Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Description of a Monstrous Pig, 1562

Good God, WHERE IS ITS FACE? This is the most awful picture I've ever seen, and I've seen some gross pig pictures in my day. This one comes courtesy of Robert Martin, a London farmer who had a sow that gave birth to seven normal piglets and one horribly deformed monster, "more monstrous than any that hath bene seene before this time, as you may see by this picture." I'm inclined to agree.

According to the text, the piglet "hath a head contrary to all other of that kynd, it hath a face without a nose or eyes, saving a hole standing directly betwen the two eares which eares be broad and long, lyke the eares of a bloude hound, and a monstrous body, lyke vnto a thing that were lean, without heare. It hath feet very monstrous, with ye endes of them turning vpwards, lyke vnto forked endes." It died two hours after birth.

Fortunately, there was a reason for its disfigurement and death: "let vs be assured that these straunge monstrous sightes do foreshew vnto vs, that [God's] heavy indignation wyl shortly come vpon vs for our monstrous livyng."

I think the same logic can be applied to swine flu, don't you? God's just trying to tell us that unless we clean up our polluted and diseased minds, we will probably die from an incurable virus. Thanks, Renaissance. Glad we cleared that up.

(And thanks to Geoff at Michigan State University for pretty much this entire post. Well done.)

But seriously, WHERE IS ITS FUCKING FACE? It looks like it imploded! Pigs are messed up.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Walter Raleigh was on The Simpsons!

I don't normally tune in to The Simpsons, but last night I was flipping through and saw that the first 5 minute vignette of this episode was about Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh! Homer is Raleigh and Marge is Elizabeth Throckmorton. It was fantastic! Here's the episode:

The Simpsons 2020 - Four Great Women and a Manicure
I have always pictured King Phillip of Spain that way. Also, he had the best lines, like this one:

"Guard, take him away and put things inside of him."
"Nice things?"
"No, not nice things!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A true relation of the admirable voiage and trauell of William Bush, 1607

Full title: A true relation of the admirable voiage and trauell of William Bush gentleman who with his owne handes without any other mans helpe, made a pynace, in which he past by ayre, land, and water: from Lamborne, in Barkshire, to the custome house key in Londen.

So, this pamphlet (written by Anthony Nixon) chronicles Bush's party trick of traveling by water, land, and air in a boat. Wait . . . what? This calls for research!

According to The Folger Library: Two Decades of Growth, An Informal Account (1968), by Louis B. Wright, the document is "important as one of the earliest examples of journalistic reporting." He describes the image as, "Mr. Bush guiding his pinnace down a rope contraption from the top of the tower, to give it the appearance of a flying machine. His stunt in traveling by air, land, and water created a sensation at the time, and Nixon's book is a landmark in the history of reporting" (57).

The actual text is in black letter and is pretty hard to read, but I gather that Bush's trick was pretty impressive. It strikes me as kind of lame though, like this was something he did on a dare to show up some other gentleman. It has a certain aren't-I-clever vibe, don't you think?

Anyway, apparently if you're a journalist you should be glad that Mr. Bush made a "flying" ship and Nixon wrote about it.