Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Heinlein's Predictions



In 1949, science fiction author Robert Heinlein compiled a list of predictions for the year 2000 that were eventually published in February of 1952, in Galaxy magazine.

The list read as follows.

(Source: Galaxy magazine; Image: Robert Heinlein, courtesy of FM.)

So let's have a few free-swinging predictions about the future. Some will be wrong - but cautious predictions are sure to be wrong.

1. Interplanetary travel is waiting at your front door -- C.O.D. It's yours when you pay for it.

2. Contraception and control of disease is revising relations between the sexes to an extent that will change our entire social and economic structure.

3. The most important military fact of this century is that there is no way to repel an attack from outer space.

4. It is utterly impossible that the United States will start a "preventive war." We will fight when attacked, either directly or in a territory we have guaranteed to defend.

5. In fifteen years the housing shortage will be solved by a "breakthrough" into new technologies which will make every house now standing as obsolete as privies.

6. We'll all be getting a little hungry by and by.

7. The cult of the phony in art will disappear. So-called "modern art" will be discussed only by psychiatrists.

8. Freud will be classed as a pre-scientific, intuitive pioneer and psychoanalysis will be replaced by a growing, changing "operational psychology" based on measurement and prediction.

9. Cancer, the common cold, and tooth decay will all be conquered; the revolutionary new problem in medical research will be to accomplish "regeneration," i.e., to enable a man to grow a new leg, rather than fit him with an artificial limb.

10. By the end of this century mankind will have explored this solar system, and the first ship intended to reach the nearest star will be a-building.

11. Your personal telephone will be small enough to carry in your handbag. Your house telephone will record messages, answer simple inquiries, and transmit vision.

12. Intelligent life will be found on Mars.

13. A thousand miles an hour at a cent a mile will be commonplace; short hauls will be made in evacuated subways at extreme speed.

14. A major objective of applied physics will be to control gravity.

15. We will not achieve a "World State" in the predictable future. Nevertheless, Communism will vanish from this planet.

16. Increasing mobility will disenfranchise a majority of the population. About 1990 a constitutional amendment will do away with state lines while retaining the semblance.

17. All aircraft will be controlled by a giant radar net run on a continent-wide basis by a multiple electronic "brain."

18. Fish and yeast will become our principal sources of proteins. Beef will be a luxury; lamb and mutton will disappear.

19. Mankind will not destroy itself, nor will "Civilization" be destroyed.

Here are things we won't get soon, if ever:

-- Travel through time
-- Travel faster than the speed of light
-- "Radio" transmission of matter.
-- Manlike robots with manlike reactions
-- Laboratory creation of life
-- Real understanding of what "thought" is and how it is related to matter.
-- Scientific proof of personal survival after death.
-- Nor a permanent end to war.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

David Foster Wallace's Word Lists

The late-David Foster Wallace was incredibly fond of collecting words he found to be noteworthy, either by scribbling on the pages of the books he was currently reading, circling specific words in his personal dictionary, or compiling standalone vocabulary lists. The latter method is illustrated below, in the form of just two pages from the hundreds of word lists he amassed over the years.

Transcripts follow each image. Both images courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center.



Transcript
VOCAB 3/97

lee (n) -- place sheltered from wind / side of ship away from wind

ruck -- a multitude of people mixed together / (v) to crease or fold

plication -- act or process of folding / condition of being folded

rimple -- a fold or wrinkle

pinchbeck -- any cheap imitation / zinc and copper alloy used as fake gold

scored -- scarred or marked in parallel lines

bolo -- long heavy Phillipine machete

wrack (n) -- damage from devastation, volence / ruin

neap (adj.) -- from NEAP TIDE, lowest possible tide

flitch -- longitudinal cut in tree; a bunch of long planks bound together to make a beam

abrogate (adj.) -- abolished or annulled by authority

detinue -- act of unlawfully detaining personal property OR a legal action to recover property wrongfully detained

murenger -- wallmaker

maugre -- in spite of, notwithstanding

laciniate -- fringed

antipodal -- situated on opposite sides of the world

antipode -- direct or diametrical opposite

primipara -- woman who's pregnant for the first time

minim -- tiny or insignificant portion

aquarelle -- drawing in transparent watercolor

belvedere -- open, roofed structure built to command a view, like a PRESS BOX

celadon -- pale to very pale green

Guttate -- In the form of drops / spotted as if from drops

Trochar / Trocar -- Sharp device used by mortician to remove blood for embalming



Transcript
gastine -- ?? ghost??

***SCILICET -- adverb, Latin for 'that is to say,' 'namely' (like "viz."?) -- abbreviations are sc., scil., ss, ss.

scissile -- adj. for cut or split easily; "a scissile mineral," "a scissile peptide bond."

satyromaniac -- male version of nymphomaniac

sciolism -- pretentious air of scholarship; superficial knowledgability

descry -- to discern, catch sight of something hard to see

excursus -- long intellectual digression in a speech or piece of writing

confute (v) -- like refute, show to be false or contradictory / or to prevent, forestall

tardive (adj) -- having symptoms that develop slowly or appear long after inception -- used of disease

tarantism -- disorder where you have uncontrollable need to dance

parol (adj) -- spoken, not written

pareve (adj.) -- prepared w/o meat or milk or derivatives and so OK for orthodox Jews to eat w/ meat & dairy; kosher

parfleche -- untanned animal hide soaked in lye to get hair off and then dried on a stretcher / a shield made of this material

flambeau -- lit torch / a decorative candlestick

flake (n) -- a frame or platform for drying produce

recto -- right-hand page of book
verso -- left-hand page of book

rectilinear -- moving in or bounded by straight lines -- "rectilinear pattern in wallpaper"

recrudence -- to break out anew after period of quiescence

palmette -- stylized palm leaf used as decoration in classical moldings, reliefs, vase paintings

Maltese cross -- 4 arrowheads joined at point; looks like ragged tear; dictionary 1089

malocclusion -- faulty contact between upper & lower teeth when jaw is closed

Monday, 19 December 2011

New Years Rulin's



The hugely influential American folk singer Woody Guthrie (1912–1967) recorded more than four hundred songs during his all too brief career, the most famous being 1944’s "This Land Is Your Land." A couple of years earlier, with 1942 soon to begin, Guthrie wrote and illustrated this charming list of New Year’s "Rulin's" in his journal.

Transcript follows. This list can be found in the Lists of Note book, alongside 124 other fascinating lists from throughout the ages. More info over at Books of Note.


Larger version here.

Transcript
NEW YEAR'S RULIN'S

1. WORK MORE AND BETTER
2. WORK BY A SCHEDULE
3. WASH TEETH IF ANY
4. SHAVE
5. TAKE BATH
6. EAT GOOD - FRUIT - VEGETABLES - MILK
7. DRINK VERY SCANT IF ANY
8. WRITE A SONG A DAY
9. WEAR CLEAN CLOTHES - LOOK GOOD
10. SHINE SHOES
11. CHANGE SOCKS
12. CHANGE BED CLOTHES OFTEN
13. READ LOTS GOOD BOOKS
14. LISTEN TO RADIO A LOT
15. LEARN PEOPLE BETTER
16. KEEP RANCHO CLEAN
17. DON’T GET LONESOME
18. STAY GLAD
19. KEEP HOPING MACHINE RUNNING
20. DREAM GOOD
21. BANK ALL EXTRA MONEY
22. SAVE DOUGH
23. HAVE COMPANY BUT DON’T WASTE TIME
24. SEND MARY AND KIDS MONEY
25. PLAY AND SING GOOD
26. DANCE BETTER
27. HELP WIN WAR - BEAT FASCISM
28. LOVE MAMA
29. LOVE PAPA
30. LOVE PETE
31. LOVE EVERYBODY
32. MAKE UP YOUR MIND
33. WAKE UP AND FIGHT

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Marcus

As filming of Giant came to an end in September of 1955, Elizabeth Taylor gave co-star James Dean a Siamese kitten that he named Marcus. A week later, Dean travelled to Salinas to race his Porsche; en route, he died in a car crash. The night before he left — September 28th — he gave the following list of instructions, and Marcus, to a friend.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.



Transcript
1 teaspoon white Karo

1 big can evaporated milk
equal part boiled water or
distilled water

1 egg yoke
mix and chill

Don't feed him meat or formula cold.

1 drop vitamen solution per day

Take Marcus to Dr. Cooper
on Melrose for shots
next week

Friday, 9 December 2011

For Characters Who Don't Dig Jive Talk

The following glossary was printed on the inside cover of "Boogie Woogie in Blue," a 1944 album by jazz pianist Harry "The Hipster" Gibson. Most notable on its list is the very early definition of the word "hipsters."

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of hyzercreek.


Image: hyzercreek

Transcript
For Characters Who Don't Dig Jive Talk:

A Really In There Solid Chick — An Attractive Young Girl
A Shape In A Drape — Looks Good In Clothes
Ball All Night — An All Night Party
Bring Him — Embarrass Him
Cat — A Jive Fan
Clipster — A Confidence Man
Cut On Down, Cut Out — To Leave
Dig Those Mellow Kicks — Knows How To Live
Dig What I’m Putting Down — Pay Attention
Drifter — Floater
Fall In On That Mess — Play That Thing
Fall On Down — Meander
Freakish High — To Get High As A Kite
Get Straight — Work It Out, Make A Deal
Good For Nothin' Mop — No Good Woman
Groovy Little Stash — Cozy Spot
Hipsters — Characters Who Like Hot Jazz
Hold Back The Dawn — Go On This Way Forever
Hype You For Your Gold — Take You For The Bank Roll
I'm Hippin' You Man — Putting You Wise
Joint Is Jumpin' — Place Full Of Customers
Juices — Liquor
Layin' It On You Straight — Telling You The Truth
Like A Motherless Child — Sedate
Lush Yourself To All Ends — Get Very Drunk
Out Of The World Mellow Stage — To Get Ecstatically Drunk
Pitch A Ball — Have A Good Time
Really In There — Knows The Answers
Same Beat Groove — Bored
A Square — Cornfed
Solid Blew My Top — Went Crazy
Solid Give Me My Kicks — Had Lots Of Fun
Solid Stud — Influential man in the entertainment field
His Story Is Great — A Successful Man About Town
Take It Slow — Be Careful
Your Stickin' — Flush, Carrying A Bankroll

Thursday, 8 December 2011

From Daddy and Sean

John Lennon, who was killed on this day in 1980, hand-wrote the following to-do list that very year, just months before his death. It was for the attention of his personal assistant at the time, Fred Seaman.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Christie's.


Image: Christie's

Transcript
F.S.

1) What was the result of taking Y's spoiled blouse to cleaners?

2) Why not?

3) Chicken

4) Strawberries

5) Spinach

(Peas)

6) Carrots (Better Nature has some good organic ones)

7) Apples (?) Blueberries:

8) Try next to leave letters & mags in office all day/everyday.

9) Billy Graham (new book on him)

10) Get some nice white flowers and put on Y's desk (in vase) from 'Daddy & Sean'

11) 1 (one) Yogurt (Plain)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Mr. Hope's Suitcase

Bob Hope began entertaining U.S. troops in 1941, and for the next 50 years travelled many thousands of miles to perform his act for members of the armed forces. To say he was committed to the cause would be an understatement.

Below is a packing list drawn up by his staff in 1969, shortly before he embarked on an "Around the World Tour." Incredibly, just two suitcases were required.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.



Transcript
MR. HOPE'S SUITCASE

PAJAMAS - ROBE
SLIPPERS
RAZOR
WATER-PIK
SOCKS (WOOL AND SILK FOR DRESS)
JOGGING SHOES
DRESS SHOES, SPORT SHOES
HANDKERCHIEFS (SILK AND WHITE)
HAIR BRUSHES (2)
ALKA SELTZER
NORELCO (02) CAPSULES
NAIL KIT
BRUT 33
TIES
SHIRTS (SPORT AND DRESS - MAKE SURE STAYS ARE IN COLLAR)
UNDERSHORTS AND UNDERSHIRTS
SWEATERS FOR GOLF
GOLF PANTS
SUITS
TUX (DRESS SHIRT, BLACK BOW TIE, CUFF LINKS, STUDS)

-----------------

SMALL BLACK CASE
MEDICINE
VITAMINS
MOUTH WASH
TOOTH PASTE
SHAVING BRUSH
GILETTE SHAVING CREAM
COMB

Edmund Wilson Regrets

As his popularity grew, the late-literary critic Edmund Wilson found himself forever responding to mail, to the point where he wasn't able to focus on his work. His eventual solution was to send the following — a list of things it was (regretfully) impossible for him to do — to all who contacted him with a request he couldn't fulfil.

Unluckily for Wilson, news of his unique rejection list quickly circulated, and he was soon inundated with requests for the rejection itself.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Crikey.


Image: Crikey

Transcript
EDMUND WILSON REGRETS THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO:

Read manuscripts,
Write articles or books to order,
Write forwards or introductions,
Make statements for publicity purposes,
Do any kind of editorial work,
Judge literary contests,
Give interviews,
Conduct educational courses,
Deliver lectures,
Give talks or make speeches,
Broadcast or appear on television,
Take part in writers’ congresses,
Answer questionnaires,
Contribute to or take part in symposiums or "panels" of any kind,
Contribute manuscripts for sales,
Donate copies of his books to libraries,
Autograph works for strangers,
Allow his name to be used on letterheads,
Supply personal information about himself,
Supply photographs of himself,
Supply opinions on literary or other subjects.

(I don’t [do] live readings either unless I'm offered a very large fee. EW)

Take what you need

Baseball player Don Carman had grown so tired of mundane post-game interviews by 1990 that he decided to forego them altogether, and instead attached a handwritten list of stock responses to his locker along with a message to reporters: "You saw the game. Take what you need."

The list read as follows:

1. I'm just glad to be here. I just want to help the club any way I can.
2. Baseball's a funny game.
3. I'd rather be lucky than good.
4. We're going to take the season one game at a time.
5. You're only as good as your last game (last at-bat).
6. This game has really changed.
7. If we stay healthy we should be right there.
8. It takes 24 (25) players.
9. We need two more players to take us over the top: Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig.
10. We have a different hero every day.
11. We'll get 'em tomorrow.
12. This team seems ready to gel.
13. With a couple breaks, we win that game.
14. That All-Star voting is a joke.
15. The catcher and I were on the same wavelength.
16. I just went right at 'em.
17. I did my best and that's all I can do.
18. You just can't pitch behind.
19. That's the name of the game.
20. We've got to have fun.
21. I didn't have my good stuff, but I battled 'em.
22. Give the guy some credit; he hit a good pitch.
23. He, we were due to catch a break or two.
24. Yes.
25. No.
26. That's why they pay him _____ million dollars.
27. Even I could have hit that pitch.
28. I know you are but what am I?
29. I was getting my off-speed stuff over so they couldn't sit on the fastball.
30. I had my at 'em ball going today.
31. I had some great plays made behind me tonight.
32. I couldn't have done it without my teammates.
33. You saw it... write it.
34. I just wanted to go as hard as I could as long as I could.
35. I'm seeing the ball real good.
36. I hit that ball good.
37. I don't get paid to hit.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Houdini's Rider

This fantastic 'scene and prop. list' was written by Harry Houdini in the early 1900s and, just in case they didn't have a trap door, 100 gallons of boiling water and a strong batten to hand at all times, supplied to the venues at which he was to appear.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library.



Transcript
Houdini's

SCENE AND PROP. LIST

Open and close in full stage. (Palace.)

Time of act—About 25 minutes.

As I leave stage soaking wet in bathing suit, required two dressing rooms nearest stage (6 in company). Couch in dressing room.

Require a small trap in center of stage, not less than 8 inches square (8x8 inches) two feet in rear of front cloth.

Must have use of Fire Hose to reach from side of stage, about 3 feet past center of stage., Hose is used in view of audience.

Please see to it that the water in Hose is run off. It must be clear, so that audience can see through same.

100 gallons of Boiling water (must be boiling).

We carry four brass tubs to hold this water, which must be filled ready on stage before each performance.

Prepare a chute, or get-away, for 250 gallons of water, from the small 8x8-inch trap to most convenient spot underneath stage. The outlet in our Water Cloth is 6 inches in Diameter.

Our Water Carpet must be flied after each show back of stage, for which we require a strong batten.

Two small occasional tables (gold if possible, and 4 gold chairs) and 18 Bent-wood Chairs.

A run or stair case, so that committee from audience can come over footlights onto stage.

A small, clean looking (mahogany colored if possible) step ladder about 3 feet 6 inches high.

Two 20 feet and two 16 feet lengths of Lumber 4 inches by 2 inches (4x2 inches), or battens would do, which must be 4 inches wide.

PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING AT MY EXPENSE

A Love List

Eero Saarinen — the late architect responsible for, amongst other things, the Gateway Arch — compiled the following list in 1954 and gave it to his new wife, Aline, as a romantic gesture. It's a handwritten, 13-point breakdown of her best attributes.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of the Archives of American Art.



Transcript
I — FIRST I RECOGNIZED THAT YOU WERE VERY CLEVER

II — THAT YOU WERE VERY HANSOME

III — THAT YOU WERE PERCEPTIVE

IV — THAT YOU WERE ENTHUSIASTIC.

V — THAT YOU WERE GENEROUS.

VI — THAT YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL

VII — THAT YOU WERE TERRIBLY WELL ORGANIZED

VIII — THAT YOU WERE FANTASTICALLY EFFICIENT

IX — THAT YOU DRESS VERY WELL

IIIA — THAT YOU HAVE A MARVELOUS SENSE OF HUMOR

X — THAT YOU HAVE A VERY BEAUTIFUL BODY.

XI — THAT YOU ARE UNBELIEVABLE GENEROUS TO ME.

XII — THAT THE MORE ONE DIGS THE FOUNDATIONS THE MORE AND MORE ONE FINDS THE SOLIDEST OF GRANIT FOR YOU AND I TO BUILD A LIFE TOGETHER UPON (I KNOW THIS IS NOT A GOOD SENTENCE)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Kurt Cobain hand-wrote the following to-do list mid-1991, as Nirvana prepared to film the now-iconic music video for Smells Like Teen Spirit. It was eventually filmed on a sound stage and directed by Samuel Bayer.

Transcript follows. Image from the book, Kurt Cobain: Journals.



Transcript
Smells Like Teen Spirt

needed
1. Mercedes benz and a few old cars
2. Access to a abandoned mall, main floor and one Jewelry shop.
3. lots of fake Jewelry
4. School Auditorium (Gym)
5. A cast of hundreds. 1 custodian, students.
6. 6 black Cheerleader outfits with Anarchy A's Ⓐ on chest

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Eloquent Silence

Walt Whitman was hugely affected when Abraham Lincoln — a man he had admired for some years — was assassinated in April of 1865, and soon afterwards he published a now-famous elegy for the late-President, entitled 'When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd.'

As he prepared to write that poem, Whitman drew up the following list of synonyms.

Transcript follows. Images courtesy of the Walt Whitman Archive.




Transcript
sorrow (saxon)
grieve
sad
mourn (sax)
" ing
" ful
melancholy
dismal
heavy‑hearted
tears
black
sobs —ing
sighing
funeral rites
wailing
lamenting
mute grief
eloquent silence
bewail
bemoan
deplore
regret deeply
loud lament
pitiful
loud weeping
violent lamentation
anguish
wept sore
depression
pain of mind
passionate regret
afflicted with grief
cast down
downcast
gloomy
serious
sympathy
moving compassion
tenderness
tender-hearted
full of pity
obscurity
partial or total darkness
(as the gloom of a forest — gloom of midnight)
cloudy
cloudiness
" of mind
mind sunk in gloom
soul " " "

dejection
dejected

[2nd Page]

shades of night
heavy
dull — sombre
sombre shades
" ness
affliction
oppress — oppressive
" ion
prostration
humble — humility
suffering — silent suffering
burdensome
Distress — distressing
Calamity
Extreme anguish (either of mind or body)
Misery
torture
harrassed
weighed down
trouble
deep affliction
plaintive
Calamity
disaster
something that strikes down — as by Almighty

Friday, 2 December 2011

John Wayne's Favourites

John Wayne wrote the following lists — his choices for the best motion pictures and actors of all time — in 1977, in response to a request by The People's Almanac. They apparently polled all Academy Award winning actors in a similar fashion.

Transcripts follow. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.




Transcript
MY CHOICE OF THE 5 BEST MOTION PICTURE ACTORS OF ALL TIME:

1. Spencer Tracy
2. Elizabeth Taylor
3. Kathrine Hepburn
4. Laurence Olivier
5. Lionel Barrymore

Signed: (John Wayne)

-----------------------------

MY CHOICE OF THE 5 BEST MOTION PICTURES OF ALL TIME:

1. A Man For All Seasons
2. Gone with the Wind
3. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
4. The Searchers
5. The Quiet Man

Signed: (John Wayne)

Johnny Cash's To-Do List

Legendary singer-songwriter Johnny Cash proposed to the love of his life, fellow country star June Carter, on stage in 1968, 13 years after first meeting her. Their relationship stood the test of time and they remained together until her death, 35 years later. Cash was a romantic man and wrote countless handwritten love notes for his wife during their marriage; even his to-do lists, such as the one seen here, were brimming with affection.

Transcript follows. This list can be found in the Lists of Note book, alongside 124 other fascinating lists from throughout the ages. More info over at Books of Note.



Transcript
THINGS TO DO TODAY!

1. Not smoke
2. Kiss June
3. Not kiss anyone else
4. Cough
5. Pee
6. Eat
7. Not eat too much
8. Worry
9. Go see Mama
10. Practice Piano

NOTES: Not write notes