Weird Universe Archive

September 2015

September 16, 2015

Who Can Beat Nixon?

1971 board game. I assume that whoever played Nixon was allowed to cheat.

via New York Magazine - Aug 16, 1971

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 16, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Games, Politics, 1970s

When the Circus Comes to Town

I have no idea of the provenance of this half-hour compilation. Shown at cinemas before the main feature? Whatever the case, it has everything. Cornball music, girly cheesecake, animated cartoon, stop-motion cartoon, narration by a chimp. Also, the highly disturbing image reproduced below. Somehow I feel it relates to the "horse fondling" theme of yesterday.


Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 16, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Clowns, Dreams and Nightmares, Music, Sex Symbols, Cartoons, Stop-motion Animation, 1940s

September 15, 2015

Fondles horse, but not his wife

I'm guessing the copy editor had fun coming up with this headline...

Portsmouth Daily Times - Jan 8, 1926

Fondles Horse, But Not His Wife—She Seeks a Divorce
TOLEDO, O. Jan. 8—(United Press)—A horse is named co-respondent in a divorce suit filed here by Mrs. Johanna Uller against Wolf Uller of Wyandotte, Mich.
"My husband pays more attention to his horse than he does... to his family," Mrs. Uller charged.
"He spends hours fondling the animal and shows no affection for me," she asserted.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 15, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Divorce, 1920s

Follies of the Madmen #260


Is the falling-down part of skiing really what the resort wants to highlight?

From the Daily Illini for December 19, 1967.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 15, 2015 - Comments (4)
Category: Regionalism, Screwups, Sports, Advertising, 1960s

September 14, 2015

Not Weird (So Why Is It Here?)  (Ehh . . .)

Yo, Chuck here, and this doesn't fit, but I've been talking up a short essay I read yesterday on The New Yorker's website, and I'm so obsessed with it (intellectually and the quality of writing) that more than one person (OK, 3) said, "Chuck, you're so enthusiastic about it. Why don't you tell other people, like on your blog, what's that called, universal weird, what?" OK, have a look, take it or leave it, whatever, but I'm standing behind it as extra-extraordinarily well done and persuasive. Maybe you'll like it, too. (Maybe not. That's cool, too.) FYI. It's "Kim Davis Needs to Read the Bible Again." (She's the Kentucky clerk who knows exactly what God wants.) The New Yorker

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Sep 14, 2015 - Comments (23)

Rent Boys of Central Park

1963 was a more innocent time, when the idea of young boys renting themselves out to strangers in Central Park wasn't anything to be concerned about.

Newsweek - Sep 2, 1963

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 14, 2015 - Comments (4)
Category: Children, 1960s

Bob Harrington, the Chaplain of Bourbon Street


The animated mouth of Jesus, who speaks with a robot voice, is tops!

As for Bob Harrington himself, am I cynical for imagining that hanging out with the hookers and party-animals of Bourbon Street was more fun than ministering to Jim and Jane Normal in the suburbs?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 14, 2015 - Comments (2)
Category: Regionalism, Religion, 1960s

September 13, 2015

News of the Weird (September 13, 2015)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M440, September 13, 2015
Copyright 2015 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

The Federal Aviation Administration recently granted (likely for the first time ever) an application to fly a paper airplane. Prominent drone advocate Peter Sachs had applied to conduct commercial aerial photography with his “aircraft” (a TailorToys model with a tiny propeller and maximum range of 180 feet), and the agency, concerned with air traffic safety, accommodated by treating the request (unironically?) under the rules for manned flights (that, among other restrictions, Sachs must not exceed “100 mph” and must engage a licensed airplane pilot to fly it, for Sachs is currently licensed only for helicopters). “With this grant,” said the “victorious” Sachs, “the FAA has abandoned all logic and sensibility.” [, 8-27-2015; Popular Science, 8-31-2015]

Questionable Judgments

Because temperatures were in the high 90s the last weekend in August, tourists visiting the historical Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland were greeted by the outdoor sprinkler system’s dousing them near the gates. It was intended as relief, said operators, to keep guests from fainting, but, as one Israeli visitor said, “It was a punch to the gut”--too reminiscent of Auschwitz’s gas chamber. (Jewish prisoners had been marched calmly to their deaths under the pretense that they were only being taken for showers.) [Ynet News (Tel Aviv), 8-31-2015]

DIY dentistry seemed off-limits--until amateur orthodontia got a boost from a 2012 YouTube video in which Shalom DeSota, 17, praised rubber bands for teeth-straightening. DeSota’s family lacked dental insurance at the time, so the would-be actress experimented by looping rubber bands around two front teeth she wanted to draw together. Many painful days later, she succeeded. The American Association of Orthodontists expressed alarm in August by the video’s recent popularity. So much could go wrong--infection, gum-tearing, detachment between tooth and gums--that DeSota, the organization said, had simply been lucky. [, 8-17-2015]

New World Order

Digital World: (1) The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction announced in July that it would be experimenting with online phys-ed courses for high-schoolers. Students would watch videos on certain activities, then go engage in them, and later self-report their (as the agency calls it) “mastery.” (2) British police warned in August of a brand-new sex crime based on the iPhone app “Airdrop.” The app sends text or photos instantly to nearby Airdrop users (who choose to receive from “contacts” or from “everyone”). Thus, perverts can “flash” strangers by posting nude pictures of themselves to reach Airdrop users set carelessly (or purposely!) to “everyone.” [Charlotte Observer, 7-21-2015] [BBC News, 8-13-2015]

Seems Like the Season of Email Muddles

(1) All Sherri Smith wanted was copies of background e-mails about her son (who has a disability) in the files of the Goodrich, Mich., school system, but the superintendent informed her in June that the Freedom Of Information request would cost her $77,780 (4,500 hours of searching--taking two years to complete). (Michigan’s FOI law was somewhat liberalized on July 1st, and Smith said she may re-file.) (2) After a McKinney, Tex., police officer was filmed pointing his gun at unarmed black teenagers at a pool party in June, the online Gawker Media filed a Public Information Act request for the officer’s records and any e-mails about his conduct. The city estimated that request’s cost at $79,229 (hiring a programer, for 2,231 hours’ searching--plus “computer time”). Gawker said it would appeal. [WNEM-TV (Saginaw, Mich.), 7-1-2015] [, 6-29-2015]

Government Inaction

The streets of Jackson, Miss., apparently have potholes that rival the worst in the country, but without adequate budget to fix them, according to Mayor Tony Yarber. His remedy, offered earnestly to constituents in August: prayer. “I believe we can pray potholes away.” (Yarber, elected in 2014, was pastor of the Relevant Empowerment Church.) [Times-Picayune, 8-21-2015]

Names in the News

Charged with choking and punching his fiancee, Mr. Daniel Gentleman, 28 (Prescott, Ariz., May). Charged with killing her husband and burying his body in a manure pile on their farm: Ms. Charlene Mess, 48 (Attica, N.Y., April). Charged with sexual assault: Mr. Huckleberry Finn (Keene, N.H., July). And prominent in the news (confusingly so) when the Food and Drug Administration approved the so-called “female Viagra” drug Addyi in August: FDA spokesperson Dr. Janet Woodcock. [Prescott Daily Courier, 5-19-2015] [Associated Press via KCCI-TV (Des Moines, Iowa), 4-21-2015] [Union Leader (Manchester), 7-29-2015] [New York Times, 8-19-2015]

Least Competent People

“Selfies” continue to take their devastating toll on Americans. On August 30th in Orient, Maine, driver Jordan Toner, 29, attempting to lean into a 7-person selfie among his passengers, crashed into a tree, causing numerous injuries. On August 24th, Alex Gomez, 36, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., tried to take one after draping an angry four-foot-long rattlesnake around his neck. The predictable bite was damaging but not fatal. On September 1st in Houston, Tex., a 19-year-old man taking selfies while clumsily fondling his handgun is no longer with us. [WCSH-TV (Portland, Maine), 8-30-2015] [KCBS-TV (Los Angeles), 8-25-2015] [KPRC-TV (Houston), 9-2-2015]

Recurring Themes

In June, News of the Weird mentioned a drug dealer in Marseille, France, who was distributing loyalty cards to his best customers (fill 10 squares, get a discount). In August, a small-time cannabis dealer in the central France town of Villeurbanne pushed the envelope further by taping 1-gram samples to hand-lettered leaflets (offering home delivery for 100-euro orders, along with his first name and phone number). The man was of course arrested, with the local police superintendent musing about the man’s “very special” business model. [The Local (Paris), 8-28-2015]

More “Slow TV”: Norwegian TV viewers have somehow given strong ratings to a series of seemingly interminable programs (a continuous camera on a salmon-fishing vessel, 12 hours of live log-burning with commentary, five hours of knitters spinning their way to a world’s record, 100 straight hours of chess-playing, a five-day stretch from a cruise ship), and in August were presented another such gift. The Norwegian caviar company Mills said it would livestream, on a YouTube channel, nearly eleven 24/7 months of fish eggs aging in barrels--7,392 hours of “programing.” [United Press International, 8-21-2015]

People With Issues: Alexander Carlsson, 25, was jailed in Sanford, Fla., in August on federal child-pornography charges, but also told agents that he is a “clopper,” which identifies him, he said, as one who masturbates while gazing at figurines and pictures depicting Hasbro’s My Little Pony toys. [Orlando Sentinel, 8-6-2015]

Readers’ Choice

A thief grabbed the purse of an elderly woman shopping with her husband at a Fred Meyer store in Spokane, Wash., on July 23rd and fled through a parking lot. They had no chance to catch the man, but he happened to run right by hospital nurse Heidi Muat, 42, who surmised the situation and started after him. The thief quickly saw that Muat could outrun him, and he gave up the purse, which Muat returned to the couple. Muat later revealed her alter ego: On her “Spokannibals” Roller Derby team, she is known as Ms. “Ida B. ChoAzz.” [KXLY-TV (Spokane), 7-27-2015] [New York Daily News, 8-7-2015]

A News of the Weird Classic (February 2009)

Though India is recognized as a world leader in promoting the health benefits of urine, its dominance will be assured by the end of the year [2009] when a cow-urine-based soft drink comes to market. Om Prakash, chief of the Cow Protection Department of the RSS organization (India's largest Hindu nationalist group), trying to reassure a Times of London reporter in February, promised, "It won't smell like urine and will be tasty, too," noting that medicinal herbs would be added and toxins removed. In addition to improved health, he said, India needs a domestic (and especially Hindu) beverage to compete with the foreign influence of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. [The Times (London), 2-11-2009]

Thanks This Week to Wayne Ballard, David Melcher, and Alice Sullivan, 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 Sep 13, 2015 - Comments (1)

Church Of Bacon

Move over Spaghetti Monster, The Church of Bacon is new in town! With bacon's popularity peaking its an idea whose time has come.

Update: For those who are reticent to take a Google survey (sorry about that) Here is a link to the Church of Bacon website.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 13, 2015 - Comments (9)
Category: Publicity Stunts, Religion, Bacon

Powering Entire Neighborhood

Having done some home wiring, this impresses me as a truly epic screw-up. And I'm curious how the workmen could have managed to wire up something like this accidentally.

Based on the description (the fact that the homeowner had to switch off the main power feed and not just one circuit to turn off the street lights), I'm guessing that the workmen must have somehow got power going back out of the house through the neutral line, and then fed this into the street lights.

News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) - Jan 26, 1957

Lights Go Out On Power Bill
SHEFFIELD, Eng. — When Lewis Monfredi received a $90 bill from the Sheffield Electricity Company he indignantly pulled the main switch in his house. Immediately, all the street lights in the neighborhood went out.
An investigation showed the street lights had been connected to the circuit in the Manfredi home by workmen. The company promised to send Monfredi an adjusted bill.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 13, 2015 - Comments (8)
Category: Utilities and Power Generation, 1950s

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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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