Paul's collaborative writing on the web
The Weird Universe explores a human and natural cosmos that is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine. The usual suspects are Paul Di Filippo; Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes; and Chuck Shepherd, purveyor of News of the Weird.
- Spike AwayYesterday I posted about Paris metro etiquette rules, and then, by chance, I came across this. It's the "Spike Away" from artist Siew Ming Cheng who writes: Trains are usually crowded during peak hours. Everybody will push each other to try and get onto the train. How can I protect my personal space? The idea was then conceived. "What if I wear a vest that is full of spikes?" That's an unusual train of thought! (pun, unfortunately, intended). More details at CNet.
- Mutton Busting
- Paris Metro Etiquette RulesThe Parisian public transit authority has issued an illustrated etiquette handbook [PDF] for riders of the metro system. Nice idea, but I'm guessing that it'll only be seen by those who don't need to read it. [Globe and Mail] Keep your armpits to yourself No loud music Don't hold the train up as you say goodbye Don't shout into your cellphone
- News of the Weird 2.0 (December 9, 2013)News of the Weird 2.0 Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd December 9, 2013 (datelines November 30-December 7) (links correct as of December 8) India’s Assembly elections last week are shaping up as referenda of apathy for major candidates, and, asked the NY Times, “What candidate could embody ‘None of the Above’ better than the eunuch Ramesh Kumar Lili?” (India’s previous star electoral eunuchs had flamed out--one turning nasty, the other way-conservative.) New York Times Well, “Tommy” Has Got a Corpus, I Guess: One animal defender, looking to stretch NY law, filed a writ of habeas corpus . . for a monkey . . who is, actually, being treated fairly considerately by an animal rescuer searching for him a home. USA Today Suspicions Confirmed: One Crimson Tide football fan was charged with killing another following last week’s dramatic loss to Auburn . . because the victim didn’t appear to grieve sufficiently. Associated Press via Atlanta Journal-Constitution The NY Times Sunday Review section last week, chock full as usual of upscale punditry and amateur national and international psychoanalysis . . also found space for University of Minnesota biologist Marlene Zuk’s piece on the most challenging ways that insects copulate. (Answer: Well, you start with the organs you’re given, and the object, as always, is to get from Point A to Point B . . or, in some insects’ cases, it’s to Point C or Point D or Point E.) New York Times No Shortage of Men Educated Beyond Their Intelligence (“Sovereigns”): These are people who once saw a sentence or a phrase in the law, and they have now irrevocably committed their lives to turning the government upside down because of it. Some get violent; some, however, are weak, and only . . cause homeowners, judges, and law enforcement dozens of hours of silly make-work. Cincinnati’s WLWT-TV website has posted 38 pages of scribblings from the mind of sovereign Robert Carr. Have a look. Robert believes that if he finds a house that’s “vacant,” it’s his. (Reality: Well, he might eventually qualify to get it, provided that a, b, c, d, e, and a few more conditions apply, which they almost never do, but Robert has no time for any of that.) WLWT-TV [click link for Documents] Acorn, Way Far from the Tree: The lawyer-son of one of Iowa’s most distinguished attorneys is in deep trouble for defrauding a client, but even worse than that, the reason he defrauded the client was to get pump money to claim an “inheritance” that he had been notified of via e-mail from . . you got it . . Nigeria. Above The Law Joseph Small, 20, said he’s sorry. He should not have peed on the rug at that hotel in London, and should not have gone all-racist on the Bangladeshi man. Maybe it was a reaction to Small’s discomfort . . at wearing that plunger in his own naked tush. Daily Mirror Tone Deaf: McDonald’s gives helpful year-end budgetary advice for its employees, such as how much of their minimum-wage earnings is an appropriate tip for, say, their swimming pool cleaners. Consumerist Some colleges are super-concerned with making gender-inquisitive students feel comfortable. Mills College (Oakland, Calif.) and Bellevue College (near Seattle) are two. Students even get to select the pronouns to which they prefer being referred--because “he” and “she” don’t cut it anymore. Associated Press via ABC News /// OpposingViews.com Justice in India (continued): Umakant Mishra won his court case last week, and a theft charge was dropped. Mr. Mishra had been charged with stealing the equivalent of 92 cents . . in 1984 . . and had sat for 348 court hearings since then (as one of the country’s estimated 30 million pending cases). BBC News Editor’s Envy: The Indianapolis woman told police that the man (Shawn Harvell, 34) had his penis out of his pants and was “swinging it about in a rotary helicopter motion.” [ed. Aaahhh, when I was wearing the clothes of a younger man . . .] WRTV (Indianapolis) via KERO-TV (Bakersfield, Calif.) Updates Recall luckless Marissa Alexander [Weird Universe, 7-21-2013]? She’s the woman who fired one warning shot at her abusive husband yet was sentenced to 20 yrs in prison for assault because the judge nitpicked her Stand Your Ground defense at the time when George Zimmerman was getting a free SYG. She’ll get a new trial and last week was released to house arrest. WJAX-TV (Jacksonville, Fla.) The genetics-service company 23andMe [NOTW M346, 11-24-2013] is on the run from the FDA. First, they promised never to work with fertility clinics (using their client printouts of what the chances are that the clients will have such-and-such an ideal baby). Now, they won’t even start warning clients about potential health issues with their babies because they aren’t qualified, FDA thinks). [ed. Kinda ruins the weird-news value; I wish the FDA’d consult with me on these things.] Washington Post Your Weekly Jury Duty [In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released] Jeana Smart, 26, might have tried to hide a glass meth pipe in a sensitive bodily organ, where it broke. (Jeana’s lawyer would be warning you right now: Do not infer her guilt as a meth-user by the photo of Jeana, 36. After all, she can't help it that she's 46.) The Smoking Gun via KBYZ Radio (Bismarck, N.D.) The ravages of meth might also have touched Gary Beatty, 38, charged in Daytona Beach with making the stuff. (The Fark tagline, which cannot be improved upon, was “Old and busted: faces of meth. New hotness: haircuts of meth.”) WESH-TV (Orlando) Editor's Note The annual Bad Sex awards are out for 2013. London’s The Independent and Daily Telegraph have some excerpts. Winner: “Surely supernovas explode that instant, somewhere, in some galaxy. The hut vanishes, and with it the sea and the sands--only Karun’s body, locked with mine, remains. We streak like superheroes past suns and solar systems, we dive through shoals of quarks and atomic nuclei. In celebration of our breakthrough fourth star, statisticians the world over rejoice.” And, jeez, even the great Woody Guthrie got caught, in the novel House of Earth: “And inside the door of her womb she felt her inner organs and tissues, all her muscles and glands, felt them roll, squeeze, squeeze, and roll, and felt that every inch of her whole being stretched, reached, felt out, felt in, felt all around the shape of his penis.” Owww! Hard, Ain’t It Hard, indeed! The Independent /// Daily Telegraph Newsrangers: Gary DaSilva, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
- The Snowmobile SongIt's the start of that glorious season when snowmobilers intersect barbed wire, plunge off cliffs, and crack thin ice over bottomless lakes.
- Fear of PhobiasYou should be able to amuse and educate yourself for some time at the Phobia List site. Here are some of my new favorites. Fear of chickens: Alektorophobia. Fear of dust: Amathophobia or Koniophobia. Fear of nosebleeds: Epistaxiophobia. Fear of virgins or young girls: Parthenophobia.