Weird Universe Archive

June 2021

June 20, 2021

The art of Patty Chang

A few highlights from Patty Chang's career as a performance artist:

  • Eating raw onions with her parents
  • Having an eel crawl inside her shirt
  • Cutting through her bra (stuffed with melons) while ritualistically discussing her aunt's death
  • shaving her pubic hair with seltzer water
  • creating urinary devices with plastic bottles while traveling across an aqueduct in China
  • having women pump their breast milk while reading lists of worries submitted by anonymous people in Hong Kong and the U.S.

It seems that Chang is deliberately trying to be weird. She says, "Humor is a strategy that makes people aware and also uncomfortable... There are a lot of strange things that we don’t pay attention to, but I try to extract them."

More info: artnet

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jun 20, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Performance Art

June 19, 2021

Listerine Cigarettes

Another case of an odd brand extension. In 1927, the manufacturer of Listerine debuted Listerine Cigarettes that were infused with the same antiseptic oils used in the mouthwash.

The company claimed that these cigarettes would not only "soothe the delicate membranes of mouth and throat," just like the mouthwash, but also that they would "kill 200,000,000 germs in fifteen seconds" and help smokers avoid colds.

As far as I can tell, Listerine Cigarettes remained on the market until the mid-1930s and then disappeared.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Dec 12, 1927



Tampa Tribune - Nov 8, 1930

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jun 19, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Health, Smoking and Tobacco

Dummy Divorce



Photo source: The Baltimore Sun Baltimore, Maryland 21 Aug 1953, Fri • Page 4



Text source: Los Angeles Evening Citizen News (Hollywood, California) 21 Aug 1953, Fri Page 11

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 19, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Law, Puppets and Automatons, Husbands, Wives, Divorce

June 18, 2021

Puppet Officer Brendan O’Smarty

1993: Under pressure from his superiors to stop carrying his ventriloquist dummy with him while on patrol, San Francisco Police Officer Bob Geary decided to take the matter to the voters. He formed the "Committee to Save Puppet Officer Brendan O'Smarty" and succeeded in putting the issue on the ballot.

The voters decided by a narrow margin of 51% to 49% to allow him to continue patrolling with Brendan O'Smarty.

This turns out not to be the first puppet officer we've posted about. Just a few months ago, Paul posted about puppet officer Jerry McSafety. I wonder how many more puppet officers there are?

More info: wikipedia, alchetron

Geary with Puppet Officer Brendan O'Smarty

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 18, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Police and Other Law Enforcement, Puppets and Automatons, 1990s

Rubber Biscuit

A classic bit of aural weirdness.



Their Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 18, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Jabberwocky, Scat Singing, Nonsense Verse and Glossolalia, Music, 1950s

June 17, 2021

Stamp-Licking Animals

Martin Wainwright tells the following story in The "Guardian" Book of April Fool's Day:

[The journalist James] Bone described on one occasion how a desperate contributor of 'pars', small fillers for the popular press, went to send a letter from a post office and noticed that the pet cat on the counter was sitting with its tongue out. On a whim, he gave it his stamp to lick which it did. The next day a very short story appeared under the headline: Post Office novelty — Stamp-licking cat of Charing Cross'.

Like the best April Fool's jokes, this was to girdle the Earth. Not only was the post office besieged by punters wanting to send catlick mail (until the cat was driven demented and fled after two days) but the story spread and resurfaced for years. Animal protection societies weighed in, MPs spoke and the innocuous prank took off. Bone's friend was send clippings from across the country and, as the years went by, from Australia, Shanghai and the United States.

This suggests that stamp-licking animals were a journalistic invention. However, there do seem to have been some real-life examples of the phenomenon.

Longview Daily News - Dec 13, 1974



The Bloomington Pantagraph - Mar 11, 1951



"Ashley practiced stamp-licking until he had the task down purrfectly, then offered to kick off the Organization for Responsible Care of Animals' public appeal... In return for his generosity, each donor will receive a thank-you note enclosed in an Ashley-licked envelope with stamp attached."
Lancaster Sunday News - Oct 6, 1985

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jun 17, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Cats, Dogs, Postal Services, Stamps

June 16, 2021

The Talking Fish Lure

Ads for the "Talking Fish Lure" began to appear in papers in 1959. They promised that, thanks to this new talking lure, fishermen would be guaranteed to catch fish:

An amazing built-in "fish-attracting" transmitter that broadcasts a steady stream of irresistible underwater messages that talk, coax and actually command a fish into snapping at your hook. Yes, actually excites and stimulates 5 different fish senses all at the same time . . . and forces each and every fish up to 2,000 feet away to come darting straight for your line.


The Vancouver Province - May 30, 1959





Eight years later, the promoter of the lure was indicted on 60 counts of mail fraud. From the New York Daily News (May 12, 1967):

A talking fish lure, designed to "force each and every hunger-crazed fish from up to 2000 feet away to come darting straight for your line," became snagged yesterday on a federal grand jury, which indicted its promoter on 60 counts of mail fraud.

Named in the indictment was Monroe Caine, 38, of 222 Daisy Farms Drive, Scarsdale, described as an advertising man and mail order promoter whose ads for a "remarkable European talking fish lure" ran July 19, 1964, in newspapers across the country.

The jurors, who were shown the ads, found the whole thing somewhat fishy, especially after being told that fishermen who sent in $1.98 or $2.49 for the lure got either a worthless gadget or nothing in return.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 16, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Sports, Fish, 1950s, 1960s

The First Earth Run


First Earth Run: A Catalyst for Hope from Gail Straub & David Gershon on Vimeo.



This large event seems to have vanished from 2021 memory--at least judging by the paucity of Google references, most of which are for the accompanying song that was created for the occasion (below). One thing we can affirm: it did not bring Peace on Earth.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jun 16, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Fads, Music, Sports, Travel, International Cooperation, Global Events and Planetary-scale Happenings, 1980s

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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.

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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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