Saturday Scenes

Fri 24 February 2012

When Cows Fly

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 00:03

On the 18th of February 1930, Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane. She flew 72 miles to the 1930 International Aircraft Exposition at St. Louis. Elm Farm Ollie was a very productive dairy cow and required three daily milkings. As a result, that same day she became the first cow to be milked in flight. Elsworth W. Bunce milked her, making him the first man to milk a cow mid-flight.

The milk was carefully sealed into paper cartons which were parachuted to spectators below, apparently including Charles Lindbergh.

This event is now celebrated every year at the Mustard Museum. Curator Barry Levenson even wrote an opera about the Guernsey cow who flew through the skies.

Tale of a flying cow is milked for all it’s worth |

Thus, “Bovine Cantata in B flat,” part of his lyric opera, Madame Butterfat. It tells the tale of one Farmer Brown, whose farm was about to go under. A couple of shifty salesmen showed up at his door and offered him money for Elm Farm Ollie so that they could fly her in a plane and milk her. Farmer Brown loved the cow but had no choice; he sold her. The men planned to sell the milk at a hefty markup, but as the song says, Ollie went on to say — in the song, the cow can talk — that if the men didn’t give the milk to the needy, “I’ll make the biggest cow pie that you have ever seen / So follow well my orders or I will be obscene.”

Sensibly, they complied.

And on the 18th of February 2011, the following photographs were taken of one-of-a-kind moments all over the world:

And here are the photographers, milking it for all they can:

Would you like to add your photo? It’s simple to join in:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the location

We’d all love to see even more SatScenes in the next edition!

Thu 16 February 2012

Domo Arigato Mr Roboto

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:31

On the 11th of February in 1938, BBC Television produced the world’s first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Capek play R.U.R.

R.U.R. was written in 1920 by Karel Capek in Czech although the English phrase Rossum’s Universal Robots appeared as the subtitle in the original. The play premiered in Prague in 1921. The following year, Paul Selver translated R.U.R. into English (and toned down the ending) and his version was a big hit in New York and London.

R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) (Dennis G. Jerz, Seton Hill University)

Virtually every encyclopedia or textbook etymology of the word “robot” mentions the play R.U.R. Although the immediate worldwide success of the play immediately popularized the word (supplanting the earlier “automaton”), it was actually not Karel Capek but his brother Josef, also a respected Czech writer, who coined the word. The Czech word robota means “drudgery” or “servitude”; a robotnik is a peasant or serf. Although the term today conjures up images of clanking metal contraptions, Capek’s Robots (always capitalized) are more accurately the product of what we would now call genetic engineering.

Meanwhile, on the 11th of February in 2012, the following photographs were engineered by aristokracie and robotniks all over the world.

Aren’t they beautiful? Don’t you want to know who took them? Make new friends! Say hello to the photographers:

Why don’t you join us? It’s easy:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

Fri 10 February 2012

Norman Wisdom

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 13:57

On the 4th of February in 1915, Norman Wisdom was born in Marylebone. He commented later on his own birth: “I was born in very sorry circumstances. Both of my parents were very sorry.” He grew up in poverty and left school at 14, walking to Wales to work at the mines and from there taking a steamer bound for Argentina as a cabin boy. He finally found success as a bandsman in the military. His charity work led to him being encouraged to become a professional entertainer. It took a few more years for him to catch a break but after the war he became a West End star and by 1950 he was appearing regularly on television as well as on stage and in the cinema.

His success lasted over a decade but in the late 1960s, he began to struggle to portray the childlike innocence of his most famous character, The Gump.

Sir Norman Wisdom obituary | The Guardian

It became apparent that Wisdom was valiantly trying to change his image.

This was vital for professional survival. Comedians whose stock-in-trade is childlike innocence – even those as great as Stan Laurel and Harry Langdon – or adolescent awkwardness, such as Jerry Lewis, generally encounter career problems in middle age. The clowning that seemed so enchanting becomes almost sinister when the face gets jowly and the hair recedes. Wisdom’s way of dealing with it – though it now seems brave – was utterly disastrous. In 1969 he made a fairly sophisticated sex comedy, What’s Good for the Goose, in which he did a bedroom scene with Sally Geeson. His public was not ready for the little Gump in bed with a woman, and Wisdom’s career as a top film comedian was over.

Despite this failure, he continued to tour until his retirement at the age of 90 and even after that produced another film. He died two years ago at the age of 95. His son commented that the entertainer’s grand send-off was not quite what Sir Norman had expected. “Nicholas Wisdom said his father was speaking to his wife about funeral arrangements a few years ago when he said: ‘Just chuck me off the end of the pier.'”

Meanwhile, on the 4th of February in 2012, the following photographs were featured on Saturday Scenes to the grand amusement of everyone:

And these are the stars that submitted them:

Would you like to be a SatScenes star? It’s easy to join in!

1) Take a photo on a Saturday and upload it to a photo hosting site or your blog so we can see it

2) Twitter the location for your photograph to @SatScenes

3) Watch for the next blog post and applaud the wondrous spectacle of all the photographs together.

I’m looking forward to seeing your scenes!

Thu 2 February 2012


Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 23:17

On the 28th of January in 1754, Horace Walpole made up a new word, serendipity.

He based the word on a Persian fairy tale,The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes were “always making discoveries by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.” Serendip is an ancient Arab name for Sri Lanka (previously known as Ceylon). Ceylon was likely a mispronunciation/contraction of Serendip which came from the Arabic Sarandib which came from the Sanskrit Simhaladvipa, which translates as Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island. In 2004, Today Translations included serendipity in position number three of English words most difficult to translate. The top two were plenipotentiary and gobbledegook.

When Serendipity becomes Zemblanity

History supports the more nuanced meaning through significant examples of accidental and sagacious discovery. There is Columbus’s discovery of America, Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin and Alfred Nobel’s discovery of dynamite. Conversely, there have been some extraordinary uses of the word. My favourite is the 1992 catalogue for women’s underwear, on the cover of which “serendipity” was emblazoned without explanation. Then there’s the following nugget of wisdom found on the Internet in 2001: “Serendipity: when love feels like magic you call it destiny. When destiny has a sense of humour you call it serendipity.”

And what of zemblanity? In 1998, William Boyd decided we needed an antonym for serendipity. He coined the term zemblanity: “making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries occurring by design”. Talk about untranslatable!

Zemblanity is not something that has ever occurred here on SatScenes. Take a look at this week’s set, full of happy, lucky and unexpected discoveries; discoveries which took place because so many people took the time to look for a photograph and share it with us:

And these are the serendipitious people who took them:

Did you know that you can find out what people are up to on other days of the week? Just take a look at the Twitter list for Saturday Scenes of 2012!

If you submitted a photograph this year, you have been added to the list. It’s fun to watch it grow as the year progresses.

And if you haven’t submitted yet – join us! Just take a photograph on Saturday and send the link to @SatScenes with the location! It’s easy and fun and we love seeing new sights.

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