Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: silliness

Sunday, December 1, 1912

From the Siren, the university humor journal:

Sage—Know thyself.

Cynic—What’s the use? It’s not an acquaintance from whom you can borrow money,



Monday, November 18, 1912

Lester Noble, a Courier-Herald linotyper, was enjoying a late-night cigar at the Columbian hotel when he was drafted into service by Officer McClara of the police force. McClara whispered that there were burglars in Boyd’s bowling alley. “Noble’s luxuriant growth of hair began to protrude upward. ‘Let ’em burgle. I’m goin’ home,’ he said.” The officer insisted, though, and they made their way to the alley, where Noble fell over a box in the darkness and made a loud crash, warning the burglars, if there were any. “The praise Mr. Noble is receiving today is a soothing balm to his barked shins and fluttering nerves.”

A “suffragette army” completed its 400-mile walk from Edinburgh to London in five weeks. They went straight to Downing street to present a petition demanding suffrage for women, but “Premier Asquith, profiting from his experience of previous meetings with the vote-seeking women, had retired to the country.”

Tuesday, November 12, 1912

“Interest in the indictment of four students for riot, this morning, paled somewhat when Arthur H. Ogle, editor of the Illini, the daily University newspaper, was arrested on a writ of attachment and brought before Judge Philbrick on a charge of contempt of court. An editorial in Saturday’s Illini, entitled “A Mock Tribunal,” in which the grand jury’s method was criticized for its investigation of the recent student riot, resulted in Ogle’s indictment and arrest.”

That is no joke, but here is a joke that also appeared in today’s Courier (“puzzle factory” is a slang term for “insane asylum”):

A highbrow was visiting the puzzle factory. As he passed cell 23 the grinning inmate demanded a hearing. “I must admit that I am at a loss for a suitable reply,” said the highbrow. “Tell me, why is a crow?”

“Caws,” grinned No. 23.

Sunday, November 10, 1912

I have got hold of a copy of last month’s Siren, the University of Illinois student humor magazine. Here I reproduce one of its pieces that I enjoyed:


A Few Phrases and How to Use Them

We aim to please our readers. For this purpose we have secured A. Warmbabe, a former east sider, to interpret and illustrate a few of the latest fashions in slang. These will appear each month.

“I should worry!” A very new and novel effect in saying one thing and meaning the other. This phrase should be delivered in a guttural yet jovial tone and accompanied by an absolutely carefree and, if possible, inane expression of countenance. It means literally—”Sweet essence of joy! The world’s sky blue.”

“Nix on that stuff!” (from Nix—small incisions, and stuffing—the Xmas intestines of a turkey). A late and pleasing perversion. It should be said in a nasal tone and emitted from the corner of the mouth. An effective accompaniment is a curt flip of one’s hand on a level with the hip. (Practice this before the mirror). Translation—”Cheese it kid, I’m curdling.”

“String me, dear, I’m beans”, (from string—”get me going” and beans—”off my lid”). Use this as a proposal speech. Its best setting is a dark and lonely porch furnished with one small settee. Said in a low voice ringing with tenderness and pathos this sentence is tremendously effective. Practice in the basement or better still, try it on your sister.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We hope our readers will take advantage of this column each month to improve their grasp of the English idiom.

Saving Up Coupons for Mother

Here is a comic song performed by Nat M. Wills in 1909. If you like it, you can download the MP3 at the Free Music Archive. (You can download it even if you don’t like it, but what would be the point?)


From Black and WTF, a wonderful compendium of odd black-and-white photographs.

Presidential Knife Fight

My friend Jim sent me a link to a hilarious blog post speculating on a knife fight involving every American president, and here is an excerpt featuring the three candidates of the 1912 election:

26) Theodore Roosevelt: The man, the legend. A member of the Holy Trinity, and my personal favourite to come out on top. Anyone who gets shot at the start of a long speech and delivers the whole thing anyway –a man who beat asthma by strength of character and who lost vision in one of his eyes while boxing in the White House– has the tenacity to endure more than a few knife wounds if he thinks he’s right and everyone else is wrong. Let’s also not forget how much time this man spent with a skinning knife in his hand: The Smithsonian is a monument to this man’s ability to butcher creatures of all shapes and sizes. He also liked to call his enemies cowards, and the force of his personality could easily unbalance those who would try to argue against his will.

27) William Howard Taft. What did that man look like in his prime? I suspect even at his most physically fit he could go toe to toe with the stereotypical 21st Century Wal-Mart patron. I just don’t think he was ever healthy enough to make a good showing in this arena. Dead early, and his corpse might well be used as a low wall or some sort of artificial hill to lend advantage to his conquerors.

28) Woodrow Wilson. A brilliant mind and a delicate physique. Dead very early. If Teddy Roosevelt in his prime knew that Wilson would be president after him, I suspect Wilson would be a hunted man early in the fight.

Period Lolcat

A bit of silliness, made with Quickmeme

Fun fact: The hamburger was invented sometime between 1885 and 1904 and gained national recognition during the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis; the cheeseburger did not appear until at least 1924.