Want a truly original way to make a first impression upon your visitors? Try Derek Bernstein’s “cat and dead mouse” door knockers, sold on Etsy:
José Guadalupe Posada was a Mexican cartoonist who lived from 1852 to 1913. With a sharp, satirical wit, Posada frequently lampooned society and politics. He is best known for his “Calaveras” (skeleton) cartoons, which have now become associated with the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday.
(Click a picture to see a larger version)
The Calavera of Señor Madero
Francisco I. Madero (1873-1913) was a wealthy lawyer from the north of Mexico who by 1910 had crystallized around himself the opposition to Diaz’s reelection. Escaping from prison to the north, Madero slowly descended on Mexico city after the outbreak of the Revolution (Nov. 20, 1910) and entered the capital in triumph in the spring of 1911, becoming President a few months later. He failed to rally the country around him, however, and was forced to combat several rebellions. One of his own generals turned against him, forced him to resign, then had him murdered in 1913.
One of the purposes of the depiction of “calaveras” is to remind us, those with power and those without power, that the end comes for us all.
The comedian Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890 – February 23, 1965) struck up a terminal banter with his nurse shortly before he expired:
“I’d rather be skiing than doing this.”
“Do you ski, Mr. Laurel?”
“No, but I’d rather be doing that than this.”
The doctor approached his patient in the surgery room, stating: “I have some good news, and I have some bad news.”
The worried patient asked for the bad news first.
“Well, the infection in your legs was so bad, we were forced to amputate.”
“Oh no!” cried the patient. “Well, what could possibly be the good news?”
“There’s a man in the waiting room outside who wants to buy your shoes.”
Did you hear the one about the leper who was playing poker and threw in his hand?
A brunette and a blond were watching the late night news, when a news report came on about a man standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, threatening to jump off. The brunette bet the blond $10 that the man would jump. Sure enough, the man eventually jumped.
Afterward, the brunette laughed and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t accept your money. The truth is, I saw this same story on the 5:00 news and I already knew he was going to jump.”
The blond looked perplexed and said, “Yes, I saw it on the 5:00 news too, but I didn’t think he’d jump again…”
A Texan lawyer receives a call about an emergency that requires him to fly immediately to New York for a week. He has to leave right away, so he calls home to tell his wife he is going. The maid answers the call, but is quite hesitant about putting his wife on the phone. After a bit of interrogation, the maid admits that the wife is upstairs in bed with the mail man.
The lawyer is furious, but there is nothing he can do–he has to leave for New York right away. So instead, he tells the maid to go get the gun out of his desk drawer and kill the wife and mailman. He explains that under Texas law, it is legal to kill an adulterous spouse and their lover, if they are caught in the act.
The maid puts down the phone, and the lawyer hears the sound of two gunshots, a scream, some loud thumps, and finally two splashes.
The maid returns to the phone.
“What did you do with the bodies?” he asked.
“I threw them into the pool,” she replies.
The lawyer pauses, then asks the maid: “Wait, did you say pool?”
“Yes! In the pool!”
Another pause. “Uh… is this 555-8234??”
She Lost the Bet
Three friends named Edward, William, and Victor were wine-tasting aficionados. They went on a weekend trip to California for a wine-tasting event. The first few hours went very well. Victor attempted to open a new bottle by pulling the cork out with his teeth, but the cork lodged in his throat and Victor choked to death.
Edward and William were distraught.
“Who is going to tell Victor’s wife?” lamented Edward.
William piped up, “I’ll do it. I’m very good at these things.”
So William took the car and left to go tell Victor’s wife the bad news. The next morning, William returned to the hotel carrying Victor’s most prized vintage bottle of Merlot.
“Did you tell her?” asked Edward.
“Yes,” replied William.
“Where did you get that vintage Merlot?”
“She gave it to me.”
“What? You told her that her husband died and she gave you a bottle of wine?”
“Well,” explained William. “I knocked on the door, and when she opened it, I saw Victor’s most expensive bottle of wine sitting on a shelf. I asked her, ‘Are you Victor’s widow?’ She said, ‘You must be mistaken. I’m not a widow.’ I replied, ‘I’ll bet you that bottle of Merlot you are.'”
License to Kill
The CIA posted an ad asking for a trained assassin. Two men and one woman came in to apply for the job.
The CIA Director called the first man into his office. Pointing to a metal door, the Director stated, “We have to know if you would be willing to do your job at all costs. In the room behind that metal door, you will find your wife tied to a chair.”
Handing the applicant a loaded gun, the Director stated, “You must go into that room and shoot your wife in the head.”
The applicant hesitated and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do that.”
“Then you’re not the right person for the job,” said the Director. “Next!”
The second man was led into the Director’s office. The Director gave the same command to the second man, and handed him the gun. The second man took the gun, went into the room with his wife, and after a minute, walked out, saying, “I couldn’t do it. I guess I’m not the right person for the job.”
“No, you’re not,” responded the CIA Director. “Next!”
Finally, the woman applicant entered the Director’s office.
“We have to know if you would be willing to do your job at all costs. In the room behind that metal door, you will find your husband tied to a chair. You must go into that room and shoot your husband in the head.”
The Director handed the woman the gun. She walked into the other room, several gun shots were heard, then banging, screaming, and silence. After a few minutes, the woman walked out of the room and approached the Director, slamming the gun down onto his desk.
Wiping sweat from her brow, she said, “You didn’t tell me the gun was loaded with blanks! I had to beat him to death with the chair!”
Two Spanish detectives were investigating the murder of a man named Juan Francisco.
“How was he killed?” asked one detective.
“With a golf gun,” the other detective replied.
“A golf gun?! What is a golf gun?”
“I don’t know. But it sure made a hole in Juan.”
A Mafia boss decides to hire a deaf man as his bookkeeper. That way, the bookkeeper won’t be able to overhear any of the Mafia boss’s incriminating conversations and would not be able to testify in court.
The deaf bookkeeper seems to be doing a good job, until one day the Mafia boss discovers that the bookkeeper has embezzled $10 million from him over the course of the last few years.
The Mafia boss’s attorney speaks sign language, so the Mafia boss takes his attorney to the bookkeeper’s house.
“Ask him where my money is,” the Mafia boss tells the attorney.
The attorney signs to the deaf bookkeeper, “The boss wants to know where his money is.”
The bookkeeper signs back, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When the attorney relays this message to the Mafia boss, the boss becomes enraged and pulls out a gun, putting it to the forehead of the bookkeeper. “Ask him again!”
The attorney frantically signs to the bookkeper, “Please! Tell where you hid the $10 million, or else you’re going to be shot!”
“Okay, okay!” the bookkeeper signs back, “I buried it in a brown suitcase in the backyard of my cousin Enzo’s house in Brooklyn!”
The attorney signs back, “What’s the address of your cousin Enzo’s house?”
“532 Maple Street,” the bookkeeper signs back.
“Well!?” yells the Mafia boss. “What did my bookkeeper say?”
The attorney shrugged and replied, “He says you don’t have the guts to pull the trigger.”
The Best Eulogy
Three elderly friends are looking through the newspaper and notice several obituaries of their high school classmates. All of the obituaries say glowing things about the deceased.
The three old friends start talking, and ask each other, “What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?”
The first one begins, “I want them to say that I was a hard worker and a good family man.”
The second one says, “I want them to say that I really made a difference in the world.”
The third one thinks about it and says, “I want them to say, ‘Look, he’s moving!'”
A group of tourists in Vienna are walking through a graveyard and as they pass by the tombstone of Ludwig van Beethoven, they hear a noise coming from the grave. It sounds like music. One of the more astute tourists declares, “How interesting! That’s Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, being played backwards!”
The tour group is confused, but continues on. As they walk throughout the cemetery, they eventually make their way back around to Beethoven’s grave again. Now they notice that Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is being played backwards.
Curious, the tourists stick around until all of Beethoven’s symphonies have played in reverse order. The tourists begin to chatter noisily amongst themselves as to what this means. As they do so, the cemetery caretaker ambles up to them and explains, “Oh, it’s nothing to worry about. He’s just decomposing.”
Ralph went into his doctor’s office for a physical exam. After completing the exam, the doctor approaches Ralph solemnly and explains, “I’m sorry, Ralph. You have a rare, fatal condition. I’m giving you six weeks to live.”
Ralph was devastated. “It can’t be! I feel as healthy as I’ve ever been! Isn’t there anything I can do?”
“Well, yes,” said the doctor. “You can go down to the spa on the end of the street and get a mud bath treatment every day.”
“And that will cure me?” Ralph asked excitedly.
“No,” replied the doctor. “But it will get you used to the dirt.”
A man’s wife dies, and after the funeral, as her casket is being carried out of the church, the pall bearers accidentally bump it against the wall. They hear a faint moan and open it up, only to find the woman is still alive.
The woman goes go on to live for another ten years, and finally passes away.
She has another funeral, and afterward, as the pall bearers begin to carry her casket out of the church, the woman’s husband cries out, “Watch out for that wall!”
A man wakes up following a long surgery and after a few moments calls for the doctor. “Doctor, doctor! I can’t feel my legs!”
“I know you can’t,” the doctor replied. “I had to amputate your arms.”
Can’t Get Down
A wealthy businessman was on vacation in the Bahamas, when he received a shocking telegram from his butler that simply said, “Your cat is dead.”
The saddened businessman returned home and buried his beloved pet, and then took his butler aside and said, “You should break bad news gently. For instance, if your cat had died, first I would send a telegram saying, ‘Your cat is on the roof and can’t get down.’ Then, I would send a telegram saying, ‘Your cat has fallen and is hurt badly.’ And then I would send a telegram saying, ‘Your cat has passed away.'”
The butler nodded understandingly and promised to follow this protocol in the future.
The next month, the businessman went on another vacation. Halfway through his vacation, he received a telegram from his butler: “Your mother is on the roof and can’t get down.”
One of my fondest memories as a child (and most likely a great part of the reason why I’m slightly mentally disturbed as an adult) was eagerly waiting for the Edward Gorey animated intros and bumpers for the public broadcasting station’s “Mystery” television series. Finally, thanks to Youtube, I can enjoy them all again, and I’d like to share them all with you:
Thank you, dear readers, for helping make the Dark Class blog read by an average of 140 unique visitors every day! To celebrate how far the blog has come, here’s the five most popular and well-trafficked blog posts on this website:
#5. Macabre Jokes
If you’ve been putting off seeing the Addams Family musical on Broadway, you should really consider doing so now. The musical numbers and dialogues have been pared and refined to perfection over the past few months, and with Roger Rees taking over from the equally brilliant Nathan Lane, as the new Gomez Addams, this macabre comedy is the best it’s ever been.
Offered without comment:
Make a charming first impression upon your visitors with a bronze door knocker in the shape of a human hand. The best location to search for deals on these lovely novelties is a simple Ebay search.
Yesterday, MedievalWeaponInfo.com posted a great, little informative piece on the history of the scimitar. Give it a read! If you’d like to own a scimitar yourself, I would highly recommend the Kult of Athena shop, where you can buy an historically accurate and quality Persian scimitar for only $179.95. (Many other scimitars sell for twice that amount.)
Also, enjoy this interesting, and at times unintentionally humorous, video demonstrating the use of a scimitar:
I recently got around to reading Mary Roach’s morbidly fascinating bestseller, “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers,” and it richly rewarded every second of time I devoted to it. “Stiff” is immensely informative, completely captivating, keeps you turning pages, while at the same time managing to be shockingly entertaining and done with a good sense of humor. Roach will tell the incredible and sometimes unbelievable tales of cadaver usage throughout history and different societies. She will then take you through the process of what happens to your body as soon as you expire, and all the different possible ways that science can utilize your corpse (some ways you’ve surely never even though of before). Tearing away the macabre veil of mystery that enshrouds the journey of the human cadaver, “Stiff” answers all the questions you’ve ever had about the scientific usage of dead humans, and even the questions you never thought to ask. Well worth every penny!