Weird Universe Archive

January 2017

January 27, 2017

January 26, 2017

Variants of Yes

In 1926, the linguist Louise Pound published an article in the journal American Speech (Dec 1, 1926) warning that the word "Yes" was in danger of disappearing from oral speech. She noted: "Yes is a compound of yea-so, or perhaps of the old optative of the verb to be, Anglo-Saxon gea si, "yea be it." It was well established by the sixteenth century, alongside the historic affirmative yea and the competing aye, which appeared in the last part of the century."

However, Yes continued to rapidly evolve. While attending an event with over 100 people, she heard a wide variety of Yes variants being used. These are listed below. She didn't count substitutes such as "all right," "you bet," "O K," or "uh huh."

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 26, 2017 - Comments (1)

Follies of the Madmen #302

TV in the teepee. What could be more natural?

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 26, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Stereotypes and Cliches, Television, 1950s

January 25, 2017

Name That List, #36

What is this a list of? The answer is below in extended.

  • A pair of Howdy Doody earmuffs
  • A hundred thousand ladybugs
  • A recording of humpback whales at play
  • A fat lady willing to do a nude dance on a trampoline
  • The words and music to "Methodist Pie, Sugar in the Gourd"
  • Two fleas in a wedding dress
  • A gasoline-powered pogo stick
  • A life-size fiberglass statue of a polar bear on wheels
  • The cigarette lighter used by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 25, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Name That List

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 1

Inspired by my earlier post about Khruschev's distaste for modern art, I am moved to launch this occasional series about modern art that was made prior to his premiership (1958) that would have likely offended him. I will focus on less-famous works.

If this is not an esoteric thread, I'm not sure what is!

In any case, we start with "Wrestler," 1929, by Dudley Talcott.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 25, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Art, 1920s, Russia

January 24, 2017

Bathrooms walls as teaching tool

1980: At the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Alan Grogono reported on the results of an experiment to determine the efficacy of bathrooms walls as a teaching tool.

While teaching a class on CPR, he placed educational posters about CPR in the bathroom of one college dormitory, while placing no posters in the bathroom of another. Students housed in the dormitory with the bathroom posters subsequently scored significantly better on the CPR exam than those in the no-poster dormitory. In fact, students in the bathroom-poster dormitory who hadn't even taken the class scored as well as students in the no-poster dorm who had taken the class.

Grogono concluded that bathroom posters could be a useful supplement to CPR training. He also credited his "fascination with restroom communication" to his student days at London Hospital Medical College.

Philadelphia Inquirer - Nov 27, 1980

Chemical & Engineering News - Oct 27, 1980

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 24, 2017 - Comments (8)
Category: Bathrooms, Education, 1980s

Hey, Let’s Twist!

The movie so great it inspired its own line of Ivey, Jivey suits for Cats!


Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 24, 2017 - Comments (7)
Category: Fads, Fashion, Movies, Music, Teenagers, 1960s, Dance

January 23, 2017

Jim Smith Society

Jim Smith of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania founded the Jim Smith Society in 1969. There's only one rule for membership. Your name has to be Jim Smith, or some close variation of it. For instance, Jamie Smith counts, which means there's a few female members.

Smith said that he started the society as a way to show pride in having the second-most common name in the United States. The first-most common name is apparently John Smith.

I don't know if the original Jim Smith is still around. He'd be around 95 years old if he is. But the society is still going strong with over 2000 members. Its Facebook page is pretty active. Though its website hasn't been updated in over a year.

I wonder how many other names have their own society? I'd definitely join an Alex Boese Society if there was one. I know there are a few other people with my name out there, such as here, here, here, and here.

More info: NY Times (July 22, 1979)

Fort Myers News-Press - Oct 5, 1980

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 23, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations

House Call from Faux Dress Fitter

Despite all the contemporary tales of ingenious upskirt photographers and toilet-cam operators, I don't believe anyone has recently utilized the "free dress comes with home fitting service" routine.

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 23, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Annoying Things, Crime, Domestic, Sexuality, 1950s

January 22, 2017

News of the Weird (January 22, 2017)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M511, January 22, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Post-Truth Society: In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals finally pulled the plug on Orange County, Calif., social workers who had been arguing in court for 16 years that they were not guilty of lying under oath because, after all, they did not understand that lying under oath in court is wrong. The social workers had been sued for improperly removing children from homes and defended their actions by inventing "witnesses" to submit made-up testimony. Their lawyers had been arguing that the social workers' "due process" rights were violated in the lawsuit because in no previous case on record did a judge ever have occasion to explicitly spell out that creating fictional witness statements is not permitted. [OC Weekly, 1-6-2017]

The Way The World Works

Former elementary school teacher Maria Caya, who was allowed to resign quietly in 2013 from her Janesville, Wis., school after arriving drunk on a student field trip, actually made money on the incident. In November 2016, the city agreed to pay a $75,000 settlement--because the police had revealed her blood-alcohol level to the press in 2013 (allegedly, "private" medical information). The lawsuit against the police made no mention of Caya's having been drunk or passed out but only that she had "become ill." [Fox News, 10-26-2016]

The Redneck Chronicles

(1) John Bubar, 50, was arrested in Parsonsfield, Maine, in November after repeatedly lifting his son's mobile home with his front-end loader and dropping it. The father and son had been quarreling over rent payments and debris in the yard, and the father only eased up after realizing that his grandson was still inside the home. (2) Update: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reversed itself in December and allowed Mary Thorn of Lakeland to keep her 6-foot-long pet alligator ("Rambo") at home with her despite a regulation requiring that a gator that size needs a more spacious roaming area. Thorn and Rambo have been together for over a decade. [Associated Press via Yahoo News, 12-12-2016] [WFTV (Orlando), 12-21-2016]

Unclear on the Concept

"I'm [as] tired of hearing the word 'creep' as any black person or gay person is of hearing certain words," wrote Lucas Werner, 37, on his Facebook page in December after he was banned from a Starbucks in Spokane, Wash., for writing a polite dating request to a teenaged barista. Managers thought Werner was harassing the female, who is at least the age of consent, but Werner charged illegal "age discrimination" and made a "science" claim that "age gap love" makes healthier babies. [NWCN News (Seattle), 12-30-2016]

Police Report

Taylor Trupiano grudgingly paid his $128 "traffic" fine in December, issued by a Roseville, Mich., officer who caught his car warming up unattended--in his own driveway. Police routinely issue such tickets (5 to 10 each winter, based on a town ordinance) to send drivers like Trupiano a message that unattended cars are ripe for theft, which burdens Roseville's police department. (A police spokesman said the driverless warmups are illegal even for locked cars.) [WXYZ-TV (Detroit), 1-9-2017]

Awwwwwww! (1) Jasper Fiorenza, 24, was arrested in St. Petersburg, Fla., in November and charged with breaking into a home in the middle of the night. The female resident said she awoke to see Fiorenza and screamed but that the man nonetheless delayed his getaway in order to pet the woman's cat lounging on her bed. (2) In December, Durham, Ontario, police officer Beth Richardson was set for disciplinary hearing ("discreditable conduct") because, earlier in 2016, after being called intervene at a drug user's home, she had noticed the resident's cat "cowering" in a corner and had taken her to a veterinarian, but without asking the owner's permission. [Tampa Bay Times, 12-1-2016] [CTV News (Toronto), 12-2-2016]

Questionable Judgments

David Martinez, 25, was shot in the stomach during a brawl in New York City in December. He had inadvertently initiated the chaos when, trying to park in Manhattan's East Village just after Saturday midnight, he moved an orange traffic cone that had obviously been placed to reserve the parking space. He apparently failed to realize that the parking spot was in front of the clubhouse of Hells Angels, whose members happened to take notice. [New York Daily News, 12-12-2016]

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

An unnamed pregnant woman convinced a reporter from Jacksonville, Fla., station WFOX-TV in December that the "positive" urine tests she was advertising on Craigslist were accurate and that she was putting herself through school by supplying them (making about $200 a day). The seller claimed that "many" pregnant women market their urine for tests--even though the main use of the test seems to be "negotiation" with boyfriends or husbands. [WFOX-TV, 12-16-2016]


"You Have The Right To [Any Ol'] Attorney": While poor, often uneducated murder defendants in some states receive marginal, part-time legal representation by lawyers at the bottom of their profession (usually unable to keep their murder clients off of death row), "Boston Marathon" bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted of three murders in the 2013 attack and facing a possible death sentence, once again will be represented for free by a team at the top of the profession--headed by the chief of the New York federal public defender office. Tsarnaev was previously represented by a team topped by the chief of the Boston federal public defender office. [Boston Herald, 1-3-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

(1) Matthew Bergstedt, 27, was charged with breaking into a house in Raleigh, N.C., in December, though he failed to anticipate that the resident was inside, stacking firewood (which he used to bloody Bergstedt's face for his mugshot). (2) On December 5th in New York City, a so-far-unidentified man made five separate attempts to rob banks in midtown Manhattan over a three-hour span, but all tellers refused his demands, and he slinked away each time. (Police said a man matching his description had successfully robbed a bank four days earlier.) [WNCN-TV (Raleigh), 12-27-2016] [WNBC-TV (New York), 12-6-2016]

Recurring Themes

The Return of Anger Relief: (1) What was billed as the UK's first "Rage Cage" opened in Nottingham, England, in December, allowing patrons to vent with crowbars, baseball bats, and hammers to smash crockery, electronics, and glassware--at prices ranging from about $15 to about $40. (2) In October, a bookstore in Cairo, Egypt, set aside a small, soundproof room where patrons could go scream at the top of their lungs for 10 minutes about whatever stresses them. The store owner pointed to an academic study demonstrating screaming's "positive effect" on the brain. (The prototype store is still Donna Alexander's Anger Room in downtown Dallas, thriving since 2011, offering a variety of bludgeoning weapons, and especially active this election season, with target mannequins gussied up to be "Trump" and "Clinton.") [, 12-5-2016] [CNN, 10-27-2016] [New York Times, 11-26-2016]

The Passing Parade

(1) Two weeks after a Pakistani International Airlines crash killed all 47 on board, some employees of the company figured they needed to dispel the bad karma (for their own safety) and thus sacrificed a black goat on the tarmac at Islamabad airport next to an ATR-42 aircraft (the same model that crashed). (2) Badminton player Mads Pieler Kolding, in a January match in India's Premier Badminton League, returned a volley at a world's record for a shuttlecock--265 mph. [NPR, 12-19-2016] [, 1-12-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (March 2013)

Suspicions Confirmed: In January [2013], the National Hockey League labor dispute ended, and players returned to work, but as if on cue, some owners resumed their suspect claims that high player salaries were killing them financially. However, the Phoenix Business Journal reported in December 2012 that the NHL Phoenix Coyotes' bookkeeping methodology only allowed them to turn a profit for the season if the lockout had continued and wiped out all the games. In other words, based on the team’s bookkeeping, the only way for the Coyotes to make money was to never play. [Phoenix Business Journal, 12-26-2012]

Thanks This Week to Gerald Sacks and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jan 22, 2017 - Comments (0)

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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.

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