Mary Robinette Kowal and Jane Austen: separated at birth by a time-traveller


(Left: Mary Robinette Kowal. Right: Jane Austen, photo by TV West Country/Katie Rowlett)

Mary Robinette Kowal writes regency novels like Shades of Milk and Honey that blend magic with the milieu of Jane Austen.

Read the rest

Uncle Sam will defend your stake in any unclaimed bird-poop


If you discover an island covered in guano -- old poop -- an 1856 Federal law that's still on the books obliges the US of A to defend your claim to it.

Read the rest

Barbie-head-filled wedges


Even if you've got $265 to spend on a pair of wedges whose hollow soles are filled with doll-heads, you're out of luck. They're sold out. (via Neatorama)

Used liquor store


Liquor Off is a Tokyo store that buys and sells used booze.

Read the rest

China sends high-profile dissidents on forced luxury holidays


China spends even more on internal "stability maintenance" and security than it does on its army. Some of that incredible budget goes to forced holidays for dissidents that get them out of the way during events like the 25th anniversary of Tienanmen Square. It's called "being traveled."

Read the rest

Failed Oklahoma GOP nominee condemns opponent as secret replicant


Tim Murray, a self-identified "human," is contesting the Republican Congressional nomination in Oklahoma City's third district, on the grounds that his opponent, the incumbent Rep. Frank Lucas, was secretly replaced with a body-double after being executed by the World Court in Ukraine "on or about jan. 11, 2011."

Read the rest

Gimpsuited greenscreen fluffer flicks shampoo model's hair


An actual job is to be a greenscreen fluffer, dressed in a chromakey gimpsuit, hidden in the background for shampoo commercials, tasked with artfully flicking models' hair. If you're very good at that job, you can level up to gimpsuited Superman cape-puppeteer.

(via Super Punch)

Novel-writing is very energy-efficient

How much energy is expended in all the keypresses made in the course of typing a novel? Not much: "With a lot of rewrites, you might expend several kilojoules—but you'd need to rewrite every word 10 times to match the energy stored in a single AA battery." [XKCD What If?]

Facial-exercising pink fright mask


Worried about sagging facial skin? The "Facewaver Exercise Mask/Beauty skin sag face stretcher" ($60) is an elasticated pink fright mask/balaclava within whose confines you bind your face and then "stretch and tighten" your phiz, thus "kneading out wrinkles, lines and sag," through repetitive facial movements The manufacturer also claims additional circulation, which is useful if your face doesn't have enough blood it in. (Thanks, Alice!)

Strange possible origin of giant, abandoned Chinese metal Marilyn Monroe statue

You may have heard about the 8m-tall, abandoned metal statue of Marilyn Monroe that is quietly resting in a Chinese scrapheap after a brief tenure in front of a mall in Guigang, China. But as Jillian Steinhauer points out, the weird juxtaposition of Giant Metal Marilyn amid the garbage is only the tip of the weird -- far stranger are the possible connections to the another, American metal Marilyn, who currently lives at the New Jersey sculpture park Grounds for Sculpture.

Read the rest

Laurel and Hardy and horror-Mickey-fursuit perform "Babes in Toyland"

The 1934 adaptation of Babes in Toyland with Laurel and Hardy featured a horrific, off-model, unauthorized Mickey fursuit that had to be seen to be believed. It's still in copyright, but you can get a cheap DVD on Amazon, under the alternate title "March of the Wooden Soldiers."

March of the Wooden Soldiers

Animatronic face-ripping Undead Ted horror-toy

The 700th Undead Ted horror-toy was a face-removing, talking animatronic that sold for £420 on Ebay. I love that it can do more than one line; I like to think of it as the reincarnation of good ole Teddy Ruxpin. (via IO9)

News of the Weird: some of Chuck Shepherd's favorites

News of the Weird's Chuck Shepherd, celebrating 25 years yesterday of his wonderful column's weekly distribution deal, posted a few of his favorite stories from the archives:

NewImage(1989) In the mid 1980s, convicted South Carolina murderer Michael Godwin won his appeal to avoid the electric chair and serve only life imprisonment. In March, while sitting naked on a metal prison toilet, attempting to fix a TV set, the 28-year-old Godwin bit into a wire and was electrocuted. [Orlando Sentinel, 3-8-89]

(1991 and later) Gary Arthur Medrow, 47, was arrested in March in Milwaukee (the latest of his then-30-plus arrests over 23 years) for once again causing mischief by telephoning a woman and trying to persuade her to physically pick up another person and to carry her around a room. In the latest incident, after repeatedly calling, he told her another woman had been impersonating her, had been in an accident, and had been seen carrying someone away (and that Medrow needed evidence that she should could or could not do that). He had previously talked cheerleaders, motel workers, and business executives into lifting and carrying. [Milwaukee Sentinel, 3-18-91]

(1988) And finally, there was ol’ Hal Warden, the Tennessee 16-year-old who was married at 15 and granted a divorce from his wife, 13. Hal had previously been married at age 12 to a 14-year-old (and fathered children with both), but the first wife divorced Hal because, she told the judge, "He was acting like a 10-year-old." [The precise citation is inaccessible, but various marital reports on the Wardens are available, e.g., Associated Press, 2-21-1987]

News of the Weird (6/8/14)

Hubble Cat

hubhigh

Hubble Ultra Deep Field Cat. So many galaxies!

Read the rest