Great Snakes! Australia in January 1812.

“A snake of the diamond kind has been lately killed at Blackwattle swamp, the length of which was 10 feet 4 inches, and its largest circumference five inches.” the Sydney Gazette reported on January 4th, 1812.

A woodcutter was going about his business, when he turned around and saw the “monstrous” creature. Naturally the woodcutter was afraid of snakes, so he whacked the animal on the head.

That didn’t stop the snake much, so the woodcutter ran for his life. Continue reading Great Snakes! Australia in January 1812.

The first of all Human Rights

Human rights seem to be falling out of favor. I’ve heard old men deride them, as if they were some new legislative fashion akin to political correctness or “austerity” with their pensions.

Recent events in Europe, with the so-called European Court of Human Rights, have tried to bend the meaning of “human rights” in that political direction.  Many forget that the tradition of human rights goes back to long before Eleanor Roosevelt.
Continue reading The first of all Human Rights

Have A Presidential Christmas

three women Protestors with sign saying - Mr President let's have a old-fashioned christmas.
Protestors ask President Harding to give amnesty to Political Prisoners, 1922.

This Christmas, you may be hearing rumors that Santa Claus was invented to sell Coca Cola.  Well, Christmas is much older the Republican Party.  It’s even older than the Pope.

The Founding Fathers inherited the tradition from the European ancestors, but in 1776 Washington’s army had little to celebrate. Continue reading Have A Presidential Christmas

Never eat eggs with an angry stomach.

Teddy Roosevelt carries Taft the hen to her eggs.
“Settin’ time” by Keppler (Puck magazine 1908)

Paul from Belgium keeps telling me that eggs are dangerous.  I never believed him, as he enjoys crepes and cakes of all kinds.

However, the following story from  1897 (printed in the St. Louis Republic in and reprinted in the Norfolk Virginian) proves that, in 19th century America at least, eating eggs could be deadly.

Continue reading Never eat eggs with an angry stomach.

Well, who should play Ronald Reagan?

While some see President Reagan as the man who won the cold war, others remember him as having changed the economy at home.  Some might paint him as a kind of Scrooge, the character so well portrayed by Michael Caine (or, to keep in the Reagan Era,  very un-Reagan-like actors Bill Murray or George C. Scott.)

But President Reagan wasn’t all about war and money.  He was one of the most charming Presidents in the 20th century, far more charming than many actors are off the set. Continue reading Well, who should play Ronald Reagan?

Melting hearts to bring down a wall of ice

Whatever happened in Iran Contra, that didn’t win the cold war.

The Berlin Wall didn’t come down until after Reagan left office, but most of us knew that the fall of communism was just a matter of time. By the end of Reagan’s presidency, Perestroika, Glasnost, and sympathetic soviet characters in children’s cartoons showed us that we no longer saw the Red Peril as a serious threat. Continue reading Melting hearts to bring down a wall of ice

Breaking News: Chinese Rebels capture Beijing – November 6, ’11

Hong kong Nov. 6  “There was an extroardinary outburst of enthusiasm here today when a report came from Shanghai that the native city of Pekin [Beijing] had been captured by the Rebels.” The Washington Herald reports. “Rebel flags appeared everywhere.”

Rebel Flag in China
Flag of the Chinese rebel uprising

The rebels also captured Zhenjiang, apparently peacefully. “There was no disorder.” And in Shanghai, a section of Admiral’s fleet hoisted the rebel flag. Continue reading Breaking News: Chinese Rebels capture Beijing – November 6, ’11

Heads will roll

On November 3, 1798 six men were beheaded in Cairo, on the orders of General Napoleon Bonaparte.  They lost their heads only months after General Bonaparte landed “The Army of Egypt” to liberate the Egyptian people from the terror of the Mameluke Beys. Now, Napoleon was seen by many as the Mameluke.

So, what happened since June?

Continue reading Heads will roll