A Different State of the Union

Don’t want to wait for the State of the Union speech tonight? Want to get to the drinking earlier than 9pm Eastern? Well, I can help.

A couple of years back, Stan Ridgway, the lead singer for the 1980s band Wall of Voodoo (“Mexican Radio”) and his wife Pietra Wexstun put out an album called Barbeque Babylon, under their alternate band name: Drywall.

The CD has a hidden bonus track Stan composed, which is built from the 2003 SotU — with a little bit of a beat and just a few edits to make the meaning more clear. You can go to Stan’s Download page and grab it for free (look for the second entry on the page, “hidden bonus track # 16”) or you can just click here and listen for five minutes and get it all over with.

The Plantagenets

From City News Notes and Queries (Reprinted from the “Manchester City News”) (1885), my great-great-great-great grandfather may make an appearance.

The late Mr. Shirley was in the habit of saying that the descendents of the Plantagenets must now be look for among the humbler classes of Englishment named Plant; and the Times, in reviewing a book on geneaology some time ago, said that a turnpike collector of that name in Buckinghamshire had derived in lineal descent from the royal family in the Plantagenet lines. Some hundred and fifty years ago [c. 1735] there was a William Plant living at Winsford, in this county (Cheshire), who also claimed a royal ancestry. In 1829 his grandson, Uriah Plant, published a curious volume of “the principal events” in his own life; a book rarely met with in these days, for it was of no public interest, although noticeable as having been printed at Middlewich.

We can only be thankful Middlewich printed it.

Five years earlier there’s this from the Stockport Advertiser Notes and Queries (10 November 1883):

In an old document now before me, I see the name of William Plant, of Winsford, in Cheshire, who also claimed a royal ancestry; and he had a son, Samuel Plant, who lived a hundred years ago at a place called Lach-Dennis, near Northwich, but who afterwards removed to Wincham. His fifth son, Urian Plant, published in 1829 a curious volume of “The Principal Events” in his own life; a book rarely met with in these days, for it was of no public interest, although noticeable as having been printed at Middlewich.

By an odd coincidence, we stayed overnight in Stockport before flying out of Manchester airport last October. Either the same person was writing and recycling responses to inquiries or we’ve got a 120-year-old case of plagarism on our hands (the earlier Stockport response begins with the bit about “Mr. Shirley” verbatim).

At least someone found it useful. From Jonathan Rose’s The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (2001):

Uriah Plant (b. 1786), a wheelwright’s son, affirmed that “My uncertainty about the truth of religion not only increased my sense of its importance … but gave me a habit of thinking, a love of reading, and a desire after knowledge.” As an office boy and bookkeeper in Leicester he organized a discussion group devoted to religion and, over six years, spent “only” £21 10s. 9d. on books, mostly second-hand. He fearlessly read across the spectrum of theological opinion, including The Age of Reason, and opposed the suppression of antireligious literature. Later he joined the Wesleyan Methodists without completely accepting their dogma, noting that Wesley in “The Witness of the Spirit” was rather more liberal than some of his followers.

Senryū Three. Motto

Speaking of slogans…

“Don’t tread on me”

Is so much better than

“Do not sit on a thistle.”

Nor did it help when The Times of London cynically sponsored a British motto-writing contest for its readers.

The readers’ suggestions included “Dipso, Fatso, Bingo, Asbo, Tesco” (Asbo stands for “anti-social behavior order,” a law-enforcement tool, while Tesco is a ubiquitous supermarket chain); “Once Mighty Empire, Slightly Used”; “At Least We’re Not French”; and “We Apologize for the Inconvenience.” The winner, favored by 20.9 percent of the readers, was “No Motto Please, We’re British.”

In the House of Lords, there was a surreal debate on the nonmotto, even after Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, an official in the Ministry of Justice, said flatly that there were no plans to have one.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie then suggested that the British could use the Scottish motto “Nemo me impune lacessit,” which he translated from the Latin as “Do not sit on a thistle.” (Actually, it means “no one attacks me with impunity.”)

You Don’t Need a Slogan

From Curtis J. Austin’s highly-recommended (by me) Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party on the introduction of the phrase “black power”:

He [Martin Luther King, Jr.] told [Stokely] Carmichael, who became a national leader of the new movement, after the latter complained about being lambasted in the press over the phrase’s implications, that the difference in the mainstream treatment of him and the young firebrand was “simple.” Referring to the expression black power, King gently explained to Carmichael that, “Maybe I just don’t talk about it.” One-time King lieutenant Andrew Young explained that the reverend believed that “if you go around claiming power, the whole society turns on you and crushes you.” According to Young, King believed that had been the reason why Jews and Catholics, both powerful entities in American society, “denied” they had any real power. Young concluded of King that “it was not black power that he was against, it was the slogan Black Power, because he said, ‘If you really have power you don’t need a slogan.’

Senryū Two. Stay Demented

Music is often

Funnier than you think

The Doctor is in.

January 2008


Paideia event: Dr. Demento

Dr. Demento returns to Reed with lecture and music presentations:

January 25: Musical Comedy in the 21st Century
Funny music is flourishing under the radar, and Dr. Demento is not just talking about Weird Al. We listen to and watch some of the most hilarious and creative examples of recent years.

Fortunes From the Cookies

Cleaning off the desk and ran across these amongst the receipts.

You have a charming way with words and should write a book.

I don’t know about “charming”, but when did fortunes pick up this nagging tone? I know, I know, I need to get one of them done.

An admirer is concealing his affection for you.

Good. I hope it stays concealed. I mean, unless he’s got publishing connections….