Chamblee54

#NationalDayofPrayer

Posted in GSU photo archive, Holidays by chamblee54 on May 9, 2020















Thursday was the #NationalDayofPrayer. This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

Good Morning G-d. Please give me the slack I need to make it through this busy life. I had a birthday recently, and am getting older. Please give me less pain, both above and below the neck. Thank you for letting me get this far. Thank you for the gift of sobriety, and the memory of inebrience. The gift of moderation would have been helpful. Help me to overcome body chemistry telling me to be unhappy. If this doesn’t work, help me hide it better.
Please tell Christians to make less noise, joyful or otherwise. Help me to forgive Christians for their good intentions. Give Christians the gift of humility. Let us know that a real man keeps control of his temper. Please tell those praying today that it is better to listen than to talk.
Please find a happy medium for Atlanta water. Let us have neither drought nor flood. It would help if the developers would move to North Carolina, and the politicians would develop a conscience.

G-d, please try to get along better with Allah. This is important. Maybe if you and her got along better, then all those religious crazies would hate each other less. Help white people and black people get along better. Please be good to the people who have already lived, and are now deceased. Please understand that I am not in a hurry to join them.

Help Mr. Trump with the mess this country is in. Help Israel get along with her neighbors, and live within her borders. Help the world solve the carbon dioxide problem.

Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you for dogs, and dog owners who clean up. Thank you for earth, air, fire, and water. Thank you for people who enjoy this prayer. Help those who are offended to get over it. Namaste, amen, all my relations, Good Bye.













May 6, 2020

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Holidays by chamblee54 on May 6, 2020

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May 6 is a day in spring, with 35% of the year gone by. It has it’s fair share of history, some of which did not turn out well. In 1861, the Confederate Congress declared war on the United States. In 1937, a German zeppelin named “Hindenburg” exploded while trying to land in New Jersey. In 1940, Bob Hope did his first show for the USO, somewhere in California.

Roger Bannister ran the first sub four minute mile, on May 6, 1954. The current record is 3:43.13 by Hicham El Guerrouj on July 7, 1999, with a party with Prince to celebrate. Since most track meets now use 1500 meters, the mile record is obsolete.

On this day, Georgia executed two notable prisoners. In 2003, Carl Isaacs was put to death. Mr. Isaacs was the ringleader in the 1973 Alday family killing, in Donalsonville GA. Five years later, in 2008, William Earl Lynd was poisoned by the state. This was the first condemned man to die after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that execution by poisoning was constitutional.

Taurus is the sign for those whose blood starts to pump May 6. Included are:
Maximilien Robespierre (1758) Sigmund Freud (1856) Rudolph Valentino (1895)
Orson Welles (1915) Willie Mays (1931) Rubin Carter (1937)
Bob Seger (1945) Tony Blair (1953) PG (1954) George Clooney(1961)
To make room for these folks, someone has to die. For May 6 this would mean:
Henry David Thoreau (1862) L. Frank Baum (1919) Marlene Dietrich (1992)
This repost, written like H.P. Lovecraft, has pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Confederate Memorial Day

Posted in Georgia History, History, Holidays, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on April 27, 2020

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Today is Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia. It is an ancient question…how to honor the soldiers from the side that lost. They were just as valiant as the Union Soldiers. Considering the shortages of the Confederate Armies, the Rebels may have been just a bit braver.

The issue of Federalism is a defining conflict of the American experience. What powers do we give the Federal Government, and what powers do we cede to the States? The Confederacy was the product of this conflict. The Confederate States were a collection of individual states, with separate armies. This is one reason why the war turned out the way it did.

This is not a defense for slavery. The “Peculiar institution” was a moral horror. The after effects of slavery affect us today. Any remembrance of the Confederacy should know that. This does not make the men who fought any less brave.

It is tough to see the War Between the States through the modern eye. It was a different time, before many of the modern conveniences that are now considered necessities. Many say that the United States were divided from the start, and the fact the union lasted as long as it did was remarkable. When a conflict becomes us against them, the “causes” become unimportant.

The War was a horror, with no pain medicine, and little that could be done for the wounded. It took the south many, many years to recover. The healing continues in many ways today. Remembering the sacrifices made by our ancestors helps.
This is a repost from CMD 2010. Pictures are from the The Library of Congress.

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Anita Aretha and Elton

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on March 24, 2020

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In the early nineties, PG had too much free time. On March 25 of one year, he looked in the fishwrapper, and found a list of famous people with birthdays.

There was an unlikely trio celebrating that day. This would be (in order of appearance) Anita Bryant (1940), Aretha Franklin (1942), and Elton John (1947). All three have been paid for singing. The three have a total of five husbands, with Miss Bryant and Mr. John currently attached (Not to each other). Miss Franklin has good taste in hats.

Several other people have arrived on planet earth on March 25. They include , in 1911, Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald (d. 1967) (They don’t say alleged when it was on live TV). 1918 produced Howard Cosell, American sports reporter (d. 1995). Flannery O’Connor (d. 1964) arrived in 1925. 1934 gave us Gloria Steinem. To make room for all this talent, Buck Owens died March 25, 2006. On August 16, 2018, Aretha Franklin was heaven bound.

March 25 is after the spring equinox, and has been Easter. A few noteworthy events have gone down on this day. In 1894, Coxey’s Army departed Massillon, Ohio for Washington D.C. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 garment workers in New York City. In 1939 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli becomes Pope Pius XII, to the delight of Adolph Hitler. 1955 saw the United States Customs seizes copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” as obscene. In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

HT and applause to wikipedia. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.


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π Day

Posted in GSU photo archive, Holidays by chamblee54 on March 14, 2020

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Today is 3-14. It is a saturday, and 314 are the first three digits of pi (affectionately known as π ). It is a math thing, the number you multiply a diameter by to get the circumference. When your grammar school math teacher told you about π, she probably used 3.14, or 3 1/7. (PG went to school when Hewlett and Packard were still in the garage.)

You might also have heard the formula for the area of a circle, the racy π r squared . This means that you multiply π by the radius (half the diameter, a line from the border to the center point), and then multiply the whole contraption by the radius again. The formula has a funny sound to it. Pie are not square, cornbread is square, pie are round. Like Sly Stone says, all the squares go home.

According to wikipedia, π seems to have been known as early as 1900 b.c. The pyramids of Egypt have a π based feature. The Greek letter π is the first letter of the Greek word περίμετρος (perimeter) . This was determined OTP.

The pyramid- π function is fairly simple. The total length of the four sides, at the base, will be the same as the height of the pyramid, times two, times π. PG likes to make model pyramids. They are 6″ tall, and the base sides are 9 3/8″. The combination of these four sides is 37 1/2″. If you multiply 6x2x3.14, you get 37.68″ The .18″ is because of a measuring error.

A lady named Eve Astrid Andersson has a page of her website dedicated to π. The only trivia question that PG understood was the first one…1. What is the formal definition of pi? …the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter // 3.14159 // the radius of a unit circle // the surface area of a sphere of diameter 22/7 // a delicious dessert, especially if it contains cherries.

There is the football cheer from M.I.T. ” Cosine, secant, tangent, sine 3.14159 // Integral, radical, u dv, slipstick, slide rule, MIT!”

In 1998 a movie titled π was released. It caused brain damage in 3.14% of those who saw it. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that 1998 = 666 x 3.

π has been calculated to over five million digits. The second part of this feature are a few of those numbers. There are 82 characters in each line. This feature shows π extended to 10,165 digits. This is .02% of five million. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Frank Zappa

Posted in Georgia History, History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music, Politics, Quotes by chamblee54 on March 1, 2020









The first time PG saw the word Zappa, it was on an item at the Poster Hut. It showed a man sitting on a commode, with the words Phi Zappa Krappa rendered above. The poser, Frank Zappa, later said “I’m probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else that I do.”

It was 1969, give or take a bit. FZ was already well known in some hip circles. His band, the Mothers of Invention, played at something called the Cosmic Carnival at Atlanta Stadium, where the music lovers were actually allowed onto the field. PG paid $1.98 for a copy of We’re Only in It for the Money at the Woolco on Buford Hiway. Years later, he would pay $16.00 for a CD of this piece of work.

The records started to come out like clockwork, with or without the Mothers. FZ started to become a star, with an appeal to druggies who fancied themselves intellectual. It should be noted that FZ was notoriously anti drug. His music made fun of the establishment and counterculture with equal glee. FZ was also a capitalist, known to be tight fisted when it came to paying hired hands. He stayed with his second wife, Gail, until his death, and produced four children… Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

The concerts came to town every year or so, and people liked them. A show at the Fox Theater in 1974 may have caught FZ at his peak. PG heard the raves about this show until he bought a ticket for his next show. This was in 1975, at the Municipal Auditorium. PG brought a half pint in with him, and didn’t remember a lot later, except some song about the Illinois Eneman Bandit.

Life goes on. Nine years later, FZ was in legal hell with a former manager, and could only make money by touring. One night, a friend had an extra ticket to a show. PG arrived after the band had started, and FZ was playing a fine guitar solo. This was going to be good.

Only it wasn’t. The rest of the show was social commentary. The man had opinions on everything, and was generous with them. At one point, the band started to sing “He’s so gay”, while a double headed dildo was lowered from the ceiling. PG thinks he heard FZ sing “one day you might be gay too”, but by then it really didn’t matter.

Frank Zappa was many things to many people. He had lots of opinions, which were dutifully recorded by the press. Here are a few .

Rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, in order to provide articles for people who can’t read.
I think that if a person doesn’t feel cynical then they’re out of phase with the 20th century. Being cynical is the only way to deal with modern civilization, you can’t just swallow it whole.
When God created Republicans, he gave up on everything else.
Let’s not be too rough on our own ignorance; it’s what makes America great!
The U.S. is a mere pup tent of a civilization. We’ve got two hundred years of stupidity behind us. We think we’re right up there with everyone else who’s been doing it for thousands of years.
Beauty is a pair of shoes that makes you wanna die.
He wrote this book here, and in the book it says he made us all to be just like him! So if we’re dumb, then God is dumb — and maybe even a little ugly on the side.
Remember there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over.
Do you think you are protecting somebody by taking away seven words?
For the record, folks; I never took a shit on stage and the closest I ever came to eating shit anywhere was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973.
There is no hell. There is only France.
The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.

This is a repost. one, two, three, four posts are used. Your archive is your friend.








Former Dunwoody resident Aquarium Drunkard weighs in today with a nifty video. It is Frank Zappa, appearing on a TV show discussing censorship. FZ more than holds his own, and makes many good points about the nature of language and censorship. His contention is that censorship is about words, and that words in and of themselves are powerless. Wikipedia contributes this quote:
“What do you make of a society that is so primitive that it clings to the belief that certain words in its language are so powerful that they could corrupt you the moment you hear them?”
I was in high school when I first heard about Frank Zappa. It was in the original Poster Hut, a ramshackle building on Cheshire Bridge Road that is vacant 50 years later. (The building serves in 2020 as a Hookah Hookup. There was a poster, with the words
PHI ZAPPA KRAPPA Below the saying was a picture of Frank Zappa on a commode.
I did not get that poster of PZK, but I did get a dayglo poster of Janis Joplin. I didn’t notice the exposed nipple on the drawing. When Mom saw it, she was horrified.
” I trusted you!” In my shame, I took a magic marker and covered over the fluorescent fuchsia mammary.
Back to FZ on CNN. The guitar picker made a lot of sense. One of the pundits threw the founding fathers at FZ, who replied that the FF were slave owners and that Ben Franklin was a wildman. FZ said we were heading to a fascist theocracy. Are we there yet? One whiner mentioned that his band was called the Mothers of Invention. FZ did not mention that the original name had been the mothers, and a record label made them add “of invention”.Finally, the four man part of the show was over. The two primary whiners agreed that rock music had some gnarly words, but did we really trust the government to intervene.
We have time for one more story. Al Capp, born Alfred Gerald Caplin, was a piece of work. At the age of nine, a trolly accident cost Mr. troll Capp his left leg. Years later, an urban legend arose. “in a televised face-off, either Capp (on the Dick Cavett Show) or (more commonly) conservative talk show host Joe Pyne (on his own show) is supposed to have taunted iconoclastic musician Frank Zappa about his long hair, asking Zappa if he thought he was a girl. Zappa is said to have replied, “You have a wooden leg; does that make you a table?” (Both Capp and Pyne had wooden legs.)

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Recently, the world of flaky internet quotes has discovered Frank Zappa. The “sexually incontinent rock innovator” died December 4, 1993. (His wife Gail passed away October 7, 2025.) Recently, some alleged quotes have hit the ether. Some people need to get out more. This is a repost.

This item was recently featured in chamblee54. @SlavojTweezek “”Communism doesn’t work,” Frank Zappa said, “because people like to own stuff.” Idiot. What do people’s likes have to do with communism?” This quote is plausible. Frank Zappa was a capitalist. He liked owning stuff, especially his own music. It should be easy to find a source. However, the best google can come up with is a compilation, “Quotes of Zappa,” in W. C. Privy’s Original Bathroom Companion.”

This morning, facebook had a meme. It had a picture of FZ, with the quote “Politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.” In the time that it takes to say Camarillo Brillo, Mr. Google turned up a reddit commentary.

“While the quote is frequently listed as, ““Government is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex,” I could find no primary source. It appears to contradict the actual quote from a 1987 interview with Keyboard magazine where he is decidedly pro-government but anti-bullshit politics.” (FZ did say “art in the service of politics usually makes for boring art.” Why do people make up quotes for memes, when the real thing is better?)

Speculating what a dead man would say is a tricky business. FZ was known for strong opinions, and a finely tuned BS detector. (That is bovine excrement, not Bernie Sanders.) FZ died while the internet was just getting started, and years before some of today’s permutations and perversions. It is easy to imagine FZ making rude comments about people misquoting dead guitar heroes.

Speaking of politics and cynical guitar cadavers, the current poster boi for trendy privilege is Bernie Sanders. If you “feel the Bern,” you might want to skip over the rest of this post, and look at the pictures. (These pictures are from The Library of Congress.) While BS is arguably less evil than Hitlery, he still leaves a great deal to be desired. BS is making extravagant promises that he will be totally unable to keep. BS is taking the concept of telling people what they want to hear to new depths. Yes, this is part of what FZ meant when saying rude things about politicians.

Today, PG saw a fundraising appeal for BS. Against his better judgment, PG made the comment “Bernie $anders.” The fun started almost immediately.

This campaign is for monthly recurring contributions. And Luther, campaigning requires money. The alternative to grassroots support is a country run by wealthy interests. Which would you prefer? ~
I realize that campaigning for political office requires money. My comment was a bit of recreational $nark. B$ can take a joke. … “The alternative to grassroots support is a country run by wealthy interests.” I am not sure about that comparison. Hitlery can make more in one corporate blowjob than BS can in a month of grass roots support. BHO did not get a billion dollars for his reelection from five dollar contributions. While the concept of grassroots support is uplifting, the sordid reality is that we live in a bribe-ocracy. ~ Your cynicism is less than accurate and certainly less than appealing. ~ Luther, just don’t vote and stay out of discussions about voting. OK?

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The current WTF Podcast features Moon Zappa. At no time does she say grody, gag me with a spoon, or boofoos. Today, she is the divorced mother of an eight year old, and buys quality apple butter.

Moon is the daughter of the late Frank Zappa. FZ did not do drugs, smoked Winston cigarettes, and spent all his time working on music. The four children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva, called the parents Frank and Gail. Mrs. Zappa stays busy these days selling her husbands music.

Once, Moon broke a finger in school. She called Gail, and waited. Eventually, the family Rolls Royce pulled up. Gail was driving, with Frank in the passenger seat. Frank quit driving when his first drivers license expired. Before taking Moon to the ER, they stopped to get Frank a burrito.

Gail and Moon were walking to the store one day, when Moon was very little. A car stopped, and tried to pick up Gail. Moon screamed “Fuck off pervert.”

Captain Beefheart was at the Zappa house one time. He had made a hole in the side of his nose with a pencil. When a finger was put over the other nostril, the nose became a whistle.

While listening to this show, PG was editing pictures from The Library of Congress. Some of these images appear with this feature.

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Mardi Gras

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 25, 2020

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It is fat tuesday again. For someone who lived most of his life in Georgia, it is just another day.

In 1990, PG went to carnival. He rented sleeping bag space in a house on Marigny Street, just outside the quarter. It was like nothing he had ever seen.

This was 14 months after PG quit drinking. If he had life to do over, he would have gone to Mardi Gras first. He did feel good about going through that much drinking without being tempted to participate.

By the end of the Rex Parade, PG was getting tired of the whole shebang, Mob scenes of drunks, in costume, can get old. PG has not been back.

Two years later, the Grateful Dead was playing at the Omni, and the camp followers were in the parking lot. PG would go on his lunch hour and observe. A young lady walked by, and PG said Happy Mardi Gras. She gave him a string of beads.

Five years after that, PG had a boss from New Orleans. He looked like the Grinch who stole Christmas. He also hated Mardi Gras. PG did not know this, and greeted him Tuesday morning with a cheerful Happy Mardi Gras. If looks could kill, PG would have dropped dead. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on February 12, 2020





Today is the 211th birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. This used to be a holiday in the US, along with Washington’s BD on February 22. The two were combined into President’s Day.

It is unlikely that the two met, or knew much about the other. “On the origin of species” was published in 1859, as the United States teetered on the brink of catastrophe. There is a certain “Darwinism” in the way the unpleasantness of the eighteen sixties went down. The northeast quadrant of the United States gained dominance over a large chunk of North America, at a horrible cost. The concept that a human being could literally own another human being was banished.

There are two other anniversaries of note today. On February 12, 1733, James Oglethorpe landed a boatload of debtors on the future site of Savannah. This was the start of the Colony/State of Georgia.

There is another that continues the symmetry of Darwin/Lincoln, and was exactly 100 years later. On February 12, 1909, the NAACP was founded. On February 12 1904, Ted Mack, host of the Original Amateur Hour, was born. To make room for all this talent, on February 12, 1942, Grant Wood (painter of “American Gothic”) went to that village in the sky. He left the pitchfork behind.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress




Gloomy Sunday

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on February 9, 2020

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Billie Holiday had a hit with Gloomy Sunday in 1941. The legend is that people would listen to the song, and kill themselves. As a result, the song was banned from the radio. Or was it?
Gloomy Sunday was written in 1933 by Rezső Seress. Additional lyrics were later written by László Jávor. It became known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”, and was reportedly banned in Hungary. An English translation (which is said to not do justice to the original Hungarian) was rendered.

Gloomy Sunday has a melancholy sound, even as an instrumental. The story is about a person…it is not gender specific…who decides to join a loved one who has died. A third verse was added, to the english version, where the singer says it was all a dream.

Gloomy Sunday became popular in the United States. And the suicide stories started to spread, along with rumors that the song had been banned from the radio. (It was indeed banned by the BBC.) There are indications that these rumors were part of a publicity campaign.

The urban legend busters snopes. calls the story “undetermined”. Legends like this get a life of their own. A grieving person hearing this song on a dreary Sunday is not going to be uplifted. One thing is known for sure…the original composer did take his own life. Rezső Seress jumped off a tall building in Budapest in 1968. The legend is he had never had another hit song after writing “Gloomy Sunday”. This repost has pictures from The Library of Congress.

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Post Racial America

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Holidays, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on February 7, 2020

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It is a cliche among certain pundits that this is not “Post Racial America.” No one seems to know what PRA would look like. PRA might be less noisy, with fewer odors, than the current model. The opinion that we do not live in PRA seems unanimous. After PG heard the denial of PRA one too many times, he began to wonder something. Who said America is Post Racial?

Mr. Google has 119 million answers to the question “who said america is post racial?” The short answer is nobody. The closest thing on the front Google page is an NPR commentary from January 2008. This was the early stages of the BHO run for the White House. The commenter said that the election of a dark skinned POTUS might usher in a post racial era in America.

This piece will not have any fresh opinions about race relations in America. That subject has been worn out elsewhere. If someone finds it to their advantage to denounce “racism,” there will be an audience. The truth is, very few people have ever said that America is Post Racial.

This is a double repost, on the subject that people can’t get enough of. If you can’t say anything good, you can always talk about racism. Pictures for this friday morning are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Some times you see something, and realize that you are being pushed over a line. Today’s straw, landing on the camel’s back, was a meme. It has pictures of a statesman-like BHO, and a goat smiling BS. The text was white comic sans letters, on a black background. “Regarding those who call Obama an illegitimate president because his father was born in Kenya, Bernie Sanders replied: “No one asked me if I was a citizen or not, and my dad came from Poland. Gee, what’s the difference? Maybe the color of my skin.” The comment was from a Las Vegas town hall meeting. Some things that are said in Vegas need to stay in Vegas.

No one denies that white people and black people often do not get along. Few deny that there is systemic inequality. The connection of “birther” speculation to systemic inequality is tough to see. Of course, the definition of racism is elastic, and can fit whatever situation the observer wants to critique.

Are we helping the cause of racial tranquility by making comments like that? Yes, it is foolish for “birthers” to whine about a birth certificate. But entertaining followers in a town hall debate does not mean you are going to be able to govern. Maybe BS should focus on his economic fantasies, and quit scoring cheap shots about racism.

The Color Of My Skin was originally published in February, 2016, when BS was taken seriously. As we all know, HRC eventually got the Democratic nomination, only to lose to DJT in November.

Mr. Trump was one of the original “birthers,” or people disputing the Hawaiian birth of BHO. In the general election campaign, Democrats liked to say that DJT was a racist, with birtherism frequently given as an example. The many other unappealing parts of DJT, like crookedness and mental instability, were brushed aside, in the mad rush to scream racist. Some even went so far as to say that anyone voting for DJT was a racist. When the electoral votes were counted, DJT won.

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Dolly Parton And Paula Deen

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on January 19, 2020

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Dolly Parton celebrates a birthday today. The internet is a love fest for her, and deservedly so. Miss Parton has given joy to millions, with her singing and acting.

Paula Deen was born on the same day, one year later. While her star did not shine quite as bright as Miss Parton, Mrs. Deen made her contribution to american life. The only problem was a bad boss lawsuit against a company Mrs. Deen invested in. A lawyer got Mrs. Deen to admit, under oath, the she had said the n-word. Paula Deen became a pariah.

Dolly Parton and Paula Deen have a few things in common. Miss Parton is married to Carl Thomas Dean, and her legal name is Mrs. Dean. Both ladies are from the south, the hills of East Tennessee, and the flatland of Albany, Georgia. Both grew up in an era where the n-word was what white people called black people.

What if the story had been different. What if it was a restaurant at Dollywood where the manager was not happy? What if this white woman, who was treated better because she was a white woman, decided to claim racial discrimination in her bad boss lawsuit? (Page 153 of deposition.) What if the disgruntled employee’s lawyer was smarter than Dolly Parton’s lawyer? We might have had tabloids screaming nonstop that Dolly Parton said the n-word.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress, taken at “Annual “Bathing Girl Parade”, Balboa Beach, CA, June 20, 1920.” No one asked these ladies if they ever said the n-word. This is a repost. Other celebrities born on January 19: Robert E. Lee (1807), Edgar Allan Poe (1809), Jean Stapleton (1923), Janis Joplin (1943), and Desi Arnaz Jr.(1953.)

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Happy New Year

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on January 1, 2020





This is a repost. Part two is a recycled email. Thank you Ed. The pictures are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States. They are courtesy of The Library of Congress

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.





How long have people celebrated the turn of the year? Celebrating the New Year is a tradition that dates back nearly 4000 years. If you had lived in Mesopotamia and Babylon 4,000 years ago (c. 2000 B.C.), you probably would have celebrated the new year in mid-March, at the time of the Vernal (Spring) Equinox. If, however, you were an Egyptian, your new year began with the Autumnal Equinox and the flooding of the Nile. If you were Greek, the Winter Solstice began your new year.

Who set January 1st as the beginning of the year? Julius Caesar was the first to set January 1st as the New Year. Caesar did so when he established the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar, named for Julius Caesar, decreed that the new year would occur on January 1st. Caesar wanted the year to begin in January since it celebrated the beginning of the civil year and the festival of the god of gates and, eventually, the god of all beginnings, Janus, after whom January was named. (It was said, many years later, that the only thing the Julian calender is good for is writing checks.)

Where would you celebrate Hogmanay on December 31st? Scotland is the home of Hogmanay (hog-mah-NAY), the rousing Scottish New Year’s celebration (the origins of the name are obscure). One of the traditions is “first-footing.” Shortly after midnight on New Year’s eve, neighbors pay visits to each other and impart New Year’s wishes. Traditionally, First foots used to bring along a gift of coal for the fire, or shortbread. It is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark, and handsome man is the first to enter your house after the new year is rung in. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebration is the largest in the country, and consists of an all-night street party.

How is the New Year rung in by the Japanese? The new year is the most important holiday in Japan, and is a symbol of renewal. In December, various Bonenkai or “forget-the-year parties” are held to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning. Misunderstandings and grudges are forgiven and houses are scrubbed. At midnight on Dec. 31, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times, in a effort to expel 108 types of human weakness. New Year’s day itself is a day of joy and no work is to be done. Children receive otoshidamas, small gifts with money inside. Sending New Year’s cards is a popular tradition—if postmarked by a certain date, the Japanese post office guarantees delivery of all New Year’s cards on Jan. 1.

Who were the first with New Year’s resolutions? It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions, and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.

You can appreciate the Buddhist tradition when you see the timber slung on ropes used to strike their huge temple bell/gong. Some have a huge bronze bell as we are used to seeing, and others have a large round heavy symbol/gong. Smaller temples have, as you might imagine, smaller gongs and will have one or two strikers for the gong. They swing hammer like (as in sledge hammer) items to strike the gong. I’m sure this is what started the heavy drinking associated with their New Year. If you have ever lived close enough to hear these things with their long reverberations you’ll understand after the first few you ‘re ready for a belt. May you all have a health filled and prosperous New Year, Ed