Archive for September, 2010

Song of the Texas Corn

September 30, 2010


I was dry and dusty;
I was weak and weary;
Now I’m glad and lusty,
And the earth looks cheery.
Oh, the soaking,
Mirth provoking,
Laughter making rain;
Soft and silky,
Mild and milky
Grows my golden grain.

Listen to the laughter
That my leaves are making,
When the wind comes after
Kisses, softly shaking.
Oh, healthgiving,
Breathing, living,Heaven pouring rain!
Come, caress me,
Kiss me, bless me,
Once and once again!

Let your hearts be singing;
Peal your paeans, peoples;
Set the joy bells ringing
In the lofty steeples.
Praises render
To the sender
Of the joyous rain;
Of the living,
The lifegiving,
Of the precious rain.

— John P. Sjolander in Galveston News.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Aug 24, 1892

A Curiosity of Figures

September 29, 2010

A Curiosity of Figures

It may be hard to believe but it is true that

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 + 10 = 1111111111

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Oct 31, 1931


September 29, 2010


It was during the impaneling of a jury that the following colloquy occurred:

“You are a property-owner?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Married or single?”

“I have been married for five years, sir.”

“Have you formed or expressed any opinion?”

“Not for five years, sir.”

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Oct 11, 1930

Marlene Dietrich “The Devil Is a Woman” Paper Doll

September 28, 2010

The glamorous Marlene is easily one of the most famous and popular of all screen actresses. Always known as one of the best dressed women of the world, her admirers will thrill at sight of the gorgeous clothes she wears in “The Devil Is a Woman,” a picture of Spanish atmosphere produced by Paramount.

4 — A modish beach ensemble of blue “trow” worn with a very new cut white bathing suit.

1 — This new silhouette of white chiffon is a perfect ode to grace and is from the personal wardrobe of Marlene Dietrich. The drape across but one shoulder and the bold green silk carnation lend a masterful touch of sophistication.

2 — This modernized yet typical Spanish costume is one of many worn by Miss Dietrich in her latest picture.

3 — The distinctive wing shoulder treatment of this handsome gown by Travis Blanton sets a new style note. The material is of two-tone black and green satin.

5 — Spanish influence is apparent in this lovely gown of white chiffon. It is worn with combination cape and scarf of antique lace and with the broad trimmed lace hat shown at lower center.

6 — This lovely dinner suit is of black costume velvet, a fabric which will persist in appearing even through the summer months. The skirt is narrow but slit for walking comfort while the coat is cut exceptionally full providing a chic contrast.

Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas) May 26, 1935

This is brutal:

Previews of the New Films
By Douglas W. Churchill

‘The Devil Is a Woman’

Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Deitrich combine to produce a picture even worse than “The Scarlet Empress,” their last previous attempt. A boring, psychopathic treatise which the reviewer refuses to give any rating. (Paramount.)

This last picture of the Josef von Sternberg-Marlene Dietrich combination is one to be approached with deference. The first impulse is to dismiss the work with some trite phrase such as “the worst film of many seasons.” But while that is true of “The Devil Is a Woman,” there is something awe-inspiring in the ability of one man to command the vast resources of a great cinema factory and spend probably three-fourths of a million dollars in concocting a psychopathic treatise in celluloid.

When the two made “Scarlet Empress” its showing provoked condemnation and controversy. There were elements in that film which merited discussion, inexcusable as the picture was. “The Devil Is a Woman” lacks any quality impelling contemplation of it as screen entertainment. As for Mr. von Sternberg contending for critical consideration, this current film denies him all right to recognition in the future. Once he was the hope of the screen, for he projected new treatment and new thought into it; he has overstepped the bounds of reason and has delved into the realm of Freudism. And instead of the audience’s attention being directed toward the psychosis of the characters, it involuntarily turns upon the director.

The film made under the title of “Caprice Espagnole,” which was considered too large a mouthful for movie customers and lacking sex appeal, deals with two old friends meeting in a Spanish town during a carnival. Caesar Romero has seen Miss Dietrich and is to meet her in the evening. Lionel Atwill tells him the story of his life and how Marlene has wrecked it, eliciting a promise from Romero that he will leave town immediately. Drawn to Marlene by Atwill’s horrifying account of the woman, he is forced into a duel with Atwill and, with Marlene, flees the country. At the border she turns back to Atwill.

The story is told in retrospect, each episode returning to the table where the two men sit. After a few words from Atwill, another sequence is pictured. The whole thing is tedious and reaches a new high in boredom.

Paramount, which sanctioned the making of the film, has indicated that with it they are through with von Sternberg. They have indicated, too, that they will attempt to hold Miss Dietrich, for they feel that she can be salvaged in spite of the abnormal stories von Sternberg has given her. In other industries such an act as that of the director would virtually drive him from business, but in the cinema he will probably go to another studio at a higher salary.

There is no one to blame but von Sternberg. He made the picture without supervision. While John Dos Passo and S.K. Winston are credited with transforming the Pierre Louys book, “The Woman and the Puppet,” to a script, their writing was on von Sternberg’s order. He directed and acted as cameraman. Of all his efforts, only his camera work can receive favorable mention. The picture is one to be avoided at all costs and deserves no rating.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Mar 17, 1935

A picture instinct with the breath-taking beauty and color of Spain, “The Devil Is a Woman,” comes to the  Paramount theater Thursday and Friday, bringing Marlene Dietrich back to the screen to enact her greatest characterization. Movie critics up and down the eastern seaboard have acclaimed “The Devil Is a Woman” as Miss Dietrich’s most fascinating and glorious picture characterization of her entire career. Few, if any, pictures from either Hollywood or the European studios can boast the pictorial beauty of “The Devil Is a Woman.” Also included in the case of this most entertaining drama are such stars as Lionel Ateill, Cesar Romero, Edward Everett Holton, Alison Skipworth and Don Alvarado.

Hammond Times (Hammond, Indiana) Sep 4, 1935

“One, Two, Three, Go!”

September 28, 2010


“One, Two, Three, Go!” — Now They are Off — Watch ‘Em.

The great relay bicycle race against time, from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburg, Pa., is in progress today, and wheelmen in all this section of the country are excited over the outcome of the event.

The distance to be covered is about 400 miles and the race is run to determine the efficiency of a bicycle service in time of war, should it ever happen that communication by rail, telegraph on horseback were rendered impossible. The race is under the auspices of the Pittsburg Leader, and Mr. T.S. Fullwood, of that paper, have been over the route arranging the details.

Messrs. Le Roy Hayes and Burton C. Shildkneck, of Hagerstown, who are to ride the relay from Frederick to Middletown, arrived here last night and today are at the City Hotel. The riders of the first relay left Washington at 2 o’clock this afternoon and will reach Frederick at 6.15 o’clock this evening by way of Ridgeville and New Market.

A detachment of the 2nd Separate Company Washington Military Cyclers arrived here this morning and will send a relay to New Market this afternoon to relieve the relay at that point and ride in to Frederick. Messrs. Hayes and Shildneck will leave immediately upon the arrival of the New Market relay and expect to reach Middletown in 45 minutes. A relay will then ride to Boonsboro in 50 minutes, one from Boonsboro to Hagerstown in 40 minutes and at Hagerstown a relay of Cumberland men will ride to Cumberland, from there the ride to Pittsburg being made by Pittsburg century riders.

President Benjamin Harrison

The riders in the relay carry a message written by President Harrison and it is expected that the ride will be completed by noon tomorrow. Frederick Futterer will carry the letter from Middletown to Boonsboro, accompanied by two others; from Boonsboro to Hagerstown Chas. Johnson will deliver the letter.

The Daily News (Frederick, Maryland) Sep 2, 1892

Mutilated and Hanged by a Mob

September 27, 2010


Prisoner at Golden, Col., Mutilated and Hanged by a Mob

GOLDEN, Col., June 2. — Alexander McCurdy, who horribly mutilated his step-brother, Charles Berry, whom he suspected of intimacy with his wife last winter, was taken from jail this morning and lynched, after being subjected to the same treatment he gave Berry.

The sheriff gathered a possee and captured John Richwine and John Koch, two guards  put out by the lynchers. They are said to have given the names of all concerned in the lynching, and they will be arrested after the inquest which is now in progress.

McCurdy’s crime was a most revolting one. He assaulted Berry while the latter was asleep. He afterwards pickled the organs which he cut off and sent them to his wife in Indiana. He escaped, but was captured in Indiana some time afterwards, convicted of mayhem and sentenced to three years imprisonment. Berry meanwhile had recovered, and during the trial of McCurdy was with difficulty restrained from assaulting him. Berry was eighteen years old, and McCurdy about thirty.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) May 2, 1894


By Associated Press.]

GOLDEN (Colo.), June 2 — Alexander McCurdy, who horribly mutilated his step brother, Charles Berry, last winter, was this morning taken from jail and lynched, after being subjected to the same treatment he gave his victim. McCurdy was this week convicted of mayhem and yesterday sentenced to the penitentiary for three years, the full extent of the law.

At 2 o’clock twenty men aroused Alexander Kerr, the jailer, choked him, and taking the keys, went to McCurdy’s cell. He was dragged to the lawn in front of the building and probably died while this was being done, but his body was rushed down to Lakewood trestle, over Clear creek, and hanged. The sheriff has arrested John Richweine and John Koch, guards for the lynchers. They have given the names of all the others and the coroner’s jury is preparing warrants.

The Weekly Gazette and Stockman (Reno, Nevada)Jun 7, 1894



Alexander McCurdy was mutilated and hanged by a Colorado mob for a revolting crime.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jun 4, 1894

Vogel Proved an Alibi.

GOLDEN, Colo., Nov 29. — George Vogel, one of the young men charged with the lynching of Alexander McCurdy last summer, has been found not guilty. His defense was an alibi. Five other citizens are yet to be tried on the same charge.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Nov 29, 1894

Punctuation, Typewriting and Telegrams

September 24, 2010

A bit of a mixed bag for Punctuation Day:

Fire Inspector Not in Jail as Telegram Stated

Lack of punctuation in a telegram received at the state fire marshal’s office Friday morning made it appear that L.J. Butcher, state fire inspector, was in jail at North Platte waiting for somebody to go his bail. But by inserting a period where the telegraph company had omitted it, Chief Clerk Eva Anderson figured it out that two incendiary suspects and not Butcher, were in jail.

The inspector was sent there two or three days ago to probe the circumstances of several supposed incendiary attempts to burn a residence in North Platte. He wired Friday that one blaze which started April 9 at 11 p.m., had been put out, and the next morning at 8 o’clock fire broke out again at six different places in the house.

“Owner and wife made complete confession to County Attorney J.T. Keefe and myself are in jail awaiting bail,” the message concluded.

This looked bad, on its face, for “J.T. Keefe and myself.” But telegram English is a little different. Miss Anderson finally decided that this was the way it should read:

“Owner and wife made complete confession to County Attorney T.J. Keefe and myself. Are in jail awaiting bail.”

The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) Apr 14, 1922

Sarcoxie, Missouri (Image from

Getting Into Print.

A certain gentleman who wanted to get into print sent the following to the Sarcoxie Record

The scribe arose
And rubbed his nose —
His eyes expressing exultation
Aha — cried he —
I will be free —
I will be free from punctuation

This writer then
Seized on his pen
Writing fast with fiery flashes —
And to him came —
One morning — fame —
Instead of commas he used dashes

The magazines
And pictured screens
Acclaim’d him genius — great – annoited —
His stuff was grand —
You understand —
Because it was so oddly pointed.

The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) Mar 21, 1922

A Little Punctuation.

People who fail to punctuate their communications are invited to study the following line, which is a correct sentence

“It was and I said not or.”

We got that line one day this week by wire, where punctuations are always omitted. We nearly wrecked our mentality trying to clear up the mystery of the single line, when all of a sudden it occurred to us to look up a copy of our letter to the party, when we discovered that our friend wanted to inform us he did not use the word “or,” but did use “and.” To be plain, the sentence is correct and should have read, “It was ‘and’ I said – not ‘or.'”

Another party who has been studying Pope wrote us as follows: “My Dear Mr. George — I have been thinking over the statement you made last week, and I too believe that that is is that that is not is not, and I take pleasure in believing so.”

A good way to untangle the above is to write it as follows: “That that is, is. That that is not, is not.” In other words, it is a play on Pope’s “whatever is, is right.” People who eschew punctuation should not feel hurt if their meaning is not always readily grasped.

— George’s Denver Weekly.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jul 22, 1899

While the rest of us are looking for truth in the book of life the Cynic spends his time searching for small flaws in the punctuation.

Daily Mail (Hagerstown, Maryland) Sep 6, 1927


It is a prevailing fad of job printers to omit punctuation. The consequences are sometimes far from satisfactory to the customer, as witness the following street car sign of a well-known Connellsville druggist:

Your Doctor’s Orders
Are Obeyed Strictly and Accurately
I Never Substitute
Pure Drugs and Medicines

What the druggist does do, and what he wanted to say, was that he fills prescriptions accurately; that he never substitutes other remedies for those called for in the prescription; and, finally, that he sell nothing but pure drugs and medicines.

The job printer has made him say that he obeys the doctor’s orders by never substituting pure drugs and medicines for the impure kind prescribed!

The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pennsylvania) Mar 15, 1906


How Poetry, Prose and Advertisements Sound Via the Copyholder.

If one of our modern graduate elocutionists could hear a copyholder reading aloud in the proofroom of a daily newspaper, it would be very apt to drive the elocutionist to drink. For the benefit of those who have never heard this class of reading an imitation thereof in type may be of passing interest.

In the first place, be it understood, a copyholder is a proofreader’s assistant, and it is his (or her) business to read aloud the copy, including punctuation, spelling of names, etc., so that the proofreader may have a correct understanding of just what the copy is without bothering to look and see for himself.

This is about the way it sounds when the copyholder starts in:

“The G-r-a-m-m-e Machine — three up — E type — period. In the diagram before you A B — two small caps — is a ring of soft iron — comma — with its ends connected so as to form a continuous circuit — period. This ring can be made to rotate on its axis between the poles N S — two small caps — of an electro-magnet — compounded — period. How the magnetism of the electro-magnet — compounded — is established will be explained by-and-by — compounded — no e on by — colon — for the present I simply assume that N — small cap — and s — small cap — are two magnetic poles — comma — north and south respectively — period — parry — no dash.”

Perhaps the next bit of copy is a news item, and we hear:

“Accident in Newark — H 1. About 6 o’clock this morning as William — abbreviated — Clarke — with an e — was crossing E-v-a-n-s st — comma — near the corner of Clover — comma — he was struck by a trolley-car — compounded — No. 42 — figures — comma — and thrown to the ground on one side just in time to fall under the wheels of a passing wagon — period. He was picked up unconscious and conveyed to G-r-o-s-v-e-n-o-r hospital — comma — where his injuries were pronounced dangerous — period — more to come.”

Possibly a little poetic gem may be the next thing on the proof, and this is how it sounds:

“Miss P-e-g-g-y-pos-s Bonnet — three up — K type. Poetry — begins flush.

The century was six years old — comma — one em — Miss Peggy — two up — just sixteen — spelled, of course — comma — dash — flush — not yet a woman — comma — nor a child — comma — one em — but that sweet age between charms from either side — comma — dash — one em — the dimpled smile of four — spelled again — comma — flush — with gentle mier and glance serene — one em — of twenty-one — hyphened — or more — scarce — stanza.”

Next an advertisement appears and as this is more important than poetry or news the copy reader’s pace slackens very perceptibly, and we catch:

“Two inches — daily — top of column — third page — send five proofs — four blank lines — avoid consumption — 38 — 1 line — pica old style lower next — begins flush — don’t wait until the hacking cough — all caps — has weakened the system and strained the Lungs — one up — period — take — break — S-m-i-t-h-pos-s E-m-u-l-s-i-o-n — two lines 27 — upper and lower — centered — no — point — goes on in pica old style — flush — the cream — one up – of Cod liver — cod up — hyphened — Oil — up — and Hyposphosphates — up — comma — to supply the nourishment your system craves — period — no address — that’s funny — better show it to the boss and see if it goes.”

And thus the copyholder hurries along, dissecting his material at a rate only a printer can properly appreciate. — American Bookmaker.

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Mar 21, 1896

A Writing Machine

The first of the writing machines manufactured in New York has been received by E.S. Belden, phonetic reporter of Washington. The invention was made in England, but it has been added to and improved in this country. The machine is about the same size of an ordinary sewing machine, and can be worked by a child who can spell, as easily as by a grown person.

It consists of a series of forty-two keys, to which are attached steel hammers, and each one of these represents a letter, figure, or a punctuation mark. The keys are arranged in four rows, like the keys of an organ, and are operated on precisely the same principle. The hammers are arranged in a circle, and when the key is pressed the corresponding letter moves to the centre, receding again immediately when the pressure is removed. A space key is provided, by means of which the spaces between words are made. Mr. Washburn, of San Francisco, patented an improvement on the machine, and he contemplates the use of printers’ ink. In the original, the color is taken from a prepared ribbon, which is between the hammer and paper. At the end of each line the machine is adjusted for the next line by means of a treadle, which is worked by the feet of the operator.

By this machine three times as much can be written as an ordinary man can write. The Western Union Telegraph Company has already ordered all that can be manufactured for the next six months. They are to be used manifolding copy telegraphed to the press.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Oct 19, 1873

Charles A. Washburn’s 1870 patent illustrations:

Here is a link to last year’s post for National Punctuation Day!

The Pioneers

September 23, 2010

Image posted by Jackie on Picassa


We talk of times, in times like these,
As if we should be born to ease;
They hewed their houses from the trees.

We talk of tasks, as if our toil
Should take an hour and run in oil;
They dug their substance from the soil.

We talk of needs, as though they meant
The cushions of the indolent;
They plowed and sowed, and were content.

We talk of wealth, as if it would
Make all things possible and good;
Wealth was to them a livelihood.

We talk of times, as if alone
By talking fields are cleared and sown;
We talk of times — they made their own.

(Copyright, 1935, Douglas Malloch)

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Jun 18, 1935

Vines and Lies

September 22, 2010

A California paper tells about a boy climbing a tomato vine to get away from a mad dog Tomato vines attain an enormous size in California, and so do lies.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Oct 19, 1873

More School Humor

September 22, 2010

Teacher — And so we find that heat expands things, and cold contracts them. Can anyone give me an example of this?

Bright Student — Yes, ma’am. The days are longer in summer.

*  *  *  *  *

If somebody else is doing your thinking, it’s very likely you are doing somebody else’s working.

*  *  *  *  *

Father — So you know as much as the teacher, do you? Where did you get that idea?

Son — She told me herself. She said she couldn’t teach me anything.

*  *  *  *  *

A Man Speaking — That brother of mine is sure smart. He’s only sixteen but he’s been clear through Reform school.

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Oct 27, 1930

Teacher — Really, Johnny, your handwriting is terrible. You must learn to write better.

Johnny — Well, if I did, you’d be finding fault with my spelling.

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Oct 30, 1930

Teacher — Parse the sentence, “Bill married Mary.”

Pupil — Bill’s a noun because he’s the name of something; because it joins Bill to Mary, married is therefore a conjunction, and Mary’s a verb, because she governs the noun.

*  *  *  *  *

Teacher — And now will someone please give me a sentence using the word “candor”?

Bright Boy in Front Seat — My daddy had a pretty stenographer in his office, but after mother saw her, he candor.

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Nov 5, 1930

Mother — What did my little girl learn in school today?

Betty Jean — Oh, mother, do I have to educate you all over again?

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Nov 11, 1930

Teacher — Johnny, can you tell me what a hypocrite is?

Johnny — Yes, ma’am. It’s a boy that comes to school with a smile on his face.

*  *  *  *  *

A small boy was asked to write an essay in as few words as possible on two of life’s greatest problems. He wrote: “Twins.”

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Nov 20, 1930


Teacher — What is half of eight, Frank?

Frank — Which way, teacher?

Teacher — What do you mean, which way?

Frank — On top, or sideways?

Teacher (bewildered) What difference does it make?

Frank — Well, half of the top of eight is zero, but half of eight sideways is three.

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Mar 23, 1931