Weird Universe Archive

November 2023

November 20, 2023

Bishop in Space

Nov 1957: Lord Alastair Graham offered a solution for declining church attendance. Launch a bishop into space inside a sputnik.

For context, the Soviets had just a few days before (Nov 3, 1957) launched Sputnik 2 which carried the first living creature into space, a small dog named Laika. Graham's remark was evidently a reference to this.

However, while the Soviets had succeeded in getting Laika into space, they had made no plans for getting her back alive. It was a one-way trip. It's not clear that Graham realized this, but it definitely puts a different spin on his suggestion.

The Guardian - Nov 13, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 20, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Religion, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, 1950s

USC’s Helen of Troy Contest

The University of Southern California used to elect a woman as "Helen of Troy."





Finalist for Helen of Troy (University of Southern California), 10 November 1960. Mary Elinor Memory; Lynne Helene Hunsucker; Marcia Anne Northrop; Barbara Louise Stephens; Linda Eleanor Scott.; Caption slip reads: "Photographer: Miller. Date: 1960-11-10. Assignment: Finalist for Helen of Troy. L to r: Mary Elinor Memory; Lynne Helene Hunsucker; Marcia Anne Northrop; Barbara Louise Stephens; Linda Eleanor Scott".





Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 20, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Regionalism, Historical Figure, Twentieth Century

November 19, 2023

Miss Heating Comfort and the Whale Oil Company

The Whale Oil Company, which sponsored the Miss Heating Comfort contest, said it was looking to award the title to the girl "who makes temperatures rise when she enters a room."

Brooklyn Daily - Feb 10, 1961



Newsday - Oct 22, 1960



So did the Whale Oil Company actually sell whale oil? No, but apparently the name led a lot of people to assume that it did. I haven't been able to find out what became of the company, but I'm guessing that the name must have become an increasing liability with the rise of the "Save the Whales" movement in the late 1960s.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Nov 3, 1950

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 19, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Odd Names, Fossil Fuels, Carbon Footprint, and Climate Change, 1960s

The Broom Paintings of Emily Mae Smith

Your opinions solicited.

The artist's Wikipedia page.















Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 19, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Art, Twenty-first Century

November 18, 2023

She sold her body for gingerbread

Requesting "all the ginger-bread she could eat" in exchange for her body after death initially struck me as a bizarre detail. But the more I think about it, the more reasonable it seems given that condemned prisoners often request cookies, candy, junk food, etc. as their last meal.

Whiting Weekly News - Jan 25, 1890

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 18, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, Food, Prisons, Experiments, Nineteenth Century

November 17, 2023

Constipation and Political Unrest

I haven't been able to figure out what the title of the article referenced below was, since I can't find archived copies of Blackwood's magazine from the 1970s. The hypothesis, "that a fundamental cause of the violence... in Irish politics may well be constipation," is strange. It might make one wonder about the role of constipation in other conflicts around the world.

The Melbourne Age - Sep 30, 1976

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 17, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Violence, War, Vegetables, 1970s

Steel Drums Version of THIS LAND IS MY LAND

A truly unique interpretation.



Posted By: Paul - Fri Nov 17, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, Patriotism, Caribbean, Twentieth Century

November 16, 2023

Competitive Hymn Singing

In 1972 a group of schoolboys set a world record for "non-stop hymn singing." They sang for 48 hours straight.

So what's the current record for hymn singing? I haven't been able to figure that out.

I found an article from Oct 2005 claiming a new record was set for singing for 22 hours, but since that wasn't even half the time of the 1972 record, that can't be right.

Pomona Progress Bulletin - Dec 30, 1972

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 16, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, World Records, 1970s

The Sculpture Garden of Veijo Rönkkönen



Full article here.

Lots of great photos here.

Veijo Rönkkönen was a recluse who spent his days between the paper mill where he worked for 41 years, and his farm, tucked away in a Finnish forest. By all accounts, he didn’t like to talk to people, and he never took an art lesson in his life. But by the time of his death in 2010, Rönkkönen had covered his land with around 550 sculptures. Nearly all of them depicted human figures: people of all ages and ethnicities, frozen in moments of play, athleticism, and even agony.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 16, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Outsider Art, Statues and Monuments, Europe

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