One thing that is accepted without question is the year starting at midnight on December 31. That is, in some cultures. Jews have a new year in September, China celebrates some time in January, and the fiscal year is whenever the bean counters say. If you ask google “why does the year start january first”, you get 436m options.
The earth runs on a cycle, based on it’s annual trip around the sun. The winter solstice is the longest night of the year, and in many ways the logical end of the year. The celebration of Christmas, a few days after the solstice, is not a coincidence. The question today is, why do we start a new year a week after Christmas, or ten days after the solstice?
The top ranked answer at google is from catalogs.com. They talk about Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII(13), but never quite say why January first is the big day. It does end on a helpful note: “Calendars are a way that grownups organize time, but clearly not all grownups do it the same way. Happy New Year, therefore, whenever it happens for you.”
Lifeslittlemysteries continues with the talk about Caesar and the Pope. It is noted that January 1 was the day that Roman officials started their term of office. In England and her colonies, the new year was celebrated in March until 1752.
The rest of the google results do not look promising. PG does not know the answer to this. Maybe the best answer is that the New Year starts January 1st is because the calender says so. This is a repost. Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
It is a truism that history is written by the winner of the war. This seems to apply to the naming of a horrific armed struggle in North America between 1861 and 1865. The most common name is Civil War. To many in the South, it is the War Between The States. To PG, WBTS is a better name.
In fifth grade, PG had to write an essay about the Battle of Atlanta. The essay was a device for teaching grammar. The contest was sponsored by the Daughters of the Confederacy . The phrase “Civil War” was not permitted. The acceepted name for this conflict was War Between the States.
In many ways, this conflict started as soon as the United States became independent from Great Britain. The South was an agrarian society, with slaves to work the fields. The north was becoming an industrial society, with a need for an independent work force. The north wanted high tariffs to protect her industries, while the south wanted to sell it’s cotton to Europe. There were plenty of ways for this conflict to manifest.
Slavery was an important issue. The south wanted to keep “the peculiar institution,” while many in the north were horrified. There were numerous compromises over the years, as Congress struggled to keep the Union intact. This ties in with a central dilemma of the american experience … how much power to give to the states, and how much power to give to the federal government.
In 1861, eleven states left the United States of America. These eleven states formed a Confederacy, of more or less independent states. Between 1861 and 1865, the Confederate States of America fought a brutal war with the the United States of America. Very little about the conflict was civil.
Pictures, of Union soldiers, are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.
Radiolab has a delightful feature, Sex, Ducks, and The Founding Feud. You are asked for a donation at the start. Radiolab is worthy of your support. The show starts with a woman catching her philandering husband. PH got the former best friend (FBF) of the lady pregnant. The offended bride (OB) decided to get revenge. It was not served cold.
OB worked for a division of Dow Chemicals called Rohm and Haas. (This is not the same as Roman Hans, the proprietor of World Class Stupid) OB got some nasty chemicals at work, and tried to poison FBF. OB was not very effective, or very bright. FBF called the police, who said it was probably cocaine. FBF then called the Post Office, after OB spread poison on the mailbox. It is now a federal case.
There is a treaty forbidding the use of these chemicals for acts of terrorism. These laws apply to an angry woman looking for revenge. The case went to court, and is headed to the Supreme Court. Legal geeks are having a good time with the implications of this matter.
It seems as though treaties take priority over state laws. A case is mentioned of duck hunters, who were shooting so many ducks that the species was threatened. The loophole the feds used to regulate duck hunting was a treaty with Canada. This show was in production before the current quack up over “Duck Dynasty.” Arming the ducks, so they can fight back, was suggested in both cases.
The issue of a treaty preventing legal reform is not new. In 1961, the United States signed the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This treaty criminalizes a long list of substances. According to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, federal law and treaties are the “supreme Law of the Land.” The various states are governed by these treaties, and thus limit the ability of any state to legalize marijuana.” The argument has been made that even if the government wanted to decriminalize certain substances, the treaty would forbid this action. Pictures for today’s entertainment are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
There is an old saying, what goes around comes around. When you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. The thing is, it is not always obvious what is payback for what. Moreton Rolleston Jr. filed a lawsuit to have the Civil Rights Act declared unconstitutional. Forty years later, a Black man, built a mansion on the site of Mr. Rolleston’s home. The fact that this Black man earned his money by playing Black women, in movies, is icing on the cake.
When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, Moreton Rolleston, Jr., owned the Heart of Atlanta Motel. He filed a lawsuit, trying to have the law overturned by the courts. The case went to the Supreme Court, which upheld the law.
The legal justification of the Civil Rights Act was a law giving the U.S. Government the right to regulate interstate commerce. Mr. Rolleston argued that this use of the commerce clause went too far. “‘The argument that this law was passed to relieve a burden on interstate commerce is so much hogwash. It was intended to regulate the acts of individuals.’ If the commerce clause can be stretched that far, declared Rolleston, ‘Congress can regulate every facet of life.'” (PG supports all citizens having the right to housing, education, etc. He also wonders if we are on a slippery slope. The government keeps taking more and more freedom away.) (The link for the quote no longer works.)
In 1969, Tyler Perry was born. From humble beginnings, he has been incredibly successful. His signature character is a woman named Madea.
In 1985, Mr. Rolleston was involved in a real estate deal that went sour. He was sued. In 2003, Mr. Rolleston was evicted from his Buckhead home. (Go here for details). In 2005, the propery was sold to Tyler Perry. When the source story was written in 2007, Mr. Rolleston had sued Mr. Perry several times, claiming that it was still his property.
Apparently, Mr. Rolleston , who was disbarred in 2007, is still alive.
HT Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.. Pictures from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.
The story below is a repost from 2011. The Dawgs had a bad season, and will be going somewhere. They have a large, wealthy, fan base, which is greatly loved by bowl game organizers. The pictures are from The Library of Congress .
The Georgia Bulldogs beat somebody’s Aggies in Shreveport, Louisiana last night. The affair is something called the Independence Bowl. The Fishwrapper has an ad for a casino-hotel-spa. The link no longer works. Athens can go back to creating a school the football team can be proud of.
This is the season of bowl games. A few years ago, any town with a stadium, and a chamber of commerce, could get a bowl game. Any school with .500 season could go to a bowl, many of whom now had grafted on corporate names. There was, literally, the poulon weedeater bowl holiday classic.
What follows is a story PG read in Sports Illustrated when he was a kid. There is no source, and there is a slight possibility that it is not true.
In the sixties, NBC had a new years day triple header of bowl games. The sugar bowl was followed by the rose bowl was followed by the orange bowl. Hangovers and national championships were fixed in one day. NBC made handsome profits.
An Olympic committee had a meeting one day, to determine who would telecast the upcoming games. The man from NBC went in, with charts, and promises of money for the amateur athletes. The presentation from NBC centered on the january first triple header, the sugar bowl, the rose bowl, and the orange bowl.
Another network won the bid to telecast the games. After the meeting, an Olympics official had a private conversation with the NBC man. The committee felt that their emphasis on the bowel games was in bad taste.
The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.
“A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.
“Bah!” said Scrooge, “Humbug!”
He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge’s, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.
“Christmas a humbug, uncle!” said Scrooge’s nephew. “You don’t mean that, I am sure?”
“I do,” said Scrooge. “Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.”
“Come, then,” returned the nephew gaily. “What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.”
Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, “Bah!” again; and followed it up with “Humbug.”
“Don’t be cross, uncle!” said the nephew.
“What else can I be,” returned the uncle, “when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will,” said Scrooge indignantly, “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”
“Uncle!” pleaded the nephew.
“Nephew!” returned the uncle sternly, “keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.”
“Keep it!” repeated Scrooge’s nephew. “But you don’t keep it.”
“Let me leave it alone, then, Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!”
“A Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens. Text is supplied by Project Gutenberg. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
As the title suggests, this is part three of a breakdown on The Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac. Parts one and two are already online.
Chapter Thirteen Ray Smith (Jack Kerouac) is back in Berkeley now, staying with Alvah Goldbook (Allen Ginsberg.) One night, Japhy Ryder (Gary Snyder) and Warren Coughlin (Phil Whalen) come by. A jug of wine appears, and is consumed. Many things are said. “Every thing was fine with the Zen Lunatics, the nut wagon was too far away to hear us.
Evidently, AG was not a Buddhist in those days. For that matter, PG does not know if he ever really was. Mr. Google supplies a link to a feature, Iconic poet and Buddhist Allen Ginsberg remembered… There is a picture of a naked AG, with an asian picture making the picture safe for family viewing. In this chapter, however, AG says “balls on the old tired Dharma.”
Chapter Fourteen RS is getting ready to hit the road. Here, he goes shopping with AG and JR. They go to Goodwill and an Army Navy store. In 1955, Army Navy stores were good places to shop.
Chapter Fifteen This is a dramatic chapter. A character named Cody appears. He is based on Neal Cassady, Kerouac’s travel companion in “On The Road.” Mr. Cassady is a legendary wildman. In this episode, he has a gf named Rosie, who is not feeling well. Cody asks RS to look out for Rosie one night. “All right, but I was planning on having fun tonight,” “Fun isn’t everything. You’ve got some responsibilities sometimes, you know.”
So Rosie is not feeling well. She is talking a lot of paranoid nonsense. RS tries to calm Rosie down with talk about Dharma. Finally, she seems to be better, and RS goes to sleep. Rosie goes up an the roof of the building, breaks the skylights, cuts her wrists with the broken glass, and jumps. Six stories later, she lands on the sidewalk.It was not a gentle landing.
When PG first read this, he was working graveyard shift in a midtown document center. At seven am, he would walk to the train station. The first few times he went, the first train to come was the Doraville line. On the Marta system, there is the Doraville line, and the North Springs line. If you get on the wrong one, you will feel very foolish.
The morning he read chapter fifteen, PG got on the train without looking at the sign. When it went past Lenox Square, he wondered why the stores were on the right side of the train, instead of the left side. Before long, he was in the tunnel that goes under Peachtree Road. This was the North Springs line. PG got off at the first station, and waited for a train to take him to a place where he could transfer to the proper line. While waiting on the southbound train, he read the story of Rosie.
Chapter Sixteen RS finally gets on the road. He is going back to North Carolina to spend the winter with his family. Before leaving California, he wanders through San Francisco. There is a “Negro preacher,” “a big fat woman like Ma Rainey,” who is preaching up a storm. Every now and then she “spits about ten foot away a great sploosh of spit.” This is one reason why she is preaching indoors.
Cody is very sad about Rosie. He is praying hard, trying to get her into purgatory. Before RS leaves for North Carolina, Cody tells hime “Don’t drink so much of that old wine.” Finally, RS gets on a freight train. He rides it to Los Angeles. A bum tells him to cure his ailments by standing on his head.
Chapter Seventeen Nothing much happens in this chapter. RS is in Riverside CA. He is warned not to camp outdoors, but does so anyway. He gets away with it.
Chapter Eighteen The hit song when this took place was “Everybody’s got a home but me,” by Roy Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton is a black man from Leesburg GA, who is mostly forgotten today. If you look for “Everybody’s…” on youtube, you will find a “cover” version by Eddie Fisher. Mr. Fisher is best known as the father of Princess Leia, and one of Elizabeth Taylor’s husbands.
RS starts to hitchhike here. He meets a truckdriver named Beaudry, who takes him to Ohio. He gets a bus ticket there for Rocky Mount, NC. RS arrives home on Christmas Eve.
Beaudry Ford was the largest Ford Dealer in the United States. It was located in Downtown Atlanta. They did a lot of fleet sales, which is why they were the largest dealer. They did not do a lot of retail. They shut down several years ago.
Chapter Nineteen RS spends the winter at the family home. Most of his time is spent meditating in the woods. He thinks he is receiving profound insights during these sessions. Rocky Mount is the childhood home of Allen Gurganus, who would have been seven years old during this winter. It is unlikely that he was involved in the story.
Chapter Twenty The winter of meditation gets colder and colder. RS is not getting along with his family. They do not understand that RS is a special person.
Chapter Twenty One The winter in North Carolina is coming to an end. RS writes off, and lines up a job as a fire lookout in Washington state. Meanwhile, RS is “as nutty as a fruitcake and happier.” He composes the prayer of emptiness. “My pride is hurt, that is emptiness, my business is with the Dharma, that is emptiness, I’m proud of my kindness to animals, that is emptiness, my conception of the chain, that is emptiness, Ananda’s pity, even that is emptiness.”
Ultimately, the whole matter goes to the dogs. “I petted the dogs who don’t argue with me ever. All dogs love G-d. They’re wiser than their masters. I told that to the dogs, too, they listened to me perking up their ears and licking my face.” Soon after this, the brother in law of RS blows up about his deadbeat in law who lets the dog off the chain. Soon, RS is on the road again, going back to California. This is the end of part three. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
Free speech is much talked about. PG has long maintained that you can say anything in America, but no one will pay attention. One of the videos embedded today is John Waters rambling on about free speech. While he listened to this, PG was downloading picture files from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. These pictures are included today. Before long, a little lesson in free speech came into play.
The pictures were from the World Premiere of “Song of the South.” Here is the story, copied from a previously published Chamblee54 feature
In 1946, “Song Of The South” had it’s premiere at the Fox Theater. SOTS is a controversial item these days. It was based on the Uncle Remus stories, which were written down by Joel Chandler Harris. For those who don’t know, these stories were told by the rural black people that Mr. Harris knew when he was growing up near Eatonton GA. As Wikipedia tells the tale “Controversy surrounding his southern plantation themes, narrative structure, collection of African-American folklore, use of dialect, and Uncle Remus character, however, has denigrated the significance of Harris’ work”. In other words, Brer Rabbit is not politically correct.
The reviews at IMDB tell a different tale. To them, SOTS is a happy children’s movie. The Disney company seems to wish it would go away and be forgotten. Copies are tough to come by these days. PG would say to see it for yourself and make up your own mind, but Disney won’t let you. (The movie is available for viewing on youtube.)
The female lead in SOTS was Ruth Warrick. Miss Warrick was a versatile talent. Her first movie role was in “Citizen Kane”, as Kane’s first wife. She was in many movies, before moving to television. She was perhaps best known as Phoebe Tyler, in the soap opera “All My Children”. Wikipedia tells a story about her, that is ironic for the female lead of “Song Of The South”
“In July 2000, she refused to accept a lifetime achievement award from the South Carolina Arts Commission because she was offended by legislators’ decision to move the Confederate flag from the state Capitol dome to another spot on the grounds in response to a boycott of the state by flag opponents. A lifelong supporter of African-American rights, she felt the flag should be removed completely, and commented, “In my view, this was no compromise. It was a deliberate affront to the African-Americans, who see it as a sign of oppression and hate.”
Snopes weighed in on the SOTS controversy. Apparently, the suppression of the movie did take place. A different form of censorship takes place at Snopes. A popup ad for Oreck vacuum cleaners will not go away, and blocks key parts of the text from view.