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  • feedwordpress 08:01:16 on 2018/06/19 Permalink
    Tags: Anthony Bourdain, , , humor, Juneteenth, ,   

    “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”*… 

    Kobe sliders: “I’m waiting to see the end of the Kobe slider. I’d be really happy to see that gone. The Kobe slider is an indication of a douche economy that’s threatening to me personally. It’s like bottle service at the nightclub; it’s a societal ill. It’s a clear example of nothing being added to the slider experience by using Kobe beef other than the price. No one who orders a Kobe slider wants the unctuous, fatty experience of ordering a Kobe steak. What they want is bragging rights in front of their princes of douchedom around them so they can all high five. It’s part of the ‘bro’ culture I find troubling.”

    Fond remembrance…  one of twenty provocative peeves at “Here’s an abbreviated list of everything that Anthony Bourdain hates.”

    * Anthony Bourdain

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    As we prepare for the ride, we might pause to think some celebratory thoughts:  today is Juneteenth.

    Though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on September 22, 1862 (effective January 1, 1863), word was slow to spread.  On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger, who’d arrived  in Galveston, Texas, with 2,000 federal troops  to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves, read “General Order No. 3” from a local balcony:

    The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

    Former slaves in Galveston celebrated in the streets; Juneteenth observances began across Texas the following year– and are now recognized as State Holidays by 41 states.

    Ashton Villa in Glaveston, from whose front balcony the Emancipation Proclamation was read on June 19, 1865 (source)

     Juneteenth celebration in Austin, c.1900 (source)

    Juneteenth has become a popular time for family reunions and gatherings. As with most social events, food takes center stage. Juneteenth is often commemorated by barbecues and the traditional drink – Strawberry Soda – and dessert – Strawberry Pie. Other red foods such as red rice (rice with tomatoes), watermelon and red velvet cake are also popular.  The red foods commemorate the blood that was spilled during the days of slavery.

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:22 on 2018/06/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , , humor, , , ,   

    “Classics are books which, the more we think we know them through hearsay, the more original, unexpected, and innovative we find them when we actually read them”*… 

     

    Highly efficient summaries from Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn’t by John Atkinson. Not recommended for use in study…

    More samples at: “Literary classics retold as two-panel comics

    * Italo Calvino

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    As we ponder the précis, we might recall that today– and every June 16– is Bloomsday.  a commemoration and celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce, during which the events of his novel Ulysses (which is set on 16 June 1904) are relived: Leopold Bloom goes about Dublin, James Joyce’s immortalization of his first outing with Nora Barnacle, the woman who would eventually become his wife.

    The first Bloomsday was observed on the 50th anniversary of the events in the novel, in 1954, when John Ryan (artist, critic, publican and founder of Envoy magazine) and the novelist Brian O’Nolan organized what was to be a daylong pilgrimage along the Ulysses route. They were joined by Patrick Kavanagh, Anthony Cronin, Tom Joyce (a dentist who, as Joyce’s cousin, represented the family interest), and AJ Leventhal (a lecturer in French at Trinity College, Dublin).

    The crew for the first Bloomsday excursion

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:51 on 2018/06/09 Permalink
    Tags: , experiment, Ford's Theater, freezer, , humor, , Toaster,   

    “But the toaster was quite satisfied with itself, thank you”*… 

     

    Would a toaster still work in a freezer?  —My Brother, My Brother and MeEpisode 343, discussing a Yahoo Answers question

    On a recent episode of Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy’s terrific advice podcast, My Brother, My Brother and Me, the brothers pondered a Yahoo Answers question about what would happen if you put a toaster inside a freezer. (The discussion comes around the 36-minute mark.)

    They have a fun discussion of a few aspects of the problem before eventually moving on to the next question. Since they don’t really settle on a final answer, I thought we could help them out by taking a closer look at the physics of freezer toasters.

    (A quick safety note: If you actually do this, keep in mind that the toaster may melt some of the ice in the freezer, leaving you with a running electrical appliance in a pool of water.)…

    Another in Randall Munroe’s marvelous What If? series: “Toaster vs. Freezer.”

    * Thomas M. Disch, The Brave Little Toaster

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    As we cultivate curiosity, we might recall that President Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the only person to die in Ford’s Theater: it was on this date in 1893 that three interior floors of the building collapsed.  Ford had acquired his venue from a failed baptist Church; but shortly after its conversion, it burned to the ground.  Ford hastily rebuilt, and began to program performances like Our American Cousin, which featured the  famous actor– and assassin– John Wilkes Booth.

    Following Lincoln’s death, the United States Government appropriated the theatre, (Congress payed Ford $88,000 in compensation), and an order was issued forever prohibiting its use as a place of public amusement.  In 1866, the theatre was taken over by the U.S. military… then in 1893, the front of the building gave way, killing 22 military clerks and injuring another 68… which led some to conclude that the former Church-turned-theater was cursed.  (A restored Ford’s Theater opened in 1968.)

    Bodies being removed from Ford’s Theatre following the building’s collapse

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:02 on 2018/05/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , humor, , , puns,   

    “Punning is a talent which no man affects to despise but he that is without it”*… 

     

    The English language is almost nightmarishly expansive, and yet there is no good way to respond when someone drops a bad pun in casual conversation.

    “Stop” seems ideal, but it’s too late—they already did it. If your esophagus cooperates, you can mimic a human chuckle, or you can just steamroll through, ignoring the elephant now parked in your conversational foyer. Either way, having to deal at all with the demand that wordplay be acknowledged is probably the reason so many people think they hate puns.

    Those people are wrong…

    More on this variety of not-merely-meretricious merriment at : “If You Think You Hate Puns, You’re Wrong.”

    * Jonathan Swift

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    As we ponder Alfred Hitchcock’s assertion that “puns are the highest form of literature,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that Monty Python was formed.  Graham Chapman was trained and educated to be a physician, but that career trajectory was never meant to be.  John Cleese was writing for TV personality David Frost and actor/comedian Marty Feldman at the time, when he recruited Chapman as a writing partner and “sounding board”.  BBC offered the pair a show of their own in 1969, when Cleese reached out to former How To Irritate People writing partner Michael Palin, to join the team.  Palin invited his own writing partner Terry Jones and colleague Eric Idle over from rival ITV, who in turn wanted American-born Terry Gilliam for his animations.

    The Pythons considered several names for their new program, including “Owl Stretching Time”, “The Toad Elevating Moment”, “Vaseline Review” and “A Horse, a Spoon and a Bucket.”  “Flying Circus” had come up as well.  The name stuck when BBC revealed that they had already printed flyers, and weren’t about to go back to the printer.

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:03 on 2018/04/29 Permalink
    Tags: artists, David Bowie, , humor, Mick Ronson, , , Spiders from Mars, superstitions, ,   

    “Superstition is the poetry of life”*… 

     

    Charles Dickens
    Slept Facing North

    Charles Dickens (1812–1870) carried a navigational compass with him at all times and always faced north while he slept—a practice he believed improved his creativity and writing.

    Nine other personal peculiarities at “Ten Superstitions of Writers and Artists.”

    * Johann Wolfgang Goethe

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    As we knock on wood, we might spare a thought for Michael “Mick” Ronson; he died on this date in 1993.  A guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer, he is best remembered as the foil to David Bowie in his breakout years, the leader of the Spiders from Mars.  But Ronson also served as arranger and occasional producer on Bowie’s work.  He went on to a successful career as a session musician recording with the like of Ian Hunter, John Mellencamp, Elton John, and Morrissey, and as a sideman in touring bands with Van Morrison and Bob Dylan (Ronson was the anchor of the Rolling Thunder Revue band).  He wrote and recored successful solo albums, and produced albums for acts including Ellen Foley, Roger McGuinn, Morrissey, and many others.

    Ziggy and the Spider

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:50 on 2018/04/21 Permalink
    Tags: , humor, , , Oliver R. Smoot, , R. B. Braithwaite, , , units of measurement,   

    “The heart of science is measurement”*… 

     

    In October 1958, Oliver R. Smoot (future Chairman of the American National Standards Institute) repeatedly laid down on the Harvard Bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, so that some of his Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers could measure the entire length of the bridge in relation to his height. At 5 feet 7 inches tall, the bridge was found to be 364.4 “Smoots” long (plus or minus an εar). The prank quickly became the stuff of legend (to this day, graffiti on the bridge still divides it up into Smoot-based sections) until finally, in 2011, the word smoot was added to the American Heritage Dictionary, defined as “a unit of measurement equal to five feet, seven inches.”…

    More exceedingly-specific units of measurement, and the stories behind them: “10 Ridiculously Precise Units of Measurement.”

    * Erik Brynjolfsson

    ###

    As we quantify quantity, we might spare a thought for Richard Bevan Braithwaite; he died on this date in 1990.  A Cambridge philosopher who specialized in the philosophy of science, he focused on the logical features common to all sciences.  Braithwaite was concerned with the impact of science on our beliefs about the world and the appropriate responses to that impact.  He was especially interested in probability (and its applications in decision theory and games theory) and in the statistical sciences.  He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1946 to 1947, and was a Fellow of the British Academy.

    It was Braithwaite’s poker that Ludwig Wittgenstein reportedly brandished at Karl Popper during their confrontation at a Moral Sciences Club meeting in Braithwaite’s rooms in King’s. The implement subsequently disappeared. (See here.)

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:27 on 2018/04/04 Permalink
    Tags: Belfry, , , , humor, , , , , web comics   

    “In comics, we’re all weird together”*… 

     

    Your correspondent is heading out into the middle of the Pacific for about 10 days, so (Roughly) Daily will be on hiatus.  Regular service should resume on or around April 14…

    To keep readers occupied in the meantime, via the ever-illuminating Warren Ellis, “this extremely 1998 webcomics index page.”

    * G. Willow Wilson

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    As we dig for treasure (of which, there’s plenty), we might recall that it was on this date in 1977 that CBS Records UK began distributing the eponymously-titled first album from The Clash.  (It was officially released four days later.)  Featuring such anthems as “White Riot,” “Police & Thieves,” and “London’s Burning,” it is widely regarded as one of the greatest punk recordings of all time, and ranks high on essentially every “best album” list.

    Deeming the material “not radio friendly,” CBS in the US refused to release it until 1979 (on their Epic label, but even then dropped some of the more virulent songs).  Meantime, Americans bought over 100,000 imported copies of “The Clash”, making it the best-selling import album of all time in the U.S.

    Cover of the UK release

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:36 on 2018/04/01 Permalink
    Tags: , calendar change of 1750-52, , , , humor, , pranks, ,   

    “The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year”*… 

     

    25+ Hilarious Pranks For April Fools’ Day

    29 Insanely Easy Pranks You Need To Play On April Fools’ Day

    * Mark Twain

    ###

    As we ponder the prank, we might note that today is, of course, April Fools’ Day.  A popular occasion for gags and hoaxes since the 19th century, it is considered by some to date from the calendar change of 1750-52— though references to high jinx on the 1st of April date back to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392).

    April Fools’ Day is not a public holiday in any country…  though perhaps it should be.

    If every fool wore a crown, we should all be kings.

    – Welsh Proverb

    An April Fools’ Day hoax marking the construction of the Copenhagen Metro in 2001

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:25 on 2018/03/23 Permalink
    Tags: Boston Morning Post, , , humor, , , OK, trailer, , Wes Anderson   

    “Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others”*… 

     

    Before you see the latest animated feature from your barista’s favorite director, relive his meticulous works from the past that made you kind of happy, kind of sad, and kind of unsure – It’s Every Wes Anderson Movie!

    * Orson Welles

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    As we celebrate symmetry, we might recall that it was on this date in 1839 the “OK” entered the English language when it was printed in The Boston Morning Post….

    Meant as an abbreviation for “oll korrect,” a popular slang misspelling of “all correct” at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans.

    During the late 1830s, it was a favorite practice among younger, educated circles to misspell words intentionally, then abbreviate them and use them as slang when talking to one another. Just as teenagers today have their own slang based on distortions of common words, such as “kewl” for “cool” or “DZ” for “these,” the “in crowd” of the 1830s had a whole host of slang terms they abbreviated. Popular abbreviations included “KY” for “No use” (“know yuse”), “KG” for “No go” (“Know go”), and “OW” for all right (“oll wright”). [Think LOLZ, OMG or NBD today…]

    Of all the abbreviations used during that time, OK was propelled into the limelight when it was printed in the Boston Morning Post as part of a joke. Its popularity exploded when it was picked up by contemporary politicians. When the incumbent president Martin Van Buren was up for reelection, his Democratic supporters organized a band of thugs to influence voters. This group was formally called the “O.K. Club,” which referred both to Van Buren’s nickname “Old Kinderhook” (based on his hometown of Kinderhook, New York), and to the term recently made popular in the papers. At the same time, the opposing Whig Party made use of “OK” to denigrate Van Buren’s political mentor Andrew Jackson. According to the Whigs, Jackson invented the abbreviation “OK” to cover up his own misspelling of “all correct.”  [source]

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:22 on 2018/03/14 Permalink
    Tags: , humor, , , , ,   

    “All numbers are by their nature correct. Well, except for Pi, of course. I can’t be doing with Pi. Gives me a headache just thinking about it, going on and on and on and on and on…”*… 

     

    It’s Pi Day!

    In celebration, a few amusing– and illuminating– links:

    The history of pi

    Pi day magic revealed

    10 stunning images show the beauty hidden in pi

    The history of Pi Day

    How to Memorize Pi if You’re a Word Person (from whence, the image above)

    * Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

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    As we enumerate endlessly, we might pause for a piece of pi(e)…

     source

    … in celebration of Albert Einstein’s birthday; he was born on this date in 1879.

    source

    “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

     

     
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