Category Archives: Unpacking Thursday

There Will Be Hell Toupee


On Christmas Day I had a freaky bit of synchronicity in the Grey Ghost. 

Before it makes any sense, you’ll need some background to understand how truly bizarre this really was, and why the hair on my arms stood on end when it happened.

In a Throwback Thursday from August of 2017, Not Now Silly was never more confessional than when I revealed my lifelong, sick obsession. In Toupee Or Not Toupee I showed off my voluminous analog file on . . . err . . . toupees, which I started compiling way back in the ’70s, long before the world went digital. Among the many clipped articles in this file is the one to the left, from the Toronto Sun, all about me (which is my favourite kind of article).

Like many Canadians I read Gary Dunford’s daily Page Six column because it was interesting, maddening, and funny, occasionally all at once. In response to something he said concerning toupees I wrote him a long letter, which he quoted extensively. Because the text is so small, here’s what he wrote:

Thursday, January 13, 1983
Page Six gets many strange letters.
(Boy does it ever, snipes the city desk.)
But the strangest letter of a yet-young year is one from an Ottawa [sic] Page Sixer, an inventor who wants to sell us his new machine.
It is called a Toup-Alarm (patent pending, all rights reserved, nobody dare steal this idea).
“You merely set the alarm,” writes the inventor, “and go about your business in complete security. When you come into range of a bad toupee, the alarm automatically sounds. The noise it makes is a loud whoop-whoop-whoop, which alerts the carrier to a bad hairpiece.
“The vain man with the bad toupee does not know the alarm is sounding because of him and runs to the nearest exit thinking there has been a fire.
“I have been testing this device for the last two months with complete success . . . I feel very strongly about this matter.”
The inventor adds that the Toup-Alarm only goes off in response to “really bad rugs” and would not whoop-whoop for Burt Reynolds, William Shatner, Carl and Rob Reiner or “anyone else who wears an unidentifiable toup.”
Surely this is a device whose time has come.
Make the streets safe from unsightly fuzz.
The Page salutes Canadian inventors and all those who would help Turn This Country Around.
God bless us, every one.
Whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop . . .

The actual Toup File with a list of wearers

Aside from messing up my city, the rest is totally accurate. I really did write him such a letter and he really did quote parts of it in his column. However, I don’t have to tell you that there was really no Toup-Alarm machine. It was something I made up to fool Dunford.

However, there was a very real Toup-Alarm.

The Toup-Alarm was something that my oldest friend in Canada, Stephen, and I played around with while out in public. You see, Stephen shared my fascination with bad rugs (just not to the same obsessive degree). When we were out and about, if either of us spotted a bad toupee, we’d do the whoop-whoop-whoop sound with our voices. That would alert the other to take a discrete look around to see if they could spot the same wig.

This video reveals just a small fraction of my toupee file

Which [finally] brings us to Christmas Day.

While UberLyfting on the holiday I got a passenger named Joey, who was going from Hialeah all the way to Pompano Beach, which is a good long run with a lot of time for conversation. He needed to make a stop part of the way there to pick up a set of keys at his place of business, about 2/3rds the way to his sister’s house. We yabbered about all kinds of things until we got to his place of business, which turned out to be a hair replacement company in Fort Lauderdale. His family has been in the toup business for decades after being started by his father in 1962.

The only thing I wanted to talk about after that was my utter fascination with toupees.

Once Joey realized I was serious he apologized for not wearing his rug. He was wearing a baseball cap, but said his wig was 100% undetectable. In other words he was “not only the president, but a customer” just like Sy Sperling in the commercials for the Hair Club For Men.

We talked about the difference between good toups and bad rugs and it was his contention that a really good rug was always undetectable. I corrected him by pointing out that even the best toups in the world look like bad rugs on tee vee because they reflect the light differently. He said I was absolutely right and asked how I knew that.

This is the caption for the above image of something, looks like a list of some sort or other.

“Didn’t I just tell you I’ve been fascinated by toupees my entire adult life?”

When I mentioned the names of a few celebs who had fairly good rugs, which still reflected the light differently, including Jack Klugman among them. Joey told me his family did Klugman, along with Marv Albert.

Now, here’s the crazy synchronicity: I had just explained to the gentleman all about the Toup-Alarm when a Happy Holiday text came in from my friend Stephen, the only other person in the world who knows the truth about the Toup-Alarm.

Joey took my business card. I sure hope he calls. If not, I now know where the local toup factory is. I just might take my Toup File down there to demonstrate my bona fides to Joey.

Toupee Or Not Toupee ► Throwback Thursday

While the Not Now Silly Newsroom is now a mix of digital and analog, there was a time when it was 100% analog.

As a semi-hoarder, I still have most of the paper I generated during The Analog Years, a 3-decade period when I did a lot of freelance writing. It’s all in a 4-drawer, forest green file cabinet, which stands 53 inches tall, 14.25″ wide and 24″ deep, stuffed to the gills.

I say “all”, but it’s only been like that as of yesterday because for the last 12 years I’ve not had access to my file cabinet. During that time I just chunked all my research — and ephemera — into 2 big banker’s boxes. Because I could no longer find what I needed in those boxes, I decided to finally file all that paper where it truly belonged.

Consequently, last week I spent 2 hours integrating one of the banker’s boxes into the file cabinet into alphabetical order. Yesterday I spent another 2 hours with the 2nd banker’s box. Now all my files are integrated again. Peace reigns again over the kingdom.

While filing all of these documents I came across some real treasures and some real oddities, both of which reflect my obsessions. In the treasures category are pictures that my children drew. After they left from a weekend visit, I always collected every scribble they and dropped it into a file under N, for NOSTALGIA.

However, the NOSTALGIA file has far more than children’s drawings. There are many magazines I’ve saved, from those with Barack Obama on the cover, to magazines with obituaries of my favorite artists.

However, it’s the oddities that I plan to highlight over several Throwback Thursdays, because they illuminate some of my more bizarre obsessions.

First up this Thursday:


I have been fascinated by toupees as long as I can remember. At one time I collected everything I could find on toupees, even to the point of corresponding with a variety of hair-piece companies. I attempted to sell a freelance article on “Toupees and the Men Who Wear Them”, or “Hair Today; Gone Tomorrow”, or “Toupee Or Not Toupee”. It didn’t matter what I called it; I could never convince a single publication that it would be freelance dollars well-spent for this kind of insightful material.

I’m convinced all those editors had a really bad rug and didn’t want to insult them.

Regardless, the file eventually grew to be an inch thick. Clipped to the outside was a running tally of every Hollywood star who wore a rug. There’s enough material in this file that I might be able to sell an article on toupees after all. Here’s just a small sample of the material, because I couldn’t include it all.

Nineteen Eighty-Four ► Throwback Thursday

It was on this day in 1949 that George Orwell’s seminal work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, was first published.

Generations of readers have looked upon 1984 as a dystopian cautionary tale. However, with the elevation of Emperor Trump it feels more like a How To manual.

One doesn’t have to press too many buttons on the Googalizer Machine to find pundits comparing the current regime in the Oval Office with the events in the book. Here’s just a small sample:

Orwell’s “1984” and Trump’s America

Revisiting Orwell’s ‘1984’ in Trump’s America

How ‘1984’ can decode Trump’s first 100 days

Welcome to dystopia – George Orwell experts on Donald Trump

George Orwell’s ‘1984’ is a best-seller again. Here’s why it resonates now

Key concepts from George Orwell’s “1984” might explain
why it’s Amazon’s best-selling book in the age of Trump

The normalization of Donald Trump began in “1984”: How
George Orwell’s Newspeak has infected the news media

1984 Isn’t the Only Book Enjoying a Revival

Teaching 1984 in 2016

Orwell named the book by reversing the last 2 digits of the year in which it was written, giving the year 1984 a resonance it would not have had otherwise. According to the WikiWackyWoo, Nineteen Eighty-Four had been published in 65 different languages by 1989, more than any other English language book.

It’s also a book whose time has come, and gone, and come again.

Everything old is new again.

Tiger Stadium ► Throwback Thursday

It was on this day 115 years ago the first pitch was thrown out at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers moved to Comerica Park, and played their last game at Tiger Stadium in September 1999. Ten years later, despite being designated a historic site by the state of Michigan, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Tiger Stadium was demolished after several preservation and redevelopment schemes died on the drafting table. However, the actual playing field of Tiger Stadium is still there and lovingly maintained by a local community group.

Known as “The Corner”, because of its prominent location at Michigan and Trumbull Avenues, with Trumbull’s angle creating a trapezoidal lot. However, it had many names over the years. Originally called Bennett Park in 1895, when it consisted of a playing field surrounded by wooden bleachers and a roofed grandstand in the outfield. It was named Navin Field in 1912, after Frank Navin purchased the team and had a modern stadium constructed out of steel and concrete. Incidentally, opening day was the same for Fenway Park.

After Navin’s death in 1935, it became known as Briggs Stadium, and new owner Walter Briggs embarked on an expansion project that upped the seating to a whopping — for the day — 58,000 seats. According to the WikiWackyWoo, Briggs had a reputation as a racist:

Briggs was noted for fielding a well-paid team that won two American League pennants (1940, 1945) and a World Series championship in 1945 under his ownership.[6] He had a reputation for being somewhat prejudiced against African-Americans, in part because he refused to sign black players (though he allowed blacks to work at his factory)[7] and would not allow black fans to sit in the boxes at Briggs Stadium.[citation needed] The Tigers did not field their first non-white player until 1958, six years after Briggs’ death—making them the second-to-last team in the majors to integrate (ahead of only the Boston Red Sox).

After his death his son Walter Junior tried to hang onto it, but administers for the estate forced the sale after 5 years. The new owners called it simply Tiger Stadium in 1961, one of the classic ballparks from the classic era of ‘Merka’s Pastime.

I remember going to Tiger Stadium as a kid. The Upper Decks were really up there. It seemed like a long climb to get to the cheap seats, but when you looked down, the field was right below you; so close, it almost felt like you were on the field. It was a huge deal when I was 16 and the Tigers won the World Series in 1968. We rode around in cars for days screaming out the windows.

Later, when I was a teenager, sometimes we’d do what we called a Double Header. Plum Street, Detroit’s Hippie Mecca — where I first met John Sinclair — was just around the corner. Some days me and my friends, who were all weekend Hippies, would buy incense and hang out on Plum Street before walking the few blocks to see a weekend Tiger’s game.

The Wiki also notes:

A plan to redevelop the old Tiger Stadium site would retain the historic playing field for youth sports and ring the 10-acre property with new development has received final approval, and funding.[4] Developer Eric Larson of Larson Realty will develop a mixed residential and retail project along the Michigan Ave and Trumbull sides of the property, beginning in late 2016.[4] The Detroit Police Athletic League will begin construction, in early April 2016, on a new headquarters building along Michigan Ave and Cochrane. The L-shaped building would enclose two sides of the field.[4] Together these two projects will completely ring the old site.[4]

But, there will never be another Tiger Stadium.

New York Slave Revolt ► Throwback Thursday

We have to go all the way back to 1712, before this country was even a country, for this week’s Throwback Thursday.

At the time New York City was merely a small town, in a province of Britain, on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean. The crown colony known as New York (as opposed to old York, of course) was much larger than the current state. It included “all of the present U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Vermont, along with inland portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine, as well as eastern Pennsylvania“, as the WikiWackyWoo tells us.

Slavery, on the other hand, had been around forever. According to the Smithsonian Institute:

Life was wretched for the slaves brought to New York. Many of the city’s early landmarks, from City Hall to the eponymous wall of Wall Street were built using slave labor. The city even constructed an official slave market in 1711, Jim O’Grady reported for WNYC News in 2015.

“It was a city-run slave market because they wanted to collect tax revenue on every person who was bought and sold there,” historian Chris Cobb told O’Grady. “And the city hired slaves to do work like building roads.”

It is generally agreed that the New York Slave Revolt probably could not have happened elsewhere.

In the bustling town of New York, with its population at about 6,000 people, it’s estimated that about 10-15% were slaves owned by others. These slaves worked and lived in close proximity to one another, unlike the plantations of the south where there might be great distances between small groups of slaves. That immediacy allowed the slaves to talk to each other, to make plans, to foment rebellion.

Further reading at Not Now Silly

Is Toussaint L’Overture Packing Heat? Again?

The Great Slave Auction

Nat Turner Sentenced To Be Hanged

Frederick Douglass Escapes

Official Stamp of Approval

No Skin In The Game
Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four

Where The Sidewalk Ends, Racism Begins
Part One; Part Two; Part Three

Rebellion or Revolt?

On the night of April 6, 1712, resentment reached a flashpoint. It began in, what was then, the middle of town, on Maiden Lane. There about 23 slaves met and began their rebellion. I’ll let Colonial New York’s Governor Robert Hunter pick up the story:

I must now give your Lordships an account of a bloody conspiracy of some of the slaves of this place, to destroy as many of the inhabitants as they could….when they had resolved to revenge themselves, for some hard usage they apprehended to have received from their masters (for I can find no other cause) they agreed to meet in the orchard of Mr. Crook in the middle of the town, some provided with fire arms, some with swords and others with knives and hatchets. This was the sixth day of April, the time of the meeting was about twelve or one clock in the night, when about three and twenty of them were got together. One…slave to one Vantilburgh set fire to [a shed] of his masters, and then repairing to his place where the rest were, they all sallyed out together with their arms and marched to the fire. By this time, the noise of the fire spreading through the town, the people began to flock to it. Upon the approach of several, the slaves fired and killed them. The noise of the guns gave the alarm, and some escaping, their shot soon published the cause of the fire, which was the reason that nine Christians were killed, and about five or six wounded. Upon the first notice, which was very against them, but the slaves made their retreat into the woods, by the favour of the night. Having ordered the day following, the militia of this town and the country of West Chester to drive [to] the Island, and by this means and strict searches in the town, we found all that put the design in execution, six of these having first laid violent hands upon themselves [committed suicide], the rest were forthwith brought to their tryal before ye Justices of this place….In that court were twenty seven condemned, whereof twenty one were executed, one being a woman with a child, her execution by than means suspended. Some were burnt, others hanged, one broke on the wheel, and one hung alive in chains in the town, so that there has been the most exemplary punishment inflicted that could be possibily [sic] thought of.

Not surprisingly conditions for slaves became worse following the rebellion. Laws were quickly passed that prevented slaves from gathering in groups of 4 or more. They could not carry firearms, nor could they gamble. Punishment for those crimes was a whipping. However, the new laws also demanded the Death Penalty for property crimes, rape, and conspiracy to kill. In addition, owners who wanted to set their slaves free would be required to pay a tax of £200, which was far more than they could get by selling the slave to someone else.

It wasn’t until 1799 that New York outlawed slavery, but “it remained an intrinsic part of city life until after the Civil War, as businessmen continued to profit off of the products of the slave trade like sugar and molasses imported from the Caribbean” not to mention the products from the south.

Slavery is ‘Merka’s original sin. The sin of Racism continues to this very day.

FloriDUH Becomes a TerrUHtory ► Throwback Thursday

1823 map of Florida Territory

History is complicated. The history of Florida even more so. On this day in 1822, it took the first step to statehood by becoming a territory of the United States.

But the history of Florida’s long march to statehood is one of the bloodiest in this country.

Originally discovered by Spaniard Juan Ponce de León — explorer, conquistador, and former-Governor of Puerto Rico — in 1513, a century before the British established its colonies much farther north. He had been looking for the mythical Fountain of Youth, unless that story is a myth as well.No matter. Ponce de León discovered La Florida, despite its robust native population; claimed it for Spain, despite its robust native population; and then left, leaving it to its robust native population.

He returned to southwest La Florida in 1521 to establish a Spanish colony, but that didn’t go as planned. The native Calusa people fought the Spanish and, in the process, de León was injured. He returned to Cuba to lick his wounds, but eventually died. He was later interred in the Cathedral of San Juan Batista in Puerto Rico.

According to the WikiWackyWoo:

Florida continued to remain a Spanish possession until the end of the Seven Years’ War when Spain ceded it to the Kingdom of Great Britain in exchange for the release of Havana. In 1783, after the American Revolution, Great Britain ceded Florida back to Spain.[2]:xvii

The second term of Spanish rule was influenced by the nearby United States. There were border disputes along the boundary with the state of Georgia and issues of American use of the Mississippi. These disputes were supposedly solved in 1795 by the Treaty of San Lorenzo which, among other things, solidified the boundary of Florida and Georgia along the 31st parallel. However, as Thomas Jefferson had once predicted, the U.S. could not keep its hands off Florida.[2]:xviii–xix

The United States continued to meddle and sent troops into Florida, mostly as an excuse to chase runaway slaves. These so-called Black Seminoles lived alongside the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes, who had earlier fled oppression and genocide in the north and were already adapted to hiding and making a living in the Florida swamps.

In 1818 General Andrew Jackson, who would eventually use his wartime experiences to run and win the presidency, invaded Florida for his second time. The Wiki picks up the story:

Because Spanish Florida was a refuge for blacks escaping slavery, who allied with the Seminole Indians, Jackson invaded the territory in 1816 to destroy the Negro Fort. He led a second invasion in 1818, as part of the First Seminole War, resulting in the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819 and the transfer of Florida from Spain to the United States. Jackson briefly served as Florida’s first Territorial Governor in 1821.
In 1830, Jackson [as president] signed the Indian Removal Act, which relocated most members of the Native American tribes in the South to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). The relocation process resulted in widespread death and sickness amongst the Indians forced to walk from their ancestral lands to western reservations. The extent to which Jackson can personally be held responsible is debated by historians, but the removal is generally regarded as a violation of human rights. This, along with his relative support for slavery, has significantly damaged Jackson’s reputation.

An understatement, if I ever read one.

The ‘Merkin government continued to remove natives from Florida, leading to the 2nd and 3rd Seminole Wars, as the Wiki informs us:

Taken together, the Seminole Wars were the longest and most expensive (both in human and monetary terms) Indian Wars in United States history.

And, if I may add, a permanent stain on the history of ‘Merka.

Florida officially became a state on March 3, 1845. FloriDUH officially became a laughing stock almost every day since. Just ask Florida Man.

TO BE FAIR: Florida has one of my favourite places. Have a musical montage on me.

Adolf Hitler Becomes Dictator ► Throwback Thursday

You know who else liked dogs?

It was on this day Germany passed the Enabling Act of 1933, which followed the Reichstag fire of a month earlier. This effectively made Adolf Hitler the dictator of Germany.

SPOILER ALERT: Adolph Hitler eventually committed suicide after starting — and losing — World War Two. More than 60 million people died in that war, or about 3% of the world’s population.

Eighty-four years is not that long ago in the scheme of things.

I was born 7 years after the war ended. My eldest sister was born during the war. Maybe as a young boy growing up in a Jewish household I’m more sensitive to Hitlerian references than your average alt-right asshole, but I’ve never heard so many ludicrous references to Nazi Germany as I have in the last 2 years — on both the Left and the Reich Wing. The latest to embarrass himself  is comedian Tim Allen who feels that being a conservative in Hollywood is akin to living among Nazis:

“You know, you get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes,” the comedian joked on  “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Friday. “This is like ’30s Germany.”

Listen, motherfucker, when they start sending Hollywood conservatives to the gas chambers, I’ll be on the front lines fighting on the front lines to oppose that. But, until then, you are merely a rich hypocrite with a much larger FREE SPEECH megaphone to spout nonsense than that of the average alt-right asshole. You owe humanity an apology.

The article continues:

The comedian’s grousing was met with immediate backlash, with the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect demanding an apology from the star of “Last Man Standing.”

“Tim, have you lost your mind?” Steven Goldstein, the executive director of organization, said in a statement. “No one in Hollywood today is subjecting you or anyone else to what the Nazis imposed on Jews.” 


And yet, every once in a while, a comparison to Nazi Germany rings true and makes the hairs on the back of my neck bristle.

F’rinstance: Ever since Emperor Trump lied his way through the oath of office, there has been barrels of electronic ink spilled warning people that an event similar to the Reichstag fire could be on the horizon.

Meanwhile, as George Santayana famously said:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

People have asked me why I make a jokes about Emperor Trump, as opposed to treating him as an existential threat to all of humanity — something I believe with all my heart. I agree with Mel Brooks, according to an interview he gave 60 Minutes back in 2001:

Some of that pent-up animosity comes from his experience in the Army. “I was in the Army. ‘Jewboy! Out of my way, out of my face, Jewboy,'” he recalls soldiers saying to him. Brooks, who served in World War II de-activating land mines, spent a short time in the stockade for getting even with one heckler. “I took his helmet off. I said, ‘I don’t want to hurt your helmet ’cause it’s G.I. issue.’ And I smashed him in the head with my mess kit,” he says.

One anti-Semite Brooks has been trying to get even with for most of his adult life is Adolf Hitler, whom he lampoons first in his movie and now on the stage. “Hitler was part of this incredible idea that you could put Jews in concentration camps and kill them…How do you get even with the man? How do you get even with him?” he asks Wallace.

“You have to bring him down with ridicule, because if you stand on a soapbox and you match him with rhetoric, you’re just as bad as he is, but if you can make people laugh at him, then you’re one up on him,” he tells Wallace. “It’s been one of my lifelong jobs – to make the world laugh at Adolf Hitler,” says Brooks.

Similarly, I also got Jewboy and Kike growing up in the late ’50s, more than a decade after Brooks. Not always, but it was mostly as I walked past the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic school [now the Michigan Technical Academy Charter School] on Pembroke, catercorner to Bow Elementary School, where I went.

Or, maybe Mel Brooks was just being prescient. Is it Springtime for alt-right assholes? Only time will tell.


The Beginning of the End of McCarthyism ► Throwback Thursday

On this date in 1954 brave journalists at CBS began curing ‘Merka from the cancer of McCarthyism.

Millions of words have been written about McCarthyism and I won’t even begin to sum them up. If you are unfamiliar with these shining beacons of truthful journalism [Hey! Millennials!], I’ve taken the opportunity of  quoting just a few of those words:

Fred Friendly; NYT obit

A big, imposing man who hurled ideas and opinions around like Olympian thunderbolts, Mr. Friendly, as both producer and president of CBS News, stood at the center of some of the most influential and contentious moments in the early history of television journalism. His work included the best-remembered documentary ever produced, Mr. Murrow’s dismantling of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his demagogic anti-Communist campaign inside the United States Government.

He also produced Mr. Murrow’s other groundbreaking documentaries including ”Harvest of Shame” in 1960, an expose on the hardships of migrant workers.

Later, as president of CBS News from 1964 to 1966, he clashed frequently with the network’s management over his efforts to get more news on the air. His often caustic criticisms of what he maintained was the television networks’ lack of commitment to quality news coverage continued through the years.

Edward R. Murrow; NYT Obit:

The ever-present cigarette (he smoked 60 to 70 a day), the matter-of-fact baritone voice and the high-domed, worried, lopsided face were the trademarks of the radio reporter who became internationally famous during World War II with broadcasts that started, “This. . .is London.”

Later, on television, his series of news documentaries, “See It Now,” on the Columbia Broadcasting System from 1951 to 1958, set the standard for all television documentaries on all networks.

President Johnson, on learning of Mr. Murrow’s death, said that all Americans “feel a sense of loss in the death of Edward R. Murrow.”

He was, the President said, a “gallant fighter” who had “dedicated his life as a newsman and as a public official to the unrelenting search for truth.”

How about that?

We’ve gone from a president praising journalism to one who undermines it as fake news when he doesn’t like it.

It wasn’t all that long ago that this reporter was railing against Emperor Trump’s ironic use of the word McCarthyism. We’ve come a long way from the truth-teller journalists of a bygone era. We now have an Oval Office distracting from uncomfortable back-channel contact with the Russians by fake accusations against President Obama.

Let this be a teaching moment.

Let the cowardly GOP see this and realize that they are on the wrong side of history by supporting the Madness of Emperor Trump. Let them also realize they’ll either be hailed as heroes if they stand up to this crazed man, or quislings if they don’t, just like during McCarthyism.

Watch “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy” from See It Now:

Finally, let this be a teaching moment for the mainstream media. We all know that Fox “News” won’t provide the heroic journalism the fact-based community is looking for. Who will? Lately, it’s been The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, which I’ve only begun watching regularly recently. (Prior to this it was hit or miss.) Check out this blockbuster from last night:

The real question is how can the truth penetrate the FAKE NEWS FOG created by Emperor Trump so that the average ‘Merkin [Read: Fox “News” viewer] begins to see him for what he really is? When will the truth cure ‘Merka from this cancer? Just like what Edward R. Morrow did 63 years ago today.

The Great Slave Auction ► Throwback Thursday

One of the largest slave auctions before the Civil War — alternately called The Great Slave Auction or The Weeping Time — took place 158 years ago today.

Pierce M. Butler inherited the slaves from his grandfather and namesake, Major Pierce Butler. The elder Butler no longer spoke to his son, so he willed his property to his 2 grandsons, one of which was Pierce.

The younger Pierce was a bad businessman and a worse gambler. Eventually creditors forced him to sell off his assets. When the land wasn’t enough to settle his extensive gambling debts, Butler agreed to sell his human chattel.

The sale lasted 2 days because there were 436 men, women, and children to be sold. From Unearthing the Weeping Time: Savannah’s Ten Broeck Race Course and 1859 Slave Sale:

Advertisement for The Great Slave Auction

The “Weeping Time” brought much anguish to the enslaved. Families, who had been together for all of their lives on Butler’s Island or Hampton, were torn apart and dispersed; many of them never saw each other again. The Butler slaves were dispersed all over the southern states. The heavens seemed to weep in empathy as the four dry days during which buyers inspected the enslaved gave way to a brooding storm; it rained “violently,” and the “wind howled” for the two days of sale, letting up only after the last person had been sold.26 Outside the advertisements, the Savannah newspapers offered cursory mention that the sale had taken place as planned. Slavery and slave sales were a way of life and livelihood in Savannah, and much of the US South. After Mortimer Thomson’s Tribune article was published in the North, Savannah Morning News editor, William T. Thompson (1812–1882) castigated Doesticks as a spy, intimating that next time he came South, he would not get away.27

Detailing the callousness and heartlessness of slavery, Doesticks’ published exposé was a political blow to the South, at a time of escalating sectional animosity. Like the arrival of the slave ship Wanderer—which in November 1858 landed the last shipment of African slaves brought to Georgia, on Jekyll Island near Savannah, the Ten Broeck slave sale exacerbated tensions between northern and southern states.28

Who was Doesticks? The WikiWacyWoo answers that question:

Pierce M. Butler (far left) next to his wife Frances

Mortimer Thomson, a popular journalist during the time who wrote under the pseudonym “Q. K. Philander Doesticks” memorialized the event.[3] Initially, Thomson traveled to Savannah infiltrating the buyers by pretending to be interested in purchasing slaves. After the sale, he wrote a long and scathing article describing the auction in the New York Tribune titled, “What Became of the Slaves on a Georgia Plantation.”[4]

Slavery is the country’s original sin.

Slavery is also a permanent stain on the flag of this nation, which will never wash out.

While the Founding Fathers wrote a Bill of Rights and Constitution filled with lofty words, it was an empty promise even before the ink dried. These Founders owned people — bought and sold people — and enshrined in these documents that a Black person was only worth 3/5ths of a White one.

Additionally, the institution of slavery is what allowed the fledgling nation to become so prosperous so quickly. Free labour allowed some families to amass great fortunes, which have been passed down from generation to generation.

Just as important is how — after Reconstruction was abandoned — the attitude of White folk towards their Black brothers and sisters barely changed. There would be no #BlackLivesMatter movement today if people were treated equally in the ensuing 15 decades.

The Not Now Silly Newsroom has been featuring
articles about Race Relations since its founding.
More found in the menu at the top of this page.

The Blaine Act ► Throwback Thursday

The United States is still an experiment in democracy that people are still trying to get right [See: Trump, Donald], and The Blaine Act corrected one of ‘Merka’s greatest mistakes: Prohibition.

The Eighteenth Amendment, aka Prohibition, was in place from 1920 to 1933 and, among its many unintended consequences, included a scofflaw society and the rise of The Mob. The Blaine Act, to repeal the 18th Amendment, was passed by the Senate on this day in 1933.

The resolution was introduced on February 14, 1933 by Sen. John J. Blaine, Republican from Wisconsin. The next day, Sen. Morris Sheppard, Democrat from Texas, began a filibuster to prevent consideration of the bill. No other senator assisted in this vain effort. The following day the Senate passed the Blaine Act by a vote of 69 to 27. That was five votes more than needed to pass.

On February 20, the House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 294-126.

The Blaine Act permitted states to form conventions that could ratify the proposed repeal amendment. Ratification by two-thirds of the existing 48 states was required to make that amendment part of the U.S. Constitution.

The Blaine Act was ratified by enough states that it became the 21st Amendment on December 5th of that yea.

And, that’s why they’re called amendments, NRA.

Here’s an unsolicited plug for the Ken Russell PBS documentary “Prohibition.” If you’ve never seen it, you should. Here’s a judicious 26 minute cut from a doc that runs several hours: