Weird Universe Archive

April 2023

April 10, 2023

Music of the NY Times Financial Section

I posted a month ago about Rhapsody in Big Blue, which was Darryl Gammill's transformation of the stock price of IBM into music. It turns out that Gammill wasn't the first to use asset prices as the basis for music. Back in the 1930s, composer Joseph Schillinger came up with a system that allowed him to convert "fluctuations in wholesale prices of agricultural produce," as listed on the NY Times financial page, into music. Details from A Thing or Two About Music by Nicolas Slonimsky:

Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 10, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Money, Music

The Mole Torpedo

Weapon tunnels through the earth to the enemy. Why is this not in constant use today? Too easy nowadays to sense seismic activity?


Full patent here.




Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 10, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Inventions, Patents, War

April 9, 2023

Exploding Easter Eggs

Happy Easter!

Sioux City Journal - Mar 28, 1983

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 09, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: Explosives, Holidays, Easter, Eggs, 1980s

April 8, 2023

Dead Opossum Design

Reported in the Los Angeles Times (June 3, 1980). Sounds like an urban legend to me. But maybe there really was a lady in Riverside who was matching her home furnishings to her dead opossum.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 08, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Telephones, Interior Decorating

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 49



Eugène Brands: De Tang - The Pincers signed and dated '8/51


The artist's Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Apr 08, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, 1950s

April 7, 2023

Electro-Stimulation Bicycle

Inventors Young Sam Chun and Hyoung Tae Kim of Korea were recently granted Patent No. 11,458,310 for an "electro-stimulation type indoor bicycle." If I'm reading the patent correctly, it gives you an electric shock if you pedal too slow:

the electrical stimulation indoor bike can be characterized in that the control unit controls the electrical stimulation unit so as to generate stronger electrical stimulation than electrical stimulation corresponding to the speed profile, when a rotation speed of the pedal is slower than that of being defined in the speed profile.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 07, 2023 - Comments (5)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Patents

Señor Wences

Once upon a time, pop culture was very different.

The Wikipedia page.





Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 07, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: Puppets and Automatons, Television, Surrealism, Twentieth Century

April 6, 2023

Biggest gratuity ever?

In 1941, when Dolores Moran was 15, she worked as a waitress at a drive-in restaurant in San Jose, California. One day she served a local farmer some coffee and hamburger. The next year Moran left San Jose and moved to Hollywood where she achieved brief fame as an actress.

Dolores Moran. Image source: wikipedia



By the 1960s her acting career had ended. But then, in 1968, Moran learned that the farmer she had served at the drive-in 27 years ago had died, leaving her his apricot orchard valued at around $300,000 (or $2.5 million in today's money).

Moran had no memory of serving the farmer, whose name was Anthony Ponce. Nor had the two ever communicated since then. She said, "for the life of me I can't remember the man." But evidently she had made a big impression on him.

Monroe News Star - Dec 18, 1968



Ponce's relatives contested the will, arguing that he was not of sound mind when he made it. I haven't been able to find out how the case was settled, but I'm guessing Moran got to keep the orchard since it's usually fairly difficult to invalidate a will.

If she did get to keep it, then that would have to count as one of the biggest gratuities of all time. Perhaps the biggest? Especially for an order of coffee and hamburger.

Peninsula Times Tribune - Feb 19, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 06, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Death, Law, Restaurants, Actors

Sex, the Key to the Bible

If you want to peruse 172 pages of this kind of analysis, dive right in!







Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 06, 2023 - Comments (5)
Category: Eccentrics, Religion, Sexuality, 1910s

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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.

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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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