Saturday Scenes

Fri 22 February 2013

A Nail Through the Head

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 10:59

On the 16th of February, 1907, Clarence Melvin Burkhart was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Young Melvin dreamt of being a prize fighter but his boxing career was not illustrious: he fought in six matches and lost every single one. His nose was broken so badly in the final match that he had 22 pieces of bone removed after the fight. He realised that he now had a large gap in his cranial cavity which marked the start of his career as the Human Blockhead. He took to the circus with an exciting act: hammering a steel spike up his nose.

His illustrious 6-year career included acts as a contortionist, sword swallower, a fire eater and a knife thrower. But at the age of 92, he was still offering to show his first famous act at the drop of a hat.

THE LIVES THEY LIVED – MELVIN BURKHART, B. 1907 – Life as a Blockhead – NYTimes.com

He offered to perform his famous Human Blockhead routine, not seen on stage for years, right there in his kitchen. Out came the hammer. Out came the huge steel spike. Out came the banter, nearly as old as the man himself.

Tap, tap, tap. He hammered the spike up into his nose one inch at a time and bellowed: ”Ladies and gentlemen! This is a real spike, this is a real hammer, this is a real head!”

CLANG! He winced.

”Ooh, I think I hit a bone. Well, whaddaya expect from a bonehead? Now this is a good way to get iron into your system!”

CLANG! The sound rang pure as a church bell. CLANG! The spike had nearly vanished into Melvin’s crazy old head.

”And this is a good way to get iron out of your system!”

Melvin grabbed the spike with the claw end of his hammer and wrenched it out of his nose, flinging it to the floor in triumph. I burst into applause, thrilled and amazed.

Clarence died at the age of 94.

On the 16th of February in 2013, he would have been 106. And on that day, the following photographs were thrown into the ring:

And here are the stars in spangly costumes who submitted them:

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!

Thu 14 February 2013

Illuminated Airships of Monstrous Size

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:29

On the 9th of Feb in 1913, there was a meteor procession which drew the attention of a broad swathe of sky watchers in Canada, Northeastern USA, Bermuda and several ships in at sea. Forty to sixty bright, slow-moving fireballs appeared to move from horizon to horizon. A meteor procession is when an “Earth-grazing meteor” breaks apart, the fragments travelling across the sky in the same path. There have been a total of four scientifically observed since then. In 1913, the scientific observations were limited to eye-witness accounts, which offered some interesting details:

Condon Report, Sec VI, Chap 2 — Perception, Conception, Reporting

Consider these reports: (1) “The series of lights traveled in unison and so horizontal that I could think only of a giant flying machine. The lights were at different points, one in front, one further back, and a rear light, then a succession of small lights in the tail.” (2) “They … did not seem to be falling as meteors usually do, but kept a straight course … above the horizon. Our first impression was that a fleet of illuminated airships of monstrous size [was] passing. The incandescent fragments themselves formed what to us looked like the illuminations while the tails seemed to make the frame of the machine. They looked like ships travelling in company.” (3) “The meteor resembled a large aeroplane or dirigible, with two tiers of lights strung along the sides.” (4) The witnesses “reported that they had seen an airship going east. The heavens were brilliantly illuminated, and with the passage of the meteors a shower of stones was seen to fall.” (This last element is not mentioned elsewhere and appears to be spurious.) (5) “I took it for an aeroplane with both headlights lit, and as it came nearer the sparks falling behind it made it appear still more like one. However after a minute or a minute and a half I could see it was a meteor … It was very low, apparently just above the hills. (6) “My brother shouted to me, ‘An airship! And I said, ‘Mrs. M— ‘s chimney is on fire! It looked that near … To the eye they were little above the housetops.” (7) ” … a voice from a group of men was heard to say: ‘Oh, boys, I’ll tell you what it is – an aeroplane race.'”

Wonderfully romantic descriptions, don’t you think?

One hundred years later, on the 9th of Feb in 2013, everyone on Twitter was star-struck by these photographs (especially this week’s on-topic photo from Cwmbran!):

And here are the fireballs who took them:

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 7 February 2013

Imagine These Nails on a Chalkboard

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:34

On the 2nd of February in 1941, Lee Redmond was born. 60 years later, she became the Guinness World Record holder for the longest finger nails. In 1979 she decided to stop filing her nails and then simply continued to let them grow. Her nails averaged 33 inches (84 centimetres) in length, making for a total of “27 feet of stiff protein” attached to her hands. However, she was horrified when Guinness World Records showed her under the category of “Grossest World Records”.

Extreme Measures: The Smallest Waist and the Longest Fingernails – ABC News

According to Redmond, the previous fingernail record holder was so emotionally shaken when he finally cut them that he glued his nails back on. Redmond readily admitted that she has a difficult time facing the prospect of cutting her nails off.

“Maybe it’s the fear of cutting part of me?” she said.

In the meantime, she’s persuaded Guinness World Records to remove her from the “Grossest World Records” page and return her to her former place of prominence — the longest fingernails record.

Sadly, in 2009 she was involved in a car accident and although she was not seriously injured, her fingernails were. They broke off. She’s stated that she does not plan to grow them out again although according to Wikipedia, her nails are currently four inches long.

And on the 2nd of February in 2013, we ended up with over 33 inches worth of photographs to share! Take a look:

And here are the world record holders for the most wonderful-est submitters of all time:

Would you like to be a SatScenes record holder? 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 world record of so many stupendous photographs all featured together.

I’m looking forward to seeing your scenes!

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