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Category Archives: Hard luck in bunches

The New York World, February 4, 1926. It’s a Catch-22: If Caspar were the kinda guy who likes tripe, he’d also have the stones to stand up to waiters.

Boston Daily Globe, January 13, 1926. If you’ve ever typified some wimpy dude as a “Caspar Milquetoast,” you were unwittingly quoting the work of cartoonist H.T. Webster, whose nationally syndicated strip “The Timid Soul” chronicled —without a shred of sympathy— the tribulations of the passive and chinless nebbish. Seems wholly in keeping with the sad bastard’s luck that he should be forgotten even as his name lives on.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 30, 1890. Oog. A little bit of blood on the sheets was considered de rigueur, but this is beyond excessive. (Memo to self: Only 58 more shopping days until World Rabies Day).

Critic-Reporter (Washington, D.C.), February 8, 1872. I sometimes honestly wonder if I’m not getting in over my head with my mince pie researches. Might I be about to awaken a slumbering ancient evil, per about 3,000,000 direct-to-video DVD releases?

And yet I must press on with the work, because lemme tell you, new shit is coming to light faster than I can assimilate it. In addition to these exciting new archival developments, this is a very big day in the Hope Chest Experimental Kitchens, where I am in the midst–nay, the throes–of preparing my very first batch of mince.

And lemme also tell you, this is an extremely labor-intensive pie. Yesterday I got my minced beef ready; today, having earlier shopped for suet and mace and brandy and good stuff like that, I am preparing to chop fruit and start mixing up test batches of mince.

Tomorrow I will be asking a panel of randomly-selected test subjects (i.e. strangers at someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner party) to sample the pie, evaluate its flavor, and get back to me about any physical or psychological side-effects. (And no, I don’t know if this is exactly ethical on my part, okay? But such is my Faustian–Frankensteinian? Mengeleian?–dedication to the advance of historical knowledge.)

Anyway, an account of the results plus an essay on the social history of mince pie will consequently be published in the Chicago Reader, unless of course I can’t make bail.

But before I can proceed with mixing the meth, er, mince, I must wait for my boiled cider to reduce to its appropriate consistency. It was while waiting for my cider to boil that I discovered the above horror, and many other things too strange and wondrous to even think about as I stand here on the threshold of the Hurt Locker.

As for the above item, all I can say is this: Before I put any pies in the oven, I’m definitely gonna put vents in the pastry. (Is this is what people mean when they say “Everything happens for a reason”?)

nitroNew York Tribune, November 9, 1903. Blowed up real good.

wrong girlSan Francisco Chronicle, October 30, 1904. This isn’t the only case of collateral damage through mistaken identity I’ve run across in my acid-throwing researches. The upside, I guess, is that the victim would henceforth never again be mistaken for anybody else. I’m curious about this charge against telegrapher Jack Austin. Is it a crime in Washington to send letters to waitresses? Anyway, why wouldn’t he have send a telegram?

perilBaltimore Afro-American, December 10, 1904. The mysterious, horrible death of George Fahey. This is by way of counterpoint to the preceding item, in which an Irish maniac successfully killed a whole bunch of guys. Here a whole bunch of guys failed to save the life of an Irish maniac. Coincidence, or something much less? Read More »

Dec 15 1889AChicago Tribune, December 15, 1889. It’s Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times as remade by Herschel Gordon Lewis.

GlynnAInteresting little window onto Chicago sporting life in 1876. I’m guessing it’s the gallows for Albert Curtis Smith. I shall try to follow up on this. . .
Oh yeah: they hanged his ass. But only because he refused to cop a manslaughter plea. Bad move, Albert. A far more richly textured account of the matter after the jump. Read More »

grape-juiceDetroit News, May 22, 1931.
Vat a way to go.