Are You Ready for Some Moose Ball?

The weekend is nearly upon us, and I have not indulged my fondness for moose in quite some time.  That is all the occasion I require to post

Moose Ball! 

A bizarre love triangle constructed with simple tools: one moose, one ball, and the melancholy aria of the dog whose ball it once was . . . .

Because good things must come in threes, we round out our moosecapades with two food-related clips.  Next up, a tasty dessert recipe from the late Jim Henson as the Swedish Chef:

And to conclude, an advertisement circa 1964 for Post Crispy Critters breakfast cereal -- "The one and only cereal that comes in shape of animals!" -- announcing the addition of Orange Moose to the sugar-spangled oat menagerie:

More information on Crispy Critters and the associated characters -- notably Linus the Lionhearted, voiced by Sheldon Leonard and star of his own Saturday morning cartoon show and associated comic book -- is available via Scott Shaw's Oddball Comics and at Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide

If I recall correctly, the Orange Moose were a sequel of sorts to the previously introduced Pink Elephants

As a former consumer of Crispy Critters looking back forty-plus years later, two things about this ad particularly strike me:

  • Apparently, there was a time when cereal makers believed they could hold their target audience's attention for a full 60 seconds.  Almost nothing is advertised at that length today, let alone breakfast cereal.
  • How difficult is it to sell cereal on the basis of a new color scheme when your ad is in black and white?

Wet Zeppelin


Here we have the makings of a blockbuster historical thriller:

On your right is Flugzeugträger A, also known as the Graf Zeppelin, the Nazis' one and only aircraft carrier. 

Begun in 1936, construction was never fully completed and the ship was never actually put to use.  It was scuttled by the Germans somewhere near Gdansk to keep it from the approaching Russian army in 1945.  Having taken possession of the neighborhood, the Russians later raised the vessel and sailed it into the Baltic, where it disappeared under Mysterious Circumstances, most likely involving loud and dramatic explosions.

Today, nearly sixty years later, DER SPIEGEL reports that what remains of the Graf Zeppelin has been found:

Divers working for the Polish oil firm Petrobaltic on Monday discovered the rusting hulk of Nazi Germany's only aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin, sunk in mysterious circumstances by the Soviets after World War II.  Its exact location had been a riddle for almost 60 years.

* * *

On Monday, while sounding for oil deposits in the Baltic Sea, Polish workers discovered the wreck about 55 kilometers (34 miles) outside the Polish harbor town of Wladyslawowo, near Gdansk.  According to international maritime law the remains belong to the Federal Republic of Germany, but the German Defense Ministry told news agency ddp that jurisdiction is still under discussion.  In the meantime, the ship's mysteries are far from fully solved.

'It's difficult to say why the Russians have always been so stubbornly reluctant to talk about the location of the wreck,' Lukasz Orlicki, a Polish maritime historian, told the Times of London.  'Perhaps it was the usual obsession with secrecy, or perhaps there was some kind of suspect cargo.'

Perhaps . . . .

I'm thinking Nicholas Cage in the lead, racing through the backwater shipyards of Old Europe on the track of nautical clues while dodging bullets and pondering the romantic yearnings of an attractive Estonian sextant refurbisher (Lindsay Lohan) with mysteries of her own, climaxing with an elaborate battle of the mini-submersibles beneath the Gulf of Bothnia and the discovery of the Graf Zeppelin's Secret, for which the world will not be ready -- until July 2008

You read it here first, and I'll be expecting my points from the gross, in cash and up front.

And in other news from DER SPIEGEL:

Fire Brigade Called as Rodents Go Nuts:
Squirrels Storm German House

It's Different for Squirrels

Over the past two years, I have established a habit of posting an artistic squirrel on this site each year for Easter.  [Here are links to the 2004 and 2005 versions.] 

German artists have provided past years' squirrels, so for a change of pace this Easter season let's turn to a North American great, John Singleton Copley, who painted this image of a squirrel in durance vile:


If you click on the picture, you can see the entire painting of which this poor little fellow is only a part.  This is Copley's 1765 portrait of his stepbrother, Henry Pelham, age 16 at the time.  The original hangs, with many another Copley, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  And at this point, one link begins to lead to another and this post runs off in directions I never expected when I began it, including a foray into an authentic Early American intellectual property dispute involving a Famous Patriot.

Henry Pelham was himself an artist and in 1770 made an important contribution to the iconography of the American Revolution when he produced the famous image of the Boston Massacre centering on the death of Crispus Attucks.  Pelham's original is nowhere to be found, but its content has been preserved through contemporary watercolor copies such as this one:


Unfortunately for Pelham, it seems he lent one of his drawings of the event to a friend -- one Paul Revere -- who promptly adapted it into an engraving of his own, taking sole credit for it and putting it out for sale on the colonial streets several weeks before Pelham's version appeared.  By the time Pelham's came out, public demand had been sated -- "Massacre fatigue" had apparently set in -- and there was little market left for it.  Pelham wrote a stern letter to the unscrupulous Mr. Revere:


When I heard you was cutting a plate of the late Murder, I thought it impossible as I knew [you] was not capable of doing it unless you copied it from mine and as I thought I had intrusted it in the hands of a person who had more regard to the dictates of Honour and Justice than to take the undue advantage you have done of the confidence and trust I reposed in you.

But I find I was mistaken and after being at great Trouble and Expence of making a design, paying for paper, printing &c, find myself in the most ungenerous Manner deprived not only of any proposed Advantage but even of the expence I have been at as truly as if you had plundered me on the highway.

If you are insensible of the Dishonour you have brought on yourself by this Act, the World will not be so.  However, I leave you to reflect and consider one of the most dishonourable Actions you could well be guilty [of],

                H. Pelham

Ultimately a Loyalist in his sympathies, in 1776 Pelham left Boston for London, where he developed a reputation as a miniaturist.  He drowned while traveling in Ireland in 1806.

And what of the squirrel?

The further history of young Pelham's exploited and put-upon squirrel is unknown.  I would like to imagine that he made a daring escape from his chains and after many picaresque treetop adventures found safety in Montreal, where he fell in with une bonne écureuil canadienne, founded a circus troupe and lived to a ripe old age surrounded by artistic offspring.  It's a nice legend.

Happy Easter to all.

Let This Be Thy Goal:
Shoot Thou Not the Cyber-Moose

From the Halifax, Nova Scotia, Chronicle Herald, "Man gets 20-year hunting ban for shooting at moose decoy":

A Pugwash Junction man has been banned from hunting for 20 years and lost his car after pleading guilty Monday to attempting to kill an endangered species last fall.

Robert Lee McLaren, 49, became the first person in Nova Scotia to be found guilty of the crime after shooting Bullwinkle, a full-sized robotic decoy the Natural Resources Department started using last fall to help combat the poaching of mainland moose.

[Link via Sploid.]  No actual moose were harmed in the making of this arrest.

For unrelated robot moose fun, browse the product line of The Robot Factory of Colorado Springs, Colorado, for this fellow, who is also available to drive your Zamboni.  (Scroll to mid-page.)  Frightening video of Robot Factory character products in action (although seemingly none of the robot moose) available here.

That Zamboni-driving robomoose sports the logo of the Rochester Americans, aka "The Amerks", of the American Hockey League.  Indeed, The Moose is team mascot of the Amerks, as can be seen here:

Confusion reigns, no doubt, when the Amerks play the rival Manitoba Moose, and the good-natured Rochester moose must share the ice with Winnipeg's more attitudinal mick e. moose:

Cuter Than a Shoe Phone, For Sure, and With Better Manners

Good morning, ma'am, and thank you for opening your door to me.  Such a pleasure to find you at home here today.

No, no, I'm sorry -- no, I'm not the fellow from Publisher's Clearing House.  But please, don't close that door.  Hear me out, if you would now.  I won't need but a few minutes of your time today.

Thank you, ma'am, thank you very much. 

Now, you will naturally be curious to know what it is that I have on offer on this lovely morning, so let me get straight to the point: 

Could I perhaps interest you in "a software and robotic agent that helps the user manage her mobile communication channels"?

Would it help if I referred to it instead as "The Cellular Squirrel"?

Why yes--  yes it would, wouldn't it?

A cup of coffee?  Why yes, ma'am, that would be delightful.  Let me just get out my order book here....


[Thank you, Professor Althouse, for this fuzzy and helpful link.  Friends, be sure that you do not miss the video demonstrations of this delightful device.  A pity that it's only a prototype.]

Lagomorphs Need Not Apply

Australia's Culture and Recreation Portal explains Easter, and in particular the unique Australian avatar of the season, the Easter Bilby:

For obvious reasons the rabbit was also a symbol of fertility and fecundity and became associated with festivals dedicated to celebrating the arrival of Spring.  In Australia the rabbit is a pest, and celebrating it in any form denies the reality of Australia's rabbit plague and the damage rabbits do to Australia's fragile environment.  The CSIRO estimates rabbit damage costs the Australian economy $AU600 million each year.

Because of this, a strong movement to replace the 'Easter Bunny' with one of Australia's own - the bilby - has developed.  The bilby is a cute-looking creature with big eyes, big ears and a long tail and is a member of the bandicoot family.

The push for an Easter bilby was begun in 1991 by the Anti-Rabbit Research Foundation of Australia when they registered 'Easter bilby' as a business name and began licensing the use of that name for bilby-related products.  The sale of the products was to fund research into wildlife conservation - an issue of importance to the bilby as bilbies are endangered, largely because of competition from rabbits and loss of habitat.

So instead of an Easter bunny delivering Easter eggs, they are now often delivered by a bilby, and Australian shops stock chocolate bilbies alongside chocolate eggs and rabbits.

As my own local population of wild rabbits has been wreaking particular havoc with my front lawn for the past year or more, I join in solidarity with our Australian brethren and their bunny boycott.  Cute as those bilbies are, I elect to continue the Easter tradition that I established last year -- although it really isn't a "tradition" if you've only done it once, is it? -- by selecting a slightly different fuzzy critter for holiday display.

Flick your bushy tails with me now as I return you again to the 16th Century, where Hans Hoffman -- this one, not that one -- provides us with this year's Easter Squirrel:


I have been unable to locate any 16th Century German illustrations of a bilby.


Edition No. 4 of the accumulated what-have-you from The Week That [Most Recently] Was, in which we begin in the realm of high culture, gradually lower our standards as we proceed toward the end, then stop:

  • "What?  You, Will?" Dept.:

George Hunka points to a Guardian piece in which various contemporary writers set themselves to imagining William Shakespeare.  Dominic Dromgoole pictures him on one of his last evenings, drinking with Jonson and Drayton, a strange archaic has-been, and includes this:

The magnificent and elegant farewell of The Tempest has been compromised and compromised by comeback after comeback.  A little helping out with Thomas More, collaboration on Henry VIII no one can bring themselves to mention The Two Noble Kinsmen. . . .

I, for one, do not share their qualms about the Kinsmen

For contemporary fictional speculation on Will & Co., I recommend Robert Nye's The Late Mr. Shakespeare; I am less enthusiastic for Nye's Mrs. Shakespeare: The Complete Works, which I found to be ultimately a one-joke item (and that joke unpersuasively perverse).  Nye first came to notice on this side of the Atlantic with his delicious fictional memoir of Sir John Falstaff back in 1976, and that book remains well worth searching up.  Anthony Burgess, I suppose, remains the gold standard in the fabulated-Bard field, with his Nothing Like the Sun.

  • A. Miller's Tale/The Night of the Hunter:

More in a theatrical vein: Professor Althouse compares and contrasts the reactions to the deaths of Hunter S. Thompson and of Arthur Miller:

Have you noticed the difference in how the press has covered the deaths of these two prominent writers?  When Arthur Miller died, the press did what was necessary to mark the passing of the man who was generally recognized as a major literary figure (and had the celebrity plus factor of having been married to a mega-celebrity).  But the outpouring of interest in Hunter S. Thompson doesn't seem to be an effort to give coverage equivalent to his literary standing.  It seems to be an expression of genuine, spontaneous love. That's my impression anyway.

That's my impression, too.  While both Thompson and Miller spent much of their time demanding that we pay attention to the nasty tentacled things that swim just beneath the seemingly placid surfaces of American lives, Miller was as much as anything else praised because his enthusiasts knew with certainty that he was Good For You.  He was the theatrical equivalent of spinach: healthful, perhaps even occasionally necessary, more than once genuinely enjoyable, but not what you want to have for dinner every night.  Thompson's every phrase rejected what was Good For You and all its works, at least on the surface, making him more like a really tasty, vitamin fortified breakfast cereal -- Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs, perhaps.  Snap!  Crackle!  Pop!  Eat it by the handful, why don't you?

George Hunka (again) pointed out earlier in the month that Miller left more than a few stones in the passway of post-war American drama:

Unfortunately, high school students of that generation were therefore led to believe that serious drama had all the rather turgid, socially-relevant historical solemnity that The Crucible possesses in such abundance.  It's hard for me to consider Miller's work objectively, though I must say his popularity rather doomed a generation or so of American theater audiences to sub-Ibsenite naturalism, no matter how compassionate his politics, and therefore made it harder for American playwrights to stretch the boundaries of the form.  His influence is seen even now in such socially-relevant realists as Neil LaBute, not to mention hundreds of playwrights who seem to feel that their apparently clueless audiences need to be endlessly reminded of the Hypocrisy of the American Dream.  But Willy Loman remains an affecting figure for many of us, even if it's been years since the American sales force started behaving more like David Mamet's crew in Glengarry Glen Ross than Miller's idealistic drummers.

In connection with HST's self-inflicted demise, I have thus far successfully resisted the temptation to devise some macabre pun on the late Warren Zevon's song title, "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner."

  • ZimmerBerry Dept.:

Apropos of Anton Chekhov, who drew some attention below (including a guest appearance in the comments by the elusive Aaron Haspel), here is an odd assertion reported by Luc Sante in his very interesting NYRB consideration of the memoirs of Bob Dylan:

He doesn't discuss such major works as Highway 61 Revisited or Blonde on Blonde or the huge, only partly issued body of work known in aggregate as The Basement Tapes. He doesn't mention Blood on the Tracks, either, although when he writes, 'Eventually I would even record an entire album based on Chekhov short stories—critics thought it was autobiographical,' it would seem, by process of elimination, to be the record he is referring to. But is he serious?

Sante earns extra points for his several references to and quotations from recurring Fool Favorite John BerrymanGoogle leads to several unforeseen Berryman-Dylan connections, including this gallery of work by artist Karen Schwartz, who has created portraits of both men -- Berryman is shown during one of his beardless periods, in which he always looked particularly forlorn -- and the hitherto unsuspected, painfully earnest organ-driven dirge that is The Ballad of John Berryman as performed by Minneapolis singer-songwriter Barry Thomas Goldberg.  And here, writing in The Spectator, Grey Gowrie provides a glimpse of one man's opinions on the other:

Robert Zimmerman took his name from Dylan Thomas (which infuriated John Berryman, a greater songsmith for poetry, a musical non-starter).

Berryman was present -- in some reports he was the only person present -- at the hospital bedside of Dylan Thomas when Thomas died.  Hence, perhaps, his protectiveness toward the late poet's name.

  • Piratical Maid of All Writs Dept.:

Defenestrated recently?  I hate when that happens, myself.  I recommends ye should hire yerself an aggressive advocate such as this one so that justice may be done, matey.  [I found this through Walter Olson at Point of Law, but it seems to be circulating far and wide.]

  • "I Want to try to be nice to Everyone" Dept.:

    And in conclusion: via stereogum, here is a link to a streaming Quicktime version of the video for "Nature Anthem" by Fresno- (Modesto-?) based band Grandaddy.

It's just sweet and silly, that's all: a peppy little singin' 'round the campfire tune accompanied by what looks like a low-budget remake of Magical Mystery Tour filmed during the Easter egg hunt at a convention of high school sports mascots.  It fits neatly into my underutilized "Moose and Squirrel" archives, because there is a moose in it and there are as well at least two squirrels.  And, looking very relaxed, a big brown beaver on drums. 

Did I mention it's sweet and silly?  Yes, it is and I did.  That is all.

Easter Fauna

Click me and watch me grow by leaps and bounds! For Easter, I thought I would post a copy of Albrecht Dürer's famed illustration of a hare, which you can view in all its fineness by clicking through the small version to the left.

In tracking it down, however, I stumbled upon another Dürer previously unknown to me. Since it fits neatly into one of our established categories, and will please at least one regular reader, I offer it below. From the looks of it, a good graduate thesis could be written tracing the influence of Dürer on Beatrix Potter.

And a Happy Easter to you all.
Don't bother clicking us, we're just cute little squirrels.

Christmas Cavalcade


This Fool wishes to all his readers, whether regular, occasional or simply lost after a wrong click in Albuquerque, a most merry and auspicious Christmas. For the occasion, a random selection of seasonally apropos items posted by others:

♣ From deep in the Southern Hemisphere, Kieran Healy reports on "the uneasy Australian detente between the season and the Season". (A helpful commenter also links to the lyrics of an Australian Christmas song, "Six White Boomers," from the semi-legendary Rolf "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" Harris.)

A C Douglas bemoans "the Great Wising Up" and the harm it has done to the Christmas season, which he declares to be "my most favorite time of year, and the one (and only) time I wished I were a Christian rather than a Jew."

Brian Micklethwaite treats us to Raphael's Sistine Madonna -- complete with those ubiquitous eye-rolling cherubs -- and some quick thoughts on the relationship between quality and popularity in art.

♣ And haiku-crafting legal ethicist about town David Giacalone reminds us that even attorneys may once have been really cute kids. (He earns points for his post title, too.)

And now, if you'll excuse me, I will be off to honor the holiday in the midst of my family. Meanwhile,

Merry Christmas to All!