(Roughly) Daily


Now in it’s 21st season, The Simpsons has consistently been one of the best-written shows on television.  Among it’s many gleaming facets, as readers will know, is the opening sequence– in which, to the accompaniment of Danny Elfman’s theme, three elements change from episode to episode:  the things that Bart writes on the school chalkboard, the solos that Lisa plays on her saxophone, and the sight gags by which the family enter their living room to end up on the couch.

Now the archival site Bart’s Blackboard allows readers to wander at will back through young master Simpson’s scrawls.

“Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the reference is obvious, sometimes it’s not. After 20 years, the writers of The Simpsons can still surprise and delight viewers with Bart’s punishment, and this site’s purpose is to capture them all for posterity.”

As we blow away the chalk dust, we might celebrate a different but resonant brand of resourcefulness:  the paper boat.  In the mid-Nineteenth Century, a flourishing business grew near Troy, NY, manufacturing boats with hulls of paper.  Founded and run by the appropriately-named Elisha Waters, Waters & Sons (later Waters & Balch) was credited as the “largest boat manufacturer in America” by the New York Daily Graphic.  The firm made a variety of boats, but was best known for their lighter craft– in particular, their canoe and their racing shell, the hulls of which were fashioned from manila paper (which was in those days actually made from manila hemp, often in the form of recycled sails and ropes)– and the patent for the manufacturing process of which was granted on this date in 1843.

source: A Short History of Paper Boats– and More

Written by (Roughly) Daily

December 4, 2009 at 1:01 am

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