Weird Universe Blog — August 23, 2017

More Potato Chip Queens

Inspired by Paul's post yesterday about the Potato Chip Queen contest, I did some research over at (subscription required) and came up with what I believe is a complete list of the Potato Chip Queens from 1946 to 1956, except for 1947 for which year I can't find any info. Perhaps there was no queen that year. After 1956 the contest seems to have transitioned into a Miss Teen Potato Chip contest. So, not quite the same.

Based on what I found, Nikki Geer was awarded the crown in 1946, but Paul found info indicating it was given to Dorothea Fagnano. Since Dorothea was only 15, I'm guessing she must have been given some kind of teen version of the crown.

Also, In 1952 the crown was given to a chipmunk ("Miss Potato Chip-munk").

Finally, the Potato Chip Queen for 1953, Joan Gehan (aka UN-KA-PU-CHI), was so popular that the next year they promoted her to "Miss Potato Chip of the Century."

1946: Nikki Geer
Shickshinny Mountain Echo - Nov 8, 1946

1948: Joan Smith
Opelousas Daily World - Feb 12, 1948

1949: Patricia Hunter
Zanesville Times Recorder - Jan 29, 1949

Edit: Found a picture of Pat Hunter's potato chip photoshoot in Life - Feb 28, 1949.

1950: Peggy Sharpe
Honolulu Star-Advertiser - Mar 19, 1950

1951: Edie Pike
Honolulu Star-Advertiser - Mar 4, 1951

1952: Miss Potato Chip-munk (with maid-in-waiting Ronda Sherwood)
Marengo Republican News - Feb 7, 1952

1953: Joan Gehan — promoted to "Miss Potato Chip of the Century" in 1954
Image via

Pittsburgh Press - Jan 28, 1954

1955: Ruth Burkhart
Kingsport Times-News - Mar 6, 1955

1956: Elaine Kuntz
Louisville Courier-Journal - Jan 29, 1956

Update: a better picture of the 1956 winner, Elaine Kuntz. (via Pinterest)

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 23, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Junk Food, 1940s, 1950s

August 22, 2017

Potato Chip Casserole a la Gorton

WU-vie MJBIRD asks for the winning recipe associated with the first Potato Chip Queen. I found a slightly imperfect OCR of it here!

If anyone makes it, please report!

Potato Chips A la Gorton
2 tbs. flour
3 cups coarsely crushed potato chips
1 cup milk
6 medium size carrots
tsp. salt
8 medium size onions
tsp. pepper
2 tbs butter or margarine
[Illegible] cup grated American cheese

Scrape carrots and slice into [Illegible]-inch slices.
Cook until tender in boiling, salted water. Drain.
Pare onions and slice in [illegible]-inch slices. Cook until tender in boiling, salted water. Drain.
Melt butter or margarine in a heavy sauce-pan. Add the flour and blend. Add the milk and cook and stir until cheese is melted.
Arrange half of carrots in bottom of a greased casserole dish. Cover with a layer of crushed potato chips, then with half the onions. Cover with crushed potato chips.
Repeat layers.
Top with sauce mixture and a dash of paprika. Bake in a moderate oven, 350 degrees, for about 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned.
Makes 5-6 servings.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 22, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Food, Reader Recommendation, 1940s

Concha Consciousness

Created in 1977 by Mr. X, and his partner Mr. Y, both of whom wanted to stay anonymous because they had "straight jobs in large corporations."

Concha-Consciousness consisted of genuine conch sells worn as a headset. "Slipped onto the head, the C-C is supposed to shut out nagging spouses, yelping dogs, screaming kids, the TV, and traffic noises. It's supposed to give you 'time out for a little serenity.'"

The first ad for Concha-Consciousness appeared in the New Yorker on Sept. 26, 1977. The headsets were subsequently featured on The Today Show.

Detroit Free Press - Dec 23, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 22, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Headgear, 1970s

National Potato Chip Queen

The first Potato Chip Queen apparently was nominated in 1946.

The next gal I can find won in 1949. The caption also introduces the irreplaceable term "spud wafers," which I intend to use from now on.


Here is a pic from their 1948 convention.

I find evidence the NPCI existed as late as 1957.

But as for Potato Chip Queens after 1949, no luck. I think the NPCI is also defunct.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 22, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Conventions, Junk Food, 1940s, 1950s

August 21, 2017

Cats Eyes Removed

The Suffolk County Council has decided to get rid of the road signs that warned motorists, "Cats Eyes Removed." Too many people, especially tourists, thought the signs were warning of the imminent blinding of felines, instead of referring to the reflective road markers known as 'cats eyes.'

The new signs will read, 'Caution - Road Studs Removed.' Though locals are complaining about that because none of them have ever heard of a 'road stud.'

More info:

Another potentially confusing UK sign — the ones that warn of 'Humped Zebra Crossing.'

via Flickr

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 21, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Signage

Len Solomon and the Bellowphone

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 21, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Eccentrics, Inventions, Music

August 20, 2017

Golden Tower

Transgender Canadian artist Cassils will display the following installation at New York's Ronald Feldman Fine Arts gallery on Sept. 16. Description from the artist's website:

The centerpiece is PISSED, a minimalist glass cube containing 200 gallons of urine: a collection of all the liquid the artist has passed since the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era executive order allowing transgender students to use the bathroom matching their chosen gender identities. The sculpture is contextualized by audio recordings from the Virginia school board and the Fourth Court of Appeals articulating the ignorance and biases that run through every level of judicial proceedings.

My first thought was, that's a lot of pee. Trump rescinded Obama's executive order on Feb. 22. So 206 days will have passed between the rescinding and the exhibit on Sep 16, which means Cassils, in turn, must be passing about a gallon of urine per day. According to MedlinePlus, it's normal to excrete about half-a-gallon a day, assuming you're drinking 2 liters of water a day. Cassils must be drinking about 4 liters of water a day to be peeing that much.

My second thought was that urine art is one of those things that Chuck would describe as no longer weird.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 20, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Art

August 19, 2017

Yellow Snow Experiment

An experiment conducted by animal behavior expert Marc Bekoff of the University of Colorado, Boulder with his dog, Jethro:

While talking Jethro on his daily walk I conducted a study of his sniffing and urination patterns. To learn about the role of urine in eliciting sniffing and urinating, I moved urine-saturated snow ("yellow snow") from place-to-place during five winters to compare Jethro's responses to his own and other dog's urine. Immediately after Jethro or other known males or females urinated on snow, I scooped up a small clump of the yellow snow in gloves and moved it to different locations. For some reasons passers-by thought I was strange and generally left me alone. Moving yellow snow was a useful and novel method for discovering that Jethro spent less time sniffing his own urine than that of other males or females.

More info: Psychology Today - June 29, 2009

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 19, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Experiments, Body Fluids

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