Weird Universe Archive

July 2017

July 6, 2017

Hear Muffs

Straight out of the 70s. Hear Muffs were the invention of Stephen Hanson of Downers Grove, Illinois. They were headphones encased in a wraparound foam pillow, that came with a washable velour cover.

Hanson started selling them in 1972, but by around 1977 the product seems to have been discontinued. Perhaps because you'd only want to wear them in bed. And even then, it was probably difficult to lie on your side while wearing them.



Popular Science - Sep 1973



Honolulu Star Bulletin - Aug 16, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 06, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, 1970s

July 5, 2017

Hillevi Rombin and her Performing Dogs

Hillevi Rombin (1933-1996) was crowned Miss Universe in 1955. Her talents included gymnastics, track & field, skiing, and sausage snake charming. She demonstrated the latter with her "performing dogs" for National Kraut and Frankfurter Week.

More info: wikipedia, cardcow.com

Rombin crowned Miss Universe



1955: with her performing dogs

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 05, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, 1950s

Mystery Illustration 49



Who is this titanic figure of 20th-century history, whose face should be instantly familiar?

Original illo here (page 14).

Answer also after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 05, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Comics, Twentieth Century

July 4, 2017

Who Can Replace a Shepherd?



WU-vie GES comments: "I've sent many stories to Chuck over the years, several of which he has included on NOTW. Where can I send them now? Is there some way of getting them posted in WU?"

Certainly Alex and I would appreciate reader tips, and possibly use them somehow, in singleton posts. So keep sending them to the email addresses in the sidebar. But neither of us have plans at the moment to try to match the weekly ineffable efforts of Chuck.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 04, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Weird Universe, Alex, Chuck, Paul, Reader Recommendation

Ate Torpedo

Word to the wise: don't eat random stuff you find on the pavement. It could be explosive.

Minneapolis Star Tribune - June 2, 1930



Eats July 4 Torpedo Given Him as Candy
Baltimore, June 1.— Chewing torpedoes proved to be an unhealthy pastime for Charles Boone, 57, of Cherry Hill. He is recovering from the effects in a hospital.
George Boone, a son of the injured man, found a torpedo of the Fourth of July variety near the Washington boulevard. While walking along with his father this morning he gave it to him and the latter bit into it, thinking it was candy.
The next thing he knew, he was on the operating table.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 04, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Fireworks and Pyrotechnics

Turkish Airlines Safety Video



I traveled to Rome on Turkish Airlines, and found their safety video very amusing.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 04, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: PSA’s, Air Travel and Airlines, Asia

July 3, 2017

I Like America and America Likes Me

In 1974, German artist Joseph Beuys arrived in America for the first time. Upon landing at the airport, he was transported by ambulance directly to the Rene Block Gallery in New York City. He emerged from the ambulance wrapped in a grey felt blanket and was then placed in a room with a wild coyote where he spent the next three days.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 03, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Performance Art, 1970s

Nuclear Bikini Contest



Want a job at a nuke plant? Hope you look good in a bikini.

Full story here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 03, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Body, Sexuality, Europe, Power Generation

July 2, 2017

A Final Note from Chuck

RETROSPECTIVE

(1) It took a while, but I believe I'm up to date (so far) on the notes of kindness y'all have sent over the past two weeks. It was especially moving to have heard from those who had hung with NotW for much of the entire run. In fact, I feel much worse, in some ways, because the high-IQ reader base was so affable, yet I was so, umm, uncommunicative. Should've had more pen pals. Missed opportunities. I'm very sorry. (Plus, if I had imagined how warmly you regarded NotW, I could've saved a lot on those pesky co-pays for SSRIs.)

(2) However, I must-must acknowledge the people most instrumental in helping NotW through the years, even though I'm already sad at having to leave out so many others--not even counting the more than 300 acknowledged by name in my five NotW paperbacks (published during 1988-1996) nor the 27 who finished out serving on my Board of Editorial Advisors. But I could not possibly have done NotW, especially early on, without the help of novelist Paul DiFilippo of Providence, R.I. ("Stand back--I'm about to clip weird news"), Barbara McDonald of Columbia, Mo., Myra Linden in Albuquerque, Jim Sweeney in Washington, D.C., and the professor Paul Music in Oklahoma. Also, Geoff Egan of Edmonton, Alberta, Chip Rogers of Athens, Ohio, Ivan Katz in New Haven, the great Kenneth Anger, his protegee Barbara Tyger, my paperback co-authors John J. Kohut and the late Roland Sweet, and the wordsmith Christine Van Lenten. Universal UClick editor Sue Roush saved my kiester on numerous occasions. The savant-journalist Jack Shafer midwifed the column. News of the Weird's DNA was shaped and formed by the 1970's-era sage, Bob Maslow.

(3) A brief history:

When I worked for the feds in the 1970s in Washington, D.C., I had (like many people) an office door that "branded" me cool--taped clippings of "weird" news from the daily papers. My brand also included Gary Larson's "The Far Side" and Hustler's Dwaine Tinsley, with a bit of The New Yorker's Jack Ziegler and Playboy's Gahan Wilson. So--what if I collected these clippings, offset-printed them, and sent them out, several times a year (violating all sorts of copyrights), to my cultivated list of (far too many) acquaintances and colleagues?

The result was a "zine" (View from the Ledge), which eventually caught on big-time. The Atlantic Monthly profiled me (as did lesser-gods of media), and the local alternative newsweekly (Washington's City Paper) syndicated me to others. Then, big-time hit: I signed on with top-of-the-line Universal Press Syndicate (which, synchronicically, also syndicated "The Far Side," thus making me a "colleague" of Gary Larson!).

A "weird news era" had earlier been created by the National Lampoon True Facts--but with the departure of its creator, P. J. O'Rourke, it was foundering, and, in 1988, in stepped News of the Weird. Yr Editor was in demand--TV, magazines, newspapers, radio, everybody!

However, initial greetings were ominous. Matt Groening, in his 'toon "Life in Hell," listed "weird" as one of the "forbidden words" of 1991; in 1993, Jay Leno debuted "Headlines" on "The Tonight Show"; and that same year, Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband's schlong . . . which had been done by others before, of course, but not within the news-service area of the Pulitzer-celebrated Washington Post, which made it front page news and gave cover to a thousand daily newspapers previously timid about "penis" stories above the fold. Thus, "weird news," or at least underground "weird news," died in 1993. After that--mainstream! Along came the Internet--Fark.com, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and who knows what's next.

Fortunately, I (thanks to Universal Press Syndicate) had quite a few clients who had become accustomed to having News of the Weird in their pages, and I continued to make a nice living off of it (and would have, longer)--except I ran out of brain cells and now "retire" at age 72 . . . to live in Florida, where I aspire, of course, to keep out of the way of the many left-tail'ers who live here--avoiding them long enough to proudly depart this life on the very day that the Atlantic and the Gulf swallow the state! Yes!

weirdnews at earthlink dot net (through 2017); P. O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 (permanent)

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Jul 02, 2017 - Comments (15)
Category:

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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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