Sunday 20 December 2009

I'm beginning to think they don't even have any good tidings for me. Or my kin.

Help! Am trapped in the house by a gang of strangers, demanding something called 'figgy pudding'. Have told them I have no pudding of any sort, 'figgy' or otherwise; but they are deaf to reason, and simply keep repeating that they won't leave until they get some. Did my best to improvise with what I could find in the kitchen, and offered them tinned rice pudding with dried prunes in it; but they threw it angrily back in my face, and went back to chanting 'bring some out here', despite the fact that they are inside with me. The siege is now in its third day. Please send help. Or figs.  

Monday 14 December 2009

Sibling rivalry.

Christoph Dassler, a worker in a German shoe factory in the early twentieth century, had two sons, Adolf and Rudolf. Adolf trained as a cobbler, and the brothers decided to set up a shoe factory of their own - the Gebruder Dassler Schuhfabrik -  in their mother's laundry, in their home town of Herzogenaurach. As time went on, a rift grew between the brothers; according to one account because Rudolf was the more enthusiastic Nazi; according to another because of an occasion during an air raid when Adolf and his wife got into his air raid shelter to find Rudolf and his family already there, and Adolf said ‘The dirty bastards are back again’ - referring, he later claimed, to the Allied planes. Rudolf wasn't convinced that’s what he was referring to.

Whatever the reason, in 1948 the partnership broke up for good, and Rudolf moved to new premises on the other side of the river, and set up his own shoe factory, which he originally named Ruda (RUdolf DAssler), but then changed, to Puma.

Meanwhile, Adolf renamed the original company, also after himself. Adolf wasn’t generally known as Adolf, though (especially not by 1948, I imagine) - he was known as Adi. Adi Dassler.

The international headquarters of both companies are still located across the river from one another in the small town of Herzogenaurach. Rudolf and Adolf, who never reconciled, are both buried there too, in the same cemetery... as far away from each another as possible. 

Monday 7 December 2009

Also, given that there's snow on the ground, aren't shorts a rather adventurous choice, Gramps?

Whilst picking over the carcass of Borders this weekend, I came across this little work of literature:

Well, given that there is only one person in that picture who could possibly be old enough to be a grandparent of the giraffe-legged girl, I assume one of the Things that the anorexic Paul Newman is advised to do now he is a grandparent is to waste no time in finding himself a pencil-hipped twenty-something brunette mistress to go roller-skating with, whilst Grandma stays at home and massages her cellulite.

It did occur to me that the woman might be supposed to be Paul's daughter and giraffe girl's mother, but evidently not: when I looked up the book to find a picture to post here, I find most editions have made this small but significant change to the colourisation:

In which, for the sake of appearances, Paul Newman has at least persuaded his mistress to wear an Honor Blackman wig. Though she's fooling no-one. The minx.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Grant, Marx and Victoria: Same hairstyle all their lives. Gandhi - not so much.

I'm so impressed. I certainly wouldn't have got more than two. Anyway, in case you haven't seen the answers compiled by the Brains Trust in the comments box, here they are.

Sorry about the wonky layout, I spent too much time trying to sort it out, failed; and have decided not to spend the way too much time it would presumably take to succeed.

A few unsorted thoughts: Marx is my favourite. At first, it's inconceivable that Marx ever looked like that - but put the pictures side by side, and suddenly old Marx is just young Marx in a Father Christmas costume. Look at his eyes and nose - they haven't aged at all.

All these people lived relatively long lives, and yet, even with the evidence before me, it doesn't really change the way I feel - that the unfamiliar pictures are an interesting curiosity, but that Queen Victoria was basically always an old woman, Chaplin was always a young man, and Cary Grant was always about 45.

Alice Hargreaves, nee Liddell, was still alive in 1934! There will be people alive today who remember her. Crikey.

It's encouraging for those of us who plan to become old men that whilst handsome young men (Chaplin, Grant) turn into handsome old men; plain young men (Darwin) can do the same.

Talking of Darwin as an old man, can it be entirely coincidence that whilst his rather simian brow and deep set eyes make him look more like an ape than most men; his white hair and flowing beard make him look considerably more like God? And if it's not a coincidence, whose joke is it?

And speaking of God liking a joke, let's hope he does, because conversation in the comments somehow lead me to promise the following in return for a completed quiz sheet:


Tuesday 1 December 2009

It's quiz time again! Hooray! Oh, don't roll your eyes like that. You don't HAVE to play.

I've had this great idea for the picture round of a pub quiz, but sadly I don't run a pub quiz, so I'm going to inflict it on you instead.

Here are pictures of six very, very famous faces. I mean, really amongst the most instantly recognizable people in history. But I you bet you can't identify more than, say, two of them.

Answers on Wednesday afternoon...

...but before then also, mostly, in the comments box.