Tuesday, December 24, 2019

My Joker Taxonomy

Before I dive into how my joker collection (and this website) is organized, I'll list some articles of broad interest (to those interested in cards and jokers) on this website (updated August 2023).

Now, onto the main event: How should a collection of jokers be organized?  I tried alphabetical but they all start with J... I spoke to other card collectors, they organize their cards first by country, then by the manufacturer, then by date.  I think their systems are marvelous but they couldn't possibly work for me since I can't remember nearly enough to work that way. I need an organizational system where I could look at a joker and  know where it belongs without encyclopedic knowledge of cards and publishers in my brain. I've developed a system, very visual and to me, intuitive.

Ten sections: animals, art, Christmas, entertainment cartoons, real people,  jesters, musical, travel, ads, and topsy turvy. Most sections have subsections. Some subsections have sub-subsections. When a joker could be put in two or more places, I have rules for which rules takes precedence. For example, a joker with Mickey Mouse could be treated as an animal joker or a cartoon joker. The relevant rule is that if it is recognizable character with a name, it counts as cartoon character, not as an animal.  The  rules are listed at the bottom of this article.

Today (Jan 2021) the  count is 7,456 😏 and growing (Click for previous counts).  All of the sections are now on the website but they are not current. I update my collection daily and my website much less often.  Here are the top  categories with links to the subcategories and subsubcategories. Below that, I comment on what I like about my system and about where it needs to be improved. I enjoy comments: don’t be shy. 
  1. Animal Jokers -
    1. Ensemble Animal combinations (cats AND dogs)
    Animals: Flyers - Bee Boy
    Animals: Flyers - Bee Boy
    1. Cats  or  Dogs . Now there's a big cat subsection! 
    2. Flyers:  Birds, OwlsBees,  Butterflies  & Dragons . Now there's a rooster & chicken subsubsection!
    3. Horses , zebras, donkeys, giraffes ...
      1. Fantasy horses: centaurs, unicorns, pegasus
    4. Monkeys, bears, and others with paws 
    5. Animals with antlers, horns, and tusks
    6. Varmints - the annoying small wild animals
    7. Reptiles, amphibians, sea creatures  
  2. Art and Artsy Jokers
    1.  Art: Traditional art  (ie, there was a canvas or drawing to start with). Digital art
    2. flowers, fruit, mermaids
    3. Card-themed Jokers (YES, this is intentional) 
    4. Mystical, deathly, and devils. Pirates too. There's a new subsection: Skulls!
    5. Masks. Three subsections:   My Masked and Theatrical Jokers.  Archaeological masks,  Topsy Turvy Masks
    6. Bicycle - Unicycle
      Bicycle - Unicycle
      Statues and Sculptures 
  3. Entertainment Jokers: Animated
    1. Cartoons: Classic, NeoClassic, Modern/ Diverse / Foreign
    2. SuperHeros  , Cartoon Heroes
    3. Harry Potter Entertainment: 
    4. Speciality: Peanuts, Betty Boop, Alice In Wonderland  
    5. Anime Japanese Jokers
  4. Real People
    1.  Politicians: American European and Rest of World.   American historical figures etc are in the travel section.
    2. Star Wars, Star Trek
    3. Movie Stars
    4. Musicians. There's an Elvis section.
    5. Comedians -TV Personalities Commentators
    6. Historical and contemporary American. (There's also an Americana symbols section)
    7. International:   People of ColorOld Europeans with names, Great Artists, Writers, and Composers,  Old European stereotypes
    8. Plain people jokers (not celebrities)
    9. Pin Up Girlie Glamour Jokers (ie erotica and porn) is split into bikini girls (the essentials covered), illustrations (soon to be split with a a new girls with wands subsection per Fred de Soet)  old fashioned,  Asian, and harder core.
    10. Sports Jokers: Golf, Baseball, Football (American), 
  5. Jester Jokers (not real people or celebrities)
    1.  Dancing Jokers  are split into 
      1. Dancing jokers with Wands who dance in one of three directions: 
        1.  To the Right
        2.  Straight ahead 
        3.  To the Left
    2.  Performers with cards or without cards 
    3. Juggling things 
      Juggling Jesters
    4. Scatterman - The Cartamundi jester
    5. Sitting Jokers. It depends on how they are sitting...
      1. SidewaysCrescent moons, Bird/Owl Man, Sideways
      2. Forward: Sitting Facing Forward or Cross Legged
    6. JestersStanding jesters with WandsWalking Jesters with WandsNO WAND (standing still or walking)
    7. Head shots or busts 
      1. Jesters on a Stick or Jack in the Boxes 
      2. Heads Only  
        1.   Heads of Jesters but no hands   
        2. Heads, not of Jesters, but no hands 
        3. Hats  
      3. Heads WITH Hands  ...  
        1.  NOT holding Cards or Wands 
        2. Holding Cards   
        3. Holding Wands
    8. Fighters! ie Jokers with swords, etc
    9. Clown Jokers  
    10. Jokers, not jesters, standing (or walking) 
  6. Musical Jokers - Note this excludes real musicians which are in the real people section.
    1. Stringed Instruments 
    2. Wind Instruments sans flutes  (the flute players recently split into their own section)
    3. Percussion including piano.
    4. Musical Ensembles (to keep joker sets together)
  7. Travel Jokers (outdated post from 2017)
    1. Vehicles. This section is now split into: 
      1. Vehicles: SeaFlying (translations were here), Trains, Cars & Motorcycles 
      2. Bicycle Jokers, Skater JokersUnicycle Jokers  
    2. American places and Americana,  Congress Jokers 
      1. American Scenery Jokers
      2.  American people
      3. Cowboys
      4. Native Americans
      5. People of Color
    3. Non US Places
    4. Maps and Translations
    5. Old Europeans with names, Old European stereotypes
    6. Chinese Jokers - Acquired Collection, Collected
  8. Ads: 
    1. Casinos 
    2. Cigarettes,  Liquor, Beer, Text jokers for drinks 
    3. Desserts and Candy 
    4. Coca Cola Jokers      
    5. Cars 
    6. Public Interest Messages, space science and technology
    7. Logo type jokersGeometric Designs Jokers featuring "Joker" 
    8. Ads         Text based jokers
    9. Jokers promoting playing cards , Ads for brands of playing cards
  9. Topsy Turvy - Two headed jokers take precedence over other criteria for organi
    zing so this section is large and has subsections that mirror the overall organization:
    1. Animals
    2. Card Themed  
    3. Musician  
    4. Ladies & Masks  
    5. Jesters and clowns  - Western Topsy Subsection
    6. People  
    7. Things  
  10. Christmas Jokers with angels and cherubs. The Christmas section
    1. Santa Claus Christmas Winter  (needs updating)
    2. Coca Cola Santa Claus (needs updating)
    3. Cherubs and Angels 
  11. Large, small, and weird-shaped jokers 
      Thoughts? Comments? Here's one: I start by saying that I have ten groupings but my list goes to 11. There are two sections that I'd like to revisit and perhaps fold in: Christmas and Odd Shaped.
      Rules: Let me clarify my rules for organizing (I'm still getting this codified):
      1. Two headed is a dominant rule. If it's an animal or a travel or cartoon but it's two headed, it goes in the two headed or topsy section.  This means the topsy section is huge and has subsections that start to reflect the overall collection. That's fine.
      2. Cartoon animals whose name we know go in the cartoon section. This is to make sure that Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, and Garfield are recognized as the characters that they are, not as just rodents, dogs, and cats.
      3. Americana and real known people are dominant categories So the Statue of Liberty goes to Americana, not to statues.  A picture of George Washington from the waist up goes in Americans, not in busts and heads.  A picture of an actor's head goes in people / actors, not heads.
      4. Having just the head or just from the waist up is another dominant characteristic. So clown heads goes in heads, not in clowns.
      5. Clowns is dominant over heads and busts but not dominant over unicycling. 
      6. Jesters are first characterized but what they are doing, then by what they have. This means that the first distinction is between standing, dancing, performing, or sitting. Then, whether or not they have jester wands or are performing with cards. 
      7. Jokers from the same deck are never split up. This means that if they pictures should be in different categories, then one is going to ride along because nepotism trumps visual consistency.  
      8. Rules about pages.  I explain my efforts to organize the pages in my article about jokers with statues and sculptures. The keep pairs together makes some pages look fine.
      9. Troubling areas: 
        1. The Little Mermaid. What to do with the statue of the little mermaid. It wants to be a statue, it could go with the mermaids, and it  obviously fits in the travel section. It's in the mermaid section. Why? What's the rule?
        2. Travel. There are so many scenery and tourist sites. Organize by geography? Rural vs urban vs water vs church? Why and how?

      Strengths and Weaknesses of my system.

      It basically works for me despite my weak memory. My goal is to know at a glance where to look for a joker. And at the start of that section, to have a simple guide to the subsections within that section. So for instance, I can remember that "sitting" is a category but when I get to the sitting section (both online and in the albums), there's info there to guide me thru the subsections (which I tend to forget). For example, take a look at sitting:

        1. SidewaysCrescent moonsBird/Owl ManSideways
        2. Forward: Sitting Facing Forward or Cross Legged
       Are you interested in using my organizational system? Please do. It is available for free use with attribution.  Specifically, consider it to be available under a Creative Commons CC BY license.This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. No registration or permissions required. But please do remember to attribute. And I'd appreciate knowing about it.

       There are problems in the system so I keep making refinements. Current issues include:
      - Christmas jokers as a top level category:  It's just too small even when split into Santa Claus, Winter, and Cherubs/Angels. Maybe it should become a cartoon subsection?
      - The art category is stretched a little too much. It includes masks, deathly spirits, and mermaids. That is definitely my quirkiness since it makes perfect sense to me but is maybe not "industry standard".  And should mermaids be in the animal section? Perhaps closer to dragons (in birds/flyers / animals) and fantasy horses (centaurs, flying horses, and unicorns) which is the equestrian / animals section.
      - The distinctions can be a little confusing between jesters standing, walking, dancing, performing, or juggling. 
      - Clowns as a subset of jesters, this bothers me.
      All my rules of dominance were unrecorded, until I started writing them 4-27-2021. It will take awhile to make explicit all the rules. Will I ever be able to eliminate all the conflicting or contradictory or ambiguous situations?
      - Performers with cards versus jokers about cards. I have one category of jokers about cards which I really love. But I can't really explain the rule about when a joker goes into jokers about cards versus when it goes into the performers with cards section.
      - My cartoon section is now enormous. Plus, I'm not that familiar with many modern cartoons so I could use help getting them sorted.
      The logic of the categories and subcategories are still a little unrelated to the physical albums. I could color code my albums by section but right now, the categories sometimes stretch across many albums, sometimes fit into one. If you are curious about what my collection physically looks like, the most recent pictures are here where I discuss the joker hobby.
      - New Subsections are always trying to emerge from jokers grouped together on a page or across several pages. For instance, inside the cat jokers section, there's now a Big Cat section beginning to appear and which soon could get its own proper subsection.
      - Duplicates. I'm not set up for trading. I'm trying to fix this. Right now, my extras or dupes just go into the same sleeve in the album. When there are too many, I start a box of duplicates. Here's my current effort to get organized for trading.
      - Keeping information on this website current with the albums is a problem. I’ve no real system for recording info about my jokers despite several efforts. Someday graphic search databases will get so good that computers and AI can be applied. I just learned that my iPhone images, I can now type in “car” and get my car pictures...

      Laherte Guerra just proposed a different organizing concept with Ethnic/folklore, cartoon characters, and mythology.  It’s a solid concept that I’ll think about.

      Here’s an article from March 2017 which is when I first articulated an overall system for categorizing joker cards.

      Enjoy Browsing

      Friday, December 13, 2019

      Real People: Actors

      These jokers are real people but not comedians, musicians (including Elvis), politicians, sports figures, pin up erotic jokers, or ordinary people, they have their own sections (long ago, there was just the real people section).

      Marilyn Monroe Jokers
      Marilyn Monroe Jokers

      The backs of Marilyn Monroe Jokers
      The backs of Marilyn Monroe Jokers
      Astute readers will notice that this MM joker was in backwards in the photographs of full pages below:

      Back of the joker, Frontal of the diva

      Real People, Actor Jokers. Mostly Actresses
      Real People, Actor Jokers. Mostly Actresses

      The Backs of the Real People Actor Jokers

      What to look at next? Let me suggest: 
      Comedians - waiting to be photoed
      Musicians (including Elvis), 
      Ordinary people, - waiting to be photoed
      (long ago, there was just the real people section).

      Sunday, November 24, 2019

      Monkey Jokers (Animals Miscellaneous)

      I LOVE Monkey Jokers. I've grouped them with the bears and other cute furry animals.  There are other animal sections on cats, dogs, horses, flyers,  watery reptilian things, and antlers, horns, and tusks.

      This first two jokers are from the  Bicycle deck: Sideshow Freaks. I think this is a contemporary deck (circa 2019).

      These jokers are from the Bicycle Monkey King deck, also I think published in 2019.

      This is one of my favorites since I like monkeys and there are only a few jokers where the jesters wand does not have the jester's own head. In this case, it's a human held by a monkey.  (I designed a joker with a cat and mouse holding jester wands with each others heads on it, topsy turvy)

      The monkey in this picture interestingly enough had a previous role as the character for advertising for Monkey Brand Soap.  No, you could not make this stuff up.  Check out this advertisement from the 1880s including the clever poem: 

      Here's a page of nine monkey jokers. Three are gorillas. Two are monkeys holding people on their wands.  One monkey is taking care of the genital of another. Very civilized, eh?

       Monkeys. Of course, whenever I hear of golden monkeys, I think of the Golden Compass and the daemon of that scary lady.

      I'm a little behind on my evolutionary history, is there still a missing link?  Would any of these jokers help explain the missing link?

      There's a lot of excitement and confusion with these monkeys. Otherwise polite people have squealed when they saw the two monkeys in the middle row climbing a tree!

      Here's a mess of furry animals. Why is the rabbit coming out of the egg? Who are the little folk and what are they going to do with their acorn hammers? And what about the two modern versions where it's a witch or pink rabbit coming out, attacked by a ray gun or awaited by a turtle respectively?

      These are not in the monkey section, should they be?

      This monkey joker is in the Topsy Turvy Joker Section where there is an animal section.

      The two monkey jokers here are in the political people section since they feature George Bush junior.

      These last two jokers do have monkeys but they are in the performing tricks section. 
      If you're on a mobile device, you can't see the index on the side which has all the different types of jokers. Here's a quick sampling...
      Cat and Dog Jokers 
      Standing jokers 
      Jokers who are dancing
      Jokers doing tricks or performing.
      Jokers who are juggling.

      Saturday, October 19, 2019

      Sitting Jokers

      Feb 2021: The section grew so large that it's been broken into two sub-sections and five sub-sub-sections:
      1. Sitting facing sidewaysCrescent moonsBird/Owl ManSideways
      2. Sitting facing forwardSitting Facing Forward or Cross Legged
      Below is the original sitting article from 2019.  

      Some jokers are sitting, not standing or dancing. I  just split the sitting jokers section into two: front facing and side facing. Here's a simple visual showing the difference...

      Sideways sitting jokers.  The first subsection of the sideways jokers has the crescent moon theme.

      The first one is a historical joke, the very cool old Moon Fairy. This Moon Fairy joker was the joker on one of the first Congress decks that the USPC published, in 1895 (I'm not sure that this is an original Moon Fairy although it does seem to match the example from Hoffman' Card Encyclopedia on page 87.)
      Moon Fairy Joker
      Moon Fairy Joker
       For all of you who like to know that some superior being is up there watching us, here's the joker that is keeping track of us.

      Betty Boop is quite the character and we're grateful to have her posing on the moon for a joker.   I have a whole article about the Betty Boop joker, Betty Boop, and where she belongs in the joker collection.

      This next jokers comes from China and is called OwlMan.  There are many variations of Owlman as you can see below.

      Here is the sideways section of the sitting joker section. There are 53 different ones (10/19/2019).

      Front facing sitting jokers.  The first subsection of the sideways jokers has the drinking theme.

      This next seated fellow, Rambler, could have some historical significance. He could be a National Card Co of Indianapolis and NY joerk, NU& #22 created in 1885 or 1890 P 111 Hochman. Or he could be a modern repro. In any case, he has adorably chubby cheeks and a devoted dog.

      There are nine pages plus a single of these forward facing jokers. So a total of 55. (yes, there are a few inconsistencies....it's a work in progress....). We'll start with the sitting and drinking jokers which go onto the second page.

      On this second page, we transition from drinking sitting jokers to jokers sitting on balls or globes.

      More jokers on balls....

      And now, some cross-legged jokers, I think these are a Piatnek design.

      These cross legged jokers are by John Worthington I believe.

      Most of this next page features a joker called Throney, a name given to them by Dan Nordquist.

      Below , I share a few samples of the agony of decision-making. Where to put jokers that could fit in multiple categories? The ones below are not in the sitting section although they could be.

      The first one is in the animal joker section, equestrian (ie horses) subsection. He could also have been put in the musical string section or the sitting section.

      This joker of the three imps probably dates from 1927. It's an old US Playing Card Joker. It features the Palmer Cox Brownies. They are in the jokers about playing card section.

      These crescent moon jokers are in the crescent moon subsection of the topsy turvy section. Weird, I know. (Yes, one pair of topsy turvy crescent moon jokers do seem to be in both sections, just noticed it...)

      These next few are from the death and mystical section of jokers.

       She is in the sports joker section, sitting on a driver.  There's a case for her as a sitter or as a pin-up.

      The Little Mermaid from Denmark is neither in the sitting section, the nudie section, nor the travel section. She is in the joker statues section.

      This last seated joker is seated in the musical joker section, string subsection. 

      This post updates the 2017 sitting joker article.

      What to look at next, I suggest the: