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Category Archives: Booze


The San Francisco Call, February 1, 1910. Ha! It’s like a vaudevillian pre-make of Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear. Who plays the souse with the red sticks? Fatty Arbuckle? Harold Lloyd? Heck, it hardly even matters: with material this boffo, you could cast Calvin Coolidge and people would still be rolling in the aisles. more


Macon Weekly Telegraph and Messenger, October 3, 1884. “Nothing intelligent could be obtained” from him, huh? I wonder what sort of witty palaver were they expecting from Michael Shay.

When I find a local atrocity like this and an address is given, I look up the location of Google Maps just to see what the lay of the land is now. 409 Clark would seem be a construction site at the moment. Does the bad mojo from an event like this dissipate when the building it took place in is destroyed, or does it linger out of doors a while and then roll forward into the new premises?

Daily Picayune, February 18, 1881. Also known as a barrel organ, the hand organ was like a cross between a calliope and a music box. It opened up the busking trade to those without musical skills, but was not readily programmable, so some dudes just ground out a single melody throughout their careers as street entertainers.
“Star Spangled Banner” didn’t become the national anthem until 1931, and their was considerable controversy over the choice owing to the melody’s origins as a bawdy 18th-century British drinking song. It’d be interesting to know whether our patriotic sailor was serving in the U.S. Navy, as the latter, hard-drinking crew were early adopters of the song when the rest of the country still regarded “Hail, Columbia” as the patriotic default.

Norwich Courier, November 8, 1826. I love the white-gloved, pornography-for-Puritans delicacy of that two-sentence preamble. “We shall barely mention some particulars as we understood them” is also quite good. Read More »

Okay, so I’ve roughed out a provisional draft of alternate lyrics to “My Favorite Things” for our own Jackie of Finland to record, per our contractually-binding exchange in this comment thread. I’m also in negotiations to get the two surviving Seidlitz Brothers to dub some backing vocals, though according to their agent, Shlomo’s voice box is pretty much shot from three packs of Chesterfields a day since the McKinley administration. No matter: that’s why God made Pro Tools and the electrolarynx.

I’m kind of going back and forth on the first verse here, as it lacks the 100% concrete historicity that the other verses have. Though maybe I could fix that by nailing down concrete references to back it all up.

Barrel-clad hobos and window-ledge pastries
Irish patrolman and drunks with the DTs
Blackguards and maidens and oncoming trains
These are a few of my favorite thangs

Phials of acid in ex-lovers’ faces
Naked wild women in desolate places
Negroes with blue gums who kill when they bite
This is a load of my favorite shite

Mince pies for breakfast, and luncheon, and dinner
Corpses injected to make their eyes glimmer
Med school students defiling the dead
This sort of thing tends to fuck with my head

Cuckqueaned wives killing spinster cult leaders
Cats sold as rabbits to unwitting eaters
Show-offs igniting their cee-gars with bills
These are symptoms of society’s ills

When the dog brings
Dynamite back

When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I feel truly bad

Jackie: Far be it from me to impinge on your creative process, but I was thinking this would work best Lento assai and in a minor key.

Savannah Tribune, November 9, 1922. Call me judgmental, but that is just plain bad parenting.

New York Times, January 25, 1899. I’ve long been fascinated by the folkloric/pop cultural/editorial cartoon trope of the arrogant rich guy lighting his cigar with a flaming banknote, which I reckon I first encountered while basking in the majestic comic strip universe of Walt Kelly’s Pogo. Read More »

Kansas City Star, July 7, 1921. Neither beer nor whiskey nor dopey junk–sounds like a breakthrough all right. I’m guessing the formula was bought up and filed away in the same secure facility that holds the pill that turns water into gasoline, the secret of anti-gravity and umpteen whirling perpetual motion machines.

Ths Brattleboro, Vermont, Reporter, June 14, 1806. Hoo boy, heref a meffed-up ftory about a terrfically unhappy family. Bafically a confpiracy of children to kill their drunken, violent old man before he killed again. Gotta feel forry for the kidf, though my guess is the teenage murdereff probabaly fwung for thif. Read More »

Miami Herald, August 29, 1914. That, my friends, is a world-historically beautiful opening sentence, belonging in the company of “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . .,” “Happy families are all alike. . .,” “It is a truth universally acknowledged. . . ,” and “A couple of days later the phone rang.” Read More »

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