a comictoes condition

Augustus Pleasonton is best known for his theories about the colour blue.

read about the blue mouse here

He wrote the pseudo-scientific book The Influence Of The Blue Ray Of The Sunlight And Of The Blue Color Of The Sky, which was published in 1876.  Pleasonton’s theory led to what was called the “Blue-glass Craze”, whereby people began growing crops under blue light. He also postulated that blue light was especially significant in the health of humans and helped eradicate disease.

blue glass by Chihuly found here

And then there were his speculations on electricity and its effect on humans:

The sexes are oppositely electrified – hence their mutual attraction for each other. But give them the same electricities and mutual repulsion results. It has been shown that the negative masculine electricity of the man is reversed and becomes positive like that of a woman under excitement of alcoholic stimulants – in other words, for the time being, the man becomes the woman.

image of Christine Jorgensen found here

His attributes become feminine; he is irritable, irrational, excitable by trivialities, and when opposed in his opinions becomes outrageous. If, in this mood, he meets his wife, whose normal condition of electricity is like his present condition, (positive) they then repel each other.

magnetic men found here

The height of blue glass giddiness came with the publication of an entire book-length spoof by John Carboy:

“Blue glass isn’t a common quack nostrum like Jink’s Solidified Bug Juice or Doctor Scrap’s Extract of Hepisdam” Carboy assured readers. “Blue glass cures constipation of the Obituary Organs, as a table sauce it has no superior and for polishing furniture it cannot be surpassed. Square pieces of blue glass weighing six pounds each may be used for dispersing a cluster of tom cats.

TomKat found here

Carboy also spoofed the testimonial letters that Pleasonton printed in his book:

“I have been for years  afflicted with an amanuensis in the verticle goitre of my left arm, followed by a paragraph of the liver, which left me in a comictoes condition, with a constant supparation of axminster over my manipulative organs. The doctor advised me to have my umbilical cord stuffed and to diet myself upon extract of solidified lightning but my sufferings were not abated.

capillary burns caused by lightning found here

Then I bought several sheets of Blue Glass. The first sheet reversed my crustacea and expanded my cheekbones so that I couldn’t close my mouth without lifting my shoulders with a rope and tackle. The second remedied this by bringing about a general pulverisation of  my cardigan coagulations. I find I can now get drunk every day with no trouble. Please publish this for the benefit of all mankind.”

coagulated cardigan found here

The fad for blue glass as a cure all faded away, though in the 1940s Dinshan P Ghadiali made over $1,000,000 selling his Spectro-Chrome Cabinet to believers in his theory of the restoration of humans by ‘attuned colour waves’

cabinet found here

From this we learn that Green light is a pituitary stimulant, a germicide and a muscle tissue builder. Yellow light is a digestant. Red is a liver energizer and a haemoglobin builder. Violet is a cardiac depressant; Blue is a vitality builder; Turquoise, a tonic; Lemon, a bone builder; Orange, an emetic; Scarlet, a genital excitant and Purple an anti-malarial…

purple frog found here

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 11:31 am  Comments (46)  
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mental champagne

Lydia Languish was a character in Sheridan’s play “The Rivals”. Apparently, she also wrote for McCalls……..

At any rate, bright afternoon as it was, several people who ought to have been better employed gave utterance to their views upon a subject which has often concerned my mind – the importance of suiting one’s clothes to one’s mood. The Little Miss, a chit of seventeen, who knows a great deal too much, remarked inconsequently that for her part she couldn’t listen to Caruso in black ; and she was promptly sat upon by the Woman of Thirty (who is forty).

“You’re really and truly wrong. One can do anything artistic in black, feel anything artistic, be anything artistic. There is only one drawback to black : you mustn’t wear it on water and you musn’t go among flowers in it.

Sharapova dares to wear black near water

White to wear on water – blue water – and in gardens and near hills ; white for a green thought in a green shade, and when one is very young and fresh and innocent, and there is a great deal of mental champagne in the air.

Raquel Welch prefers white with her mental champagne

I suppose white is the right thing in which to dress to be made love to – white or black. I certainly say black, because ninety-nine men out of one hundred like a woman best in it, and it’s so more appropriate somehow.

Engineers are attracted to things that are black and white

I don’t think one ought ever wear navy blue if one feels sentimental,” remarked the Little Miss, meeting with instant agreement. “One shouldn’t wear navy blue in the house. Open air, and games, and dogs and things” (smiling at the man) : “when one sits on the grass with one’s elbows on one’s knees and one’s chin in one’s hand – that’s the real navy blue attitude.”


“What about pale blue?” said the man. “I think it’s difficult to put wrong. It may not always be suitable, but however wretched a woman may be, mentally or physically, I believe that wearing blue – a rather turquoisy sky blue – bucks her up, and all that.”

Turquoise Scarlett

“Heliotrope? Heliotrope is the color for red-haired women, only they will never see it ; and women in red-hair moods,” I added. It brings out all the lovely tints in their skins, and it tones down the ginger – no, I’m not alluding to color, but to the electricity which goes with the type.

redhead in heliotrope

“Ecru – biscuit – dun color?”

Wear them when you feel like a big black hat and one diamond brooch. The mood in which you want to look – ‘the gracious woman.'”


“Don’t ever wear yellow,” said the man, earnestly. I have been wondering why ever since.

Published in: on April 8, 2010 at 8:36 am  Comments (40)  
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not to be sneezed at


In the 70s and 80s many gay men used to advertise their various kinks through the handkerchief code. By wearing colour coded bandannas in the back pocket of their jeans they could let others know what turned them on.

flag fushcia flag mustard flag olive drab

In its early manifestation the code of a dozen or so colours was manageable. But after a while yellow for water sports or red for fisting wasn’t specific enough for some tastes.

Andrejkomasky lists over 80 variations but please don’t confuse your fuschias with your magentas unless you’re particularly into spanking armpits…..


There’s also a fine (nonsexual) history of the handkerchief over here

In the 18th and 19th centuries, handkerchiefs were used mostly by men. Many feature common male interests, such as grand industrial projects; sport (horse racing, pigeon shooting, cricket and boxing); railways; mapping; and, especially during the Napoleonic wars, the great naval and military encounters of the day.

funny horse

Another stylee is the handkerchief joke that folds to produce a punchline. One illustrates the “Eastern Question” (the conflict with Russia over the Ottoman empire). It shows portraits of four of the chief rivals: a Russian hero of the Crimean war, Prince Gorschakoff; Germany’s chancellor Otto von Bismarck; and the Turkish foreign minister, Safvet Pacha. If folded across the diagonals, the portraits morph into a single head-that of Benjamin Disraeli, the British prime minister, who lorded over them all


Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 7:43 am  Comments (40)  
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