Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Odd Hobbies - Flaming Toilet Projectiles

(taken from "The 176 Stupidest Things Ever Done" by Ross and Kathryn Petras)

Two men in England during the year 1988, invented a machine that threw gasoline soaked toilets at country fairs. The local paper ran an article about the ingenious contraptions with the headline "THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN AND THEIR FLAMING LATRINES".

The cousin of these enterprising men, thought that if his cousins could make money flinging toilets - then why not build something bigger that could fling even larger things! So a 60 foot tall medieval siege engine was constructed and the flinging began. Dead pigs, dead horses, even pianos were thrown. It was found that dead pigs went the farthest - 175 yards. But the novelty quickly wore off - fortunately before the inventor was to put his next idea into practice - that of flinging live human beings.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Who Is The Black Man In The Boat?

Born about 1750 in Amabou, Africa to wealthy parents, Prince Whipple was sent to America with his brother Coffe (or cousin) to get a good education. Unfortunately, the sea captain was a scoundrel and sold the two boys in the slave market at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They were bought by two brothers, Prince (the older of the two slaves) went with General William Whipple. Prince grew into a trusted and articulate servant for Gen. Whipple. When the Revolutionary War broke out, he followed his master into battle - fighting for liberty which he did not have. It is believed by many that Prince was in the boat with General George Washington when he made his daring crossing of the Delaware River to surprise the British army.

In 1851, Emanuel Leutze painted the famous painting of that fateful crossing and just behind George Washington - can be seen the face of a black man. Prince Whipple, faithful servant, was finally given his freedom and went on to live out his days as a valuable member of society. He was not buried in the segregated black burying ground but in the North Cemetery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His grandson gave him a gravestone befitting this Revolutionary War hero.