Elon for the W

I couldn’t be more thrilled with this guy. Three years ago, I strongly disliked him. Fast forward to 2018 and this guy is both a personal hero and officially the real life Tony Stark. Here is an amazing series-of-photos meme from the internets:

And another great photo:

And to think, last weekend I stumbled across the following bumper sticker and was ecstatic to share it with this readership:

Now, I’m doubting the true extent of the innovative spirit and capitalist bent of Galt/Taggart. I’m pulling my vote from their box and casting it for Musk/Thiel.

Just once, I want Elon to finish an earnings call with “I will stop the combustion motor of the world.”

So I ask you: Who is Elon Musk?

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House of the Day (and Random Bidtits; 9/4/2018)

First off, HAPPY (belated) CAPITAL DAY!!!  Yes, it’s that time of year where we celebrate the hard-fought battles of capitalists past.  I’ve often struggled with officially moving the Capital Day holiday to the first Monday of March but I fear that without a September Capital Day to keep you grounded in the realities of elementary economics, you risk slipping into the throes of organized labor.  Let’s not let that happen.

Capitalism.  Because our financial lifeblood flows through this fount. (Thanks for the term, Uncle Ethan.  Since day one, Uncle Ethan has been a major source of inspiration for this blog.  And to quote a mutual friend, “sometimes I got the sugar, and he got the coffee.  Sometimes I got the coffee, and he got the sugar.”)

Plus one more shout-out to Arch Stanton.  Arch recently shared what has proven to be one of the greatest articles I’ve ever read.  It’s American Hippopotamus by Jon Mooallem.  Don’t let his New York Times leanings/credentials scare you, this article (https://magazine.atavist.com/american-hippopotamus) will entertain you for nearly two hours and it’s well worth your time.  You can also click the article link and listen to the audio version.  Reading this, I even learned about a new animal, the dik-dik.

Some of you may be aware that I have a FOB Ukrainian co-worker.  Today, someone asked her if she’s ever considered getting a tattoo.  She responded that she wouldn’t get one now but did consider getting one many years ago at the age of 12.  Before I could connect my brain with my mouth, I blurted out “of what, a map of Ukraine?  That would’ve been a great idea up until 2014.”  Other office mates shared a solid chuckle.  She turned commie red with embarrassment.

This readership may be aware that I’m an amateur real estate and property appreciator in my spare time (I prefer to surf the web rather than work on my spare tire).  As such, I’d like to begin a new category of posts around houses and real estate.  Postings on the topic will come far and few between.  Lucky you.  I won’t bore you with details like price or square footage – the photos are enough before I lose your ever-fleeting attention.  Today’s house of the day used to belong to something of a personal hero of mine: Howard Robard Hughes.  Without further ado, the house:

May the virtues of American Capitalism keep your arrow straight and true.

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 19 in Today I Learned – Timothy Dexter

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I am sure you know someone in your life who is an idiot – not just a standard, run-of-the-mill idiot, but a truly world-class idiot who things just magically work out for regardless of their ineptitude. Oh, did you go to class and take notes and study and take practice exams, while this person showed up hungover (when they even bothered to show up) and didn’t study at all and still swung a better grade than you? Fuck that guy. This incredibly fortunate dipshit who had everything break their way would look at Timothy Dexter and be outright insulted by his good fortunate resulting from absolutely nothing of his own doing.

Timmy Dexter was born in 1747 in Massachusetts to parents who had emigrated from Ireland; in other words, Dexter was dirt poor and poorly educated, dropping out of eight grade. Before doing anything in his own life, he had a number of strikes against him – a poor Irish-American prior to the Revolutionary War of low birth. Shockingly, this was not as inhibitory as you may have expected. Dexter worked as a leather-working apprentice in South Carolina before schmoozing his way into a wealthy Massachusetts widow’s pants who was nine years his senior with four kids. Dexter knew enough to buy when demand was low – this will be a recurring thread.

While not playing much a role during the Revolutionary War (COWARD!), he spent thousands of dollars on heretofore worthless Continental currency. Fortunately for him, Congress moved shortly after to confirm this currency as the American dollar. Suddenly, Dexter had moved from upper-middle class to exorbitantly wealthy with a blind stroke of luck. A bit of backstory here – as an uneducated Irishman, the existing upper class did not approve of this idiot crashing their parties and acting as an equal. One source cited Bostonian elites wanting to bankrupt him by turning him on to the Continental currency which they were certain had no future. Obviously, this backfired because this is the luckiest idiot in the history of the planet.

Now an extremely wealthy, as well as an extremely new member of high society, Dexter could not be as easily boxed out. This did not stop other, better-educated and more knowledgeable members of the bourgeois from fucking with him endlessly. He was pressured/tricked into shipping bedpans to the West Indies – the elites thought this was hilarious, as the West Indies were full of detestable savages who shit in the streets. Joke’s on those assholes, because bedpans were in huge demand by local high-class ladies. Dexter made a killing on this joke. In a similar vein, some other jokers told him he should sell gloves to the South Sea/Polynesia islands – the joke being they’re all poor and disgusting and would never use gloves! Hilarious! Turns out, merchants crossing the Pacific Ocean bought them en masse to turn around and sell to the Chinese, who LOVED gloves.

You read the header – you know this is only the start. A common parlance of the era was ‘shipping cats to the Indies’ for irresponsible behavior, because the Indies were overwhelmed with stray cats at the time. Spoiler – Dexter heard this and thought ‘that seems like a great idea’. This rich asshole ran around Boston alleyways collecting stray cats, which he promptly dumped onto a southbound ship and marketed as a solution to widespread rat infestation. He sold BOATLOADS of stray cats to islands already filled with cats because he was clever enough to market them as a solution to rats. I always used to shit on marketing majors, but if they have a fraction of the guile of Timothy Dexter, then the insurmountable student loan debt will be worth it.

Is three instances of dumb luck enough to prove a point? Because there’s one more, and it’s a real doozy. In keeping with the ‘saying of the time used to illustrate a fruitless action’, Dexter latched on to “shipping coal to Newcastle”. This was not just a saying at the time, but one that has persisted across generations of Brits to demonstrate the pointlessness of an action due to Newcastle’s widespread fame as a economic powerhouse solely because of it’s ability to churn out coal to supply its factors as well as factories around the rest of England AND the colonies. Newcastle turned out coal like a minor US Senator turns out female summer interns. People everywhere laughed at what a remarkable idiot he was, and were excited to watch what would certainly be his final downfall. Somewhere between the bottles of champagne being popped, but before the cheers, Newcastle coal miners went on strike. Dexter sold his coal to the coal-producing capital of the world for a premium multiple times over.

Dexter, having made a fortunate at exporting the most useless shit on the planet to corners of the world were no one wanted it until they immediately did, decided to turn his attention elsewhere. He was going to publish a book! Remember when I said he dropped out of eight grade? This book was SHIT. The book, titled “A Pickle for the Knowing Ones”, was 8,847 (mostly misspelled) words, almost entirely without punctuation and entirely random capitalization, and included divergent tirades about how much Dexter hated his local politicians and clergy, as well as his wife. Who would want to read this bullshit? EVERYONE apparently. It got eight reprintings, with one addressing the concerns of a lack of punctuation with an addendum full of nothing but commas and periods with a note that readers could distribute them as they please. It’s like the exact opposite of reading my writing.

In his newfound fame, he developed a habit of bringing mistresses to the home he shared with his wife. When his wife, understandably outraged, would scream and yell at him, he would tell his new mistress to ignore her, as it was only the ghost of his ex-wife haunting his bachelor pad. I have never been more divided over “the greatest thing I have ever heard” or “the worst thing you could do to a spouse short of OJ Simpson”. Before long, Dexter was convinced most of his friends were around only because he was wealthy, and decided to fake his death, as one does when they wish to test the loyalty of their friends. Three thousand people showed up to the fake wake, which was immediately spoiled after he stormed out of the back of the hall to cane his wife for not crying hard enough. Gee, why wouldn’t she be upset that her shit-ass husband was dead. I believe this also settles the “awesome or horrible” debacle addressed earlier.

One critic had his disgust with the entire Timothy Dexter experience quoted as. “For what purpose are riches given to some men unless to display in more glowing colours the disgusting deformities of their Characters?”, but that guy still had no idea what was coming. Did you think we were done? Can you believe someone could be even more ridiculous then everything you had already read above? Because this is Timothy Dexter we’re talking about here. Despite the American revolution successfully seceding from the British and monarchy, he anointed himself a Lord. He bought an enormous palace which he covered in statutes of great men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, Louis XVI, John Hancock, William Pitt, and, uhhh… himself. You’d think this was bold, but really these other guys were fortunate to be merely associated with a man whose placard read “I am the first in the East, the first in the West, and the greatest philosopher in the Western World”. You think you’ve seen luck go to someone’s head, but you will never make the mistake again after learning about Timothy Dexter, the man even myth couldn’t exaggerate.

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 15 of Today I Learned – Newport Sex Scandal

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Today’s episode has it all, assuming “all” is tons of gay sex and Franklin Roosevelt and the Navy. Do I have your attention? I know Disillusioned Dilettante is listening closely because of one of those specifics (spoiler – he’s a big FDR fan!).

In 1919, a senior member of the US Navy was hanging out in a Naval training base in Newport, RI when he overheard a rumor of a particular subculture seeping below the coast town’s veneer – Bronies. JK, there was talk of gay stuff happening at the Army and Navy YMCAs as well as the Newport Art Club (shocking!). This senior member, Ervin Arnold, felt it was his responsibility, nah, his DUTY to dig into this. He petitioned his superiors to conduct a full investigation into reports of parties of homosexual activity, liquor, cocaine, cross-dressing and, I quote, “effeminate behavior”. I don’t know about you guys, but these parties sound pretty rowdy.

Eventually, this investigator took root in the senior ranks of the Navy, including then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt. See, FDR was eyeing the White House as a possible future VP in the near future, and thought a good ol’ moral crusade could thrust him (pun absolutely intended) in national prominence. After failing to find a dedicated third-party to manage the investigation, Arnold was placed in charge of ferreting out the homosexual behavior, and boy, did he have a strategy. You see, Arnold proclaimed to be an expert at spotting gay men, in what is certainly the first documented report of a gaydar.

Arnold went through the available sailors and tapped thirteen of them based on their youth and looks to identify all the gay stuff in Newport. The underlying strategy involved getting gay. Seriously. The Navy trained these guys in gay stuff, and dropped them into the scene to document what they experience firsthand. The men were set lose, “observing all and ears open for all conversation and make himself free with this class of men, being jolly and good natured, being careful to pump these men (ed: NICE) for information, making them believe that he is what is termed in the Navy as a ‘boy humper,’ making dates with them and so forth” and were outright encouraged to have gay sex in order to uncover the other gay men in order to locate the “cocksuckers and rectum receivers and the ring leaders of this gang”. I imagine much of the planning involved conversations like “…and you can suck him off, but it’s totally NOT gay because you’re straight.” This is like Charlie Kelly attempting to retrieve a cat of the wall in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wco2uE6vyQ) – the only way to root out the gay stuff is to add a ton more gay stuff to the pile, but it’s okay because all these guys were totally not gay, just extremely patriotic.

The logic here is astonishing, even by interwar America standards. So these guys went out there and just plowed their way through the underground gay scene of Newport, doing tons of drugs and dudes. Over the course of three weeks, fifteen sailors had been arrested, dragged before a military tribunal and dumped into prison for being gay. While unsettling, it was still pretty normal for the time frame of everyone to be terrified of “TEH QUEERZ!”. During the military tribunals in which gay guys were testified against by their TOTALLY NOT GAY ex-lovers, the court frequently had to pause and ask for clarification for what certain terms or acts were. Oh to be a fly on that wall. To see a bunch of stodgy old New England Protestants listen to TOTALLY NOT GAY sailors report about “cock sucking”, “sucking off”, “screwing in the rectum”, “browning” (I have NO IDEA what browning is either), and “giving loads” would have been a delightful experience.

One gay spy reported he sucked off one guy in an alleyway, but never got his name, which had to have been a debilitating way to fail a mission. Another fingered a local reverend who, despite eleven counts of “gay stuff” – I mean, “moral contamination” – was eventually let off due to his nobly standing in to assist the sick during the influenza epidemic a few years prior. Oh yeah, and because he wasn’t actually a sailor. Turns out, you can’t try someone in a military tribunal if they aren’t in the military. And “by let off”, I mean Arnold immediately turned around and tried him a second time in a federal court, because double jeopardy is no match for being gay.

This investigation eventually got picked up by local newspapers who were by no means pro-homosexuality, but definitely thought it was a little suspicious the Navy is encouraging their sailors to gobble dicks in order to prosecute the others who may or may not actually be in the Navy. This was picked up all over the country, where it was eventually revealed FDR not only signed off on this, but got regular reports delivered to his office of the gay activity. FDR – homoerotic romance novel early adapter.Still trying to diddle his secretary in a different, bigger office, FDR resigned from the Navy when the heat picked up and was officially condemned by Congress for his involvement in the gay Gestapo. He and his running mate, James M Cox (I SWEAR TO GOD FDR RAN WITH A GUY NAMED ‘COX’ WHILE EMBROILED IN A GAY SEX SCANDAL), lost to Herbert Hoover. Nothing bad happened while Hoover was in office.

Arnold was pushed out of the Navy, but suffered no repercussions for his role in the sexiest task force the US Navy ever embarked on. I like to imagine he was just trying to prank his friends by tricking them into blowing dudes in the name of military superiority by assuring them it’s definitely not gay. Either way, I’m sure they look back fondly on the summer they sucked their way through Newport. Ahhhh, to be young again!

Arch Stanton Guest Post: A Compelling Wikipedia Page

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I was perusing Wikipedia of a historical figure in the pursuit of learning something new and possibly finding something to share with the fine readers of this site, when I stumbled across what is perhaps my new favorite Wikipedia page: “List of federal political sex scandals in the United States” (note to self – compile a list of all my favorite Wikipedia pages). Let me tell you – it is a FASCINATING list. To start we have the “Definitions” section, in which we embrace President Clinton’s finest moment and define what constitutes sex (“physical activity in which people touch each other’s bodies, kiss each other, etc.” – in doubly good news, I just found out I am NOT a virgin! Happy day for me!) Some you’ll know, but there’s interesting tidbits to add, and others you likely haven’t heard, so let’s investigate some of them!

Thomas Jefferson: You know the one with Sally Hemings, his slave. There is loads of evidence suggesting he did indeed father children with her. The interesting bit comes later when the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society disputed this and concluded Jefferson’s grandson, Randolph Jefferson, is more likely the father of the children. I like to imagine they are each responsible for some, because there’s nothing better than inter-generational communal fucking. The 18th century was weird as shit.

Andrew Jackson: His wife Rachel Donelson Jackson was previously married to an alcoholic and abusive husband, from whom they both believed she had been officially divorced but he never finished the paperwork. Jackson’s wife was painted as a bigamist, because it was 1791 and we still openly smeared victims of abuse, and she later suffered a nervous collapse and died. Jackson blamed the harassment for her death, which is why he probably was such a huge asshole.

Richard Mentor Johnson: Vice President to Martin Van Buren, this Johnson was also a dick, but his scandal involved him openly carrying a relationship with a slave named Julia Chinn. Being the time period it was, people did not appreciate this. His party bailed on him, but he treated her as a common-law wife and passed his surname to his children, which is very noble of him in lieu of social standards of the time. Less so the part possessing slaves, but hey, half-credit for trying at least.

John Henry Eaton: The Secretary of War “allegedly” had an affair with a married woman, which led her husband to kill himself. Eaton then married the widow, removing any pretext for the “allegedly” in their affair.

James Henry Hammond: An OG pervert. Had a gay relationship with a college friend which he didn’t deny (which was WILD for the early 1800s) and he referred to it as his “little dalliance”, a truly delightful way to refer to past sexual indiscretions. This is not the pervert part. He supposed had more “little dalliances” with his teenage nieces (update – no longer a fun descriptor) as well as relationships with female slaves as young as twelve. Yeesh. This scandal caused him to withdraw his Senate bid in 1843, because the rest of society was not on-board with this level of scumbaggery. He ran again and won in 1857, because everything has always been garbage all the time.

Daniel Webster: A Congressman who had affairs with black women. On it’s own, yawn, but then comes this little quote from a newspaper at the time: “His mistresses are generally, if not always, colored women — some of them big black wenches as ugly and vulgar as himself.” Again – everyone was terrible all the time.

James Buchanan and William Rufus King: One a diplomat and future President, the other a Congressman and future Vice President, allegedly liked to bump parts. Another instance of something relatively benign on its own, but much improved when you learn Andrew Jackson referred to King as “Miss Nancy”. See above where he was a huge asshole.

Grover Cleveland: Had an child out of wedlock. Was a scandal until he owned up to it, which led his Presidential opponents to chant, “Ma, ma, where’s my pa?” during rallies. When Cleveland won, his supporters cheered “Gone to the White House, ha ha ha.” This constitutes as rap beef in 1884.

Warren Harding: The original Donald Trump – self-serving, incompetent and loved to fuck people who he wasn’t married to. Whereas Trump prefers Twitter, Harding preferred poetry, and in a different life, Harding would have written pulpy adult romance novels. He nicknamed his dick “Jerry”, the lamest nickname ever ascribed to a penis — “And Jerry came and will not go, says he loves you, that you are the only, only love worthwhile in all this world, and I must tell you so and a score or more of other fond things he suggests, but I spare you… I fear you would find a fierce enthusiast today.” And “I love you when / You open eyes / And mouth and arms / And cradling thighs” and then “Wouldn’t you like to get sopping wet out on Superior — not the lake”. Harding was a dog.

David I Walsh: Congressman got busted in a male brothel frequented by Nazi spies. The Madlibs of sex scandals.

Styles Bridges and Lester Hunt: The former a Republican and the latter a Democrat, the former threatened to out Hunt’s son as gay unless he resigned, essentially handing over the Senate to the Republicans. Hunt refused, but did not seek re-election, and then shot himself. This whole thing started fun, but this is wildly upsetting.

William O Douglas: Our first Supreme Court Justice! He was married (and then divorced) three separate times, which was a huge scandal in itself, not to mention the fact he was allegedly pursuing other women the whole time. THEN he supposedly tried to molest a flight attendant in his chambers – I’m sure there’s an incredible story in there alone. Congress actually tried to impeach him due to his poor moral character, which failed. Incredible they actually attempted it for what seems like the most innocuous charges so far.

Wilbur Mills: Busted driving absolutely shitfaced with a stripper named Fanne Foxe. Proving America has always been a great nation, was re-elected anyway. Later resigned after being shitfaced again while giving a press conference from Foxe’s dressing room in a burlesque club (seen up top). I’d never heard of Wilbur Mills, but God bless him for living the American dream and resigning in disgrace under the best possible conditions.

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Wayne Hayes: A reporter discovered a woman named Elizabeth Ray was hired as a clerk-secretary despite her only job duty being providing sexual favors. Ray later admitted “I can’t type. I can’t file. I can’t even answer the phone”, which is a pretty effective resignation letter. I looked up pictures of Elizabeth Ray (since this happened in 1976), and while Hayes was a dirtbag, he was a dirtbag with good taste.

Mel Reynolds: Resigned from Congress in 1995 after a conviction for statutory rape. Yikes. He was indicted in 1994 for sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse of a sixteen year old staffer, but continued his campaign which he won. This is not the last time someone was accused of sexual impropriety during a campaign and went on to win. Reynolds originally denied the charges and stated they were racially motivated; less than a year later he was convicted on twelve accounts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography. No word on whether he got to place the race card back in the deck.

Gary Condit: Had an affair with a twenty-three year old intern that was only exposed after she disappeared, which is about the worst possible way for your affair to leak. The intern’s body was found a year later and an illegal immigrant with no relation was charged with the murder. These got so dark so quick.

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Thomas Evans: Went golfing in Florida with a nude model-lobbyist Paula Parkinson, who described her lobbying techniques as “unusual tactile”, another delicate way of saying they totally fucked. Evan apologized but was voted out of office. Future Veep Dan Quayle was on the golf trip but was absolved of any sexual acts as his wife stated it was common knowledge Quayle would rather play golf than have sex, thus confirming Dan Quayle is an idiot.

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After this, the press really dug into sex scandals, and most are pretty straightforward/gross so lets blow through a few: sex with a sixteen year old girl (thirty days in jail), soliciting sex with a sixteen year old male prostitute (went to rehab), blowing a guy in the Library of Congress (resigned), admitting to a second family and then refusing to provide for them, banging a congressional page (there were a bunch of these), traveling with a model while trying to run for President, touching the leg of a female lobbyist, fixing 33 parking tickets for a male escort, children out of wedlock, getting a nude massage from Miss Virginia (public service has its perks), various accounts of sexual misconduct/harassment, nine individuals speaking out against Clinton’s infidelities while having their own affairs, and various other homosexual affairs by people speaking out against gay rights. This, of course, does not touch on Bill Clinton’s illustrious career as a serial harasser, nor Anthony Weiner, who’s weiner was splashed all over our faces for far too long. They get more explicit and weirder in later years, and I wonder if it is because people are bigger perverts or because this activity is more highly scrutinized than it was it the past. Personally, I think it’s the result of rampant fake news.

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 12 of Today I Learned – Porter Rockwell, the Destroying Angel of Mormondom

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I usually drum my fingers on my chin while looking astute trying to think of an engaging introduction to these like Bugs Bunny scheming to outwit Elmer Fudd. I usually try to work in something topical or relevant to engage our TENS of readers, but not this week. DESTROYING ANGEL OF MORMONDOM. Look at the picture! I will never think of something more engaging than that.
Porter Rockwell was born in 1813 or 1815 (he didn’t know) in Massachusetts next door to Joseph Smith, the future founder of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and was immediately hooked on the religion, which was more or less a cult at the time with only a handful of devotees at the time. Rockwell was baptized into the religion the day it was founded at only sixteen. After the Mormons were booted out of Massachusetts for being weirdos and settling in Ohio, Joseph Smith had a hunch this mecca was not complete yet, and sent Rockwell to Missouri to scout a more final location. It was in Missouri Rockwell essentially became an otherworldly badass.
Before long, Rockwell had gotten comfortable with a gun, and was pretty quickly arrested as a suspect in an assassination against the Missouri governor, Lilburn Boggs. People in the 1800s had way cooler names than shit like Jaydyyn or Tannyr today. He was almost immediately released because even if the state hated the Mormons, they still didn’t have anything like “evidence” or “witnesses” linking Rockwell to the alleged attempt. Before long, Mormons had began settling in Missouri and doing horrible things like opposing slavery, leading Governor Boggs to issue Executive Order 44 which was basically the original Purge if you were Mormon (seriously – the purpose was to “evict Mormons from Missouri by any means possible, including violence”). Writing on the walls, the Mormons bailed the hell out of Missouri, which was really a blessing in disguise if we look at the options at the time (Utah or Missouri? Hmmm). While they were leaving in the politest way possible, our friend Governor Lilburn was shot by an unknown assailant, which of course, could have only been because of the Mormons. Rockwell was held for eight months in jail awaiting trial before being released due to another lack of evidence. When later asked if he actually was responsible for the Governor’s assassination, Rockwell responded “I’ve never shot **at** anyone, if i shoot, they get shot – he’s still alive, isn’t he?”
As the last Mormon out of Missouri, Rockwell walked his ass to the new Mormon holy land in Illinois (not Utah yet), where Joseph Smith first thought him a drunk looking for a fight due to his long hair before he recognized the church’s most devote follower. It was at this point, Smith promised Porter if he remained faithful to the church and did not cut his hair, he would never suffer death from a bullet. Spoiler – he never cut his hair, and he died of natural causes in 1878, because Smith was either a wizard or Rockwell was a living legend.
Fast forward a few years – we’re still in Illinois (booo), and Joseph Smith has been assassinated (booo!). The good news is he has Rockwell watching his back, and the guy is not here to take ANY shit, and he went out and killed the alleged assassin. Rockwell was arrested again (this time – they kinda had a point), but was acquitted by new Mormon leader Brigham Young, referring to it as an act of self defense. So what if he hunted this guy and murdered him in vengeance, we’ll call it self defense if we want to dammit.
The church eventually gets to to Utah, where Rockwell is appointed Deputy Marshall of Salt Lake City, and guys, he was AMAZING at it. A rugged mountain man, guide, hot springs operator (????) and ruthlessly devoted to the law, he is estimated to have killed more men than Wyatt Earp, Doc Holladay, Tom Horn and Bat Masterson COMBINED. When asked about this in the twilight of his life, responded “I never killed anyone who didn’t need killing.” HOOOOOOOOLY SHIT I didn’t know you could actually survive, let alone act as a sheriff, with balls this big. Are you starting to see where the name “the Destroying Angel” came from?
I lied earlier when I said he never cut his hair – he allegedly cut his long luscious locks in order to provide a wig for a widow balding from typhoid fever (this lady would eventually give birth to the future Poet Laureate of California – Porter Rockwell, the Destroying Angel of Mormondom and diligent appreciator of the fine arts). Author Fitz Hugh Ludlow described him as such:
“But he was that most terrible instrument that can be handled by fanaticism; a powerful physical nature welded to a mind of very narrow perceptions, intense convictions, and changeless tenacity. In his build he was a gladiator; in his humor a Yankee lumberman; in his memory a Bourbon; in his vengeance an Indian. A strange mixture, only to be found on the American Continent.”
I can only wish people will say such awesome shit about me after I die. Porter Rockwell was essentially a founding member of the Mormom religion, a bodyguard for both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and while he only had a 50% success rate at that particular function, he was an unmatched sheriff and mountain man to boot. You started reading this and thought the name was a bit hyperbolic, but admit it – “the Destroying Angel” seems to almost sell this guy short, even if it is one thousand times more metal than anything Slayer ever did.

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 2 of Today I Learned – Exotic Pet Amnesty Day

HEAR YE, HEAR YE: This is an old post from Arch Stanton that I forgot to post.  Slightly out of order.  And here, we, go:

Did you know Florida has an “Exotic Pet Amnesty Day” program? WELL YOU DO NOW, AND GUESS WHAT, WE’RE DIVING INTO IT.

So I recently learned Florida has the most Florida of programs, in which residents (and non-residents, looking at you GEORGIA) can, “find a new home for the exotic pet you can no longer care for”.  If you know anything about me, you immediately understand this is a topic worth of extensive digging and research.

The program was started in order to curb the release of top predators into the Florida wilds were they will inevitably topple local native species and, because this is Florida, OF COURSE you have some super weird pets capable of doing this! Golden retrievers? FUCK NO! Let’s get some tegu lizards, because this is America’s butthole and you gotta outdo your neighbor Linda May and her fuckin’ python that was the hit of the trailer park soiree last summer. LINDA MAY YOU BITCH! The program specifically targets exotic species, defined as “animals living outside captivity that did not historically occur in Florida” (one page noted an estimated 26% of all fish/reptile/bird/mammal species in Florida are non-native – again, WHAT THE FUCK is this state). The program also takes pains to specifically note you can surrender pets kept legally or illegally, because (again) this is Florida and everything everyone is doing might as well be presumed illegal until otherwise validated with two forms of identification and a permission slip from the appropriate governmental agency. Because this is America, and why-the-fuck-wouldn’t-you, every page makes note to ‘bring the whole family so they kids can see whatever your moron neighbors dumped here’! I am dead serious when I say, “KIDS ENCOURAGED” is part of the program. Make your own joke.

Many articles note that people surrendering their pets come in with mixed emotions, some excited to get rid of the animal they didn’t realize was nocturnal when they originally bought it or was destined to far outgrow the available space for such an animal. Florida holds these events throughout the year because (this is a theme) Florida, and where else could this possibly happen (besides uhh… Ohio, where 56 exotic animals escaped from a farm one time in Zanesville), but regularly sees citizens of other states show up to turn over whatever animal they attempted to defy God by attempting to domesticate. For instance, “Connor” (you’re not going to believe this, but EVERYONE chooses to withhold their names during the subsequent local news reports), came from ILLINOIS to dump his blue and gold macaws who, surprisingly to him, happened to be very loud creatures that his neighbors did not share his fondness for. If you can’t make it to one of the drop-offs, you can call (I swear this real) 1-888-IVE-GOT-1 instead of releasing your pet into the wild, like Duck Phillips did with Chauncey on “Mad Men” (OBVIOUSLY I AM NOT OVER THIS HOW COULD HE DO SUCH A THING).

The drop-off event is immediately followed by a pick-up event where other people show up to see what kinda of weird pets they can pick up to add to their collection. Again, this all Florida as shit. The pets are dropped off, no questions asked, and picked-up, nominal questions asked (it’s like a police auction, except you could be strangled by a python!). “Pets” that are not adopted tend to end up on “panhandleexotics.com” – your one-stop shop for online exotic enthusiasts (financing available!) One volunteer went on the record as saying (paraphrasing) ‘Miami is surprisingly the Mecca of exotic animals’, because this person doesn’t have internet access and has never seen “Scarface” or “Miami Vice”. Most articles include many pictures with everyone surrendering looking EXACTLY how you imagined they would – cargo shorts, handle-bar mustaches, Oakley sunglasses with tons of exposed tattoos due to the cut-off sleeves).

Before I begin to lose you – you already left? that’s understandable – let’s look at some numbers and species involved. The first year of the program (2006), there were six total surrendered animals – these were the only ones brave enough to test the  “no questions asked” thing – but the most recent figures (from 2015), 356 animals were surrendered for a total of 2,530 over the course of the whole program. Part of me wonders how many of these people have dropped off multiple pets — “yeah… I know I got this python previously, but I really thought this one would be different. Anyway, here’s another python.” Anyway – some specifically noted species, and some exciting facts:

– Sulcata tortoises (can grow up to 200 pounds and can live up to 150 years from Sahara. Can you imagine being the third-generation of some redneck taking care of his fucking turtle?)

– Ball pythons (originally from the Saraha, but considered “quasi-local” because – say it with me – Florida)

– Capuchin monkeys

– Kangaroos

– Peach-faced Lovebirds (I have no idea what this could possibly be)

– Silver fox

– Kinkajou (If you thought it required an enormous metal robot to fight in “Pacific Rim”, you are wrong — it’s more like a monkey fucked a raccoon in Thailand)

– Burmese pythons (Obviously, they prey on wildlife,  as well as cats, dogs, and sub par golfers trying find their balls in the rough)

– Nile monitor lizards

– Gambian-pouched rats

– Monk parakeets

– Baby camel (WHAT)

– Green iguanas (They don’t necessarily do a ton of ecological damage, but they fuck up peoples’ landscapes which, let’s be real, is a far greater crime)

– Black-spinytail iguanas

– African-spurred tortoise

– Nutria (A large rat from South America, because who wanted to sleep tonight anyway?)

– Cuban treefrogs

– Gopher tortoises

– Lionfish (With no natural predators and highly-spontaneous reproduction, people are encouraged to “Be the Predator!” and capture them with one site providing instructs on HOW TO FILLET AND COOK THEM)

– Sun conure (A parakeet)

– Caique (A parrot)

– Zebra (The zebra in question is supposedly responsible for biting off **part** of a man’s nipple in Oklahoma. This surely resulted in the weirdest Merle Haggard B-side)

– Boa constrictor

– Hedgehogs

– Crested geckos (Previously thought to be extinct!)

– Blue-winged Macaw (South American parrots)

– Mixed cats (An Asian leopard crossed with domestic cat with the intention of looking like a wild cat with the personality of a domestic cat, but likely ending up with a panther who shits on your pillow while absolutely annihilating your couch. You could have got a labradoodle, but noooo, you thought you were better than that)

– Sugar gliders (From Australia) (Disillusioned Dilettante: can we sell this name to Trojan Condoms?)

– African Grey Parrot

– Albino pythons

– Red-Eared Slider Turtle

– Corn snake

– Madagascar Giant Chameleon

– Macac

– Fennec Fox (North Africa)

– Ferrets (New Zealand)

– Coatimundi (South American raccoon)

So if you need a pet, remember to call 1-888-IVE-GOT-1, or as I like to think of it, the same number I call whenever I get laid solely for the purpose of humble bragging.

Disillusioned Dilettante Addition: The following is a real list of the funniest bird names to say out loud:

– Dickcissel

– Bushtit

– Great Tit

– Masked Booby

– Himalayan Snowcock (my favorite)

– Titmouse

– Hoary Puffleg

– Woodcock

– Common Shag

– Red-billed Oxpecker

Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th… That’s all, folks!