Long Hand

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_IV,_Holy_Roman_Emperor

The framers of medieval charters needed to make them visually striking and memorable — relatively few people would be able to understand the Latin legalities, but many would see the documents, and in order to carry authority they had to look different from ordinary texts, remarkable and unique.

One way to do this was with “an altogether peculiar sort of writing, of which the first characteristic is elongation,” writes Nicolete Gray in Lettering as Drawing. In this charter given by Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV to the bishopric of Bamberg in 1057, the text is written in long, attenuated letters:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_IV,_Holy_Roman_Emperor

“The strange letter forms impress themselves, due to their difference from the norm, on the peoples’ consciousness and they thus endow the charter with a kind of aura that sets it apart,” writes Laurence de Looze in The Letter & the Cosmos. The signatures were often elaborate for the same reason: “A trace of worldly power is carried over into the writing, the letter forms performing this transfer of the power from the people who created the charter into the document itself.”

In a Word

accinge
v. to prepare or apply oneself

facetely
adv. elegantly; cleverly; ingeniously

plusquamperfection
n. utter perfection

magnality
n. a great or wonderful thing

A villainous Nazi named Roehm
Was searching for rhymes matching “poem.”
Then, chortling with glee,
Stated that he
Had found one at last. “That’ll show ’em!”

— J.M. Crais

More Word Sums

Back in 2012 I mentioned that if A=1, B=2, C=3, etc., then ARM + BEND = ELBOW and KING + CHAIR = THRONE.

Peter Dawyndt of Ghent University challenged his students to come up with more, and they found these:

WHITE (65) + HOUSE (68) = GOVERNMENT (133)
PETER (64) + PAN (31) = NEVERLAND (95)
COMIC (43) + BOOK (43) = FANTASY (86)
ABSENT (61) + MINDED (49) = FORGETFUL (110)
BLOOD (48) + BATH (31) = MASSACRE (79)
DRUG (50) + ADDICT (41) = STONER (91)
MICRO (58) + SOFT (60) = COMPUTING (118)
RED (27) + BULL (47) = COCKTAIL (74)
EGG (19) + PLANT (63) = AUBERGINE (82)
CUSTARD (86) + CREAM (40) = BISCUITRY (126)
VISUAL (84) + BASIC (34) = MICROSOFT (118)
ENERGY (74) + DRINK (56) = JAGERMEISTER (130)
MONA (43) + LISA (41) = LEONARDO (84)
DOWN (56) + LOAD (32) = ITUNES (88)
BLACK (29) + JACK (25) = VEGAS (54)
SUN (54) + RISE (51) = HORIZON (105)
POLICE (60) + CAR (22) = PATROL (82)
CHURCH (61) + MAN (28) = RELIGION (89)
FAMILY (66) + TREE (48) = ANCESTORS (114)
HAND (27) + GUN (42) = MAGNUM (69)
RAIN (42) + BOW (40) = COLORS (82)
ANT (35) + LION (50) = DOODLEBUG (85)
BOTTOM (85) + LINE (40) = CONCLUSION (125)
BACK (17) + SLASH (59) = HYPHEN (76)
BILL (35) + FOLD (37) = MONEY (72)
URBAN (56) + LEGEND (47) = BULLSHIT (103)
CALL (28) + GIRL (46) = HARLOT (74)
STAR (58) + TREK (54) = VOYAGERS (112)

Names of famous people:

JOHN (47) + CLEESE (49) = HUMOUR (96)
TOM (48) + HANKS (53) = FORREST (101)
BOB (19) + MARLEY (74) = RASTAFARI (93)
KURT (70) + COBAIN (44) = NOVOSELIC (114)
NELSON (79) + MANDELA (50) = HUMANITARIAN (129)
EMMA (32) + WATSON (92) = VOLDEMORT (124)
JAMES (48) + BOND (35) = DANIEL (45) + CRAIG (38)
GEORGE (57) + LUCAS (56) = JAR (29) + JAR (29) + BINKS (55)
STEPHEN (87) + HAWKING (73) = TEXT (69) + TO (35) + SPEECH (56)
CLOCKWORK (111) + ORANGE (60) = STANLEY (96) + KUBRICK (75)

(Thanks, Peter.)

No, Seriously

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bertrand_Russell_photo.jpg

When Bertrand Russell was invited to China in 1920, he thought it might be a hoax — the letter was signed “Fu Ling-yu.”

When the Russells reached Peking, “the mystery of Mr Fu Ling-yu was solved in the person of Professor Fu, a tall Northern Chinese, young and handsome and of extremely fine presence.”

(From Dora Russell’s memoir The Tamarisk Tree.)

Action!

don martin sound effects

Don Martin’s cartoons in MAD magazine were famous for their sound effects:

  • ARGLE GLARGLE GLORGLE GLUK: princess using mouthwash
  • BUKKIDA BUKKIDA BAKKIDA BAKKIDA: boxer pummeling opponent’s head
  • CHOOK CHOOK CHOOK CHOOK: man digging
  • DOOT: doctor hitting patient’s knee with a hammer
  • FAGWOOSH SHOSSH GOOGLOOOM FUSH: sounds heard in a seashell
  • FLOOT THWIP THOP KLOP: a man folds up a beach umbrella
  • FOOWOOM: flamethrower
  • FWISK FWISK FWISKITTY FWASK: man sweeping a desert island
  • GEEEN: Plastic Man giving the finger to a guy on the 32nd floor
  • KITTOONG SHKLUNK: brain thrown into Frankenstein’s head like a basketball
  • KOONG: man hit in head with wheelbarrow full of cement
  • MOWM: atomic blast
  • POING POING POING: pogo stick
  • SHKWITZ SHKWITZ: man cleaning eyeglasses
  • SLOOPLE GLIK SPLORP: man eating soup
  • WUNK SPWAPPO KATOONK SPLAT: passengers attacking a hijacker

Doug Gilford maintains an online dictionary.

Many Roads

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moralia_in_Job_945_-_Laberinto_conmemorativo_-_Biblioteca_Nacional_Cod80.JPG

The Spanish monk Florentius made a humble appeal to posterity in 945: Start at the F at top center, and as long as your path works steadily either southeast or southwest you’ll spell out FLORENTIUM INDIGNUM MEMORARE, “Remember unworthy Florentius.”

His manuscript is now in the Biblioteca Nacional de España, so it appears he got his wish.

In a Word

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Balaenoptera_acutorostrata_NOAA.jpg

abscede
v. to move away or apart; to lose contact; to separate

anachorism
n. something located in an incongruous position

longinquity
n. greatness of distance; remoteness

aerumnous
adj. troubled; distressed

In 2007 Brazilian villagers were surprised to discover a 16-foot minke whale on a sandbank in the Tapajos River, 1,000 miles from the sea. Apparently it had got separated from its group in the Atlantic and swum up the Amazon.

After two days, rescuers managed to return it to the water. “What we can definitely say is that it lost its way,” biologist Fabia Luna told Globo television. “It entered the river, which on its own is unusual. But then to have travelled around 1,500 kilometers is both strange and adverse.”

Brazil’s environmental agency said the whale might have been in the region for two months before it was spotted. “It is outside of its normal habitat, in a strange situation, under stress, and far from the ocean,” said whale expert Katia Groch. “The probability of survival is low.”

The Alphabet Building

http://www.archdaily.com/137434/alphabet-building-mvrdv/241-alfabetgebouw-overzijde-n#_=_

Dutch architects MVRDV created a unique design for Amsterdam’s Alfabetgebouw, an office building for small and mid-size creative companies. On the building’s east side a series of dotted windows spell out the building’s street number, 52, and on the north side the shape of each window reflects the unit number of its tenant.

To make the alphabet fit on a 6 × 4 facade they had to omit two letters — but “the IQ is inside the building.”

Misc

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parovoz_FD_Kartina.jpg

  • Dick Gregory gave his twin daughters the middle names Inte and Gration.
  • Trains were invented before bicycles.
  • CONSTRAINT = CANNOT STIR
  • “We must believe in free will — we have no choice.” — Isaac Bashevis Singer

“How Rumors Spread,” a palindrome by Fred Yannantuono:

“Idiot to idiot to idiot to idiot to idiot to idi …”