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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mister Bottomley Gets Quarrelsome



I bought this view of 1890s humor from Patty Warren's shop off First and J Streets. In the 1990s, I'd go there after work about once a week, translate Russian --Cyrillic script-- and buy stereoviews.  I now have hundreds of them. This particular view has always intrigued me. What were Bottomley and Longshanks quarrelling about? Let's guess.

Longshanks: You, sir, have no right to court my sister!"

Bottomley: Nor have you, sir, any right to object. You know  what I mean. Shall I say it, dog?

Longshanks: True, yesterday I chased my wife up a tree  --but that's no business of yours.

Bottomley: And was it not your editorial in the Holland Evening Sentinel that read "...it took many rabbits many years to write the Talmud"?

Longshanks: That was a printer's error. It happens!

Bottomley: Is that why, next day, your newspaper assigned you an article on "How to Stretch Your Shoes At Home" ? 

Lonsghanks: It would appear I'm arguing with one who's looking for a tizzy to be thrown into.

Bottomley: I must agree insofar as cacoethes.

Longshanks: Which is?

Bottomley: A sudden urge to do something inadvisable.

(enter Carl Jung) Jung: As far as we can discern, the purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.

Bottomley and Longshanks: Profound and true! Bring in the stereographer!

Stereographer: Fists up! Brows knit! Flash! Well done all!








22 comments:

  1. Such a display of rowdiness....I note that one woman was completely overcome and fainted from the excitement. Different days.

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    1. Indeed, Delores, she makes excellent use of the fainting couch. No parlor should be without one.

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  2. That was a fun interpretation of the picture. I used to love viewing the pictures in the stereopticon. They were still plentiful in the 50's.

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    1. Holmes Stereoscopes have been around since the 1860s and are still being sold as antiques and in reproduction --one of the most elegant 3-d viewers.

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  3. Geo, less is more big time. We only have one true image of Miss Dickinson, yet thousands of meaningless images of so-called celebrities that are quite soon forgotten. My four broken ribs are on the mend. You know where to find my diary. I miss your wise and witty words big time. Remain true...

    Dylan

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    1. Thanks, Dylan. You are quite right about images. True art can make do with a well-used minimum. I wish you speedy rib recovery.

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  4. Seems like the woman on the couch got "the vapors". Great backstory!

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    1. She's certainly suffering a loss of mental focus --but severe cases were marked by back of wrist resting on the forehead.

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  5. You did this...No, I didn't, you did!...No, you did that...

    Sigh.

    Rare photos are the most cherished.

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    1. Susan, you're quite right. The long popularity of stereography gives us a special insight into the past.

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  6. The photographer, (stenographer) as director! Such influence on history.
    They really dressed for parties in the 1890's.

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    1. Yes, there was definitely a market for melodramatic tableaux. Good thing too, for modern hobbyists.

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  7. Mr. Bottomley IS rather, isn't he?? Bottomley, I mean.

    Do you remember those optical illusions that were popular in the 80's or 90's - two images side by side and if you relaxed your gaze and let your eyes cross you could see a 3-D image? It works with your last photo above, too!

    Your back story is funny - and this line "I'm arguing with one who's looking for a tizzy to be thrown into" rings a very loud bell with certain people . . .

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    1. Yes, Jenny, the two 3-d novelties shared the same principle. Holmes's stereoscope is really a device to help sober people see double. Freeviewing the older stereo cards takes practice --you must have good eye-muscle control.

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  8. Geo:

    Beautiful essay! I also read back to where you had some sort of surgery. I hope all is well and that you are feeling back to normal! I apologize I was away for a while. Just melancholia.

    PipeTobacco

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    1. Thanks, Prof. Some things just demand a new normal.

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  9. I like the woman on the right of the picture, she seems unimpressed and those skirts (I believe) are hiding a much better fighting stance. Also, tizzy is such a great word, it deserves more usage.
    I also critique street fights which is why it's best I stay home.

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    1. Dear Lisa! I was waiting for a martial arts expert to chime in and your skill in Tae Kwon-Do certainly qualifies you. I think we are suspicious of tizzies --I have been thrown into swimming pools, rivers, the mighty sea itself, but I avoid tizzy-throwers like anything.

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  10. Are you certain the young lady has swooned? Maybe she's just overly intoxicated. Either way she's missed the gentlemanly fisticuffs.

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    1. Unable to be certain, Tom. It depends on which finishing school she attended and how they taught swooning.

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  11. I love your play-by-play account. (Maybe you missed your calling?)

    With the unusual names and the melodramatic image, I wonder if this might not have been an illustration for a book. If not, it still manages to tell quite a story. (With a little help from a friend...)

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    1. Dear Susan, thanks. Much of old photo humor exploits the human comedy of melodrama and is fun to look at. I began collecting during a rough spot a little over 20 years ago and was pleased to learn some history from the inside out. Might be time to revisit some of those old articles.

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