April 24, 2007

In Memoriam: Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ’44

Print More

The 125th Editorial Board recently had the difficult task of announcing the death of one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ’44, a former Sun assistant managing editor and associate editor, will forever remain an irreplaceable part of The Sun’s history.
Shown here are columns he wrote when he was a member of the Men’s News Board.
For more of The Sun’s coverage of Vonnegut’s death, click here.

Innocents Abroad

Melting Pot
Buffalo, N.Y., April 21—(AP)—A special election to determine a successor to the late Representative Pius L. Schwert, Buffalo Democrat, will be held tomorrow with voters od the 42 (,$ :9,&43 ‘ ‘89,-) $8 ‘548:5 :£99’8 ,& !974 :-,$8$-53’—all against United States entry into war, but favoring a strong national defense.
…Associated Press Dispatch
…The foreign population in Buffalo is terrific.

Booze Nooze
Three visiting Yale men, glowing cheerfully, drained noisily out of Zinck’s the other night, when the leader spied (a distance of some two feet) a parking meter and froze. “Watch what you say about Cornell men,” he whispered hoarsely, “there’s a microphone every twenty feet.”

Another enviably happy person, past being a jolly good fellow, taking everything that was said as a bitter insult to himself, power dived down the steps of the Green Lantern and into State Street. “Hey, you damned pedestrian, wanna get killed?” a bus driver shouted.
“Hell,” the little dipsomaniac muttered, returning to the curb on hands and knees, “I’m no pedestrian, I’m a Methodist.”

If the Baylor Daily Lariat doesn’t stop addressing its papers to the Cornell Daily Bun, a student-wide contest will be held to suggest a similarly biting epithet for them damned Texans — Something like the Baylor Daily Cupcake.

Science Cannot Be Stopped
Subject of a paper delivered before the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters was, “The Effect of the Histamine Antagonist, Thymozyethyldiethylmaline (929F) on Gastric Secretion.”

— originally published in The Sun on April 23, 1941

Innocents Abroad

Department of Education
(Nature of Matter Division)

George: “What is the difference between an elephant and a tomato can?
Stooge: “I don’t know.”…or words expressing a similar sentiment.
George: “No difference; neither can ride a bicycle.”

Department of Education
(Natural History Division)

A flea and an elephant had just crossed a bridge. Looking back over his shoulder the flea commented, “Cripes, did we shake hell out of that thing.”

Department of Education
(Surgery Division)

He place his head beneath the axe
And suddenly saw red.
“I’ve had enough of this,” he yelled.
That’s when he lost his head.

— Boston University News

One of these days we’re going to publish an original joke and see how long it takes to get around the college circuit. Anybody know an original joke?

— originally published in The Sun on April 9, 1941

Bayonet Drill at the Rate of Seven in 20 Seconds, or, Oh For a Couple of Nazis

A military potentate has recently returned from an extensive tour of the United States armed forces with the happy news that the general morale is high and admirable. We recently got a cross-section of military morale of our own — we were the only civilian on a bus ride from Hartford, Connecticut to Ithaca.
We sat next to one of the nation’s happy warriors, an enlisted man of eighteen, whose attitude filled us with confidence in the face of a conflict with the dictatorships.
He described with boyish enthusiasm bayonet drill, which seems to be hilarious sport. Seven life-like dummies are set up in a realistic trench, and each soldier starts from a given point at a full run, dives into the trench, and maims each of his seven passive enemies as quickly as he can with his bayonet — all timed by a stopwatch. Our talkative source of information (these may be military secrets) said that a good man could do the job in twenty seconds, and that there were a number of good books written on bayonet technique if we were really interested.
We thanked him, and recalled a delightfully interested pamphlet we had seen which covered the subject — translated from French into English and issued by the War Department in 1917.
He went on to recite a series of actions which he repeats to himself when going into mock action, something like this: “Parry, stab, withdraw, smash (with the rifle butt), etc.,” and it’s supposed to go faster than the eye can follow.
We asked him what he thought his chances would be if he were pitted against a Nazi soldier who had been practicing with a bayonet for five years. His eyes glistened, and he said that he just wished he had the chance. He hates Germans — all of ‘em.
We were going to ask him what he had against Beethoven but decided that we probably wouldn’t get a very good answer.

— originally published in The Sun on April 22, 1941