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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.

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  • Pre-Dirtied Jeans
    Nordstrom is now selling pre-dirtied jeans for $425. And here I've been washing my jeans all these years! It reminds me of that guy back in the 90s who sold shotgun-blasted jeans, though his prices were more reasonable. I wonder if the dirt washes off. For slightly cheaper ($395) you can get what looks like paint-stained jeans. More: nbc4i.com
  • Follies of the Madmen #312
    Ah, the hillbilly! What a once-potent icon. Used anywhere these days except Cletus & Family on The Simpsons? Ad scanned from Playboy for March 1962.
  • Macho Cologne
    Introduced by Faberge in 1976. It was described as being "packaged with a startlingly new futuristic look." Which is to say that it was packaged as a giant phallus. I like the ad promoting it as a Father's Day gift. I can just imagine a son or daughter giving this as a present to their dad. Indianapolis Star - Oct 30, 1976 The Pocono Record - June 17, 1977 The marketing of the cologne must have gained some notoriety. I found a brief discussion of it in an academic study of marketing — Marketing and Semiotics: New Directions in the Study of Signs for Sale (1987): The juxtaposition of the grossly physical with the structurally normative produces a profound effect: Norms and values become saturated with emotion while emotions are ennobled through contact with values. The monolithic (or rather, ithyphallic) print ad for Macho cologne run by Faberge several years ago, effectively condensing referents to male sexuality, aggression, wealth, and ethnic stereotyping in its rhetorical and iconographic symbolism, nicely illustrates this principle. Thus, symbols function as both storehouse and powerhouse, encoding information which is ultimately authoritative. Update: Thanks to Brian for drawing our attention to Pierre Cardin Man's cologne, which also featured a suggestively shaped bottle. And I just noticed that the Father's Day ad features both Macho cologne and Pierre Cardin Man's cologne. So if you gave your dad both, what message would you be sending him?
  • Tree Spirit Project
    Naked people and trees: the book. Kickstarter here.
  • 7 Clicks (April 24, 2017)
    7 Clicks A Weird Universe News Service April 24, 2017 Can't Possibly Be True: Backpacking white college kids frolicking in poor Asian countries--and begging locals to crowdfund them. [The Coverage (Malaysia)] Nor This One: Ms. I. H. Spjut, a California restaurant server, born in 1998 with the birth name Isis Harambe Spjut. [Daily Dot] U-S-A! U-S-A! District of Columbia officials, after complaints from merchants, airport workers, and others, change their driver's license to "Washington, D.C." because "District of Columbia" confuses the 9th-grade-Civics dropouts. [WTOP Radio] "Kenya Cancels Primaries After Too Many Voters Turn Up"--Deutsche Press-Agentur headline via Deutsche Welle Let's not get carried away: Police chief in Avondale, Ariz., swore in his new officer, a "drug-sniffing" bearded dragon [UPI.com] See? Not just Wall Street gets off clean. The United Nations-backed tribunal prosecuting Cambodia's 1.7m killing-field victims have just 3 notches in 11 yrs. [NY Times] It's a shack (with an upscale bathroom), but was listed at $495k, sold for $755k. Oakland, Calif.,'s tony Rockridge. [SFGate.com]
  • The Sex Detector
    The Sex Detector made its debut around 1920. It was a gadget, sold by "Sex-Detector Laboratories," that promised to be able to detect the gender of an egg — or any piece of biological matter whose sex one might want to find out (oysters, butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, worms). It supposedly even worked on blood. So police could use it to discover the sex of a criminal. It was basically an empty rifle shell suspended on a piece of string. When held over an egg (or whatever) it would reveal through the direction of its motion the sex of the chick inside. It was probably more accurately described as an idiot detector... the idiot being the one holding the string. For a while it was heavily advertised in poultry journals, but when inspectors at the U.S. Dept of Agriculture investigated the efficacy of the device, they found it to be useless. It worked no better than a piece of cardboard attached to a thread. Advertisements for the product were banned. The Leghorn World - Feb 1921 Wilmington Evening Journal - May 4, 1928 Williams News - July 8, 1921 San Francisco Chronicle - Oct 17, 1920 St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Feb 5, 1922

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

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