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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Fort Worth Telegram, September 19, 1907. The veracity of these wild women stories is of course always judged by the reputability of the witness, so this one is pretty much the gold standard. The man’s a Harvard professor, for God’s sake!
If only the learned Dr. Macauley had managed to chat her up a little, maybe he could have coaxed her home for a My Fair Lady-style program of domestication and uplift. He teaches her language and manners in return for her savage and uncomprehending attempts at domestic service. Could have made for a great Edwardian sitcom.

Washington Post, July 6, 1890. I gave my mini-lecture on Wild Women last night at the Talent Show. The show was a hoot from start to finish, my talk seemed to go over well, and I met some really fun and interesting people. Made me feel like I should work all of this Wild Woman material up into some kind of structured and publishable Thing eventually, as the intelligent laity does seem to find the topic interesting.
The illuminating angle to this entry in the Wild Woman sweepstakes is the admission that such a story could have been woven from whole cloth just to sell newspapers and otherwise contribute to the gaiety of nations.

But note that this description of the Wild Girl of Catahoula is relatively weak tea, and doesn’t have anywhere near as intense a lusus naturae vibe as our previous recorded sighting.

Kansas City Star, April 29, 1908. Sacrificing children isn’t just for Satanists, don’t you know.
Hmm, not a lot of clues as the exact denomination here, but I’m guessing they weren’t high Anglicans.
God can’t get up off the couch and smite his own five-year-old girls? For that matter, couldn’t he provide his servant Bachman with a first name?
“The Smiths and Bachman” has an odd ring to it, considered from a rock angle. No good could have possibly come from such an unholy combination.
Again, frustrating vagueness as to the doctrines and origins of “this new religion.”

Oog. Dating Oom the Omnipotent doesn’t look like such a bad choice all of a sudden.
Atta boy, Bachman: keep punchin’! No looking back!

Baltimore Sun, July 4, 1892. Lately I’m finding running across a lot of wild women whose exile from civilization is attributed to a past episode of seduction and heartbreak. But I’m half inclined to believe that these gals are actually Jungian archetypes on the hoof, especially since, like this one, they almost always reside in caves. And sure, sometimes a cave is just a cave, but only sometimes.

The Chicago Reader just published a profile I wrote about this musician, who deserves to be famous but isn’t.

The amazing Hewlett-Packard Compaq 6510b is back up and running after its sixth or seventh Fedex trip back the manufacturer for service. I wish I’d kept better track of its medical history because it’s all starting to blur at this point. I do know this: I’m on my third hard drive, my third adapter, my second CPU, my second battery, and my second disk drive. It’s really only the same computer I originally bought 18 months ago in the sense that it’s got the same serial number and will almost certainly start fucking up again in a couple of weeks. I’ve still got another year left on the warranty, so I guess I’ll just keep sending it back for rehab on Hewlett-Packard’s dime as needed until the clock runs out. Whereafter I will never, ever buy anything from Hewlett-Packard again. I’m not even gonna buy HP Sauce, even though it’s made by Heinz and I like it on fried eggs.

Damned if I can fathom the business model behind all of this.

In the picture above, you see the computer, its battery, plus a large plastic dingus that’s probably a battery for a Hewlett-Packard device other than the Compaq 6510b. You will note that said dingus is about four inches longer and five inches wider than the battery that fits the computer. Whatever it is, it was sent to me as a replacement battery, and since batteries aren’t covered by the warranty, I had to pay Hewlett-Packard a pretty penny for it. The day it arrived, I called Hewlett-Packard and asked for a prepaid label to ship it back, and I was assured that one would be sent out forthwith. That was like six weeks ago. I called back about it every week after that for 4 weeks: still no label, no info on where to send whatever it is. Of course every time I called it was at least a 30 minute investment of time, and I had to tell the whole story from the beginning to three different people, and nobody would believe me that the thing wouldn’t fit my computer. No one could even tell me what it is: I kept reading them the various numbers on the various stickers on it, none of which illuminated the issue for anyone. At one point I emailed a cellphone pic of the thing to the guy I was talking to. He was unable to identify it, but promised that yes, yes, a shipping label would reach me within five business days. That was weeks ago. Prior to that, I’d already called American Express and told them to suspend the charge to my card, which they obligingly did. I sort of reckoned that would get Hewlett-Packard’s attention, but nope. Not a peep out of them about it. They’re not even functioning racketeers at that firm. If you’ve got Hewlett-Packard stock in your portfolio, sell it ASAP, because nobody is minding the store over there.

But-but-but! I’ve also got some Wonderful News to share with you: This actually fucking works. The same week that my Hewlett-Packard Compaq 6510b threw up its most recent blue screen of death, my backup drive, a Toshiba 250 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive HDDR250E03X, also crashed. So I was pretty sure that I’d lost all of my data, including 99% of all photos and videos I’d ever taken of my kid. And this was severely darking me out, because after all I BACKED THAT SHIT UP THE WAY I WAS SUPPOSED TO.
Anyway, long story short: I put the Toshiba in the freezer overnight per these instructions and recovered my data. And I’ve since learned that this freezer trick is used all the time by your expert data recovery specialists, who in other words are a bunch of shameless pirates, which I already knew, but holy shit am I glad I didn’t give them a chance to shake me down for all of those baby pix, which I probably would have gone four figures for.

Grand Forks Herald, May 8, 1910. The Edwardian era had its garden variety libertines and seducers, but Oom the Omnipotent was operating on an entirely separate plane. Though it was also a pretty crowded plane, according to this reportage. Read more.

New York Times, May 20, 1908. I don’t recall Yahweh signaling His opposition to May-December matches in Scripture, but in this instance He ostensibly sided with George Sterry Jr. against Sterry Sr.’s desire to take a second, younger bride. Read More »

Washington Post, January 22, 1906. Again we see this reflexive assumption that the attacker is crazy, despite the fact that there are any number of precedents for his claim in Scripture. Why, God rarely goes two pages in the Old Testament without putting out a hit on somebody, or ordering up a big-budget genocide for that matter. Read More »

Dallas Morning News, October 14, 1922. I’ve been invited to appear on This American Life again (yay!), this time to talk about the great Gland Larceny Panic that gripped Chicago and squeezed in 1922. While refreshing my acquaintance with the story, it struck me that I could have done a better job organizing and analyzing the available material, plus I never cross-posted any ‘nad theft stuff from the BNFTP annex at the Chicago Reader‘s site. Anyway, I’m going to give it another go. Read More »