Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Bill

July 1958 -
Bill Watterson, cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes cartoon series, was born on this date.

Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.

It's the 11 year anniversary of the Rev. J. R. "Bob" Dobbs pronouncement that the world would be destroyed by invading alien armies known as the X-ists on July 5, 1998.

As I have posted this days earlier and aliens from Planet X (or Koreans) might be using a different calendar system - if the world has indeed ended (or Hawaii lays in ruins), boy do I have egg on my face.

July 5, 1794 -
Sylvester Graham was born in Suffield, Connecticut, on this date. He was ordained in 1826 as a Presbyterian minister. He was an early advocate of dietary reform in United States most notable for his emphasis on vegetarianism, and the temperance movement, as well as sexual and dietary habits.

Graham believed that a firm, crusty bread made of coarsely ground whole-wheat flour was more nutritious and healthy. He correctly argued that chemical additives in bread that make it whiter in color, and more commercially appealing also made it unwholesome.

Graham was also inspired by the temperance movement and preached that a vegetarian diet was a cure for alcoholism, and, more importantly, sexual urges. The main thrust of his teachings was to curb lust. While alcohol had useful medicinal qualities, it should never be abused by social drinking. For Graham, an unhealthy diet stimulated excessive sexual desire which irritated the body and caused disease. While Graham developed a significant following known as Grahamites, known for stuffing Graham crackers in their mouths when the urge came over them (as opposed to Sodomites known for stuffing ... oh never mind.) He was also ridiculed by the media and the public for his unwavering zealotry. According to newspaper records, many women fainted at his lectures when he aired opinions both on sexual relations and the wearing of corsets. Whether their fainting was due to the subject matter or the tight corsets they wore is still debated.

July 5, 1801 -
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, born on this date, was the first senior officer of the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and full admiral of the Navy. He is remembered in popular culture for his possibly apocryphal order at the Battle of Mobile Bay, usually paraphrased: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!".

If you have the time go out and see him, he's in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York. (I guess that's only convenient if you're near the Bronx.)

If you're not in the Bronx, you can check out his Memorial statue in Madison Square Park in Manhattan.

July 5, 1865 -
Booth led boldly with his big bass drum—
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
The Saints smiled gravely and they said: “He’s come.”
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed, rank on rank,
Lurching bravoes from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale—
Minds still passion-ridden, soul-powers frail:—
Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death—
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)

The Salvation Army began with the efforts of two founders, William Booth and Catherine Booth, to bring salvation to the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and the destitute. On this date, William Booth established The Christian Mission in London, England, which would later be called as The Salvation Army in 1878. The name was changed to The Salvation Army (apparently by the request of an initial member; the Christian Mission's mission-statement originally called the organization a 'volunteer army', and the speaker felt that he wasn't strictly a 'volunteer') and a quasi-military outlook was adopted.

When William Booth became known as the General, Catherine was known as the “Mother of The Salvation Army.” William preached to the poor, and Catherine spoke to the wealthy, gaining financial support for their demanding work. She also ministered, which was a revolutionary act at the time. From the beginning it was already clearly stated in the Foundation Deed of the Christian Mission, that women had the same rights to preach as men. Together the Booths worked tirelessly to help others and brought a spiritual and practical message of rejuvenation. As William said, “The three ‘S's’ best expressed the way in which the Army administered to the 'down and outs': first, soup; second, soap; and finally, salvation.

Introduced on July 5, 1937, the name "Spam" was chosen in the 1930s when the product, whose original name was far less memorable (Hormel Spiced Ham), began to lose market share. The name was chosen from multiple entries in a naming contest. A Hormel official once stated that the original meaning of the name Spam was "Shoulder of Pork and hAM". According to writer Marguerite Patten in Spam – The Cookbook, the name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and the brother of a Hormel vice president. At one time, the official explanation may have been that the name was a syllabic abbreviation of "SPiced hAM", but on their official website, Hormel denies this and states that "SPAM is just that. SPAM." The fact that the originator was given a $100 prize for coming up with the name, however, still appears on the site's SPAM FAQs.

Other varieties of Spam include Spam Less Sodium, Spam Garlic, Spam and Cheese, Spam with Bacon (Hormel bacon), Spam Spread, Spam Lite (containing pork and chicken), Spam Golden Honey Grail, Spam Hot and Spicy (with Tabasco sauce), Spam Hickory Smoked, and Spam Oven Roasted Turkey - the latter is a halal food, meaning that it is allowed under Islamic law, and is especially popular in Muslim markets.

So is it really something posing as meat.

And so it goes

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