The odds are 100 to 1 you're about to discover that something you thought you knew was wrong. It's not a big thing. We were all wrong.

The morning Wikipedia spiral was Circus Slang, of all things. I’d heard two old-time radio shows set in a circus, which is one of my least favorite genres. The cliches are thin. There’s always one trapeze in love with a gal who’s going with the handsome trapeze artist, and someone has to fall. Screams! Then the band strikes up with manic cheer: Deet-deet-deetle-deetle-deet-deet-deet-deet. Lots of talk about the bonds of circus people. Old fortune tellers with the standard middle-European accent. The only one that has any punch at all, I think, is “Flesh Peddler,” which features a bright new talent named DeForrest Kelly. Even that one’s annoying. It has a ventriloquist’s dummy, which hasn’t been really creepy since Gabbo.

Oh, you’ll meet Gabbo here, soon. Not that Gabbo. The other one.

Here's a thing I did not know:

"Hey, Rube!" is a slang phrase most commonly used in the United States by circus and traveling carnival workers, with a fight with outsiders. It is also sometimes used to refer to such a fight: "The clown got a black eye in a Hey, Rube.”

In the early days of circuses in America (c. 1800–1860), it was very common for carnies to get into fights with the locals as they travelled from town to town.

All this stopped on January 1st. 1861, when everyone agreed to be nice.

The other words are Shill, and Freak. Dog & Pony Show. That’s not much. You suspect that circus people had more slang than five terms, and of course they did.

They just wouldn’t tell outsiders. Those words stayed within the family. The special circus brotherhood.

Kidding! There’s a website about it. This one moved my brain around:

Calliope: A keyboard musical instrument musical using either air or steam and a series of whistles to produce musical notes.

Pronounces Kal-E-Ope with long E and O, not Ka-Ly-a-Pee.

All these years, we’ve been saying it wrong. Or at least I have. Just imagine the looks you'll get if you say it correctly now.

Anyway, back to Deet-deet-deetle-deetle-deet-deet-deet-deet. What is it? Why, it's "The Entrance of the Gladiators," by Julius Fučík.

It sounds so trivial now. So prancey. Of course there's Zimmer's Gladiator soundtrack, but there's really only one true gladiator symphonic work: Festivals of Rome, by Resphigi. A swirl of terror and pomp, complete with martyr's hymns and panting beasts, ending with the losers being pummeled and pounded and hacked:

After that it's more contemplative and peaceable, but it ends with the craziest piece of music written for orchestra in the 1920s, La Befana. It's at 18:40. A drunken Roman street party, ending with entire mob joining ina  single voice before rushing through the streets in mad abandon, the most riotous and exultant climax ever scored. That last minute cannot be played too loud.

ANYWAY. What of Fucik? He wrote over 400 marches, and was known as the Bohemian Sousa. 

His fortunes began to wane with the outbreak of the First World War. Under the privations of the war, his business failed and his health suffered. On 25 September 1916, Julius Fučík died in Berlin at the age of 44, likely of a heart attack.

Everyone knows his work and no one knows his name.

I have absolutely nothing to add about the Musk 'n' Twitter situation, except to note that the day he bought it was the most boring day on Twitter ever. The self-importance of the offended was exactly what you'd expect.

This was my favorite. The New York Times.

You can't even begin to imagine the NYT saying, in 1934, that Germany under Hilter will be a scary place. Because the paper wasn't staffed with people who had the tremulous emotional makeup of an overly-dramatic 12-year-old girl. Scary.

Defined here as "might be different."





It’s 1921.

The heart just sinks, doesn’t it. Oh, the news is such work.


I have the suspicion - faint, mind you, really unsupported by anything - that this might be something of a partisan journal.

Blockaders and blind tigers, eh.


The news briefs seem to encompass the scope of the human condition, from high to low, without any attempt to sort them.

  Newspapers were like that, to varying degrees, when they printed much more than they print now. If they print at all.
  Thirteen lectures and 49 yanks


You can sing most of it to “Turkey in the Straw,” it seems.


No idle talk, boys: Chief Love has your number.

  Chief Love.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone take out a lost and found for plain money. A wallet, yes. A ten-spot? Really? Do you honestly think someone will bring it back?

Was it possible that people did? Yes. Of course it was.



So much stuff, such tiny type - you can excuse the occasional typo. If it is a typo, and not an accusation.




That'll do - see you around. Liquor ads of the 50s await.




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