Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.


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Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that were better when I was a kid. Better in the sense that as a kid I was blissfully unaware that Indians don’t regard the landing of the Mayflower as something to celebrate. It would be like Russians celebrating the first day Hitler’s legions marched into Russia. Now that I know better, it’s not quite the shallow family food orgy of my youth. On the other hand, I can celebrate Turkey Day as a gathering of friends and family and appreciation of the good things that have happened this year. No God, genocidal European invaders, or infantilized Indians required. Separating the good from the bad is one of those adulting things. We will have a toast to the people fighting the colonial mindset that is poisoning the west to this day.

I limit my fighting to words, it’s what I do best. Well, that and playing Tetris, but the later skill set rarely comes into play and is highly unlikely to ever make much of a positive influence in the world. Packing a moving van though, I’m the guy. In any event, that’s the obligatory part. Now some fun, a break from my usual dark humor. 27 November 1809, London, England. A certain wag, one Theodore Hook, bet a friend that he could make a random address in London the talk of the town for a week. The good Mr Hook (1788-1841) is mostly remembered for his practical jokes, though he did receive the world’s first postcard (which he probably mailed himself.)

I digress. London, 1809. No bicycles, trains, or cars. All foot and horse drawn vehicles. The first steam powered boats and vehicles were around, but they were still largely a novelty item. None were in regular use. So, the random address, on 54 Berner Street. Basically at 5am a dozen chimney sweeps showed up, none of whom were expected, and they were turned away. Then followed coal deliveries. And soon tradesmen of all sorts, doctors summoned, vicars to give last rites, VIPs, thousands all told, started to arrive at said address on Berner Street all day until early evening. It was complete chaos, every policemen that could be spared was sent, but a large part of London was shut down for the better part of a day. Mr Hook and a friend watched it all from a nearby house, after which he slipped away.

And slip away is right, a great hue and cry went up to find the perpetrator of the hoax. Hook was never publicly identified, but his friends suspected. And I guess somehow it became known to history that he was the perpetrator. It’s his biggest claim to fame, but it was enough. He’ll be in the history books as long as there are history books. Nowadays, I guess people are in history until a solar flare erases all of our computer memory.

And that’s it for this post. Swamped in food preparations for the fest on Thursday. And six inches of the atmosphere froze and fell to the ground last night. Inconvenient at best, we may need a dogsled to go pick up our turkey. Someday the American Midwest will be abandoned as it’s not really fit for human life. Another post before Monday between feast preparations, I’ve saved up some interesting links to share. And stuff just keeps on happening in the real world. And then the circus news from Washington. Have a safe Thanksgiving everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Berner Street Hoax caricature, 1810 Credit: William Heath, Public Domain under US copyright law.)


Written by unitedcats

November 27, 2019 at 5:58 am

Posted in History

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