Author Archives: ham

Antiquities and Rarities of several sorts

A large Ostridges Egg

3.8. A large Ostridges Egg, whereon is neatly and fully wrought that famous Battel of Alcazar, in which three Kings lost their lives.

Sir Thomas Browne. Musæum Clausum, 1684

Musæum Clausum, or, Bibliotheca Abscondita: Containing Some remarkable Books, Antiquities, Pictures and Rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen.

According to John Polemon’s Description of the In 1578 battle, “These dead bodies of three kings being brought into one Pavillion, made an horrible spectacle, and wrong teares from the beholders. For what more sorrowfull and horrible a sight could there bee, than to beholde three most mightie kings, that died in one battaile, lying together. The armie of one of whom was vanquished when he lived, & after he was dead did straight waie overcome the armie of the other two kinges: and whereas all three did aspire to the kingdome of Marocco, none of them helde it.” Sir Thomas Browne had seen an ostrich “in the latter end of James his dayes, at Greenwich, when I was a schoolboy”, and later kept one in his garden, where “it soon ate up all the gilliflowers, tulip-leaves, and fed greedily upon what was green”.

The Hard Problem of Breakfast

Nautilus: The stubborn fact remains that, no matter how deeply we probe into the nature of bacon, eggs, oatmeal, and avocado toast—to say nothing of shakshuka, grits, bear claws, or dim sum—or the interactions between these fundamental building blocks and, say, orange juice or coffee and the morning paper, we simply have no convincing theory to explain how such disparate, seemingly inert components give rise to the phenomenon we subjectively experience as “breakfast.”

In particular, we know from the work of Scherzinger, et al. that breakfast is not located in the eggs. The chicken is involved but the pig is committed.

Ham Radio

On the air

Some of the old ham radio operators grew up on cat’s whiskers and geranium. On a winter’s  night they would pick up Siberia on the second bounce. Those Ruskies were tuned in during the original Cold War. 

Sanchuniathon

Sanchuniathon’s creation arose out of mist and chaos, eventually generating something called mot, from which in time came intelligent life, initially in the form of egg-shaped beings called Zophasemin. 

Not Worth an Egg

[I]t is uniformly when parties have run highest and the strife has been deadliest that people have been most forward to stake their existence and every thing belonging to them, on some unintelligible dogma or article of an old-fashioned creed. Half the wars and fightings, martyrdoms, persecutions, feuds, antipathies, heartburnings in the world have been about some distinction, ‘some trick not worth an egg’—so ready are mankind to sacrifice their all to a mere name!

William Hazlitt (1778-1830), “The Main-Chance,” Lectures on the English Comic Writers, with Miscellaneous Essays (London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1910; rpt. 1913), pp. 235-252 (at 247): 

egg (A) Something small and worthless. ‘Not worth an egg(shell)’ is proverbial (Tilley, E95, see Cor 4.4.21: ‘Some trick not worth an egg’). The egg is ‘Shakespeare’s frequent measure of insignificance.’

Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin, Shakespeare’s Insults: A Pragmatic Dictionary (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), p. 171:

Laudator Temporis Acti

Poultry farmer from Shorpy

Mrs. Carter weighing eggs

December 1940. “Mrs. Richard Carter, poultry farmer of Middleboro, Massachusetts. She runs the business of one thousand poulets while her husband drives a bulldozer at an Army camp nearby.” Acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. Via Shorpy.