Monday, October 27, 2008

Earliest Recorded Use of "Yada Yada Yada?"


The phrase "Yada Yada Yada" was popularized by an episode of the TV series Seinfeld in 1997, but several sources say it can be traced back to the comedian Lenny Bruce in the 1950s, and probably goes back to vaudeville days. This morning, with the iPod on shuffle, I heard "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree" recorded on Decca by Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers in 1937. At 1:44 into the song, as Louis takes a solo, the Mills Brothers break in with "Yada Yada Yada." OK, it's just a nonsense filler, and not used as a substitute for a detailed description of something, as it was in the Seinfeld episode, but there it is.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Lowly Burdock

Here's a picture taken this past summer in a patch of burdock at the edge of the woods behind our house. The deer are not interested in eating the plant, so it thrives. A tiny spider spun its web on one of the plants, casting its shadow on a leaf below.


And now the large leaves have fallen from the burdock, and the prickly seed pods are left.


For a very cool digital image of the microscopic structure of a burdock seed pod, check out Dennis Kunkel's Microscopic World.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shakespeare and Me

Here is the latest installment of my sporadic series of visits to sites associated with dead authors. Past visits have included the home and grave of Edgar Lee Masters in Petersburg, Illinois, places where Allen Ginsberg lived in Greenwich Village and in San Francisco, Jack London's estate (now a state park) in California, Washington Square Park in San Francisco, where Jack Kerouac drank port, and where a probably equally inebriated Richard Brautigan posed with his wife for the cover of Trout Fishing in America.

Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon

Shakespeare's Burial Site, Trinity Church, Stratford-on-Avon

Old Will is planted under the floor in front of the candlestick to my left. The stone at the head of the grave reads:

GOOD FREND FOR IESUS SAKE FORBEARE,
TO DIGG THE DVST ENCLOASED HEARE.
BLESTE BE YE MAN YT SPARES THES STONES,
AND CVRST BE HE YT MOVES MY BONES.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pictures of England

Mary and I just returned from a trip to England with our friends, the McCreas. Rather than post more traditional holiday snapshots here, I present a few of my favorite pictures of the natural world and man's handiwork taken at various locations around England.

Bridge Over the Llangollen Canal

Dead Tree in the Marbury Churchyard

Closeup of the Other Side

Dead Tree and Blue Sky Along the Llangollen Canal

Butterfly Reading the Brochure
At the Butterfly Farm, Stratford-on-Avon

Owl Butterfly

Butterfly

Common Mormon

Butterfly

Shakespeare Monument
Stratford-on-Avon

Falstaff

Vines at Bibury

Gates at Thornbury Castle

Black Swan, Coln River, Bibury

Morning at Bibury

Arlington Row, Bibury

Arlington Row, Bibury

Spider's Web, Bibury

Shaggy Ink Cap Mushrooms, Copthorne

Lock at Copthorne

Cedar Staircase, Harlaxtan Manor, Grantham

Great Hall, Harlaxtan


All pictures were taken with a Canon PowerShot A560 Camera.

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