Even though I am American, I love QI. Hosted by Stephen Fry, who wouldn’t? This year to celebrate Series L, the questioneers have published a special set of 20 questions in the Daily Mail Event page. And Carroll made the list!
Q10 LEWIS CARROLL
Lewis Carroll wrote many books but he was also a superb inventor. What did he invent?
a) A gas-fired toothbrush.
b) A pair of wheeled slippers.
c) A hat that combed your hair.
d) An alarm clock that threw you out of bed.
Answer: d). Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Dodgson (1832-1898), an Oxford mathematics lecturer. He designed ‘The Alarm Clock Bed’, which featured in the Great Exhibition of 1851. It woke occupants by tipping them out at a set time. His other inventions included a device for writing down thoughts at night without getting out of bed and an early form of the game Scrabble.
Here’s another report from one of our mimsy minions, this time about a 2009 children’s book called Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jarrett Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #2 in the series), with fun Carrollian references:
“ The plot revolves around an evil librarian and her minions vs. the superhero Lunch Lady and some good kids. The bad guys get their power from opening books and having their characters jump out in some sort of ethereal form to promulgate mayhem. Of course, their big weapon was Alice in Wonderland, from whose pages the Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, Dodo, and Walrus emerged.”
It’s available in various formats. To view it on Amazon Smile, click me.
LCSNA member C.M. Rubin interviewed producer/writer Gareth Jones about Wotcha! Gotcha! A Very British Pantomime that played last week to sellout crowds in Maplewood, NJ. Billed as “A Ridiculous Romp Through Victorian London,” the family-oriented show combined a host of favorite Victorian-era characters both real and fictional, served up in the tradition of classic (and highly interactive) British pantomime performances. Given the show’s popularity, perhaps they will bring it back again for next year’s holiday season!
To read the interview in the Huffington Post, click me.
Author Tim Manley has written a witty new book that reimagines Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and other popular fairy tales for today’s social media-obsessed world. Manley’s take on the tales and their characters tends to be brief, with tongue firmly in cheek.
If the concept tickles your funny bone, click me to find out more.
Also: we often include book links to Amazon because it’s such a popular book-buying site; we aren’t subliminally trying to endorse one book site over another. But if you do shop on Amazon, you might want to check out their new Amazon Smile program, in which Amazon makes a tiny donation to a charitable cause of your choosing for each eligible item you buy. And yes, if you’re a Prime user, Prime privileges still apply. If you shop on Amazon, why not check out this painless way to donate to a good cause at the same time?
You can check out the smile.amazon.com site to learn more.
If you’re into all things Alice, and cooking as well, you might enjoy reading this write-up about an out-of-print but amusing Alice-themed cookbook.
In addition to eccentric recipes, the book is liberally “peppered” (sorry, I couldn’t resist) with quotes from two of Lewis Carroll’s works: Feeding the Mind, and Hints for Etiquette, or Dining Out Made Easy. Here’s a sample of the seasoned and sage (sorry, this is just too easy) advice:
“To use a fork with your soup, intimating at the same time to your hostess that you are reserving the spoon for beefsteaks, is a practice wholly exploded.”
Memory lane is strewn with many curious things, including Wonderland-themed musical numbers from various television shows. Here, in Episode 506 of The Muppet Show, a young and charming Brooke Shields (whose singing has improved significantly since this very early effort) plays the role of Alice in a musical number about her trip down the rabbit hole, appropriately titled “Falling.”
All sorts of odd Jim Henson creatures float by Alice as she falls. Doctor Teeth’s head is on the Cheshire Cat’s body, and he gets to sing the best lyrical zinger, one that pretty much sums up most Alice adaptations. Listen for it!
Thanks to one of our mimsy minions for sending along the link to this amusing vintage clip. (If the video doesn’t show below, try refreshing this page.)
From the “You can’t make this stuff up (unless maybe you’re Lewis Carroll)” Department comes this entertaining news item from the UK. It seems a florist in Blackburn had a wooden figure of the Disney Caterpillar in her store’s window display, complete with a faux hookah. A local protection officer was walking by the shop, and became concerned that the Caterpillar was breaking the local ordinance against smoking in the workplace. No, really. Or that the shopkeeper was actually running an illicit hookah den. To read the whole silly story and see photos of the Caterpillar caught in the non-act, click me.
Thanks to one of our mimsiest minions for sharing this little gem of a story. What would Lewis Carroll have said?
For those of you out there who are not regular watchers of the long-running (and frequently brilliant) animated series The Simpsons, we have a treat (not a trick) for you. This year, for the Simpson’s 24th annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween special, they’ve enlisted noted film director Guillermo Del Toro to put his own bizarre spin on the show’s ever-popular (and ever-changing) introductory sequence, also known to insiders as “the couch gag.” The resulting clip is already being hailed as an instant classic. And to make it even better, at one point Lisa Simpson finds herself becoming Alice! You may need to watch it more than once to catch all the horror and sci-fi references jammed into this slice of silliness (including liberal helpings of images from Del Toro’s own oeuvre, including Pan’s Labrinth and HellBoy). It’s also nice to see some authors of the genre honored briefly, as well.
The full episode (three unrelated stories) will be aired tonight (10/6) at 8pm on the FOX network. But the inspired intro has already been released and you can watch it right here, right now!
If you haven’t already seen this clip (or the film from which it comes), one of our UK mimsy minions pointed out that this parody of the Twilight series included a brief (and semi-violent) sight gag cameo from Alice. Perhaps the makers of Vampires Suck will next turn their attention to spoofing Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Unless that’s redundant.
Roger Allen, a long-time member of the LCS(UK), has produced a very amusing booklet, Lewis Carroll Phillustrated, of 42 pages measuring 8 x 11¾ inches and beautifully illustrated in color “focusing on Carroll’s connections with the post office and postage stamps.” The pamphlet consists “of most of the characters and scenes in the Alices and the Snark, illustrated by means of postage stamps of the world, all culled from his own copious collection.” Roger has asked that interested parties send a $20 bill (although we really don’t recommend sending cash via the mail!) or a sterling check for 13 GBP (no checks in US dollars) to:
Mr. Roger E. Allen
29 Soloman Drive
Bideford, Devon EX39 5XY