A HALLOWEEN PICTURE FROM FATHER PITT.

Our friend Father Pitt keeps the Pittsburgh Cemeteries site, which is a very good place to spend an hour or so for Halloween. He thought this picture had a fine air of mystery about it suitable for the occasion. It may be the entrance to a family burial vault in the Highwood Cemetery. Or it may be the portal from which Bulwer-Lytton’s Coming Race will soon emerge.

There is no better time to announce that old Pa Pitt has discovered three new worlds. In fact they are old worlds, but the sites are new or newly redesigned.

The Mirrour of the World, named after a book by William Caxton, collects pictures of things and places that do not belong in Father Pitt’s main collection or on the Flora Pittsburghensis site.

Two-Color World presents a collection of pictures rendered in old-postcard colors, as they would have been in the days when printing in two colors was a reasonable economy over printing in full natural color.

Monochrome World shows us all the colors of grey.

The three sites are meant to be as simple as possible, each controlled by less than a kilobyte of CSS code. Only the pictures are data-heavy, and those are donated to Wikimedia Commons, which has the server capacity to serve them up as often as you like.

HOW TO FIX WHAT’S WRONG WITH OUR UNIVERSITIES.

Photograph by “AnRo0002.”

From the Wikipedia article on Trifoliate Orange (Citrus trifoliata or Poncirus trifoliata):

The cultivar “Flying Dragon” is dwarfed in size and has highly twisted, contorted stems. It makes an excellent barrier hedge due to its density and strong curved thorns. Such hedges have been grown for over 50 years at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and are highly student-proof.

Now you know what to do. Surround your university with a hedge of the Flying Dragon cultivar of Citrus trifoliata, and your problems are solved. As long as you put up the hedge when the students are out, not when they are in.

OTHER VOTING SYSTEMS.

Americans tend to assume that our first-past-the-post voting system is simply the way democracy is done. Some other countries, however, have developed more nuanced methods of deciding the outcome of their elections.

In the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the Captains Regent are empowered to rule by decree until a winner is decided by a torta-eating contest.

In Malawi, the winning candidate is the one who accumulates the largest number of Facebook friends.

In New Zealand, a certain number of seats in parliament are set aside for representatives of the people who like their French fries with mayonnaise rather than ketchup.

In North Korea, good feeling and decent order prevail, and each candidate is elected by a supermajority of 110%.

In France, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the top three candidates are subjected to an examination on deconstructionist literary theory, with the office going to the one who most successfully deconstructs the examination.

In Russia, the election is traditionally awarded to the candidate who is not lying in a bloody heap on the sidewalk.

In Canada, elections are no longer held; instead, candidates are chosen by the rock-paper-scissors method.

THE ADVENTURES OF SIR MONTAGUE BLASTOFF, INTERPLANETARY SPACE DRAGOON.

Announcer. And now Malt-O-Cod, the only malt food drink flavored with real cod-liver oil, presents…

[Music: Theme, in and under for…]

Announcer. The Adventures of Sir Montague Blastoff, Interplanetary Space Dragoon!

[Music: Fade.]

Announcer. Today we find Sir Montague and Colonel Darling about to embark on what may be the most extraordinary adventure of their lives.

Sir Montague. I say, my dear, are you ready to embark on what may be the most extraordinary adventure of our lives?

Col. Darling. You know I’m always ready for anything when I’m with you, Monty.

Sir Montague. And that’s jolly decent of you, I must say. If our experiment succeeds today, there’ll be a bally great load of paperwork, and I can always rely on you to push a pen. It’s just through here—we’ve repurposed our temporal displacement chamber as a dimensional threshold overlap zone.

Col. Darling. How thrilling!

Sir Montague. Now, if the boffins have got their figures figured, ourselves from the alternate universe should be along any moment now.

Sir Montague (distant). I zay! There we are!

Col. Darling. Look, Monty! It’s us from the alternate universe, just like the scientists said!

Sir Montague. And we don’t look a bit different. So perhaps the alternate universe is exactly like ours, after all.—I say, you two, are you really us from the alternate universe?

Sir Montague (approaching). Jolly amusing goinzindenze. I was aboud do azg you the zame gwezdion.

Col. Darling. Alternate-universe you talks funny, Monty!

Col. Darling. I mighd zay the zame aboud you.

Sir Montague. Id abbears thad zome gonzonands thad are voized in our univerze are voizelezz in yours.

Sir Montague. A curious difference. Otherwise we seem quite identical.

Sir Montague (distant). Ooklay, Olonelcay! Erethay eway arehay!

Colonel Darling. Look, Monty! It’s another pair of usses!

Sir Montague. I say, are you two also from an alternate universe?

Col. Darling (approaching). Istenlay, Ontymay! Eythay eakspay Igpay Atinlay!

Sir Montague (distant). Howdy, y’all!

Col. Darling. Loog, Mondy! Dwo more uzzez!

Col. Darling. Gosh, Monty! There must be a lot more alternate universes than we thought!

Announcer. How many more alternate universes are waiting for our intrepid pair to discover? Will the repurposed temporal displacement chamber be big enough to handle all the Sir Montagues and Colonel Darlings meeting there? Don’t miss the next thrilling episode in the Adventures of Sir Montague Blastoff, Interplanetary Space Dragoon!

[Music: Theme, in and under for…]

Announcer. Kids, no matter how you say it, when you crave the rich, satisfying flavor of malt, together with the rich, satisfying flavor of cod-liver oil, there’s only one drink you want. All the others have been suppressed by the FDA. So remember that name: Malt-O-Cod, now with the pocket edition of Burnham’s English Dialect Dictionary in specially marked packages. Malt-O-Cod—the malt food drink that’s brain food!

[Music: In full, then out.]

POOR COVER DESIGN.

froissart-chronicles

Sometimes, when one is looking for something in the Internet Archive, one finds books with cover designs that one can only describe as questionable, such as the one for this edition of Froissart’s Chronicles.