Absolutely and completely useless trivia about extremely important current events

Obama and McCain are both descendants of slave owners and of Confederate soldiers. They are also both descendants of King Edward I of England (and thus of his ancestors, including Henry II/Eleanor of Aquitaine, King John, William the Conqueror, and if medieval mythology is to be believed, Satan) and of King William I (“The Lion”) of Scotland. (Source: New England Ancestors: the Journal of the New England Historic and Genealogical Society for the Edward I of England/William I of Scotland connection, old lore for the Satanic descent [googleMelusine Angevin Satan for more info- or go here.)

Lehman Brothers began as a dry goods store for cotton farmers in 1850 in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. The brokerage began when brothers Henry and Emmanuel Lehman (Bavarian Jewish immigrants whose father had a similar business for cattle farmers back home) began taking parts of cotton crops in exchange for credit and loans. They abandoned dry goods altogether and relocated to NYC to open a commodities brokerage shortly before the Civil War. (The building they originally occupied is still there and has been everything from a witchcraft shop to a gay bar in recent years.)

One of the first contemporary written accounts of any kind set in North America and the first involving a black man in North America concern a terrible storm (possibly a hurricane) in what is now Galveston. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (the name literally means cow head and has an interesting etymology, but that’s another story) and his men had been stranded in Florida during the disastrous Narvaez expedition but managed to build boats and sail from Florida to Texas (trying for Mexico) by staying within sight of the coast. A terrible storm killed many of the survivors and stranded the rest on what is now Galveston, where they were enslaved. (One of the men was already a slave- an African named Esteban- whose life is quite interesting in and of itself.) The party eventually escaped and made their way to Spanish Mexico, where they wrote accounts of their journey.

Speaking of hurricanes, the word hurricane is based on a Mayan god, Huracan, a one legged deity who can generate water storms or fire, uses a snake for a prosthetic leg, has a snout like an aardvark, and smokes a cigar. He once destroyed most of humanity with floods in a story similar to the Noah legends (well, at least insomuch as it involves humanity getting destroyed with floods).

please to leave more or bring pie

Shouldn’t you be working on writing a BOOK?


The State of Arizona is the 48th state to be admitted to the United States. The last of the contiguous states.

And Alaska (Palin) is the 49th, Hawaii (Obama) the 50th, and Delaware (Biden) the 1st. Hadn’t thought of that, but tis odd.

The current chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, used to play saxophone in high school and worked at a tourist trap called South Of The Border near Dillon, South Carolina to put himself through school.

Merrill-Lynch went from prosperous trading house to BIG BOY trading house when it took over the financially troubled Pathé (the first huge silent film studio) in 1921 and reworked it into RKO.

The word Wasilla literally means “breath of fresh air” in an Athapaskan dialect (something I’m surprised Palin hasn’t used to her advantage in bios).

GPA ain’t as important as the diploma I suppose:
McCain graduated 894 of 899 in his class at the Naval Academy & Joe Biden graduated 76th (79th by some records) of 85 students in law school.

Obama’s brother-in-law Konrad Ng is a Canadian citizen. He and Obama’s sister Maya are Buddhists.

Having stopped many times at SOTB in my travels, many recent US economy policy decisions make a lot more sense.

OMG, I just realized… yeah, I know that place also. I don’t know if it’s still this way, but it used to have signs advertising it literally all the way to New England, each one a little different and all with a cartoon Mexican [sombrero and burro and all] and the mileage. Things like “No Cucarachas here! 400 More Miles to South of the Border!” “Take Your Siesta with us- 150 More Miles to South of the Border!”, then when you got within 50 miles or so they started coming every mile and then every few hundred feet. By the time you got there you absolutely HAD to stop, no questions about it, to see what all the signs were about!

I remember buying a set of round playing cards there, which when I was a kid I thought were super cool, but almost impossible to shuffle. My mother bought a gag gift T-shirt for my brother of a sad faced frog sitting on a toilet saying “I’m so happy I could shit…” (this was about 1980, when that was racier), but then wouldn’t give it to him for fear [knowledge?] he’d actually wear it in public.
And welcome back Sean!

Often, a small slice
Of obscure information,
Fills us with insight.

Opened today’s paper and read a fascinating bit on McCain’s family ties to Mississippi. His mom’s side of the family first settled in northeast Mississippi in the late 18th century. His dad’s side of the family (originally from Scotland) came to Mississippi in the mid-1800’s.

Sen. McCain’s great- great- grandfather, William Alexander McCain, died during the Civil War in 1863. At his death, he owned a 2,000-acre plantation in Tallahatchie County known as Teoc.

Blues legend “Mississippi” John Hurt was later born at Teoc.

The first John Sidney McCain was also born at Teoc (1851). He served as sheriff of Carroll County.

Sen. McCain’s great-great uncle, Henry Pickney McCain, retired as a Major General in the U.S. Army. Camp McCain, the Mississippi Army National Guard training site in Grenada Co. is named after him (some say all of the “Fighting McCains”, as the whole clan is known for career military men).

In addition to training U.S. Army troops, Camp McCain served as a POW camp for German soldiers during WWII (one of 4 in Miss.). At the height of its POW camp status, it held more than 7,500 German prisoners.

I had no idea. I’ve never even heard any of this mentioned - and that’s surprising to me, as many McCain lovers as I run into here.

Indianola, Texas was the largest port on the Texas coast until a couple of hurricanes destroyed it in the second half of the 19th Century. In the 1890s, Isaac Cline, chief meterologist for the US Weather Bureau in Galveston, dismissed the idea of a hurricane causing damage to Galveston. In an article in the city’s paper, he called the idea “an absurd delusion.”

After Galveston was destroyed by the 1900 Storm, Cline claimed that he had run up and down the beach as the storm approached, urging people to seek shelter, but no one would corroborate his story. People bitterly referred to the 1900 Storm as Isaac’s Storm. A year after the storm, the Weather Bureau’s office moved to New Orleans, and Cline moved with it.