News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M528, May 21, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
Officials in charge of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal heritage site recently installed "speed bumps" (similar to those familiar to Americans driving residential streets)--but on a pedestrian walkway, with row upon row of risers, to resemble a washboard. A Western travel writer, along with editors of People's Daily China
, suggested that officials were irked that "disorderly" tourists had been walking past the ancient grounds too rapidly to appreciate its beauty or context. [Daily Telegraph (London), 5-4-2017
The Job of the Researcher
"Marine mammologist" Dara Orbach's specialty is figuring out how bottlenose dolphins actually fit their sex organs together to copulate. When dolphins die of natural causes, Orbach (a post-doctoral fellow at Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University) is sent their genitals (and also those of whales, porpoises, and sea lions) and fills each one with silicone to work from the mold in understanding the sex act's mechanics. Dolphins' vaginas are "surprising" in their "complexity," she told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News in April, for example with the ability to twist inner folds to divert the progress of any sperm deposited by undesirable mates. [CBC News, 4-26-2017
Compared to busy coastal metropolises, "Indiana" may evoke repose, and entrepreneur Tom Battista is suggesting the state's largest city capitalize on the sentiment by reserving a destination site on a low-lying hill overlooking the chaotic merge lanes of two Interstate highways--affording visitors leisurely moments watching the frantic motorists scrambling below. He plans three rows of seats and a sunshade for the relaxed gawkers to take in the "ocean"-like roar and imagine overwrought drivers' rising blood pressure (while their own remains soothingly calm). [WTHR-TV (Indianapolis, 4-25-2017
Several treatments are available to combat the heart arrhythmia "atrial fibrillation," but all require medical supervision, which John Griffin, 69, said he tried to acquire at the emergency room at New Zealand's Waikato Hospital in April, only to be met with delay and frustration. Griffin went home that day, took notice of his neighbor's 8,000-volt electric security fence, and, with boots off, in a fit of do-it-yourself desperation, nudged it with his arm. He got quite a jolt, he said, but he walked away, and his heart returned to natural rhythm. The medical director of the Heart Foundation of New Zealand said that Griffin was lucky and sternly warned against the "procedure." [New Zealand Herald, 5-2-2017
Medical researchers have been frustrated for years at failures in getting certain cancer-fighting drugs to reach targeted areas in women's reproductive tracts, but doctors in Germany announced in April a bold technique that appeared to work: sending the drugs via sperm cells (which seem to roam unobstructedly as they search for an egg). The process involves coating active sperm cells with an iron adhesive and magnetically steering them to their internal targets. [Phys.org, 4-14-2017
News That Sounds Like a Joke
Sean Clemens, now awaiting trial in Liberty, Ohio, in the death of an 84-year-old woman, allegedly confessed his guilt to a co-worker after telling the man that something was bothering him that he needed to tell someone about--but only if the co-worker would "pinkie-swear" not to tell anyone else. (The co-worker broke the code.) [WKBN-TV (Youngstown), 4-25-2017
In the course of pursuing claims against Alaskan dentist Seth Lookhart for Medicaid fraud, government investigators found a video on his phone of him extracting a sedated patient's tooth--while riding on a hoverboard. (He had apparently sent the video to his office manager under the title "New Standard of Care.") Lookhart had been indicted in 2016 for billing Medicaid $1.8 million for patient sedations unnecessary for the procedures they received. [Alaska Dispatch News, 4-21-2017
In April, Tennessee state representative Mike Stewart, aiming to make a point about the state's lax gun-sales laws and piggybacking onto the cuddly feeling people have about children's curbside lemonade stands, set up a combination stand on Nashville's Capitol Hill, offering for sale lemonade, cookies--and an AK-47 assault rifle (with a sign "No Background Check," to distinguish the private-sale AK-47 from one purchased from a federally licensed dealer). (In fact, some states still regulate lemonade stands more than gun sales--by nettlesome "health department" and anti-competitive rules and licensing, though Tennessee allows the stands in most neighborhoods as long as they are small and operated infrequently.) [WKRN-TV (Nashville), 4-5-2017
(1) The Wall Street Journal
reported in February that among the most popular diversions when Syrian households gather to escape the country's bombs and bullets is playing the Hasbro war board game "Risk" (even though the game's default version contains only five armies--not nearly enough to simulate the many Syrian factions now fighting). (2) The parliament of Australia's New South Wales, entertaining a February citizen petition to cut societal "waste," admitted that the petition's required 107,000 signatures (already on a USB stick) would, by rule, have to be submitted in hard copy (4,000 pages), even though the pages would immediately be electronically scanned into a format for data storage. [Wall Street Journal, 2-16-2017
] [Sydney Morning Herald, 2-26-2017
People Different From Us
In March, an electrician on a service call at a public restroom in Usuki, Japan, discovered a crawlspace above the urinal area, which had apparently been a man's home (with a space heater, gas stove, and clothing). Investigators learned that Takashi Yamanouchi, 54, a homeless wanderer, had been living there continuously for three years--and had arranged everything very tidily, including the 300-plus plastic two-liter bottles of his urine. (It was unclear why he was storing his urine when he resided above a public restroom.) [Rocket News, 4-2-4-2017
Least Competent Criminals
Not Ready For Prime Time: (1) In March, WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., broadcast surveillance video of a 7-Eleven armed robbery in the city's northeast sector--since some footage offered a clear picture of the suspect's face. Moments into the robbery, the man peered upward, caught sight of the camera, and, shocked, reached for his apparently-forgotten ski mask on top of his head, where (better late than never) he pulled it into place. (2) In November, three teenagers were arrested after stealing superfast Dodge cars in the middle of the night from a dealership in St. Peters, Mo. (After driving less than a mile, police said, the three had lost control of their cars, crashing them, including "totaling" two 700-horsepower Challenger Hellcats.) [WTTG-TV, 3-28-2017
] [KTVI (St. Louis), 11-16-2017
No Longer Weird
News that was formerly weird but whose patterns more recently have become so tedious that the stories deserve respectful retirement: (1) On May 5th, an elderly woman in Plymouth, England, became the most recent to drive wildly afield by blindly obeying her car's satellite navigation system. Turning left, as ordered, only to confront a solid railing, she nonetheless spotted a narrow pedestrian gap and squeezed through, which led to her descending the large concrete stairway at the Mayflower House Court parking garage (until her undercarriage got stuck). (2) Police in East Palestine, Ohio, said the 8-year-old boy who commandeered the family car and drove his sister, 4, to the local McDonald's for a cheeseburger on April 9th was different from the usual underaged drivers in that he caused no problems. Witnesses said he followed traffic signals en route, which the boy attributed to learning from YouTube videos. [DevonLive.co.uk, 5-5-2017
] [WFMJ-TV (Youngstown), 4-12-2017
A News of the Weird Classic (October 2013)
Imminent Swirling Vortex of Damnation: Land developers for the iconic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. (the inspiration for the hotel in Stephen King’s “The Shining”) announced recently  that they need more space and thus will dig up and move the hotel’s 12-gravesite pet cemetery (another Stephen King trope). Neighbors told the Fort Collins Coloradoan
in September  that they feared the construction noise more than the potential release of departed spirits (though an “Animal Planet” “dog psychic” who lives in Estes Park volunteered her services to calm the pets’ souls). (Update: Apparently, it worked.) [Fort Collins Coloradoan via USA Today, 9-26-2013
Thanks This Week to Chuck Hamilton and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
Maybe they were hoping to appeal to the serial killer demographic.
The ad ran in Playboy
The after shave is briefly mentioned in Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America
, by Elizabeth Fraterrigo:
Bond reached the status of "popular hero" in the mid-1960s, bringing an explosion of press coverage and Bond-themed merchandise and advertising. Colgate-Palmolive launched the 007 line of men's toiletries, with a misogynistic slogan that called forth the linkage of seduction and masculine power in the Bond narratives: "007 gives any man the license to kill... women." During this period, sales of Fleming's Bond novels peaked, and several other Bond-inspired playboy-spy-adventure films appeared.
In my physical copy of LIFE magazine for December 20, 1963, this ad occupies page 89.
In the scanned copy at Google
, there is an entirely different ad on page 89. The image you see here is my scan of the paper copy.
I have no explanation for this. Did LIFE print regional issues with different ads?
In any case, I could find no other complete representation of this ad online. (There's a scan of the top part alone, for some reason.)
Thus does WU contribute to the world's stock of knowledge.
The 1978-79 Michigan Highway map included some creative geography. If you looked at the part of the map that depicted neighboring Ohio, you found two new towns. There was Goblu, shown just east of Toledo near Bono, and Beatosu, shown to the west near Elmira. These names sounded a lot like the cries of University of Michigan football fans against rival Ohio State University.
They were included in the map at the order of Peter Fletcher, the highway commission chairman, who said he included the names to demonstrate his "loyalty to the Athens of the West, the University of Michigan." The fictitious towns were deleted from the next edition of the map. The map with the towns is now a collector's item. One is currently available for $32.55 on eBay
More info: wikipedia
Lansing State Journal - Dec 23, 1977 (click to enlarge)