Published in 1947, THE NATURAL HISTORY OF NONSENSE remains as relevant today as ever.
Read the whole volume here.
Some notion of its contents and approach seen below.
A 16-page recipe book published in 1954
by the National Dairy Products Corporation, Sealtest Division.
A better name for the cover recipe would be Vomiting Clam.
A few days ago, Paul posted about a Khrushchev coloring book authored by Jack Davis
. Another Khrushchev coloring book was created in 1962 by the Hungarian cartoonist Victor Vashi
with text by Ilona Fabian.
I haven’t been able to find any photos or scans of it online. And according to Worldcat
, it’s only held by two US libraries. So, it’s extremely obscure. However, its existence establishes Khrushchev coloring books as a tiny, but existing literary genre.
Knoxville News Sentinel - Jan 20, 1963
Some selections from the text ran in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
(Apr 18, 1963):
, some artwork that might amuse the Soviet dictator, from the great Jack Davis.
Buy your copy through the link below.
My pal Paul Tumey just released his magnum opus, a history of "screwball" comics. I'm reading my copy now, and it's great.
If you go to the link,
you get a PDF copy of one of his newsletters to sample what he's all about.
Order yours today!
This book, first published in 1990, must be in demand by collectors. The cheapest used copy on Amazon is $50
, while to get a new copy you've got to fork over $318.25.
The reviews are worth checking out.
There was a sequel, published in 2010, titled (boringly) Latawnya The Naughty Horse Two
A cookbook for the blind, written by Ralph Read, and published in 1981.
A sample of some of his tips and techniques, from a review in the Austin American-Statesman
(Sep 22, 1980):
Many of his suggestions are common sense. For instance, for liquid measurements, he uses the dipstick method — having an index finger in the right place at the right time. He uses a teaspoon to spread instead of a knife, allowing himself “one finger to check corners.” And he initials canned foods with raised letters from a plastic tape marker and arranges them alphabetically.
You can read the entire book at archive.org
You don’t need to alphabetize bags of things, he says, because you can just pinch them. Split peas do not feel like elbow macaroni.
Tactile memory is very important, for things like knowing which end of a milk carton has the spout. Spices don’t need labeling because you can smell them. Smell and hearing are important factors in cooking without sight. They tell you when things are almost done.
He generally cooks slowly to help “prevent things from getting away from me.” Read has no special gadgets for cooking, though he says friends have shown him catalogs with specialty items for the blind. “Ninety-nine percent of that gadgetry is useless — though I’m interested in the fact that Amana has a blind consultant working with them in Dallas to help develop a microwave oven for the blind.”
There are some definite “don’ts,” Read says, such as not using dangerous items such as an electric beater or broiler. You can get the same desired results without unnecessary risk by using a hand beater or pan-broiling a steak.
Just out is the second volume chronicling the improbable career of one of the chief Weirdo artists of all time, Basil Wolverton. Required reading for all WU-vies--and a great gift idea!
I haven’t read the book yet, but the topic sounds like it would be of interest to WUvies. It's described as the first comprehensive study of the phenomenon of performers who died onstage:
From the comedy magician who dropped dead on live television to the amateur thespian who expired during a play called The Art of Murder, the book is a celebration of lives both famous and obscure, as well as a dramatic and accurate recounting of events leading to the moments they died "doing what they loved."
The website for the book
includes some examples of recent deaths while performing.
Please excuse the self-promotion, though hopefully the subject matter may be of interest to WUvies. For the past two years I've been busy researching and writing another book, and it finally went on sale last week, published by Macmillan
. I give you Psychedelic Apes: From parallel universes to atomic dinosaurs – the weirdest theories of science and history
The book is an exploration of some of the craziest ideas that lurk at the fringes of both science and history. While I don't endorse these ideas, I didn't exactly set out to debunk them either. After all, I have a very high tolerance for, and fascination with, weirdness. Mostly I wanted to understand what the case was for each of them, and why some seemingly intelligent, knowledgeable researchers (quite a few of them leaders in their fields) not only convinced themselves that these ideas could be true, but in many cases passionately defended them — sometimes at great cost to their careers and reputations.
I also wanted to keep an open mind because the history of science is, to a great degree, a history of ideas that were initially dismissed by scholars as being totally nuts (such as heliocentrism, evolution, continental drift, etc.) eventually being accepted as true. But yes, I do explain why the majority of scholars reject the hypotheses I examine in the book.
The chapter list:
- What if the Big Bang never happened?
- What if our universe is actually a computer simulation?
- What if there’s only one electron in the universe?
- What if we’re living inside a black hole?
- What if we live forever?
- What if the Earth is at the centre of the universe?
- What if planets can explode?
- What if our solar system has two suns?
- What if ten million comets hit the Earth every year?
- What if the Earth is expanding?
- What if everything is conscious?
- What if diseases come from space?
- What if the Earth contains an inexhaustible supply of oil and gas?
- What if alien life exists on Earth?
- What if we’ve already found extraterrestrial life?
- What if the dinosaurs died in a nuclear war?
- What if our ancestors were aquatic apes?
- What if we’re descended from a pig–chimp hybrid?
- What if hallucinogenic drugs made us human?
- What if humanity is getting dumber?
- What if ancient humans were directed by hallucinations?
- What if Homer was a woman?
- What if Jesus was a mushroom?
- What if Jesus was Julius Caesar?
- What if the Early Middle Ages never happened?
The topics progress from cosmological questions about the origin and nature of the universe, up through the origin of life and our species, and ends with the dawn of the modern era. So in addition to being a catalog of "against-the-mainstream" ideas, the book offers a kind of alternative history of the cosmos. In the following weeks, I'll post fuller descriptions of some of these topics.
Unfortunately, the book is currently only on sale in the UK and (I believe) Australia. For whatever reason, the Brits have been much more receptive to my books than Americans have been. I have no idea if, or when, an American edition will be coming out. But an audio edition should be available soon. Some places it can be purchased online:
If you're a blogger interested in obtaining a review copy, drop me a line. I may be able to arrange that. Though I can't make any promises.