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20 July 2015

A year ago last September

A YEAR AGO LAST SEPTEMBER TWO ladies with a child
were travelling on the Hudson River cars,
one of whom offered a seat to a middle aged gentleman
with light whiskers or goatee

slightly gray, who kindly pointed out to her
the red leaved trees
and said he had a number of them on his place
and made himself otherwise agreeable;

and when she was leaving him
(ten miles this side of where he stopped)
gave her a parting embrace, which she has never
been able to forget.

A personal ad from the New York Herald, 25 January 1862. Via Futility Closet. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

16 July 2015

This shawl

This shawl is brand new and has never been used. If you have just given birth to a new baby girl or boy or you are expecting a new baby and you are looking for that extra special shawl to bring your new baby home from the hospital then this could be the very shawl you could be looking for. It measures 72 inches in diameter and is made from white baby double knitting wool and was hand crocheted by myself. If you are going to have your new baby christened then this will make a really beautiful christening shawl. Just think when you will be taking pictures of your new baby the shawl would look lovely with your baby laying down on it or you could spread it over the back of a settee with your baby sitting up or laying down it would look really adorable in the background. The shawl has a really beautiful pattern which starts off in the center with a number of rows which looks like a spider web design. Then followed by 16 pretty pineapple designs with a "v" shape pattern above each of the pineapple designs. Then after that there are 16 lacy designs which are inbetween the "v" shape patterns followed by another 16 pretty pineapple designs which are slighty larger than the other row with 16 pineapple designs with another 16 "v" shape patterns above each of the pineapple designs. Then after that there are another 16 "v" shape designs that are inbetween each of the 16 larger pineapple designs with a lacy pattern inbetween each of the "v" shape designs. Then finally there is a beautiful frilled edging which really sets the shawl off. If you look closely at the design of the shawl you will see on 4 of the rows there are cluster stitches inbetween the pattern design which is unusual. This is a very large shawl and will look really beautiful on your baby boy or girl and will keep he or she lovely and warm when you will be taking he or she out for a walk in the pram. A lot of shawls being sold today in various baby shops only measure up to about 45 inches my shawl is half that size again so it is a very large shawl. It is made from 100% white acrylic baby double knitting wool and can be either hand washed or machine washed on a delicate program. As soon as payment is made the shawl will be sent out to you the same day or the next working class day by 1st. class recorded delivery. Thank you for looking and why not take a look at the other baby items i have for sale

An Ebay item description, saved from many years ago. Submitted by Jain Gawne.

13 July 2015

Personal Call



I just wondered

what your middle name


My middle name?


I haven't got one,


I've got a confirmation name


that's not really an official name


that's Mary.


same as mine.

Alright, Susan.

Thank you.

From Kate Bush’s interview on Personal Call, a BBC Radio 1 phone in, 1979. Submitted by Luke Bailey.

09 July 2015

A brutal nadir

I took my seat
at the microfilm reader
and began to scroll
through the archives.

For the first hundred years,
as far as I could tell,
all that happened in America
was that various people
named Nathaniel
had purchased land
near rivers.

I scrolled faster,
finally reaching an account
of an early Colonial-era shaming.

On July 15, 1742,
a woman named Abigail,
her husband at sea,
had been found
"naked in bed
with one John Russell."

They were to be
"whipped at the public post
20 stripes each."

was appealing the ruling,
but it wasn’t the whipping itself she wished to avoid.
She was begging the judge
to be whipped early,
before the town awoke.

From How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco's Life by Jon Ronson, New York Times Magazine, 12 February 2015. Submitted by Daniel Galef.

06 July 2015

Jeep for sale

Calls only, I don't do mores code
I don't text
be a man and call me.

No title no title no title
don ask

yes it is a 1986
so yes
it may have some rust
if that bugs dont buy it
that how It is

no you may not come work on it
if you buy it take it home do what you want
may run May not,
i don't know

Will not drive jeep to your place
no joy rides
no cash no test drive

Trades welcome
need to be man stuff
no toy race cars,
or over price atvs,
or rolls of used carpet
or doll houses
no junk

Jeep not for a teenage girl's first jeep,
jeep built to be driven by a man

offers ok.

From Craigslist sales posts, Charlotte, NC, July 2014. Submitted by Carlos Pelay.

02 July 2015


In this quiet inlet,
some eddy has collected
and drowned at the bottom
of the mire, now turned into marl,
enormous heaps of shells
of every shape and size.
It is a molluscs' burying ground
with hills for tumuli.

I dig up oysters a cubit long
and weighing five or six pounds a piece.
One could shovel up in the immense pile,
Scallops, Cones, Cylheridae,
Mactridae, Murices,
Turretellidae, Mitridae
and others too numerous,
too innumerable to mention

You stand stupefied before the vital ardour
of the days of old, which was able
to supply such a pile of relics
in a mere nook of earth.

Taken from an account by Jean-Henri Fabre on fossils in The Faber Book of Science edited by John Carey (Faber & Faber, 1995). Submitted by Taidgh Lynch.