Saturday, October 29, 2011

A little Halloween inspiration?

For the Gentle Readers who cannot read the text, it is as follows:

FIRST YOUNG GENT: What a miwackulous tie, Fwank, How the doose do you manage it?

SECOND YOUNG GENT: Yas. I fancy it is rather grand; but then, you see I give the whole of my Mind to it!

Fwank, you are an inspiration to us all.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Mention has been made of Nikola Tesla, who is, quite possibly, one of the only real mad scientists to exist. How did he get his start? With cats!

Even though, later in life, Tesla spoke to pigeons, he grew up with cats and when petting his family cat, got shocked. He became interested in electricity and eventually made a 130 foot bolt of lightening from one of his Tesla coils and potentially invented a "Teleforce Beam" which shot ball lightening at 60 million volts.

Truly electrifying research, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heeeeeeeere's Johnny! Keats!

No one hates an author more than another author, particularly if they are authors in the same time period. (Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses come to mind), but few can be as sneering in prose as Lord Byron:

Lord Byron on John Keats (1820)
“Here are Johnny Keats’ piss-a-bed poetry, and three novels by God knows whom… No more Keats, I entreat: flay him alive; if some of you don’t I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the Mankin.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Give that man a hand!

France has a complicated relationship with many of its saints, primarily because, during the French Revolution, they misplaced most of them.

Take, for example, Saint Quentin, one of France's patron saints. During the fourth century, Quentin made his way to Roman occupied Gaul to preach, where he was summarily arrested, tortured, released by angels, arrested, tortured again, etc. until he died. Since all this happened in a city that later became Amiens, Saint Quentin's remains remained in the Picardy region, eventually making their way to the city of Saint Quentin.

Several centuries later, le deluge!

Part of the French Revolution included a secularization and de-Christianizing movement and Saint Quentin's remains got moved out of their display case and into the basement. When the monarchy came back, there was some difficulty re-finding the remains and putting it back in the Basilica.

In 2009, it was discovered that whoever re-found Saint Quentin had more difficulty than expected, as the leg bones and skull fragment did indeed date from Saint Quentin's century, but his hand did not. If one travels north of Paris to Saint Quentin, one can see the leg bones and skull fragment of someone who at least came from the correct century, and the decomposed hand of apparently only God knows who.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What stinks of brooding?

For those Gentle Readers who have not yet seen the delightful parody of Wuthering Heights by Kate Beaton, the Amateur Historian suggests going here and here.