Weird Universe Archive

February 2017

February 10, 2017

Chore your way to fitness

In 1972, Sears, Roebuck & Co. commissioned fitness expert Nicholas Kounovsky to devise exercises that could be done by housewives while vacuuming. He came up with the "Chore Your Way to Fitness" program. He wrote, "Your vacuum cleaner becomes a portable gym, and you can help tone up lazy muscles as you do your routine cleaning chores."

It sounds like this program was outlined in a pamphlet of some kind. But unfortunately I haven't been able to find a copy of this pamphlet anywhere.

The general concept reminds me of an earlier post from way back in 2012 — Jayne Mansfield's tips on exercising with a broomstick.

The Vidette Messenger - Dec 11, 1972

The San Mateo Times - Sep 27, 1972

The Joy of Feeling Fit, by Nicholas Kounovsky

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 10, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, 1970s

Mystery Illustration 39


"We are from France!"

Or not.

Explanation here.

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 10, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: 1940s

February 9, 2017

Wool Nose Warmer

Introduced by the Hanover House mail order company in 1965.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Oct 3, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 09, 2017 - Comments (12)
Category: Fashion, 1960s

February 8, 2017


She seems a bit too happy to be applying No-Roach. Also, her eyes seem to follow you wherever you move.

The Monroe News-Star - Oct 23, 1967

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 08, 2017 - Comments (7)
Category: Insects, Advertising, 1960s

Follies of the Madmen #303


Yes, Dumont TV is as destructive and unstoppable as an atomic explosion.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 08, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Destruction, Television, 1940s, Weapons

February 7, 2017

Topless Hat

1960's fashion. Wear it down to cover up. Wear it up for the au naturel look.

The Cincinnati Enquirer - July 5, 1964

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 07, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Fashion, Headgear, 1960s

The Great Texas Monorail Disaster of 1968

Somehow this seems like a particularly ignoble way to go, as if you had a fatal bumper-car accident.

Full story here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 07, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Disasters, Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts, Motor Vehicles, 1960s

February 6, 2017

News of the Weird (February 5, 2017)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M513, February 5, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

"Field work is always challenging," explained Courtney Marneweck of South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal in a recent journal article, but studying the sociology of a white rhino's dung meant developing a "pattern-recognition algorithm" to figure out "smell profiles" of 150 animals' feces--after tracking them individually to observe them in the act. Wrote Marneweck, "I think my record for waiting for a rhino to poo was 7.5 hours." Conclusion: Rhinos use feces to send distinct social signals on genetic-compatible herds, mating access, and predator dangers. (Or, in the Los Angeles Times "clickbait" version of the story, rhino dung "has a lot in common with a Facebook post.") [Los Angeles Times, 1-14-2017]

The Way The World Works

"Retiring" the Herd: Settlement of a class-action lawsuit against a group of dairy co-ops was announced in January with milk producers agreeing to offer $52 million on charges they had conspired to fix dairy supply for years to get top-dollar prices. Among the producers' primary tactics, allegedly, was using what the industry calls "herd retirement," which is "retirement" only in the sense that 500,000 healthy young cows were slaughtered--just to drive up prices by eliminating otherwise-available milk. The $52 million will be for consumers in 15 states and Washington, D.C. [Washington Post, 1-19-2017]

Wrist-Slapping: (1) Rutgers University Athletic Director Pat Hobbs, responding to the NCAA's announcement of violations against the school's sports programs (including failure to penalize 16 football players who tested positive for drugs), told the Asbury Park Press in January that he would immediately dismiss from teams any player testing positive for hard drugs--upon the fourth violation (if for marijuana-only, upon the fifth). (2) In January, the Russian parliament voted 380-3 to amend its assault law to allow a spouse one punishment-by-"ticketing" (i.e., not "criminal") for domestic violence against his partner--provided the bodily harm was not "substantial" and that it happens no more than once a year. [Asbury Park Press, 1-11-2017] [USA Today, 1-27-2017]

Unclear on the Concept

The "Virtuous Pedophile": Gary Gibson, 65, of Chiloquin, Ore., admits he is sexually attracted to little girls but never acts on his urges and therefore demands that people get off his case. He formed the Association for Sexual Abuse Prevention, campaigning, he says, to keep children safe from other pedophiles whose self-restraint may not match his. Gibson describes himself as a "normal, everyday person," married to a British nurse (whom he met via a Christian singles organization), and has three children and 10 grandchildren--none so far molested (though in an interview, London's The Sun allowed him to explain his side of various edgy events of his life, such as his having moved for a while to the South Pacific, where little girls sometimes played naked). [The Independent (London), 1-7-2017]

Wait, What?

Surgery on a 16-year-old Japanese girl, reported in January by New Scientist, revealed that her ovary contained a miniature skull and brain. Doctors say that finding rogue brain cells in ovaries is not that uncommon but that an already-organized brain, capable of transmitting cells, is almost unheard-of. [New Scientist, 1-6-2017]

The neonatal intensive care unit of Texas Health Fort Worth disclosed in January that the secret to keeping the most fragile prematurely-born babies alive is to quickly stick them into Ziploc Freezer bags, to create, according to a clinician, a "hot house effect." (It turns out that merely raising the temperature in the delivery room had only marginal effect.) [KXAS-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth), 1-11-2017]

Leading Economic Indicator

Doughnut lovers have legitimately mused for years how U.S. law could condemn, say, marijuana, yet permit Krispy Kreme to openly sell its seemingly-addictive sugary delights on America's streets. Sonia Garcia, 51, realized a while back that residents of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, so much needed Krispy Kreme fixes that she earns a handsome living running a black market from El Paso, Tex., bringing in 40 boxes at a time and re-selling from the trunk of her car at a 60-percent markup, pointing out to a Los Angeles Times reporter in January that her trafficking has already put one son through engineering school. (Mexico City now has Krispy Kremes, but apparently the company's distribution system cannot yet vanquish Sonia Garcia's car.) [Los Angeles Times, 1-6-2017]

Can't Possibly Be True

Reporting from Mbyo, Rwanda, in January on the success of a "reconciliation" program following the country's bloody genocidal wars, London's The Guardian found, for example, Laurencia Niyogira living peacefully and forgivingly alongside neighbor Tasian Nkundiye--even though, 22 years ago, Nkundiye murdered Niyogira's entire family (except for her and her sister, left barely alive). (Over a 100-day span in 1994, 800,000 ethnic Tutsis were systematically slaughtered by Hutus.) A survey by the country's national unity commission showed that 92 percent of Rwandans have come to accept reconciliation. [The Guardian, 1-12-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

Driver Joshua Concepcion-West, 27, was arrested in Apopka, Fla., with an ingenious license-plate cover that he could raise and lower remotely from his key chain (thus avoiding identification by cameras as he passed through turnpike checkpoints). On January 11th at a $1.25 toll plaza, he had neglected to check his rear-view mirror before lowering the cover--and failed to notice that right behind him was a Florida Highway Patrol car with a trooper watching the whole thing. [WFOR-TV (Miami), 1-13, 2017]

Lamest Criminal Defense Ever: Substitute teacher Pete Garcia Hernandez, 49, was arrested in Houston, Tex., in January and charged with three counts of indecency with a child, involving girls at Looscan Elementary School. The girls had reported earlier that Hernandez had kissed them each on the mouth, but police investigators quoted Hernandez as calling it all an "accident," that "he was speaking close with them and his tongue accidentally went into their mouth[s]." [KHOU-TV, 1-25-2017]


Right to Be Grumpy: Trader Joe's has gained popularity among grocery shoppers in large part by having relentlessly sunny employees, but now that the firm has expanded from mellower California to more brusque New York City, it is learning that cheerfulness is harder to find. The company fired Thomas Nagle recently because, though he said he frequently smiled, he was told his smile was insufficiently "genuine," and, backed by several colleagues, he has filed an unfair labor practice charge (and union organizers have taken notice). The National Labor Relations Board has already ruled (against another employer) that workers cannot be forced to convey that all-important "positive work environment" because they are entitled to have grievances. [New York Times, 11-3-2016]

The Passing Parade

(1) Jersey Shore, Pa. (pop. 4,300) rarely makes the news, thus allowing it to avoid questions about its awkward name (since it is (a) landlocked and (b) 100 miles from New Jersey). (In January, local residents were disturbed about the odor of a farm's prematurely ripening radishes.) (2) Scientists at Spain's University of Barcelona announced they had reduced the fear of death in some of their 32 research participants by exposing them (using artificial-intelligence Oculus Rift headsets) to out-of-body experiences so that they could see and feel themselves "alive" even when they are not actually present. [WNEP-TV (Moosic, Pa.), 1-19-2017] [New Scientist, 1-23-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (April 2013)

Undocumented immigrant Jose Muñoz, 25, believed himself an ideal candidate for President Obama’s 2012 initiative for children, in that he had been brought to the U.S. by his undocumented parents before age 16, had no criminal record, and had graduated from high school (with honors, even). Since graduation, however, he had stayed at his parents' home in Sheboygan, Wis., jobless, unenterprisingly “vegging,” making it difficult to prove the final requirement of the law: that he had lived continuously in the U.S. since graduation (since just lying around the house leaves no paper trail). After initial frustrations, Muñoz finally proved his residency--by submitting his Xbox Live records documenting that his computer’s Wisconsin location had been accessing video games, daily, year after year. [Journal Sentinel, 3-24-2013]

Thanks This Week to Caroline Lawler and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Feb 06, 2017 - Comments (3)

Name That List, #37

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

  • Treat diaper rash
  • Unclog tear ducts
  • Disinfect scrapes and burns
  • Clear up acne
  • Soothe red eyes
  • Treat eye infections
  • Remove make-up
  • Soothe sore throats
  • Decongest stuffy noses
  • Treat ear infections
  • Relieve the itch of bug bites
  • Sexual lubricant
  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Treat mouth, leg, and other ulcers

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 06, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Name That List

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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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