Saturday, November 18, 2017

Some Unusual Graves

Following on from the earlier post about statues of naked women on graves, here are some other unusal last resting places . . .

The graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband in Roermond, Holland. The husband, J.W.C van Gorcum, colonel of the Dutch Cavalry and militia commissioner in Limburg, is buried in the Protestant part of the cemetery. He died in 1880 after 38 years of marriage. His wife, lady J.C.P.H van Aefferden, died in 1888 and was buried in the Catholic part of the cemetery on the other side of the separating wall. Their tombstones clasp hands.   Awwww.

Located at the Recoleta Cemetery in Argentina, the grave of the husband has the figure of a man looking at the horizon whilst sitting on a sofa. The grave of the wife is also marked by a sculpture but hers is looking in the opposite direction. They have their backs to each other. The backstory is that the husband died first and asked for the grave statue. She died some years later and asked for hers to have her back to him, as representing their marriage: they spent their last 30 years without speaking a word. 

Little is known about Fernand Arbelot (1880-1942) and even less is known of his wife, not her name or where she is buried. Fernand, a musician and actor, remains known because of his one desire in death: to forever gaze on the face of his wife. Arbelot died in Paris, France, during the German Nazi occupation and it is there that he is buried, gazing at his wife’s face for eternity (or as long as the sculpture lasts). There is a story that he murdered his wife and committed suicide, but this is not confirmed. The disembodied head sure looks creepy, though. Fernand Fuckedintheheadelot.

Mary Reed died in New York in 1893. Hubby Jonathan, 68 at the time, loved her greatly and constructed a mausoleum to house her remains. He visited her tomb daily and began placing her favourite things in there: paintings, photos, red curtains, silverware, yarn, old gloves, their pet parrot. . .  even a rocking chair, which he began to use. And a stove. It was but a small step to move in and live there, which he did. For ten years. In an interview with the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1895, he stated: "My wife was a remarkable woman and our lives were blended into one. When she died, I had no ambition but to cherish her memory. My only pleasure is to sit here with all that is left of her." The fact of a man residing in his wife’s tomb became a tourist attraction, even a group of Tibetan monks visited, assuming he had some insight on life after death. He died in 1905 and his remains were placed next to his wife. There is no word on what happened to the parrot. 

John Milburn Davis of Hiawatha, Kansas, was sad when Sarah, his wife of over 50 years, passed away in 1930. After a few years he decided that private mourning was not enough, he would go public and, what is more, he had the money to do so. In 1932 construction began of an elaborate grave monument, which took 8 years to complete. Ten life-size Italian marble statues depict John and Sarah as they age. The 11th statue is of John alone, missing his left hand, lost it in a farming accident, sitting next to "The Vacant Chair" where Sarah would have sat. There are also numerous marble urns and a heavy canopy. Davis once he saw a visitor sitting in "The Vacant Chair". Angered by this, he had a wall erected around the gravesite The last statue and chair are made of granite, Davis’s life savings having been exhausted on the project. Davis died in 1947 aged 92, but few of the townspeople attended the funeral. They disliked Davis for having spent a fortune, estimated between $100,000 and several times that amount, on a memorial to a dead woman when it had hoped he might instead construct a hospital for the town. Remember too that this was during the years of the Great Depression. Still, for many years the good citizens of Hiawatha have had the benefit of tourist dollars as a result of the graves. 

Jack Crowell (1924 – 1996) owned the National Clothespin Company, the last wooden clothespin manufacturer in the United States. Today it produces plastic clothespins and barrettes, what the Seppos call hairclips. Jack Crow, as he was known, marked his grave (located in Middlesex, Washington County, Vermont, USA) with a wooden clothes peg, but they didn’t grant him his complete last wish: that the clothes peg be made of wood with a metal spring in the middle so that children could use it as a seesaw.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thought for the Day

Funny Friday


The weeks seem to be flying by as we get closer to Christmas, or is that just a characteristic of getting older?

Flying is also a segue for the theme of today's Funny Friday: aeroplanes and flying. Enjoy.

By the way, who recalls the name of the autopilot in Flying High?

A stats professor plans to travel to a conference by plane. When he passes the security check, they discover a bomb in his carry-on-baggage. Of course, he is hauled off immediately for interrogation.

"I don't understand it!" the interrogating officer exclaims. "You're an accomplished professional, a caring family man, a pillar of your parish - and now you want to destroy that all by blowing up an airplane!"

"Sorry", the professor interrupts him. "I had never intended to blow up the plane."

"So, for what reason else did you try to bring a bomb on board?!"

"Let me explain. Statistics shows that the probability of a bomb being on an airplane is one in one thousand.. That's quite high if you think about it - so high that I wouldn't have any peace of mind on a flight."

"And what does this have to do with you bringing a bomb on board of a plane?"

"You see, since the probability of one bomb being on my plane is one in one thousand, the chance that there are two bombs is one in one million. If I already bring one, the chance of another bomb being around is actually one in one million, and I am much safer... “

A very distinguished lady was on a plane arriving from Switzerland.
She found herself seated next to a nice priest whom she asked:
"Excuse me Father, could I ask a favour?"
"Of course my child. What can I do for you?"
"Here is the problem. I bought myself a new sophisticated hair remover gadget for which I paid an enormous sum of money. I have really gone over the declaration limits and I am worried that they will confiscate it at customs. Do you think you could hide it under your cassock?"
"Of course I could, my child, but you must realize that I cannot lie."
"You have such an honest face Father, I am sure they will not ask you any questions", and she gave him the hair remover device.
The aircraft arrived at its destination. When the priest presented himself to customs he was asked, "Father, do you have anything to declare?"
"From the top of my head to my sash, I have nothing to declare, my son,” he replied.
Finding this reply strange, the customs officer asked, "And from the sash down, what do you have?"
The priest replied, "I have there a marvelous little instrument designed for use by women, but which has never been used."
Breaking out in laughter, the customs officer said, "Go ahead Father. Next!"

An elderly Canadian gentleman of 93 arrived in Paris by plane.
At the French customs desk, the man took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry-on bag.
"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked, sarcastically.
The elderly gentleman admitted he had been to France previously.
"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."
The Canadian said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
"Impossible, Canadians always have to show your passports on arrival in France!"
The Canadian senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look, then he quietly explained, "Well, when I came ashore at Juno Beach on D Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find any Frenchmen to show it to."

Two Arabs boarded a flight from Washington to New York. One sat in the window seat, the other in the middle seat.

Just before take-off a little Israeli guy got on and took the aisle seat next to the Arabs.

He kicked off his shoes, wiggled his toes and was just settling in when the Arab in the window seat said, “I think I’ll go up and get a Coke.”

“No problem,” said the Israeli, “Stay there, I’ll get it for you.” While he was gone, the Arab picked up the Israeli’s shoe and spat in it.

When the Israeli returned with the Coke, the other Arab said, “That looks good. I think I’ll have one too.”

Again, the Israeli obligingly went to fetch it, and while he was gone the Arab picked up the other shoe and spat in it too.

The Israeli returned with the coke, and they all sat back and enjoyed the short flight to New York.

As the plane was landing the Israeli slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened.

“How long must this go on?” he asked. “This enmity between our people…this hatred…this animosity…this spitting in shoes and pissing in cokes?”

A purser on a flight from Cairns to Brisbane asked a passenger in Business Class what he had in his bag.  

“ Crabs,  Caught them  this morning.  They’re still alive and kicking.  I’ll cook them tonight.”  

The purser, a charming young woman, volunteered to keep them in the kitchen until the flight was over.  The flight was full and she was pretty busy.  As the plane was circling Brisbane she realized that she wasn’t quite sure which passenger the parcel belonging to.  So she called over the intercom “Would the man who gave me the crabs in Cairns come forward so that I can give them back to him.”


Corn Corner:

A blonde gets to fly in an airplane for the first time. She has never been on an airplane anywhere and was very excited and tense. As soon as she boarded the plane, a Boeing 747, she started jumping in excitement, running over seat to seat and starts shouting, "BOEING! BOEING!! BOEING!!! BO....." She sort of forgets where she is, even the pilot in the cock-pit hears the noise. Annoyed by the goings on, the Pilot comes out and shouts "Be silent!" There was pin-drop silence everywhere and everybody is looking at the blonde and the angry Pilot. She stared at the pilot in silence for a moment, concentrated really hard, and all of a sudden started shouting, "OEING! OEING! OEING! OE...." 

The answer to the question raised at the beginning of this post . . .

(Otto Pilot.  Autopilot.  Get it? . . .  at least, that is what I assume.)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thought for the Day

Origins: Denim and Jeans

  • Denim is a sturdy cotton warp-faced textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. 
  • The most common denim is indigo denim, in which the warp thread is dyed, while the weft thread is left white. As a result, one side of the textile is dominated by the blue warp threads and the other side is dominated by the white weft threads. This causes blue jeans to be white on the inside. The indigo dyeing process, in which the core of the warp threads remains white, creates denim's signature fading characteristics.

  • The name "denim" derives from the French “serge de Nîmes”, meaning “serge from Nîmes”.
  • Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye to make blue jeans, although "jean" formerly denoted a different, lighter, cotton fabric. The contemporary use of the word "jeans" comes from the French word for Genoa, Italy (Gênes), where the first denim trousers were made.
  • Denim has been used in the United States since the mid 19th century. Denim initially gained popularity in 1873 when Jacob W. Davis, a tailor from Nevada, manufactured the first pair of rivet-reinforced denim pants. 
Jacob Davis (1831-1908), photographed in 1905
  • At this time, clothes for Western labourers, such as teamsters, surveyors, and miners, were not very durable. His concept for making reinforced jeans was inspired when a female customer requested a pair of durable and strong pants for her husband to chop wood. When Davis was about to finish making the denim jeans, he saw some copper rivets lying on a table and used the rivets to fasten the pockets. Soon, the popularity of denim jeans began to spread rapidly and Davis was overwhelmed with requests. He soon sold 200 pairs to workers in need of heavy work clothing. Nevertheless, because of the production capacity in his small shop, Davis was struggling to keep up with the demand. 
  • Davis wrote a proposal to dry goods wholesaler Levi Strauss & Co. that had been supplying Davis with bolts of denim fabric. Davis's proposal was to patent the design of the rivet-reinforced denim pant, with Davis listed as inventor, in exchange for certain rights of manufacture. Levi Strauss & Co. was so impressed by the possibilities for profit in the manufacture of the garment that they then hired Davis to be in charge of the mass production in San Francisco.
  • Because of the popularity of the jeans manufactured by Levi Strauss & Co , the term “levi’s” became a generic term for jeans, later being limited to jeans from Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Levi Strauss was born in Germany in 1829 into a Jewish family. At the age of 18, Strauss, his mother and two sisters travelled to the United States to join his brothers Jonas and Louis, who had begun a wholesale dry goods business in New York City called J. Strauss Brother & Co.
  • The family decided to open a West Coast branch of the family dry goods business in San Francisco, which was the commercial hub of the California Gold Rush. Levi was chosen to represent the family and he opened his dry goods wholesale business as Levi Strauss & Co. The business imported fine dry goods—clothing, bedding, combs, purses, handkerchiefs—from his brothers in New York. He also made tents, a business which enabled him to branch out into manufacture of jeans.
  • Levi Strauss died in 1902, in San Francisco at the age of 73. He never married, and left the business to his four nephews. His estate was estimated to be around $6 million[($164 million in 2014 dollars), with large amounts having been left to charities.

Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received their patent for copper riveted jeans in 1873. The above image ge of two horses straining to tear apart a pair of pants is from 1886.  With their patent to run out in 1890, Strauss and David rightly surmised there would be cheaper competitors.  The above image was designed to emhasise the strength of the product as well as creating a recognisable image for people unable to read. Indeed the company was known as the Two Horses brand until 1928.

A young Levi Strauss

Death of Levi Strauss

Levi's first miner's pants, worn by miners in Placer County, California, in 1882

In the 950s people who wore jeans were seen as street punk or rebellious teenagers. Above: James Dean and Marlon Brando. Slowly this image changed over time and today we see people with different ages comfortably wearing jeans. It is still big thing in fashion industry that does not get old or out of trend.

Marilyn Monroe helped popularise blue jeans by wearing them in her 1954 film “River of No Return”

Marilyn Monroe with co-star Robert Mitchum

The original pair of blue jeans, Levi’s 501 jeans, were actually called ‘waist overalls’, or just ‘overalls’, when they were first created. This was traditionally the name for men’s workwear.

The Red Tab was first placed onto the right back pocket of the jeans in 1936 as a way to identify Levi’s from their competition. 

Levi’s are also the creators of the denim jacket. The earliest denim jacket dates back to the late 1880s and was originally referred to as the Blouse. The jacket that we know today came into existence in 1962. Above: Miley Cyrus with denim jacket and denim shorts.

Ever wondered what that tiny useless pocket in your levi’s is for? The answer is that originally it was for watches for watches for cowboys in the 1800s. The Levi Strauss website suggests modern uses: "Originally included as protection for pocket watches, thus the name, this extra pouch has served many functions, evident in its many titles: frontier pocket, condom pocket, coin pocket, match pocket and ticket pocket, to name a few."