In 1989, a Canadian company tried to promote the idea of burying people at golf courses. They imagined that courses could add memorial walls made out of their patented “mod-urns” — hollow, cremain-filled building blocks that could be snapped together to make instant memorial walls.
A company rep argued that this could be “a potentially lucrative business for golf courses, who could pack in up to 50,000 new ‘members’ per acre.”
In this pandemic era, jigsaw puzzles have seen increased popularity. But I was unaware of the tradition of “whimsy” pieces, components that exhibit naturalistic shapes. I encountered the notion in an old issue of LIFE magazine.
Then I found out there are modern makers. Here are a couple.
In 1960, Thomas Scoville received a patent for a device for measuring tuberosity. He explained that the purpose of measuring tuberosity was to improve the fit of chairs:
Even after looking up the meaning of the word ‘tuberosity’ in the dictionary, it took me a while to figure out what exactly Scoville’s device was measuring, and what it possibly had to do with chairs. Because the dictionary simply defined tuberosity as a ’rounded swelling.’ Some more googling revealed that Scoville must have been referring to the Ischial tuberosity, or ‘sitting bone’. As defined by wikipedia, this is:
A product concept from Dutch design company Nieuwe Heren. The wireless, flexible keyboard sewn into the jeans was fully functional. However, the jeans could not be machine washed.
As far as I know, these remained a concept and never made it to market. But the company said that, if they were ever to sell these jeans, they’d price them at around £250 ($325).
Edited to stop short of bare bosoms.
Ian Moor had qualified to compete in the 1979 National Paraplegic Championships, in events such as table tennis and wheelchair discus. But when a picture of him ran in the Yorkshire Evening Press, people recognized him as their postman, who was fully capable of walking.
His deception revealed, Moor was kicked out of the Paraplegic Championships. But he never faced any criminal charges because he hadn’t benefitted financially from his deception in any way.
Clint Bolin collected rocks. That, in itself, isn’t weird. However, Bolin made it weird by hoarding massive amounts of rocks of absolutely no value. He also collected chunks of concrete and slabs of cement.
When he vacated his Long Beach apartment in 1975, he left behind 60,000 pounds of rocks, all neatly boxed. There were about 600 rock boxes, each weighing over 100 lbs.
Strangely, no one had ever seen him carrying any of these boxes in. And he was only a frail man, weighing about 150 lbs. Plus, he had only lived in the apartment for four months. So how he managed to accumulate so many boxes of rocks in his apartment remains a mystery.
I haven’t been able to find any sources that describe what became of him after he made headlines in 1975. It’s as if he disappeared into thin air.
Throughout the 20th century, it seemed to be widely assumed that the mood of the husband was determined by the behavior of his wife at home. So, concluded the District of Columbia’s traffic safety office in 1963, if a man was in a ‘disgruntled disposition’ and consequently got into a traffic accident, it must have been the fault of his wife who didn’t cheer him up adequately when he left home with a goodbye kiss “as though she meant it.”
What happens when two committed bar flies can’t go to a bar?
Find out on this episode of the award-winning podcast Life Behind Bars. While sheltering in place at their respective homes, co-hosts David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum discuss the history of drinking during plagues and some of the cocktail cures that were created and popularized. (Spoiler alert: Rock and Rye doesn’t actually protect you from tuberculosis.)
So fix yourself a drink and listen to this episode of Life Behind Bars. Cheers!
Life Behind Bars features Half Full’s editor Noah Rothbaum and its Senior Drinks Columnist David Wondrich as they discuss the greatest bartenders and greatest cocktails of all time. It won the 2018 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for the world’s best drinks podcast.
Edited by Alex Skjong
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough has recommended listening to Fox’s Neil Cavuto over hydroxychloroquine – an anti-malarial drug with hotly-debated effectiveness in fighting Covid-19 – slamming the president’s support for the medicine.
The media went into a frenzy after Donald Trump said he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against coronavirus, but none of the responses have been more bizarre than the apparent teaming-up of liberal commentator Scarborough and Fox News’ Cavuto.
“I say this to seniors who I’m so worried about, and I know we’re all worried about you, because the president’s been acting so reckless over the past several months,” Scarborough said on Tuesday after assuring viewers he does not believe the president is actually taking the drug. “Listen to Neil Cavuto. It will kill you. This will kill you, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto said. That’s what doctors will say, too. The FDA said, take it if you’re in the hospital or take it if you’re in a closely watched, clinical trial. Don’t take it unless you’re under those two circumstances.”
Cavuto had previously blasted Trump for propping up the supposed anti-Covid-19 drug, assuring viewers that “it will kill you.”
The president responded to Cavuto’s attack on Monday night by saying Fox News “is not the same” without the “great Roger Ailes.” The late Ailes was the chairman and CEO of Fox News, a position from which he resigned in 2016 after being accused of sexual harassment by over 20 women.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2020
Trump also went after Scarborough following his Cavuto comments, dubbing MSNBC “MSDNC” and blasting the ‘Morning Joe’ host as a “psycho.” He also, oddly, compared the ratings of ‘Fox & Friends’ – which airs on the “not the same” Fox News – to ‘Morning Joe,’ which typically pulls in far fewer viewers.
Trump’s hydroxychloroquine has set off a bevy of attacks from outraged critics, who have argued the drug should not be taken seriously until it is approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) to specifically treat Covid-19. The FDA has warned the antimalarial drug can actually cause heart issues for coronavirus patients, but the president has claimed he’s taking it under the supervision of a physician and he’s “ok” so far.
Despite disagreement about the effects of the drug, it was granted an Emergency Use Authorization to allow hospitals to provide it as an option to patients.
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Unfortunately, I can’t find any info about how Leon Colby fared after his 5-day ordeal trapped in a folding bed.
The situation seems like an absurdist, real-life variation on the premise of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game.
In 1960, Monarch Books announced the launch of Perfume-o-Books. These were books infused with perfume.
They had plans to use a saddle-leather scent for westerns, floral odors for flower-arrangement books, and food scents for cookbooks.
All of which seemed logical. However, they decided to launch the line with three movie tie-in titles: “The Enemy General,” by Dan Pepper, “The Stranglers of Bombay,” by Stuart James, and “The Brides of Dracula,” by Dean Owen. These three titles were each infused with a “Chanel 5 type perfume.”
They seem like very odd titles to have been perfumed. And evidently the perfume didn’t appreciably help sales, because no more perfume-o-book titles were ever printed.
I cannot find an issue of C&V later than 2014, and the website you see on the cover below seems down. But certainly, if they still exist, they will find it hard to beat the cover for the April 1977 issue.
Your Biological Safety Mask
We’ve posted before about “hobo composer” Harry Partch. (Specifically, about his composition ‘Barstow’ inspired by hitchhiker graffiti he found on the outskirts of Barstow, CA).
Another of his oddities was his zymo xyl — a musical instrument he made out of 17 upside-down liquor bottles, 14 oak blocks, hubcaps from 1952 and ’52 Fords, and an aluminum kettle top. It was said to sound a bit like a xylophone. He specified that the liquor bottles should include two Old Heaven Hill bourbon bottles, two Gordon’s gin, and two Barclay’s whiskeys.
You can hear him play the zymo xyl at the end of the clip below.