Flying Dutchman

“At 4:00 a.m., the Flying Dutchman crossed our bows. A strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the masts, spars, and sails of a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief as she came up on the port bow.”

– Prince Albert Victor, duke of Clarence, aboard H.M.S. Inconstant, July 11, 1881.
Thirteen officers and men saw the object, whatever it was, as did the crews of the corvettes Tourmaline and Cleopatra.

Nice Going

Four light aircraft have been flown under the St. Louis arch.

In 1980, Kenneth Swyers tried to parachute onto the span, hoping to jump back off and land on the ground. He slid all the way down one leg and died.

“Against stupidity,” wrote Schiller, “the gods themselves contend in vain.”

Okay, the Second-Greatest

A flight attendant once asked Muhammad Ali to fasten his seat belt.

Ali said, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.”

The attendant replied, “Superman don’t need no airplane, either.”

A Barman’s Field Guide

“Eight Degrees of Drunkenness”:

  1. The Ape-drunk, who leaps and sings and hollers
  2. The Lion-drunk, who is quarrelsome and rude
  3. The Swine-drunk, who is sleepy and lumpish
  4. The Sheep-drunk, wise in his own conceit, but unable to speak
  5. The Maudlin-drunk, who declares he loves all mankind
  6. The Martin-drunk, who drinks himself sober again
  7. The Goat-drunk, who is lascivious
  8. The Fox-drunk, who is crafty, like the Dutch, who bargain when drunk

– Thomas Nash, 1592

Diet of the Desk Worker

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18097/18097-h/18097-h.htm

Just how much food the brain worker needs is a question which has not yet been decided. In general it appears that a man or a woman whose occupation is what we call sedentary, who is without vigorous exercise and does but little hard muscular work, needs much less than the man at hard manual labor, and that the brain worker needs comparatively little of carbohydrates or fats.

Many physicians, physiologists and students of hygiene have become convinced that well-to-do people, whose work is mental rather than physical, eat too much; that the diet of people of this class as a whole is one-sided as well as excessive, and that the principal evil is the use of too much fat, starch and sugar.

Public School Domestic Science by Mrs. J. Hoodless, 1898

In a Word

callipygous
adj. having beautiful buttocks

Mount Rushmore

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Mountrushmore.jpg

Mount Rushmore is incomplete. Artist Gutzon Borglum had planned to sculpt the four presidents from head to waist, but he died before he could finish the job.

Guiltier Today

Mahatma Gandhi’s “seven modern sins”:

  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce without morality
  • Science without humanity
  • Worship without sacrifice
  • Politics without principle

R.I.P.

A dyer born, a dyer bred,
Lies numbered here among the dead;
Dyers, like mortals doomed to die,
Alike fit food for worms supply.
Josephus Dyer was his name;
By dyeing he acquired fame;
‘Twas in his forty-second year
His neighbours kind did him inter.
Josephus Dyer, his first son,
Doth also lie beneath this stone;
So likewise doth his second boy,
Who was his parents’ hope and joy.
His handywork all did admire,
For never was a better dyer.
Both youths were in their fairest prime,
Ripe fruitage of a healthful clime;
But nought can check Death’s lawless aim,
Whosoever’ life he choose to claim:
It was God’s edict from his throne,
“My will shall upon earth be done.”
Then did the active mother’s skill
The vacancy with credit fill
Till she grew old, and weak, and blind,
And this last wish dwelt on her mind–
That she, when dead, should buried be
With her loved spouse and family.
At last Death’s arm her strength defied;
Thus all the dyeing Dyers died!

– Epitaph, Truro, Cornwall, England

Fallen Astronaut

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fallen_Astronaut.jpg

There’s only one piece of art on the moon: Fallen Astronaut, an 8.5-cm aluminum sculpture of an astronaut in a spacesuit. It’s meant to honor astronauts and cosmonauts who died furthering space exploration … but it’s also a testament to the almost limitless patience of its creator.

Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck agreed to the project after meeting astronaut David Scott at a dinner party. Making art for the moon is pretty demanding in itself — it has to be lightweight, sturdy, and tolerant of temperature extremes. But NASA also said the figure couldn’t be identifiably male or female, nor of any identifiable ethnic group. On top of that, because Scott wanted to avoid the commercialization of space, they didn’t want to make Van Hoeydonck’s name public.

The artist agreed to all this, and in 1971 Apollo 15 put Fallen Astronaut on the moon, along with a plaque listing 14 fallen space explorers. Van Hoeydonck even agreed to create a replica for the National Air and Space Museum “with good taste and without publicity.”

But he finally balked when Scott tried to talk him out of selling 950 signed replicas for $750 apiece at New York’s Waddell Gallery in 1972. A guy’s got to make a living.