Weird Universe Blog — July 20, 2024

Love letters from Fiat

Fiat's 1994 Love Letters campaign has to rank as one of the most poorly-thought-out marketing campaigns of all time.

Morristown Daily Record - Mar 13, 1994

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 20, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Publicity Stunts | 1990s | Cars

July 19, 2024

English Chemist’s Secret Formulation

Transform from a "fat & lonely" cartoon into a "slim & desirable" photograph in 3 days.

It's got my vote for the best before-and-after figures of any weight-loss ad.

Daily Mirror - Mar 25, 1972

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 19, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Advertising | 1970s | Dieting and Weight Loss

The 1941 Slide Rule Queen

This honor was bestowed by my home state's university, the University of Rhode Island.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 19, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests | Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Science | 1940s | Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

July 18, 2024

Money in the chicken coop

Sounds like Albert didn't want his sisters to know about the money in the chicken coop. Perhaps it was his intention for it all to burn after he died.

Atlanta Journal - Dec 15, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 18, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Money | Inheritance and Wills | 1960s

July 17, 2024

A vulgar tip to save gas

In 1974, the UK's South East Gas Board (SEGAS) solicited gas-saving tips from the public. It awarded prizes of £10 to those who offered the best tips and published their tips in a full-page ad.

Conservative politician John Stokes subsequently denounced the ad as "deplorably vulgar and in the worst possible taste."

Can you figure out why? The answer is in extended.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 17, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Censorship, Bluenoses, Taboos, Prohibitions and Other Cultural No-No’s | Public Utilities | Advertising | 1970s

July 16, 2024


Sound poetry by German poet Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948). From wikipedia:

Schwitters composed and performed an early example of sound poetry, Ursonate (1922–1932; a translation of the title is Original Sonata or Primeval Sonata). The poem was influenced by Raoul Hausmann's poem "fmsbw" which Schwitters heard recited by Hausmann in Prague, 1921. Schwitters first performed the piece on 14 February 1925 at the home of Irmgard Kiepenheuer in Potsdam. He subsequently performed it regularly, both developing and extending it.

I made it through about a minute before bailing. But in the poem's favor, the Nazis didn't like either it or Schwitters, classifying his art as "degenerate."

Wikipedia also relates the following anecdote. Following the outbreak of WWII, Schwitters fled to England where, as an enemy alien, he was placed in an interment camp: "Schwitters was well-liked in the camp, and was a welcome distraction from the internment they were suffering. Fellow internees would later recall fondly his curious habits of sleeping under his bed and barking like a dog.'

A version of the poem animated by Lisa Placet is easier to take in:

More info: Dangerous Minds

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 16, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Poetry

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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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