Items Tagged: blogging

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.

Recent posts:

  • John Braund and His Cure for Cancer
    Link to newspaper article of the era.
  • No more low flying!
    This is what the airlines did for in-flight entertainment, back in the day. From the Los Angeles Times, Sep 8, 1935:
  • Is Space Travel Covered?
    Russia sent 5 geckos, amongst other small creatures, to space in order to study the animals sex habits in zero gravity. The satellite was recently brought back and the geckos were all dead, possibly due to freezing. Ok, first, if you are studying sexual activity why send an odd number of participants. Second, who did not know it is too cold for geckos in space? Yeah, yeah, they knew, but they sure didn't prepare for it sufficiently. Thirdly, were they insured by Geico??
  • Double Throat
    The Ventriloquist Journal explains that this ad used to run in the back of comic books. What you got, if you sent away for it, was "a capsule-sized metal whistle thing you were supposed to put in your mouth... it was useless for anything except making whistle sounds."
  • “Infinite O’Clock” by Ken Nordine
    More on the artist.
  • News of the Weird (August 31, 2014)
    News of the Weird Weirdnuz.M386, August 31, 2014 Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved. Lead Story All War Is Weird, But This ISIS War--: As summed up by a Vox.com writer: “The absurdity runs deep.” America uses American military equipment to bomb American military equipment that ISIS captured (captured from inept Iraqi soldiers, inept in part since America disbanded Iraq’s professional military in 2003). America’s Kurdish allies, fighting ISIS, uses inferior Russian weapons they captured in the 1980s. ISIS has a so-far-safer haven in Syria because America declined to arm moderate Syrian rebels, largely out of fear that radicals like the future ISIS would capture weapons America provided. “So now [America is] bombing the guns that [it] didn’t mean to give ISIS because [America] didn’t give guns to their enemies because then ISIS might get guns.” [Vox.com, 8-8-2014] Compelling Explanations Thomas Clark, 28, of Crawley, England, beat one of society’s most foreboding charges in July when he was acquitted of voyeurism even after admitting that he had installed that video camera in a workplace rest room, and even despite evidence that he formerly worked in the pornography industry. Clark persuaded a Horsham Magistrates Court judge that he suffered an extreme phobia of diarrhea and vomit and that, by installing the camera, he was thinking only of ascertaining that the rest room was clean before he entered. [Crawley News, 7-25-2014] In America, We're All Great Parents: (1) Kayla McKenzie, 22, was charged with DUI in Bismarck, N.D., a condition that led her to crash into six separate vehicles or structures on August 12th--while, according to police, three unsecured children were in her car, including a month-old infant riding in her lap. Nonetheless, said the 0.252 blood-alcohol driver, "I look like a bad mother, but I'm not. I'm actually a really good mom." (2) Rayvon Campos, 22, pleaded guilty in San Antonio, Tex., in August to first-degree felony assault of his 1-month-old daughter that resulted in brain hemorrhaging. Nonetheless, he reassured the judge, "This is the first time I've ever been in trouble. I'm a real good dude." [Bismarck Tribune, 8-13-2014] [San Antonio Express-News, 8-14-2014] Suspicions Confirmed A fire hydrant at 393 University Avenue has brought in more parking-ticket revenue (since 2008) than any other hydrant in Toronto--$289,620 on 2,962 violations, according to an August Toronto Star report. While hydrants are usually located at curbside to facilitate fire-engine access, the one at 393 University Avenue was placed about 20 feet from the curb, in the middle of a sidewalk, and obscured by a tree in a planter about eight feet long. (Nonetheless, the law's wording treats the hydrant, for illegal-parking and revenue-earning purposes, as if it were curbside.) [Toronto Star, 8-11-2014] A woman hiking in Down Valley Park near Placerville, Colo., told Denver’s KUSA-TV in August of her narrow escape from a mountain lion that had stalked her for a half-hour (crouching menacingly each time she attempted to retreat). At the closest point, recalled Kyra Kopestonsky, it was about eight feet away. At that point, she told the reporter, “I don’t know why,” but “I just started singing opera really loud.” The mountain lion “sort of put its ears down and . . . backed away.” (Only then was she was able to call a friend, who alerted rescuers.) [KUSA-TV, 8-5-2014] Police Report Arrest Him at Your Peril: In July, a jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., awarded Kevin Jarman, 50, $510,000 from the city for the broken ankle he suffered during his arrest for shoplifting in May 2011 (a charge to which he eventually pleaded guilty). Among his other New York City income: a $20,000 settlement for false arrest on a drug charge in 2013 and another, for $15,000, in 2005. [New York Post, 7-17-2014] I Know the Feeling, But--: (1) Gloria Baca-Lucero, 48, was arrested in Albuquerque in July after allegedly holding a Comcast cable installer at gunpoint in her home. She said she believed that her service call was free, but the installer told her otherwise, and she apparently decided to detain him while negotiating on the telephone with Comcast. (2) German truck driver Michael Harry K, 58, went to trial in August in Wurzburg, Bavaria, charged with firing his gun in the direction of drivers more than 700 times in five years out of displeasure with their poor road habits. He never actually hit anyone (but police said he caused at least one serious injury by frightening a driver into a collision). [Albuquerque Journal, 7-30-2014] [Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News, (London), 8-11-2014] Immature: (1) Princeton University professor John Mulvey, 67 (who teaches financial engineering applications), was charged in July with stealing 21 yard signs around the town of Princeton--signs for a computer repair business with which he was feuding. (2) Nathan McCoy, 21, sought by police near Boise, Idaho, in July on a probation violation, took off running, forcing officers to chase him onto the Eagle Hills Golf Course. McCoy sought “refuge" in a pond, standing waist-deep as deputies tried to coax him out, but even with the pond surrounded, it still took McCoy a half-hour of standing there to conclude that he did not have a Plan B. [Daily Princetonian, 7-14-2014] [Idaho Statesman, 7-23-2014] The Boy Who Wasn’t Bullied Enough in School Walker Harnden, 19, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, was recognized in April for a Guinness Book record for the highest note ever whistled (B7). Harnden, who told the Raleigh News & Observer that he has “irritated his parents and friends for years,” admits that he whistles “all the time”--up to “four or five” hours a day. [News & Observer, 4-18-2014] The New Normal In 2010, the village of West Lafayette, Ohio, barred residents from keeping fowl and farm animals, but Iraq war veteran Darin Welker, 36, believes his post-war depression and trauma seem unusually-well-assisted now that he has befriended 14 pet ducks that he keeps at home. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which paid for Welker’s back surgery, stopped short of providing physical therapy and counseling, causing him more than ever to rely on the ducks, which he says motivate him to get out of the house and provide them caretaking services. Village officials, however, cited him in June for misdemeanor fowl-housing. [Associated Press via KOMO-TV (Seattle), 7-20-2014] Perspective “Streamers,” according to workers at the state-of-the-art solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert, are birds that cross the path of the 300,000 garage-door-sized mirrors that magnify the sun’s rays on their way to producing steam to power 140,000 homes. Those birds, instantly fried, vanish in plumes of smoke at the rate of perhaps one every two minutes, according to an August Associated Press dispatch from Ivanpah Dry Lake near the Nevada border. According to federal wildlife officials, the plant’s bright light attracts insects, which then attract even more birds. The operator, BrightSource Energy, said there is no feasible way to protect the birds. [Associated Press, 8-18-2014] Least Competent Criminals Questionable Decisions: (1) Ryan Mullins, 22, was arrested in Swansboro, N.C., in August when he came to an officer’s attention at 5:30 a.m. Police said he had broken into a pharmacy, had stolen the 100-lb. safe, and was dragging it behind his car when the officer routinely pulled in front of him. Nonetheless, Mullins decided to try and pass the officer. (2) Robert Haight Jr., 42, was captured after a high-speed chase through Burlington, Mass., in August, with police recovering “stacks” of stolen credit cards and suspected-stolen high-end electronics from the car. Haight had attracted police attention by parking his car (with a mismatched license plate), unattended, with engine running, in a handicaped parking spot. [WCTI-TV (New Bern, N.C.), 8-12-2014] [WCVB-TV (Boston), 8-12-2014] A News of the Weird Classic (May 2010) Briton Robert Dee, feeling humiliated at being called the "world's worst tennis pro" by London's Daily Telegraph (and other news organizations) sued the newspaper for libel in 2009. After taking testimony in February 2010, the judge dismissed the lawsuit, convinced by Dee's having lost 54 consecutive international tour matches (each in straight sets). Fearful of an opposite result, thirty other news organizations had prematurely apologized to Dee for disparaging him, but the Telegraph had stood its ground (and was, of course, humble in victory, titling its story on the outcome, "'World's Worst' Tennis Player Loses Again.") [The Guardian (London), 4-28-10] Thanks This Week to Craig Cryer, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

The Inferior 4+1 is a Livejournal community maintained by Paul, lizhand, Paul Witcover, lucius-t and ljgoldstein.

Recent posts:

  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE August 28, 2014
    What's up with the newest from Peter Watts:http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/2014/08/paul-di-filippo-reviews-peter-watts/
  • Translations August 27, 2014
    My Spanish class is reading Soñar en Cubano (Dreaming in Cuban) by Cristina García.  We'd thought it was written in Spanish and then translated into English, but unfortunately (for us, anyway) it turned out to be the other way around, and we are reading a translation by someone named Marisol Palés.  The translation is fairly good considering that García uses a lot of U.S. idioms, but there are some very weird things here.  Specifically, Palés has made up a few things that aren't in the book.This paragraph, for example.  In English, the original, it says, "After Ernesto died, Felicia learned from his mother that they'd been born minutes apart, on the same day, of the same year."  And the Spanish: "Después de morir Ernesto, Felicia aprendió de su madre que todos volvíamos a nacer a los pocos minutos de haber muerto, en ese mismo día de ese mismo año."  Which means, more or less, "After Ernesto died, Felicia learned from his mother that we all come back to be born a few minutes after death, in the same day of the same year."I mean, what the hell?  The English shows how close Felicia and Ernesto were, that they might have been soul-mates.  The Spanish comes out of nowhere and seems to set up some plot line based on reincarnation that can't possibly be followed up on, since the translator isn't, you know, writing the book.  And I don't think there's any way this can be a misreading on her part, not when she's translated other, much harder, passages.Elsewhere she turns dawn into dusk, and has someone lying face down in the bathtub instead of on her back.  Nothing that changes the meaning of the novel, but there's just no reason for any of it.I think it's the fact that I've had books translated into other languages that makes me so queasy about this.  How many of my books contain parts I've never written?  How would I ever know?  I've had translations into Spanish, but I haven't seen them.  And if I had, I'd probably be too apprehensive to read them.Anyway, all this has made me want try my hand at translating stories from Spanish to English.  At least I'd know enough not to change the author's own words.________This is probably as good a place as any to mention that I've signed up for a ten-day Spanish intensive class in Costa Rica, for near the end of the year.  I'm getting more excited (and a bit frazzled) as the time gets closer.
  • Weekend August 24, 2014
    We were showing some out-of-town friends around Lake Merritt, a beautiful lake where people have picnics or rent paddle-boats or go to playgrounds -- but for some reason my attention was drawn to this part...It's a little blurry (sorry), but if you can't make it out, it's a dead tree with a flock of crows roosting in it.  I don't know, maybe the morbid imagination is part of being a writer.  That's what I tell everyone, anyway.
  • Wildcat August 23, 2014
  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE August 22, 2014
    I look at the new Varley novel:http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/2014/08/paul-di-filippo-reviews-john-varley/
  • New John Hiatt August 20, 2014
    Fine new song off his latest CD.