Not everyone agrees with the academy results. Rather than predicting who would win the big awards, we’ve decided to wait for the elites to pick their winners and then list the films that we enjoyed the most. Continue reading “Our top picks for 2017”
bookmark_borderHappy 104th Father’s Day
“A mischievous youngster named Wood
Declared that he wouldn’t be good
Till his father one day
With a shingle they say[…]”
Fill in the last line.
Back in 1910, the Los Angeles Herald held a contest to finish that limerick. Before you read the results, I’d challenge you to finish it yourself.
The winning boy’s last line was given by a young man in Inglewood [sic] Colorado named Milton Basham.
“Interviewed him since then has stood.”
Hmm. They say taste is fickle.
The winners of the girls finished the limerick with the following line:
“Effected a change in his mood.”
At least the fits the rhythm.
Some of the funnier poems didn’t get any prizes, but had a few honorable mentions. Ruby May Hill didn’t even get an honorable mention for hers.
“Spanked him as hard as he could.”
Sure, that’s not the ideal father, but it’s funny and it fits the rhythm.
Esther Audrey Irene Varley was thinking along the same lines as Miss Hill when she added:
“Whipped him as hard as he could.”
Oh dear, those girls really want poor Wood to be punished for being naughty.
Ester seemed to have another entry (unless there were two girls entering from that town at the same address with the same first and last name.)
“Whipped him into a different mood.”
And again, the same girl at the same address:
“Paddled him, until he promised he would.”
Blossom Ferris had this solution for the father of the mischievous youngster:
“Took away his hood.”
What do you know, they had hoodies 104 years ago!
I won’t go into all the solutions, most involved spanking of some sort or other. Maude Edwards had this to say:
“Just thrashed him as all fathers should.”
No wonder, after reading all these violent solutions to bad behavior, the judges picked the following as an honorable mention:
“Impressed on his mind that he should.”(1)
Now, you may find the spanking poems funny, when there are one or two, but there were duplicate, even triplicate entries of the same last line.
“Whipped him as hard as he could” was far from original, and it’s sad to see young children thinking that was the normal way a father should behave.
It makes you wonder. Did they think Wood a bully who got away with everything, and was so spoilt that he hurt others with impunity? Or, did they find a regular thrashing a normal thing for a father to do? Probably it just followed a bunch of folk tales and other rhymes the kids heard.
This poetry contest came on the year that was supposedly the first father’s day.
The call for a Father’s Day apparently originated a little north of those spank-happy youngsters, in Washington State, Spokane to be exact.
Yup, that’s right, the same state that gave us Microsoft and Bezos Books and Grunge Music first advocated father’s day. Well, perhaps someone somewhere might have said it first, but if they did they did, then it was before the 6th of June 1910.
Here’s the story in its original glory.
“Spokane People want a Father’s Day Now.”
Some time ago, there was a day set aside throughout the land to be known as Mother’s Day and to be celebrated the first Sabbath in May. This holiday was given birth to in the East, but the West has gone them one better. Mrs J.B. Dodd of Spokane heads the petition approved by the ministerial alliance of this city to set aside the first Sabbath in June to be known as Father’s Day.
She wishes the idea to take root and to sprout in the hearts of the people of our country. The object of this day, she says, is to bring [together] father and child, and to give the head of the house and earner of daily bread for his brood all respect and honor due him. It is also the aim of this day to instill the same love and reverence for the father as is the mother’s portion. The petition has been signed thus far by the following men of Spokane:
Mark H. Wheeler, Y.M.C.A. [which stands for Young Men\’s Christian Association]; George H. Forbes, secretary Y.M.C.A.; Mills E. Pettibone, secretary Ministerial Alliance.
The name of Mrs. J.B. Dodd heads the list. (2)
That was front page news back in the day.
So there you have it. Californians thought the role of fathers was to spank their kids, while in Washington State the idea of a dad was a breadwinner and head of the household who was due respect without having to lash out at anybody.
The religious origins of Father’s Day are often forgotten. It seems that “Sundays” were “Sabbaths” to the people who invented the day, and many of the first signatories to the day were pretty high up in well known Christian organizations. Father’s Day could be called a Protestant holiday.
The next month, the State Governor
Marion E. Hay made Father’s Day a state holiday. Being on a Sunday, no one really got an extra day off, it was just a nice sentiment to keep the protesters quiet and get the press off his back. Did it work? And would the ploy of Father’s Day work for other politicians?
Well, Marion E. Hay not only instituted Father’s Day, he also brought some measure towards women’s suffrage and Workman’s compensation. So, he could be called a reformer of sorts. But he was never elected. He came in as lieutenant governor, and only took over when the acting governor died. And, Hay lost re-election. So, Father’s Day didn’t help his political career.
Well, eventually Father’s Day was brought into law by two “popular” Presidents, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Why isn’t it the first Sunday in June? Perhaps the separation by a week or two has something to do with the separation of church and state. Or, maybe the old Presidents were just a bit late in declaring the day.
Most countries don’t have an official Father’s Day. Catholics have their own Father’s Day tradition, going back to the feast of Saint Joseph on March 19th. Russians also have a kind of Father’s Day, going back to some communist patriotic thing. And a country here or there has its own tradition, going back to monarchy or whatever else.
But most nations of the world, including Britain and even many Catholic countries, follow the American Father’s Day. That’s when the greeting cards come out.
Anyway, in 1972 it was an official day in the USA, and that day is here to stay. Sure, it didn’t seem to help anyone’s career, other than the makers of greeting cards and ties. (That’s probably why other countries don’t declare it, just look at what it did for Johnson and Nixon.) But, some tacky greeting cards are actually funny, occasionally. So, just relax and enjoy. Happy Father’s Day from Chinny McGringo and the Ptara.
(1)”Herald Juniors demonstrate skill in rhyming contest.” Los Angeles Herald, junior section. (Los Angeles [Calif.]), 16 Oct. 1910. page 5.
(2)”Spokane People Want a “Father’s Day” Now.” The Spokane press. (Spokane, Wash.), 06 June 1910. page 1.
bookmark_borderTaft’s fight is your Fight!
(A Republican fight against free trade and an out of control financial industry)
Do you remember 1893-4 — the free soup houses, bank failures, thousands of men out of work and the bread line?
Do you remember at this time we had a democratic President, Grover Cleveland?
Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate and his free trade doctrine will bring this condition on again and it is your duty to see that he is not elected. Continue reading “Taft’s fight is your Fight!”
bookmark_borderWill history be kind to Bush (Jr)?
On CNN, Timothy Stanely compared Bush Junior to Harry Truman. Both Presidents left office with low approval ratings, both supposedly fought what seemed like unpopular wars (Truman in Korea, Bush in Iraq), yet both had “a gentle, honest personality that voters looked back on with fondness.”
Really? Gentle and honest? Really? Continue reading “Will history be kind to Bush (Jr)?”
bookmark_borderWhat if Taft had won in 1912?
I often wonder why the so-called tea party keeps talking about “the past 100 years.” Do they see Woodrow Wilson’s election as the beginning of the downfall of America? Or are they still talking about William Howard Taft’s election, four years earlier?
Whatever the case, 1912 was one of America’s most crucial elections. Had an ex-President not given a third party a fighting chance, history could have taken a very different turn. Continue reading “What if Taft had won in 1912?”
bookmark_borderDying for a cup of tea, the nightmare that became a reality
11 May, 1812. Scourrier House (near Redruth) Cornwall.
Mr Williams was in quite a state when he woke up his wife.
Though the Williamses lived over 250 miles from the Houses of Parliament, Mr. Williams had a vivid vision, it was as if he were in the lobby of House of Commons. In Mr. William’s dream, an angry man sat waiting in the lobby. Continue reading “Dying for a cup of tea, the nightmare that became a reality”
bookmark_borderTwo hundred years and 127,000 American Missionaries later
February 19th, 1812, a man named Adoniram Judson sailed from Salem harbor in Massachusetts to India, and eventually to Burma. This trip was once called “the most important event of the nineteenth century.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if you never heard of Ann and Adoniram Judson. I hadn’t either, until I looked at old lists of significant dates and events. Continue reading “Two hundred years and 127,000 American Missionaries later”
bookmark_borderMadison’s act of belevolence: the Venezuela Earthquake and 200 years of American foreign aid.
James Madison is often quoted as having been against hand-outs,
“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”*
Although these probably weren’t James Madison’s exact words, Congressman Madison probably said something similar.
Continue reading “Madison’s act of belevolence: the Venezuela Earthquake and 200 years of American foreign aid.”
bookmark_borderAustralia’s declaration of secularization
The old Christian calendar to disappear. — Men from Mars now from “fourth planet out.” — Language gets a new name. — Monarchy disestablished and replaced by national beer.
Australia’s ruling labour party has had it with religious influence. They have decided to secularize their country once and for all. Continue reading “Australia’s declaration of secularization”
bookmark_borderPolitics imitates art: When slapstick becomes government policy
Should I sue Prime Minister David Cameron for stealing my idea? It was meant to be a dumb idea, one so far-fetched that no “real-life” politician would imitate it.
Back in 1999, when I was a freshman (or fresher) at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, I came up with an epiphany. This time, for Filmmaking 101 (or introduction to filmmaking, or whatever they called it), we’d have something everyone could be involved in. Continue reading “Politics imitates art: When slapstick becomes government policy”