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.
- Ugly NotesUgly Notes is a company that sells greetings cards for "horrible people." They bear messages such as, "If you spoke your mind you'd be speechless," and "You brighten up the room with your absence." The idea for marketing antisocial messages isn't new. It goes back at least to the 1960s, when entrepreneur Charles Hollis started selling stickers that bore messages such as "Kick a puppy today" and "Stamp out whooping cranes." I've written about Hollis over at the Hoax Museum. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have organizations such as Love For The Elderly, which "collects anonymous letters of kindness and distributes them to elderly citizens throughout America." I'm guessing Love For The Elderly and Ugly Notes won't ever do a partnership.
- Quacks and Nostrums
- A spoon made of tiny spoonsThis is one of the "nonobjects" featured in the book "Nonobject" by Branko Lukic and Barry Katz. The book description says it's about objects whose design "started not from the object but from the space between people and the objects they use." I think this means it's about objects whose design is useless but whimsical. Other Nonobjects include "a 'superpractical' cell phone with keypad, speaker, and microphone on every surface," a square motorcycle, and an umbrella that sends rain rushing through the handle from an upturned top. More at the site nonobjectbook.com.
- The Clover ClubOriginal ad here. Isn't this the exact ad that pimps today use to trick women into becoming "escorts" on Craigslist? What exactly was the purpose of the Clover Club? Answer after the jump.
- Alvaro Franca’s Typewriter ArtI've posted before about a typewriter artist, but here's another one — Alvaro Franca of Rio de Janeiro. But I noticed that Franca uses a computer image to guide him. Isn't that like the typewriter art version of paint-by-numbers?
- The Art of the DiseuseNot sure these recorded performances capture whatever unique brilliance these performers were reputed to exhibit. In the December 21, 1935 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette an entertainment columnist wrote: “The English language does not contain a word which perfectly describes the performance of Ruth Draper, who comes to the Nixon next Thursday for the first time in several years to give a different program at each of her four performances here. “Speaking Portraits” and “Character Sketches” are the two terms most frequently applied to Miss Draper's work; and yet it is something more than that. “Diseuse” is the French word, but that is more readily applicable to an artist like Yvette Guilbert or Raquel Meller. Monologist is wholly inadequate. The word “Diseuse” really means “an artist in talking” so that may be the real term to use in connection with Miss Draper.” Actresses who have been called noted diseuses over the years include Yvette Guilbert, Ruth Draper, Joyce Grenfell, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Lucienne Boyer, Raquel Meller, Odette Dulac, Beatrice Herford, Kitty Cheatham, Marie Dubas, Claire Waldoff, Lina Cavalieri, Françoise Rosay, Molly Picon, Corinna Mura, Lotte Lenya. Source of quote.