After boiling, the egg’s proteins become “tangled,” but the scientists’ device can untangle them, allowing the egg white to return to its previous state.) Actually, the researchers’ paper promises dramatically reduced costs in several applications, from cancer treatments to food production, where similar, clean untanglings might take “thousands” of times longer. [UC Irvine press release, promoting publication in the ChemBioChem journal, 1-23-2015]

Police Report

(1) The Knoxville (Tenn.) Police Department reminded motorists (via its Facebook page) that all vehicles need working headlights for night driving. Included was a recent Department photo of the car of a Sweetwater, Tenn., motorist who was ticketed twice the same evening with no headlights but only flashlights tied to his bumper with bungee cords. (2) A forlorn-appearing Anneliese Young, 82, was arrested at a CVS pharmacy in Augusta, Ga., in February after store security allegedly caught her shoplifting a container of “Sexiest Fantasies” body spray that, according to the packaging, “provides a burst of sensuality . . . as addictive and seductive as the woman who wears it,” “sure to drive any man wild.” [WATE-TV (Knoxville), 2-5-2015] [The Smoking Gun, 2-9-2015]

Bright Ideas

The Jeju Island Korean restaurant in Zhengzhou, China, staged a promotion last month to pick up lunch tabs for the 50 “most handsome” people to dine there every day. Judging was by a panel of cosmetic surgeons (who were partnering with the restaurant), and, as contestant-diners posed for photographs, they were evaluated on “quality of” eyes, noses, mouths, and especially foreheads (better if “protruding”). [Daily Telegraph (London), 1-13-2015]

The owner of the Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant in a suburb of Canberra, Australia, apologized in February for the cockroach infestation that contributed to a $16,000 fine, explaining that, for moral reasons, he could not bring himself to exterminate living things--even cockroaches. (Less well-defended were Kingsland’s toilet, grease, and food-storage shortcomings.) [Brisbane Times, 2-1-2015]

Perspective

Among the participants at this year’s Davos, Switzerland, gathering of billionaires and important people was property developer Jeff Greene, 60, who owns mansions in New York, Malibu, and Palm Springs, and whose Beverly Hills estate is on the market for around $195 million. Greene famously won big betting against overvalued sub-prime mortgages before the 2008 Great Recession, but, shortly after landing at Davos, gave Bloomberg Business his take on the symptoms of current economic turmoil (that he had capitalized on for part of his wealth by exploiting people’s desires for expensive houses that they ultimately could not afford). “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high,” Greene explained, “and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence.” [Daily Mail (London), 1-22-2015]

People With Issues

Sorry, Ladies, He’s Taken: In yet another chilling episode of body modification, the otherwise handsome Henry Damon, 37, married father of two, appeared in January at the Caracas (Venezuela) International Tattoo Expo as “Red Skull” (arch-enemy of Captain America), who has somehow fascinated Damon for years. The exhibiting of his idolatry began with subdermal forehead implants (ultimately, replacing his eyebrows with prominent ridges), followed by going all-in for Red Skull by allowing a medical-school dropout to lop off what looks like half of his nose. (How his deep red color was achieved was not mentioned in news reports.) For the record, the “surgeon” called Damon “a physically and intellectually healthy person.” [Daily Mail (London), 2-4-2015]

New World Order

Swedish public broadcaster SVT, capitalizing on the country’s supposedly liberal sexuality to promote an upcoming children’s series on the human body, produced a one-minute cartoon featuring genitals singing and dancing. However, the SVT program director admitted in January that there was criticism--not for salaciousness, but because the penis was portrayed with a moustache and the vagina with long eyelashes, which some critics said unfortunately “reinforced gender stereotypes.” [Associated Press via WTOP Radio, 1-22-2015]

Least Competent Criminals

Mastering the Technology: (1) Donald Harrison, 22, wanted for assault in Ambridge, Pa., made police aware of his whereabouts when he Facebook-posted a “selfie” from a Greyhound bus with the notation, “It’s Time to Leave Pa.” He was picked up at a stop in nearby Youngstown, Ohio. (2) Police in Houston, Tex., arrested Dorian Walker-Gaines, 20, and Dillian Thompson, 22, after they posted selfies on Facebook of themselves enjoying a handful of $100 bills--photos they took on an iPad they had stolen on January 8th and whose photos automatically uploaded to the victim’s iCloud account. (Incidentally, Walker-Gaines has, tattooed across his chest, “BRILLIANT.”) [Associated Press via WKBN-TV (Youngstown)), 2-10-2015] [The Smoking Gun, 1-22-2015]

Update

Additional details reported by the Toronto Sun in January on an August 2014 News of the Weird item reveal that the motorist who hit three bicycling teenagers in Innisfil, Ontario, in 2012 (killing one, putting another in a wheelchair) is suing the victims for $1.35 million for “emotional trauma” the incident caused her (though she was not otherwise injured) because they “were incompetent bicyclists” and “did not apply their brakes properly.” The boys wore reflective jackets and had no alcohol in their systems, but the driver, Sharlene Simon, admitted to at least one drink and to speeding. (On other hand, her husband, who was following in another car, is a police officer, and Simon was neither charged nor breath-tested.) [Toronto Sun, 1-10-2015]

Recurring Themes

(1) A mummified monk in Mongolia became the latest religious figure whose followers insist is not dead but living in a meditative trance. Dr. Barry Kerzin, among whose patients is the Dalai Lama, called the state “tukdam.” Scientists attributed the monk’s preserved condition to Mongolia’s cold weather. (2) After consulting its substantial research base, The Smoking Gun website reported that Steven Anderson’s arrest in Fargo, N.D., in January was only the third time that someone operating a Zamboni had been charged with DUI. Anderson, 27, was arrested while (erratically) resurfacing the ice between periods of a girls’ high school hockey game. [BBC News, 2-4-2015] [The Smoking Gun, 2-1-2015]

A News of the Weird Classic (June 2011)

Oklahoma inmate Eric Torpy was reported [in May 2011] as having second thoughts while only six years into his 33-year sentence for armed robbery. According to an Associated Press dispatch, he might especially regret the years 2035-2038. His original sentence was 30 years, but he challenged the judge that if he was "going down," it would be in "Larry Bird's jersey"--the basketball player’s number “33." Judge Ray Elliott then accommodated Torpy--33 years, not 30. Said Torpy to the reporter, "I'm pretty sure [Bird] thinks I'm an idiot.” [Boston Globe-AP, 5-13-2011]

Thanks This Week to Mary Kearney, Dave Shepardson, Chris Schulman, Craig Bossler, Patty Lively, and Wayne Halsa, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Feb 23, 2015 - Comments (7)
Category:

Your face on a pancake

Technology marches onward! Product development company Kinneir Dufort has created a machine that can print faces onto pancakes. It explains:

Combining CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technology with embedded face recognition and tracking software, the system dispenses layers of batter directly onto a hot plate allowing the creation of detailed and complex images within the pancake surfaces. As the conventional pancake batter is applied it immediately starts to cook and change colour and as subsequent layers are added the different tonal qualities of the image build up.



Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 23, 2015 - Comments (7)
Category: Food, Inventions, Photography and Photographers, Technology

Gene Vincent’s FLEA BRAIN



"If she wasn't good-looking, she'd be better off dead."

Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 23, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Insects, Music, 1950s, Brain Damage

February 22, 2015

Drive-In Opera

Back in 1989, the Norwegian National Opera staged the world's first (and only?) "drive-in opera" with a performance of the Barber of Seville broadcast live on a 225-square-foot movie screen in downtown Oslo. The idea was that people could watch the performance from their cars. This was supposed to be a way to bring opera to the masses, to let people know that "opera can be fun."

However, the event didn't go quite as planned since the Norwegian audience wasn't quite clear on the "drive-in" concept. Most of them showed up on foot. And many of the cars that did show up parked facing away from the screen. More info at AP News Archive.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 22, 2015 - Comments (7)
Category: Music, Theater and Stage, 1980s

February 21, 2015

Monkey Brand Soap

In the days before Mr. Clean, there was Monkey Brand. Though it seems an odd choice for whatever ad man thought this up to figure that people would associate a grinning monkey with clean dishes.


Source: Sketch Magazine, April 1908

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 21, 2015 - Comments (4)
Category: Advertising, Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods, 1900s

The Hairy Water Tortoise of China

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I cannot figure out if this is a legitimate species, or a freak. This article seems to imply it was a common tortoise with vegetation affixed to its back.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 21, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Asia, Nineteenth Century

February 20, 2015

Thank You For Buying…

My wife noticed this posted on distractify.com and brought it to my attention. So I thought I'd share it here.

Occasionally people ask me to sign and write a note in copies of my book, and I never know what to write. But thanks to this receipt, I've now got a go-to phrase!

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 20, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Books, Alex

Ouija Board, 1968

Parker Brothers bought the commercial rights to the Ouija Board in 1966. Based on this 1968 ad, I'm guessing that they were wary of marketing it as a device for communicating with dead people. Instead, they tried to sell it as a kind of Magic 8-Ball. But really, who would ask a Ouija board such boring questions?

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 20, 2015 - Comments (16)
Category: Paranormal, Advertising, 1960s

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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.

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