Jens 'Art' Morrison, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was a practitioner of 'farm art'. Or, as he put it, he was a 'farmicist'. He mostly worked in ceramics and was most active during the 1970s and '80s.
By 'farm art' he meant that a) farm animals were a recurring theme throughout his work, and b) there was a heavy emphasis on quirky, folk humor in his work, as well as A LOT of bad puns (see 'farmicist'). So, 'farm art' was deliberately distinct from 'serious art'.
One of his creations was 'Juxtapachickens.' This was a series of fourteen-inch ceramic chickens. (The url juxtapachicken.com leads to a site that consists solely of a picture of two skinned chickens in a pot. I have no idea if this was somehow inspired by or related to Morrison's work. I'm guessing not.)
Far more elaborate was his "artillogical" discovery of the "Farmounians," who he claimed were the ancient, original settlers of Iowa. As he put it:
About 450 B.C. (before ceramics), the Farmounians crossed the Boaring Straits, sailed down the River Swine, and settled in the eastern basins of Iowania, to farm the fertile fields and rolling hills. The ancient glyphs and corntainers are imporktant because they depigt the lifestyles and legends of the Farmounians: the mysteries of the Corn Cult, the age of Barcornius, and the winter dwelling or Pigloo. These frelics of the daily rituals, banal activities, and peculiar characteristics make Farmounian art unique in the western world.
He created (or 'discovered') numerous artifacts of these Farmounians, such as 'corntainers' that displayed ancient-looking ceramic reliefs he called 'Pigtaglyphs'. He said he was just providing 'infarmation' about this ancient culture.
I'm not aware of many famous snails. Gee Geronimo, as far as I know, may be the only one. Back in the 1970s, the Guinness Book of Records declared him to be the world's biggest snail. His owner was Christopher Hudson. Gee Geronimo died in 1976.
Christopher Hudson with Gee Geronimo source: 1978 Guinness Book of Records
Connellsville Daily Courier - Nov 27, 1976
Hudson was apparently more in love with his snails than he was with his wife.
the most bizarre of Irénée's pastimes was his large collection of iguanas. Irénée spent thousands of dollars to breed, feed, and keep these crocodile-like lizards in specially constructed pens. Some of these tough, vicious lizards grew to 3 feet in length under Irénée's loving care, and more than once the old industrialist was seen marching about with one of these ugly beasts crawling next to him on a leash. Irénée derived a peculiar kind of pleasure from these lizards. By barking a command, he could make them all come out of their pens and surround him, standing at attention. He had trained them, on another command, to attack a target to kill. It was an appalling example to the Cubans of the degeneracy of the idle rich. In a moment of the bizarre captured for history, a Life photographer in 1957 recorded old Irénée feeding his iguanas papaya from a jar at a time when most of the Cuban population was suffering from malnutrition.
"Irénée du Pont, 80, bends to pat an iguana on his Cuban estate where many of these lizards wander. He feeds them papaya from jar he holds" Life - Aug 19, 1957
Humans have invented mechanical devices, such as bicycles, that allow us to move faster by amplifying the power of our limbs. Madeleine Ravier of Paris argued that what works for people should also work for animals. So she invented and, in 1907, patented a "Cycles pour animaux," or 'bicycle for animals'.
Man has understood the vital interest he had in developing the means to go fast, long and far; for this purpose, he enslaved animals to his use, he acquired science, in particular mechanical science, and he used it to employ at his pleasure, or almost, some of the different forms of energy , like heat, electricity, chemical affinity.
Quite recently (less than 50 years ago), understanding the imperfection of his own limbs, he endowed them with mobile mechanisms, he put cycles, devices formed of 2 or 3 wheels between the legs. and of a few light and simple organs, with which he has prodigiously increased the extent of his movements without the help of external energy.
He thus achieved 370 kilometers in 12 hours (cyclist Cadolle), and even 45,764 kilometers (record of cyclist Bouhours), while excellent athletes, on their limbs, did not achieve, at most, at the same time of 12 hours than the already very high distances of 113 kilometers (walker 5o Hibbird) or ikh kilometers (rowell runner)....
What man did for himself he can do it for animals, or at least for some of them; There is a way to increase the efficiency of their limbs by the intercalation, between these limbs and the field of motion, of mechanical devices receiving the reciprocating motion of the limbs, transforming it into continuous rotary motion, and ending in rotating parts; and the result obtained can be used to make animals move man faster and farther than has hitherto been done by using them.
Ravier imagined making bicycles for all kinds of animals including "mules, donkeys, elephants, camels, dromedaries, etc.". But she started with a bicycle for horses, as shown below.
I have no idea if she ever built and tested one of these horse bicycles. The language barrier makes researching this a challenge.
1978: The Taiei Company of Japan contacted the U.S. State Department seeking an American company willing to provide it with frozen sparrows "at regular intervals". The company was ready to "give guidance on how to catch small birds and how to process them".
In 1899, Patent No. 636,430 was granted to Franz and Konrad Hieke of Philadelphia for what they described as "cavalry equipment". It was essentially a large spike attached to the front of a horse. From their patent:
This invention relates to cavalry equipment; and it has for its object the provision of novel means for protecting the horse from the missiles of the enemy and in the provision of a cutting projection designed to injure the enemy or cause him to evade the projection by stepping to one side where an attack by the rider would be effective.
A better view:
Argos Reflector - Feb 8, 1900
I wonder if one of these was ever actually used in combat?
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.