Prince Andrew has been in the news lately, but this post isn't about the various scandals besetting him. Instead, it's about the prince's brief foray into the world of art, when he was a teenager.
At the age of 17, he completed an oil painting which he titled "Canadian Landscape." It was displayed at the Windsor Festival, which was an exhibition that gathered together works related to the Royal Family from Tudor times to the present.
As I was looking at the picture, I kept thinking that it didn't visually make much sense. Of course, perhaps it was intended to be an abstract work, but out of curiosity I flipped it around, at which point it immediately made a lot more sense. At least, I think so. See below for comparison. So, I'm pretty sure that the AP archive has his picture upside-down — and it's had it that way for years.
What I wonder is if this is just a screw-up by the AP archive, or was his painting actually displayed that way? Does Prince Andrew's painting deserve a place in the WU Gallery of Art Hung Upside-Down?
Patent No. 4,344,424, granted to Lucy L. Barmby of Sacramento, California in 1982. From the patent description:
a primary object of this invention is to provide a new and novel device for preventing the consumption of food by an individual.
It goes into more detail about who the invention might benefit:
The temptation to eat which leads one to eat excessively is ever present and the ready availability of attractively prepared, taste-tempting foods makes the temptation to eat and therefore to over eat virtually irresistible. Frequently, this temptation is so great that compulsive eating is not uncommon and many persons are virtually without the strength of will to resist overeating. The average person, therefore, does have a problem as to the over consumption of food but, even worse, when certain individuals are exposed to food constantly such as chefs, cooks, restaurant personnel or the like, it is a foregone conclusion that these individuals will consume far more food than is proper particularly when such food is usually readily available at no cost. Typical of such groups of individuals is the housewife who must frequently cook meals during the day which generally includes the preparation of such fattening foods such as pies, pastries, and the like. During the preparation of such meals not only is there the temptation to nibble on the food being prepared but it is generally necessary that the food be tasted during preparation thereby constantly stimulating the appetite and promoting the consumption of large quantities of food.
I'm imagining a husband preparing to go to work and strapping the anti-eating face mask on his wife before he leaves.
But couldn't the wearer just lift the mask off? Nope. It's locked on, though "under emergency conditions, the strap may be cut and the face mask of the invention removed."
Great ideas like that tend to get recycled. So, recently artist Yosef Lerner unveiled a pedestrian horn for the 21st century. His intent was satirical. He wanted to make the point that honking at people can be obnoxious, whether you're on foot or in a car. But for a while he was actually offering his pedestrian horn for sale on his website, at $699 each. He decided to stop selling them because (as he told Gizmodo) he didn't want "to contribute to any more noise in this city!”
For the record, Tupman didn't invent the idea of a pedestrian horn. Actress Eleanor Whitney had rigged one up in 1932.
Chambersburg Public Opinion - Apr 9, 1932
And as early as 1927, there's a report in the NY Times about an unnamed man from Southampton, England who had attached a "miniature but noisy motorhorn" to his walking stick and then "sounded warning blasts to the more fortunate ones in automobiles when he was about to cross."
Weirdo was a giant among chickens. He weighed a colossal twenty-three pounds — about four times the size of an average rooster. Throughout much of the 1970s and 80s, he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the heaviest chicken in the world. He was said to have the strength and stamina of an ostrich.
"Grant Sullens holds his prize 23-lb. White Sully rooster. Note the gloves he is wearing for protection. Note also that the photographer stayed on the safe side of the fence." Source: Farm Journal - Nov 1971.
However, Weirdo had a temper and ferocity that matched his size. His violent exploits were legendary. He killed two cats and pecked out the eye of a dog. He routinely tore bits of metal off his feed bucket, demolishing feeders at a rate of one per month. When an ungloved visitor made the mistake of trying to touch him, he removed their fingertip. He shattered the lens of a camera. And, in his crowning achievement, he managed to rip through a wire fence and attacked and killed one of his own sons, an eighteen-pound rooster.
Just as unusual as Weirdo himself was the story of how he came to exist. He was the result of a seven-year chicken-breeding program conducted by a teenage boy, Grant Sullens, of West Point, California. Sullens had decided that he wanted to create a breed of "superchickens," and he actually achieved his goal, succeeding where highly paid poultry researchers had failed.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.