Category:
History

Julian Eltinge

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Every election year, politicians seek to invoke a mythical Golden Age, when life was simpler and more wholesome. Take the Edwardian Era in America, for instance, when the moral fiber of the country was still unpolluted--

--and when a drag queen like Julian Eltinge was a top attraction in high society and popular culture alike.

Face it: life was never any different.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Aug 06, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Celebrities, Eccentrics, Entertainment, Government, History, Historical Figure, Hollywood, Sexuality, Gender, Gender-bending, Men, Theater and Stage, Vaudeville, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s

Riding the Rails

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Of course we all know that the image of a hand-pumped railroad trolley is a comedy staple. But I find the notion of special little motorized vehicles adapted to ride the rails just as funny. As you might predict, there's an organization dedicated to hobbyists and collectors of these miniature rail-mounted transports, and it's to be found here.

My local newspaper has a great article about a fellow who restored the vehicle pictured to the right.

I imagine a Farelly Brothers movie in which the hero confounds the bad guys by making his unpredictable escape in such a vehicle--at a whopping 5 MPH!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Eccentrics, Collectors, History, Inventions, Technology, Travel, Transportation, 1950s, Cars

Pelmanism

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Old self-improvement schemes never die. Recently, I spotted this antique advertisement from 1954 that alerted me to the existence of Pelmanism, the brainchild of William Joseph Ennever.

The Pelman Institutes of England and America apparently once claimed over half a million followers. But now they're long gone. Yet that has not stopped at least two folks from trying to resurrect the copyright-abandoned mind-strengthening course and claim and market it as their own. You can see their pages here and here.

Oddly enough, the last vestige of Pelmanism most people know, without realizing its true origin, is the card game we call Concentration or Memory or Pairs.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Eccentrics, Fads, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Games, History, Historical Figure, New Age, Self-help Schemes

World’s Oldest Joke Discovered!

Archaeologists have just discovered the world's oldest joke, as ably pointed out in today's Weird News picks by Minister Chuck.

But I can't resist adding that I hope they never dig up this one.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 02, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, History, Archaeology, Humor, Comedians, Jokes, Television

Micronations

The concept of micronations is a fascinating idea. I utilized the notion in one of my recent stories, the title piece from The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories. But I hardly began to exhaust the narrative possibilities of the idea.










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Here's a recent article on one such place, the Republic of Molossia.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Performance Art, Customs, Foreign Customs, Eccentrics, Government, Officials, Regulations, History, Law, Military, Obsessions, Patriotism, Politics, Travel

They’ll Do It Every Time

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When I was a kid, I loved the comic strip THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME, by Jimmy Hatlo. It was one of my first introductions to poking fun at irrational or weird human behavior.

What I did not quite realize is that the strip had a revival under artist Al Scaduto. But unfortunately, he passed away on December 8, 2007, and his last strip ran on February 3, 2008.

Here's an archive of that current version.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 26, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Comics, Customs, History, Newspapers, 1920s

Ho, Ho, Ho, Hangman!

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Who knew that Serbia boasted so many high-placed fans of Rankin-Bass animation?

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 24, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Celebrities, Crime, Stupid Criminals, Eccentrics, History, Historical Figure, Military, Movies, Cartoons, Prisons, Torture, 1990s

Follies of the Mad Men #5

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[NOTE: this is actually two image files, upper and lower, and you need to click on each one for enlargement. From The Saturday Evening Post for October 23, 1965.]

Sorry I didn't get this one up in time for Fourth of July--but then again, WU hadn't debuted then!

In any case, this ad is very confused. It seems to be appealing to the mystical vibe of the ever-iconic American War of Independence, what with the flintlock pistol and all. But then again, Sexy Car-crawling Girl is patently an attempt to attract the Pepsi Generation, those wild 'n' wacky "rebellious" kids, with their surfboards and long hair and love beads.

So who's supposed to want to buy a Polara? Mom and Pop Daughters-of-the-American-Revolution? Or little Janie Peace-Sign?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 22, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Guns, History, Patriotism, 1960s, Cars

Barnyard of the Gods

At the fascinating blog of my pal, Rudy Rucker, I recently found the archaically NSFW image hidden beyond the jump. Rudy utilized a picture taken by a friend of his, while I've found my image at a site claiming the sculpture in question is housed at the Secret Museum of Naples.

In either case, I thought this was just the kind of bizarre thing WU readers might care to ponder.






More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 16, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Art, Gods, History, Museums, Sexuality

Amazonian Miracle for Sale!

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If only you had been reading Popular Mechanics magazine for February 1929! Then you could have purchased the same Purple Ray healing device that Wonder Woman uses! Okay, so it was a "Violet Ray." Same difference, right?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 14, 2008 - Comments (15)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, History, Inventions, Medicine, Science, Technology, Comics, 1920s

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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, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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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