All posts by Larry Chapman

Retired educator, historian, writer, blogger, teller of tales including the occasional lie, saltwater angler, traveler, political junkie, technology geek, optimist, pessimist, wanna' be chef, and lover of independent thinkers. 2011 recipient of the Professor Irwin Corey Foremost Authority Award and resident curmudgeon of Worley Mill Rd. north of SCPower's sub-station.

The Olde Barbershop of Yore!

For some reason, I got to thinking about old barbershops while washing my hair this morning. When I was a kid the thing was to wash your hair and then splash on a ton of hair oil or tonic before combing. When you got a haircut the barber did the same. Before running a comb through your hair he’d splash on a generous dose of some very sweet smelling oil.  The wet head certainly wasn’t dead in the 1950s.

One fad during that era was the flattop and it too had its own petroleum-based product, Butch Wax. The barber would meticulously get your top hairs short and level and then to hold it all upright, in defiance of gravity, he’d slap on a large glob of some gooey gel that your mother would play hell getting washed out of the pillowcases.
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Talk About Your High Inflation Rates!

It was reported that Germans used wheelbarrows and laundry baskets to haul money to the store to buy food.

When I was teaching about the causes of World War Two I had to discuss the rampant inflation rate in Germany following World War One. In 1914 the exchange rate between the German mark and the American dollar was roughly 4.2 to 1. According to Wikipedia, nine years later it was 4.2 trillion to 1. I remember telling my students that the mark was weakening so fast that people would pay for a restaurant meal when ordering because if they waited until the meal was finished, the price would have gone up.

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Interesting Bits of News

  1. Seventy-six percent of registered voters support the wealthiest Americans paying more taxes, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll. This largely jives with a Fox News poll that showed 70 percent in favor of increased taxes on those earning more than $10 million. The polls come as 2020 contenders put forward and debate new levies on the rich. [Politico]
  2. In addition to his acting chief of staff, attorney general, defense secretary, interior secretary, Office of Management and Budget director and Environmental Protection Agency chief, only 54 percent of President Trump’s civilian executive branch nominations have been confirmed, according to estimates by the Partnership for Public Service. That compares, for example, to 77 percent for President Barack Obama at a similar point in his presidency. The group also estimates that fewer than half of the key positions in the Labor, Justice and Interior departments are filled. [The Washington Post]
  3. In New Orleans, home of the robbed Saints, the front page of The Times-Picayune on Monday consisted only of five words: “Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?” [Huffington Post]

Kaboom

IS THAT A GRENADE IN YOUR CHIP OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME? A three-inch-wide undetonated German hand grenade from World War I was discovered in a delivery of potatoes to a potato chip factory in Hong Kong, the second such discovery in a week. They are thought to have been accidentally dug up in potato fields in France. (BBC)

The Negro Motorists Green Book

Today marks the fourth day of Black History Month for 2019. As has been my custom I try to write about some aspect of the Black experience in America. Here’s my current offering. I hope you both enjoy it and learn a little of our nation’s history. 

My father’s family was from South Carolina and during the 1950s I would occasionally spend a summer with them. Because of that, I became aware of Jim Crow or segregation laws. I never tried to understand these things and as a kid just accepted them as being, “the way things were.”

As an adult, I began to learn and question the truth and subsequently became a sometime student of Southern and Black History. This eventually led to an interest in blues music history and from this, I became aware of the Chitlin Circuit, a loose association of entertainment venues that catered to  Black performers. Traveling the circuit meant Black entertainers needed services. They needed fuel and car maintenance, food, shelter, medical care and so much more that wasn’t easily found in a segregated America.

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Super Bowl 38 In A Cowboy Bar

On Sunday, February 1, 2004, Danny Masters and I rolled into Ruidoso, New Mexico and stopped for a beer in what could only be described as a cowboy bar. I was probably the only one in the place not wearing cowboy boots and Wranglers. Even Danny was sporting a pair of boots, jeans, and a snap button western shirt. Adding to the cowboy image was a genuine king-size Marlboro dangling from his lips. The only clue he wasn’t a true son of the West was the one size fits all ball cap with KY embroidered on the front.
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Super Bowl I = A Stick & 5 Coat Hangers

On January 15, 1967, I was living in Downey, CA and the first Super Bowl was to be played in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The competing teams were the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The promoters were concerned about profits since a third of the coliseum seats remained unsold at prior to game time. With this and accepted policy that home games be blacked out in their home market the two broadcast networks, NBC and CBS, opted to keep with protocol and black out the Los Angeles area.

Since the closest broadcast stations were in San Diego a special beam antenna was needed to pull in the distant signals. A local rock station, KRLA, decided to fly in the face of big money and offered plans to construct an analog yagi beam antenna that could be built from a long stick, five metal coat hangers, a hand full of screws, and a sufficient length of TV ribbon cable.

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HR1 – Where A New America Needs to Begin

The Democrats regained control of the House of Representative because they ran in support of things most Americans are in favor of. The House Democrats are debating their first bill, named HR-1, aimed at addressing many of the important issues the voters demonstrated support for.

Much of the bill is anti-corruption aimed at restoring the people’s right to vote. I’ve extracted the major components from a Vox article and present them here for your consideration:

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The Great California Potato Super Bowl

During the mid-1960s I was a student at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California. Cerritos had a football team called the Falcons and apparently, they were pretty good at the time. While I never attended one of their regular season games they did win a spot in a small college bowl game in Bakersfield called The Potato Bowl.

For whatever reason, several friends and I decided to make the drive. The Potato Bowl was played in a stadium that was literally a bowl dug into the earth and surrounded by bleacher seats.

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A Punchable Love Child!

The following photo was posted on Facebook by what I assume was a satire group. The claim was made that Ted Cruz spoke with the MAGA teenager about learning to live with “punchable face” syndrome. I’m not going to look it up but I’ll assume there is no such thing in the journals of medicine and it’s a joke. But, take a close look at the side by side photos and tell me you don’t see at least these two things:

  1. They both have faces that with a couple of Miller High Lifes in you, you’d be tempted to punch.
  2. MAGA boy could be Ted Cruz’ love child. There is obviously a shared DNA.

Corruption

CORRUPTION: The U.S. has fallen from 16th to 22nd on this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index, a measure of the countries perceived to be the least corrupt, administered by the watchdog group Transparency International. Denmark scored best (least corrupt), Somalia scored worst, and the U.S. sits right between France and the United Arab Emirates. (NPR)