Monday, June 24, 2013

The 4th

 Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember any spectacular July 4th celebrations in Charlotte when we were growing up.  Yeah, there were lots of backyard fireworks (mostly sparklers at my house and tiny little things called "baby winklers" or something like that) but that was about it.

But, we did celebrate the founding of our country every July 4th when we were growing up.  However, lots of places in the South did not back then; memories of the Civil War still lingered in Parts of the old Confederacy.  The way things are going, I can imagine it's not inconceivable that the day is not far off when it will be illegal to celebrate the 4th of July.

Go ahead, call me crazy.  You would have also called me crazy  in 1954, if I had predicted that in 2013 men would be marrying men and women would be marrying women and that Mexicans who entered this country illegally would have more rights than American citizens by 2014.

But, I digress.

Even if the thought police send me to re-education camp and delete all thoughts of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, stomach will still know that July 4th is a very special day!

My daughter in her grandmothers garden

That's because (give or take a few hours) Virginia's local home "grown tomatoes" begin to arrive around that time!  You folks in Charlotte have probably been eating locally grown "love apples" for maybe a week now so you know the joy of biting into that first locally grown tomato each summer!

As Dinah Shore once sang,  "...makes your eyes light up and your tummy say HOWDY!"
Of course, she was singing about "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy," but it's the same wonderful feeling.

Historically, the tomato had a rough time being accepted.  The Spanish were the first Europeans to notice the fruit (yes, the tomato is a fruit, but don't try serving it in "fruit salad") growing in Mexico sometime in the 1500's. The Aztecs called it "Tomatl."  The Italians later called them "pomi d'oro," or golden apples...which leads one to believe that the first ones were yellow tomatoes.

A myth grew up, and word got around in Europe and the American Colonies that the tomato was Poisonous.  It may have been started by a Barber/Doctor/Surgeon and certified nut named John Gerard who wrote a book in which he stated that people died from eating tomatoes.

Actually, though, some did.

Not long after that the tomato went from being called "the Love Apple" (it was thought to be an aphrodisiac) to being referred to as the "poison apple."

But the truth is that the people who died after consuming tomatoes were generally wealthy Europeans who used pewter plates, which were high in lead content.  Because tomatoes are so high in acidity, when placed on that kind of tableware, the fruit would leach lead from the plate, resulting in many deaths from lead poisoning. No one made that connection back then, so the tomato became the culprit.

The tomato has had a rough life. I know of no other fruit that has been called so many names, most of them not particularly flattering:  Love Apple, Poison Apple, Golden Apple,  Nightshade, Mandrake, Fruit, Vegetable (incorrect) there was even a movie made  in 1978 called "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," in which giant red blobs of the fruit terrorize the country and the narrator says, The nation is in chaos!  Can nothing stop this tomato onslaught?"

Well, that may be.  But it sure ain't the tomato's fault.


Time now for my favorite Guy Clark 

Be sure to click on "Skip the Ad" if you're asked. You musical "purists" might want to ignore the "out of tune" violin (although it might be a viola)  However, Hillbilly fans like me...feel that it ads "authenticity,"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

As I was saying...

Battle of Cowpens
...regarding  the American Revolution and the reason why everyone learned about the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Bunker Hill but not the battles of Cow Pens, or Kings Mountain was because of pure prejudice.  The writers, publishers and printers were (and still are for the most part) all located in the industrialized North but most experts now agree that without the victories Southern soldiers won in the South, the Revolutionary war would have taken a lot longer to win....and perhaps would have been lost.

But we are all human, even Historians,  so pure objectivity continues to be  elusive.

For example, most educated Americans, even the intelligent ones, believe that the Civil War was about slavery.  That was certainly an issue, but only  the best known of the issues.

It was about States Rights.

Seventy-five percent of white Southern families did not own slaves.

Half of all slave owners owned only one to five slaves.

The Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave...and caused draft riots in the North.

Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee expected slavery to fade away naturally.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that Racism was far more prevalent in the North than in the South.

Southern secession in 1861 was better founded in law than the secession of the American colonies in 1776   That's the reason the Feds didn't put Jefferson Davis on trial after the war.

And my point is?

Don't expect tomorrow's historians to get it right any more than their predecessors did. Don't be surprised if you come back 100 years in the future and read about how happy the American people were to be relieved of the burden of that hated, outdated Dead White Man's document called the Constitution. There will be pictures of happy Americans in their communes and long lines of smiling,
grateful subjects (even some mortally ill)  waiting patiently for admittance to hospital emergency rooms.  There will also be photos of tourists admiring the new Mount Rushmore, featuring only one President; the one who transformed a formally backward country into his vision of greatness.  -Ed

Civil war facts and statistics were taken from H.W.Crocker's book
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pick up your pencils and paper

Class, today we are going to have a pop quiz.


It consists of only 3 questions;

1- Who was the first to build and fly an airplane and make the first controlled, powered and heavier-than-air flight


2- Who was the first person to fly an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. 


3- What happened on July 4 1776 

If you answered

The Wright Brothers

 Charles Lindbergh

and The Declaration of Independence was signed.


 You are WRONG, WRONG, and WRONG.

Consider yourself a "low information senior."

The correct answers are:

1- Gustave Whitehead

The main reason he got no credit was because there were no pictures of his flight.

The Smithsonian in Washington helped spread the myth that the Wright Brothers were the first. That museum wanted the Wright's airplane for its museum very badly....but Orville and Wilbur insisted that they labeled it "The First in Flight." The museum knew that wasn't true, but finally acquiesced .

The litigious Wrights actually delayed the advancement of the airplane for about 6 years because of their repeated law suits claiming infringement of patents.

Also, Gustave was a German immigrant...and they were NOT popular leading up to our involvement in World War One.

Gustave Whitehead and his plane
The aviation event for which Whitehead is now best-known  took place in Fairfield  Connecticut.  The Bridgeport Herald newspaper said Whitehead piloted his aircraft in a controlled powered flight for about half a mile up to 50 feet (15 m) high and landed safely. The feat preceded the  Wright Brothers by more than two years and exceeded their best 1903 Kitty Hawk flight, which covered 852 feet (260 m) at a height of about 10 feet (3.0 m).

2- At least 83 or so others flew across the Atlantic Ocean before Charles Lindbergh.

Charles Lindbergh
Many people think that Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. But that’s not true.
In 1919, six U.S. Navy fliers crossed the ocean, stopping once in the Azores Islands. Later that year, two Englishmen flew across the ocean without stopping.
In all, 78 people crossed the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane before Charles Lindbergh did it in 1927.
Then why did Lindbergh become famous? Because he was the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean alone. He took off from Long Island, near New York City, and landed near Paris, France, after being in the air for 331/2 hours. Lindbergh covered 3,610 miles by himself!

3- Answer: Not much of anything.

 The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 2, 1776.

John Adams wrote his wife Abigail that

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.[6]

That's our lesson for today class. Tomorrow we will discuss the American Revolution and the reasons behind the fact that everyone knows about the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Bunker Hill but no one (but our class) ever heard of the battles of Cow Pens, or Kings Mountain.   -Ed

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Coming in Loud and Clear

First, let me say "Hello" to all of our NSA viewers.  As long as you are following along with this website, we'd appreciate it very much if you would help us find a few of our missing classmates. I'm sure that in all the emails, phone calls, etc that you are monitoring 24/7 that you know where DOY LIM is. Please let us know.

We haven't heard or seen him in years, and he was a very popular member of our class.

Thanking you in advance, your employer, former American citizen, currently American Subject,

-Ed M....oh, you know.
NSA Headquarters Fr. Meade, Md

Got my Social Security check last week, and was reminded that I've been "investing" in that "retirement plan" since I was 15 years old, and dammit, the dollars I get back each month sure are puny compared to those originally deducted from my many paychecks.

And getting "punnier." 

However, I understand that our leaders in Washington have more important things to think about besides a bunch of useless old people complaining about their "entitlement" checks.

And that's another thing. I deeply resent that "piddling" amount of "interest" on the money that I invested with the government every week for the past 62 years now being called an "entitlement."

Entitlement, Hell!
Lockbox Bank

Now, while you guys at the NSA are still listening, there's another account that I'd like to inquire about: According to Congress, it's stored away in a lockbox somewhere in Washington.  It should have the name Walter Myers on it.

That belonged to my father who was too old to be drafted for World War Two but who tried to enlist in one of the special services, OSS, I believe. In order to be eligible, he lied about his age (subtracting about 3 years) so he could help defend the country that he loved.

He passed all the tests...except one. They found issues with his heart so he never got to serve. When he finally reached Social Security Age......the government turned him down again....dredging up the "white lie" on the old OSS document. They said he was "too young" for Social Security.

He passed away before he received any of that money in his "lockbox."

NSA Customer Service Rep
So, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, I'd appreciate it if you would have the "Lockbox" keeper send me that unused money. I'm sure that would please my Dad.

And please hurry, while it's still worth a little something.

-You know who

Monday, June 10, 2013

School's Out!

Remember those glorious days of early June when school was finally OUT...and summer began?

Of course you do.

Tomorrow is the second Tuesday of the month, so it's time to get together at Jimmies of Mint Hill and have a celebratory lunch with old friends and remember those exciting days of yesteryear (thank you Lone Ranger).

Jerry Gaudet has already emailed the official invitation, so all you have to do is show up ....and have a great time!

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" in Mint Hill.
We hope you'll join us. Spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Be sure YOU, come!