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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:

  • Fondled while floating to earth
    1997: Cockrell couldn't keep his hands to himself. Bonus: the skydiving school was in Climax, North Carolina. The Des Moines Register - Feb 9, 1997
  • Happy the Cowboy Ventriloquist Dummy
    "Happy" looks anything but, as if he's battling the DTs. Does his cigarette really emit smoke? Original ad here. (Page 35.)
  • Thought he was Jerry
    So who was this Jerry, and what did he do? I guess we'll never know. Arizona Republic - Jan 29, 1953 Man Stabbed With Apology SAN FRANCISCO (INS) — Lawrence Bridges, 32, San Francisco Municipal Railway bus driver, reported to police that he was stabbed by a man who then leaned over him and said: "Oh, pardon me, I thought you were Jerry." He was stabbed twice, in the cheek and shoulder, as he walked on Sutter Street near Fillmore. He will recover.
  • Horsford’s Acid Phosphate
    What was once a patent medicine for "tired brains" and "seasickness" is now a hipster cocktail ingredient. Full story here.
  • News of the Weird (February 7, 2016)
    News of the Weird Weirdnuz.M461, February 7, 2016 Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved. Lead Story Even though concealed-carry gun permit-holders in Texas can now “open carry,” pistol-packing women concerned with fashion are not limited to traditional firearms in ordinary cowboy holsters. An online company, A Well Armed Woman, offers such carry options as stylish leggings, lace waistbands, and an array of underarm and bra holsters (even an in-cup model, the “Marilyn”) in leopard-print and pastel colors. However, a woman’s body shape and size may be more important shopping considerations, according to the company’s founder. “A 32A bust could not conceal a Glock 19 very well--nor would a 42DD-or-larger [front] allow for effective cross-draw carry.” [Star-Telegram (Fort Worth), 12-22-2015] [NPR, 1-28-2016] Democracy Blues In January, Robert Battle took the oath of office for his second term as a city councilman in East Chicago, Ind.--administered at the county lockup, where he is being held without bail, charged with a cold-blooded murder during a drug deal. The crime made news in October (i.e., before election day), yet Battle still won his race. According to law, he cannot be forced out of office unless he is convicted or admits the crimes, and he had the right to vote for himself in the election (except that he failed to request an absentee ballot). [Chicago Tribune, 1-25-2016] Canonical Marijuana (1) The Albany, N.Y., company Vireo Health told reporters it would soon offer the world’s first certified Kosher marijuana, announcing that the Orthodox Union of New York had authenticated it as having met Jewish dietary laws (e.g., grown with insect-free plants). (Other Kosher-validating officials complained that the approval should apply only to marijuana that is eaten, not smoked.) (2) Two habit-wearing nuns were scheduled to ask the Merced (Calif.) City Council in January to decline its prerogative under state law to ban dispensing or cultivating of medical marijuana. The nun’s order makes and sells salves and tonics for pain management, using a strain of cannabis containing only a trace of psychoactive material. [Haaretz (Tel Aviv), 1-7-2016] [San Francisco Chronicle, 1-4-2016] Bright Ideas Since the (naturally insulated) uterus can be a lonely space, Institute Marques of Barcelona, Spain, recently demonstrated a tampon-like “speaker” to carry soothing, specially-selected, 54-decibel (“hushed tone”) rhythms that supposedly improve fetal growth. In the “Babypod”’s first “concert,” the singer Soraya performing Christmas carols. (However, documented evidence for such a device was limited to success of in-vitro fertilization when music was wafted through during the first 48 hours of sperm-egg union) [New York Times Live, 1-1-2016] The Job of the Researcher: Taiwanese scientists recently announced the availability of their Infant Cries Translator (iPhone and Android app) that they say can, with “77 percent” accuracy (“92 percent” for those under two weeks old), tell what a baby wants by its screeches and wailings. The National Taiwan University Hospital Yunlin doctors first had to create a database of 200,000 crying sounds. [Reuters, 12-30-2015] Compelling Explanations The Latest in Corruption News: (1) Italy’s highest court freed a man in January because the bribe he offered a cop to avoid a DUI ticket was “too small” to be serious--100 euros (about $108). (2) Lawyers for John Bills (former Chicago city commissioner on trial for taking bribes on a traffic-camera contract) said Bills was obviously innocent because everyone knows that, in Chicago, only bribing the mayor (or at least an alderman) will get anything done. (3) A security guard in Nairobi, Kenya, despairingly told a New York Times reporter in November (detailing corruption so rampant that, for example, ball-point pens were being sold to the government for $85 each) that “If [people]’re going to steal, please, just steal a little.” [The Local (Rome), 1-21-2016] [Chicago Sun-Times, 1-13-2016] [New York Times, 11-5-2015] The Continuing Crisis A former lecturer for Spanish classes at the liberal arts Amherst College near Northampton, Mass., sued the school in December after it failed to renew her contract--leading the lecturer to charge that the Spanish department had tried to solicit student course enrollment by prostitution. Lecturer Dimaris Barrios-Beltran accused her supervisor, Victoria Maillo, of hiring only attractive “teaching assistants” and encouraging them to “date” Amherst students with the ulterior motive of signing them up for Spanish classes--to boost the department’s profile. (College officials said they could not corroborate the accusation, but apparently Maillo is no longer employed at Amherst.) [Washington Post, 12-29-2015] William Bendorf, 38, filed a lawsuit in December against the Funny Bone comedy club in Omaha, Neb., and comedian-hypnotist Doug Thompson after plunging off the stage and breaking his leg following Thompson’s having hypnotized him during his act. Thompson claimed that he had “snapped” Bendorf out of the trance, but the lawsuit claims that Bendorf, instead of exiting via the stairs as Thompson instructed, wandered directly toward his stage-side table because he was still “under” Thompson’s spell. [Omaha World-Herald, 12-28-2015] A patient who had been blind for a decade (a condition thought to have been brought on by brain damage from an auto accident) suddenly “regained” her sight, according to a research report in the latest PsyCh Journal--but only in one of the 10 identities (a teenage boy) populating her Dissociative Identity Disorder. Doctors have since ruled out organic damage and (through EEG testing) “malingering” and are now coaxing her eyesight back by treating the disorder. [Washington Post, 11-24-2015] Least Competent Criminals Chutzpah! (1) Michael Leonard, 53, was charged in December with stealing a package that moments earlier had been dropped off by a courier. The delivery was to a Prince George’s County, Md., police station, and Leonard, hanging around in the station (to register as a sex offender) walked out with the package when no one was looking. (However, a station surveillance camera caught his face.) (2) Sean Lyons, 23, wanted on an Upper Darby, Pa., arrest warrant since October as a drug dealer, was arrested in January--at the police station, where officers recognized him when he came to give information as a victim of an unrelated hit-and-run accident. [Capital Gazette (Annapolis), 12-23-2015] [Philly.com, 1-21-2016] The Aristocrats! (1) David Newman, a prominent emergency-room doctor at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital, was recently charged with sexual abuse of two female patients, including one of drugging, groping, and masturbating onto the woman’s unconscious body (one incident in September and another four months later). (2) Well-known restaurateur Dan Hoyt, 53, was arrested in January and charged with exposing (and “pleasuring”) himself to two women, repeatedly, at a New York City subway station--and to one he had blatantly asked, “Can I masturbate to you?” Hoyt is the owner-chef at Quintessence in the East Village and gained notoriety in 2005 when a subway passenger photographed him “in action” during a previous weak moment. [New York Times, 1-20-2016] [New York Post, 1-13-2016] Recurring Themes (1) Kopi Luwak (the gourmet coffee beans roasted only after having been flavored by a trip through the digestive tracts of Asian civet cats) has been a staple of weird news stories for a quarter century, but a New York startup (“Afineur”) will soon bring to market a synthetic process mimicking the flavoring effects of the civets’ gut bacteria. (2) From time to time, when people worry excessively about their stations in life, entrepreneurs create “destruction rooms,” where, for a fee, customers get some time with a sledgehammer or baseball bat and pound on junked furniture. The most recent, Tantrums LLC, of Houston, Tex., opened in January, charging $35 for 10 minutes. [Business Week, 7-21-2015] [KHOU-TV, 7-22-2015] A News of the Weird Classic (July 2011) Toshihiko Mizuno, 55, was arrested in Tokyo in June [2011] after three girls, ages 9 and 10, reported that he had talked them into spitting for him so that he could record it on video, to assist with "research" he was doing on "saliva." Police later discovered 26 videotapes, featuring about 400 young girls spitting. According to local media sources, Mizuno has had the obsession for 17 years, successfully getting at least 500 girls to spit, among the estimated 4,000 he propositioned. [NDTV (New Delhi, India)-Agence France-Presse, 6-14-2011] Thanks This Week to Bruce Strickland, and to the News of the Weird Board Editorial Advisors.
  • Flying Fish a Hazard
    [Click to enlarge] Original article here.

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

Recent posts:

  • E-Publishing Vanishing Point February 6, 2016
    My second novel Vanishing Point is now officially e-published. It’s only $3.99 and apparently a free read if you have kindleunlimited.  I love the new mysterious cover! The link is: http://mybook.to/vanishingpoint
  • My First Kickstarter! February 6, 2016
    Friends--please drop by the page below and see what an exciting project the fabulous artists Orion Zangara and Derek Chase and I have cooked up!Thanks in advance for your attention.I will be reporting our progress at intervals.https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/853786287/the-black-mill-comic-book-issue-zero
  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE February 4, 2016
    Here's my take on a new best-of collection:http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/2016/02/paul-di-filippo-reviews-ben-bova-2/
  • Weighing Shadows Made the Locus Recommended List! February 2, 2016
    Yay!Oh, and other fine books and stories are on it as well.  The full list is here.
  • Anonymous Endorsement January 31, 2016
    Ostensibly, there is a pirate site that will allow an illegal download of my novel A MOUTHFUL OF TONGUES. I do not know what you get when you click the link, because I did not do it. But I do know that the verbiage below is the copy surrounding the link. I really do think that the anonymous writer has hit upon a couple of deep truths. "Reading A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo is a requirement and a hobby simultaneously." "To start your day or to end your day at night, this A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo will be proper enough."Some people might be chuckling when looking at you reading A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo in your downtime. Some may be appreciated of you. And some might really want be like you that have reading pastime. Exactly what regarding your own feeling? Have you really felt right? Reading A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo is a requirement and a hobby simultaneously.This problem is the on that particular will certainly make you feel that you must check out. If you know are looking for guide qualified A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo as the selection of reading, you can find right here. If you ally need such a referred A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo publication that willprovide you value, obtain the best seller from us now from several popular publishers. If you want to amusing books, numerous books, tale, jokes, and also much more fictions collections are alsoreleased, from best seller to the most current launched. You could not be perplexed to enjoy all book collections A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo that we will certainly supply. It is not regarding the prices. It has to do with exactly what you need now. This A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo, as one of the most effective vendors here will be one of the best selections to review. Discovering the best A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo book as the ideal need is type of good lucks to have. To start your day or to end your day at night, this A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo will be proper enough. You can simply look for the tile here and also you willcertainly obtain the book A Mouthful Of Tongues By Paul Di Filippo referred. It will certainly not trouble you to reduce your valuable time to choose purchasing publication in store. By doing this,you will certainly also spend money to pay for transportation and also other time spent.
  • Brackett & Hamilton January 28, 2016
    Courtesy of Mike Resnick's Facebook page.This vibrant photo seems to have been taken just yesterday.