Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Rolling Stones
Seemingly disassociated fragments:
1. The old maxim "A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss", commonly mistaken for a Biblical quote, is variously attributed to Publilius Syrus, Desiderius Erasmus, and John Heywood. The earliest known reference to the saying appeared in Erasmus' Adagia, which was first published circa 1500.
2. In 1952, a Science Fiction novel called The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein was published simultaneously as a hardcover book and as a four-part pulp-fiction serialization. It concerns a traveling space family sightseeing around our solar system, who obtain a fuzzy purring creature from Mars called a "Flat Cat". The Flat Cat soon has eight offspring, each of which soon gives birth again, until the ship is overwhelmed with Flat Cats.
3. Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney was born in 1901, the first year of the 20th century and the same birth year as Manly P. Hall; and died in 1966, the year Anton LaVey declared the birth of the New Satanic Age.
4. The ancient "rolling stone gathers no moss" maxim gains thematic currency in the lyrics of country and blues singers in the 1930s and 1940s, including Charley West, Hank Williams, and Muddy Waters.
5. Inspired by the Muddy Waters song, Brian Jones names his new blues band "The Rolling Stones" in the summer of 1962.
6. Proverbs 26:27: "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him."
7. In 1967, David Gerrold wrote an episode of Star Trek entitled "The Trouble with Tribbles", about fuzzy purring creatures who, like Heinlein's Flat Cats, reproduce exponentially and inundate the ship.
8. The similarity of Gerrold's concept to that of Heinlein's 1952 story was realized, and Heinlein was consulted. He gave the episode his blessing, and admitted that the idea had not even completely originated with him: he had been inspired by a 1905 novella called Pigs is Pigs, by Ellis Parker Butler.
9. Pigs is Pigs was first published as a short story in The American Magazine in September 1905, and subsequently released in book form. It concerns a railroad customs agent who quibbles over the proper classification of a guinea pig, and withholds a pair of them intended for export because he mistakenly believes the freight tax for pigs should apply to Guinea pigs. After confiscating the pair of guinea pigs, they quickly reproduce in great numbers until his office is overrun with them.
10. In the Biblical story of the resurrection of Christ (Matthew 28:2), an angel descends from Heaven and rolls away the stone sealing Christ's tomb.
11. Rolling Rock beer begins bottling in 1939, with an enigmatic "33" on its label which becomes the subject of speculation for the next century. Theories range from Satanic to Masonic to numerological, but the company insists it was only accidentally put on the bottle because of a mistake that no one ever corrected.
12. Walt Disney made a cartoon short out of Pigs is Pigs in 1954.