Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 1

A Miscellany

Back in the 1880s or so (1889) the absolute high-tech sound gadget to have was an Edison phonograph, with recordings made on wax cylinders. It was the iPod of its day; astoundingly simple to use, although not really very portable.

Once people realized the awesome implications of the device, everyone clamored to have their voices recorded. There were probably millions of variations of "I sound like that?" all over the place.

In 1957 a box of wax cylinder recordings, some in very bad condition, were found at the Edison laboratory in New Jersey. It took a while, but thanks to modern digital technology, they were able to resurrect the content on the recordings.

One of the voices captured for prosperity is Prince Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian chancellor who unified Germany; another is Helmut Graf von Moltke, the commander of the armies that defeated the French in 1871. There are also songs and instrumental music.

A real blast from the past.


In 1976 (before things went horribly wrong over there), an archeologist in Iraq unearthed a tablet that displayed examples of 'wisdom literature,' a collection of pithy sayings that could be used as guides in living. Such things were used as writing exercises for students. The tablet dated to ancient Babylonia, about 3500 years or so ago, Daylight Savings.

One has to do with beer: In your mouth and your teeth, constantly stared at you, the measuring vessel of your lord. (-What is it?) Beer.

(The scientists who are translating this assure us that the cuneiform symbols for 'teeth' can also translate as 'urine.' I'm sure it was a real rib-tickler.)

Another is a bit odd: ...of your mother is by the one who has intercourse with her. What/who is it? [No answer]

Could this be, dear readers?

Could it be that these enterprising scientists may, in fact, have unearthed the World's Oldest Yo Mama Joke?

No comments: