Category Archives: humor

Introducing Coyle and Sharpe


The Warbler, 1963,  “man on the street” interview

Coyle and Sharpe was the name of American comic duo Jim Coyle and Mal Sharpe who appeared on television and radio during the early sixties, exhibiting their mastery of the “man on the street” interview, with humorous results.

Coyle and Sharpe began their comedy team in 1958 in a boarding house. In their official website Jim Coyle is described as a “benign conman who talked his way into 119 jobs by the time he was 25”. Mal Sharpe. At the time of their meeting, Mal Sharpe had just graduated college and was interested in the burgeoning scene that was happening in in the San Francisco area in that time.

In 1964, they were hired by radio station KGO in San Francisco to pull pranks, or as they jokingly referred to them, “Terrorizations”. The radio show was called “Coyle and Sharpe On The Loose”. Shortly after these broadcasts aired, they released two records: “The Absurd Imposters[1] and “The Insane Minds Of Coyle And Sharpe[2], which were released on the Warner Records.

The whereabouts of Jim Coyle are unkown, but in their website, a supposition is offered that he left the act to pursue a career in “tunneling” and that he died in 1993 burrowing under the city of Barcelona.

Mal Sharpe continued to do the “Man on the Street” interviews. In the year 2000, Sharpe hosted a centennial exhibit at the Whitney Museum, called “The American Century“. Coyle and Sharpe were featured in the Soundworks Exhibit for this presentation.

They have one record that re-presented their seminal comedy material in 2000 from Thirsty Ear, entitled Coyle And Sharpe-Audio Visionaries[3].

  • The Best of LCD: The Art and Writing of WFMU
  • RE/Search #11: Pranks!. RE/Search Publications, 1986.

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde, it might have been Italy but it wasn't

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde

I’ve always been weary of the genre mix of comedy and horror, but that is probably because of my dislike of the Scream franchise.

Yesterday, I find this[1] intertitle and I thought it was hilarious.

A word on intertitles

Since silent films had no synchronized sound for dialogue, onscreen intertitles were used to narrate story points, present key dialogue and sometimes even comment on the action for the cinema audience. The title writer became a key professional in silent film and was often separate from the scenario writer who created the story. Intertitles (or titles as they were generally called at the time) often became graphic elements themselves, featuring illustrations or abstract decorations that commented on the action of the film or enhanced its atmosphere.

In the silent film era, films were as much a literary as a filmic medium. I’m quite sure you could ‘watch’ the film by reading the intertitles.

Coming back to Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde, I find the humour in sentences such as “England in the 19th century was not all that it might have been — It might have been Italy but wasn’t,” and “We squirm under the tumult of Good and Evil ever — warring within us, yet were Science to separate them, Bad would flourish. Crime run riot — even Saxophone players would be tolerated,”[3] quite refreshing for 1925, when this film was released. We sometimes think that Monty Python started this kind of absurd humor, but clearly that is a mistake. To my knowledge the earliest modern instance of this kind of humor is Alfred Jarry‘s Ubu Roi, and going further back in the history of derision there is Rabelais and even before that there is the Facetiae by Poggio.

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde is World Cinema Classic #73.

P. S. Another fave intertitle is this one[2] from Caligari, used to dramatic effect in that film.

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde

The time is short, you die at dawn

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde, it might have been Italy but it wasn't

Yma Súmac RIP (1922 – 2008)

Yma Súmac RIP

Voice of the Xtabay

Voice of the Xtabay (1950)[1]

An xtabay is a femme fatale in Mesoamerican mythology.

Sumac was first brought to my attention via Incredibly Strange Music (on outsider music, lounge music and space age pop), but is also listed in David Toop‘s book Exotica: Fabricated Soundscapes in a Real World. Both volumes are recommended.


Secret of the Incas[2] (1954)

I mentioned her previously here[3].

Is she a World Music Classic or a guilty pleasure?

Eat Out More Often

RIP Rudy Ray Moore

Rudy Ray Moore died. I had never heard of him. But the image above I liked.

Rudy Ray Moore (March 17, 1927 – October 19, 2008) was an American comedian, musician, singer, film actor, and film producer. He was perhaps best known as Dolemite, the uniquely articulate pimp from the 1975 film Dolemite, and its sequel, The Human Tornado. The persona was developed during his earlier stand-up comedy records.

Rudy Ray Moore’s type of African-American humor, called bawdry, is also represented by Blowfly and the Detroit Grand Pubahs.

Gratuitous nudity #12

Strip-tease en erotiek

Dutch translation cover

Huguette Delorme

French original cover

Yesterday, I went to Tuf Tuf, a not-so-reputed second hand book store on the South of Antwerp, my neighbourhood. It’s a real drag to hunt for books there: not enough space, books not arranged alphabetially, battered copies. But sometimes gems are to be found, I picked up a copy of Midnight Movies there once. Aside from this, they specialize in erotica. I spotted two Georges Pichard books yesterday priced at €86 each. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the canonical Pichard here before, his work is super-relevant today, as the good people at have brought his ultra-pornographic vision to life.

Back to the subject at hand, me at Tuf Tuf yesterday. I bought Moderne Liefde, an anthology of short stories which previously appeared in Playboy Magazine (with a story by Borges, whose only hint at eroticism I’ve yet seen has been in his story Ulrica), Striptease en Erotiek[1] (a Dutch language translation of Strip-tease et érotisme[2]), De Leidraad (Le Lien) by Vanessa Duriès, and Erotiek by Francesco Alberoni.

Above, I’ve shown you the covers (above the translation I bought, below its original) of Strip-tease et érotisme, the actual object of this post.

Histoire et philosophie du strip-tease : Essai sur l’ érotisme au music-hall, as its full title reads,  was written by François des Aulnoyes, to my knowledge one of the very few books he’s written. The book deals with striptease, what makes it interesting is that it was published in 1957, strictly speaking a couple of years before the sexual revolution. The text is hogwash and very briefly invokes Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, Émile Durkheim, Vilfredo Pareto and Freud, these are the only sources mentioned. Its historic overview also mentions Janine Jan and Anne Bruneau as 19th century predecessors to French striptease.

What makes the book interesting are the photographs by Roland Carré, see the cover shot of Huguette Delorme above. Like I said, the pre-sexual revolution mode, with all reference for example to pubic hair airbrushed away (this was the pre-Photoshop-age).

Following models are featured: Melody Bubbles, Clara Saint-Honoré, Sheiba Scott (very sexy), Vera Bell, Japanese model Yoko Tani, Flora Balmoral, Ketty Rogers, Luce Aubertin, Rita Renoir, Tony Teaser, Lola Stromboli, Sidonie Patin, Dodo d’Hambourg, Dora Bell, Magda (of the Concert Mayol), Kitty Tam-Tam, and Rita Cadillac.

Who was Roland Carré?  The only person I know who can answer that question is Au carrefour étrange.

“You tease, she thought, you wicked tease”

For lovers of erotic literature.

Tale of the Tub

American author Evie Byrne found the origins of an engraving with a tub[1] and wrote her own version of this Decameron tale (seventh day, second story) which was taken from Apuleius’s The Golden Ass.

When her husband comes home, Peronella hides her lover in a tub and tricks her husband in believing that the lover is a purchaser who is inspecting the tub’s soundness and cleanness. The husband then crawls under the tub and starts cleaning it, the lover takes his mistress “like a Parthian mare,” and the cuckolded husband carries the tub to the lover’s home afterwards.

Or in an early English translation:

“Peronella hideth a lover of hers in a vat, upon her husband’s unlooked for return, and hearing from the latter that he hath sold the vat, avoucheth herself to have sold it to one who is presently therewithin, to see if it be sound; whereupon the gallant, jumping out of the vat, causeth the husband scrape it out for him and after carry it home to his house ”

On from Evie’s excellent version:

You tease, she thought, you wicked tease, but she tipped her rear end up, inviting more caresses. Beneath her belly, her husband began to use the rasp, sending deep vibrations through the wood. Giannello snaked his hand beneath her skirts and she widened her stance so he could feel that she was wet and hot as the mouth of hell. Even with her husband beneath her, because no matter where they were, or what they did, she was ready to take Giannello. It was that simple.”

According to “The Daily Blague”[2] Ravel’s one-act opera L’heure espagnole was based on this tale.

Stories of cuckoldry are always highly erotic, just why is that?

Most of the evening was spent on

Most of the evening was spent on researching JRMS interview[1] with Gilbert Alter-Gilbert:

Genealogy of the Cruel Tale by you.

Gilbert Albert-Gilbert’s Genealogy of the Cruel Tale from Bakunin v.6, 1997) [1]

and especially Gilbert‘s intriguing “Genealogy of the Cruel Tale[2] a perfect example of the kind of thematic literary criticism I’m rather fond of. The chart reminds of the aestheticization of violence and cruelty in general, of which Nietzsche said:

“One ought to learn anew about cruelty,” said Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil, 229), “and open one’s eyes. Almost everything that we call ‘higher culture‘ is based upon the spiritualizing and intensifying of cruelty….”

For your pleasure, here is the wikified version (information is scarce on the 20th century authors mentioned):


Genealogy of the Cruel Tale is a chart by American intellectual Gilbert Alter-Gilbert documenting the origins of the cruel tale, which begins etymologically with Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam‘s Contes cruels anthology and has content- and style-wise similarities with cult fiction and horror fiction, Dark Romanticism and the roman frénétique, black humor, transgressive fiction, grotesque literature and folk tales. Sholem Stein says that it is a continuation of the research done by Breton in Anthology of Black Humor. Texts such as Walter Scott‘s On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition, Lovecraft‘s Supernatural Horror in Literature, Mario Praz‘s Romantic Agony and Todorov’s The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre also come to mind. Notably absent is Sade.


Happy birthday Luigi Colani

The earth is round, all the heavenly bodies are round; they all move on round or elliptical orbits. This same image of circular globe-shaped mini worlds orbiting around each other follows us right down to the microcosmos. We are even aroused by round forms in species propagation related eroticism. Why should I join the straying mass who want to make everything angular? I am going to pursue Galileo Galilei’s philosophy: my world is also round. — Luigi Colani.

Car Styling 23 Luigini Colani special by you.

[FR] [DE] [UK]

There is one available now at, 69 EUR.

European designer Luigi Colani turns eighty today.

I can’t remember the first time Colani came upon my radar, but it must have been in the various design books I read in my twenties, this was in the 1985-1995 period. He – and his celebration of curvilinearity (one of the faultlines in 20th century art) – remain paramount in my design canon.

Modern and contemporary designers in this tradition include Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Isamu Noguchi, Carlo Mollino and Marc Newson.

Connecting keywords are non-Euclidean geometry, ferrocement, organic design. [I must look into this non-Euclidean geometry thing, some interesting connections are bound to appear]

Also of interest is the survey of Eric Hunting, ‘The Classic Rock Realm of Ferro-Cement’[1].

Around that same period I bought a monograph of Colani’s work, a special issue of Japanaese Car Styling magazine, #23. Personally, I prefer his non-car styling designs and the issue of Car Styling aforementioned features some rare works of eroticism (ceramics, photography, drawings) and sanitary ware by Villeroy and Boch.

The cover of that magazine is noticeable for its Böcklin typeface.

Previously on Jahsonic: Lost and found: biomorphism

Cult fiction item #8

I watched the 1999 film adaptation of Breakfast of Champions yesterday evening. I decided to check this film – after having read the delightful novel in Spain a week ago – because I considered the novel unfilmable. Unfilmable because of the book’s tone, which hovers perfectly between the surreal and the very mundane. Unfilmable also because it is an illustrated novel (with crude illustrations by Vonnegut himself, the anus illustration at the beginning sets the tone) and because the novel features many matter-of-fact explanations (what is a cow?, what is earth?, etc.).

The film was written and directed by minor American director Alan Rudolph and stars Bruce Willis, Albert Finney, Nick Nolte and Barbara Hershey. The film was widely panned by critics. It is indeed painful to watch.

Some feebly redeeming elements include the score by Martin Denny, revisiting Barbara Hershey, Glenne Headly in lingerie and the over-the-top cross-dressing scene by Nick Nolte towards the end.

The only way to adapt this unfilmable novel would have been to add at least a third person omniscient voice-over, instead of trying to hide its novelish antecedents.

This [1] unidentified excerpt – from a Vonnegut documentary I presume – is exactly what I have in mind.

Breakfast of Champions (the novel) is cult fiction item #8.

Sly as a fox, or, picaros avant la lettre

One more film for Paul Rumsey’s cinematheque: Le Roman de Renard.

The Tale of the Fox, as the film is known in English, was stop-motion animation pioneer Ladislas Starevich‘s first fully-animated feature film. It is based on the tales of Flemish picaro avant-la-lettre Renard the Fox.


Le Roman de Renard

Lords, you have heard many tales,
That many tellers have told to you.
How Paris took Helen,
The evil and the pain he felt
Of Tristan that la Chevre
Wrote rather beautifully about;
And fabliaux and epics;
Of the Romance of Yvain and his beast
And many others told in this land
But never have you heard about the war
That was difficult and lengthy
Beween Renart and Ysengrin