Friday, November 19, 2010

Thomas Stevens Silk Ribbon Book Marker

Thomas Stevens was born near Coventry, England in 1828. In time Stevens became renown for his silk "pictures" which he wove into silk. Stevens created a specialized loom that allowed him to create these silk ribbon pictures. There are a number of wonderful designs that range from simple sayings to elaborate religious and political ribbons. These ribbons are also sometimes called "Stevengraph's" after their inventor. This quote is taken from Genesis and is simply and beautifully rendered. Thomas Stevens died in 1888 and his ribbons are highly sought by collectors. This one is for my friend Marilyn who is surviving cancer and who has taught me what real bravery is all about.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

El Camino Real

When you collect little pieces of old paper you sometimes run into items that become problems. Either you cannot identify them or your identification cannot be complete because of a lack of an outside verifying source. Such is the case with these "stamps." Here is what I can tell you about them.

In October of 1946 the Los Angeles City School District was the recipient of a gift from the Los Angeles Times newspaper. This gift was in the form of a book entitled "El Camino Real," and it was given to all 7th grade students in the Los Angeles City School District. This text was accompanied by a series of 65 color stamps that corresponded with the lesson being studied. When the lesson was completed the stamp would be placed in the appropriate place in the book.

Twenty -five thousand copies of the book and stamps were distributed in Los Angeles and San Diego county schools, and in 25 years of looking I have never seen this book. I have these stamps but they are not a complete set. The stamps have different historically significant events in California history. My inability to find this book is a particular irritant to me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Wabuska Mangler

I love history because it is so crazy. In 1888, a man named Samuel P. Davis was the editor/owner of a newspaper named the "Carson City Appeal." Apparently the danger and uncertainty of being a frontier newspaper owner was not enough of a thrill for Mr Davis so he decided to ratchet up the craziness for maximum shock value. What was problematic was that being too crazy or shocking was to invite real trouble in those dangerous days of the wild west. Many a published slight, both real or imagined, were sometimes dispatched with guns and violence. A lot of frontier newspapermen found themselves on the wrong end of displeased readers.

Mr Davis, in an effort to insulate himself from some of the more outrageous claims and accusations he was making in print, decided to "invent" a newspaper that he could "quote" in print and thus absolve himself of any personal fault by blaming it on this phantom newspaper from the hinterlands. It was a great plan that worked all too well. The name of the paper Mr Davis "invented" was the "Wabuska Mangler." He placed this fictitious newspaper in Wabuska, Nevada and named a Mr EP Lovejoy of Wabuska as publisher of said paper.

Mr Davis reprinted items allegedly first published in the "Mangler" over in Wabuska by Mr Lovejoy. It seems that Mr Davis was using these "reprints" from the "Mangler" to get a lot of slanderous, threatening, and libelous material into the "Appeal." Old SP even went as far as lamenting the existence of the "Mangler" as "a disgrace to journalism." All of this for a newspaper that did not exist anywhere except in the head of SP Davis. This joke newspaper continued to be quoted by Davis until 1891 when all mention of the "Mangler" and its' contents ceased. Davis cited a story that said that the publisher of the "Mangler" had "gone East in a hurry." The implication being that the publisher of the inflammatory "Mangler" skipped town after being involved in some untoward shenanigans.

What is amazing is that while the "Wabuska Mangler" was a complete and utter fiction, EP Lovejoy the person, was definitely real. Not only was Mr Lovejoy a very live and real person he was a person of some renown in Wabuska having been named the railroad agent there in 1881. Mr Lovejoy ran a hotel, bar and small ranch on some land he owned in Wabuska. Mr Lovejoy had come from California where he was a judge, lawyer, and ran a newspaper in Trinity County. Edward Payson Lovejoy died in 1891 and Davis stopped thinking the fake newspaper was a funny joke. EP Lovejoy may not have actually run a newspaper while in Nevada but he was still a pure journalistic touchstone.

While Edward Payson Lovejoy was definitely a journalist he was almost as famous for being the son of possibly the first journalist martyr in the USA. Elijah Parrish Lovejoy was the father of EP Lovejoy of Wabuska, and he was also murdered in Alton, Illinois while trying to defend his printing press from pro-slavery raiders who were angered at his measured treatment of abolitionist viewpoints. Elijah Lovejoy was shot and his printing press was thrown into the Mississippi River in 1837.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day, 11 January, 1985

On 11 January 1985, three soldiers of Charlie Battery, 3rd 84th FA(Pershing) were killed in an accident involving a Pershing II Missile stage. SSGT John Leach, SGT Todd A. Zephier, and PFC Darryl L. Shirley, lost their lives on that cold mountainside that morning. I was in Headquarters Company of the 3/84th, and was on a special duty assignment about 15 miles from "Redleg" where the accident occurred that day. I think about those guys all the time, but especially on Veterans Day.

The deployment of the Pershing II Missile in West Germany in the 1980's got everyone riled up, and also got a lot of people interested in seeking new ways to co-exist, without the threat of nuclear bombs as a deterrent. The 56th FA Brigade does not exist anymore. The "START" treaties, and our agreements under those treaties, vastly reduced the number of nuclear weapons we keep and called for their complete removal from Germany. Because of this the 56th was "discontinued."

The Pershing Cable

Key Chain, 3rd BN, 84th FA, 56th FA Brigade

Back of Keychain, Recovered at "Fort Redleg," 17 January 1985
I learned a lot of things at the 3/84th and most of them changed me in ways I still have not grasped. I miss those guys I served with but I never want to see them again because I don't want to think about my friends dead on the ground, incinerated for nothing, their lives gone so we could be the "tip of the spear." We lived in Hitler's old horse stables, and no one wanted us there, but we hung in there and survived that hell. To all vets, their families, and all my friends in and out of the service, take care and remember, always remember.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can You Imagine???

J Krishnamurti, 1928
J. Krishnamurti lived from 1895 until 1986. He rejected being designated "World Teacher" and spent his life seeking the truth and challenging people to seek their own truths.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What a Woman Of Forty-Five Ought To Know

In 1902, according to a renown woman doctor, this is what a woman of forty-five ought to know. I personally stopped at the bottom of page 23, which I have displayed. Dr Drake, who is pictured, was 53 at the time this book was published in 1902.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Not A New Idea Apparently

Now that the election is over and life has continued on, even without legal marijuana in California, I offer this political cartoon that ran in the San Francisco Bulletin on September 21, 1902. This guy could probably have been elected president, as long as he did not inhale.

This gentleman has been caught giving a false name to the judge, and is explaining why he did so. His response is classic California all the way, and was actually uttered by Earl Warren himself, when he became the first person elected Governor of California for a third time. The only other person thrice elected? Why Governor-elect Jerry Brown of course!!!