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UNKNOWN HISTORY. UNHEARD OF CULTURE. UNANSWERABLE TRIVIA.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Obscure movie review of the day 

Saw the Passion of Chris and i liked it. i thought the ending had a good ending. i like the part where jesus doesn't die but they beat him. jesus dies for all us sins. we should like passion because we should because god would want us too. mel gibson is a very good producer. i like it when jesus goes on the cross and dies for all us sins, but he doesnt die. the actors in it are very good. jesus is a good acter and needs to be in movies. i love jesus because he died on the cross and all us should love this movie because jesus died for us all sins. jews in it are pertrayed goodly. i like jews too because all us should die for there sins. watch it and lern.


Lance Burrows

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Trivia Question 

Who originally recorded the song "Don'tcha Hiccup Ag'in (Mah Horse's Already Nervous)"?

BONUS QUESTION: Who penned the song?

BONUS-BONUS QUESTION: Who unsuccessfully sued for a portion of the royalties, claiming she had helped the songwriter think of words that rhyme with "corpuscles"?

BONUS-BONUS-BONUS QUESTION: How did she die?

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The first person to post the correct answer at least two of these questions will win an all-expenses paid, three-week vacation to the Musée d'Obscurité Malheureuse in Tonganoxie, Kansas.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Obscure Quote of the Day 

"It is the end of an era, er...no...it is the beginning of a new verizon, er...I mean, horizon...I mean...uh, damn...it is the start of a new world, a whole new world, a new beginning of that world...uh, shit...I think it is the end of an era, no, er....damn...the beginning of...the end of...the start of...what's another word for 'start'?...The....the...the...finish of an era? Nah...I prefer 'the start of a new horizon', but what's another word for 'start'? Let me look at my thesaurus. Hm...let's see here...it is the inception...the origin...the creation? Is that a good word? Does that make sense? Hm...It is the anlage (oooh, nice word)...It is the anlage of a new horizon...damn it, I'm good!"

- Michael Gerson, George W. Bush's speechwriter, 2001

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Obscure Movie Review 

The movie i am will reveiw is called Retern of the king. It is good like the others. i like the part where the elvs kill the birds. its good movie too. the prince was stopid too. i like the part with the ring., fruto is cool and so is steve. alot of action and no talk. theres too much talk too. i hate the part with the angles with swords. that was stopid. this movies stopid.

Lance Burrows

FROM THE MAILBAG OF OBSCURITY 

Hate Mail for the Trivia Department: A Pitiable Squeak

Dear Sirs,

I detect an error in a recent “Trivia Question” on your feeble Website, The Annals of Obscurity. The expression you quote is most definitely a truncated version of a passage found in the May 1968 issue of True Crime Tales, a magazine that was quite the hot seller in its day. (It even outsold popular rivals, such as True Police Tales, Tales of Crime, Crime Stories, and Terrifying Tales of True Crime Events.) The “expression” you publish as a “Trivia Question” happens to be “anything but trivial,” as you shall see.

Before you read on, I must warn you that the story is quite disturbing and may cause nausea or nervous diarrhea in some readers.

This is the full and accurate passage from the original: "Your prayers are futile, young one, the pitiable squeak of a drunken mouse. Nobody can hear your garbled and pathetic cries for help through the kerchief over your mouth. Go on, child: scream! Scream your bloody lungs out! You're doomed, you oafish brat. Doomed! My people shall be avenged by your suffering. We shall again rise from the shadows and dwell in our huts of straw and mud! Now watch, kid. Watch and suffer!"

The police report states that the boy was gagged and bound to a chair, his eyes taped open with duct tape. He was apparently forced by a man who declared himself Gorgon, ruler of the Toogles, to watch hours upon hours of the horror soap Dark Shadows. The poor latchkey kid watched at least 7 episodes before his mother came home. She reports that as she walked through the front door, Gorgon screamed, “Riyaaaggoooogaaaahhh!!!!” and leapt out the living room window. Because it was only a one story apartment and Gorgon landed in a bush, he was unharmed. There he lay, sobbing, muttering over and over that he had failed in his quest, until the police arrived took him into custody.

Lest you wish the same sad fate upon yourselves as the one endured by that poor child, I suggest you reform the fact-checking procedures for your bloody Trivia Department, or scrap the endeavor entirely.

Disgustedly Yours,
Pauloux Vaughneux
Paris, France

Editor's Reply: What a hyper-critical, overblown crock of bologna (which was, by the way, invented in Northern Africa, contrary to the accepted, establishement version of history). The hopelessly angry Monsieur Vaughneux fails to realize that the criminal in the True Crime Tales tale was QUOTING (albeit inaccurately) the words of Pablo Picasso's first lover, a prostitute named Enfermedada Transmitida-Sexo, on her deathbed: "When I screwed Pablito the first time, his moans were as incoherent as his paintings! They were garbled like the prayers of a drunken mouse!"

Send your letters to The Annals of Obscurity.

Brief Interview with Author Noam Chomsky 

We're sorry. No such document is available at this time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Obscure Quote of the Day 

"I don't know about you, Gang, but when I slip on these suspenders, I can see forever."
- Larry King, 1997

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: THE LOST CHILDHOOD DIARY, FOUND 

The following is a brief entry from the newly discovered childhood diary of Ernest Hemingway (to be published by Obscurity Press in the summer of 2006):

14 October 1907
Dear Diary,
The Brothers Grimm were only truly good when writing about forests and brothers and sisters and evil stepmothers. In that they were wonderful and unsurpassable. The other stuff is usually just over-inflated fairy-tale-ese. At their best they were good. Real good. But I can take them. I know I can. And I will.
-Ernie

Rock & Roll Profile: The Salty Bastards! 

The Salty Bastards! (1979-1979) - This flamboyant punk rock band, from the outskirts of Dunderhead, Scotland, united in February of 1979, under the management of ruffian Scotch entrepreneur Salvo Ganky. The lineup included a lead guitarist (Steve Johnson), bass player (Rod Stallion), drummer (Howie Piranha), lead singer (Larry Liar), and a keyboardist (Gerald Cherone), although they never once utilized the keyboard during any gigs or recording sessions. In fact, the band never kept a keyboard, anywhere.

In the Spring of 1979, The Salty Bastards! (whose name metamorphosed from their original band name, The Cocks!) played scattershot throughout Great Britain, from Liverpool to London, in seedy dive after seedy dive. Each gig consisted of cover tunes, all of which sounded nothing like the original songs. (It is rumored that the lead singer, Larry Liar, changed each word from Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode", and replaced them with "fuck, shit, cunt, and screw the Queen in the--"...and so forth.)

Lightning finally struck when EMO signed The Salty Bastards! to a record contract, and in the summer of '79, released their first single, "Fuck the U.K." The record's shockingly offensive lyrics sparked a firestorm of controversy, and the song was taken out of rotation after only a few plays on British radio.

In August of '79, the band began to self-destruct. Keyboardist Gerald Cherone (a.k.a. Magic Fingers), after a weekend of (according to bandmates) mixing booze and morphine, collapsed in his room at the Entwistle Hotel in London. Coroners, however, ruled that Cherone had choked to death on a cheese sandwich, and there were absolutely no drugs or alcohol in his system. In fact, the band was known for not succumbing to drugs, alcohol, or violence during its brief stint as The Salty Bastards! While other punk rock bands were never disingenuous about their hedonistic lifestyles, The Salty Bastards! were. They often fabricated stories about excessive behavior (drug usage, trashing hotels, beating up police officers) to the unsuspecting press. The London Times, however, ran an article on the band in November of 1979, exposing The Salty Bastards! for what they were: frauds.

On December 10th, just as their debut album (Screw the U.S.A.) was about to be released to the British public, The Salty Bastards! disbanded, and they were never seen together again. No one even heard the album, since all 10,000 copies went up in flames during the notorious Gerbowski Fire of 1979. Fire officials are still investigating.

Quote from America's Forgotten Founding Father 

Fail ye not to understand this: If the Lord God by his Divine Providence had wanted a wall of separation between Church and State, then He would have built it Himself. The man who buildeth such a wall--be he not with us, he be with the terrorists.
- Jacob Bartholomew Warbrick, 1781

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Obscure Quote of the Day: 

"Why do you fuckers scream out the letters?! You have microphones, for chrissake!"

- Pat Sajak, drunkenly shouting at contestants during a taping of Wheel of Fortune, soon after his talk show was cancelled and taken off the air, 1989

Trivia Question 

What is the origin of the expression "garbled like the prayers of a drunken mouse"?

(The first person to post the correct answer will win an all-expenses paid, three-week vacation to the Musée d'Obscurité Malheureuse in Tonganoxie, Kansas.)

Monday, February 16, 2004

THE OBSCURE ORIGINS OF JEFFERSON AIRPLANE/STARSHIP 

1966 -- Lead Guitarist Paul Katner and percussionist Marty Balin were splayed out on an ash-stained carpet, in room 323 of the Jefferson Hotel, somewhere near downtown San Francisco. Sifting through cigarette butts and lyric sheets, the two future leaders of one of the world's most dynamic and enduring rock bands began a brainstorming session, which would ultimately lead to the band's name. Grace Slick had yet to emerge as the lead singer, and Katner decided that whatever they eventually call themselves, the name should fit their music's overall style and sensibility.

Accompanying Balin was his tape recorder. At the time of the "group-name session", he secretly began taping their conversation. Here's a transcript of the audio that was recorded:


BALIN: It's time to ruffle some feathers. It's time to teach the world what music really is.
KATNER: It's time to teach the world how to love.
BALIN: Yeah. Love. Yeah.
KATNER: Hey, man. That's a great name for a band.
BALIN: Love?
KATNER: No. "Ruffle some feathers".
BALIN: "Ruffle some feathers"?
KATNER: Yeah. Instead, we can, like....slim it down a bit.
BALIN: Oh, really? Like, "The Feather Rufflers".
KATNER: Yeah! "The Feather Rufflers"!
BALIN: Groovy.
KATNER: Right on.
BALIN: Okay, so...we're called "The Feather Rufflers"!
KATNER: Freaky.
BALIN: Out of sight, man...out of sight.
KATNER: Hey! "Out of Sight"!
BALIN: Yeah, out of sight, man.
KATNER: No! "Out of Sight"! That's also another great name for our band.
BALIN: That's fab.
KATNER: Groovy.
BALIN: It freaks me out.
KATNER: Right on. Wait, did you say "Fab"?
BALIN: I sure did, my brother.
KATNER: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
BALIN: Yeah. We should organize a hippie cult and have unprotected group sex in the middle of a park somewhere.
KATNER: No, no. "Fab" should be the name of our band, too.
BALIN: Groovy. Wait! How 'bout "Fab Groovy", or "Groovy Fab".
KATNER: I don't know. Maybe it's not such a good idea. I mean, there's already "The Fab Four".
BALIN: Yeah, but The Beatles don't know how to expand minds, though.
KATNER: We do!
BALIN: Yeah! Hey! Wait a second!
KATNER: What?
BALIN: "The Expanding Minds"!
KATNER: "The Expanding Minds"...
BALIN: Groovy.
KATNER: Out of sight.
BALIN: Right on.
KATNER: Let's tell the press!
BALIN: Tell the press?
KATNER: Yeah. Our band has a name now. Inquiring minds want to know. I think newspapers would give their right teeth for a scoop like this.
BALIN: But no one knows who we are.
KATNER: Whaddya' mean?
BALIN: We haven't played any major gigs, yet.
KATNER: So?
BALIN: We don't even have a lead singer.
KATNER: You're gonna let that stop us from being the biggest band in the world!
BALIN: No...I just...damn.
KATNER: What?
BALIN: My feet are killing me.
KATNER: Your feet are killing you?
BALIN: Yeah. They hurt somethin' awful.
KATNER: Want me to rub your feet?
BALIN: Really? You would do that for me?
KATNER: (pause) I was kidding, Marty.
BALIN: Oh....Oh! Ha, ha, ha. Yeah, I know. Of course. Yeah.
KATNER: This hotel is awful. It's giving me bad vibes.
BALIN: Yeah. Me, too.
KATNER: I mean, this stupid acid hasn't even kicked in, yet.
BALIN: It's called The Jefferson Hotel, whaddya' expect?
KATNER: Yeah. Everytime I hear that name, I think of Thomas Jefferson, fuckin' slave owner.
BALIN: No. Jefferson Skiles, that pig who bashed you over the head for flipping off their police car.
KATNER: No, no, no. William Jefferson. That idiot kid from Arkansas, who always let us see his sister naked for five dollars a pop. Remember?
BALIN: Ohhh, yeah. Whatever happened to him?
KATNER: I don't know. Trying to get into politics, or somethin'.
BALIN: What a sell-out.
KATNER: Hey! Wait a second!
BALIN: What?
KATNER: I'm feeling something...something...grooooovy.
BALIN: Acid kicking in?
KATNER: No, no...somethin' that will make rock history.
BALIN: Out of sight.
KATNER: Groovy.
BALIN: Fab.
KATNER: Right on...

And so, it soon came to pass--"The Expanding Minds" metamorphisized into to the name, "Jefferson Hotel". By the end of the night, however, there were several name alterations: "Jefferson Blanket", "Jefferson Bed", "Jefferson Window", "Jefferson Sky", "Jefferson Odd Blinking Lights in the Sky", and then, finally, they both settled on "Jefferson Airplane". The rock world would never be the same again.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Obscure News Du Jour 

The following news items, ignored by mainstream corporate media, remain in inexplicable obscurity: White House Releases Files of Bush's Top-Secret AWOL Mission and Bush Delivers Valentine's Day Love Gifts to Big Business.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

RELIGION IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY AMERICA 

MEMORANDUM TO THE NIRVANA PROJECT

DATE: 10 October 2001
TO: All N.P. Members
FROM: Martin Pellugio
RE: Karma & Public Relations

Greetings, companions on the journey to mystical bliss! Marty here, sending each of you Peace and Continued Soul-Growth in these seemingly dark times. In light of recent terrorist attacks on the United States, I want -- no, strike that -- I feel intuitively compelled to touch base with you regarding Babala-ji’s remarks to the press last week and the subsequent controversy that has embroiled the Nirvana Project.

As you know, this is a great opportunity for us to spend as many hours as possible in the Meditation Hall or serving in the Dining Facility (as Cooks, Cleaners, or Karmic Monitors) rather than dwelling in the building’s outlying rooms. Remember: the Men’s and Women’s Dormitory Wings have windows in EVERY ROOM, and stones thrown by protesters can leave nasty purple bruises. Take it from me! Stepping outside for yesterday’s press conference brought up vivid, personal memories of junior high school “dodgeball” -- ah, more material to work on with Babala-ji in my next Personal History Detachment Session! Funny how the old Ego Mind dredges up Undesirable Emotional Material you never thought you had! Seriously, though, please be mindful of the dangers of walking near windows. It’s just NOT SAFE.

Regardring the men in dark suits and neckties, I assure you that it is with Careful Contemplation and Consideration (CCC) of all potential outcomes that the Board of Directors chose to waive Shoelessness requirements for investigators who enter the compound. It is an Earthly Illusion that -- as I’ve heard a few of you mutter under your breaths -- the last thing we need is a wave of Transitory Energy flooding our Environmental Safety Zone. Oh no! The true LAST THING we need (and I use the term “need” here knowing quite well that “need” itself is one of the Five Seductive Trappings of Attachment, but invoking the old cliché nonetheless, so bear with me) is a bunch of grumpy FBI agents determining our fate. Let us cultivate an Attitude of Mercy toward their intrusions. Just remember, their supervisors sent them -- supervisors who do not see through the Eyes of Emptiness.

Babala-ji, after CCC, has requested that all radios, televisions or other electronic forms of communication be turned in to the Board of Directors for immediate disposal. We know the Karmic Monitors, in their touching generosity of spirit, have overlooked various Walkman-style radios for some time. Believe me, it was tough even for ME to turn in my little armband tuner; but when I remembered the karmic benefits of relinquishing material attachments, I was ready to give up even my meditation cushion!

Finally, for those whose (contraband) radios have picked up reports from National Public Radio and other sources, please rest assured that Babala-ji unconditionally denies any and all charges against him. “Who knew how angrily the world would react to Truth, Marty?” Babala-ji said this morning, as I visited his bunker for one of our Hourly Briefings. And due to the controversy surrounding Babala-ji’s recent Spiritual Lesson (“Why the Terrorist Attacks were Just Another Manifestation of Karma: We All Deserve to Suffer a Little Every Now and Then”), our Website has been taken offline, and the printing of our pamphlets has been halted. “Sometimes Truth must give way toward pragmatic concerns,” Babala-ji said with a smile. Yes. Pragmatic concerns, like surviving the wrath of the American public, I’ll bet! As if The Nirvana Project had anything to do with the terrorists! But hey! If Babala-ji assures me that he never knew the women who claim to have been seduced by him during his earlier Life Phase as a high school principal, well, that’s good enough for me. After all, who are you going to trust: the media or your own Beloved Guru? NO REASON to even THINK about that one!

Believe me, we all miss windows, fresh air, Contemplation Walks around the grounds without the presence of National Guard troops! Nonetheless, this is no time to lose faith in the Project. Our commitment to the Nine Devotions of Apathy has gotten us this far, my spiritual friends! With CCC, our Beloved Guru will guide us through this temporal quagmire of illusions and attachments to the Realm of Bliss. Jai Babala-ji, Om!

-Marty

Friday, February 13, 2004

ON THIS DAY IN LITERARY HISTORY 

The Birthday of E.X. Fletcher

Today is the birthday of novelist E.X. Fletcher, born in Derby, England in 1900. Fletcher was easily the most prolific novelist of all time, best known for his detective novels featuring Inspector Cockshout. He wrote over 1,200 books, which sold a total of nearly one hundred thousand copies from 1928 to 1972.

Fletcher quit school when he was twelve to take care of his ailing hound, who died within the year. He then worked at a steel mill and a cloth diaper factory before being hired as a janitor at the local newspaper. He published his first novel when he was twenty-eight years old. He later said, "The day I held me first book in me hands, I know it right then, I could do me a better one, so I went home and wrote it, stayed up half the night, and delivered me manuscript to me publisher the next day. It was, as they say nowadays, a addiction."

Between 1928 and 1942, Fletcher published more than 700 books under various pseudonyms. He wrote espionage adventures, detective thrillers and macabre romance novels, churning them out at a rate of at least one book per week, sometimes as many as five in a weekend. By the time he was 35, he was known as "England's most prolific hack" and "The Butcher of Derby" (for his unorthodox punctuation skills).

He longed to write serious fiction too, and began submitting short stories and poems to literary magazines in Paris, London and New York, but they were all rejected. The editor Newt Corrigan once wrote Fletcher a note saying, "You are illiterate. You must learn to use nouns and verbs properly before you ever attempt to compose a story. Trust me. Suppress the urge to write and seek employment in the field of manual labour; or, failing that, keep your bloody pages to yourself." Fletcher later said this was the most helpful advice he'd ever been given. Shortly thereafter, his typewriter was destroyed in a Nazi bombing raid.

Fletcher began traveling throughout Europe as a vagrant, trying to get the "writin' bug" (as he called it) out of his system. He took to the bottle and was not seen for several years, until he turned up battered and drunk in a Red Cross hospital in Dublin in 1961. During his recovery he fell madly in love with Evelyn Salt, a nurse thirty years his junior. The couple married at Christmas and took a small one-room flat in Southampton, where they resided for the rest of their lives. With his wife's financial support, Fletcher was able to purchase another typewriter and resume his work.

By the end of his career, Fletcher was still writing thirty novels a year, most of which were self-published simultaneously. For a time in the late 1960's there was some small debate about what language Fletcher's books were actually written in, but scholarly interest faded quickly. Fletcher died of lung cancer, in the arms of his wife, with his fingers still on his typewriter, mid-sentence.

In the eighth volume of his autobiography, Fletcher had this to say about his love of writing: "When, one...time as I, was a boy? The life-song of,, storys got in; too me vains. And whatforth. Its so true!!! I can not even not say nothing about. It. Twas the way I am--"

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

OBSCURE FILMMAKER PROFILE
Today's Installment: Jacque Revoir Bleuvet (1908-1979)



French motion-picture director, one of the most overlooked figures in world cinema -- Born in Paris, Bleuvet (pronounced Blougevot) spent most of his youth in the country of Province, where he was educated at the University of Argh de Toxinbleu. As the son of abstract painter Melville Herman-Bleuvet, he was exposed early to the world of art and nature and clowns, a route he later explored in much of his work. After World War I (1914-1918), having served in the French Calvary, the Ax de Trobleu infantry, and air force (for which he received the Crux de Gerbleu), Bleuvet became a clown in the circus, while he was residing in the small town of Foughbleu, France.

In the 1920's, after saving as much money as he could, Bleuvet began to write, direct, and produce films for his own independent production company, Bleuvet & Co. His early silent works include 1926's La De Corfluxbleu (also known as The Clown) and 1926's Nunableu (a.k.a Love Me, Love the Clown). Unlike some of his contemporaries, Bleuvet embraced the advent of sound in films, and made his first talking picture in 1931 with Gerraro de Corfluxbleu (a.k.a. Bicycle Clown), about his first foray in the circus as a clown.

Success had eluded Bleuvet, up until 1931, when he made his fortieth talking picture, Clowns, about a filmmaker making a movie about the circus. Generally considered his masterwork (by those who remember), the picture garnered rapturous reviews at the time, yet, presently, has been widely forgotten. Sadly, the only known printing of the film went up in flames during the notorious Seughbleu fire of 1931.

Bleuvet, however, continued to work. After decades of filmmaking, and over 600 films to his credit (although 578 of them were reduced to ash during the notorious Houxenbleu fire of 1972), Bleuvet is best known for his utilization of unconventional filmmaking techniques, such as shooting all of his love scenes with clowns.

Bleuvet, unfortunately, was never honored during his lifetime (or posthmously, for that matter). He spent his last years at home with his wife, Vera Pervableu-Bleuvet, and their dog, Petunia. Their country cottage, unfortunately, went up in flames during the notorious La De Aux Hoxenbleu fire of 1979. There were no survivors (except for Petunia).

TYPESETTING TRIVIA 

What inspired Giovanni Marco Pizzolato the younger, a nineteenth-century Sicilian engraver, to cut the virtually illegible typeface for an all but forgotten font known as Formaggio Marcio?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

MUSIC HISTORY: "Poor" Rich Henry, America's Forgotten Folk Singer 

We got a world what conspires to take rich folk's money, and, well, that just don't come off as fair, now, do it?
- "Poor" Rich Henry


Country-folk singer "Poor" Rich Henry entered this world on a prosperous Missouri "factory" farm, the fifth-born son to Evan Wilson Henry and Dorene Helen Kraft-Henry. As legend has it, little Richie emerged from the womb a-hollerin' and a-singin' his lungs out till mama gave him a spoonful of caviar. Built like a brick carriage-house, young Richie grew to a strapping 6'8" and 250 pounds. At thirteen, he demanded a steel-stringed guitar and, though the family considered themselves above such things, no one had the courage to deny the boy the instrument. Once he wrapped his thick fingers around that guitar, there was no stopping "Poor" Rich Henry.

Together with his brothers Dewey (on chamber-pot bass) and Mike (on silver spoons), Henry formed The Foreclosure Quartet. (The band's "fourth" member was Rich's identical twin brother, Harold, who had been stillborn under mysterious circumstances.) After a series of unpopular performances in Eldon, Rolla and Sadalia, the group changed its name to the Hay Bale Boys, but to no avail. Unable to crack the music scenes in St. Louis, Columbia or Jefferson City, Rich's brothers returned to life at posh East-Coast boarding schools.

Not so for "Poor" Rich Henry! His father rented adoring audiences and filled halls in Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Nashville and Memphis. In a matter of weeks, and with the help of the nation's first multimedia conglomerate, "Poor" Rich Henry signed a contract with Henry Records and produced such "hit" songs as "This Land Ain't Your Land," "Mama Don't Say No," "Dust Bowlin'" and "Don'tcha Step Acrosst That Line (Less'n You Wanna Get Shot Dead)." The singer's career was cut tragically short, however, when an angry mob of Okies accosted "Poor" Rich Henry at a train station and butchered him for meat. Few copies of his records, if any, have survived to this day.
THE OBSCURE QUOTE OF THE DAY:



"You can compare and contrast my life to a sponge, I guess: sponges can absorb several distinct brands of fluid, yet they don't cough up blood, and wake up on park benches every morning."

- Tom Brokaw, NBC Nightly News Anchor, 2000


Sunday, February 08, 2004

BOTANICAL TRIVIA 

Three Questions:

1. Who named the first flower?

2. What is the rarest fungus in Europe?

3. Which of these poets did more opium (derived from the poppy plant) during his lifetime: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey or Thaddeus W. Didgalvis?

----------
ANSWERS: 1. No one knows. 2. Poronia punctata. 3. Lithuanian poet and ambassador to Japan, Thaddues W. Didgalvis, whose sole surviving poem, a limerick, was scribbled on the manifest of a ship that sank in Tokyo Bay: There once was a poet from Memel, who put his member through hell, he got really sloppy while high on the poppy, and impaled the Emperor's lapel.
----------

A PAGE FROM THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE LIVING 

The following is a single-page excerpt from The Tibetan Book of the Living, a 3,148 page document in which the hierarchy of earthly incarnations is ranked in ascending order from lowest to highest. (The book’s title would be more accurately translated as The Sacred Tibetan Catalogue of the Exalted Hierarchy of the Shimmering Multitude of Incarnations.)

The author, Tsultsen Jamsong Gampo, lived in the mid-ninth century A.D. According to tradition, Gampo had two wives who argued often, particularly about pets their husband should favor. Gampo eventually retreated to Samye, a run-down monastery in Tibet, where he composed the Book of the Living. Upon completion of the text, Gampo reunited with his wives. For the remainder of his life, he continually revised page 2,661 (more than 300 revisions of this page have been found).

Scholars speculate that Gampo’s revisions were inspired by the ever-alternating status of his wives, based on which wife gave him greater satisfaction at the time of transcription. Scholars are divided about the final ranking at Gampo's death.

PAGE 2,661

24,864 - first wife*
24,865 - dog*
24,866 - wild yak
24,867 - squirrel
24,868 - domesticated yak
24,869 - Tibetan antelope
24,870 - horse
24,871 - politician
24,872 - takin
24,873 - Tibetan gazelle
24,874 - blue sheep
24,875 - Himalayan woolly hare
24,876 - prostitute
24,877 - golden monkey
24,878 - Tibetan argali
24,879 - red panda
24,880 - giant panda
24,881 - musk deer
24,882 - Himalayan Marmot
24,883 - washerwoman
24,884 - snow leopard
24,885 - cat*
24,886 - second wife*


* = items most frequently revised

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