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Onward Gilbert and Sullivan!

The musical team of Gilbert and Sullivan meet for the first time this year. Arthur Sullivan is an up and coming composer. He produces parlor music, music for plays and weddings. This year he writes the music to the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" which will later be adopted by the Salvation Army as their processional music. Sullivan is also commissioned to produce Christmas music for a new holiday opera along with William Gilbert. The opera is a success, but the pair will not team up again until a backer commissions a series of original comedic operas including: HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. The legend of Gilbert and Sullivan is born. Sullivan will receive a knighthood for his music, and Gilbert will later be knighted for his dramatic plays... a first in knighthoods. Currently a playwright is not considered proper occupation for a gentleman, but Sullivan will change all that by having his own works properly bound and printed for a gentleman's library. His first bound work will end with Gilbert's comedy, "Trial by Jury". [1] [2] [3]

Gilbert ...closed up the manuscript violently, apparently unconscious of the fact that he had achieved his purpose.... I was screaming with laughter the whole time.
--Sullivan recalling Gilbert's reading of "Trial by Jury". [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Sir William Gilbert wrote one of the longest-running serious operas ever to be an economic failure.... Ivanhoe. Often a production will exceed its budget unless someone is paying attention. It reminds me of the joke slogan for Osborne Computers, "We lose money on every unit but we make it up in volume." (Osbourne made portable computers popular along with Kaypro and GRiD Systems.) I've only seen one Gilbert and Sullivan opera on stage... The Mikado. It is freakin' hilarious, but you have to be paying attention. Some of the jokes can go right past you. I found myself the only person laughing in a massive theater filled to the rafters when I caught a joke so obvious (to me) that I wondered what people were thinking... or if they were thinking at all. I believe the actors appreciated that I caught the joke. They had paused the production briefly to cue the audience. They did everything but flash a sign reading "Laugh here!" Oh well. They did their best and the audience caught most of the jokes. I loved it. [6] [7] [8]

FYI, The Mikado is the opera playing in the cutaway scenes during the movie "Foul Play" as Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase race through San Fransisco. (Yes. That is Dudley Moore conducting the orchestra.) [9]

Good-bye Governor!

The governor of North Carolina has been removed from office. This is the 1st time in US history. As the War Between the States came to a close, many Confederate officials were replaced by appointment like Republican William Woods Holden who was appointed governor of North Carolina, until elected to office in his own right. His Party affiliation has changed over the years and he was in favor of slavery before he was against it. Nevertheless, he has worked hard to bring North Carolina back into the Union. He declares two North Carolina counties "in rebellion" after the KKK hangs Wyatt Outlaw in the public square. On the body is pinned the note: "Beware you guilty both white and black." Details are sparse but Outlaw had initiated night patrols to quell KKK violence. The military arrests the usual suspects and this is where things get tricky. A Federal judge invokes habeas corpus to bring the suspects before him, but the governor delays, expecting the military to try them in military court. The judge demands that the governor provide evidence to hold the suspects. The governor cannot so they are freed. FYI, in the USA you have to PROVE that someone is guilty of the actual crime... unless you make a video about Libya that embarrasses the President and the Secretary of State. Then you are sent to prison and tormented until you are reduced to a cringing, mindless hulk. But back to the Governor: the KKK leaders in the state legislature present articles of impeachment on account of the governor defying habeas corpus and he gets the boot. Is he guilty? Maybe, but he failed to present evidence, so now he is out. KKK rules... for now. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In 1921, Governor Lynn Frazier, Republican of North Dakota was recalled after an economic downturn. Then in 2003, California Governor Gray Davis, Democrat, suffered from criticism over his poor handling of the state's energy crisis. Much of the problem was his Party's own making. The state had partially deregulated the power industry, but without a way for them to expand their power facilities effectively, they went bankrupt. The state turned to power companies outside of the state, but there was a sudden power shortage. (Oh, shucks! How did that happen?) Blackouts and brownouts ensued. Davis declared a state of emergency. The Governor signed long-term deals for energy at ridiculous prices. The energy company, Enron, made a killing. They also engaged in some shady business practices, so they folded, leaving a lot of their investors holding the bag. Governor Davis blamed Enron more than any other factor in losing the governorship. Davis had already removed much of the government stranglehold over the California power industry when Arnold Schwarzenegger gave him the boot. The energy problem was solved. The people waited for the new "Govern-a-tor" to kick the backsides of all those political "girly-men". He was a lot of fun, but ineffective. California is back to business-as-usual... way back... with Jerry Brown in office... again. His former girlfriend, singer Linda Ronstadt, had called him "Governor Moonbeam" and the name stuck. Good luck to them all. They will need it. [15] [16] [17] [18]

The National Rifle Association

"Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and the manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of the sights on his gun or can hit the broad side of a barn."
-- General Ambrose Burnsides, first President of the National Rifle Association.

And that pretty much defines the purpose of the NRA: to improve the skills of the average shooter. And it is not because of hunting. During the War between the States, it took Union soldiers an average of 1,000 shots to hit a Confederate soldier. I'm willing to bet that the Confederates did considerably better, but no doubt it was still a very high number. The idea behind the NRA is to train future soldiers so that they know which end the bullets come out of, and how to use sights. This will translate into free ammunition and targets to help shooters to maintain their skills. The "free ammunition" program through the US Department of War will be discontinued in 1927. The NRA will avoid political issues until the 1960s when they will support gun registration. By the mid-1970s, the NRA will try to distance themselves from the various gun controversies and focus on sports and hunting. In 1994 they will oppose the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) and that will mark a change in direction for the NRA. [19]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was amazed to find that the NRA is an open carry advocate. That would not have happened 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. Regarding the number of bullets fired in a war, that is tracked as a metric by the government and it is always high. I recall an interview with Thomas Sowell, the economist, when he was asked about a recent shooting involving the police. Apparently they used an inordinate number of bullets. He pointed out that anyone using such a weapon in ACTUAL COMBAT will keep pulling the trigger until his target is down. What seems like an excessive number of bullets is simply a normal reaction to pressure. In fact, when I read a book on the taking of Fallujah, a US Marine noted that it could take as many as 17 shots to bring down a man charging his position. He speculated that this was due to the drugs the attackers were consuming, but I'm not so sure. I listened to an interview of an police officer after a shootout with a suspect NOT on drugs. It took more than 10 shots. He figured it was a problem with shot placement. He needed to aim more carefully to hit vital areas. I have also seen a video of police officers firing 100 shots into a vehicle going 5 miles an hour. The driver lived. There wasn't a lot of skill on display... nor much thinking. [20] [21]

In Other News

  • Stray or dangerous dogs can be held and destroyed. The UK authorizes constables to hold stray dogs for 3 days before selling or destroying them. Constables now respond to complaints of dangerous dogs. [22] [23]
  • Jehovah's Witnesses start as a Bible study group in Pittsburgh. They will become the Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society as they anticipate the redemption of the faithful. They will adopt the name Jehovah's Witnesses in 1931. [24] [25]
  • Darwin publishes "The Descent of Man". Apparently evolution shapes society. I heard a report that a gene exists for altruism. That theory was modified when a study proved that people were altruistic ONLY WHEN SOMEONE WAS WATCHING. "Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary." --From 'Rethinking the Theoretical Foundation of Sociobiology' (and mocking a quote from Rabbi Hillel.) [26] [27] [28] [29] [30]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1871, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Onward Christian Soldiers sung by Mahalia Jackson. YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016.
  2. Thespis (opera) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “Thespis premièred in London at the Gaiety Theatre on 26 December 1871. Like many productions at that theatre, it was written in a broad, burlesque style, considerably different from Gilbert and Sullivan's later works. It was a success, for a Christmas entertainment of the time, and closed on 8 March 1872, after a run of 63 performances. It was advertised as 'An entirely original Grotesque Opera in Two Acts'.”
  3. Arthur Sullivan - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “After Iolanthe, Sullivan had not intended to write a new work with Gilbert, but he suffered a serious financial loss when his broker went bankrupt in November 1882. Therefore, he concluded that his financial needs required him to continue writing Savoy operas. In February 1883, he and Gilbert signed a five-year agreement with Carte, requiring them to produce a new comic opera on six months' notice.”
  4. (2004) Operetta: A Theatrical History - Richard Traubner. ISBN 9781135887827. Retrieved on 15 September 2016. 
  5. W. S. Gilbert - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “Gilbert reading the libretto of Trial by Jury to him: 'As soon as he had come to the last word he closed up the manuscript violently, apparently unconscious of the fact that he had achieved his purpose so far as I was concerned, in as much as I was screaming with laughter the whole time.'”
  6. Grid Systems Corporation - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “The GRiD Compass 1100, the first clamshell laptop computer...”
  7. Kaypro - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “The company was founded by Non-Linear Systems to develop computers to compete with the then-popular Osborne 1 portable microcomputer. Kaypro produced a line of rugged, 'luggable' CP/M-based computers sold with an extensive software bundle which supplanted its competitors and quickly became one of the top selling personal computer lines of the early 1980s.”
  8. Osborne 1 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “The Osborne 1 was the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, released on April 3, 1981 by Osborne Computer Corporation. It weighed 10.7 kg (24.5 lb), cost $1,795 US, and ran the CP/M 2.2 operating system. Powered directly from a mains socket as it had no on-board battery, though it was still classed as a portable device as it could be packed away and transported by hand to another location.”
  9. FOUL PLAY (1978) 'THE RACE TO THE OPERA' *uncut - YouTube. youtube.com (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016.
  10. (1996) "William Woods Holden, 24 Nov. 1818-2 Nov. 1892", in Powell, William S.: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “In May 1865 President Andrew Johnson summoned state Union leaders to Washington, D.C., to discuss North Carolina's reentry into the Union, and from that meeting came the decision to appoint Holden provisional governor of the state, in which capacity he served from 29 May to 28 Dec. 1865. In this office he exerted leadership in the reorganization of state, county, and local governments, making more than 3,000 nonpartisan appointments in an effort to unify the state; supervised the taking of amnesty oaths; revised the state constitution to meet national demands and restore federal authority; and worked towards the state's economic recovery. Despite these efforts, he was again denied the governorship in late 1865, when he was defeated by Jonathan Worth. As compensation, he was offered a seat in the U.S. Senate, but declined in order to resume the editorship of the Standard. Later, President Johnson offered him the post of minister to San Salvador, which he chose not to pursue in view of potential confirmation difficulties.” 
  11. History of the Federal Judiciary. Federal Judicial Center (GOVERNMENT SITE) (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “Received a recess appointment from Andrew Johnson on August 19, 1865, to a seat vacated by Asa Biggs; nominated to the same position by Andrew Johnson on December 20, 1865. Confirmed by the Senate on January 22, 1866, and received commission on January 22, 1866. Service terminated on June 4, 1872, due to reassignment.”
  12. Golnick, W. Michael, Jr. (1979). Brooks, George Washington - NCpedia. ncpedia.org. Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “In 1870, Brooks received state-wide attention for his role in terminating the Kirk-Holden War. Many citizens of Alamance and Caswell counties had been arrested for violence connected with the Ku Klux Klan. When Governor W. W. Holden frustrated the writs of habeas corpus issued in their behalf by state Chief Justice Richmond M. Pearson, the defendants got ex-Confederate General Mathew W. Ransom to petition Brooks for their release under the new Fourteenth Amendment. Brooks ordered the prisoners brought before him at the federal court in Salisbury. Governor Holden telegraphed President U. S. Grant to rescind Brooks's order but to no avail. On 19 Aug. 1870, Colonel George W. Kirk of the state militia presented the prisoners as ordered, and Brooks dismissed them all when Kirk failed to present any evidence to substantiate their continued imprisonment.”
  13. Michael Hill (2006). Kirk-Holden War - NCpedia. ncpedia.org. Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “Outlaw was hanged from the limb of an elm tree which pointed to the courthouse. His mouth was slashed and a note pinned to his body: 'Beware you guilty both white and black.'”
  14. Alex Shrugged notes: My remarks over the video about Libya are based on comments made by Glenn Beck on his radio show some time in mid-September. I don't have time to look up a citation at the moment.
  15. California electricity crisis - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “As the FERC report concluded, market manipulation was only possible as a result of the complex market design produced by the process of partial deregulation. Manipulation strategies were known to energy traders under names such as 'Fat Boy', 'Death Star', 'Forney Perpetual Loop', 'Ricochet', 'Ping Pong', 'Black Widow', 'Big Foot', 'Red Congo', 'Cong Catcher' and 'Get Shorty'. Some of these have been extensively investigated and described in reports.”
  16. Gray Davis - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “When the Enron verdicts were rendered years later, convicting Enron and other companies of market manipulation, Davis responded with the following quote: 'Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, more than anyone, are the reason I'm talking to you now from this law firm.'”
  17. Arnold Schwarzenegger - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “As a Republican, he was first elected on October 7, 2003, in a special recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger was sworn in on November 17, to serve the remainder of Davis's term. Schwarzenegger was then re-elected on November 7, 2006, in the 2006 California gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was California State Treasurer at the time. Schwarzenegger was sworn in for his second term on January 5, 2007. In 2011, Schwarzenegger completed his second term as governor.”
  18. Alex Shrugged notes: My comments are based on my memory of what happened at the time.
  19. National Rifle Association - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “Until 1927, the United States Department of War provided free ammunition and targets to civilian rifle clubs with a minimum membership of ten United States citizens at least 16 years of age.”
  20. Fallujah - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016.
  21. Alex Shrugged notes: My recollection of the police officers shooting a drunk in a car comes from my recollection of the event as presented on a news program. I cannot locate the event on YouTube. The interview of the police officer I mention comes from my memory of an episode of the ProArms Podcast. The interview of Thomas Sowell also comes from my expansive but admittedly unreliable memory, so use caution. I think I got it right, but maybe not completely.
  22. Dogs Act 1871 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “The Dogs Act 1871 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which deals with the handling of stray and dangerous dogs.”
  23. Parliament of the United Kingdom. Dogs Act, 1871 (PDF). United Kingdom.
  24. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 432-433. 
  25. Jehovah's Witnesses - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “The group emerged from the Bible Student movement, founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell with the formation of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society, with significant organizational and doctrinal changes under the leadership of Joseph Franklin Rutherford. The name Jehovah's witnesses was adopted in 1931 to distinguish themselves from other Bible Student groups and symbolize a break with the legacy of Russell's traditions.”
  26. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 August 2016. “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex is a book by English naturalist Charles Darwin, first published in 1871, which applies evolutionary theory to human evolution, and details his theory of sexual selection, a form of biological adaptation distinct from, yet interconnected with, natural selection. The book discusses many related issues, including evolutionary psychology, evolutionary ethics, differences between human races, differences between sexes, the dominant role of women in mate choice, and the relevance of the evolutionary theory to society.”
  27. Wilson, David Sloan. Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives. Delta. ISBN 9780385340922. 
  28. David Sloan Wilson - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “Wilson and his co-author E. O. Wilson have become well known[citation needed] for the quote, 'Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary'. This quotation appeared in their paper, 'Rethinking the Theoretical Foundation of Sociobiology'.”
  29. The Rest of 'The Rest Is Commentary'. Forward.com (September 24, 2008). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “The phrase 'everything else is commentary,' or, as it is more frequently encountered, 'the rest is commentary,' has in recent years become such a part of the English language that many people are unaware of its Jewish roots. Yet these origins are indisputable and are clearly traceable to the talmudic story about the two first-century-BCE rabbinic sages, Hillel and Shammai, contemporaries paired together by Jewish tradition as archetypical opposites: Hillel the tolerant and liberal 'loose constructionist' of the Law, Shammai the exacting and inflexible 'strict constructionist.' In one story about them, a gentile comes to both and asks, with the obvious intention of provoking them, to be taught the whole Torah while standing on one leg. Shammai is indeed provoked and gives the man an angry whack with a measuring rod. Hillel replies, 'That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — [and now] go study.'”
  30. David Sloan Wilson tells the BBC that the evolution of altruism in humans is 'solved': it’s group selection (of course). Why Evolution Is True (2016). Retrieved on 15 September 2016. “If you know Wilson’s work, you’ll also know that he tends to explain nearly everything as a result of group selection: differential reproduction of groups rather than of individuals. And altruism is no exception. As he explains to Sutcliffe: 'Groups of altruists do very well compared to groups without altruism.' That’s a pure group-selection explanation. He asserts that the group-selection explanation 'is now becoming widely accepted.'”

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