Archive for March, 2005

Today’s History:

  • premiered: Oklahoma! (1943) and The Glass Menagerie (1945)
  • Newfoundland: became Canada’s 10th province (1949)
  • Lyndon Johnson: announced he would not seek re-election (1968)

Today’s Birthdays:

  • René Descartes: philosopher who said “I think, therefore I am” (1596-1650)
  • Gordie Howe: ice hockey MVP (77)
  • actors — Shirley Jones (71), Richard Chamberlain (70), Christopher Walken (62), and Ewan McGregor (34)

All this (and more) is available, each day, from

Also, when you receive these from all the names appear as hotlinks but, unfortunately, won’t appear here. I have coloured blue which would appear as hotlinks if you receive these direct.


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Spanking is good for you

I came across an interesting article in this Wednesday’s copy of our free Metro newspaper.

Spanking spans all races

A spanking way to be happy

IT MAY sound a bit kinky but everything from depression to alcoholism can be cured with a beating on the bare bottom, scientists claim. Spanking is more effective than exercise at keeping the blues at bay, say Russian researchers who carried out tests on caning.

They recommend that people receive 30 weekly sessions of 60 of the best High levels of pain make the body produce endorpluns or ‘happy chemicals’ and this leads to feelings of euphoria. Endorphins also boost the immune system, release sex hormones and reduce appetite.

Dr Sergei Speransky, who now charges patients £57 for treatment at Novosibirsk Institute of Medicine, said: ‘The treatment works. I’m not sadistic, at least not in the classical sense, but I do advocate caning.’

This is verrry interrresting! This could well come as quite a shock to the ladies amongst us, but we mere males have known this all our lives.

But the number of times we have been castigated, just because we have wanted to help our loved ones make their body produce endorpluns or ‘happy chemicals’ thus leading to feelings of euphoriaand to boost their immune system, thus release sex hormones and reduce appetite.

And sometimes the roles are reversed!

Ladies, we have born the brunt of your anger because we love you and want to help you to thrive.

And, for some reason, my wife says she is finding all this hard to believe!


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Politicians, sign here.

BDI Poster- available from their website

I hope to have more information on The British Declaration of Independence, once the election has been called. but if this is something you would like to see your MP sign, keep tuned. Please note, this is not a political party.


The Democratic Declaration of a prospective MP to the electorate.

© 2005

I,……………………… hereby irrevocably declare to my electorate that following my election to Parliament and after the BDI Executive Committee has confirmed that a majority of MPs is available to pass the legislation, I shall lay before Parliament and vote for the BDI Bill, or vote in favour of that Bill presented by others, (and continue to do so until the Bill is passed into law) which, in accordance with the rights of all peoples to self determination as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on Civil and Political Rights of 1966:

Asserts the sole authority of the Westminster Parliament to initiate, pass and repeal all legislation and regulation applied to the people of the United Kingdom and asserts the supreme authority of the British judiciary in all law applied to the people of the United Kingdom.

And recognises:

  • the sole allegiance of MPs, ministers and British officials to the Parliament and Democratic institutions of the United Kingdom and that all British subjects owe allegiance, duties and obligations only to the United Kingdom.
  • the exclusive control by the Westminster parliament over who resides within and votes in any elections in the United Kingdom, control over the borders of the United Kingdom and the exclusive right to grant or withhold permission to cross those borders.
  • the historic rights of British subjects to inter alia Habeas Corpus, Trial by Jury and presumed innocence, preventing their extradition to any jurisdiction which does not afford such rights or which refuses to extradite to the United Kingdom.
  • the sole control by the Bank of England of all British gold and foreign currency reserves (and their location within the United Kingdom) and Bank of England or British Government control over the Pound Sterling, British national monetary policy and interest rates.
  • the right of the British Government, as the representative of a Sovereign British people and nation, to sign international treaties and conventions which facilitate free trade and co-operation between nations but which in no way compromise the supreme authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

And I pledge that I will vote against any legislation which explicitly or impliedly repeals or controverts the above principles, so long as I remain a Member of Parliament.

I,…………. being the prospective parliamentary candidate for the ……… Constituency hereby declare that, should I not fulfil the terms of this Agreement when the BDI Bill is presented in Parliament, I will immediately resign so that a by-election may be held and a new mandate obtained for the remainder of the Parliament.


MPs from any political party may sign up for this. And voters may have the opportunity of voting for their party of choice. Go to the site and tell them of any interest you may have.

The link below my sign-out goes straight to the BDI website.


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The first Emperor of the United States

Just who was Emperor Norton?

There is an awful lot that has been written about him on the Internet but very few people, outside of San Fransisco have heard of him. I have, in the past, blogged a brief mention of this man but since then the story has unfolded even more.

The Story of Emperor Norton

Norton I – Emperor of the United States of America

Joshua Abraham Norton, America´s first and only Emperor, was born in London, England on February 14th, 1819. Details of his early life are rather sketchy–almost all that´s really known is that his family moved to Algoa Bay in South Africa during his infancy, where his father prospered as a merchant. It isn´t until his arrival in San Francisco aboard the Dutch schooner Franzika in 1849 that the record begins to fill in.

Norton came to America with a nest egg of thirty thousand dollars, with which he opened a business selling supplies to gold miners, and set about buying up the land that would eventually become San Francisco´s Cow Hollow district.

By 1855, Norton was one of the most respected businessmen in San Francisco, having rebounded from the fire of 1853 and profitably diversified his operations. Already his friends were referring to him as “Emperor”.

It was at this time that he hit on the bold idea of attempting to corner San Francisco´s rice market–the city´s large immigrant Chinese population providing a captive and hungry market, at a time when the only way rice (or almost anything else) arrived was aboard cargo steamships. Investors were quick to sign on, and in a matter of days Norton owned, practically speaking, all the rice in San Francisco. For the first few days it looked like yet another daring success for the Emperor, when two ships, well ahead of schedule and brimming with rice, steamed lazily through the Golden Gate. One shipment he might have been able to buy up as well; two was a backbreaker, and in a matter of minutes Norton was ruined.

He spent the next three years in court, and emerged penniless in 1858. Packing together his meager belongings, Norton disappeared for about nine months; no record tells where he went. He returned suddenly in the late summer of 1859, proudly walking the streets in a beaver hat and naval regalia, arguably mad. By September, Emperor Norton was no longer able to contain his secret. He walked into the offices of the San Francisco Bulletin and presented them with this single sentence, which they ran on the next edition´s front page:

“At the peremtory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the past nine years and ten months of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these United States, and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall of this city, on the 1st day of February next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.”

Norton I
Emperor of the United States
September 17th, 1859

That day people on the streets began greeting Norton with deep bows and curtsies. The tacit public acceptance was immediate and profound, and San Francisco had a wise and caring monarch to reign over its gilded age.

Norton I ruled by proclamation, and it didn´t seem to faze him if not all his edicts were carried out. If taxes or water rates were too high, he commanded that they be lowered; if there were inadequacies in the city services, he ordered improvements. On the eve of the Civil War he temporarily dissolved the Union, and after the Prussian victory in 1872, he ordered a week of continuous celebration and thanksgiving. Bay Area newspapers competed for the honor of posting his proclamations, and more than once they devised fakes to generate sales and interest, a practice against which the Emperor railed angrily.

Norton’s 50c currency note

Here is an example of the money Emperor Norton issued, recently auctioned for four figures in New York.

Few monarchs ever had Norton´s common touch; he abjured seclusion and luxury. He attended every public function or meeting, always arriving by foot or bicycle rather than coach, and performed daily rounds of his capital´s streets, making sure the police were on their beats, and that cleanliness, harmony and order prevailed. If he noticed someone performing some kind act or other, he might spontaneously ennoble them, from which practice the expression “Queen for a day’ was obtained. The titles were especially popular with children, who would follow him in groups, looking everywhere for liter to pick up or old ladies to help across the street.

Emperor Norton was walking in the city when he saw a group of people behaving in such a way that a possible outbreak of an anti-Chinese riot could raise its ugly head. As there were none of his imperial constables around, he stood between the angry mob and the Chinese, and, bowing his head, recited the Lord’s Prayer, until the mob dispersed in shame.

In 1872, an edict proclaimed that

Whoever after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word “Frisco,” which has no linguistic or other warrant, shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor, and shall pay into the Imperial Treasury as penalty the sum of twenty-five dollars.

And to this day, San Fransiscians never refer to their city as ‘Frisco.

Norton´s personal expenses were few. He ate free of charge at whatever restaurant suited him, had three seats reserved for him at every theatrical performance (one for himself and one each for his famously well-behaved dogs,) Bummer and Lazarus); the city itself actually paid for his uniforms and the local Masonic Lodge paid for his small apartment. Nonetheless, whenever necessary, Norton had his own currency printed, which was accepted everywhere without question–at a time when U.S. paper money was still regarded with distrust in California. He also had the option of levying taxes, for which his normal procedure was to walk into the offices of an old business friend and politely announce an imperial assessment of ten million or so dollars, but could quickly be talked down to two or three, or perhaps a cigar, with which he would walk out entirely satisfied.

Still though, this wasn´t really legal, and feelings towards Norton I amongst the police were rather mixed. In January of 1867, in fact, he was arrested “to be confined for treatment of a mental disorder,’ and held at the police station pending a hearing. The public outrage was immediate; every newspaper editorial denounced the action, and there was the real possibility of a riot. Chief of Police Patrick Crowley himself opened the cell doors, and issued a lengthy public apology to the Emperor. Norton himself was magnanimous about the whole affair, and from then on his relations with the police became much more congenial. He lead their annual parades and inspected the new cadets; members of what he now called his Imperial Constabulary saluted him when he passed.

Norton I was a great believer in progress and innovation, and many of the ideas for which he was sometimes regarded as mad have become realities. He issued numerous proclamations proposing and then finally commanding the construction of a suspension bridge linking San Francisco and Oakland, complete with his own design sketches. His planned San Francisco terminus is within a block of where the Bay Bridge abuts now, and a plaque on it bears testimony to his foresight. He was also convinced that travel by air would one day become common, and commissioned panels of researchers and designers to create plans for airships.

The historical twilight of monarchy was gathering, however, and Norton made it part of his mission to restore whatever luster he could to it. He sent frequent cables to fellow rulers, offering surprisingly well-informed advice, or reflecting on the complex responsibilities of rulership. Many of the responses he got were in fact forgeries, created by his friends to make him happy, but many were not. King Kamehameha of Hawaii (known as the Sandwich Isles) was so taken with the Emperor´s insight and understanding that towards the end of his life he refused to recognize the U.S. State Department, saying he would deal only with representatives of the Empire.

Emperor Norton’s gravestone.

Norton I died quite suddenly of apoplexy, on January 8th, 1880, on the corner of California and Grant, on his way to a scientific conference. He left no heir. San Francisco went into a period of deep mourning for three days. Ten thousand people, from every walk of life, lined up to view his mortal remains; his funeral cortege was two miles long. At 2:39 that day, during his funeral, San Francisco experienced a total eclipse of the sun. Fifty-four years later, Norton´s coffin was reinterred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Colma–once again, flags throughout the city were lowered and businesses closed their doors. About sixty thousand people attended the ceremony, which was accompanied by full military honors and dolorous taps.

This is only a short precis of his story, for more amazing revelations, take a look at This is an Emperor Norton site. It is part of a “Site Ring” and from there you can visit all the sites of the ring. It has an amazing number of links to read further.

The writer of this precis was a South African called Pat Conlon who used to own a South African restaurant in San Fransisco. Alas I can no longer find his restaurant or any mention of it on the Internet. If you read this, Pat – please e-mail me.

I would guess that if Tony Blair could write his own epitaph it would beWould only the public remember and treat me as well as the peoples of San Fransisco treated this eccentric madman”

Emperor Norton – the Opera

Here are some writups on an opera written by Henry Mollicone for the Emperor.

“While the plot device is complicated for such a short work, Henry Mollicone manages, by his expert, assured craftsmanship, to produce coherence and several touching scenes…the two big set pieces…are powerfully worked out in a Straussian vein of soaring lyricism.”

“It…offers up a genuine testimonial to qualities all too painfully lacking among opera composers of the younger generation–craftsmanship, fluency and accessibility. Little things like that. …It is expressively and even beautifully written for the voice, and the ensembles are cohesive, soaring affairs.” –THE SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER – Allan Ulrich

” Henry Mollicone ‘s operas–at least those that have been produced in the Washington area–have the virtues of succinctness, distinctive melody and a strongly developed sense of style that matches the composer’s eclectic tastes. His most popular work so far…seems to be The Face on the Barroom Floor, produced a few years ago by Opera Southwest, but Emperor Norton, as performed by the same company, is an even more effective work of art.”

And some published books:

  • Emperor Norton’s Ghost by Dianne Day (1998) Doubleday Book – fiction
  • A Rush of Dreamers – Being the remarkable story of Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico by John Cech (1997) Marlowe & Company – fiction
  • Norton I, Emperor of the United States by William Drury (1986) Dodd, Mead & Co. Inc.
  • Emperor Norton of San Francisco by William M. Kramer (1974) Norton B. Stern
  • The Forgotten Characters of Old San Francisco by Robert E. Cowan, Anne Bancroft & Addie L. Ballou (1965) The Ward Ritchie Press – much expanded edition of the 1938 book
  • Emperor Norton, Mad Monarch of America by Allen Stanley Lane (1939) Caxton Printers
  • San Francisco’s Emperor Norton by David Warren Ryder (1939) Ryder
  • Brief mentions:

  • The Emperor of the United States and Other Magnificent British Eccentrics by Catherine Caufield (1981) Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd
  • Strange Stories Amazing Facts (1976) Readers Digest Publications
  • The Last Days of the Late Great State of California (1968) by Curt Gentry
  • Square Pegs by Irving Wallice
  • Humbugs and Heros by Richard Dillon
  • San Francisco is Your Home by Samuel Dickson (1947) Stanford University Press
  • The Forgotten Characters of Old San Francisco by Robert E. Cowan (1938) The Ward Ritchie Press
  • The Fairy Tales from the Gold Lands by Mary Wentworth (1868) Anton Roman & Co. – fictional story “Emperor Norton”
  • Ishmael by Barbara Hambly (1985) – Star Trek Novel – Spock meets Emperor Norton
  • The Barbary Coast by Herbert Asbury
  • The Wrecker by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – Character of the King is based off of Norton

Film and Video:



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Stupidity amongst the elite.

Howard Cooper – Wirrel

Howard Cooper says we shouldn’t refer to children as gifted or talented as this is elitest. The following newspaper article, written by James Tozer explains…

CLEVER children should not be called gifted or talented as it `suggests exclusiveness’, an education chief has told his staff.

Instead, according to the edict from Howard Cooper, they should be referred to as ‘very able, with specific gifts or talents’.

The order came in a report by the director of education at Labour-led Wirral Council on Merseyside.

Introducing his conclusions, Mr Cooper wrote: ‘The most significant amendment concerns terminology, with a movement away from the term “gifted and talented” because of its suggestion of exclusiveness and relatively narrow scope.

`The recommended alternative term for the cohort of pupils to whom this document applies is “very able, with specific gifts and talents”, to be shortened for ease of use to “very able”.

Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, criticised the edict for portraying achievement as elitist and some-thing to be frowned upon.

‘This is another example of the highly damaging egalitarian ethos which maintains that no one should be more successful than anyone else,’ he said.

‘It shows there is still a politically correct philosophy in they educational establishment which believes that by banning certain words, it can change the way people think.

‘Instead, we should be telling schools that one of their most important tasks should be to identify pupils’ gifts and nurture them – that’s nothing to be ashamed of.’

One child whose ability has not been hampered by concerns over ‘exclusivity’ is Mikhail Ali, from Bramley, West Yorkshire. At the age of three, he has recorded an
IQ of 137 to become Mensa’s youngest member.

The Wirral proposal appears to contradict official Labour policy under which the Department for Education has a Gifted and Talented Unit.

This aims to help clever children, particularly from inner-city schools, achieve their potential.

Well, Mr Cooper, it is all relative really, isn’t it?

A friend of mine who is a local school teacher was telling me about an awkward illiterate Father that she had been having problems with. His son, at the school has not done very well and managed only to get two GCSEs (C Grade). Most of us, Mr Cooper, could hardly call the poor boy gifted. But this is where “relative” comes into the equation.

I mean, compared with you, Mr Cooper, and the remarks you have recently made, as detailed above, this boy is extremely able and gifted and talented. Do you understand now what is meant by “relative”? It wasn’t your sister as you probably first thought.


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I don’t believe it

One of the Dambusters two targets

The Mail on Saturday had a huge feature debunking Guy Gibson’s achievements with the Dambusters.

They claim he was a pompous bully, a ruthless philanderer, a braggart despised by his colleagues, etc. etc.

Personally I don’t believe it. The PC brigade and Guardian reader take a great delight in destroying everything that ordinary English people hold dear.

These bastards hate Britain and the British, this is never more clearly illustrated than their hell-bent race to immerge our nation into the EU and destroy every last memory of our greatness.

But even if Guy Gibson was all that they pretend he turned out to be? Who cares? He got the fucking job done, didn’t he?

Please excuse my language, I have just come back from the EU mainland.

And why do I read the Daily Mail? The short answer is, I don’t. Well, I do buy it every Saturday because of the colour magazine. They have the best radio and television listings. I get seven A3 pages of radio and television for every day (49 pages for the weeks listening and viewing) for just 70p.


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Lord Callaghan dies

When I heard this, I immediately thought, so what? I never liked the man, and I never liked the “Winter of discontent”.

But then I heard something else that sort of changed my view a little. No, on reflection, it changed my mind a lot.

I learned he died just eleven days after his wife died.

So I reappraise my views. I mean, with love of this kind… there must have been something a little more to the man than I first thought.

Rest in peace, Lord Callaghan.


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