The Haunted Coconut

A Tragic Bar Fight, 1884

A terribly true story of my great-great grandfather, Lorenzo, and his brother, Rufus, taken directly from eyewitness
accounts in court records.

On the afternoon of September 16, 1884, Rufus Eldridge and Lorenzo “Ron” Stevens, farmers living on adjoining properties in London, Ontario, drove their horse-drawn wagon to Nilestown, Ontario to purchase “domestic supplies”.

Lorenzo was a 41 year-old bachelor who managed the family farm and cared for his mother. Rufus was his 48 year-old half-brother and close friend who was recently married and had just become a father for the first time. His son Freddie was a little over one year old.

The two journeyed to Nilestown that day, as they had so often in the past, probably to purchase goods like sugar, fabrics, or fencing. As the pleasant afternoon turned to evening, the brothers were apparently in no great rush to get home. They settled in at the Nilestown Hotel with drinks, their wagon and horses stationed nearby. It was there, at the saloon, where they came across strangers John Richards, William Butt, Edward Noulty, and Henry L’Ansette, among others.

The group caroused well into the late evening, when sometime after 10pm an argument broke out between Rufus and Edward Noulty about which man was the better man–especially which man could “draw brick” better. Rufus began to brag that he could “lick” any man in the room, pressing his hand onto Noulty’s shoulder he exclaimed “I can draw more brick than you, or I can lick you either”. 

Noulty turned to L’Ansette and suggested “Here’s a man can ‘lick’ you”, indicating the inebriated Rufus.

Jeremiah McRoberts, proprietor of the hotel came over, grabbed Noulty by the shoulders and took him to the corner of the room to reprimand him not to cause a fight. Noulty relented and agreed, but as soon as he returned a scuffle broke out between him and Rufus. Shoves. Jabs. Maybe even a punch or two.

 

The dispute, which began at the Nilestown Hotel soon shifted just down the street to the Byers Hotel. Rufus and Lorenzo had left the first hotel, and walked down the street a short way to the Byers, not ready to end the evening, and presumably to lick their figurative wounds and grouse about the troublemakers. 

The two weren’t long at the Byers before Noulty and L’Ansette reappeared. Almost immediately, “Rufe” threw Noulty to the ground and began choking him, prompting the hotel-keeper to pull him off.

At the same time, Ron had started brawling with L’Ansette. The latter hit Ron, knocking him down to the ground. Witnesses differ on whether Ron crawled or ran behind the bar, but all agree that then, with L’Ansette reaching for him over he bartop, Ron grabbed a liquor bottle and broke it over his attacker’s head. As blood ran down the Frenchman’s head, Ron reached for more bottles to start throwing, when he was grabbed by a witness and pulled to a hallway at the back of the bar. Rufus was escorted back there as well.

Noulty and L’Ansette were ejected out the front door.

After much protest by Noulty and L’Ansette, they were shortly allowed back in and L’Ansette was said to be quite worked up, holding his bleeding head and muttering that “a man that would do that would kill his own brother.”

The aggravated Frenchman was about 27 years old, and was said to be stout and powerful in appearance, with a “bulldog”-like head and an aggressive countenance. He was well known around the neighborhood as a fighter with a bad temper–a trait that was on full display as he paced, threatened, and ranted, hoping to get revenge against the older men. He was heard shouting “Rufe, you —–, I can lick you, and I will!”

By that point, Ron and Rufus had moved into the kitchen, where a witness told them to sit tight for a while before leaving. The altercation had already gotten too hot, and the brothers were determined to leave. Rufus pulled out a knife saying that no one was going to prevent him from going home. 

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The #WheresMelania Mystery

UPDATE: SOLVED!
It was 24 days that we went without seeing Lady Mel, but on June 5, she reemerged from her hidey hole. No full explanation has been given for the inconsistencies from her office and schedules, but it’s probably safe to assume that she had medical issues to overcome. She may have been sicker than we ever thought, or was working to overcome some kind of addiction. Odds are, we will never know the true details. And I suppose that’s fine. The important thing is that she appears to be okay. Still…something really fishy was going on. The whole thing still stinks.

 

                                                      Where is Melania Trump?
Melania Trump is missing. She has not been seen for 20+ days, during which time the White House has been cagey and misdirecting regarding her whereabouts. We have not seen her–not from a window, not from a balcony. We have not heard her voice. We have not read a Tweet typed by, or even dictated by, our FLOTUS. And it all stems from a surprising and mysterious hospital procedure, followed by fake tweets, absences from major events and family trips, and a rattling silence from her office.

Listen, FLOTUS and I are from two completely different planets, and I have no clue how she has rationalized some of her life choices. But, she is our First Lady. This is an odd post, in that I hope it will become irrelevant and silly in a matter of just a few hours or days. But for now, it is exceptionally intriguing, and potentially very sad.

All we want to know is, where are you Lady Mel? Come home to us! Donald hasn’t had his tiny paws slapped away in weeks! I forgot how to BE BEST!
#WheresMelania

Here is a Melanie’s Melania’s timeline:


May 10: The last time Melania was seen in public. She and the President are photographed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland welcoming home the North Korean hostages. In the middle of the night.

May 14: Melania is secretly admitted to Walter Reed Hospital to undergo a “procedure” to treat a “benign kidney condition”. Though such procedures are done typically on an out-patient basis, FLOTUS’s office predicts that she will be kept in the hospital for 4-5 days, causing concern about what additional issues or procedures may be at play.

Her Communications Director and President Trump both note that the procedure was a success and that she is doing well.

May 19: Melania’s office reports that she is returning “home” (presumably the White House) from the hospital. It’s been over a week since we’ve seen her.

May 16-28: Her office continues to tweet on her behalf, on topics including thanks to the doctors at Walter Reed, a brief note about the Santa Fe shooting, and two Memorial Day messages that coincide with the President’s office’s agenda and message.

May 25: Outside of the White House, a reporter asks Pres. Trump how Melania is doing. He replies that she is doing “great” and then points to a window of the White House and says, “Right there. She’s doing great. Just looking at us, right there.” The window appears empty, presumably because the cardboard cutout or pillowcase dummy he set up fell down after a strong breeze.

May 28: Memorial Day. She has supposedly been resting at home after being released from the hospital nine days before (from an outpatient procedure). She does not attend the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington with Donald, as she normally would.

May 30: Melania surprisingly does not appear for the “White House Sports and Fitness Day” event, though it dovetails with her children’ initiatives. Ivanka takes her place.

May 30: While Pres. Trump is at the fitness event with his daughter-wife, the @FLOTUS account tweets the following:

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Anyone not recently hit in the head with a frying pan, realizes immediately that this tweet was not composed by Melania or any member of her staff, as the syntax is completely off, and alarmingly familiar. Oh, Donald, why are you working overtime to dictate your wife’s tweets?

June 1: Melania has now been missing for 3 weeks. The White House announces that she will not be traveling to Camp David with her husband. It is now likely that she will remain missing throughout the coming weekend.

June 2: The President and his children, Don Jr., Ivanka, Tiffany, and Jared Kushner, all head to Camp David together without Melania. Her conspicuous absence from the family gathering fuels theories that she is either preparing to divorce the President, or that she is gravely ill.


The more the timeline unfolds, the more troubling her story becomes. Given the current administration’s predilection for lying–and in Trump’s case, impersonating people who don’t exist (*cough*, John Barron)–their sloppy attempt to Tweet in her voice only makes the situation as suspicious as the sock puppet they tried out for a Fox News live Melania interview. Nothing about this is normal.

So Where IS Melania?

Theory #1: The Official Hermit Theory
The FLOTUS and POTUS offices stand by the story that the famously private First Lady has been staying under the radar while she recuperates at the White House. They note that she has been out of sight for longer stretches (under, arguably, far less peculiar circumstances). She will reappear when she is feeling up to it, and continues to tweet her support and love for her country.

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Problem With This Theory: She hasn’t been tweeting at all. And in light of growing public concerns about her well-being, it is highly strange that she does not at least step out on to a balcony to wave at reporters. She is certainly under no obligation to do so, but wise communications officials might typically press the matter to quell chatter and minimize distractions.

Plus, she doesn’t attend the wreath-laying ceremony? She avoids a family gathering at the serene and private Camp David? Feisty FLOTUS either can’t or won’t participate in White House/husband events, and it has nothing to do with mere privacy. Read More

The Handmaid’s Tale: What is the Deal With the Colonies?

Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale is a remarkable study of the human spirit that embodies exquisite acting, titillating visual imagery, and more tension than my poor smothered teddy bear can handle. But there is an arc to this season that is more than troubling–a xenolith of torture porn that exhibits no forward movement or even the promise of it: Emily and the colonies.

It isn’t just an interesting band name. “Emily and the colonies” is the bone spur of this season. There is no virtue or entertainment in watching women pull out their teeth and fingernails, and dig at the steaming earth over and over. There is no purpose to witnessing their decaying bondage, other than to string out June/Offred’s tale. The arc is so far gone in degrees of hope, and even reality, that it is a face-punching anchor on the entire season.

You may disagree with me entirely. But, even if you find a smidge of virtue in watching rotted bodies digging in the earth and washing their skin away at the sinks, you have to admit, there are some major problems with this storyline. So many questions. So much that makes no sense.

What are the colonies?

The answer is that we do not exactly know. Margaret Atwood–the source-material author–never explicitly states what or where they are, only that they are toxic and horrible. It is pretty easily inferred, however, that they are massive areas that were hit by nuclear bombs (or other weaponry). This explains the radioactivity, and (sort of), why they are digging at the soil. Presumably, the idea is that my scraping away the top foot or so of earth, the land may be livable again some day. Many, many, many years from now.

Why aren’t they using bulldozers?

So there are the unwomen, and the aunts, and the guardians, all slowly (verrrry slowly) digging and picking at the earth and shoving it all into bags (bags!). But why the hell don’t they have big machines to make the job go monumentally faster? The technology exists, the fuel exists.

We know that Atwood remarks the unwomen cannot have protective gear because Gilead won’t bear the expense, but surely, sending a fleet of bulldozers to cut the job time 1,000-fold, is more cost effective than the labor of the aunts and the guardians, the food provisions for everyone, the cost of all those damn bags, and the utility costs of maintaining these camps for years upon years.

Damn it, Gilead! Dig down a long way into the earth, pour a concrete shell with a nice lead lining for good measure, and then bulldoze a whole lot of toxic earth into the subterranean concrete vault, seal the thing up, and move on to the next site.

What in the name of Janine are they planning to do with those bags, anyway?

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What Happened to the 1890 Census?

Genealogy nerds like me frequently weep and fan themselves to exhaustion over a gaping hole in America’s historical record:

The 1890 U.S. Census is gone.

The original was destroyed. No copies exist.

It has been erased from history, erased from existence.

That, my friends, is no small deal. Every ten years since 1790, we have records of who lived where, with what family members, how old they were…and assorted other nuggets of personal history. Try to research your family history, and you will quickly understand what a treasure chest each census is–“oh look, my great-great grandfather was a ‘gentleman’ by profession in 1910, while in 1900, he was a fruit peddler.” I can tell you when my great grandparents took in my young, distant cousins (after their mother’s dress caught on fire from the stove, and her instincts to run across a field to a neighboring home while aflame were fatal). I can point to the empty, weed-filled lot in Detroit and say with confidence, “Yep, that was my family’s home for over fifty years.”

I know all of this because of census records. But thanks to a deep and bizarre mystery, I cannot track much of my American ancestors’ history and movement from 1881 to 1899, because the 1890 census has been wiped from history.

What happened to it? According to most stories it burned up in 1921. But that isn’t really the truth. Something far stranger happened, and to this day it isn’t clear at all why it happened.

This is the story of the 1890 U.S. Census and how it went from controversial marvel, to disappearing pile of ash. What you are about to read is a tale of greed, incompetence, and mystery.

1890: The Eleventh Census is Taken

It is June, 1890. Across the country, about 86,000 men had recently been hired for temporary work as census enumerators. Now, in the June heat, each man plods door to door within his assigned district to take down a wide range of personal  and confidential family details about births, residences, parents, occupations, race, ethnicity, education, and impairments. For the first time (and what would later turn out to be the only time for many decades to come), there is a separate schedule (sheet of paper) for each family, allowing for unprecedented details to be recorded–and making it a back-breaking job to shuffle all of that paper. (It is said that there is more paper used in this census taking than in all previous ten censuses combined!)

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When a family cannot be questioned personally, it is within the power of each enumerator to obtain the needed information from neighbors as proxies. It is important to be efficient in the collection, as the job must be done and reported back to Washington by the July deadline.

The untrained enumerators have sworn an oath to be courteous, confidential, and thorough–the last part being nearly guaranteed, as the men are paid according to what each records. According to the 1890 “Instructions to Enumerators” guide, they are each to be compensated to the tune of 2 cents per death reported, 5 cents per person with a mental or physical defect, or for each prisoner, pauper or homeless child. Each also receives 5 cents for each veteran or veteran’s widow from the “war of the rebellion”, and 2 cents for every other living person.

The data collection is likely grueling, tedious work without long-term prospects, but it is in service of their country and history–or, in some cases, it is a wonderful gesture of patronage by powerful friends and muggity-wumps who want well-placed (and untested) enumerators to advance their political or business agendas. Many deals across the nation hinge on the outcome of this census and what it reveals about changing populations, movements, and resources. In short, a lot of money may be made or lost over the results.

Once the work is complete, each man wraps up his work by following these guidelines as described in the August 30, 1890 issue of Scientific American:

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This is a deviation from the practice of enumerators in past decades, who had previously filed their completed census schedules with County Clerks offices before they were forwarded to Washington. But this year, there is so much data (*sigh*) that the hand-copying burden is an easy excuse for the census records to bypass local offices and head straight to Washington, and only Washington. All eggs in one flammable basket.

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If You Were Stranded On a Desert Island, and You Could Only Have…

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only play one favorite workplace lunchroom game…it would have to be the ol’ desert island scenario.

There you are, you poor bastard. You’re stranded on a very tiny desert island for what you can only assume is an indefinite amount of time. A few concessions are made by the universe toward your predicament: Apparently, you have at least a meager source of fresh water and food–enough to survive, even if you get the “coconut runs” daily. Sadly, though, it is presumed in most scenarios that you have no companionship.

Curiously enough, whatever crisis led to your surprise crash or abandonment on the little island, you are given some options–maybe by the grace of generous pirates? Well-connected mer-people? So, now is the time to choose. Your benevolent porpoise or pirate wench has given you but moments to decide the small comfort you may be afforded for your eternal, sandy sabbatical. I hope you have your answers ready to go. Wish-granting squids are notoriously impatient.

If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have…

Two Books

This is the standard smartass conundrum. Are you one of those insufferables who believes you are terribly clever in declaring that you would bring a guide to building boats? Or the longest book possible so the pages may act as kindling?

Piss off, if you are. That isn’t the exercise. The point is to decide what you read for your mind, spirit, and soul. And the merman will tell you so. Offend the merfolk and they’ll swim off and leave you with nothing, you wanker.

Trilogies, series, etc. are against the rules, mostly because the porpoises can only carry two books, and the pirates are far too drunk to retrieve more. You don’t get a little coconut library.

Here’s the the issue: It isn’t just about the title, but also the tone of which books you pick. For example, I’d be tempted to select some Poe short stories, a Stephen King novel, or Catcher in the Rye. But I have to be careful not to pick anything too damn depressing. The whole idea is to promote survival and sanity. I want to be removed to a happy place where I can remember the beauty of humanity and maintain my imagination.

So what would you pick? The Bible? A medical guide? Moby Dick? David Copperfield? Watership Down? Dune? The Hobbit? A comic book? A baby book? An autobiography? A diary–maybe an empty one (one of those from the stationary store that comes with a pen)?

Here are my picks:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Since my own game rules won’t permit me to have the whole series, I will limit myself to just the first book. And even on its own, this book is worthy of one of my choices. It’s light, enchanting, and whimsical. It’s absolutely the perfect bit of fantasy to forget how much sand is in uncomfortable places.

     2. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg

Perhaps you can tell by these selections that I have a fondness for young, doe-eyed characters who face adversity but still have heart and imagination. I think facing down the prospect of rancid water, raw crab meat (okay, yum) and pouring rain storms, I might need a reminder of innocence, optimism, and imagination. And this book is like chicken noodle soup. If you haven’t read it yet, you must.

If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have…

Two Movies

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Oldies Music is Super Creepy

I grew up listening to 1950s and 1960s “oldies” music on the radio and records and cassette  tapes. It all seemed really normal since it was my mom’s favorite, until I realized that she was born in 1955, which means that she was still worshipping music from her preschool years–and worse yet, subjecting me to it throughout my impressionable youth. Thanks, Mom. It could been the Stones. Or The Doors. Or even ELO. Those were your contemporary groups! Instead, I spent the 80s listening to Buddy Holly and the Crickets tracks over and over on some enormous headphones that would’ve fit in at NASA.

Okay, I kind of like it. There were some beautiful tunes and amazing vocals that still hold up. And if that all fails, there’s always great kitsch (see “Sugar Shack” and “Sunshine, Lollipops”, etc.).

But as an adult , I’ve started to hear some of the oldies lyrics in a much different light. I’m rocking out to some of the classics in my kitchen, washing dishes and cooking dinner, and suddenly I catch what I’m singing in front of my daughter and I’m halted upright and make that lemon-sucking face.

What did I just sing out loud? Oh my god, did I just sing about sexually attacking a teenager?!

And I want to hit the “next track” symbol or start nervously laughing at Alexa as if it was her fault the song came on. “Oh, Alexa! What kind of crazy music do you think I like? Ha. Ha. Yeah. Next track! Next track!”. But the truth is, some of the creepiest songs are also the catchiest, so my finger hovers over the iPhone and then I just keep grooving, while making coughing noises and mumbling over the choicest lyrical bits.

Damnit, Baby Boomers, you guys are messed up. Your generation sang about some pretty sick relationships, and you weren’t trying to be shocking or emo. You were happy and bopping about it! Dudes. Messed up. Messed up like the featured image above, which seems to represent how fondly the 1950s and 60s thought of women.

Can’t recall what I’m talking about? I present as evidence, the top five worst offenders:

5. “Surf City” – Jan & Dean (or The Beach Boys) (1963)

I don’t buy for a moment that this tune isn’t all about a few twenty-something dudes getting some teenage fish tacos down at the beach. A lot of them, apparently.

“Two girls for every boy.” That is the main thrust (ziiiiing!) of the entire song.

Apparently that is what awaits them and their “woodie” which isn’t “very cherry, it’s an oldie but a goodie”. “Surf City here we come.” Now, by “Surf City”, they mean vaginas.

“You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, gonna have some fun, You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, ’cause it’s two to one.”

“Yeah, and there’s two swinging’ honeys for every guy, and all you gotta do is just wink your eye”

If you think that’s the worst of it, it gets really crude near the end of the song. Are you ready for this?

“And if my woody breaks down on me somewhere on the surf route, I’ll strap my board to my back and hitch a ride in my wetsuit. And when I get to Surf City I’ll be shootin’ the curl.”

I understand that these are all legitimate surfing terms, but puh-lease. That last stanza could be a euphemism for several nasty things, including the guy losing his boner and giving her oral instead, or him getting rejected so he rubs one out behind his surfboard. Either way, yikes, Jan & Dean.

4. “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” – Neil Sedaka (1961)

This is the song that everybody wants to be able to play for their daughters, sisters, or friends on the day they turn 16. Until they listen to the lyrics. Sedaka, did you have to make it weird?

“Tonight’s the night I’ve waited for, because you’re not a baby anymore”

What the hell’s happening tonight, Sedaka? She’s still a minor, by the way. Keep those pants zipped, buddy.

“When you were only six I was your big brother…but since you’ve grown up, your future is sewn up. From now on you’re gonna be mine.”

So, how old are you?? Here’s a hint: Sedaka was singing this tune to girls in the audience starting when he was 22 (although, he does look about 40 in the video below, doesn’t he?). So a 22 year-old is planning to bag a girl who, just yesterday, was only 15. And she has no choice about it.

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Who is the TD Ameritrade Beard Guy?

Some months ago I started spasming over what was a series of condescending and creepy ads put out by TD Ameritrade and their “green room”, which, in many ads, appears to be little more than a “beaver trap” for Mr. Beardy and the two cockroaches presumably living in his face rug. So I created a Mr. Beardy dartboard to relieve some of my tension and save the life of my wibbly-wobbly television set. Who knew this off-the-cuff rant and mental slip would turn into–by far–the most popular post I have ever written?

It turns out, people are really fascinated by Mr. Beardy. Some of the very colorful comments received on the aforementioned post have ranged from blinding rage to romantic enchantment (I presume, mostly, because of the proposed hypnotic qualities of the beard). Oh, and the occasional hostility toward people who are hostile to Mr. Beardy. Eh.

So who is he? Allow me to introduce the man who has people and cockroaches alike so worked up: The actor portraying the TD Ameritrade financial therapizer is Jim Conroy. He is mostly known for his animated voiceover work, but has also been spotted in a few other TV ads.

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 12.19.27 PMJim Conroy appears as “Frank” in an AT&T spot

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 12.46.42 PM.pngJim Conroy sniffs Tide detergent in an ad

The page of Jim’s career that has blown my mind the most, though, is his role as…..Ruff Ruffman!

RUFF RUFFMAN!!

Parents with kids age 8-13 probably know who I’m talking about. From 2006 to 2010, there was a charming animated PBS show called FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman. Watch a bit here for the craziness of recognizing our TD Ameritrade guy’s voice!

Crazy. I unknowingly have listened to our cockroach-bearded guy for hours upon hours. Who knew? 

This is an important lesson, though for the TD Ameritrade commercial viewers out there: Jim Conroy is an actor. He is not a financial advisor. His “trustworthiness” is not a reflection on the merits of TD Ameritrade (only their advertising department). And it turns out, I have a fair amount of respect for Jim Conroy and his previous work, as Ruff Ruffman was a pretty great character who brought my daughter a lot of happiness.

However, we all still have full permission to hate the TD Ameritrade financial therapizer character. Or find him sexy. Whatever your bag. I stand by my observations that the “green room” Mr. Beardy lures people to is nothing more than a serial killer’s den, and that the women are probably stuffed in a cellar that can be accessed by a trapdoor under the pool table. Probably with the help of “Bryan”, who is willing to do anything Mr. Beardy says, as long as he gets to stroke the beard and is never called “Brian” with an “I”.

More to the point, though, it still remains true, TD Ameritrade writers/dickfaces, that ladies don’t need your validation of how busy we are, or to have lazy analogies about golf swings dumped in front of us (although, I think our Mr. Beardy character may have gone a little rogue on that one just to get Golf Lady naked and tied up). The point is, these ads are still condescending and creepy. But the actor Jim Conroy might just be alright. Or not. Only his cockroaches truly know.


EDIT:

Since posting this, Jim Conroy has been kind enough to comment on this post. As you can read below, he is very gracious and has a much-appreciated sense of humor. I thought it was worth reiterating: I like the actor, Jim Conroy, and actually really, really admire some of his work. Ruff Ruffman, man. Ruff Ruffman. It’s only the character of the financial therapizer and sportsman (and suspected serial killer) who is awful. And this country’s weird pro-beard fetish we have going on. What’s up with that? Anyway, I’ve even found that the TD Ameritrade ads are getting more reasonable and tolerable. Maybe they hired some women?

Eh, or maybe I’m just losing my cranky edge and my heart is softening like gooey cream cheese. I actually waved hello at a neighbor today. Something’s off here. Maybe I need more vitamins. Or wine. Or vitamin-fortified wine and a fake beard to learn what it’s like.

In any event, Jim Conroy has my sincere thanks for being such a good sport and for being such a class act. Unlike myself. Until I get that fake beard and vita-wine going, I mean. Then I’ll be almost as classy as he is. But not quite.

American Monster: Get to Know Andrew Jackson

“His wife died. They destroyed his wife and she died. He was a swashbuckler, but when his wife died you know he visited her grave everyday? I visited her grave actually because I was in Tennessee…And it was amazing. The people of Tennessee are amazing people. They love Andrew Jackson. They love Andrew Jackson in Tennessee…I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said ‘There’s no reason for this.'”

Donald Trump really idolizes Andrew Jackson. His portrait hangs in the Oval Office, and the POTUS has verbal diarrhea, apparently, just at the mention of our seventh president. So maybe we should get to know him and understand what Donald Trump really sees in the “people’s president”.

Solider Boy

Jackson grew up dirt-poor and poorly educated in the Carolinas, and was a tween during the American Revolution. Inspired by his older brother’s grizzly death, his mother made him join the local militia at the age of 13. He was almost immediately captured, and was held as a prisoner of war. Though his military incarceration was quite brief, he nearly died of small pox. Shortly afterward, he lost his remaining brother and mother to disease, for which he always blamed the British. This Anglo grudge led him to a life of military service and a deep, festering sense of vengeance.

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Donald Trump Comparison!:
A young, wealthy, athletic Trump graduated college and avoided compulsory military service in the Vietnam War because of a dubious diagnosis of having “bone spurs”. Consequently, he has never served in the military. And he once had this to say: “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Lawyer, Slave Owner, Cotton Mogul, and Stain on the Soul of Humanity

As an orphan, Jackson was still really poorly educated until he fled his hometown to study law informally in modern-day Tennessee. And it turns out Tennessee, as-was, had a boatload of hookers and gambling opportunities. So that was great for him.

He passed the bar and had friends pull a few strings to get him a gig as a government prosecutor. At age 21 he bought his first slave, which was probably his way of feeling really awesome about himself. By age 39 he was even wealthy enough to buy his own cotton plantation, the Hermitage, with nine slaves working the fields. Of course, this number went up quite a bit under Jackson’s management. Eventually, hundreds of slaves would be incarcerated at the Hermitage. Some historians think he was a relatively “kind” slave owner because he “let” the slaves bear babies and only whipped them when they really deserved it. But hell naw, the man ran a cotton plantation his entire life.

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It’s Thankstivus! The Much Better Alternative to Thanksgiving

I’m declaring a brand-new holiday from this year forward: THANKSTIVUS!

It will be observed on the traditional Thanksgiving day. The holiday does not require decoration, but should you choose to, the thematic colors are blue and black, to symbolize the bruising of our souls by Thanksgivings of years past.

Thankstivus Traditions

The celebration of Thankstivus should be observed as follows: First, all parties must sleep in until a very late hour, for family is exhausting. Then all participants gather at one home in the mid to late afternoon. Children should be immediately evacuated to an insulated room elsewhere in the house with nourishment and entertainment to last hours.

Wine and Cheese Reception

The holiday commences with a pregame wine and cheese reception, that will last exactly 15 minutes, during which no one may speak. This is a time of reflection, relaxation, intimidation of other parties, and–above all else–drinking.

The Airing of the Grievances

Borrowing from the magical holiday of Festivus, it is more appropriate than ever at the beginning of the holiday season to air the grievances. Once the wine and cheese reception is complete, the most eager and loudest person may begin telling everybody how they have disappointed them in the past year. Physical contact (especially hugging) is prohibited, and crying will not stop the proceedings (nice try, Mom). Heavy drinking is permitted, and encouraged.

This will last until everyone has aired their grievances, or one hour maximum, hence why it is important to make your grievances heard loudly and first above all other voices.

The Feast

The grievances are to be set aside, as if purged and cleansed, and everyone is to dine. Each person will bring their own food of choice, since not everyone likes turkey or conforming. Hot dogs, chicken wings, lasagna. There is no wrong meal at Thankstivus. This is a time to feed the stomach and the soul in preparation for the holiday season ahead. You will need your fortitude for gift shopping, light hanging, tree tinseling, and cookie baking. Now is the time for nourishment. And more alcohol.

Nap Intermission

All parties are at liberty to nap on any couches, beds, or armchairs available with no malice toward the sleeping. This nap is to last at most one hour, so as not to skunk the entire damn holiday. Parties not interested in napping may watch mindless television and movies, but no one shall clean or perform other chores. This is a time of mindful rest and meditation.

The Feats of Brilliance

The final ritual of the holiday is the Feats of Brilliance. All members are required to participate, with no exceptions or excuses. The group shall sit down and compete in a tabletop board game, or several, as deemed necessary to declare a Thankstivus Champion. The prize for the Thankstivus Champion is unlimited rights to leftovers from any participant, taking none that she or he does not want, free of guilt or obligation. The Champion may not participate in the cleaning of the dishes or other insipid post-holiday chores (moving tables and chairs, finding Tupperware lids, taking out garbage, etc.). Further, the Thankstivus Champion may drink from any other person’s cup for the rest of the night, as all alcohol becomes spoils of the Champion. The Champion shall reign superior until a new Thankstivus Champion is declared one year later.

I think we will all find that this will be a holiday of cleansing, preparation, and arming ourselves for the jollity ahead. I say to you that autumn is not a time of thanks, but a time to be royally pissed off at the cold and darkness, and the pressure of the oncoming holidays and bleak winter. Rue on, good November people. And Jolly Thankstivus to you and yours.