Weird Universe Blog — February 24, 2018

Sing-Along in Yiddish

The album Sing-Along in Yiddish came out in 1960. Part of a fad for sing-along records. The clips below are from the follow-up, More! Sing-Along in Yiddish.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 24, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Music, 1960s

February 23, 2018

Church of the holy lawn

In 1994, Jeff Goldstein, who described himself as a “semi-active pagan-Jewish minister,” got into trouble with the city of Madison, Wisconsin because he refused to mow his lawn. He claimed that to do so would violate his religious beliefs since he worshipped plants. He said he actually prayed to his lawn, and that to mow it would be a “holocaust against the green creatures.”

Goldstein explained that he had formed his beliefs after reading The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird. I’ve read that book. If you like strange science, it’s a good read, full of plant-science weirdness. Though I didn't come away from it believing plants are sacred.

The court didn't buy Goldstein's argument, but I don't know if he ever ended up mowing the lawn.

Seems that Jeff died recently, in 2015. You can read his online obituary here.

Appleton Post-Crescent - Mar 13, 1994

Louisville Courier-Journal - Aug 30, 1994

Jeff Goldstein

Available from Amazon

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 23, 2018 - Comments (7)
Category: Nature, Religion, 1990s

Follies of the Madmen #353

Source of ad.

"Our paper towels make women horny."

Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 23, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, 1950s, Women

February 22, 2018

A Community of Respectful Pals

Dear WU-vies:

Alex and I have just taken a step which I do not believe we have ever needed to take before in the long history of WEIRD UNIVERSE. We deleted someone's comment because it was nasty, rude, hostile and generally boorish. (And may I also say that the suffering longtime member of the community, the commenter to whom the insults were addressed, reacted with restraint, dignity, calm and a noble nature.)

Let me take this unfortunate occasion to remind everyone that WU has always been a landmark of collegiality and friendliness and acceptance, albeit happily flavored with irony, black humor and appreciation for the world's incredible stupidity. Especially in comparison to much of the internet, WU remains a happy place. Let's try to keep it that way.

Thanks, as always, for your attention, support and understanding.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 22, 2018 - Comments (7)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Etiquette and Formal Behavior, Weird Universe, Comments

Missing Cat Poster or Art?

In 2002, artist Tracey Emin's cat, Docket, went missing. So she put up 'missing cat' posters around her neighborhood. But since she was a famous artist, people immediately began taking the posters down and selling them. Reportedly, they fetched prices as high as £500 each.

This prompted a spokeswoman from Emin's gallery to issue a statement: "Tracey does deal with memorabilia, but the posters are not works of art, it's simply a notice of her missing cat to alert neighbours."

Artist Tamarin Norwood, on her blog, offers these thoughts on the sociology of what was going on with the pilfered Missing Cat posters:

The Missing Cat posters are problematic because the moment they reach a public they are coopted by the poncif already set up by the artist, and as such they become arranged "as part of [her] oeuvre". They are readily coopted because Emin’s particular trademark is "near-absolute identification of the artist with her work": work that is characterized by confessional and subjective autobiographical content that the posters also supply. We might say that Emin has created a convincing, life-sized tableau of her life, and it is difficult to exclude from this tableau anything she does or produces.

Incidentally, Docket was eventually found.

More info: BBC News (Mar 28, 2002)

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 22, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Cats, 2000s


Why does no one write folk-rock songs about bandidos these days? "I'll clean my wound with tequila..."

More on singer Karen Lawrence.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 22, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Ethnic Groupings, Music, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1970s

February 21, 2018

Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky, and Jayne Mansfield

In 1964, Jayne Mansfield recorded an album for MGM that featured her reading selections from the poetry of Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Yeats, and others, as Tchaikovsky's music played in the background. Apparently she hoped the record would show off the asset she was most proud of, her 164 IQ.

The album isn't available on CD or MP3, but you can pick up a copy of the original vinyl on eBay for around $30 or $40.

More info: wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 21, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Celebrities, Poetry, 1960s

Mystery Gadget 57

What's it do?

Answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 21, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Technology, Twentieth Century

February 20, 2018

Unauthorized dwelling at Yale

Here's one for Paul's unauthorized dwellings theme:

Able to afford tuition at Yale, but not housing, 22-year-old Allan Kornfeld lived surreptitiously in a ventilation shaft for seven months, from 1963 to 1964.

Appleton Post-Crescent - Jun 18, 1964

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 20, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Unauthorized Dwellings, 1960s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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