Some Interesting Items I Found on the Internet, July Edition

Photo by Karl Fredrickson via Unsplash




• When I was a boy, I might have added actress Janet Leigh to this list after seeing her in the film Houdini, playing the wife/assistant of the famous magician/escape artist. I would not have been wrong as women assistants worked hard in magic, curling up inside boxes and cabinets, providing sex appeal and misdirection when necessary, clearing the stage of unneeded apparatus, and the stuff that makes a magic act succeed. Here is a list of women who actually performed as magicians and conceived tricks and illusions, the sine qua non of being a magician. More women are getting into the business every day.


• I bet you thought the most popular Bible verse was John 3:16 because someone is always waving a sign about that verse at a major sporting event. At one point in my life, I thought it was 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 because I heard it so often at weddings. I wonder what Bible verses are quoted at divorces.


• All the clever people know that L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) was about the gold versus silver controversy of the 1890s. There is even a scholarly annotated version of the famed children’s book to prove it. I bet that most of you do not know what the gold standard was, when the United States ended its version of it, or why paper money is just a form of faith that is actually based on something almost as extraordinary as religious faith.


• And speaking of religious faith, nobody goes to church anymore. Those of you who do know this because so many people go to your church disguised as empty pews. Those who are at Walmart or on the golf course on Sunday morning know this because so many other people are there as well completely undisguised and wondering why there are people who still go to church. I go to church on Sunday but I have been told that addictive personalities find it hard to kick their habits.


• The inflatable version of the half-sunken Titanic is my favorite but I do not think my neighbors would appreciate it in my backyard. Get a kid one of these toys and watch him or her wonder what kind of an adult you are!


• I have often wondered why there are not more books on the history of sewage. A person once told me he wrote his dissertation on sewers, and I thought that was the greatest subject ever. I immediately wished I had done my dissertation on literature and sewage or Blacks and how they were affected by sewage. I am not being facetious. So, these links to facts about sewers are good stuff. I could not resist a link about sewers and movies. I understand that Orson Welles gave director Carol Reed such a hard time when shooting in the sewers of Vienna for The Third Man that it had to be cut short and some of it done in a studio.  My daughter took her parents on a tour of the Vienna sewers some years ago when she was living in that city on a Fulbright. (Apparently, The Third Man had made this a popular destination stop.) It was the highlight of the trip! Better than her taking us to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute at Wiener Staatsoper or some dumb, hot place like that.