Category Archives: humor

Turds!! – A college student pranque

According to WikipediA, this immage was gotten up and spread about by some Indiana University students many many years Ago (1890). For the better education of the students of to-day, it is transcribed below.

Contains offencive language.

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Everything about meta tags in Minnesota

Continuing from the previous post about the self-centered Malteze town, we now have a Fortune 500 company at work:

Pillsbury

Unfortunately, it is a sentence fragment. Probably they meant to say “Everything about the Doughboy you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.”

On a similar note, my father once lived in Minneapolis, where Pillsbury was once based and remembers a satirical film of the Pillsbury Doughboy being trapped in an oven and baking to death. Unfortunately he doesn’t remember a producer’s name or anything else that would help find it in this age of YouTube.

A Visit to Satan

Every Christmas season (in the United States at least), two notoriously bad seasonal films are aired “for the lulz”. They are “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (wiki, IA) (you can’t beat a title like that) and “Santa Claus” (wiki, IA) of K. Gordon Murray. Both of these are hilariously bad in ways their creators probably didn’t intend. However, they are feature films, which can make watching them hard.

For a shorter, lighter dose of Christmas nonsense, I present the little known, but just as bad, “A Visit to Santa” by Clem Williams. A short little flick (less than 15 minutes) containing Santa and some children wandering around a 1960s shopping mall in (according to reviewers) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pay particular attention to the Tom Swift-like obsession with transportation technology: Santa has a rocket (!) and magic helicopter (!!).

Even if you don’t, or can’t, watch the film itself, I highly recommend reading the reviews, which are a hoot.

Graphiqual entertainment and education

A Wikipedian post for today, I discovered, within a short amount of time, two very highly worthwhile pieces of media from the English Wikipedia. They are both on the subject of graphical display of information.

First, the serious one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misleading_graph

I remember in 7th grade algebra we very (Very) lightly touched on this, but didn’t go into it at all. This is a valuable description of crap graphs that can easily make things look both different from what they are, and authoritatively so. I remember reading a book by Tufte that had some of this in it, but here it is for free. I was unsurprized, and put out, to find out that graphs in finantial statements are not required to be, essentially, true. In other words, they won’t be, because they don’t have to be. Offencive.

Second, the silly one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chernoff_faces_for_evaluations_of_US_judges.svg

The fact that these represent various attributes of individual people just makes it even harder to not imagine these are actual people’s faces. Now, I understand the idea behind Chernov faces: You can pack alot of data into a face. However, faces bring up biases. None of these look like a mother-in-law, but look @ S. S. Cohen. S/He sticks out completely because their face is round and the rest of them aren’t really. They also look bummed @ something. Maybe that their neighbor, R. J. Callahan, has an absolutely massive jowl? And why does J. J. Bracken have eyebrows that are actually growing out of their eyeballs?

The Newgate Calendar: John Stanley

The Newgate Calendar12 was the name of a series of frequently unconnected but wildly popular books put out by various people in Great Britain and England in the 1700s and 1800s that gave lurid details of various crimes and criminals. The version I prefer is the William Jackson version, partially because it has the medial s everywhere. The Internet Archive has scanned copies of volumes 1, 2 and 5. I have never found the missing volumes 3, 4 and 6.

Anyway, some of the contents are quite “droll” and I propose to feature them here.

First, John Stanley:

Particulars repecting JOHN STANLEY, who was hanged for murder.

MR. STANLEY was the ſon of an officer in the army, and born in the year 1690, at Duce-Hall in Eſſex, a ſeat that belonged to Mr. Palmer, who was his uncle by the mother’s side. Young Stanley being the favourite of his father, the latter began to teach him the art of fencing when he was no more than five years of age; and other officers likewiſe practicing the ſame art with him, he became a kind of maſter of the ſword when he was but a mere boy: for, to simulate his courage, it was common for thoſe who fenced with him to give him wine, or other ſtrong liquors.

In conſequence of this treatment the boy grew daring and inſolent beyond expreſſion, and at length behaved with ſo uncommon a degree of audacity that his father deemed him a ſingular character of bravery. While he was very young Mr. Stanley being ordered to join his regiment in Spain, took his ſon with him; and in that country he was a ſpectator of ſeveral engagements, but his principal delight was in trampling on the bodies of the deceaſed, after the battles were ended.

From Spain the elder Stanley was ordered to Ireland, whither he took his ſon, and there procured for him an enſign’s commiſſion: but the young gentleman, habituating himſelf to extravagant company, ſpent much more money than the produce of his commiſſion, which he ſoon ſold, and then returned to England.

The father was greatly mortified at this proceeding, and adviſed him to make application to general Stanhope, who had been a warm friend to the family: but this adviſe was loſt on the young fellow, who abandoned himſelf to the moſt diſſolute courſe of life; borrowed money of all his acquaintances, which he ſoon ſquandered at the gaming tables, and procured farther ſupplies from women with whom he made illicit connections.

He was ſo vain of his acquaintance with the ladies, that he boaſted of their favours as an argument in proof of his own accompliſhments though what he might obtain from the weakneſs of one woman, he commonly ſquandered on others, of more abandoned character.

One mode which he took to ſupply his extravagance, was to introduce himſelf into the company of young gentlemen who were but little acquainted with the vices of the age, whom he aſſilled in waſting their fortunes in every ſpecies of ſcandalous diſſipation.

At length, after a ſcene of riot in London, went with one of his aſſociates to Flanders, and thence to Paris; and Stanley boaſted not a little of the favours he received among the French ladies, and of the improvements he had made in the ſcience of fencing.

On his return to England the opinion he conceived of his ſkill in the uſe of the ſword made him inſufferably vain and preſuming. He would frequently intrude himſelf into company at a tavern, and ſaying he was come to make himſelf welcome, would fit down at the table without farther ceremony. The company would ſometimes bear with his inſolence for the ſake of peace; but when this was the caſe, it was a chance if he did not pretend to have received ſome affront, and, drawing his ſword, walk off while the company was in confuſion. It was not always, however, that matters thus ended; for ſometimes a gentleman of ſpirit would take the liberty of kicking our hero out of the houſe.

It will now be proper to mention ſomething of his connection with Mrs. Maycock, the murder of whom coſt him his life. As he was returning from a gaming-houſe which he frequented in Covent-Garden, he met a Mr. Bryan of Newgate ſtreet, and his ſiſter, Mrs. Maycock, the wife of a mercer on Ludgate-Hill. Stanley rudely ran againſt the man, and embraced the woman; on which a quarrel aroſe; but this ſubſiding, Stanley inſiſted on ſeeing the parties home: this he did, and ſpent the evening with them; and from this circumſtance a fatal connexion aroſe, as will appear in the ſequel.

Stanley having made an acquaintance with the family, ſoon afterwards met Mrs. Maycock at the houſe of a relation in Red-Lion-Street, Holborn. In a ſhort time Mr. Maycock removing into Southwark, the viſits of our captain were admitted on a footing of intimacy.

The huſband dying ſoon after this connection, Stanley became more at liberty to pay his addreſſes to the widow, and it appears that ſome conſiderable intimacy ſubſiſted between them, from the following letter, which is not more a proof of the abſurd vanity of the man that could write it, than of the woman that could keep him company after receiving it. The egregious coxcomb, and ſupercilious flatterer, is viſible in every line.

“I am tomorrow to be at the Opera; O that I could add, with her I love. The Opera, where beauties leſs beauteous than thou, ſit panting, admired, and taſte the ſweet barbarian ſounds. On Friday I ſhall be at the maſquerade at Somerſet Houſe, where modeſt pleaſure hides itſelf, before it will be touched: but though it is uncertain in the ſhape, ’tis real in the ſenſe; for maſks ſcorn to ſteal, and not repay: therefore, as they conceal the face, they oft make the body the better known. At this end of the town, many faded beauties bid the oleos and the bruſh kiſs their cheeks and lips, till their charms only glimmer with a borrowed grace; ſo that a city beauty, rich in her native ſpring of ſimplicity and lovelineſs, will doubly ſhine with us; ſhine like the innocent morning bluſh of light, that glitters untainted on the gardens.”

This exquiſite piece of nonſenſe flattered the vanity of the lady, ſo that he was admitted to repeat his viſits at his own convenience. At this time a young fellow who had ſerved his apprenticeſhip with the late Mr. Maycock, and who was poſſeſed of a decent fortune to begin the world, paid his addreſſes to the young widow ; but ſhe preferred a licentious life with Stanley, to a more virtuous connection.

Soon after this ſhe quitted her houſe in Southwark, and the lovers ſpent their time at balls, plays, and aſſemblies, till her money was diſſipated, when he did not ſcruple to inſinuate that ſhe had been too liberal of her favours to other perſons. In the mean time ſhe bore him three children, one of whom was living at the time of the father’s execution.

Stanley continuing his diſſolute courſe of life, his parents became very uneaſy, in fear of the fatal conſequences that might enſue; and his father, who ſaw too late the wrong bias he had given to his education, procured him the commiſſion of a lieutenant, to go to Cape-Coaſt Caſtle, in the ſervice of the African company.
The young fellow ſeemed ſo pleated with this appointment, that his friends conceived great hopes that he would reform. Preparations being made for his voyage, and the company having advanced a conſiderable ſum, he went to Portſmouth, in order to embark: but he had been only a few days in that town, when he was followed by Mrs. Maycock, with her infant child. She reproached him with baſeneſs, in firſt debauching, and then leaving her to ſtarve: and employing all the arts ſhe was miſtreſs of to divert him from his reſolution, he gave her half the money which belonged to the company, and followed her to London with the reſt.

Shocked with the news of this diſhonourable action the father took to his bed, and died of grief. Young Stanley appeared greatly grieved at this event, and to divert his chagrin, he went to Flanders, where he ſtaid a conſiderable time, when he returned to England, and lived in as abandoned a manner as before.

Soon after his return, having drank freely with two tradeſmen, they all walked together towards Hampſtead; and meeting a Mr. Dawſon, with five other gentlemen, a quarrel enſued. One of the gentlemen fired a piſtol, the ball from which grazed Stanley’s ſkin. Enraged hereby, the latter drew his ſword, and making a paſs at him the ſword ran into the body of Mr. Dawſon, through the lower part of his belly, and to his backbone. The wounded man was conveyed to a neighbouring houſe, where he lay ſix weeks before he was perfectly recovered.

However, as Dawſon happened to know Stanley, he took out a writ againſt him for damages, to recover the expence of the cure; but the writ was never executed, as Stanley was ſo celebrated for his ſkill in the uſe of his ſword, and his daring; diſpoſition, that the bailiffs were afraid to arreſt him.

Not long after this, quarrelling with captain Chickley, at a cyder-cellar in Covent-Garden, Stanley challenged the captain to fight in a dark room. They ſhut themſelves in, but a conſtable being ſent for, broke open the door, and probably ſaved Stanley’s life; for Chickley had then ran his ſword through his body, while he himſelf had received only two ſlight wounds.

It appears that Stanley ſtill paid occaſional viſits to Mrs. Maycock ; and he had the inſolence to pretend anger at her receiving the viſits of other perſons, though he was not able to ſupport her; for he had the vanity to think that a woman whom he had debauched ought for ever to bear true allegiance to him, as a wife to her huſband.

Mrs. Maycock having been to viſit a gentleman, was returning one night through Chancery-Lane, in company with another woman, and Mr. Hammond of the Old Bailey. Stanley, in company with another man, met the parties, and he and his companion inſiſted on going with the women. Hammond hereupon ſaid the ladies belonged to him ; but Mrs. Maycock now recognizing Stanley, ſaid, “What, captain, is it you?” He aſked her where me was going: ſhe laid to Mr. Hammond’s in the Old Bailey. He replied that he was glad to meet her, and would go with, her.

As they walked down Fleet-ſtreet, Stanley deſired his companions to go back, and wait for him at an appointed place; and as the company was going forward, Stanley ſtruck a man who happened to be in his way, and kicked a woman on the ſame account.

Being arrived at Hammond’s houſe, the company deſired Stanley to go home; but this he refuſed, and Mrs. Maycock going into the kitchen, he puſhed in after her, and ſome words having paſſed between them, he ſtabbed her ſo that ſhe died in about an hour and a half.

Other company going into the kitchen ſaw Stanley flouriſhing his ſword, while the deceaſed was fainting with loſs of blood, and crying out, “I am ſtabbed! I am murdered!” Stanley’s ſword being taken from him, he threw himſelf down by Mrs. Maycock, and ſaid, “My dear Hannah, will you not ſpeak to me?”

The offender being taken into cuſtody, was brought to his trial at the Old Bailey, where ſome witneſſes endeavoured to prove that he was a lunatic; but the jury conſidering his extravagant conduct as the effect of his vices only, and the evidence againſt him being poſitive, he was found guilty, and received ſentence of death.

Before his conviction he had behaved in a very inconſiderate manner, nor was his conduct much altered afterwards, only that when he heard the name of Mrs. Maycock mentioned, he was ſeized with violent tremblings, and drops of cold ſweat fell from his face.

He was carried to the place of execution, in a mourning coach; but on being put into the cart under the gallows, he turned pale, and was ſo weak that he could not ſtand without ſupport. He made no ſpeech to the people, but only ſaid that as a hearſe was provided to take away his body, he hoped no one would prevent its receiving Chirſtian burial. It was obſerved that he wept bitterly after the cap was drawn over his eyes.
He was executed at Tyburn on the 23d of December, 1723, at the age of twenty-give years.

It is imopoſſible to diſmiſs this ſubject without reflecting on the abſurd conduct of Stanley’s father, who by his eagerneſs to teach him, while an infant, the uſe of the ſword, gave him that degree of falſe bravery, and mad courage, that tempted him to the unlawful uſe of it on every occaſion; and at length combining with has vices, occaſioned the perpetration of the horrid crime of murder: a murder of the moſt aggravated nature; that of a woman who had fallen a ſacrifice his art of ſeduction, aided, no doubt, by her own uncontrolable vanity.

The unhappy fate of Mrs. Maycock ſhould teach married women the ineſtimable value of chaſtity. The woman who liſtens to the art of a ſeducer is in the high-road to deſtruction; and as ſurely as ſhe ſuffers her perſon to be violated, ſhe entails miſery on herſelf and family, and lays the ground-work of a long ſeries of repentance: and happy may ſhe think herſelf if, by the grace of God, that repentance prove not ineffectual.


The principal reason I like this is the quite amusingly described “exquiſite piece of nonſenſe” which somehow was preserved for all time to come by the author of this work. Personally it seems quite silly. The reference to masquerades can be understood in the light of their common suppression as “licentious”.

The author is, in my opinion, quite justified in ragging on Stanley’s father for taking his son to battlefields (!) and letting him trample on dead bodies (!!).


  1. Known to have been subtitled as “The Malefactors’ Bloody Register”, “Villany Displayed in all its Branches” and “The Chronicles of Crime”. 
  2. “Calendar” in this sense means a list of entries, such as days or, in this case, crimes. 

Putty balls and juvenile halls (WikipediA)

In a long-removed section of the page “New York City Department of Education” on WikipediA was a section of various school buildings. The top of the list was this:

PS 11 Purvis J. Behan Public School – This school is located at 419 Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn. According to the newspaper Brooklyn Daily Eagle of April 30, 1902, Purvis J. Behan was at the time the principal of PS 45 on nearby Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn. According to the paper, Behan had two teenage boys from the neighborhood arrested for blowing “putty balls” and peas into an open window of his own school. The two boys were convicted by the local magistrate.

Having too much time on my hands, here is the transcription of the column in that paper:

PUTTY BALLS AND DRY PEAS DISTURBED SCHOOL NO. 45.

Three Boys Arrested for Blowing Missiles Through Windows at Their Enemies.

NOW CONVICTED CRIMINALS.

Their Object, They Claim, Was to Get Other Boys to Come Out and Fight.

To-day’s record in the Myrtle avenue police court shows the names of three boys, none or them more than fifteen years old, found guilty by Magistrate Kramer of “breach of the peace.” The boys are Frederick Robinson, 14 years old, of 345 Lafayette avenue; Raymond Tenro, 15 years old, of 235 Grand Avenue, and Roy Stoddard, 14 years old, or 342 Lafayette avenue.

The boys are all sons of good parents. The specific charge against them was blowing putty balls and peas into the open windows of Public School No. 45 on Lafayette avenue, and daring the boys inside school building to come out and fight. The charge was made against the boys by Purvis J. Behan, principal or the school.

The boys appeared in court clean and well dressed, healthy looking outdoor American boys. They didn’t deny that they had used their putty blowers. In fact there. was too strong an array of evidence against them. They merely pleaded provocation and said that they were shooting at certain boys inside in the hope of arousing enough spunk to get the boys to come out and settle grievances on the sidewalk. It was a superlatively clear case of boy.

Principal Behan is a very serious man. He made his accusation with great severity. Magistrate Kramer heard the complaint with a heavy frown. At the same time the magistrate is man not devoid the sense of humor and as he heard the recital or the wrongs of Public School No. 45 he had frequently to turn away his face to control a smile of amusement. The boys were evidently deeply impressed. The upshot of the proceeding was that the boys to-day, according to Magistrate Kramer’s verdict, stand convicted criminals with a suspended sentence hanging over them.

Principal Behan explained to the Magistrate how serious the question appeared to him. He deliberated long whether to lie in wait for the boys behind a tree to effect their capture and to give them the thrashing they deserved. Then be thought of the dignity of his position, of the great public school system of the city, of the frequent exhortations of Superintendent Lyon for regularity and his natural inclination toward the direct method failed. His recital of wrong was about as follows:

The boys have done this thing more than once. It was a habit with them. While school was in session they would appear on the sidewalk, selecting the warm spring days when they knew the windows would be open, with bamboo putty blowers in their hands and an inexhaustible supply of dried peas and other things. They would begin by rattling the peas against all the windows. That was their warning. Then they would reload and it for some boy whom they knew—two of them were until recently members of the school and there were feuds of other days to be settled—and fusillade the defenseless chap inside with peas.

“And I can tell you it is no joke to be hit in the face with dried peas.” said the principal impressively.

guerrilla attack to his teacher, one the women teachers of the school, and the teacher would step boldly to the open window to warn them. The boys with the putty blowers had no grudge against the teachers, that is, most of them. The influence of home training was over them and they would listen attentively to what the teacher had to and then one of the trio would reply:

“Well, Miss ——, he stole my ball. Send him out here and I’ll punch his head. Just send him out here and we won’t shoot at him no more.”

It became a serious question among the teachers what to do about it. The climax came only a few days ago when one of the boys missed his aim and struck one or the young women teachers In the right ear. The boy begged the teacher’s pardon, as a well behaved boy should, but that was not enough. After thinking it over carefully, Principal Behan decided to invoke the majesty of the law.

There was only one thing for Magistrate Kramer to do. He frightened the boys as much as he could and let them go. The only difficulty with the proceedings is that instead of the temporary tingle of a thrashing which the mellow sunlight of spring would soon wash away these three boys are now convicted criminals under the shadow of the law.

A relative of one of the boys when seen by an Eagle reporter to-day said: “I suppose it’s all right. The boys did wrong and they have been punished. But I’m from the country and somehow this gives almost too serious a turn to the affair. If I had been told I would have seen to it that at least one of the boys got the thrashing he deserved. I may be old fashioned but after all there is a flavor of directness and health about old time methods that appeals to me.

You remember Whittier’s lines:

Brisk wielder birch and rule / the master the district school.

“Well, that’s what I mean.”


Some notes:

  • In 1902, juvenile privacy was evidently nonexistent. Despite being underaged, their names and home addresses are all published in the first paragraph.
  • “Community Service” was also evidently not dreamed up yet, which is what they would get these days, most likely.
  • Additionally, if these boys had “good parents”, what were they doing on the street while school was in session?
  • Public buildings had windows that opened. I long for the day when this is again the case.
  • The trend of shooting bullets had not yet afflicted school boys. Note however, that in a different story on the same page, a man buys a gun for no reason and then accidentally kills his friend with it.
  • A criminal conviction, even for a minor offense, was still a serious matter.
  • The “relative” interviewed has a valid point: Why didn’t the principal demand their parents punish them? He must have known who they were since we are told that they used to attend his school.

Note that the apparently cut off paragraph (beginning with “guerrilla”) is transcribed exactly as found in the paper. Also, the boys didn’t go to juvenile hall – such things not yet existing – I wanted a rhyme in the title.