Weird Universe Archive

December 2022

December 6, 2022

Hair Rental—You know it makes sense

These hair rental ads ran for about five years in British papers. So I assume the company must have done decent business.

I've heard of wig rentals, but for some reason the idea of toupee rentals seems weirder.

Sunday London Mirror - Mar 11, 1973

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 06, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Headgear, 1970s, Hair and Hairstyling

The Handsome Cabin Boy

Surely such a filthy song should incite the outrage of censors!

BONUS: Versions by Kate Bush and Jerry Garcia in extended.



In the 19th century, broadside texts of the Handsome Cabin Boy remained steady sellers on the fairgrounds and in the backstreets of provincial towns for sixty years and more. A very widespread song, ashore as well as afloat, it is still not infrequently found among traditional singers in eastern England and north-eastern Scotland.


It's of a pretty female as you may understand
Her mind being bent for ramblin' all unto some foreign land
She dressed herself in sailor's clothes or so it does appear
And she hired with a captain to serve him for a year

The captain's wife, she being on board, she seemed in great joy
To think her husband had engaged such a handsome cabin boy
And now and then she'd slip him a kiss, and she would 'a liked to toy
It was the captain found out the secret of the handsome cabin boy

Her lips they were like roses, her hair allwas all in a curl
The sailors often smiled and said, "she looks just like a girl"
But eating of the captain's biscuit, her color did destroy
And the waist did swell of pretty Nell, the handsome cabin boy

It was in the Bay of Biscayne, our gallant ship did plough
One night among the sailors was a fearful flurry and row
They tumbled from their hammocks, for sleep it did destroy
They swore about the groaning of the handsome cabin boy

"Oh doctor, dear, oh doctor", the cabin boy did cry
"My time has come, I am undone, surely I must die"
The doctor cam a-runnin', and smilin' at the fun
To think a sailor lad should have a daughter or a son

The sailors, when they saw the joke, they all did stand and stare
The child belonged to none of them, they solemnly did swear
The captain's wife she says to him "My dear I wish you joy
For it's either you or me's betrayed the handsome cabin boy"

So each man took his tote of rum, and he drunk success to trade
And likewise to the cabin boy, who was neither man nor maid
"Here's hoping wars don't rise again, our sailors to destroy
And here's hoping for a jolly lot more like the handsome cabin boy"


More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 06, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Disguises, Impersonations, Mimics and Forgeries, Music, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Fables, Myths, Urban Legends, Rumors, Water-Cooler Lore, Pregnancy

December 5, 2022

The Christmas Custom of Dead Bird Postcards

Back in the 19th century, people often sent each other postcards of dead birds during the Christmas season. Collectors Weekly explains:

"The Victorians had some really strange ideas about what served as an appropriate Christmas greeting," says Bo Wreden, who recently organized an exhibition of holiday cards for the Book Club of California. "They liked to send out cards with dead birds on them, robins in particular, which related to ancient customs and legends. There's a famous quotation from the Venerable Bede about a sparrow flying through the hall of a castle while the nobility is celebrating Christmas: The moment from when it enters until it flies out is very brief, a metaphor for how quickly our lives pass." Apparently, killing a wren or robin was once a good-luck ritual performed in late December, and during the late 19th century, cards featuring the bodies of these birds were sent to offer good luck in the New Year.






More info: hyperallergic.com

Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 05, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Customs, Death, Christmas

The Outre Costumes of Louise Glaum

The silent-screen star Louise Glaum had a reputation for eccentric fashions onscreen and off, as well as for odd pets.











Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 05, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Fashion, Movies, Pets, 1910s

December 4, 2022

Teach your wife to be a widow

Donald L. Rogers was financial editor of the New York Herald Tribune. He originally wrote "Teach your wife to be a widow" as an article for Collier's Magazine, and later expanded it into a book (1952).



The article (and book) urged husbands to educate their wives about finances, so that in case the husband died the wife wouldn't end up going destitute.

I think Jean Mayer's article, "How to murder your husband," pairs particularly well with it. Both appeared in the 1981 Reader's Digest collection, Love and Marriage.











Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 04, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Money, Husbands, Wives, Books, Marriage

Sodaburst Premade Ice Cream Soda

So much easier than 1) pouring a glass of soda and 2) scooping some ice cream into it. Completely eliminates the dreaded element of decision-making (which ice cream, which soda?).



Posted By: Paul - Sun Dec 04, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Food, Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Chindogu, 1960s

December 3, 2022

Recipes on Tombstones

I've never come across this in a graveyard, but apparently some people have their favorite recipe inscribed on their tombstone. This inspires other people, such as Rosie Grant, to cook the recipes they find on tombstones. More info: The Guardian, TikTok



Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 03, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Food

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 12

Source: Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) 17 Feb 1949, Thu Page 21

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 03, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Crime, Death, Feet, Alcohol

December 2, 2022

Weird Coincidence Survey

Dr. Bernard Beitman spent his career as a psychologist researching the relationship between chest pain and panic disorder, but since he retired he's taken up the study of coincidences.

He founded the Coincidence Project, recently completed a book (Meaningful Coincidences: How and Why Synchronicity and Serendipity Happen), and has a "Weird Coincidence Survey" that you can take to gauge how sensitive you are to coincidences.

From an article about him in the LA Times:

Beitman is still collecting data, but he has drawn a few conclusions. The most commonly reported coincidences are associated with mass media: A person thinks of an idea and then hears or sees it on TV, the radio or the internet. Thinking of someone and then having that person call unexpectedly is next on the list, followed by being in the right place at the right time to advance one’s work, career and education.

People who describe themselves as spiritual or religious report noticing more meaningful coincidences than those who do not, and people are more likely to experience coincidences when they are in a heightened emotional state — perhaps under stress or grieving.

I don't consider myself spiritual, but, for whatever reason, I have strange coincidences happen to me all the time. I guess I'm sensitive to them. One minor example that Paul and I have noticed is the way our posts occasionally synchronize with each other (in terms of their subject matter) despite the fact that we never know what the other is going to post.

Or one of us will post about something the other has been reading about, such as the time that I prepared a post about the obscure corporate mascot "Peter Pain," while 3000 miles away Paul happened to be reading about Peter Pain in a book.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 02, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Synchronicity and Coincidence

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