Category Archives: curiosities

Skulls and Sausages

Illustrated London News for Saturday, October 8, 1898 with Professor Rudolf Virchow on the cover
Cover of The Illustrated London News for Saturday, October 8, 1898

It’s a shame more people don’t pose with random skulls these days.

(Note: In its own random way, the damage to the paper makes this image of the “Father of Modern Pathology” Rudolf Virchow even better.)

Fun Fact: In 1986, Otto von Bismarck challenged Rudolf Virchow to a duel. Virchow turned down the challenge, but it lives on as the infamous SAUSAGE DUEL.

“Bismarck’s challenge to Virchow was something of a media sensation. Sometimes readers will now find this duel is fictionalized as the sausage duel. In brief, the tale says that after Bismarck issued the challenge, Virchow accepted, and since he had been challenged, he had the choice of weapons. He chose pork sausages, a cooked one for himself and a raw one for Bismarck. The raw sausage would inevitably have infected Bismarck with Trichinella. Bismarck then withdrew from the duel.” — from Virchow’s page at Famous Scientists

Would you like to know more? Check out “The Great Sausage Duel of 1865” at Skulls in the Stars.

Hey! Skulls! We’ve circled back!

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A Post-Victorian Flight of Fancy

Life magazine cover illustration by F.W. Read, March 17, 1904
Life magazine cover illustration by F.W. Read, March 17, 1904

AS USUAL.
“Let me know when we get to Mars.”
“We passed Mars ten planets ago, ma’am.”

This early cartoon/comic/illustration/panel is weird, wonderful and a work of art. It’s as if Jules Verne and Mark Twain had a baby, and I dig it.

The Artist is F.W. Read, but there is scant info online except for a few other pieces of work and that he/she studied in Paris at Académie Julian in 1891. If you know more, please let me know!

What time is it?

For those of you bellyaching about the huge hassle of moving your clocks forward or backward an hour twice a year, let me introduce you to the good ol’ days with solar time, local time and the fight for and against standard time.

The railroads made things better.

For extra fun, check out the not-at-all-complicated instructions for figuring out your Local Civil Time from Rawleigh’s 1932 Good Health Guide, Cook Book and Year Book.

The difference between Local Civil and Standard Time
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Alternative Juice — A good part of this Kellyanne Conway breakfast.

(Note: It’s actually “alterative juice”, but I’m sticking with alternative juice because it amuses me.)

If you got syphilis, yo, this’ll solve it.
Alternative juice will prolly dissolve it.

Succus Alterans Alternative Juice
Seen at a North Star Auction preview in Bismarck, North Dakota. Alas, I did not win it the next day.

Let’s check out these Succus Alterans Alternative Juice ingredients! According to Wikipedia…

Stillingia sylvatica was used by Native Americans for syphilis and as a cathartic, diuretic, laxative, and emetic. In large doses, it causes vomiting and diarrhea.”

Smilax ornata (sarsparilla) “was a popular European treatment for syphilis when it was introduced from the New World.”

Phytolacca Decandra (pokeweed) is poisonous and was used for skin diseases, rheumatism, weight loss, mumps and arthritis.

Lappa Minor’s (lesser durdock) larger cousin, Arctium lappa, was used as “a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent” as well as a cancer, skin condition and cold/flu treatment.

Xanthoxylum carolinanium (Hercules’ club) is also known as the “toothache tree” or “tingle tongue” and was used to treat toothache.

Who needs orange juice with a delightful concoction like this!

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