An unusual tombstone in a Newport, Rhode Island cemetery, placed by Mr. William Tripp, commemorates his daughter, Wait, who died April 24, 1780, aged 10 months 10 days. Also, his son William who died March 7th, 1784, aged 22 months. And “Also his wife’s arm amputated Feby 20th 1786.”
The amputated arm is depicted in a carving placed in the middle of the tombstone.
The "animal keyboard," introduced by Smith Corona in the mid-1930s, was designed to teach children how to type by having pictures of animals on the keys of the typewriter. As explained by Merritt Ierley in his book Wondrous Contrivances:
The idea was to teach children to type by having the keys labeled for different animals. Hence, on the left hand, as the instruction book explained, “Little finger is birdie finger, third finger is doggie finger, second finger is bunnie finger,” and so on for each hand. As an added help, there was a matching animal ring for each finger. Despite its innovative charm, the animal keyboard seems to have had a short run and is virtually forgotten today except for one in the Smithsonian Institution.
The Antikey Chop website provides even more info about the animal keyboard, but I must be missing the point because I don't understand how having pictures of animals on the keys would make it any easier to learn how to type.
Geraldine Ragan (nee Murray) developed her Christian ventriloquism act in the 1960s while she was still a teenager. She had Ricky specially made for her. Some details from the Opelousas Daily World (Feb 16, 1969):
Geraldine realized she needed to have a professional doll designed to her own specifications. After much search, a company in Waterloo, Iowa made a doll to meet specifications which Geraldine sent them.
This new partner was named Ricky. (She had a very special friend whose name was Ricky.) The new partner, Ricky, was built with brown hair, large brown eyes and an even broader smile. He could move in all of the ways a human can as well as in a few ways that are characteristic of him alone.
His favorite subject is girls — as Geraldine puts it, "with a capital G". He loves them and is always willing to flirt with them or sing them a song.
The only thing Ricky can't do is keep a secret. He has received a great deal of notorious fans for his inability to keep the slightest confidence. All of these fine attributes combine to make Ricky a real live young man rather than a simple doll.
There are reports that Geraldine was still performing, as of 2014. I don't know if she's now finally retired.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.