Lazy Sunday Afternoon: “Stuff” Continued

5892751485_2a14e86ff2_oGood Afternoon

<———— Look at that face?

Doesn’t this frog have a skeptical look about him…or maybe it is more of a look that says…don’t mess with me man! Don’t you bullshit me man.

Whatever it is, I always thought this “Iconographia Zoologica”  illustration of a Hyla arborea (Tree Frog from Suriname, 1772) had so much character…and attitude.  I love that expression!

When I look at this present day photograph of the little green dude below…I see that same look I admired so much from the Dutch illustration drawn 241 years ago.

Don’t you see the similarities echoing back to you through the eyes?

From Andrew Sullivan’s Face Of The Day « The Dish


This little guy has reason to keep his head down:

Amsterdam-based photographer Peter Lipton’s recent project is based around a research and conservation program at the Catholic University of Quito that was created in 2005 to address the growing number of endangered amphibians due to the country’s increases in logging, oil exploration, agriculture and climate change. Named ‘Balsa de los sapos’—Spanish for ‘Life raft of the frogs’—the program aims to collect, reproduce, and return endangered amphibians to their natural habitat. Lipton creates an exquisite showcase of these unique creatures, many of which are sadly the last known specimens.

I guess you could say I am starting this post off on a reflective note? These little amphibians are not the only species that have come to the few remaining of their kind. From the BBC News – Zoo seeks mate for last surviving ‘gorgeously ugly’ fish


Male mangarahara cichlids are distinguished from the females by their size and flowing fins

I don’t know, he ain’t so bad looking.

London Zoo is appealing to fish keepers to try to find a mate for a critically endangered, tropical species.

The Mangarahara cichlid is extinct in the wild but the three in captivity are all male.

The Zoo, which describes the fish as “gorgeously ugly”, is hoping to start a conservation programme if a fit female can be found for the captive males.

And with two of the males now 12 years old, the quest is said to be extremely urgent.

“I think there’s probably a very slim to no chance of this fish surviving” – Brian Zimmerman, London Zoo

These cichlids were named after the Mangarahara river in Madagascar where they were first found.

The construction of dams on the river caused the streams they lived in to dry up and the fish is now believed to be extinct in its natural habitat.

There are two males in captivity at London Zoo and another in Berlin. There had been a female in captivity at the German zoo but attempts to breed ended in disaster when the male killed her.

Which Zimmerman says is a common thing with cichlids…..well, that is one hell of a shame. This guy is going out with a dramatic twist, the only female of your species left in the world…and you kill her.

I’ve got one more fish tale to tell you, this is real fascinating: Navy dolphins discover rare old torpedo off Calif. coast near Coronado | McClatchy

In the ocean off Coronado, a Navy team has discovered a relic worthy of display in a military museum: a torpedo of the kind deployed in the late 19th century, considered a technological marvel in its day.

But don’t look for the primary discoverers to get a promotion or an invitation to meet the admirals at the Pentagon – although they might get an extra fish for dinner or maybe a pat on the snout.

The so-called Howell torpedo was discovered by bottlenose dolphins being trained by the Navy to find undersea objects, including mines, that not even billion-dollar technology can detect.

“Dolphins naturally possess the most sophisticated sonar known to man,” Braden Duryee, an official at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific said after the surprising discovery.

While not as well known as the Gatling gun and the Sherman tank, the Howell torpedo was hailed as a breakthrough when the U.S. was in heavy competition for dominance on the high seas. It was the first torpedo that could truly follow a track without leaving a wake and then smash a target, according to Navy officials.

Only 50 were made between 1870 and 1889 by a Rhode Island company before a rival copied and surpassed the Howell’s capability.

This only makes me think that somewhere out there…the incredible Mr. Limpet is guiding our Navy ships and that Obama’s drones are actually flown by Orville the albatross…

Anyway, be sure to read more about the Howell torpedo at the McClatchy link above. For other Civil War weapons that did not perform as well as the Howell torpedo, check this blog post out that list: 10 Strange Civil War Weapons (My favorite is the Harmonica Pistol)


An attempt to create a multi-shot pistol by adding a horizontal magazine—some variations held up to 10 percussion cap or pinfire cartridges—the harmonica gun was probably invented and certainly patented by a Frenchman, J. Jarre of Paris, between 1859-1862. No musical instruments were involved. The name came from the shape of the magazine, and the weapon was also called the “slide gun.” An early manufacturer in the US was Jonathan Browning, father of firearms designer John Moses Browning. While looking like the sort of weapon a steampunk James Bond might carry, the harmonica gun proved too impractical for wide adoption. The user had to manually adjust the sliding magazine to center each cartridge under the hammer for every shot. Like VHS vs. Betamax, the much easier and faster shooting revolver finally won the day. The mechanism wasn’t limited to pistols—famed Texas Senator Sam Houston owned a percussion rifle (by Henry Gross) using a harmonica slide which is on display at the National Museum of American History.

Here is another list of things for you, take a look at this infographic:   The 13 Worst Jobs of the Last 2,000 Years


Click on the image to see the larger graphic.

Now that will bring me to some articles dealing with history, these are fabulous! And since we have some nasty weather here in Banjoville, I am going to give them to you in link dump fashion…just in case the storms wreak havoc with my DSL service.

Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years

Eerie new images have emerged of a French apartment abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched in the seven decades since.

Click here to view inside the Paris apartment

Other than a thick layer of dust covering the furniture, the room looks exactly as it would have done 70 years ago when its occupants fled Paris for the south of France as the Second World War erupted in Europe.

With Germany devising the Fall Gelb – a military sub-campaign later known as the Manstein Plan, with an objective conquering Northern France – the owner of the chic apartment decided that leaving the capital was the only way she could guarantee her safety.

The flat’s titleholder, a woman known only as Mrs De Florian, never returned to the apartment and never rented it out. Its existence only came to light in 2010, when Mrs De Florian died without issue at the age of 91 and experts were brought in to value the property.

The flat, which is close to the Pigalle red-light district in Paris’ 9th Arrondissement, was said to be like a “stumbling in to the castle of Sleeping Beauty” by one expert, as a room full of artworks and beautiful furniture was discovered behind its long-locked font door.

Plague Helped End Roman Empire, DNA From Medieval Graveyard Suggests

Plague is a fatal disease so infamous that it has become synonymous with any dangerous, widespread contagion. It was linked to one of the first known examples of biological warfare, when Mongols catapulted plague victims into cities.

The bacterium that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, has been linked with at least two of the most devastating pandemics in recorded history. One, the Great Plague, which lasted from the 14th to 17th centuries, included the infamous epidemic known as the Black Death, which may have killed nearly two-thirds of Europe in the mid-1300s. Another, the Modern Plague, struck around the world in the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning in China in the mid-1800s and spreading to Africa, the Americas, Australia, Europe and other parts of Asia.

Although past studies confirmed this germ was linked with both of these catastrophes, much controversy existed as to whether it also caused the Justinianic Plague of the sixth to eighth centuries. This pandemic, named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, killed more than 100 million people. Some historians have suggested it contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire.

To help solve this mystery, scientists investigated ancient DNA from the teeth of 19 different sixth-century skeletons from a medieval graveyard in Bavaria, Germany, of people who apparently succumbed to the Justinianic Plague.

They unambiguously found the plague bacterium Y. pestis there.

More at the link, go read it!

In other DNA news affecting history: Minoans Came From Europe, Not North Africa, Ancient DNA Suggests

When the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans discovered the 4,000-year-old Palace of Minos on Crete in 1900, he saw the vestiges of a long-lost civilization whose artefacts set it apart from later Bronze-Age Greeks. The Minoans, as Evans named them, were refugees from Northern Egypt who had been expelled by invaders from the South about 5,000 years ago, he claimed.

Modern archaeologists have questioned that version of events, and now ancient DNA recovered from Cretan caves suggests that the Minoan civilization emerged from the early farmers who settled the island thousands of years earlier.

As with the Justinianic Plague article, this one is detailed…so go take a look at the article.

Here is another thing you can spend some time on: 38,000 historical maps at DPLA | History News Network

More than three decades ago, David Rumsey began building a map collection. By the mid-90s he had thousands and thousands of maps to call his own — and his alone. He wanted to share them with the public.

He could have donated them to the Library of Congress, but Rumsey had even bigger ideas: the Internet. “With (some) institutions, the access you can get is not nearly as much as the Internet might provide,” Rumsey told Wired more than a decade ago. “I realized I could reach a much larger audience with the Internet.”

Bit by bit, Rumsey digitized his collection — up to 38,000 maps and other items — along the way developing software that made it easier for people to explore the maps and 3D objects such as globes online. Today, the Digital Public Library of America announced that Rumsey’s collection would now be available through the DPLA portal placing the maps into the deeper and broader context of the DPLA’s other holdings…

Enjoy that site…David Rumsey Historical Map Collection | Collection History

if charlie parker was a gunslinger,there’d be a whole lot of dead copycats: Scenes from The Wild West #14

The Sundance Kid and Etta Place

Bad ass.

These next few links are not about history…specifically.

Mental Baggage: Abandoned Suitcases From an Insane Asylum

Old suitcase from Willard Psychiatric Center in New York

Looking at old, abandoned belongings can be quite a moving experience, and if there’s a sad history attached to the objects, we might well feel a measure of melancholy. Still, at the same time, we’re all fascinated by the lives of others – especially if their stories and experiences are very different to our own. That’s why these suitcases, which once belonged to patients at the Willard Psychiatric Center, New York, make such captivating photographs.

Secrets of the Criminal Mind: Scientific American

What is science revealing about the nature of the criminal mind? Adrian Raine, a professor at the university of Pennsylvania, is an expert in the expanding field of “neurocriminology.” He has written The Anatomy of Violence, a sweeping account of crime’s biological roots, including genetics, neuro-anatomy and environmental toxins like lead. He spoke with Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.

Reservoir deep under Ontario holds billion-year-old water

Scientists working 2.4 kilometres below Earth’s surface in a Canadian mine have tapped a source of water that has remained isolated for at least a billion years. The researchers say they do not yet know whether anything has been living in it all this time, but the water contains high levels of methane and hydrogen — the right stuff to support life.

Kid Safety Manual Will Make You Never Want to Go Outside Again

The 1950s were apparently a terrifying time to be a child. If a train wasn’t coming out of nowhere to decapitate you, a seemingly harmless and endlessly fun game of “hide in a pile of leaves!”* ended when you were run over by city workers.

Buzzfeed’s Copyranter got a hold of this amazing manual, and you have to see the whole thing. Titled “It’s Great to Be Alive!”, it was written by someone who knew how truly careless children can be. I’d encourage you to print it out and pass it around at your local elementary school but STRANGER DANGER. (Actually, that one is just good advice.)

And if we are talking about scaring the bejeebeez outta kids, check this out: 11 Terrifying Images of Old Soviet Playgrounds | Mental Floss

Actually, they’re playgrounds from the former Soviet Union, where people were good at making a lot of things — tanks, rifles, factories to make tanks and rifles — but cheerful playground statuary clearly wasn’t one of them.

Go to the link to see the freaky pictures.

From childhood to growing old: 100 Years is Enough For Me, Pal by Tom Purcell

Here’s one potential advance in science that has me worried: human beings may eventually live a really long time.

According to the World Future Society, we are in the early phases of a superlongevity revolution. Thanks to advances nanotechnology and cell and gene manipulation, scientists may eventually learn how to keep humans alive from 120 to 500 years.

97045 600 100 Years is Enough For Me, Pal cartoons

Which prompts an important question: Do we really want to live that long?

We move on to the writing/words part of the post…that is links to do with language written and spoken.

VQR » Blog » Cameron’s Books and the Used Magazine Trade

When I needed an article from the February 1963 issue of the defunct travel magazine Holiday, I never questioned where to search for it. I picked up the phone and dialed. “Cameron’s,” said the voice on the other end.

Always afraid of saying something stupid and offending the store’s gruff owner, Jeff Frase, I described the item I needed in as few words as possible. In his dry, distant growl, Frase said, “One minute. Let me check.” He sounded annoyed. He put down the phone. When he returned moments later, he said, “Yeah, we have it.” How much? “Five dollars.”

Back in its heyday, big names wrote for Holiday: Steinbeck, Kerouac, Hemingway, Michener. Holiday was the magazine that commissioned E. B. White’s famous 7,500-word essay, “Here Is New York,” in 1948, an essay later published as a best-selling book. It still stands as some of the best prose on one of the world’s most written-about cities.

Five dollars was a bargain. I asked if I could pick up the magazine on Saturday since I worked all week. Frase said, “It’ll be under the counter in the hold box, under your name.”

Go read about a place that will one day become as extinct as that ugly fish you read about at the beginning of this post…

Founded by a stamp collector named Robert Cameron in 1938, Cameron’s Books and Magazines is Portland, Oregon’s oldest used bookstore, and it’s one of the largest vintage magazine dealers in America. Cameron’s might be the largest. When asked for the store’s size, Frase said, “Oh, I don’t know. We could eyeball it, but—” He squinted and leaned forward against the counter. “Maybe forty to eighty foot wide at least, about twice that deep. That’s just the front room. There’s the upstairs.” He waved a finger overhead, tracing the seam where the ceiling meets the south wall. A long passage runs there, its dusty wooden boards lined with mid-century crime, sci-fi, and romance mass markets. He pointed to the room behind him. “And then there’s the magazines.”

This next link is about an author: Her editor published her work for several years before realizing she wasn’t a man | Appalachian History

Tennessee author Mary Noailles Murfree (1850-1922), better known as Charles Egbert Craddock, was born in Murfreesboro, TN. For fifteen years she spent her summers in the Tennessee mountains among the people of whom she writes.

About that typing keyboard: The Lies You’ve Been Told About the Origin of the QWERTY KeyboardThe QWERTY configuration for typewriters can be traced, actually, to the telegraph.

With all the fuss lately over the IRS and AP scandals, it seems this next bit of information will come in handy: History and origin of the phrase: Spill the beans World Wide Words Newsletter: 18 May 2013

Q From Martin Schell: An Indonesian friend fluent in English asked me what spill the beans means and how it originated. It’s easy to understand spill as revealing a secret, but why beans?

A The key word is indeed spill, which has always had a negative aura about it. In Old English it meant to kill and in the twelfth century to shed blood (which is why we still have the fixed phrase to spill blood). By the fourteenth century it had softened to mean causing damage or waste, from which evolved the specific idea of letting a liquid accidentally escape from a container. Much later it took on a figurative sense of being thrown out of a moving vehicle.

Spill the beans starts to appear in the US early in the twentieth century. In its first decade it varied in its meaning and settled on our current one only in the 1920s.

Early examples are in reports of horse racing. This is the first example that I’ve so far come across:

Everyone fancied that the fifth race was a two-horse one between Nearest and Audiphone, who were held at 4 to 5 and 8 to 5 respectively. Kingstelle, a 10-to-1 shot, broke it up. She laid away from the pace and came along in the stretch, and won, handily, a real nice race.

St Louis Republic (St Louis, Missouri), 6 May 1903.

Since the horse did better than expected, this might seem to challenge the idea of a spill being a bad thing, but the headline writer is saying that expectations have been upset, a figurative extension of spill. In the following years the idiom spread beyond racetracks, by 1908 being used of boxing and by 1910 of baseball. In that game it came to mean a blunder that leads to defeat:

In the eighth it looked like Vernon surely would overcome the Seals’ lead and win the game, but some boneheaded base running and poor judgment on the coaching lines spilled the beans.

Los Angeles Herald, 3 Jun. 1910.

An article in the Tacoma Times in March 1913 defines it like this: “If we descend to the vulgar language of the street … ‘Spilling the beans’ has much the same meaning as ‘upsetting the apple cart.’” Being considered slang may explain why it took some time to become mainstream. Most appearances were confined to the sports pages, which had a licence to adopt language that was considered unsuitable for other parts of the paper.

So the sports section could get away with a little more vulgarity, hmmmm... you remember that FCC chairman Julius Genachowski backed David Ortiz when Ortiz told the Red Sox crowd: “This is our fucking city and no body is going to dictate our freedom.” Anyway, sports wasn’t the only area that had a use for the phrase “spilling the beans.”

Politics being a rough old game, it’s in news reports of events in that domain that we start to see a broader public use of the idiom. It was widely publicised in a comment from a witness during a famous court case of January 1914 about corruption and this seems to have broken the implicit ban on its use outside sport.

To answer the original question — if you can still remember what it was — there doesn’t seem to be anything special about beans and no good reason why it should have been adopted. That is, apart from the obvious consideration that spilling useful beans is a bad move. The idiom has appeared in various other forms since, including spill the dirt, spill the dice, spill the dope and spill the works. There’s also spill it by itself, with the sense “tell me your sensational gossip immediately”. These confirm that the key word is spill and that the other noun is a mere embellishment. We may guess that some bean-spilling accident led to stable boys using it, but, as with most idioms, history is silent on what that might have been.

Spill the beans may not be the same as the f-bomb, but this will be interesting to you: The modern history of swearing: Where all the dirtiest words come from –

As society evolves, so do our curse words. Here’s how some of the most famous ones developed — and a few new ones.
Excerpted from “Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing”

The 18th and 19th centuries’ embrace of linguistic delicacy and extreme avoidance of taboo bestowed great power on those words that broached taboo topics directly, freely revealing what middle-class society was trying so desperately to conceal. Under these conditions of repression, obscene words finally came fully into their own. They began to be used in nonliteral ways, and so became not just words that shocked and offended but words with which people could swear.

Okay, if that little taste of swear words wasn’t enough for you language nerds: Exhaustive computer research project shows shift in English language

University of Illinois English professor Ted Underwood recently wrapped up a research project involving more than 4,200 books. Since that work revealed dramatic shifts in the English language between the 18th and 19th centuries, he’s now expanding his research to include more than 470,000 books – almost every English language book written during that era and preserved in a university library.

How did he find time to read 4,000 books, let alone 400,000? He didn’t, of course. Underwood, who teaches 18th- and 19th-century literature, worked with the U. of I.’s Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Science (I-CHASS) and the HathiTrust Research Center (a collaboration of the U. of I. and Indiana University) to develop computer programs to crawl through digitized copies of the books, counting words and sorting genres.

Graphs and other goodies at that link, check it out.

Well…getting towards the end of this thread. I’ve got some film links for you to look over.

Short Takes: Our Nixon | Mother Jones

Our Nixon


One morning in 1972, Nixon chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman gave press secretary Ron Ziegler some big news: Nixon had just gone to meet with Mao Zedong, head of China’s Communist Party, marking the first thaw in a quarter century of US-China relations. In his shock, Ziegler bit into an unpeeled clementine without realizing it. This obscure clip is one of many you’ll experience in Our Nixon, a curated collage of 500 Super 8 film reels shot by Haldeman and Nixon aides Dwight Chapin and John Ehrlichman—ambitious men who obsessively documented their lives in the West Wing. The footage, seized by the FBI after Watergate, offers an intimate glimpse into a notoriously secretive administration. “It was a very unnatural kind of life,” Ehrlichman reveals. “You had the feeling you were in the middle of a great big, brilliantly lighted, badly run television show.”

For those who love a good laugh, by David Kalat via: – Mission critical Harold Lloyd

This week TCM debuts some super-rare Harold Lloyd shorts from the early years of his career.  I cannot overstate the significance of this find.

I was asked by TCM to write some material for the web site to introduce Harold Lloyd in general and some of these shorts in particular, but the specific remit of that assignment was kind of limiting, so I have a lot else to say about these films that didn’t fit into the website content.  But hey—I have a blog!

Harold Lloyd, Film Land's Famous Comedian

So—the first order of business is to ‘splain just why these shorts are so all-fired important.

You see, most histories of silent comedy tend to focus on two major turning points in the lives of each of the major slapstick comedians: a) the moment when they transitioned out of two-reel shorts and into features, and b) the moment they transitioned out of silent films and into talkies.  Our understanding of Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, and their various contemporaries has largely drawn from how they navigated these crucial turning points.

That is a long post, so go take a look at the link.

Finally, I have mentioned the film The Dam Busters many times before…

The Dam Busters (1955) is a British Second World Warwar film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd and directed by Michael Anderson. The film recreates the true story of Operation Chastise when in 1943 the RAF’s617 Squadron attacked the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany with Barnes Wallis‘s “bouncing bomb“.

The film was based on the books The Dam Busters (1951) by Paul Brickhill and Enemy Coast Ahead (1946) by Guy Gibson. The film’s reflective last minutes convey the poignant mix of emotions felt by the characters – triumph over striking a successful blow against the enemy’s industrial base is greatly tempered by the sobering knowledge that many died in the process of delivering it.

Well, can you believe it is the 70th Anniversary of the Dam Busters mission!  Look at this image from the Guardian:

Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A Lancaster bomber flies over Ladybower reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District to mark the 70th anniversary of the world war two Dambusters mission in Derwent, England. Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs were used by the RAF’s 617 Squadron in 1943 to test Sir Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb before their mission to destroy dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley.

Wow.  Look at that huge plane flying low over the dam, I just think that is cool as hell, and tell me, isn’t it a kick ass way to end a massive Sunday afternoon reads…

We start with one image of a frog that was drawn years and years ago, and compare it to an image of an amphibian of today, both of the little boogers featuring the same expression…and end with the image of a movie poster based on a real life WWII bombing mission and a photograph of a 70th Anniversary fly over celebrating that same event depicted in the movie.

Y’all have a great Sunday evening…


19 Comments on “Lazy Sunday Afternoon: “Stuff” Continued”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Sorry to put up a link before reading your post, JJ, but did you see this?

    Rep. Issa Aware Of IRS Investigation Since Last July

  2. Beata says:

    Wow, JJ, you’ve really outdone yourself with this post! Brilliant. It’s going to take me a long time to get through all this fascinating stuff. Thanks.

    I hope everyone is having a good Sunday.

    • Thanks Beata, I figured that there would be a lot here to keep everyone busy until tomorrow morning. I know BB Dak and I are tuckered out. 😉

      • dakinikat says:

        thanks! I am so exhausted I can hardly believe it! I thought I was doing better yesterday and then this morning I got up and went right back to bed!

      • RalphB says:

        I’m going to be reading for a long time now. You guys should take a nice break!

  3. What’s up with this? Mitch McConnell Defends Obama Administration On AP Scandal

    but he says he didn’t go ape shit over Benghazi?

    Mitch McConnell Backs Away From GOP Claims Of A Benghazi Cover Up | ThinkProgress

    and then the GOP is still going nuts on Benghazi:

    ‘Totally Misleading’: Chris Wallace Grills White House Adviser Over Benghazi Emails, Talking Points | Mediaite

    Who edited talking points? ‘Irrelevant’…
    ‘Law is irrelevant’…
    WOODWARD: Lied…

    BB, Jonathan Karl…ABC’s Jonathan Karl to CNN: ‘I regret the email was quoted incorrectly’ – CNN Political Ticker – Blogs

  4. ecocatwoman says:

    Love the frogs & I don’t think that fish is ugly at all. Guess beauty is really in the eye of the beholder.

    We just had a horrendous downpour. My front yard looks like a pond. Once the thunder/lightning stopped and the rain slacked off my power went off & on several times. I’m getting off the computer for a while just in case it happens some more. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to check out the cool links you’ve posted.

  5. Fannie says:

    All quiet around my hometown…………great article to read…………much interested in those of suitcases from the mental institutions………..I have a stack of those very old suitcases, and they contain old stuff that I don’t want to ever lose. Also really interested in those old maps…….what a hell of a collection, what a project. It’s hard to store maps, and particularly that many (39,000), must be organized like no other. And loved the article from the female arthur from Appalachia……….who wrote for over 15 years as a male.

    Thanks BB, plan to save some of those articles.

  6. Riverbird says:

    Great post! Thanks for all the links.