Monday, April 15, 2013

Posting will resume!

I got behind. Will catch up soon!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Lists, Part II: Causes of Death

In the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, there's a wall of a hundred and thirty-nine skulls from the collection of Joseph Hyrtl, a Viennese anatomist (and, not surprisingly, phrenologist). Hyrtl collected skulls from all over the world, and this selection is entirely from Eastern Europe between 1868 and 1914. There's just enough information about each of them to make them fascinating: name, age, occupation, and cause of death. I stood in front of this wall for a long time wondering about these people. Here are the occupations and causes of death that I wrote down.

Brewer. Died of edema of the lungs.
Rope-walker. Broken neck.
Tailor. Dysentery.
Workman. Ascites.
Sharpshooter. Gunshot wounds.
Cabin boy. Phithis.
Robber and murderer. Hanging.
Suicide. Unhappy love affair.
Soldier. Typhus.
Sailor. Died in Hospital of the Holy Spirit, Venice.*
Soldier. Suicide by gunshot wound of the heart, because of weariness of life.
Ship's apprentice. Cholera.
Maidservant. Puerperal sepsis.
Calvinist. Suicide by hanging.

*I wrote this down because I misread it at first. I thought he died of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Lists, Part I: A 1941 Yearbook

I have come upon a bunch of things in list format, so the next few posts will be lists of things. Today's list is from a 1941 women's college yearbook. In the men's yearbook, what they put under the students' photos were names of fraternities and sports statistics. Beneath the women's . . . it gets weird. The women have been given descriptive phrases. These are the more notable ones that I scribbled down on scrap paper with a stolen pencil (I was "working" at the time):

Sunshine in a Scotch cap
Pixy with a golden heart
Coal black midnight with the smile of dawn
Cherub with a kick
Choreography for gracious living
Peter Pan lurks behind Mona Lisa
Good books and the sheen of pearls in the firelight
Oh, shades of Beelzebub!
Seven no trump, redoubled and made
Sophistication in curls
Ebullient exothermal reaction
Agreement is a sign of weakness
Potential gaiety
Efficiency in pink
Science cuts caper
Hot tomales and honey
Insouciance in a red dress
The case for psychology
Rembrandt's only rival
The Gamma Gamma from Walla Walla
"Horses! Horses! Horses!"
The serious approach with an intrusion of accuracy
Amiable inanities in pastel shades
Pegasus and pink elephants
Pixilated Pandora
"Confoosin' but amoosin'!"
Whimsey takes the stage
Dreamy eyes over a centrifuge
The last of the conservatives
The daguerrotype-girl steps out
Still waters with golden highlights
Dark lady with a typewriter
Formula for charm

It's like a group of bad poets took LSD and wrote down their hallucinations. ("Horses! Horses! Horses!" I've never seen anyone on LSD but that's what I imagine they're like.) I have no other explanation.