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Posts Tagged ‘humor

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver…”*…

 

These postures and attitudes were meant for 19th-century students to use when practicing speech-giving. Presented as illustrations in Charles W. Sanders’ Sanders’ School Speaker: A Comprehensive Course of Instruction in the Principles of Oratory; With Numerous Exercises for Practice in Declamation, the figures advised students how to use their bodies to heighten the effect of their delivery. Sanders’ 1857 book (viewable via the Internet Archive) is only one of many such elocution primers available for classroom use in the 19th century, when oratory was quite commonly included in curricula.

Sanders’ compendium contains a short section on principles of elocution (how to modulate speech; when to pause) and a section on gesture, illustrated by these images. The bulk of the book is filled with “Exercises in Declamation”: texts that the student could memorize, then use to practice these principles.

Sanders protested in his introduction to the book that true eloquence was not just a matter of silver-tongued trickery: “The prime element in the constitution of the great orator is, and can be, found only in the good man.” To that end, he wrote, he had included only texts that would cultivate “high moral character” in the student speaker. Some of his choices of authors, at the time of the book’s publication the late 1850s, definitively marked the book as Northern: Charles Sumner; Cassius M. ClayWilliam H. Seward; Lydia Maria Child...

More powerful postures (and larger photos) at the redoubtable Rebecca Onion‘s “How to Captivate an Audience Using Gestures, From a 19th-Century Oratorical Primer.”

* Winston Churchill

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As we declaim like Demosthenes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1717 that the Rev. Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, delivered a sermon to George I of Great Britain on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ.” Starting from John 18:36 (“My kingdom is not of this world”), Hoadly argued, supposedly at the invitation of the king himself, that there is no Biblical justification for any church role in “earthly” government at any level. He identified the church with the kingdom of Heaven—it was therefore not of this world.

The sermon was widely published, and initiated the “Bangorian Controversy”– an argument within the Anglican Church over its appropriate role.  Most of the established  leadership of the Church– the official religion of Britain– enjoyed its political prerogatives and had no interest in eschewing them.  George I, for his part, was interested in weakening the power of the House of Lords, in which those same Anglican Bishops sat and voted.  In the event, there was no real immediate change.

Benjamin Hoadly, by his wife, Sarah Hoadly

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Written by LW

March 31, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps”*…

 

Left: Henry VIII by the studio of Hans Holbein the Younger, 1540-1550 / Right: Rick Ross

Highlighting an invisible conversation between hip hop and art before the 16th century…

From @ceciliaazcarateB4-XVI beforesixteen

* Chuck D

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As we scratch ‘em and sniff, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that Robert Matthew Van Winkle— better known as Vanilla Ice, whose “Ice Ice Baby” was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts– married Laura Giaritta.  Ice, who’s both a Juggalo and a vegetarian, has recently concentrated on his home renovation reality show on the DIY Channel, but still occasionally performs… though in September, 2013, he rapped at the halftime show of a Houston Texans game; Houston went on to lose the remaining fourteen games of the season, leading some players to blame Ice for the losing streak.

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Written by LW

March 30, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Life in the Middle East is quite different from other places”*…

 

Confused about what’s happening in the Middle East? No need to worry—our research team at the Institute of Internet Diagrams has come up with the ultimate explainer in the shape of an interactive diagram that sums up the geopolitical alliances traversing this ancient region, which dates back to the Mesozoic Era…

While it is common to hear people describe the Middle East as a complex and obscure place, the diagram plainly illustrates that this is not the case. The relationships follow logical patterns reflecting geopolitical interests, partnerships, and conflicts. For example, the United States is evidently on friendly terms with Iran. In Iraq. But America is on the opposite side of the conflict in Yemen. In Syria, the U.S. and Iran are both against and with each other, depending on the outcome of the nuclear talks.

This partially reflects President Obama’s breakthrough system of decision-making, which goes beyond outdated binary oppositions. Forced to choose between confronting and appeasing Iran, Obama has chosen to do both, arguing that at least one of those policies is the right one. Despite critiques from conservatives who are still clinging to old-fashioned ideas, this way of thinking is quite popular in the Middle East, as reflected in the old proverb, “You can have your cake and eat it.”

By carefully following the lines one by one, you can see that Egypt and Qatar are against each other, except in Yemen where they are now allies; Saudi Arabia is both supporting and bombing ISIS; and Libya is its own worst enemy. But it’s best if you draw your own conclusions; the diagram only takes about three minutes to understand fully. After which, you will be qualified to advise President Obama on Middle East policy.

More at: “The Confused Person’s Guide to Middle East Conflicts.”

Colonel Brighton: Look, sir, we can’t just do nothing.

General Allenby: Why not? It’s usually best.

- Lawrence of Arabia

 

Zaha Hadid

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As we search for lines in the sand, we might recall that it was on this date in 1991 that General H Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr– Stormin’ Norman, the Commander of Operation Desert Storm– publicly apologized to President George H.W. Bush for having criticized the Commander in Chief’s decision to call a cease fire to end the (first) Gulf War.

General Schwarzkopf and President Bush in a HUMVEE during the President’s visit with troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day, 1990

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Written by LW

March 29, 2015 at 1:01 am

“What a museum chooses to exhibit is sometimes less important than how such decisions are made and what values inform them”*…

 

 

This cartridge for holding tartar sauce is made of white cardboard; the words “McDonald’s ® Tartar Sauce” are shown in green lettering along with the McDonald’s double arches logo. This canister holds 25 fluid ounces of tartar sauce, and is made to be used with a ratchet gun condiment dispenser. The tartar sauce is used on McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, a menu item developed by a franchisee in 1962 as an option for his customers who did not eat meat on Fridays for religious reasons. The Filet-O-Fish became a nationwide menu item by 1965 beating out another meatless option, the Hula burger, made with grilled pineapple…

From the collection “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000,” in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of America History.

* Martin Filler

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As we lick our lips, we might recall that it was on this date in 2001 that Taco Bell announced that the chain would give a free taco to everyone in the U.S. if the Mir Space Station, which was scheduled to re-enter the atmosphere and fall to Earth later that week, landed on a 40 foot by 40 foot target that the company had floated in the Pacific Ocean.  In the event, the Mir missed.

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Written by LW

March 19, 2015 at 1:01 am

“We better keep an eye on this one. She’s tricky”*…

email readers click here for video

From Endless Noise, “Mary Poppins Sings Death Metal

* “Michael Barker” (Matthew Garber),to his sister on meeting Mary Poppins, in Mary Poppins

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As we prepare to shred, we might recall that it was on this date in 1970, that Janis Joplin was fined $200 by authorities in Tampa, Florida– thus ending an episode that began with her arrest the prior November for shouting obscenities at the police from the stage of Curtis Hixon Hall, where she was performing.

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Written by LW

March 4, 2015 at 1:01 am

“I’m so hungry I could eat a sandwich from a gas station”*…

 

Seoul Food D.C. restaurant, located inside an Exxon gas station

 

Gas stations have long been synonymous with cold pizza, dried-out doughnuts and mediocre hot dogs rotating on unappetizing roller grills. But in cities like Miami, Kansas City, and even Saxapahaw, N.C., among others, patrons can fuel up on gourmet grub and top off their tanks in one stop…

Gas stations for a long time have been a low-margin business. Owners typically make their real profits not on fuel sales but on the snacks and other items customers purchase when they come inside the station. These latest gas station eats are just taking that business model up a notch or two…

Fill ‘er up at “The Joys of Good Gas Station Food.”

* “Clark Griwold” (Chevy Chase), National Lampoon’s Vacation

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As we pull in to take out, we might send tasty birthday greetings to the culinary genius behind green eggs and ham, Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA “Dr. Seuss”; he was born on this date in 1904.  After a fascinating series of early-career explorations, Geisel settled on a style that created what turned out to be the perfect “gateway drug” to book addiction for generations of young readers.

The more that you read,

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go.

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1978)

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Written by LW

March 2, 2015 at 1:01 am

“God made the integers; all the rest is the work of Man”*…

 

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From Alex Bellos: the results of his global online poll to find the world’s favorite number…

The winner?  Seven–  and it wasn’t even close…

Leopold Kronecker

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As we settle for anything but snake eyes, we might send symbolic birthday greetings to John Pell; he was born on this date in 1611.  An English mathematician of accomplishment, he is perhaps best remembered for having introduced the “division sign”– the “obelus”: a short line with dots above and below– into use in English.  It was first used in German by Johann Rahn in 1659 in Teutsche Algebra; Pell’s translation brought the symbol to English-speaking mathematicians.  But Pell was an important influence on Rahn, and edited his book– so may well have been, many scholars believe, the originator of the symbol for this use.  (In any case the symbol wasn’t new to them:  the obelus [derived from the word for “roasting spit” in Greek] had already been used to mark passages in writings that were considered dubious, corrupt or spurious…. a use that surely seems only too appropriate to legions of second and third grade math students.)

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Written by LW

March 1, 2015 at 1:01 am

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