SundayMagazine.org Is Going On Hiatus

Hi, everyone. I’m afraid I have some bad news: SundayMagazine.org is going on hiatus.

The time requirements to maintain all my projects and take care of my new child have spread me a little too thin, so I had to pick something to take a break from, and SundayMagazine lost the coin toss.

If anyone out there has a similar passion for the work I’ve been doing here, and wants to pitch in to research, prep the graphics, and/or write the posts, let me know. Maybe there’s a way I can hand the reigns over or collaborate and keep the site going.

If not, let’s just consider it hibernating for now. I’ll keep the archives up; there’s some good stuff in there to explore if you came to the blog late.

Thanks everyone for reading.

Aside: to make up for this loss, I hope to get back to updating Ironic Sans more often than I have been lately. I have a backlog of posts to write there.

8 comments

Written by David

September 26th, 2011 at 10:30 am

Posted in Blog Stuff

Rochefort Tells How Americans Buy Art Fakes

From September 24, 1911

ROCHEFORT TELLS HOW AMERICANS BUY ART FAKES

ROCHEFORT TELLS HOW AMERICANS BUY ART FAKES: We Are the Preferred Victims of the Dealers in “Old Master,” He Says — Why, of “Rembrandts” Alone There Are 2,500 in the United States. (PDF)

When I worked for Christie’s Auction House, I was always fascinated when something came through that turned out to be a forgery. I was a photographer for the company, so I worked with a lot of experts in each department, and I tried to learn a bit about how they were able to tell a forgery from the real deal. I never gained a sophisticated enough eye to recognize a forgery, but it was all still interesting to me.

If the subject of art forgery at all interests you, I recommend the movie Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock? (It was streaming on Netflix, but appears not to be anymore.)

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Art,Entertainment

We Have Too Many laws, Thinks Henry A. Wise

From September 24, 1911

WE HAVE TOO MANY LAWS, THINKS HENRY A. WISE

WE HAVE TOO MANY LAWS, THINKS HENRY A. WISE: U.S. District Attorney Believes That as More Offenders Are Being Punished There is an Awakening of the Public Conscience and a Promise of Better Things for the Country. (PDF)

It’s a busy week for me, so sadly I couldn’t write any commentary or pull-quotes from this article. Anyone care to do the honors in the comments?

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 21st, 2011 at 10:00 am

The Modern Sherlock Holmes Is A Scientific Man

From September 24, 1911

THE MODERN SHERLOCK HOLMES IS A SCIENTIFIC MAN

THE MODERN SHERLOCK HOLMES IS A SCIENTIFIC MAN: Swiss Professor Tells of Professional Criminals and the Means of Detecting Them in a Book That Has the Indorsement of M. Lepine, Head of the Paris Police. (PDF)

That reminds me: the modern Sherlock Holmes is now streaming on Netflix.

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 20th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Scientists Answer Hoke Smith’s Attack On Negroes

From September 24, 1911

SCIENTISTS ANSWER HOKE SMITH'S ATTACK ON NEGROES

SCIENTISTS ANSWER HOKE SMITH’S ATTACK ON NEGROES: Produce Figures to Show Him Not Well Posted on Conditions in His Own State — Professor Boas Tells of the Race’s Achievements in Africa. (PDF)

A rebuttal to this article from last week claiming that “the negro is the South’s drawback.”

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 19th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Debate,Life,Politics

Rich Men Who Have Organs Built In Their Homes

From September 17, 1911

RICH MEN WHO HAVE ORGANS BUILT IN THEIR HOMES

RICH MEN WHO HAVE ORGANS BUILT IN THEIR HOMES: And Who Employ Organists by the Year to Give Them Music at Their Own Firesides — More Than $50,000 Has Been Paid for Some of These Organs. (PDF)

As mentioned in the article, the “largest and costliest organ in the United States” belonged to Frederick G. Bourne’s and was installed in his Oakdale, Long Island home.

According to the Organ Historical Society’s Pipe Organ Database (who knew?) the residence became a military academy after Bourne died, and in 1948 the organ was sold. Part of it went to Detroit, and part went to San Diego.

Today, the largest organ in the United States may be (and I say “may” because I found conflicting details) the Wanamaker Organ currently displayed in a Macy’s Department store in Philadelphia.

One comment

Written by David

September 16th, 2011 at 10:00 am

America’s Switzerland; Three Days From New York

From September 17, 1911

AMERICA'S SWITZERLAND; THREE DAYS FROM NEW YORK

AMERICA’S SWITZERLAND; THREE DAYS FROM NEW YORK: A Traveler’s Tale of the Beauties of the Canadian Rockies Where Comparatively Few Americans Go (PDF)

The Canadian Rockies remain a great place to go on vacation. I went last year, spending a week or so in and around Banff, Alberta. A Google Image Search for Banff will show you some of its beauty. There’s a lot of great hiking, it’s easy to reach, not very expensive, and not too crowded.

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 14th, 2011 at 10:00 am

The Negro Is The South’s Drawback, Says Hoke Smith

From September 17, 1911

THE NEGRO IS THE SOUTH'S DRAWBACK, SAYS HOKE SMITH

THE NEGRO IS THE SOUTH’S DRAWBACK, SAYS HOKE SMITH: But, Adds the New Senator From Georgia, in Spite of the Burden Laid Upon It by the Black Man’s Presence a Marvelous Agricultural New South is Springing Triumphantly Into Being. (PDF)

Astonishing to remember how much room was given to racism 100 years ago.

In this article, Georgia Senator Hoke Smith poses a question in the process of making his case that black people are a blight on the south:

“It is logical to ask the question: What have the negroes of Africa, after thousands of years of opportunity, in a country rich with possibilities, where they have had things their own way, free of the white man’s control, accomplished for civilization and for themselves?

“This is a fair and pertinent question. Those who honestly consider it and as honestly reply to it, must cease to thrust back at our New England ancestors harsh criticism for having brought the negro to America and made of him a slave. They may, ever, admit that the negro was advanced from savagery to civilization during slavery — an enforced advancement, to be sure, but an advancement which, where he has had the opportunity, he has not voluntarily made. We must keep these historic facts in mind as we consider the present and predict the future.”

In next week’s issue, the Magazine publishes some responses from scientists that try to educate Senator Smith. Naturally, I’ll publish it here.

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 12th, 2011 at 10:15 am

Posted in Politics

New Identification System Ousts Rogues’ Gallery

From September 10, 1911

NEW IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM OUSTS ROGUES' GALLERY

NEW IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM OUSTS ROGUES’ GALLERY: Capt. Joseph A. Faurot After Studying the “Portrait Parler” Abroad Will Introduce It in New York’s Detective Department and Promises Great Results. (PDF)

This new system of identifying criminals looks at individual facial features.

“The whole system of the ‘portrait parler’ is a process of elimination,” explained Capt. Faurot. “It is on that basis we are to reorganize the Rogues’ Gallery. We will be able to divide the number of portraits to be searched on a given case by three if we know the type of nose, by two again if we know the height, by three if we know the type of ear, and so on till we have only a small, narrow group to examine.”

I imagine identifying a criminal in the portrait parler is something like playing Guess Who?

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 9th, 2011 at 11:00 am

Baltimore Gets Flag That Inspired Key’s Great Song

From September 10, 1911

BALTIMORE GETS FLAG THAT INSPIRED KEY'S GREAT SONG

BALTIMORE GETS FLAG THAT INSPIRED KEY’S GREAT SONG: Fort McHenry’s Emblem That Prompted “The Star-Spangled Banner” to Be Presented by a Descendant of Major Armistead, Who Held the Fort Against England. (PDF)

In 1912, the flag was giften to the Smithsonian Institute. A lengthy conservation process was recently completed, and the flag is there on display today for all who want to see it. Admission is free.

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 9th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Art,Technology

The Auto-Hater Gives His Opinion — And Acts

From September 10, 1911

THE AUTO-HATER GIVES HIS OPINION -- AND ACTS

THE AUTO-HATER GIVES HIS OPINION — AND ACTS (PDF)

For maximum effect, imagine this in the voice of Andy Rooney.

“There goes another of the infernal things!” snarled the man waiting for a car as he stamped his heels against the curb.

“Notice that!” he growled, addressing nobody in particular. “See how those fenders are put on an automobile? They’re on an angle, so that all the mud they throw will just reach the sidewalk. Somebody’s figured it all out, so that a fender is on just the right angle to get as much mud as possible on a man’s trouser legs when he’s waiting on the curb for a car. When people used to drive buggies and carriages they didn’t have the fenders on at an angle. It wouldn’t have done much good anyhow, because people didn’t drive horses more than fifteen or twenty miles an hour through town, and the drivers couldn’t succeed in splashing much mud on people.

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 8th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Electric Machine To Tell Guilt Of Criminals

From September 10, 1911

ELECTRIC MACHINE TO TELL GUILT OF CRIMINALS

ELECTRIC MACHINE TO TELL GUILT OF CRIMINALS: If It Is Perfected So As to Be Infallible It Will Make Expert Testimony Unnecessary and May Eliminate Juries in Trials. (PDF)

The “psychometer” described in this article works in the same way as modern polygraph machines. As the article puts it, “the human body’s resistance to an electrical current increased with the increase of the motions.” Skin conductivity, along with blood pressure, pulse, and respiration, can all be indicators that a person is lying.

But the technology is still far from being “perfected so as to be infallible.” You needn’t look hard to find harsh criticism of lie detectors including tips on how to beat one. In an episode of Penn & Teller’s Showtime program Bullshit, they talked to “people whose lives were ruined by faulty lie detector results.”

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 7th, 2011 at 10:00 am

A Talk With William Jennings Bryan, Evangelist

From September 10, 1911

A TALK WITH WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN, EVANGELIST

A TALK WITH WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN, EVANGELIST: The Famous Democrat Has Taken Up a New Line of Work Though He Says He Has Not Abandoned Politics Entirely — Vigorous Views on Religion. (PDF)

Today I think of William Jennings Bryan as the anti-evolution prosecuting attorney in the Scopes Trial. But that wouldn’t be for another 14 years. By 1911, he was already a three-time Presidential candidate, and former Congressman. In a couple years, he would become Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson.

Here’s some of what he says about evolution in this article:

“I cannot accept it. The monkey may be an acceptable ancestor for some — I do not find him so. The doctrine of evolution explains but one-third of the problem, and that the lowest of the thirds — the physical. It does not explain the mind, it does not explain the soul. In his ‘Philosophy of Christianity,’ which I often quote, Fairbairn says, very soundly, that to explain man as an animal is insufficient; he must also be explained in history, and that Darwin never did. His theory is that apes are older by long aeons of time than man, yet apes are still but apes, while man is what he is. And Darwin never in the least explained the origin of life. It takes, in truth, a faith in scientists to follow Darwin or any other of the learned opponents of Christianity far greater than the faith in God required to follow the great teachers of the Bible. Science always stops or ceases to be reasonable when it comes to the creation. The first germ — it baffles all of them. There is but one answer — God created it. They never have found any theory to substitute for this And that germ was infinitely wonderful. I cannot see why God might not, as reasonably, have created man. It is that which makes me skeptical of the theory of evolution. In efforts to destroy Christianity, religion, the scientists can only form a partial theory. The Christian’s theory alone is really complete.

“And there is a repellant thought in Darwinism. It attributes man’s evolution to the law of hate — of the destruction of the weaker by the stronger. Logically, if this is the real history of our advancement, then the law of love applied will take us backward toward the beast. We all admit, in general terms, no matter what our practices may be, that only through the law of love can man find happiness, has man ever found it; it is true that nations are advancing now through love and not through hate, through peace and not through war. How, then, can hatred be the law of progress? The darwinian theory does not explain. It is an effort to escape the miracle.”

And so on. It all sounds very similar to creationist arguments today.

Leave a comment

Written by David

September 6th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Politics,Religion

Where Witches Flourish In This Twentieth Century

From September 10, 1911

WHERE WITCHES FLOURISH IN THIS TWENTIETH CENTURY

WHERE WITCHES FLOURISH IN THIS TWENTIETH CENTURY: New York Woman Haled to Court as a Magician in Allentown, Penn. — Big Modern Communities Where Spells and Incantations Are Used Daily for Every Ill That Flesh Is Heir To. (PDF)

Meta Immerman, a dressmaker from New York, moved to Allentown. Her neighbors the Kipps noticed she was a bit odd. She walked barefoot through grass. She owned an electric flashlight. She ate nuts and raw eggs. Clearly, she was a witch.

The Kipps called police, and Meta Immerman was arrested and spent 48 hours in jail.

And that is why I won’t eat nuts and raw eggs.

3 comments

Written by David

September 5th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Religion,True Crime

“Most Of Our Music Teachers Incompetent” — Frank Damrosch

From September 3, 1911

MOST OF OUR MUSIC TEACHERS INCOMPETENT -- FRANK DAMROSCH

MOST OF OUR MUSIC TEACHERS INCOMPETENT — FRANK DAMROSCH: Well Known Conductor Deplores the Condition of Musical Instruction in This Country and Tells Why It Is So Bad. (PDF)

Frank Damrosch was a German-born American conductor, and director of the New York Institute of Musical Art. In this article, he bemoans the state of music education in America:

“Ninety-nine per cent of the music teachers in the United States are totally incompetent to teach music… Thousands of so-called music teachers are not in any way qualified to teach,” he continued, “because they have not been trained to teach, nor have they received even a rudimentary knowledge of music.”

“Many so-called music teachers have had only inferior instruction on the piano and have learned to play a few pieces after a fashion. Such persons start to teach for a livelihood on this slender foundation because it seems to them to be the easiest and pleasantest way to earn a living. The general ignorance of the public in matters musical makes it possible for such teacher to get employment…

“And this has a bad effect on society in general. It places society on a low plane of culture. It affects the music in the churches, and causes those who cater to the amusement of the public to provide an inferior class of music.”

Thirteen years later, the Institute of Musical Art became the Juilliard School of Music, still today one of the most prestigious performing arts conservatories.

One comment

Written by David

September 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Education,Music

College Professor Suggests A Cure For Lying

From September 3, 1911

COLLEGE PROFESSOR SUGGESTS A CURE FOR LYING

COLLEGE PROFESSOR SUGGESTS A CURE FOR LYING: Rev. Robert Schwikeratch, Who Holds the Chair of History and Pedagogy at Holy Cross, Says the So-Called Confirmed Liar Can Be Cured by Patience and Sympathetic Interest. (PDF)

Eh, I don’t know how much credit I give to this cure. His first proposed solution to cure lying is to simply stop lying. He’s talking specifically about lying in front of your kids. If they don’t see you lie, they will be less likely to lie themselves. So that’s more prevention than cure. But what about people who are already liars? The reverend suggests remedies like treating liars with kindness, or reminding them to think before they speak, depending on the nature of the lie.

A more scientific approach to the problem of liars will be in next week’s issue.

Leave a comment

Written by David

August 30th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life

Who Was The First Man — Or Woman — To Make A Joke?

From September 3, 1911

WHO WAS THE FIRST MAN -- OR WOMAN -- TO MAKE A JOKE?

WHO WAS THE FIRST MAN — OR WOMAN — TO MAKE A JOKE? Some Familiar Specimens of Modern Humor Traced to Classic Greek and Roman Sources (PDF)

This article has some great 2500 year old jokes. Like this one:

Archelaus, asked by a talkative barber how he would like to be shaved, replied: “In silence.”

Oooh! Snap! Here’s another:

One day Aristippus asked Dionysius for money. “But,” said Dionysius, “I’ve always heard it said that a philosopher never has need of anything.” “We will discuss that point, Sire, but first give me some money,” Aristippus said. The request acceded to, the philosopher immediately ejaculated: “Now you see, Sire, I have need of nothing.”

A couple more:

There was a stranger in Sparta who prided himself on his skill in standing for a long time on one leg. One day when he was showing off his little trick, he called to a Spartan: “Hey! You can’t do this.” “No, but every goose can,” was the quick rejoinder.

Diogenes, when asked what was the most suitable hour for dining, said: “If you are rich, when you please; if you are poor, when you can.”

Oh, that Diogenes. He also had a routine he called “Seven dirty words you can’t say at the Parthenon,” but it’s been lost to the ages.

Leave a comment

Written by David

August 29th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Humor

The Neglected Possibilities Of City Roofs

From August 27, 1911

THE NEGLECTED POSSIBILITIES OF CITY ROOFS

THE NEGLECTED POSSIBILITIES OF CITY ROOFS: Making the Best of Out-of-Door Life Is Slowly Being Learned — Comparatively Easy to Turn Roofs Into GArdens, Playgrounds and Concert Rooms. (PDF)

There have been a lot of articles about roof gardens in the New York Times over the last few years as the trend has finally caught on. But my favorite by far has to be a 2006 article about a Greenwich Village resident who built a whole front porch on his roof. Go check out the photos. Pretty nice.

One comment

Written by David

August 26th, 2011 at 9:30 am

Martians Build Two Immense Canals In Two Years

From August 27, 1911

MARTIANS BUILD TWO IMMENSE CANALS IN TWO YEARS

MARTIANS BUILD TWO IMMENSE CANALS IN TWO YEARS: Vast Engineering Works Accomplished in an Incredibly Short Time by Our Planetary Neighbors — Wonders of the September Sky. (PDF)

Percival Lowell was a smart astronomer. He was the first person to build his observatory in a remote location away from city lights, at the top of a high mountain. Lowell picked Flagstaff, Arizona as the location for his observatory. I lived in Flagstaff for four years in college and the observatory is one of Flagstaff’s really big claims to fame because Pluto was discovered there in 1930 (14 years after Lowell’s death).

Anyway, Lowell was a smart guy. He also believed there was life on Mars. He was convinced that lines on the planet’s surface were canals, and when he observed some changes in the appearance of these canals, he concluded that somehow the martians had quickly built these enormous canals 20 miles wide and a thousand miles long.

Mary Proctor wrote this article summarizing Lowell’s findings, and also describing some of the planets people might see in the sky in September.

I love that this stuff appeared in the New York Times Magazine.

Leave a comment

Written by David

August 25th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Nature,Science

Pasteur Expert Sounds Warning Against Pet Dogs

From August 27, 1911

PASTEUR EXPERT SOUNDS WARNING AGAINST PET DOGS

PASTEUR EXPERT SOUNDS WARNING AGAINST PET DOGS: Woman and Children Especially in Danger of Possible Hydrophobia Through Carelessly Fondling Household Pets — Tuberculosis, Scarlet Feber, and Other Diseases May Be Transmitted. (PDF)

Well, that’s a pretty scary headline. Turns out that the expert is pretty much just concerned about rabies (referred to as “hydrophobia” because one symptom of rabies is a fear of water). He does mention those other diseases, but, well, just read it yourself:

“Almost any of the contagious diseases may be conveyed by either dogs or cats, although dogs, because of their peculiar habits and their tendency to caress with their affectionate tongues the persons whom they love are much more dangerous than cats. Tuberculosis, scarlet fever, measles, diphtheria — all of these and many more diseases may be conveyed from dogs to humans in this way. I don’t wish to go on record as pronouncing that they are, to any large extent, but I do say that such transfer is a possibility…”

The Centers for Disease Control has a list of diseases you can get from dogs. But they also point out that pet ownership has health benefits.

Leave a comment

Written by David

August 24th, 2011 at 11:00 am

Posted in Life,Nature