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Category Archives: Lusus naturae

The Inter Ocean, July 13, 1878.

Dallas Morning News, February 1, 1886. Said Frenchmen would in fact have been Quebecois rather than F.O.B. cheese-eaters. Now, your Quebecois gene pool is (no aspersions intended) a tight and tidy affair, which raises the possibility that the behavioral oddities manifested by these Gallic lumberjacks stemmed from some kinda mutation. But I’m more inclined to think that this was a culture-bound syndrome like latah, piblokto, bulimia or Republicanism. 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, April 26, 1871. This is kind of cool: an editorial devoted to the subject of journalistic coverage of wild man stories nationwide. That’s pretty much the same theme I was working when I gave my talk on stage the other night, except I was focusing on wild women exclusively. But it’s time to acknowledge that wilding was numerically a male-dominated field of endeavor. Read More »

The Pittsfield [Mass.] Sun, October 8, 1868. Accidental poetry like this was, of course, a byproduct of the telegraph. And this is recognizably the sort of thing that Thoreau was anticipating when he famously wrote in 1854 that “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate… We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.” Thoreau was a joyless old poop. I’ll take stuff like this over a dreary proto-Unabomber tract like Walden Pond any day of the year. It lighteneth the mynd, it quickeneth the spirits, it addeth to the gaiety of nations.

Chicago Tribune, May 17, 1908. First item: Such is the condescension faced by avian-Americans even unto this day: A super-sentient chicken is memorialized not for its astonishing intellectual powers but the brute physical fact that it laid two eggs a day.
Second item: grand theft mince is arguably a self-punishing crime.

San Francisco Bulletin, June 11, 1891. I appreciate it when some obliging newspaper editor has done all the gleaning and gathering for me. Thank you, nameless long-dead newspaperman.

Biloxi Herald, October 10, 1891. “Of an uncouth appearance”? Is that any way to talk about one of the Elder Gods? Read More »

Baltimore Gazette, April 21, 1836. Turn it into potato flour to make special hosts, would have been my commercial suggestion. Or just run it through a mandolin and deep-fry ’em in profile.

Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1888. Q: Do you know the difference between Bigfoot and bosh? Read More »