Tagged: humor Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • feedwordpress 09:01:30 on 2018/01/06 Permalink
    Tags: , Count de Waldeck, , , , , humor, , Mayan Culture,   

    “All fantasy should have a solid base in reality”*… 

     

    One of the most notorious examples of Waldeck’s penchant for fantasy: an elephant head in this rendition of an Ancient Mayan temple

    Not a lot concerning the artist, erotic publisher, explorer, and general enigma Count de Waldeck can be taken at face value, and this certainly includes his fanciful representations of ancient Mesoamerican culture which — despite being brilliantly executed on-site at Mayan monuments like Palenque — run wild with anatopistic lions, elephants, and suspicious architecture.  Rhys Griffiths looks at the life and work of one of the 19th century’s most mysterious and eccentric figures: “Brief Encounters with Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck.”

    * Sir Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson

    ###

    As we ponder a predecessor of Photoshop, we might send delightfully-drawn birthday greetings to Paul Gustave Doré; he was born on this date in 1832.  An engraver, sculptor, and illustrator– indeed, the defining illustrator of works by Rabelais, Balzac, Milton, Cervantes, and many others– Doré is probably best-remembered as the man who showed us Heaven and Hell: the canonical illustrator of Dante.

    Don Quixote, his horse Rocinante, and his squire Sancho Panza after an unsuccessful attack on a windmill.

     source

    The Tempest of Hell in THE DIVINE COMEDY

     source

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:05 on 2018/01/04 Permalink
    Tags: , Brandon Reese, , humor, Olive Oyl, popeye, , voice actor, “Kickin” the Conga   

    “I like physics, but I love cartoons”*… 

     

     

    On December 15, 2016, internet cartoonist Branson Reese made a pact to release a new comic every day at midnight, no matter what. One year later, he has done that, which is pretty cool. The only catch is his art is really freaking strange and I mean that in the best way possible…

    Joey Cosco on why you should follow Branson Reese.

    * Stephen Hawking

    ###

    As we look forward to our daily dose, we might recall that it was on this date in 1942 that Jack Mercer and his wife Margie voiced Popeye and Olive Oyl in the new Popeye cartoon, “Kickin” the Conga.

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:39 on 2018/01/01 Permalink
    Tags: Calvinism, Calvinist, , humor, New Year, productivity, Times Square, Times Square Ball, , Weber   

    “Only when the clock stops does time come to life”*… 

     

    Swiss Reformation scholar Max Engammare claims that the Calvinists fundamentally changed how we think about time. They replaced the Medieval Catholic conception of time, which was cyclical and based on recurring seasons and holidays, with a linear view of time, as something which was always essentially running out – and this, apparently, led to the requirement that we start arriving to things on time, which he claims did not exist previously…

    “As Calvin constantly reminded his followers, God watches his faithful every minute. Come Judgment Day, the faithful in turn will have to account for each minute,” reads this summary. And John Balserak put it this way: “European Calvinists — who dispensed with the liturgical calendar and still today do not celebrate Christmas and Easter as religious holidays…introduced during the 16th and 17th centuries a view of time that was linear and finite. With this came an appreciation of time as precious [emphasis mine]. People learned to be on time for appointments, which had previously not been a concern.”

    So then, if we cannot blame Calvinists for the rise of capitalism specifically, we may attempt to blame them for a much larger malady: That religious philosophy is responsible for that feeling that we are constantly losing time, as we hurtle ever-closer to death…

    As we all mark the passage of 2017 and the advent of 2018, we might contemplate Vincent Bevin‘s amusing– and insightful– reminder of the origin of the self-improving impulse that one typically feels around now: “Productivity is dangerous.”

    Happy New Year!

    * William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

    ###

    As we rethink our resolutions, we might recall that it was on this date in 1908, at one second after midnight, that the Times Square Ball first descended.

    In 1903, The New York Times newspaper was about to open their new headquarters, the city’s second tallest building, in what was then known as Longacre Square. The paper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, decided to commemorate their opening with a midnight fireworks show on the roof of the building on December 31, 1903. After four years of New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations, Ochs wanted a bigger spectacle at the building to draw more attention to the newly-renamed Times Square. An electrician was hired to construct a lighted Ball to be lowered from the flagpole on the roof of One Times Square. The iron Ball was only 5 feet in diameter! The very first drop [celebrated] New Year’s Eve 1907, one second after midnight [so, on this date]. Though the Times would later move its headquarters, the New Year’s Eve celebration at One Times Square remains a focal celebration for the world.

    For the evolution of the ball-drop over the years, see here.

    The 1908 ball

    source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:00 on 2017/12/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , humor, , , ,   

    “It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information”*… 

     

    Instructions for carrying heavy equipment at the Columbia University Computer Music Center

    1. In Silicon Valley, startups that result in a successful exit have an average founding age of 47 years. [Joshua Gans]
    2. Traders in Shenzhen electronics markets now rely on smartphone translation apps to communicate — not just with foreigners, but with people speaking other Chinese dialects. [Mark Pesce]
    3. “Artificial intelligence systems pretending to be female are often subjected to the same sorts of online harassment as women.” [Jacqueline Feldman]
    4. Laser Snake is a writhing robotic arm with a 5kw laser mounted on one end. It’s first job: cutting up old nuclear power stations. [James Condliffe]…

    The beginning of a fascinating list from Tom Whitwell at Fluxx— a collection of “varied” (if not random) gleanings from science and tech through commerce to society and culture.  They’re immediately fascinating… and ultimately– that’s to say, with some thought, and in the fullness of time– useful [the very effect for which (Roughly) Daily strives :]  Enjoy it in its entirety: “52 things I learned in 2017.”

    * Oscar Wilde

    ###

    As we read it and reap, we might recall that on this date in 1732 Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of “Poor Richard’s Almanack,”  a similarly not-so-randomly-fact-filled pamphlet series that he continued, to great success, annually through 1757.  (Indeed, with print runs typically numbering 10,000, the series made Franklin’s fortune, allowing him to spend the bulk of his time on scientific experiments, diplomacy…  and in his own consciousness-altering experiments in The Hellfire Club.)

    The first edition (published in 1732 for 1733)

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:17 on 2017/12/12 Permalink
    Tags: Best of, , Flaubert, , humor, , Madame Bovary, realism, , year's best   

    “I cannot choose one hundred best books because I have only written five”*… 

     

    Fernando Sdrigotti, The Situationist Guide to Parenting

    Since the arrival of twins, Spirulina and Ocelot, I have been indebted to my great friend and editor Fernando Sdrigotti for his invaluable parenting guide, inspired by the philosopher and alcoholic Guy Debord. No more awkward silences during the hours it seems to take the au pair to dry her hair — Sdrigotti’s guide provides no end of suitable conversation topics for bright 2 year olds, from Peppa Pig’s role in mediating social interactions between toddlers in the nursery to detourning the playground. Can’t afford another holiday abroad this year? Just remember, as Sdrigotti tells us, beneath each playpen lies the beach! The Situationist Guide to Parenting shifts the paradigm of the self-help genre, reinventing Sdrigotti as a Dr Spock for the modern dad.

    It’s that time again– time for a cascade of “year’s best” lists.  Here, from 3:am Magazine, a particularly satisfying one: from the tantalizing title above to such interest-piquers as Sima Nitram’s I Fucking Hate Don XL, George Glaciate-Furbisher’s Flenge’s Dictum, and Diana Smith-Higglebury, Reclaimed Territory: A post-Brexit Britain Household Companion, a list of books that one needn’t feel bad for not reading…  as they don’t exist.  Hilariously ridiculous authors, titles, and critical precis– wonder at what might have been at “3:am books of the year.”

    * Oscar Wilde

    ###

    As we turn to books that we should perhaps actually read, we might send closely-observed birthday greetings to Gustave Flaubert; he was born on this date in 1821.  Best remembered now for his 1856 novel Madame Bovary, (and his meticulous devotion to his style and aesthetics), Flaubert reportedly woke at 10am every day and promptly hammered on his ceiling, to get his mother to come down and talk to him.

    Flaubert helped to introduce a new form of realism into fiction; as a consequence he and his work had considerable influence on later writers, from his protege Guy de Maupassant to Joseph Conrad and James Joyce.

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:57 on 2017/11/16 Permalink
    Tags: Beat Generation, Beat poetry, , humor, , ,   

    “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by”*… 

     

     source

    Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I write 100,000 words every day of my life. If I’m being totally honest, 100,000 is probably just a baseline number. Some days I exceed a half million words. It’s just what I do. I’m a professional writer. So, if you want to know how you might achieve a similar output as me, here you go…

    Pick up the pace at “How To Write 100,000 Words Per Day, Every Day.”

    * Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

    ###

    As we show our contempt for contemplation, we might recall that it was on this date in 1959 that Jack Kerouac appeared on the Steve Allen Show; the kinescope recording that survives is the only known interview footage of him.  Kerouac and Allen had collaborated on a recording, Poetry for the Beat Generation, released that same year.

    After the show, Kerouac dined with actress Mamie Van Doren, who starred in the film The Beat Generation, which had been released earlier that year.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:25 on 2017/11/11 Permalink
    Tags: Centenary, , , human nature, humor, hurling, punting, , Texas Tech, tossing,   

    “If you start throwing hedgehogs under me, I shall throw a couple of porcupines under you”*… 

     

    In the fourth volume of Brett’s Miscellany, published in Dublin in 1757, readers could find an entry on a custom called “throwing at cocks.” This was an activity where a rooster was tied to a post while the participants, as if playing darts, threw small weighted and sharpened sticks (called coksteles) at the poor bird until it expired. The article explored the sport’s origin: “When the Danes were masters of England, and used the inhabitants very cruelly,” it began, “the people of a certain great city formed a conspiracy to murder their masters in one night.” The English artfully devised “a stratagem,” but “when they were putting it in execution, the unusual crowing and fluttering of the cocks about the place discovered their design.” The Danes, tipped off by the commotion, “doubled their cruelty” and made the Englishmen suffer as never before. “Upon this,” the entry concluded, “the English made custom of knocking the cocks on the head, on Shrove-Tuesday, the day on which it happened.” Very soon “this barbarous act became at last a natural and common diversion, and has continued every since.” Thus the innate human urge to throw things at things entered the early modern era…

    On the human desire to hurl (and hurl things at) animals and other humans: “From Throwing Sticks at Roosters to Dwarf Tossing.”

    * Nikita Khrushchev

    ###

    As we resist the temptation to toss, we might recall that it was on this date in 1939, in a football match between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Centenary Gentlemen at Centenary College Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, that “one of the weirdest games in NCAA History” was played.  A torrential downpour and resultant muddy field conditions prevented either Texas Tech or Centenary from advancing the ball either running or passing.  To cope with the conditions, both teams resorted to immediate punting, hoping to recover a fumble at the other end of the field.  They combined to punt 77 times; the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

    Thirteen records still stand in the NCAA record books:

    — Most punts combined both teams: 77 (42 were returned, 19 went out of bounds, 10 were downed, four were blocked, one went for a touchback and another was fair caught; 67 came on first down)

    — Most punts by a team: 39, Texas Tech

    — Fewest offensive plays: 12, Texas Tech (10 rushes, two passes for a total of minus-1 yard)

    — Fewest plays allowed: 12, Centenary

    — Fewest yards gained most plays: 30

    — Fewest rushing attempts, both teams: 28

    — Most punt returns: 22, Texas Tech (for 112 yards)

    — Most punt returns, both teams: 42

    — Most individual punts: 36, Charlie Calhoun, Texas Tech, for 1,318 yards (36.6 average)

    — Punt yardage: 1,318 yards, Calhoun

    — Punt returns (and total kick returns): 20, Milton Hill, Texas Tech, 110 yards

    The 1939 Texas Tech football team

    source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:51 on 2017/11/04 Permalink
    Tags: academic journals, hedgehog, , humor, illuminated manuscripts, , , , scientific communication, scientific journals,   

    “A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing”*… 

     

    Hedgehogs rolling on the ground to collect grapes for their young, as illustrated in the Rochester Bestiary (England, c. 1230): London, British Library, Royal MS 12 F XIII, f. 45r. Hedgehogs were said to creep into vineyards when the grapes were ripe, to climb the vines and shake the fruit down to the ground. Then, rather than eating this bounty on the spot, they would turn onto their backs and roll around, impaling the grapes with their sharp quills. They could then trundle off back to their burrows, carrying the grapes on their spines, as a meal for their young. The bestiary writers allegorized this as a warning of the clever stratagems of the devil in stealing man’s spiritual fruits.

    Longstanding readers of our Medieval Manuscripts Blog may know that we have a penchant for hedgehogs. In 2012, we published a post entitled The Distinguished Pedigree of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle,based on the accounts of their behaviour in medieval bestiaries. In 2014, we brought you a hedgehog beauty contest, no less, featuring images of five of our favourites. And most recently we focused on the heraldic hedgehog in the 13th-century Dering Roll.

    We’ve now discovered this fantastic animation, based on the drawings of hedgehogs in one of the British Library’s medieval bestiaries (Royal MS 12 F XIII, f. 45r). De Herinacio: On the Hedgehog was made by the amazing Obrazki nunu and Discarding Images. We hope that you love it as much as we do! Maybe it will inspire more people to explore and reinvent our wonderful collections…

     

    More at the British Library’s “How To Be A Hedgehog.”

    * Archilochus, as quoted in Isaiah Berlin’s wonderful The Hedgehog and the Fox.

    ###

    As we roll in it, we might recall that it was on this date in 1869 that the first issue of the journal Nature was published.  Taking it’s title from a line of Wordsworth’s (“To the solid ground of nature trusts the Mind that builds for aye”), its aim was to “provide cultivated readers with an accessible forum for reading about advances in scientific knowledge.”  It remains a weekly, international, interdisciplinary journal of science, one of the few remaining tat publish across a wide array of fields.  It is consistently ranked the world’s most cited scientific journal and is ascribed an impact factor of approximately 38.1, making it one of the world’s top academic journals.

    Nature‘s first first page

    source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:54 on 2017/10/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , E. Phillips Oppenheim, genre, , humor, , ,   

    “I got a little bored after a time. I mean, the road seemed to be awfully long.”*… 

     

    Explore– and enjoy: “14 classic works of literature hated by famous authors.”

    * Aldous Huxley on On the Road

    ###

    As we devour the dish, we might send prolific birthday greetings to E. Phillips Oppenheim; he was born on this date in 1866.  

    After leaving school at age 17 to help in his father’s leather business, Oppenheim wrote in his spare time. His first novel, Expiation (1886), and subsequent thrillers caught the fancy of a wealthy New York businessman who bought out the leather business at the turn of the century and made Oppenheim a high-salaried director. He was thus freed to devote the major part of his time to writing. The novels, volumes of short stories, and plays that followed, totaling more than 150, were peopled with sophisticated heroes, adventurous spies, and dashing noblemen. Among his well-known works are The Long Arm of Mannister (1910), The Moving Finger (1911), and The Great Impersonation (1920). [source]

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:07 on 2017/10/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , humor, If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox, , , Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Atlantic Monthly, Thurber,   

    “We look at this as the best of all possible worlds; but the French know it isn’t, because most people speak English.”*… 

     

    “I was wrassling some general. Some general with a beard.” James Thurber’s drawing for “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox.”

    At the end of 1930 Scribner’s Magazine began publishing what would prove to be a short-lived series of “alternative history” pieces. The first installment, in the November issue, was “If Booth Had Missed Lincoln.” This was followed by a contribution from none other than Winston Churchill, who turned the concept on its head. It was bafflingly titled “If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg”—but, as we all know, Lee didn’t win the Battle of Gettysburg. Instead, Churchill’s essay purported to be written by a historian in a world in which Lee had won not only the battle but also the entire war. This fictional historian, in turn, speculates what might have happened if Lee had not won the battle. This type of dizzying zaniness brought out the parodist in Thurber, who published “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox” in The New Yorker in December. The next month Scribner’s published a third essay (“If Napoleon Had Escaped to America”) before bring the series to an end. All three pieces were soon forgotten, but Thurber’s parody became one of his most famous and beloved works…

    Enjoy it (online or in PDF or Google Doc form) at “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox.” Find more of the Library of America’s “Story of the Week” offerings here (where you can also sign up for their nifty weekly email drop of stories from their archive).

    * Mark Olson at the “Histories: The Way We Weren’t” panel at Boskone 28.

    ###

    As we retreat to the High Castle, we might spare a thought for Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.); he died on this date in 1894.   A physician, poet, and polymath based in Boston, he was a member of the Fireside Poets, acclaimed by his peers (his friends included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Russell Lowell) as one of the best writers of the day.  His most famous prose works are the humorous “Breakfast-Table” series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858).  Many of his works were published in The Atlantic Monthly, a magazine that he named; he popularized several terms, including “Boston Brahmin” and “anesthesia.”

    Holmes was also an important medical reformer.  In addition to his work as an author and poet, Holmes also served as a physician, professor, lecturer, and inventor, and although he never practiced it, he received formal training in law… an enthusiasm he passed on to his eldest son, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932, and as Acting Chief Justice of the United States from January–February 1930.

     source

     

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel