Ode to a Divorcee

Woman, thou worst of all Church-plagues, farewel;
Bad at the best, but at the worst a Hell;
Thou truss of wormwood, bitter Teaz of Life,
Thou Nursery of humane cares a wife.
Thou Apple-Eating Trayt’riss who began
The Wrath of Heav’n, and Miseries of Man,
And hast with never-failing diligence,
Improv’d the Curse to humane Race e’er since.
Farewel Church-juggle that enslav’d my Life,
But bless that Pow’r that rid me of my Wife.
And now the Laws once more have set me free,
If Woman can again prevail with me,
My Flesh and Bones shall make my Wedding-Feast,
And none shall be Invited as my Guest,
T’ attend my Bride, but th’ Devil and a Priest.

— From The Pleasures of a Single Life, or, The Miseries of Matrimony, 1709

Black Gold

Barrels per day of oil consumption, as of 2003:

  • United States: 20,033,504
  • Japan: 5,578,386
  • China: 5,550,000
  • Germany: 2,677,443
  • Russia: 2,675,000
  • India: 2,320,000
  • Canada: 2,193,263
  • South Korea: 2,168,128
  • Brazil: 2,100,000
  • France: 2,059,843
  • Mexico: 2,015,232
  • Italy: 1,874,380
  • Saudi Arabia: 1,775,000
  • United Kingdom: 1,722,419
  • Spain: 1,544,260
  • Iran: 1,425,000
  • Indonesia: 1,155,000

Social Studies

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16728/16728-h/16728-h.htm

“Who are the Japanese? The inhabitants of Japan, an empire of Eastern Asia, composed of several large islands. They are so similar in feature, and in many of their customs and ceremonies, to the Chinese, as to be regarded by some, as the same race of men. The Japanese language is so very peculiar, that it is rarely understood by the people of other nations. Their religion is idolatrous; their government a monarchy, controlled by the priesthood. The people are very ingenious, and the arts and sciences are held in great esteem by them. In all respects, Japan is an important and interesting empire.”

— From A Catechism of Familiar Things; Their History, and the Events Which Led to Their Discovery, 1881

Yikes

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:1900s_SM_Coon_Coon_Coon.jpg

Lyrics to “Coon! Coon! Coon!”, billed as “The Most Successful Song Hit of 1901”:

Although it’s not my color,
I’m feeling mighty blue;
I’ve got a lot of trouble,
I’ll tell it all to you:
I’m cert’nly clean disgusted
With life, and that’s a fact
Because my hair is wooly
And because my color’s black.
My gal, she took a notion
Against the colored race.
She said if I would win her
I’d have to change my face;
She said if she should wed me,
That she’d regret it soon,
And now I’m shook, yes, good and hard,
Because I am a coon.

CHORUS:
Coon! Coon! Coon!
I wish my color would fade.
Coon! Coon! Coon!
I’d like a different shade.
Coon! Coon! Coon!
Morning, night and noon.
I wish I was a white man
‘Stead of a Coon! Coon! Coon!

I had my face enameled,
I had my hair made straight.
I dressed up like a white man,
And cert’nly did look great.
Then started out to see her,
Just shortly after dark,
But on the way to meet my babe
I had to cross a park;
Just as I was a-thinking
I had things fixed up right,
I passed a tree where two doves
Sat making love at night;
They stopped and looked me over,
I saw my finish soon.
When both those birds said good and loud,
“Coo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oon.”

Number 10 Explains a Lot

“Advice to Young Ladies”:

  1. If you have blue eyes you need not languish: if black eyes, you need not stare.
  2. If you have pretty feet there is no occasion to wear short petticoats: if you are doubtful as to that point, there can be no harm in letting the petticoats be long.
  3. If you have good teeth, do not laugh in order to show them: if bad teeth do not laugh less than the occasion may warrant.
  4. If you have pretty hands and arms, you may play on the harp if you play well: if they are disposed to be clumsy, work tapestry.
  5. If you have a bad voice, speak in a subdued tone: if you have the finest voice in the world, never speak in a high tone.
  6. If you dance well, dance but seldom; if ill, never dance at all.
  7. If you sing well, make no previous excuses: if indifferently, do not hesitate when you are asked, for few people are judges of singing, but every one is sensible of a desire to please.
  8. To preserve beauty, rise early.
  9. To preserve esteem, be gentle.
  10. To obtain power, be condescending.
  11. To live happily, try to promote the happiness of others.

Enquire Within Upon Everything: The Great Victorian-Era Domestic Standby, 1894

“Literary Curiosity”

From the Salem Observer, 1840:

“The following letter was written by a young gentleman to his ‘lady love,’ under the direction and eye of a rigid old father. The understanding, however, between the lovers, was, that she should read only every other line, beginning with the first. Love is full of expedients.”

Madam, —

The great love I have hitherto expressed for you
is false, and I find that my indifference, toward you
increases daily; the more I see of you, the more
you appear in my eyes an object of contempt. —
I feel myself every way disposed and determined to
hate you. Believe me, I never had an intention to
offer you my hand. Our last conversation has
left a tedious insipidity, which has by no means
given me the most exalted idea of your character;
your temper would make me extremely unhappy,
and if we are united, I shall experience nothing but
the hatred of my parents, added to their everlasting dis-
pleasure in living with you. I have, indeed, a heart
to bestow, but I do not wish you to imagine it is
at your service; I could not give it to any one more
inconsistent and capricious than yourself, and less
capable to do honor to my choice and to my family. —
Yes, Madam, I trust you will be persuaded that
I speak sincerely; and you will do me a favor
to avoid me. I shall excuse your taking the trouble
to answer this. Your letters are always full of
impertinence, and you have not the least shadow of
wit or good sense. Adieu! Adieu! believe me, I am
so averse to you that it is impossible for me ever to be
your affectionate friend and ardent lover.

— Quoted in The Olden Time Series, Vol. 6: Literary Curiosities: Gleanings Chiefly from Old Newspapers of Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, 1886

The “Censored Eleven”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:1942_Coal_Black_And_De_Sebben_Dwarfs_Ad.jpg

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons withheld from syndication because of racist depictions:

  • Hittin’ the Trail to Hallelujah Land (1931, directed by Rudolph Ising)
  • Sunday Go to Meetin’ Time (1936, directed by Friz Freleng)
  • Clean Pastures (1937, directed by Freleng)
  • Uncle Tom’s Bungalow (1937, directed by Tex Avery)
  • Jungle Jitters (1938, directed by Freleng)
  • The Isle of Pingo Pongo (1938, directed by Avery)
  • All This and Rabbit Stew (1941, directed by Avery)
  • Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943, directed by Robert Clampett)
  • Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943, directed by Clampett)
  • Angel Puss (1944, directed by Chuck Jones)
  • Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (1944, directed by Freleng)

None of these has been broadcast since 1968.

No Dipping

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prag_ginger_u_fred_gehry.jpg
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Prague’s “Dancing House” is nicknamed “Fred and Ginger,” for obvious reasons.

Such a controversial design would normally be denied, but former president Václav Havel is a strong supporter of avant-garde architecture … and he owns the building next door.