Monday, January 28, 2008

History Goes to the Movies

Over the weekend, I saw the cinematic historical epic du jour, There Will Be Blood. I highly, highly recommend it for anybody who's interested in Upton Sinclair, oil, sweeping historical epics, late Gilded Age issues and aesthetics, or Daniel Day-Lewis screaming about milkshakes.

Yeah, there's one particular line that's both a perfect metaphor and utterly absurd, and of course whenever my brain hears "milkshake" anymore, I go to one particular song.

Apparently, I'm not the only one, as evidenced by this charming little nugget of YouTube I found today:

Friday, January 25, 2008

I See London, I See France, I See Friday Links

It's been a slowish week here at History is Funny. I blame the cold weather here in New York.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What Else Do I Have To Say?

Billy Joel has said that if he hadn't become a musician, he would have wanted to be a history teacher. His secret history-buffitude emerged in the 1989 hit "We Didn't Start the Fire," which was basically a rapid-fire tour through the second half of the 20th century, jam-packed with references to pop culture, politics, sports, and science.

Here are a few awesome tribute sites, which will give you some extra background information on various lines in the song you may have missed or misunderstood:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Germane and German

And in case you need a bit of light (and I do mean light) reading for the long weekend, LiveJournal user "benchilada" has found a bit o' lit for you:

I tried to use just one-syllable words in this post and have, for the most part, done well, but I think not as well as I could have.

Call Me Friday Links

Not much laugh-out-loud funny to be had this week, but plenty in the way of fascinating stories.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Here Lies Good Old Fred - A Great Big Rock Fell On His Head

Apocryphal stories about epitaphs abound in popular culture, especially when it comes to well-known entertainers who number among the deceased. There's just something satisfying about the idea of leaving one last great line behind, though it's a scant few, it seems, who actually go through with it.

Contrary to popular belief, Dorothy Parker's grave doesn't say "Excuse my dust." She doesn't actually have one - she was cremated and her ashes were scattered - but apparently the garden where the ashes were eventually scattered thought to add it to the plaque that commemorates her there.

Thanks to Find A Grave, I have found a few verifiable - and funny - epitaphs from various famous folks:

(The title of this post originates outside the Haunted Mansion ride at the Magic Kingdom. While most of the Disney World rides offer you some distraction while you wait, the headstones that greet the line for this ride are funny in the most corny, silly, mildly twisted way possible.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

History is Sketchy

Those of you in the greater metropolitan New York area may wish to check out the following incredibly awesome comedy show, which has its first performance this week. Kelly's a good friend of mine, and if this show is half as funny as it sounded when she was first conceptualizing it, it will be well worth your five bucks:

Henry Clay Frick Presents: Kelly Buttermore and Greg Wilker Can't Read
From the minds of a history teacher and the daughter of a history teacher comes a show about presidents, panthers, and the difference between Henry Clay and Henry Clay Frick. Join Kelly Buttermore and Greg Wilker for an evening of zany yet educational sketch comedy.

Written and performed by Kelly Buttermore and Greg Wilker
Featuring Jon Bander and Eden Gauteron
Directed by Mark Grenier

Tuesday, January 15th and Tuesday, January 29th at 8:00 pm
@ the Magnet Theater
254 West 29th Street, just off of 8th Avenue
Only $5!
Visit their website or call 212-244-8824 for reservations!

(ed. note - I really, really hope they left in the part about William Howard Taft being the lead singer of the first all-dog rock band.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Have Lusted in My Heart for Friday Links

I think maybe I'll just make this the thing I do for Fridays - all the nutty stuff I collect during the week in one tasty little post.

(Listen to me talk like I invented blogging or something...or even like it's not something I've been doing for going on seven years now.)

But forget all that - let's get on with the linkage.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Steampunk Drive-by Shooting

Certainly there is not much to laugh at when it comes to the extermination of the bison in the American West.

I found this image from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper today. It shows men shooting at buffalo (eh, bison, buffalo, only extreme zoology pedants will get up in my grill about it) from the windows of a train - an exceptionally stupid and cruel stunt inflicted by a people already well-known for their stupidity and cruelty.

But stupid and cruel though it is, I still got a pretty dark chuckle out of it, especially having recently seen Will Smith using a Ford Shelby Mustang to hunt deer in Manhattan in I Am Legend. Call this the predecessor if you will.

One for the ladies

Over at the Freakonomics blog today, there's some great betting-themed analysis of Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire primary victory, with bonus comparisons to Truman and Dewey. Though I'm an Obama girl myself, I'm a presidential trivia nerd first and foremost, so I think the outcome will be fascinating no matter who wins it all.

Also, discussion over there has inspired me to do a little extra research on female presidential candidates, which led me to this list of female candidates, worldwide, since 1870.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Links Galore

A couple of new articles are in the works, but for now, just enjoy this slice of the latest interesting, absorbing, and just plain weird history-related news items:

Also, did you catch the new PBS documentary Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil, and the Presidency on Wednesday? I'll keep my eyes open for a re-airing, and if I find anything out, I'll let you know. It was fun, but woefully low on badassery.