Thursday, September 15, 2016

History: The Year is 1871

I've uploaded year 1871 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Onward Gilbert and Sullivan! -- I talk about comedic opera and the movie Foul Play.

Good-bye Governor! -- The Governor of North Carolina gets the boot from the KKK. I talk about Governor Davis and his removal after the energy crisis.

The National Rifle Association -- I talk about the number of bullets fired in a war, in a police shootouts and the NRA changes over the years.

In Other News -- Jehovah's Witnesses, the Altruism gene and stray dogs.

Onward Gilbert and Sullivan!

The musical team of Gilbert and Sullivan meet for the first time this year. Arthur Sullivan is an up and coming composer. He produces parlor music, music for plays and weddings. This year he writes the music to the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" which will later be adopted by the Salvation Army as their processional music. Sullivan is also commissioned to produce Christmas music for a new holiday opera along with William Gilbert. The opera is a success, but the pair will not team up again until a backer commissions a series of original comedic operas including: HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. The legend of Gilbert and Sullivan is born. Sullivan will receive a knighthood for his music, and Gilbert will later be knighted for his dramatic plays... a first in knighthoods. Currently a playwright is not considered proper occupation for a gentleman, but Sullivan will change all that by having his own works properly bound and printed for a gentleman's library. His first bound work will end with Gilbert's comedy, "Trial by Jury". [1] [2] [3]
Gilbert ...closed up the manuscript violently, apparently unconscious of the fact that he had achieved his purpose.... I was screaming with laughter the whole time.
--Sullivan recalling Gilbert's reading of "Trial by Jury". [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Sir William Gilbert wrote one of the longest-running serious operas ever to be an economic failure.... Ivanhoe. Often a production will exceed its budget unless someone is paying attention. It reminds me of the joke slogan for Osborne Computers, "We lose money on every unit but we make it up in volume." (Osbourne made portable computers popular along with Kaypro and GRiD Systems.) I've only seen one Gilbert and Sullivan opera on stage... The Mikado. It is freakin' hilarious, but you have to be paying attention. Some of the jokes can go right past you. I found myself the only person laughing in a massive theater filled to the rafters when I caught a joke so obvious (to me) that I wondered what people were thinking... or if they were thinking at all. I believe the actors appreciated that I caught the joke. They had paused the production briefly to cue the audience. They did everything but flash a sign reading "Laugh here!" Oh well. They did their best and the audience caught most of the jokes. I loved it. [6] [7] [8] FYI, The Mikado is the opera playing in the cutaway scenes during the movie "Foul Play" as Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase race through San Fransisco. (Yes. That is Dudley Moore conducting the orchestra.) [9]

Good-bye Governor!

The governor of North Carolina has been removed from office. This is the 1st time in US history. As the War Between the States came to a close, many Confederate officials were replaced by appointment like Republican William Woods Holden who was appointed governor of North Carolina, until elected to office in his own right. His Party affiliation has changed over the years and he was in favor of slavery before he was against it. Nevertheless, he has worked hard to bring North Carolina back into the Union. He declares two North Carolina counties "in rebellion" after the KKK hangs Wyatt Outlaw in the public square. On the body is pinned the note: "Beware you guilty both white and black." Details are sparse but Outlaw had initiated night patrols to quell KKK violence. The military arrests the usual suspects and this is where things get tricky. A Federal judge invokes habeas corpus to bring the suspects before him, but the governor delays, expecting the military to try them in military court. The judge demands that the governor provide evidence to hold the suspects. The governor cannot so they are freed. FYI, in the USA you have to PROVE that someone is guilty of the actual crime... unless you make a video about Libya that embarrasses the President and the Secretary of State. Then you are sent to prison and tormented until you are reduced to a cringing, mindless hulk. But back to the Governor: the KKK leaders in the state legislature present articles of impeachment on account of the governor defying habeas corpus and he gets the boot. Is he guilty? Maybe, but he failed to present evidence, so now he is out. KKK rules... for now. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In 1921, Governor Lynn Frazier, Republican of North Dakota was recalled after an economic downturn. Then in 2003, California Governor Gray Davis, Democrat, suffered from criticism over his poor handling of the state's energy crisis. Much of the problem was his Party's own making. The state had partially deregulated the power industry, but without a way for them to expand their power facilities effectively, they went bankrupt. The state turned to power companies outside of the state, but there was a sudden power shortage. (Oh, shucks! How did that happen?) Blackouts and brownouts ensued. Davis declared a state of emergency. The Governor signed long-term deals for energy at ridiculous prices. The energy company, Enron, made a killing. They also engaged in some shady business practices, so they folded, leaving a lot of their investors holding the bag. Governor Davis blamed Enron more than any other factor in losing the governorship. Davis had already removed much of the government stranglehold over the California power industry when Arnold Schwarzenegger gave him the boot. The energy problem was solved. The people waited for the new "Govern-a-tor" to kick the backsides of all those political "girly-men". He was a lot of fun, but ineffective. California is back to business-as-usual... way back... with Jerry Brown in office... again. His former girlfriend, singer Linda Ronstadt, had called him "Governor Moonbeam" and the name stuck. Good luck to them all. They will need it. [15] [16] [17] [18]

The National Rifle Association

"Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and the manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of the sights on his gun or can hit the broad side of a barn."
-- General Ambrose Burnsides, first President of the National Rifle Association.
And that pretty much defines the purpose of the NRA: to improve the skills of the average shooter. And it is not because of hunting. During the War between the States, it took Union soldiers an average of 1,000 shots to hit a Confederate soldier. I'm willing to bet that the Confederates did considerably better, but no doubt it was still a very high number. The idea behind the NRA is to train future soldiers so that they know which end the bullets come out of, and how to use sights. This will translate into free ammunition and targets to help shooters to maintain their skills. The "free ammunition" program through the US Department of War will be discontinued in 1927. The NRA will avoid political issues until the 1960s when they will support gun registration. By the mid-1970s, the NRA will try to distance themselves from the various gun controversies and focus on sports and hunting. In 1994 they will oppose the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) and that will mark a change in direction for the NRA. [19]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was amazed to find that the NRA is an open carry advocate. That would not have happened 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. Regarding the number of bullets fired in a war, that is tracked as a metric by the government and it is always high. I recall an interview with Thomas Sowell, the economist, when he was asked about a recent shooting involving the police. Apparently they used an inordinate number of bullets. He pointed out that anyone using such a weapon in ACTUAL COMBAT will keep pulling the trigger until his target is down. What seems like an excessive number of bullets is simply a normal reaction to pressure. In fact, when I read a book on the taking of Fallujah, a US Marine noted that it could take as many as 17 shots to bring down a man charging his position. He speculated that this was due to the drugs the attackers were consuming, but I'm not so sure. I listened to an interview of an police officer after a shootout with a suspect NOT on drugs. It took more than 10 shots. He figured it was a problem with shot placement. He needed to aim more carefully to hit vital areas. I have also seen a video of police officers firing 100 shots into a vehicle going 5 miles an hour. The driver lived. There wasn't a lot of skill on display... nor much thinking. [20] [21]

In Other News

  • Stray or dangerous dogs can be held and destroyed. The UK authorizes constables to hold stray dogs for 3 days before selling or destroying them. Constables now respond to complaints of dangerous dogs. [22] [23]
  • Jehovah's Witnesses start as a Bible study group in Pittsburgh. They will become the Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society as they anticipate the redemption of the faithful. They will adopt the name Jehovah's Witnesses in 1931. [24] [25]
  • Darwin publishes "The Descent of Man". Apparently evolution shapes society. I heard a report that a gene exists for altruism. That theory was modified when a study proved that people were altruistic ONLY WHEN SOMEONE WAS WATCHING. "Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary." --From 'Rethinking the Theoretical Foundation of Sociobiology' (and mocking a quote from Rabbi Hillel.) [26] [27] [28] [29] [30]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1871, Wikipedia.

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