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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Omaha Sunday World, December 23, 1900. (Click on the small pictures above and they will magically embiggen.) Lately I’ve been thinking hard about how I can “give something back” in this life. I studied a while on assassinating Bono, but then a careful utilitarian calculus steered me instead in the direction of writing a panoramic book-length essay on the subject of mince pie. (U2 fans take note: Depending on how well the book does, I may well revisit the Bono project later.) Read More »

Daily Inter Ocean, July 15, 1879. What’s poignant about this story is that this paranormally gifted young woman was born 60 years too early to partake in superhero culture. Imagine how different–indeed, how much more interesting–Canadian history could have been had she been able to fulfill her potential as Galvanic Gal, Electro Babe, or the Conductress. Read More »

New York Times, June 16, 1858. Demented French brothers clad only in straw belts, dropping by in the wee small hours and claiming to have killed their sister: That does set the stage, doesn’t it? It would make a great cold open for an episode of Law & Order: Antebellum Michigan, “ripped from yesterday’s headlines.” Read more.

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.

Denison Daily News, February 3, 1878. Strange and affecting enough, I suppose, in the era of baby farming. The long beard is a nice touch, but how long is long? Longer than three feet?
As an instance of maternal impression, this is oddly nebulous, lacking the Just So Stories exactitude one is conditioned to expect. There needs to be a better morphological link between the fire and the condition of the child. Speaking of maternal impression, I haven’t until now created a tag or formal thread for that interesting theme, and must now correct this oversight.

Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1911. Sorry about the missing text on the right margin. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the missing letters are from the last sentence in the third paragraph: “He fell like —lok with a fractured skull.” I suppose there must be a typo here, such that “lok” should really be “lock.” But then it’s part of what? Bollock? Pollock? Oarlock? Warlock?
Anyway, I know exactly the sort of douchebag Leo Toteleck was, and I must dissent from the coroner’s jury decision not to prosecute him. I know it was the style at the time not to punish most first-time killers (except cop-killers and wife-killers), but practical jokers don’t just merit the same leniency.

Georgia Weekly Telegraph, April 16, 1880. The level of detail here proposes sort of a PSA agenda: Robbing graves isn’t cool, kids, plus it can liquefy your eyes. This item would make for a swell high school instructional film, or an equally fine E.C. horror comic.

By the by, my most recent post on Oom the Omnipotent generated a handsome uptick in traffic to the Hope Chest after someone posted a link to it at the MC Forum, which a message board for folks who write and share handcrafted stories about “erotic mind control”–hypnosis porn, if you will. Hello and welcome, sexy mind control aficionados! Feel free to drop by any time, and please do keep us posted should anybody post any Oom-themed slash fiction. I’m dead serious: I wanna read that.

Morning Oregonian, December 25, 1922. Back before fine publications like Penthouse Variations and later the Internet gave them respectable outlets, paraphiliacs with a literary bent had to smuggle their fantasies sub rosa into the letters columns of their local dailies. It was better than nothing, and once in a while a lucky few even got a response from a kindred editorial spirit.

Kansas City Evening Star, January 18, 1881. I suppose an unexploded bomb in every grave would have slowed down the trade in stiffs for a while, but there’d have been public safety issues, and eventually medical schools would have started offering bomb-disposal courses and we’d have been back to business as usual. Life is an arms race.

Philadelphia Inquirer, May 6, 1910. Further to the erotic adventures of Oom the Omnipotent. Read More »