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Category Archives: Hard luck

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 »

Wilkes Barre Times Leader, October 16, 1922. We’re not talking about the pituitary here, nor the thymus. But do not leap to the conclusion that we’re looking at the Chicago equivalent of bang-utot or that African hysteria whereby a stranger shakes a feller’s hand and the latter’s johnson disappears. The above-named victims really were sporting conspicuously clean trouser lines. Some of the blanks will be filled in, others not. But is “gland banditry” not an awesome phrase? [Thanks to krrraft for putting me onto this phenomenon.]

Anagrams for “gland banditry”:

Try bang, Dad: nil.

A dry blind gnat.

A dirndl by Tang.

The Pittsfield [Mass.] Sun, October 8, 1868. Accidental poetry like this was, of course, a byproduct of the telegraph. And this is recognizably the sort of thing that Thoreau was anticipating when he famously wrote in 1854 that “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate… We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.” Thoreau was a joyless old poop. I’ll take stuff like this over a dreary proto-Unabomber tract like Walden Pond any day of the year. It lighteneth the mynd, it quickeneth the spirits, it addeth to the gaiety of nations.

San Francisco Bulletin, June 11, 1891. I appreciate it when some obliging newspaper editor has done all the gleaning and gathering for me. Thank you, nameless long-dead newspaperman.

New Hampshire Patriot and Gazette, March 16, 1853. Que ferait McGyver?

The [Charleston] Southern Patriot, July 31, 1844. Talk about cutting out the middleman.

p i 12 6 48 eyePhiladelphia Inquirer, December 6, 1848. It’s all fun and games until someone loses a cerebellum.

nat int 9 24 33 2National Intelligencer, September 24, 1833. Karmic turnaround doesn’t come any faster than that.

pane 1 29 1895San Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 1895. An ill-timed visit.

funeralNew York Times, February 6, 1900. One sort of wonders what that fateful tumbler full of carbolic acid was doing on that near-by table. Anyway, we’re going to be concentrating for a while on America’s erstwhile national pastime: throwing acid. We’ve already established that this charming mode of personal expression ran the class gamut from penthouse to pavement. But that scarcely scratches the surface if the dizzying social diversity of acid throwers and their motives. Stay tuned.