Craigslist ca. 1900

Suzanne Fischer points to a rib-tickling page purporting an origin in the Craigslist archives and an age of about 100 years. Among the more interesting classifieds of 1906:

– My Electric is Off Again. Edison Will Not Answer His Telephone.

– M4W: Honest Farmer 65 Seeks Healthy Wife 18 to Bear Children, Pull Plow, Cook

– Was Saturday Night Live as Funny Last Night as it was in 1871? I Think NOT.

– Anarchist Rally this Weekend. Time & Place Unknown. BYOB.

– English Building Unsinkable Ship. USA Lags in Technology.

– RE: My Electric is Off Again … Cheapskate. Switch to Westinghouse. Expensive but Reliable.

– A Teaspoon or Two of Laudanum Helps Children Sleep.

– Next Summer’s Bathing Costumes are Scandalous.

Medieval Help Desk

Ever wonder how Europe managed the transition from scroll to codex? This short video may provide some insight. I suspect the periodization is all wrong—historians of the book can let us know—but anyone who has ever worked in tech support will see the comedic conceit is right on.

BTW: Unless you speak Norwegian, you probably want to turn down the sound and stick to the subtitles.

Really Smooth Music

My good friend Rob was particularly disgusted by my Venerable Bede joke (sorry, Rob), so I’m going to try to make it up to him by posting one of his found history picks.

Video podcast Yacht Rock parodies the silky sounds of late-70s and early-80s pop acts like Steely Dan, Chicago, Hall and Oates, Toto, and Christopher Cross, in each episode reenacting the “secret history” of a different yacht rock classic. As host Hollywood Steve tells us from his “music nook”:

From 1976-1984 the radio airwaves were dominated by really smooth music, also known as Yacht Rock. These yacht rockers docked a remarkable fleet of number one hits, and every song has a story behind it. Let me tell you one.

Episode 1, for example, tells the story of how new Doobie Brothers member, Michael McDonald (with help from former Loggins and Messina front man Kenny Loggins) came to write “What a fool Believes,” transforming the Doobies’ earlier, guitar-rock sound into the yacht rock of their later years. Episode 2 documents the 1978 “back alley” song writing duel between Loggins and McDonald and yacht rock bad boys Hall and Oates. Episode 3 explains Loggins’ transition from the smooth sounds of yacht rock to the rockin’ beats of his Caddyshack and Top Gun years. Episode 6 is the most overtly “historical” of the bunch, featuring piercing insights from Ferris State University history professor, Dr. “Big Rapids” Gary Huey. Huey provides the Plymouth Plantation pre-history of yacht rock, complete with a doubly-anachronistic cameo by none other than Jethro Tull (appearing here as a kind of unholy hybrid of the 18th century agriculturalist and the 1970s hard rock flutist, Ian Anderson). From there it just gets weirder.

Have a good weekend, and in the immortal words of yacht rock producer, Koko Goldstein, “don’t loose the smooth.” Now I’m off to find me an ice cold Tab.

John Bolton, John Stewart, Doris Kearns Goodwin

I was cleaning out my TiVo last night, and I caught this odd trio debating the makeup of Lincoln’s cabinet. The phone is an especially nice touch.

(Don’t blame me for the crappy video embed. My initial instinct was to pull this from YouTube. After several fruitless searches there, I finally remembered Viacom’s DMCA lawsuit and stumbled over to Comedy Central’s nearly unusable video pages. How many thousands of like-minded YouTube users have just given up and forgotten all about their Daily Show clip? Nice move, Viacom.)

Colonial Williamsburg on SNL

Saturday Night Live had a funny sketch this weekend exposing the anachronisms inherent in living history museums and exploring how family- and employee-friendly public history venues like Colonial Williamsburg struggle with historical realities (e.g. slavery) that aren’t so family-friendly. As of this posting the video is still available from NBC, but I can’t promise it will be there for long. I’ll try to keep an eye on YouTube and if it turns up there I’ll post an update.

Late Update (10/31/06): It looks like NBC removed the Williamsburg video from its site, and I can’t seem to find it on YouTube or Google Video. For now, we’ll have to live with SNL’s summary.

Talladega Nights

“America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed” — Eleanor Roosevelt … (epigraph from the new Will Ferrell comedy, Talladega Nights)