Happy New Weird


If the World Gets Upside
Down, Learn How to Float

Much has been lost in 2017, or is under threat. Our dignity as a nation, shared respect for facts, telling the truth without a subpoena involved. But we’re not giving up our ownership over what’s weird just yet.
See, since we’re ruled by someone with no regard for clarity, the very concept of what’s bizarre has become twisted. Well, no longer. Weird belongs to reality itself, has its own shine, and we’re its keepers.
But before highlighting some of the brightest spots, where the nonsensical and the truly odd reign supreme, and where no orange human has been before, here’s where the quirk and the surreal are actually enlightening. The Improbable Research, for instance, with its gloriously instructive Annals magazine and annual Ig Noble Awards.
Yes, it may never occurred to you that how long a cow stands may determine how long it will lie down (a 2013 award), or the effects of music on angry drivers (a recent paper), but boy, what a delight to learn. For these are accomplished scientists, fulfilling the ‘first laugh, then think’ motto. Yes, now you know.
On another end, there’s I Fought the Law, a book about some American laws, which may or may not be real. It all could’ve come from the same warped realm where the 45th seems to belong to, including suspicions that its author is pulling our collective legs. But what if somebody does want to ban the Stripes and Stars from being planted on a bar of soap?
In between, Pareidolia and your garden variety abnormalities of all suits, from time travelers, their blurry pictures and eerily-looking guns, to kinky children’s plays and traditional, but no less unsettling, national habits. Some quite unsavory indeed, but hey, haven’t you heard about the working, golden-platted toilet boil they’re shipping to the White House? So there you have it.

A NEW YORK CITY BAR BARS LITERALLY
The East Village Continental used to be a dive where $5 would get you good drunk to go. Now, $20 buys you only a literally washed-down Appletini. Just don’t dare saying ‘literally’ to the bartender; it’ll get you banned. That and mentioning the bankruptcy that will close it in July.
Or maybe it’s the clientele of NYU bros, who came with the onslaught of school dorms in the area. In any case, this dive is doomed and yes, the only good thing still good about the place is that it’s still a dive. Or maybe it’s now something else. Literally. Whatever.

NO, THIS BIRD CAN’T FLY WITH YOU
One of the most enduring cartoon characters ever created is Linus and his blanket, which he uses for emotional support. Charles M. Schulz knew a thing or two about Freud, and therapy, and how sometimes we all reach out for something to provide us relief from a troubled world.
But United Airlines sees it as a stunt, apparently. Even as animal companions are as common in air travel as, well, lack of leg room, the company has recently refused to let a woman board the plane with her pet peacock. And mentioning Freud or Schulz didn’t help her either.

BOILED BATS, COLD IGUANAS & FROZEN SHARKS
Evidence of climate change has been overwhelming. Hurricanes, wild fires, and that’s just talking about last year in the U.S. (more)
________
Read Also:
* The Weekly Weird
* That Can’t Be Right
* Better Halves

Continue reading

Advertisements

Evolution, Liberation, Deception

The Doc, the President
& the Quitting Pontiff

Readers of this blog know that we like to pick threes, to group things, to dig for meaning often to unexpected results. Numbers do get our attention, and so due dates, and the time of the day. We also love cats, ice cream, blues, and cryptic clues. Double talk, though, not so much.
Today is the 204th anniversaries of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, which makes Feb. 12 a fortunate day for all of us indeed. We were running with that until out of the dark blue came the startling news that Joseph Ratzinger, a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI, called it quits.
While we were glad to mark the birth of two exceptional minds who inspired billions of lives, the pope’s resignation seems unsettling, since the last time it happened, America wasn’t even around. It couldn’t be a spare of the moment decision, either, but it’s bound to dominate the news.
Darwin, the deeply religious Englishman whose research challenged the very core of Church’s doctrine, has also managed a stunt of his own, recently: he scored 4,000 votes in the last U.S. presidential elections. Despite a still fierce antagonism to his findings, he remains vital by mostly what hasn’t been possible so far: to prove him wrong.
On the other hand, a movie in theaters, and no lack of opportunities for the current White House occupier to emulate his bold decisions, have revitalized Lincoln, the brilliant but doomed American president. In some ways, he’s become a yardstick by which we measure progress in at least matters of race and personal freedom.
The present ruler of a billion-plus Catholics, though, is not only not in the same league, but may be destined to be known as one of the most disappointing popes to have ever worn the white skullcap, the choir dress and, of course, the red shoes. Which makes one wonder about Continue reading

Undeadline

Pop Culture Adds a New Doomsday to
Be Afraid of: The Zombie Apocalypse

We’ve been trying to scare the hell out of each other since immemorial times. Few have tried harder than the church, of course. What, with all that talk about eternal damnation and unspeakable horrors awaiting the non believer, most people had reason to wet their herb-stuffed cots at night, and proclaim that the end was already near, even then.
Twenty centuries later, religious demons, and sea dragons for that matter, lost much of their currency. They’ve been replaced by humanlike creatures, man-made monsters, half-animal beasts, invading aliens and the post-nuclear hecatomb undead, not necessarily on this order. We seem to be living through a revitalization of the latter kind, a time ripe for a zombie apocalypse, according to many.
They’ve been so ingrained these days that regular entertainment channels such as comics, books, movies and plays can no longer prevent them from leaking all over contemporary culture. Thus government agencies, educators and commercial outfits have all reached out to the myth of the half-eaten ghoul, to warn, educate, and make a buck out of the masses.
There are marathons now, where participants are supposed to train their run-away-from the slow-moving wrecks; maps indicating where they’re most likely to surface; ideal places to congregate during the outbreak; and special gear to wear and display, so others will know what you’re up to. And of course, plenty of advice to the already half-prepared doomsday nut crowd.
That it may never happen is beside the point; as it’s the norm with the end-of-times and rapture-day converts, facts should never get in the way of a good old fright. Which is, just so we’re all in the same Continue reading