Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Four Humors of the Middle Ages. There was nothing funny about them. Most importantly Black Humor.

Today when we think of the word humor, we think of mirth, comedy, and good sense of humor, But what does humor mean? There is nothing funny about the word. In fact in its original Latin it means moisture or dampness. If we go back to the early days of the Greeks there were ideas of health and of good fortune that would be formulated.  As time went on it would become part of Roman thought and medicine.. By the Dark Ages the ideas of the Humors were well worked out and in many texts are described as follows

The Red Humor of blood made flushed a person rosy, feverish, and sweaty.

The Yellow Humor of bile that jaundiced flesh a carrot orange.

The White Humor of mucus that started in the nose and lungs and was spit up coughing.

The Black Humor that formed deep within the body and showed the organs rotting away.

These were the colors of health in the Middle Ages. This was influenced by the Greeks in other ways. For the parts of the universe in the Greek ideal was built into fours


All of this in time would lead to modern medicine. But not till much of this had run its course.

So if we say about someone having a "good sense of humor" there is much more to that statement than meets the eye. If we said that in the middle ages it would met with happy sighs of relief.

In this age of much changed wordage. We associate humor with laughter. Now if we think of it, it might have its roots in the happiness that one would have if they had a good sense of humor.  We do not use red, yellow or white humor at all in our lexicon today. But Black Humor still has a powerful impact.

I looked it up and found this .......

black humor

a form of humor that regards human suffering as absurd rather than pitiable, or that considers human existence as ironic andpointless but somehow comic.

So while not dealing with rotting organs it deals with human suffering in other ways and the next time someone says you have a great sense of humor...say thank you...and sigh in relief.

The great comedians ....what an empty world it is with out them.

Today we have comedians and it is a rather pathetic lot. Sadly not funny, lacking talent, finding that saying F#ck is funny, and using anything to hide their lack of talent. It is sad and I feel for the younger people who will never enjoy good comedy.

 I have seen how bad it can be.

 I cry for today's world who will never get to laugh at great humor and balls to the wall humor. Not afraid of being politically correct, cause is that not what humor is all about? Touching areas that we cannot, but with clever and talented comedy.

 If you cannot laugh at yourself or anyone else why live?

  One can only think of the genius of Charlie Chaplin. Writer, performer, producer, director, composer, actor, designer, and lastly innovator. Think of Stan Laurel, who was a dancer, writer, actor, comedian, and dean to many who wished to learn the craft. Dick Van Dyke did the eulogy for Laurel, and said that the creator gave clowns long life, and made the people laugh. He was gentleman above it all. Oliver Hardy known as Babe to his friend was above all a great man and comedian.

Jack Benny was a idol to this writer, I lived and breathed Jack Benny. I learned through him and watching him about comedy. Hell, no one could walk like Benny.  I can see it when it is good and know right away when it is bad. George Burns made me laugh to tears so often.  Burns and Benny are burned into my memory as a kid. I guess I was spoiled to have such talent around.

 On TV today we have god knows what who call themselves comedians.  We are sadly without those greats today and what an empty vacuum it is.  These were the ones who could make you laugh or cry. The truth is that most comedians had a very hard life. They came from abuse and hardship. Through that pain they found their humor.

I just listened to Charlie Chaplin's song  "Smile"   I cried like a baby, I am sure so many people do when they hear it. It is the song of the comedian..That through it all you make the people laugh, even if your world is crashing down around you.

It would be something for most modern comedians to even try..Cause I am sorry to say most of them could not fill the boots of the greats that preceded them. I am always cheered to see people like Pat Cooper or Don Rickles who still do humor and are not scared to offend or to be not in popular culture. I wanted to share that song with it shows the true heart of a comedian. Who is always a little sad and has pain. That pain becomes the humor and joy that millions cherish.   Smile...

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky

You'll get by if you smile
With your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by

If you smile
Through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That is the true heart of a comedian....I remember watching Chaplin get a special Oscar in 1972...There was not a dry eye anywhere as Smile played to the house and to the world.

I wish today's world could be privileged to enjoy just a little of what I did.

Friday, July 27, 2012

John Phillip Sousa and his Band. You often hear recordings of his band, but who was conducting it?

John Phillip Sousa and his Band. It was world famous and of course seen in many parts of the world. Starting in the 1890's the band was recorded by every major recording company. Sousa made a great deal of money from his recordings. Too bad he was not there to make them.

 There seemed to have been a love hate relationship between Sousa and recording. Sousa would always have his Concert Master conduct at recordings. He was never there!  He would write articles on "Canned Music" as he liked to call records. He was not at all favorable to recording.  Funny he would complain about it and then of course get the money from the recordings.  He was also notoriously cheap and lost a lot of talent due it. Perhaps his greatest loss was Arthur Pryor.

 Pryor was his concert master for several years and conducted a great deal of Sousa's early recordings. Till Pryor was frustrated by Sousa's cheapness and soon formed his own group called the Arthur Pryor's band. This would rival Sousa's and be as successful as Sousa's. In fact Pryor would make as many recordings as Sousa... or should I say who ever was conducting Sousa that is.

In the period of WWI, Jazz made it first appearance. Sousa had nothing good to say about it. In fact he and his friend Thomas Edison would get together and look in disgust at Jazz. He felt that the saxophone was not made for jazz. It was very suggestive and made a mockery of good music.
It is really quite interesting to see how little Sousa was interested in music outside his sphere and of course it got more severe as he grew older. From the 1890's to around 1925 Sousa never conducted his recordings.  It was not till the last years of his life that there were actually recordings made of him conducting.
Of course the Band would play just as it would for the record as it would for Sousa, but I have always found it odd that the man for whom the band was named was never there.  I guess he could never allow himself to be a "Canned Conductor" to his "Canned Music".  

So the next time you hear a recording of Sousa's Band, remember that Sousa wasn't there. Just on the sidelines waiting for the cash.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

President William McKinley's last speech in Buffalo, New York. But sadly there exists no recordings of his voice. What you hear on the internet and youtube are studio recordings by performers. Therefore they are fake.

There is film of McKinley's last speech made at the Buffalo World's Fair in Sept of 1901. There is sadly, no recordings of it. I have seen in many films in which they say  the recording is McKinley's voice, but I am not at all in agreement. I hear the voices of Harry and Len Spencer, William Hooley, and Arthur Collins.  There is a recording playing on the internet that says it is a campaign recording by McKinley. I dare say not.

First the recording of cheers would have been next to impossible, secondly and more important the man speaking has no regional accent.  McKinley was from Ohio and was known for a bit of a Ohio styled accent. His wife always called him the "May-jah"  That is for Major. Listen to any person from that area before the effects of TV and cable and you hear what I mean by regional accents.  Just listen to a recording of Warren G Harding, or William Howard Taft  who were from Ohio as well and have that regional dialect.

As far as I can tell there are no existent recordings of McKinley's voice and there is little info that he made any recordings either.

McKinley's last speech is on record. It was performed by Len and Harry Spencer. As well as William Hooley.  I have a copy of Len Spencer doing it in 1902.

The recording that is on youtube a lot of McKinley's campaign speech sounds very much like Arthur Collins.  It is not McKinley!  Any recording on youtube of McKinley is fake.

Also the campaign recording for Grover Cleveland  on youtube is not Cleveland either. It sounds like one of the Spencer brothers. It is not Grover Cleveland!  Any recording of Cleveland on youtube is fake.
The earliest recording of a President was a Bettini cylinder of  former President Benj. Harrison in 1901.  The rest are fakes.

So there is film of McKinley, but nothing recorded of what his voice was like.   What a loss.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In fairness to the Victrola XII An odd 1914 one!

The Victrola XII was the first table model Victrola. It was introduced in 1909 and had rather sluggish sales till it was discontinued in 1910. I know for myself I was harsh on the VVXII five years ago when I wrote a article on this blog called the Victrola XII the Edsel of the Victor Company.  There are parts of that comment five years ago that makes sense and of course parts that do not. This machine was announced and was thought of as the Victor Junior, at least at the company they referred to it that way. There were great plans for this new machine. However it had issues. Perhaps the greatest was its cost. Remember in 1909 the average salary was around five to six dollars a week. Now of course this machine was not made for the common man. It was made for the rich. Who else could afford $125.00 for a small tabletop Victrola.  It was beautifully appointed with mahogany veneer and in a very few cases oak. It was the perfect Victrola for your yacht or summer home.  It had a 3 spring motor and had all of the above the motor board hardware gold plated. The internal horn was cast iron which ended with a square wooden horn with sound enhancing slates. It was Victor's idea to help with the sound. It also had a heavy iron turntable that was 12 inches in width.

 While this may have been somewhat luxurious a machine there was a great deal of concern about the size of the horn in front. It was quite small, not very small, but it was the smallest horn ever put into a non-portable Victrola ever.  I have found that the sound is not as bad as I wrote five years ago. I have a VV XII and it plays rather nicely and I really have little to complain about when it comes to sound or volume.

In January of 1910 they added some carving on the machine to perhaps take away from the size of the horn. The machine was cancelled later that year and the sales were rather dismal ...around 4900 sold.

I aquired a VV XII that had issues

1. It did not work
2. Was told its crank was broken
3. Lastly was told it needed tender loving care.

When I got it I saw that they were right, it needed work. I found the trouble with the crank was a little bit of the tip of the male crankshaft had lodged itself into female crank. I took it to a machine shop and they pulled it out in 2 minutes. Then I found the spring was fine and it just needed some good cleaning, polishing, greasing and oiling.
 I rebuilt the reproducer and while working on the motor and oiling it I noticed some thing.  Firstly, the turntable was made of steel. It was a yielding turntable welded to work with the machine and obviously original. I found that odd, as VV XII's should always have an iron yielding turntable.  While pulling out the motor board on this machine as the layout of the motor of VV XII is different than any other Victrola ever made. I noticed it was stamped on the motor board  with the date of  May 12, 1914. I found this odd indeed.

In studying Robert Baumbach's data book on Victrolas  I find that there were  47 VV XII's made in 1911, five in 1912, one in 1915 and four VV XII's put together in 1916!  I do not know if either of these exist, but it would interesting to compare them with this 1914 VV XII. There is no listing for a machine that year but it is clearly stamped with that date and the stain was removed to make sure the date could be prominently seen.  Now at least there is one from 1914.

I have restored the machine and love it and as I have said I find it sounds not that bad at all.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What was so wonderful about Dame Nellie Melba? What can we hear today?

There have been few in operatic history that have had the following and career that was Nellie Melba's. She was the reigning queen of Covent Garden for a quarter of a century. She made sure there were no greater singers doing her roles. When she saw that Tetrazzini sang at Covent Garden she made sure she would never be there again as long as Melba was. She started making recordings in 1904 and in those you get a sense of her voice perhaps more than any of the other recordings I hear of her. I guess my point is that I feel nothing when she sings. I listen to her and I say "nice"  but nothing that makes me say "My god!"

 Was it that way in life? Was she a cold fish?  Was she lacking when it came to emotion? I have listened to the recording she made with Enrico Caruso (their only recording together) and it is dull and lifeless. I listen to the same duet with Caruso and Geraldine Farrar and it is exciting and full of life. So was she the cold fish that many say she was? I listened to one of her recordings this evening and I found it lacking and she was even a bit flat at the end.

For me I have come to the understanding that what she was, has not at all made itself apparent on her recordings.

The early recording system was not kind to sopranos mostly. A few such as Tetrazzini seems to be alive as her records play on a Victrola. Melba sounds like a hollow tone through a log. Lacking life and excitement.

For tone I can blame the recording method, but as to any kind of emotion or feeling on her records I can in fancy chill my ice cubes to her performance. Emma Eames, who was know to be cold on stage sounds even warmer than Melba.

All of this being said there had to be some thing amazing about her. Perhaps it was just her voice that did not record well or she lost the excitement of performance without an audience in the recording studio. Maybe she didn't care too much?  Perhaps the Melba on stage was not at all like the Melba in the recording studio. All I can say is you cannot have a career that was called one of the greatest and have records that are rather lackluster at best.................What ever she had, it died with her.

The sad story of the USS United States....From queen to derelict.

The USS United States was a special ship no one doubts. She was the fastest, the safest, the most modern speed queen on the north Atlantic. She was designed by Francis Gibbs who had been planning her for many years. She was to be quite unique.

She was to be over powered, just in case of a national emergency. She could be transformed into a troop transport and carry 10.000 soldiers at a hefty 35 knots.She could go faster if need be and she even was able to do 20 knots in reverse! This was a very powerful ship.  She was designed to capture once and for all the Blue Ribbon for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. This she did with ease. Gibbs was terrified of fire on a ship and she was designed with no wood on the vessel. In fact the butchers block in the kitchen was one one of the few pieces and Gibbs when ever on board carried a little piece of wood in his pocket.

Gibbs had a great deal of experience in shipping. He was involved in the restoration of the USS Leviathan during WWI and it conversion to a peacetime liner after the war. In WW2 he was designing a lot of destroyers and military boats. I interviewed years ago one of his assistants, Warren Boin.   I remember Boin would be in charge of taking each new ship out for a test drive so to speak for Gibbs. So Gibbs was able to learn, invent and improve the abilities of ships during this time.

When it was time to build the United States it was special project that was shared by several, including the US Government.  When she sailed on her maiden voyage in 1952 Margaret Truman was on board to help sound the ships horn when the record had been broken for the trans-Atlantic crossing.

She had defeated the old speed queen  of the Atlantic, the Queen Mary. The Mary was sixteen years old by then, but what was more that her design was from the mid 1920's and she was not much more up to date than the Mauritania or the Majestic that she replaced in 1936.

The United States was a whole new breed and behaved as such.

She was a ship born in the cold war and designed to survive it. However , what the world did not see right away was something else that would in time render all of these ocean going ships to become as antiquated as typewriters. This was the commercial airliner.  By 1957 as many people who took ships to Europe was equaled by people who took airliners. It just went down hill from there and quickly.  The late Victorian early Edwardian age is when the super liner first made its appearance. What is considered the first modern speed queen was the Lusitania. It was the Lusitania that would be the first to cross the Atlantic in less that 5 days. All the ships that followed were her descendants, including the United States.

By the 1960's a nearly 5 day trip to Europe was being matched by a 6 hour flight. The answer of who would do what was obvious. In the 1960's the ocean ferries were being withdrawn and in many cases scraped as they had become white elephants in a modern age.  By 1967 there were just a few ocean liners going to Europe. In 1967 the Queen Mary was removed from service as she was losing too much money and the staff was out numbering the paying passengers. It was the same for the Queen Elizabeth in 1968. The United States was running at a severe deficit and was just to expensive to run. In 1969 she was with drawn from service. She had been sailing only 17 years. She sat and rusted in Virginia for a long while and then was taken to areas near Turkey where she rusted some more. Finally in the late 1980's she came back to the USA under tow. She was stripped of all of her furnishings that were left. That Warren Boin I mentioned earlier had a number of items from the ship that he got in auction.

She finally came to Philadelphia where she has been rusting away at her pier for the last two decades. I was involved in cleaning up the battleship USS New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey. As we worked on the ship you could see the hulk of the United States sitting there.

Now she is in terrible condition and if she is to be saved it had better be soon as she cannot afford to wait much longer.

What will be the future of the USS United States? I cannot say, but things are stating to look dark for its future. The great queen of the seas has become a begging derelict in a supplied port. In an age of budget crisis and economic woes, the preservation of a ship may cause some eyebrows to be raised. For the country she represents is in some ways equality in need of repair.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The first type of disc record with a label 1900

Before the Consolidated Gram-O-Phone record came on the scene the only disc records available had etched labels. This label which arrived on the scene in 1900. The records were manufactured by Eldridge Reeves Johnson in Camden, New Jersey. Even though the address of the company says Philadelphia. These are the first and some of the most rare of the pre dog Victors as we like to call them. Within two years of this  first recording, the Victor Talking Machine Company will be producing records with a logo that at one time was the most famous in the world. A picture of a little terrier looking into a Berliner Gramophone. But this is where the Victor company starts...Making several thousands of these little seven inch records. When it was still fashionable to use the term gramophone in the United States.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A great baseball joke from the days of Vaudeville

There is an old joke that goes back years ago and probably has its roots in Vaudeville

Man 1.   I have good news and bad news.

Man 2.  Oh, what is the good news?

Man 1.  I have been told that they play baseball in Heaven

Man 2.  Oh that is great. What is the bad news?

Man 1.  You are Pitching next Thursday.

Zon-O-Phone records. Stamper information seems a little hard to find. But here is one thing that may help.

Although not the best picture, you can see where the stamper letter is on the rim of the record.

In 1904 through the G&T company, the Victor Talking Machine Company would get a low cost brand of record called the Zon-O-Phone record.  It was made from masters made in New York City and the records were stamped in Newark, New Jersey.  These stampings were done at the Duranoid Company which was at 28 Prospect Street in Newark.  The company would soon move to 213-221 Chestnut Street in Newark. By the way some of the original buildings are still there.

But this is where the stamping and production of all the Zon-O-Phone records would take place between late 1904 to early 1905 till around 1910. This company would also at times makes Victor Records, specially when there were some very big sellers.

The Victor Company had a set policy for their stampers and how they would be marked.
It was a alphabetical and numerical system.  Let me explain

The first stamper from from the mother would be marked  A .  When that stamper wore out after making a 150 to 300 copies the next stamper would be used. This one would be called B.  This went right through to Z.  Then they would start all over again 1A, 1B, etc...  It is not unusual to see some popular Victor records with 27 W next to the serial number of the record on the wax.  This was a good system and it was quite understandable.

Then Zon-O-Phone was started and controlled from a distance by the Victor Company, there was a rather messy attempt to do the same for the cheaper label. However, I have been going through about 150 Zon-O-Phone records from 1904 to 1910. It is a very haphazard system. I saw that many of the earliest pressings from 1904 have no stamper info at all. Some others from 1904 have the stamper info right where it is on Victor records. But by what I can see by around 1905 is that all stamper info has been moved from the inside area by the serial number and moved to the outside rim of the record! This becomes a standard practice by 1905. I have seen markings that go from A to I and as of yet not any higher. But what I am wondering is, if this was the markings of the stampers, there were a lot of records that were not selling well.

If we can guess in the best conditions around 300 records could be pressed with a stamper, perhaps a little more. If the record shows a C stamper that means that there were about 1000 records made of that record. At least at the time of this records stamping.  What I was looking for was the signs of a 12 W or anything like that. I did find a few crudely scratched numbers written on to the wax. I would see 6 and then a stamped C. The highest number I could find was an 8 B.  This was found on only two records. That is all I could find on a 150 or so Zon-O-Phone records.    So my guess is while they were stamped and produced by the Duranoid Company there was not a great deal of control or concern to mark the records by stampers in a very organized fashion. So I am guessing that many of the records that have a rim stamper mark of C, could easily have been preceeded by a 2 or 3. If not Zon-O-Phone was not making or selling many records.

In 1910 the company was brought down to Camden and all of the records were marked like Victor records. But the early years from 1904 to 1910 leave quite a few mysteries.

Monday, July 16, 2012

JFK and Conspiracy. I have always been against it, but now I am starting to wonder.

I have been a very strong supporter of the single gunman theory.  I have written on it here, I was able to interview President Gerald Ford. All of these things made me think I knew. But, I am not sure now. Next year it will be 50 years since the assassination.

 All the major players are dead. Now it is time to really dig into this. I am for exhuming the body and settling this once and for all. Of course there will not be a lot left, but what is needed is the bones and most of them are still existent I am sure, along with some tissue.

 I know this is not a pretty topic but if it is never dealt with it was fester and grow with each succeeding year. So study the body and learn and prove one way or the other what is what. That is my feelings on the topic, from one who always thought it was a open and shut case.

If there is no examination of the body there can be no ending of this case....Sadly I am sure it will never happen, but I feel it should be done to answer a question from the people of this country. These are the people in charge, answer their question America!

Christopher Hitchens. (1949 - 2011) A personal hero to me and a fighter against the cruel and sadomasochistic nature of religion.

I have always been an ardent fan of Hitchens. His logic, common sense, and sheer strength of mind was always and continues after his death to be a source of comfort.  His attacks on the evils of religion were always done with facts, common sense, and a touch of good humor.

 I found I liked him more than Richard Dawkins, who is of a similar ilk. This is not saying I do not like Dawkings, which I do. But I found that while Hitchens was more of a street brawler, Dawkins is more of the quiet and somewhat condescending type to those he opposes rather than fight with them. Hitchens I found always ready to fight on and take on the nonsense that was condemning him. very different types of people.

He wanted to fight against all things he saw a tyranny, be it political or religious. In doing so he gained a liking by those who wished to think and not just follow.  That is so important!  Free thinking is such an important thing. Sadly in these United States were are dealing with about a 65% religious base that does not want to really think at all. They want to be told what to think and do, even if they do not think they are. They are really living their lives to please God, who ever she is. If God exists she is a woman, not a man.

 As for Hitchens he lived far too short a time. Sixty two years is not too long. I know, I can see it coming up on the horizon myself very soon. But what is most important about him was the fact that he made the most of those years and influenced many, including this writer.

Thank you for all of your good work Mr. Hitchens.  Freeing and fighting with us. To protect all  from the horrors of religion and its cruel and sadomasochistic doctrines.

One more time, Thank you sir!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Collecting Records ...The early days of collecting recordings before anyone know too much of anything. How the hobby has changed.

I acquired my first old record in 1969. It came my way in school. It had been found in the waters of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale  Florida . It was a home made job from the 1940's of a rather bad barbershop quartet singing. I have a feeling that there was drinking involved in this recording. But I was delighted and hooked.

 I started in 1970 collecting records. Anything old I would take. I used to go to houses of older folks and ask if they had any old 78 records to get rid of. Amazingly I did find quite a few. Many were odd and unusual. Being that I did not know a lot yet I let many a treasure go away.

 Also I was totally confused as to the value and rarity of some of the records. In 1971 I traded a Philco cathedral radio for a Caruso record!

I was sure I did better in the deal...I had a lot to learn.

I was living in New Jersey by 1971 and before long I had a rare collection of Kate Smith records. Well I thought they were rare.

I found my first old phonograph in 1971. It was a Victor Victrola VI. It was not working had problems and I mowed a lawn to get it.  Since I had no idea what I was doing I broke the much of the original mechanism. Well by doing so I learned. I would in time fix it all with of all things Crazy Glue!  But this was my starting machine and I was very proud of it.  I signed the inside and put a 1972 penny inside to mark this very historic machine.  I was using sewing needles to play records..This was not the most successful way to play them.

So in my naive sense I called RCA Victor. It was still their logo on the side of the Victrola. It was a million to one chance that the person who answered the phone at RCA was a record collector named Don Donahue. I asked if they made needles for their Victor machines and he answered "Of course we do"  That evening I was to receive a pack of needles, as I walked to the RCA company in Rockaway, New Jersey.    I was soon to get mono and was sick beyond belief. One day while I was in and out of a very restless sleep there was a man at the foot of my bed with a big box. This was Don, and he brought me a get well present. A box of old records!

Once I was strong enough to, I went through that box and was amazed at all the treasures it contained. I would spend my evenings just playing some of these records ( I still have a few of them these 40 years later)

It was at this time I would discover Henry Burr, Billy Murray, Ada Jones, The Peerless, American, and Hayden Quartets and many more. I would in 1974 go and by chance walk into a store that would change my life. It was called the Player Piano Headquarters of Boonton, New Jersey. I was there with a friend and heard a piano playing one of the songs I had on my old records called Old pal why don't you answer me?

I walked in and said to the young fellow playing or I should say pumping the old piano, " I have a recording of Henry Burr singing that"..... Suddenly I heard a voice in the back louder than I could imagine say "Henry Burr!" Out came Ted Spangenberg the restorer of the pianos. He was about six feet tall, wearing a white tee shirt, bright green shorts, orange socks, and a smile. He grabbed me and took to the back of the shop and loaded me up in about 40 seconds with about 30 records of Henry Burr.  After getting over my shock of the records, his outfit, and this unique experience I found my home and people who loved what I did.

922 Main Street became my home away from home as Ted would restore phonographs, teach me about reproducers, and introduce me to many who were 15 to 90 in the field.  Saturdays would be the day we would all get together at Ted's place.  Through this association I would meet people who had worked for the Victor Company, recording artists, and some really fascinating collectors.

When I graduated from High School, Ted who always drove a limo, even though he was in the front made sure I arrived in style. Afterwards He would bring me a Victor Victrola as a present.   It was at this time I said goodbye to that first machine I had and had learned from. I sold it for $25.00 in 1976. What was amazing was I would get it back through another person who had it in 1992. I would get rid of it again in 1993 and it has not returned yet.  But who knows?

By 1980 I was well on my way to collecting a vast amount of early discs. It was good to start then as many of those records I found at this time you cannot find at all easy today. By 1982 I had a nice collection of Zonophones, Pre Dog Victors, Columbias and Climax records. I also had a good grouping of Edison records. Although I was never as fascinated by the Edison's as much as the early pre 1905 discs.

So now I have been at this for well over 40 years and I am not looking much for records, although I would be delighted to find some early ones, which happens now and then. But my collection is basically disc records from the 1895 to 1910 period. I find this period the most fun and also just about anything would be put on record.. So there is a lot of fun to many of these early records and their amateurish nature has a sense of fun in it. As we worked into the 20th century the fun went out of the recording and it became a serious business.

Now after all of this time and talking to so many people I have learned so much and know the histories of these recordings and artists. No longer do I have my Kate Smith records...

Although I am willing to trade a Caruso record for a Philco Cathedral radio!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

George Washington praying at Valley Forge 1777. One of the most outlandish lies in American history !!

The scene is so familiar to us. Washington kneels in the snow outside of his quarters at Valley Forge.  There he prays for his country, his men, and the war. Lovely!

This story and picture is so well known that it is part of our history. Of course it is true we are told.

We know it is true, because the same man who told us about Washington's attack on the Cherry tree, told us this story!  So we know it is true!  WINK!!!

Lets be honest the Cherry tree story is the second biggest out and out lie about Washington. It is only beaten out by this one!
Parson Weems who wrote the biography of Washington, did not know too much about Washington's early life. Therefore, he added a little drama here and there.  In simple terms he just made up stories that would make Washington look good to the common man of the time.
It did not matter if they were true, it was to show his greatness. Washington did not do this at Valley Forge any more than he attacked the cherry tree.

In this case he used a local Quaker named Potts who saw the entire event. Research proves that Potts was not even there at the time. Oh well...

 It is a lie that has been told so long we think it is true.  No one believes the cherry tree story, but here we have people saying  it is true...It has been painted time and time and time again!  Why not do some more pictures of the Cherry Tree incident!

Well, it is not true as said before..  There is so much misinformation on Washington. He was a great man and did not need this nonsense added to his life to make him greater. Washington was a deist and a dandy. It was not his style. Last thing he was going to do is pray in the snow!

Why would he have to pray in the snow when he could do it right inside where it is warmer. Remember Washington always had a nice place to stay while the general army froze pretty much in the cold weather.

Weems turned Washington into something he never was. The sad part was that Weems next project, was to do a biography on Napoleon, of whom he knew less about than Washington.

American history is sadly 70% fact and 30% good for growing tomatoes!   Let us pray!

Abraham Lincoln and the Fall Line.

The term "Fall Line" is not heard much today. It was a term used much more in the 18th and 19th century. It was basically where the water collected inland would fall back at its greatest power in its return to the sea. It lead to several areas getting names that matched its importance. One place that comes to mind was Fall River, Massachusetts. This was an area that had a great deal of industry as the water was very strong here and the factories could take advantage of the water power.

 Remember in the mid 19th century  water was still the most used method of power for factories. In these places they would build massive water wheels to make the most of the waters power.The Fall line ran close to the coast of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey. This would be the areas of the greatest manufacturing in the United States. It would be one of the reasons why the north was always the industrial part of the nation. The Fall Line allowed materials to be made and since they were close to the coast, shipped to where ever needed. It was one of the greatest weapons of the north.

In Lincoln's own words he knew how important the Fall Line was. Saying that it was only a matter of arithmetic that the north would win the war due to the great industry provided by the Fall Line.

Often in the talk of the Civil War we mention many things, but we so often forget that item that was always in  the back of Lincoln's mind...The Fall Line.   He knew that it would help to win the war and it did!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How fast time flies. How the world has changed in just my lifetime. 1957 onward so far :)

I have not been on this earth too long, some may say I have. But I am amazed at times to think how much this world has changed. How our feelings and attitudes have changed and how much of what is around now has changed. It is frightening that the world is nothing like it was just 55 years ago. In reality that is not too long ago at all.

All you have to do to start this off is look at a penny. In 1957 the Lincoln penny had wheat ears on its back.
A half dollar was a Franklin
And silver dollars were all over.
There were silver certificates and all silver coins were...silver.

There were 48 states in the USA
There was terrible racism
The USSR was our enemy to east and everyone was afraid of them
In 1957 for the first time in history more people flew in planes across the ocean, than in ocean liners
The first satellite was put into space on Oct 4 by the USSR.
Eisenhower was president
There were 96 members of the US Senate
It was the tail end of the war of the record speeds
The first super highways were being built
Cars had fins
The greatest passenger planes around were the Lockheed Constellation and the DC 7.
News programs on TV were 15 minutes
Just about everything was broadcast on TV in black and white
Candy bars were 6 cents
Hamburgers at McDonald's were 15 cents
If you had two dollars in a toy store you could buy a lot.
All cheap crap that was sold in stores came from Japan
Gas was 20 cents a gallon
A long distance call was amazing
Everyone was in awe of technology
Color film and TV were just things few people had
 Wars had just been fought in Korea and China. We were always told to clean our plates for children were starving there. These were mysterious places in the east. I never quite understood that. As Allen Sherman once quipped "They starved and I got fat"
There were no sear belts
If you went out for dinner you dressed up
If you traveled in a plane you dressed up
Teachers were always right
Wagons were always such fun and you could roll down hills in them
Taking baseball cards and close-pinning them to the spokes on your bicycle wheels would make your bike sound like a motorcycle. That was always very neat and soon to be groovy
A cars dashboard was made of metal ..if you hit it you were a mess.
No one thought of trouble if you went out at night
Trick or treating was fine and kids when out alone
1957 was the first year of the new world order. It was the year we first went to space and when we first had fears of what could happen to us from space.
Starting that year space became a big thing and no kid was without dreams of going into space  In those days being on line was being at a check out lane at a super market...What fun we had.
TV dinners were an exciting adventure

There was no mass media, we read, we talked, we drank out of garden hoses, we played ..I kind of feel sorry for kids today...I am glad I was born when I was.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A chance encounter in Benardsville New Jersey with Millicent Fenwick in 1987

I was short on Pipe Tobacco (back when I used to smoke a pipe) and was driving home. I was living at the time in Bernardsville, NJ and I came to my usual store which was a Kings market. It was a rather upscale super market, but Bernardsville was a very affluent community so it was well placed. I was renting a small place in town...Not too affluent but nice. It was a lovely town.

 I picked up a few items and got on line to buy some pipe tobacco. Who would be in front of me buying some for herself ? None other than Millicent Fenwick. I always liked her and found her rather saucy ways fun and better the average none entity who usually assumes office. She also had which i did not know at the time a Lusitania connection. Her mother was lost on the Lusitania when it was torpedoed on may 7, 1915.

I said to her as she finished her transaction "It is pleasure to to meet you. I see you are getting some tobacco, I am too ." "Well that is lovely, you can always trust a pipe smoker" she responded to me as we shook hands ..So after a few more pleasantries she was on her way and I was on mine.  Just fun to meet her, even if a short time. But it was shared in the love of pipe tobacco. She was fun!

One small postscript was that the cartoon of  Lacey Davenport in the Doonesbury cartoons has been attributed to her. However the creator of the strip says no. Perhaps with a wink.....Oh well who knows?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

30 years of the Personal Computer 1982 - 2012

I remember when they came out...It was a big thing. I had worked in a company that made payroll checks and there was a fellow there who was very much the computer geek. He wanted me to read a book in 1981 when I worked there, it was all about the personal computer and what it would do. Well I read it half - hearted and gave it back to him. It talked of a world in which the personal computer would have a major focus in a persons life. I thought that was nice but did not believe it,,,So much for being a visionary.

 We used a computer in that office. It was a monster with tape reels, lights, and a computer console to write commands.  It was at this time I learned all the light bulbs that went on and off in front of a computer did really nothing but convince the user the computer was doing something.

In 1982 the IBM company introduced the IBM XT and later the AT. They were so cool and did so much. Well at the time we thought so. I think the hard drive on the AT was 5 Megs. Everyone said why so big?

Well it was the beginning of a revolution . I had seen it from the beginning when you had computers that used cassette tapes and all other things that were around. I write this now on a device that is far removed from that AT..But is in its lineage.  30 years of the personal computer and it has come here and what will the next 30 years bring?

I can only dream......... But now I will believe it

John F. Kennedy and Mimi Alford. His sexual affair with an intern. She just wrote her tell all book called "once upon a secret"

JFK and sex...Well what is new about that?  It seems what ever was warm he was ready to jump on. He had sex with so many different people and acquired so many venereal diseases it is a wonder he was able to do what he needed too.
 We can see now he had unprotected sex as this (at the time) young lady talks about a possible pregnancy scare. He comes across in her a book as bit of sick predator, which indeed he was.

The files on JFK's sexual problems has been some how lost (surprising) But it is known that he required more and more Penicillin to deal with his reoccurring bouts of gonorrhea. But it was with this young lady and her book that he comes across as a kind of sad and pathetic sex maniac.

  Who does not know this already about Kennedy? It is kind of well known in most histories. Even his statement to Prime Minister Macmillan of England in which he said "I get a headache if I don't have strange piece of ass every few days"  I am paraphrasing.  But Mimi Alford, was outed..... So she spoke up and shared the info.

The TV show the VIEW panned it, but when has anything important ever been said on the VIEW. It was an an interesting book.But they were not happy to have the info come out.

Kennedy as you may know if you read this blog was always my hero. He still is, but he is more human now and bit more sick..But many people do sick perverse things and that is their fun.  I guess this was Kennedy's thing.. Sex with one person, groups, and who knows what else... i have heard several stories about Provence town, but I will not go there.  I know he liked to do it in the bathtub with M. Monroe. Easier on the bad back.  He had Fiddle and Faddle in the White House if he needed a quickie. The Secret Service would procure a few hookers when needed.

So ask not what you can do for your Country ..what can you do for your President?

Well he had his fun and she talked about ...Good for her!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

How CD recording changed the listening habits of people.

Now of course it has been 30 years since the CD was introduced ...Commercially I think it was introduced in 1985. To everyone who had listened to records who had a few years on them they would remember 78RPM records, 45 RPM records, 33 RPM records and to many young folks in the 50's and 60's 16 RPM records. This is what we had and what we listened too. It set up certain styles of listening and of care to the records. I can remember parties in the early 70's in which some folks had a large stereo with a changer. So you could play 6 or 7 LP records without worry.  That would pretty much last the whole party.  But when it came to 45's you needed  to change them often as they played for 3 minutes or so. Even if you had a 45 changer you could only play maybe 10 records. Be it 33, 45 or 78, one thing every one of those records had in common was the little reassuring crackle as the needle worked it way to the recorded grooves. It was something everyone had grown up with. It announced the music was about to start!

This is what brings me to this point. I recall the first party I was at in which I heard a CD recording. It was in November of 1986. I remember as my friends had just got married and I had sung at the wedding. It was a month after the wedding and one of their presents was a CD player. They were very expensive then.

There was a group of about 10 of us. So all of us were ready to hear a CD for the first time and were excited about it. So he turned it on and the music started and we all jumped!  There was no reassuring crackle to prepare for the music..The music just came with out a sound. I never jumped again with a CD as I knew how they worked after that...But the Cd brought about the end of that crackle that had been a part of our listening experience through our lives till then. The CD was the end of the disc record. You could play a CD record or groups of them just like LPs and they never wore out..Just were easily scratched.

Now the CD is becoming part of the past as we now download music in a way I do not understand.  But I am sure I will. And I have heard my fair share of downloaded music. But the new ideas of recording have left the crackle to older peoples memories and museum exhibits.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Memories of Christopher Street in New York in 1981

It is amazing that 31 years have passed since the time I am talking about. I remember the great wonder I felt when I first saw New York City in the later 1970's.  I was always a small town boy, I had lived in places so remote that we had our own well to drink from. That is not that uncommon, but to people in the city, it is as foreign as the moon. So I was more  used to quiet dirt roads and not the big city streets.  But seeing NYC was an experience, and one that I am not ever ready to give up on. I walked everywhere in the city to see this or that. One of the more fascinating areas was Christopher Street. I was there for the Gay Pride Parade in 1981. Oh how much the world has changed and that area has changed since those days of 30 plus years ago.

I recall the very warm friendly atmosphere that was all around. This was the age of pre-AIDS...What a different world it was then.  I went with a few friends and we decided to see and march in the parade.  I was terrified to do so, but they pushed me on and so I did   I am glad I did as so many of those friends of mine would be dead in but a few years from AIDS.  I remember Richard, Glen, Trixie, John and a few others...all gone. That brought about so many changes in the whole area and culture.

What I found most interesting about Christopher Street was the many shops that were on it as well as bars and clubs. It was alive 24/7.  People would walk in the middle of the street as it was always so crowded. You'd see people in all kinds of dress or dresses!  It was such fun and so unique and special. It was a time that just is no more.

We were dressed as to the time with Roach Clips and feathers. We would hang them off our ears belts and hair. The music played and many people danced in the streets. It was a special time.  I recall one shop that caught my attention, it was called the Erotic Bakery. By its title you can tell what the various baked goods looked like. It brought a whole new meaning to hard rolls. 

 As you worked your way down to the water you would see the overhead roadways that used to be there. That was where lots of people parked. Right there also were old dock houses that were a play ground for many in that area.  Also at this spot was where there were two old ships docked.  one was a liberty ship from World War 2 and was used as a boys school.  The other ship as I recall was pretty much not in use. I used to go and look at the ships there, although it was not the safest of areas. It was there you could buy any drugs, share time with people who you did not know but when you are all drinking and smoking it didn't really matter, and lastly it was something to see..although we did not know it then it was very soon going to disappear.

I walked around the Village a few weeks ago and tried to recall where things were and how it was.  It is hard to believe that Christopher Street is that same street from those 30 plus year old memories. All but a few bars are gone. All of the clubs are gone. The Erotic Baker  has long since vanished. The street is now frequented with baby carriages where once drag queens trotted. The docks are gone, replaced by a new playground area that includes walking lanes and bicycle lanes.  It is all so health related as when I was a kid no one thought of that. The dock buildings that were a playground for many were torn down in the mid 1980's. as were the over head roadways. 

As I walked the area the ghosts of my past came and went and smiled. I recalled the grating were we all sat at in 1981 drinking and smoking ...I see kids in it now having a health drink. I went by building after building I had known but now could hardly recognize. The world has changed so much from that time. People have changed so much from that time. I am still as I was. Which is probably one of my problems, but I am not changing.  Not too much at least. But what was then is no more and my memories give me a special view of what had been. When AIDS became fact and known. How the entire world changed. Perhaps the greatest barometer of that was Christopher Street.  

So I close this little bit of reflecting and remembering. It is interesting to walk in the places I had walked in 30 years earlier. I am not the same either, I would look stupid with Roach Clips and feathers. But part of me will always be there, perhaps joining my friends who have gone before me. Sitting on that grate having a hell of a good time.

Hey guys, I will always remember you .... Thanks for being my friends.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

What is our money worth today? What is it made of? When did it all change?

Money, money, money....The old story says it makes the world go round. Of course it does economically, but American coinage has changed a lot over the years.  It was once as I have written here the half cent through the 20 dollar gold piece. I remember as a boy talking to an old man who described his Christmas mornings to me. He said in the the early 1920's as the Christmas dinner was prepared and served, everyone would find a five dollar gold piece under their plate.  That was a lot of money in 1920. And gold was always the standard in money.  Our whole money system ran on it, it was called the "Gold Standard".  There were some battles over gold in the later part of the 19th century. This led to a showdown between the gold and silver forces. Through it's champion, William McKinley, gold resumed its place and the silver bugs who were championed by William Jennings Bryan, lost out.  The old cry was 16 to 1...That was the value set to the silver and gold. Gold would be 16 times more valuable than silver. Don't we wish it was so now?

But our coinage stayed pretty constant through the 19th century. Save for sizes being reduced. But when we reached the 20th century many things started to change The silver dollar which was and had been minted for years was so well produced they did not make any for a number of years. In 1921 after a long lapse the silver dollar was produced again in the old style which was called the Morgan and the new that was called the peace dollar. But then as now, it was a lot easier to use paper money than have a pocket full of coins.  Being that they were silver they rang out quite loudly and that was not wanted as you walked around. But paper money was huge. It would by the end of the 1920's be reduced in size by a third.

Gold coins were the norm till 1933, when they were made illegal, which of course made everyone hoard them. In 1935 the minting of  the silver dollar  was stopped.
The main materials used for coins after this would be copper, nickel, and silver.

By the early 1960's it was being noticed that the silver used in coins was worth more than the value of the coin. Therefore starting in 1965 there was major change in American coinage. the most drastic in the lifetime of the American mint.

Copper became the most used metal, followed by nickel. Silver usage was taken down massively

Here is an example of the change in many of the coins from 1964 to 1965

1964 penny = copper                                  
1965 penny = copper

1964 nickel = nickel
1965 nickel = nickel

1964 dime = silver 90%
1965 dime = copper core and nickel cladding

1964 quarter = silver 90%
1965 quarter = copper core and nickel cladding

1964 half dollar = silver 90%
1965 half dollar = copper core and silver clad 40%

Eventually, there would be a silver dollar again , however it too would be 40% silver cladding.
By the early 1970's this too would change and nickel would replace silver on every coin made. By this time there was no more silver coins in production and the only silver coins made were special ones for collectors. This brought a lot of fun in my eyes to seeing the words silver dollar still used for the Eisenhower and Susan B Anthony dollar coins. Cause there was not a bit of silver in them!

The last major change was in 1982. It was found that the copper to make a penny was worth more than a penny. So the penny ceased to be made mainly of copper. It was then after made of zinc and thinly coated with with copper. In my mind I think ...Why bother?  Why do we need to waste hundreds of millions of dollars changing and refitting a penny?  Just round out the amounts charged and get rid of it

So the great worry was that the materials in the coins would be worth more than the coins value. We can now relax some. There is no silver used in our coinage, Gold although legal again to own will never be used for coinage again.   So our coinage is worth less in its material value than the coins value.  If that changes, the only option would be to get smaller coins to be made.  But who knows?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

July 4 2012 ...

I am quietly listening at home to roar of the fireworks in several areas including NYC. It fills the air with the excitement that is this time of year. I am reminded as John Adams was dying on this date in 1826. He could hear the roar of the cannon celebrating what he pushed for. He wrote in 1776 that he would expect to hear in the future cannons, bells, and pageantry  to honor this great day. As he died he could hear those very things going on in the country around him.

Remember his toast given a week before his death and a commission came to see him and asked for him to give a toast. He said he would give nothing more than the toast "Independence forever"

Thank you John Adams  We still do not recognize the great things you did..  But someday there may be a monument to you in Washington DC.  You deserve it more than practically anyone who has a monument there.

July 4th 2012

I am quietly spending time here at home during this historic day. It is hot and I have not been in the mood to go anywhere lately. So I will quietly celebrate the holiday on my own. What does this day signify ?  It has been made into many things and many of them are not quite correct.

Remember independence was declared on July 2 1776...Although even still it did not mean as much as we make of it now. It was a document that was treason. all who signed were surely aware that death was a close option.

The paperwork was signed on the 4th.  It became by error and pretty much right from the start that the 4th was the day..But Adams wrote on July 3rd 1776...That yesterday it was finally done.

So yes this is the day we call our birthday..In many ways it is not. The declaration did nothing really but state what we believed. It did not give us independence. That would take many years of fighting with soldiers and politicians.

Our real birthday is the signing of the Constitution. Which created the country we now live in. The country of the Declaration and the Articles of  Confederation (which was our first constitution of sorts) was bagged and left behind...  So remember our real birthday is Sept 17, 1787  That is the day the current United States of America was born.

On this day remember 3 US Presidents died.

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Monroe

It is fitting also that the great Atlas of Independence John Adams died on the 4th.  He was the man who gave  us the nerve and power to fight. No one comes close to him in creating our and fighting for our independence from a political standpoint at least. But even still he held a musket in defence again a possible British attack..Few others in that convention did that. However some did more, much more.  i will write of them soon.

 Specially not in that catogory was Jefferson who was mainly the scribe of the document.  I have no love for Jefferson, but he also died this day. Always the coward, always hid behind others, yet we honor him for all his great works and that stupid monument in Washington creates a false impression of who he really was.  But in June and July he did the only real brave action of his life and that was to join with the others in revolution.

Today I will hear of mainly of Thomas Jefferson and all of his great works and maybe by small chance John Adams. So you see how much history gets changed around. That's life. That's history!


Monday, July 02, 2012

You never know who you are going to meet in a cemetery. In this city of the dead I had a rather lively conversation with a spiritualist.

I decided to take a stroll through Newark's Mt Pleasant Cemetery. It had been a number of years since I had done so. I last went there in 2005 and thought that it would be nice to see it again.
 I had a lot on my mind and I sometimes find this kind of place a good one to just chill out. Where I can think and let out a little pressure. I needed that and this is the place to find yourself sometimes.

I went and saw some of the mausoleums and fancy structures.  I stopped over to see Mary Edison's grave for a while. I just relaxed there and sat on the stone seat provided by her husband Thomas for when he came to see her.
While I was pretty much in my own little world not paying much attention to what was going on, I heard a voice say "Thank you for coming to the cemetery"  I was a little shocked as I did not see anyone anywhere. Then I saw a fellow dressed in Traditional African items carrying a  spear. I must confess I was a little surprised and a bit scared as you do not meet many people anywhere, let alone a cemetery carrying a spear.

But this warm young gentleman said with a smile "Thank you for visiting the cemetery, so few people do. And the dead want to be seen now and then. That is why they erected all of this"  He gave me his name and told me he was there to calm the spirits. He was a spiritual guide of sorts.

 So he sat with me for a while as we joined into conversation about the spirit world in which he frequents. It was fascinating and I learned that he comes there often to look after the graves and the dead. He told me that the spirits use the number 9 in their conversation. He talked of many things, Newark, the people buried there and people living outside the gates, the state of the world, slavery, shootings and murders and much more. I talked to him about some history of Newark, slavery and sharing some thoughts I had that might help him.
 So after having both  learned a few new things he and I went our own ways. I went to the car, he went back to the dead and looked after them. Both of us maybe a bit bewildered on this chance encounter and this most unique and unusual conversation of the likes I doubt I will ever have again.

I am not one to think much of the spirit world, but who knows? All I know is that the cemetery there has a great supporter and the dead there have a great advocate!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

I am tired of Religion and Gods..It is really man's worst and most destructive invention.

I have come to dislike religion more and more as time goes on. For I have found it to be one of the most evil cults on earth. Now there are so many  religions today and each is about as ridiculous as the other. We have Christians of all kinds, Muslims of all kinds, Jews of all kinds, Mormons, and a mess of others.

I cannot say there is no such thing as a God. I am a Deist and do not believe that the Gods of religion exist. I do believe there may be a ruling power to the universe. What ever that may be,

  Man has been inventing Gods since time began. It is part of our culture to create a deity, make up a few good stories about it and then worship it. It is how we have worked since we evolved from apes.
Don't forget give it lots of money too!  Money and religion go together. 

It is big business that I think should be taxed

 It is fun to read some of the nonsense that comes out of the mouths of the  Christians and Muslims. As they dislike each other and have been killing each other in the name of religion for well over a thousand years. What is godly about that?  Anyone really think about that? To kill each other in the name of some God?  

Why does religion attract such stupid people?

  Why do we kill each other over a fairy tale? God is (which ever one you believe in) the biggest BS story ever created. 
It is embarrassing to ones intellect to have to even think that people really believe this babble. I have a feeling that many of those who say they believe, in reality do not. But they do not have the guts to say it. I would also guess that a good 50% of those who say they are religious feel most of it is nonsense.

 Also did I forget to mention that many in the religion industry say nothing cause it is too good a cash cow!

The United States was formed deliberately with no religion or God in its founding documents. The Declaration says creator. A creator may be a comet for all we know.

 James Madison made sure that there was no Clergy in the meetings of the Constitution. He wanted it to be free of religion and its problems.  The founders of the United States were Deists, and looked at religion as very odd. To them it was very odd indeed, but needed to control the populace. 

Washington would go to church services for political reasons and remove himself before he would have to be forced to take communion of which he did not believe.
 Thomas Jefferson  rewrote the New Testament and removed all that looked foolish, nonsensical, and for in his thoughts stupid. The book was very thin when he finished.
James Madison was a deist, Benjamin Franklin  fell close to atheism,   John Adams said that half the troubles of the world dealt with the cross.

 In later days Abraham Lincoln wrote a paper on the foolishness of religion and had a lot of good laughs over it.. But was told to get rid of it when he ran for President. He used religion to sway votes and control people. He was much like those of the past a deist. Any one of the great thinkers could see past the smoke and mirrors of religion. 
One has to remember that political leaders will always use God as a part of a speech or saying. Lincoln did it wonderfully. He did not agree but knew he had to sway rather unintelligent people. He found that using God, the bible and various religious overtones won him the heart of the people. 
Perhaps the greatest intellect ever who was President, John Quincy Adams wrote that he still read the bible but had become increasingly doubtful of its truths.  
Even in this day and age politicians will use religion to sway the vote. He is a god fearing man !!  That should get you a few votes. I know people who use religion in their business as it attracts people. They feel that this person is better and more trustworthy. 
Lastly on American history. We have had lots of wars and always pray to God to make sure we kill the enemy. To slit his guts, to kill his children, to ruin his life, to wreck his family, and lastly to reap ruin on his descendants. That is always a nice thing that we pray for.  Of course that is what God is for to help you in battle to kill others. What  does the other side pray for?  You see how silly this is?  Religion and its cruel nature makes a mockery of polite society

Man and religion are incompatible. 

  Just go to the Middle East and enough is said. Just go to one of these crazy Christian gatherings. My favorites are the mass hysteria that comes from these groups. It is like these religion are doing their best to keep people as stupid and ill informed as possible. It is like slavery.   No slave was to be taught to read as they might figure out they were being screwed big time by their masters. It is also important to remember that religion and the bible was favorable on things such as slavery, murder and putting down women. The New Testament is even worse in many regards. 
The Mormons were anti black till the later part of the 20th century. Antisemitism was practiced by the Catholic Church till the 1960's. The born again crowd and rabid whites were happy to kill and hang blacks as they thought it becoming to their needs, ie. the KKK.
 It has been proved generally, that the more religious one is the lower generally the IQ is. The results are available on line.  Now of course there are exceptions to any rule. There are some real stupid atheists. But if you take each group into a lot you see a great deal of difference.

This shows IQ scores based on members of religions  Asians are by nature gifted with the largest brains. I have learned that from researchers. Largest does not always mean strongest, however on this study it seems the case.

The Egyptians had Gods and for a while they had only one God, the Greeks did, the Romans, and all the other races created their new gods. The Christian Gods were made up using a lot of the old Egyptian lore. The Mormons made up their religion using the texts of the Christians and some clever fantasy as well.( aren't all of them using clever fantasy to tell the truth) 
  All of these Gods are as real as the Gods some people worship today. The Christian God system, the Muslim God, the Jewish God, the Hindi God, and more. All are the same, all are idols to be worshiped and feared. Because if you do not worship these Gods they will treat you in a very nasty way, cause they love you. But what one always has to see is the need of money, cause Gods who ever they are have a big problem. Their priests talk about their miracles and great works of God. But God cannot help at all. It is a good racket. But God really had a money problem.

To show how very silly religion can be, the Prime Minister of Malaysia said that gays, liberalism and the like  in that country go against the teachings of Islam and therefore against the government. He is going crazy over this nonsense. His tirade was funny to see.  It makes the government of Malaysia as sick as that stupid religion.  Cause the religion is in charge of the government and the government is the religion.  I can quote myself here on what I wrote about this nonsense in Malaysia  and the foolishness of religion and its followers elsewhere.

I see here a vivid example of how a simple idea is corrupted into massive vortex. Religion was invented to control the masses and the weak minded. The idea that a man up in the sky is in charge of your existence and operation, is pretty simple minded to put it lightly. Religion has proved over the last few thousand years that it is an easy and usually profitable way to control others.
This is the same group that tried to outlaw tomboys. I am sorry that is more asinine than almost anything I can fathom. But not content with this little blurb of foolishness the Prime Minister has let out with this mid-evil tirade on what makes for a happy country. On what makes his backward understandings of what makes government work. Religion has no place in government, and government has no reason to be involved in religion. One is fact, one is theory. But allowing himself to speak on authority of a theory, he had damaged fact in government.

For the words of Abraham Lincoln ring out in my ears as I see what has happened here. Lincoln put free speech and the public understands of it in a simple a powerful way and it fits to a tee here.

" It is far better to be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all the doubt".

The Prime Minister has shown he has neither the wisdom or the intellect to follow those simple words. They will come in time to haunt him as there is nothing to protect ones free speech from its abuse. There is a saying that you are what you eat, and for desert you get a fresh and cold serving of what you have said.
Revenge is best served cold. It will as many fire back at the intellectually challenged leader of a confused and outdated government, who's best days are far behind them and who's future seems more certain for a history book, rather than the modern dialog of people and nations.

Religion has screwed another country. 

 It sounds like Circus Elephants in a big tent going in a circle. Each one holds on to each others tail and they are going nowhere. Cause it has no qualified leader.

If we really want to look at stupidity in its highest form. lets go no further than the Pope. Now what is this nonsense about condoms?  All of the Africans they have converted to their silly religion and they tell them that they cannot use condoms!!!   How damned stupid is that!  On the hands of the Catholic church is the death of millions of people. Who are more concerned with using condoms than controlling many of their pedophile priests with molesting children.  The Pope is as fallible as I am. There is nothing holy about him. And his crazy views only show that. If he was enlightened by a god he would help people , not condemn their deaths. The Catholic religion has killed countless people due to mid-evil nonsense. What that wicked religion has done to children is pure evil. I look at them as practically as criminals hiding behind a religion. 
Let's hope that religion dies soon, as it has hurt too many people and is far too evil in too many ways.   Its counter part Islam is equally wicked and has ruined the lives of even more people than the Catholics.

Once again you can see how religion has been hi-jacked.  I am sure there are many very good and decent people who are very religious and cannot understand the anger one feels over this. Well my answer is this....

The concept of religion is to be the embrace of God. That the religion is to help, nurture, and uplift people.  I am sure there are many congregations in the world who do this, but there are just as many that do not. Hitler's sister was nice, so maybe we should say that Hitler was too. Hell no! Hitler was a monster and the first person who tries to change that will be condemned. I feel the same about the religions, some have been good at times, but others are pure evil. 

Therefore I will condemn monsters. 

Isn't it time to free ourselves of this mid-evil terror. Be it Christian  or Muslim. Both are equally stupid and demeaning to those they are supporting. As far as I am concerned I can not see any reason to believe any of this cheap magic show. It worked centuries ago, but we also know now that the earth revolves around the sun. That was dogma in Galileo's time. In fact he was brought up on charges by the church for heresy. Oh just so you know he was forgiven about 20 years ago!  The religions I have mentioned are belittling to women, blacks, anyone who uses their mind freely. The one thing that is most important in religion is that you do not think, or question. Cause if many of these members of what ever religion did, they would wonder what the hell they were doing in such a ridiculous setting.  

Thinking and original thought are two of the things that scares these religions to death . 
 The Pope is useless as is the religion he caters too. It was invented using a great deal of Egyptian symbolism and of course uses idols all over the place just like any Egyptian temple would. Even the story of Jesus is partly copied from Egyptian texts of death and Resurrection. And just guess who is one of the richest of religions? The Pope sits on a lot of money....It is all about money and power. It has always been!  Easter and Christmas were Pagan holidays just named such to fit their dogma.

Were we always this clueless?  In the dark ages religion was used to keep control and order and lastly a good way to make some money. Religion was designed to handle and control less than keen minds.
 I really think it is time for us to grow out of this fairy tale nonsense and stop killing each other over it!   It just too stupid for words. And an embarrassment to intellect to think any of this is real.

But in history we have killed and will keep killing each other because we believe in our Gods..... What ever God that is.  I think Zeus is a good one or Poseidon. They are as real as any god that can be produced today. It is a sad comment on man to see how stupid religion has made him. It may be a source of comfort for some, but it will be the end of man and his destruction if he does not learn to get away from it.. I have no problems with a higher power, but this man made religion nonsense is deadly.

 Remember it was in the name of God that the Christians killed tens of thousands of Muslims and now in the name of God Muslims wish to do the same to Christians.  Both were, are, and will always be as dreadful and fancifully fictitious as any mind numbing cult.  

What utter rubbish!