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Altered States of the Union

To the tune of “Old Rosin the Beau

An anthology’s coming this summer
So hurry to order, don’t wait,
Glenn Hauman’s the editor of ‘er
The publisher is Crazy Eight.

The publisher is Crazy Eight,
The publisher is Crazy Eight.
Glenn Hauman’s the editor of ‘er
And the publisher is Crazy Eight.

They say it has hundreds of pages
Well who gives a darn if it do
Each sentence is real entertaining–
You’ll laugh ’til you bust and cry too.

You’ll laugh ’til you bust and cry too, &c.

The stories will be mostly truthful;
You have to just go with the flow
Had one or two details been different
In the history most of us know.

In the history most of us know, &c.

So come over to IndieGoGo
And plunk down a dollar or three
Your reward will be measured in heaven;
(While a buck and a half goes to me).

A buck and a half goes to me, &c.

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Advance Whigs

Anti-Annexation Procession

ADVANCE WHIGS.

Air — “Boatman’s dance.

Come Whigs prepare to enter the chase,
We can beat any man of the Loco race,
We beat them in forty, we can beat them more,
And use up their party in forty.four.

Advance Whigs, advance,
Your country’s cause advance,
And never rest a day, ’till Henry Clay
The White House is adorning.
Heigho, to the polls we’ll go,
And vote for the Western Statesman O.
Heigho, to the polls we’ll go,
And vote for the Western Statesman O.

In forty we sang them out of tune,
And whipt them with that same old coon;
For Henry Clay the good and true,
We’ve nought but voting now to do.

Advance Whigs, &c.

There’s James K. Polk to freemen callous,
May go along with two-faced Dallas,
With MARKLE we’ll make Pennsylvany,
As good a state for Clay as any.

Advance Whigs, &c.

The will of the people will soon be told,
And Matty will remain at Lindenwold,
We’ll show the Locos very soon,
They cannot kill that same Old Coon.

Advance Whigs, &c.


NOTES:

The Loco Race refers to the Locofocos, who were a faction of the Democrats.  The Whigs pretended that the Democrats were all Locofocos.

We beat them in forty — the election of 1840, when Tyler and Tippecanoe won.  Victory was short-lived.  William Henry “Old Tippecanoe” Harrison died a month after taking office, leaving  “His Accidency,” “the traitor Tyler” in the White House, vetoing Whig bills.  Tyler got thrown out of the party.

“Use up” is an Americanism.  Today it mostly refers to supplies (e.g. “Do we have more toothpaste?  This tube is used up.”)  In the 1840s people, political parties, books, plays, and anything else that could be exhausted, a failure, or otherwise useless could be “used up.”

Henry Clay, “the Great Compromiser,” “the Western Statesman,” “The Western Star,” “the Same Old Coon,” had been serving in various political post for a coon’s age.   He served as Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams.  He represented Kentucky in both the US Senate and US House of Representatives (where he also served as Speaker of the House).  A drinker, a gambler, a duelist, and a slave-holder (Richard M. Johnson came right out and said Clay was having sex with his slaves), Clay held many contradictions.  Abraham Lincoln, a Whig himself, considered Clay  the “ideal of a great man.”

Clay’s second run for president was in 1832 as a National Republican.  Another National Republican was Congressman Davy Crockett (who went on to die at the Alamo in 1836).  This may shed a new light on Crockett’s famous coonskin cap.

Polk, the Democratic candidate, was “to freemen callous,” in that he supported slavery.  Dallas, although personally pro-abolition, was two-faced for the same reason.

Joseph Markle was the Whig candidate for governor of Pennsylvania (can you tell this was a Philadelphia song book?)  It turned out that “Pennsylvany” was as good a state for Clay as any: Clay lost there, too.

“Matty” is Martin Van Buren; Lindenwold was Van Buren’s estate in New York.


Tomorrow: WHIG QUODLIBET

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Weird Phenomena

The world is stranger than we think. (I live in these parts and have been to most of these places.)

Obscure Vermont

One thing is indisputable; Vermonters have been experiencing and talking about weird phenomena for a good long time. While some of these oddities may be easier to explain or theorize, others, much to the chagrin of some, remain puzzling and controversial conundrums. I’ve written about a few of them here, using research and other information that has came to me over time. And I’m sure there is far more that has yet to make it into public consciousness. As to what the truth is, I’ll leave that up to the readers.

Newark’s Strange Hum

There are some people in the vicinity of the tiny kingdom town of Newark that are being bothered by a mysterious low-pitched hum, but no one seems to know where it’s coming from, or what’s behind it. To make matters more interesting – no one seems to have any idea exactly when it started. It first reached public attention in March…

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What This Election Year Needs is a Good Anthology

Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services

Altered-States-promo-art-640_thumb.jpgAnd hoo-boy, have we got one for you: Altered States of the Union, edited by Glenn Hauman for Crazy 8 Press.  (Full disclosure: Jim Macdonald and I have a story in it.)

Altered States is a collection of original alternate-history stories in which the states of the USA are  . . . not as we know them.  It’s being crowdfunded through Indiegogo, and you can reach its web page here.

Rewards being offered for supporters range from a copy of the e-book version of the anthology (at the $5 level, or $3 for the first 20 early-bird pledges) to tuckerization* in one of the stories (at the $200 level; six chances are being offered.)  The official publication date is scheduled for the Shore Leave science fiction convention being held July 15-17, 2016, in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

So here’s your chance to be a patron of the arts and…

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Hurrah?

Matty takes his second bath in Salt RiverHURRAH SONG.

The locos say there is no tune,
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!
To sing to this New Jersey Coon,
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!
But we can tell them something better;
We’ll have a rhyme for every letter!
Hurrah, &c.
Now, Whigs, three cheers for all the states,
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!
For we have got our candidates,
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!
And we are sure they will be chosen,
Both Harry Clay and Frelinghuysen!
Hurrah, &c.
The locos have done all they can,
Hurrah; hurrah, hurrah!
And “Martin is a used up man,”
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!
And locos hide their eyes in shame,
Since Clay and Frelinghuysen came!
Hurrah, &c.


I’m almost ashamed of this one.  What’s the matter, Whigs?  Had half a page you needed to fill up?

The locos are the Locofocos, the radical Democrats.

The New Jersey Coon is Theodore Frelinghuysen (the coon was the Whigs’ symbolic animal).  Clay is Henry Clay, “the same old coon.”

Martin is Martin Van Buren, and “used up” means wasted, finished, of no further use.


A better song tomorrow, I promise:  Advance Whigs!

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Altered States of the Union

 

Okay, guys, join the crowd funding project to bring about a more perfect anthology… Altered States of the Union.

You know you want to.  You know that Henry Clay and Frelinghuysen want to.  You know that James K. Polk already has. So let’s get the ball rolling!

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Let the Banner Fly!

Clay/Frelinghuysen/Markle/Stewart banner

Let the banner fly!

 

COME FRIENDS, GATHER ‘ROUND.

Tune—Lucy Neal
Come, friends of Markle, gather round.
And join us in our song,
To rout the sly old “Lumbermen
It will not take us long.

With Mississinewa,
With Mississinewa,
Protection for our artizans.
And Mississinewa.

We want no Parson at the helm,
Nor Injins at the mast,
But a clever Western Farmer,
Shall guide us through the blast,

Old Mississinewa,
Old Mississinewa,
Protection for our artizans,
And Mississinewa.

The Keystone waking up at last,
She’s right for forty four,
The silent votes will tell the tale.
For Clay and Theodore.

Clay and Theodore,
Clay and Theodore,
General Markle too we sing,
With Clay and Theodore.

Mechanics too, and labouring men.
Will bid the Lokies walk;
And not a berry will be left,
Upon the lone-Polk stalk!

Clay and Theodore,
Clay and Theodore,
General Markle too we sing,
With Clay and Theodore.

Our Principles, the country’s weal, —
We ask but these — no more;
List! this our watchword in the fight —
Is “Clay and Theodore!” (Repeat.)

Let the Keystone’s loud huzza ring out,
Our brother Whigs to tell,
That here the poison will not take,
Huzza! huzza! “all’s well!”

Huzza! huzza! huzza!
Huzza! huzza! huzza!
Once more we’ll make the welkin ring,
Huzza! huzza! all’s well!


NOTES:

We’re talking about Joseph Markle, here, the (unsuccessful) Whig candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.   Who the “Lumbermen” might be is obscure to me, other than that it was some faction in Pennsylvania state politics.  I shall continue to research this one.

Mississinewa was the battle of Mississinewa (December 17/18, 1812) in Indiana, during the War of 1812.  Markle had raised a company of mounted soldiers, became their captain, and went to the western frontier.  Mississinewa was a winter attack on three, perhaps four, Native American villages.  Markle was a very junior officer there and would have had little authority.   In the event, of the 600 US troops who participated, 300 were casualties from combat or frostbite, and one regiment had to be disbanded.  Both sides claimed victory.

“Protection of our artizans” refers to the Whigs’ protective tariffs,  as opposed to the Democratic free trade with England.  (Rumors of millions in gold being spread around by British merchants to ensure free trade agreements were probably just rumors.)

The “parson” would be Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg, the Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, an ordained minister.  Who, or what faction, the “Injins” were is also obscure to me; at the time  Tammany Hall in New York was figuratively represented by Native Americans, but unless they’re trying to say that Tammany Hall was influencing Pennsylvanian politics I don’t know what’s up with this. Something else to research.

“Helm” and “mast” refer to the ship of state.

“The Keystone” is Pennsylvania.  The silent votes are the same as our current silent majority.

Clay is Henry Clay,  Theodore is Theodore Frelinghuysen, the Whig candidates for president and vice president in 1844.  (Trivia: 1844 was the last time that election day was on different days in different states.)

The “Lokies” are the Locofocos, that is, the Democrats.

The “berry” is the poisonous poke-berry, and refers to Democratic candidate James Polk. “Lone-Polk” may refer to the Lone Star Republic; Polk favored the annexation of Texas.


Tomorrow: The Hurrah Song!

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Brand New Song, Same Old Tune

Political Cartoon 1840

Modern Medicine

A NEW SONG.
TUNE— “Old Rosin the Bow

The story we’ll tell you’s surprisin,’
But then you will find it no joke;
The Locos who wish’d to take poison,
Have determined at last to take (poke) Polk,
Have determined, &c.

The most of them swallow’d Van Buren,
But found him too little to choke —
Large doses of Cass they did pour in.
But found it all ended in smoke.
But found, &c.

Some took a few bottles of Stewart,
Which made the majority croak:
They said that his friends should be skewer’d,
Or else — take a full dose of Polk,
Or else, &c.

A few wished to take “Indian physic,*’
And at old “Blue Dick” they did pull;
But most of them soon got the phthisic
In trying to swallow the wool.
In trying, &c.

For Buchanan they then made a Dodge,
And thought it was quite a bold stroke,
But the mass of them call’d it all fudge,
And said they’d be forced to take Polk,
And said, &c.

Then the South brought a box of Calhoun,
And thought that all charms they had broke;
But the West let them know pretty soon,
That they were all bound to take Polk.
That they, &c.

The lads from the Keystone were callous,
And proof against taking Polk tea;
And though it is sweeten’d with Dallas,
They still have a will to be free.
They still, &c.

Though Polk-tea some think is rank poison,
We’ll stop its effects in a day— –
Its antidote is Frelinghuysen,
When taken in doses with Clay,
When taken, &c.

But the Whigs know the season for greens,
For this year has passed quite away;
We’ll soon show the Locos we’ve means
To put their Polk under the Clay.


NOTES:

The “Locos” are the Locofocos, i.e. Democrats.  By “at last to take Polk” we’re meant to understand that Polk won on the 9th ballot at the Democratic convention.  (To make it clear that they’re punning on the (poisonous) polk-weed, we get (poke) in parenthesis.) Poke weed induces nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  It can be fatal.

Martin Van Buren came to the convention with the most delegates.  He was too little … and also very short.

Cass is General Lewis Cass, another of the contenders at the convention (this entire song is about the candidates at the Democratic convention).  To “end in smoke” is a term from muzzle-loading firearms.  It’s a misfire, a flash-in-the-pan.  Figuratively it means that an enterprise came to nothing.

Commodore Charles Stewart was another Democratic candidate at the convention.  As captain of USS Constitution during the War of 1812, he captured HSM Cyane and HMS Levant simultaneously.   (At the conclusion of the battle, after both British ships had struck,  Stewart had the two British captains for supper in his cabin.  The two men fell to arguing over which of them was responsible for losing the battle.  After listening for a while, Steward said, “Gentlemen, if you wish, I can put you back on your ships and you may try again.”) Stewart got just a single vote on each of the first and second ballots before dropping out of the race.

“Indian physic” is a plant (Gillenia trifoliata) also known as “American ipecac.”  It is an emetic.

“Blue Dick” refers to Richard Johnson, another candidate.   “Phthisic” means of or  pertaining to a wasting disease, e.g. consumption.   Swallowing the wool (with it’s wink wink nudge nudge italics) doubtless is a racial slur against Johnson’s wife, who was African-American. (She’d died of cholera over ten years before, but hey, let’s not forget).

Jame Buchanan, another candidate (and future president in 1856), hung in through the seventh ballot. Dodge was Augustus Caesar Dodge, the representative from Iowa Territory, who favored a strong Western Oregon position.

Calhoun was John  C. Calhoun of South Carolina (frequently seen in political cartoons carrying the manacles of slavery).

The Keystone is the Keystone State, Pennsylvania.  Dallas was George Dallas, Polk’s running mate, a native of Pennsylvania.

Polk-tea actually is a poison, causing (among other things)  diarrhea.  But diarrhea can in fact be stopped by taking a slurry of fine clay (that’s one of the original active ingredients in Kaopectate).

Putting Polk under the Clay is burying him.


The Whigs weren’t the only ones singing:

The Little Western, Volume 3, Number 24,Noblesville, Hamilton County, 22 June 1844

POLK SONG — from the Hoosier.
Tune — ‘Old Dan Tucker.’

The whigs they say it’s all a joke,
To nominate that James K. Polk;
But Harry Clay and Frelinghuysen,
Will find that Polk to them is pisen:
So get out of de way, the people’s risen,
Down with Clay and Frelinghuysen.

The coons have got upon the course,
Their ‘western nag’–their great crack horse,
But just a sure as there’s day-light
We’ll Polk that horse clear out of sight.
So, get out de way, &c.

They swear that Clay shall not be beat
But in the ‘White house’ take his seat;
In ’44 when come the fight,
They’ll find that koon ‘kan’t kum it kwite,’
So, get out de way, &c.

We’ve dropt our Mat of Kinderhook,
And Polk we know just like a book,
So go it coons, then climb a tree,
And ‘clear the track for Tennessee.’
Get out de way, &c.

Now Democrats will very soon
Catch and skin that ‘same old coon,’
Althou’ to truth he’s grown quite callous
We’ll give him goss with Polk and Dallas;
So get out de way, the people’s risen,
Down with Clay and Frelinghuysen.


Tomorrow: COME FRIENDS, GATHER ‘ROUND

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One of the Good Things About Teaching

Fran Wilde and Debra Jess do well….

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is the t

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The River of Tears

 

Political cartoon, 1844, steaming up salt river

Salt River: the river of political doom

 

SALT RIVER.

Written for the Choir attached to the Philadelphia National Clay Club, by F. B. Graham, Esq.

Air — In Good Old Colony Times.

A few short weeks ago,
As we’ll attempt to show,
Some locos did consult about
The place where they should go.

John C. Calhoun and Johnson,
And old “ten cent” Buchanan,
Determined to escape beyond
The noise of the Whig cannon.

Martin Van advised the rest
Full soon to “get out of the way,”
And give him a chance to “spike that gun”
That echoes the name of Clay.

But while they conversed — a sound
Struck them with surprise and wonder.
For Maryland spoke, and the Locos swore
The noise they heard was THUNDER!

Says Calhoun, “let’s change our name,
And make it loco-motion;
For about our little Matty Van
The folks have got a queer notion.”

The Whigs at the great Convention,
Convened at Baltimore,
Nominated for Vice President,
New Jersey’s Theodore.

Then a Loco laughed outright,
And cried — “that’s good, I vow,
The coons can sing no more Whig songs,
They’re a used up party now.”

Soon the Minstrel’s came along,
And the way he ran was surprisin’,
For with voices clear did they sing about
Our Clay and Frelinghuysen.

Still may we sing Whig songs,
From the book with the Yaller Kiver,
Loco-motion‘s the word, and the Locos all
Are steaming it “up Salt River.”


NOTES:

The tune, “In Good Old Colony Times,” is the same as “The Little Tailor Boy,” “Three Jolly Rogues of Lynn,” and others.

The “locos” are the Loco Focos, a Democratic splinter party (real name: Equal Rights Party), which had joined back into the Democratic mainstream back in Van Buren’s time, but the name was so gloriously slanderous that the Whigs kept using it to refer to the entire Democratic party.

Calhoun, of South Carolina (a strong supporter of Free Trade and slavery, not to mention nullification), had sought the Democratic nomination in 1844, but lost to Polk.   Richard M. Johnson, Van Buren’s vice president,  had also failed to get the nomination.  “Ten-Cent Jimmy” Buchanan had once said  that ten cents a day (about $2.50 now) was a decent worker’s wage. (Ten Cent Jimmy would go on to win the presidency in 1856 and have a disastrous term as one of our worst presidents ever.)

Martin Van is Martin Van Buren, the Democratic president from 1836-1840.  “Get out of the way” was a common line in political songs, particularly ones to the tune of “Old Dan Tucker.”  The cannon imagery is common in political songs of this period.

Clay is Henry Clay, of Kentucky, the Whig nominee.

Loco-motion” is again reminding folks of the radical Loco Focos.  The first steam locomotive in America had been built in 1830, less than a decade and a half before, in Baltimore (site of both the Whig and Democratic 1844 conventions).

“Little” Martin Van likely is a reference to Van Buren’s short physical height.

“New Jersey’s Theodore” is  Theodore “The Christian Statesman” Frelinghuysen.  (Before this project is done I will know how to spell “Frelinghuysen!”)  Frelinghuysen ended his career, years later, as president of Rutgers.

The coons are the Whigs; their symbolic animal was the raccoon.

A Yaller Kiver (Yellow Cover) is an Americanism — it refers to dismissal from government service, a notice that was delivered in a yellow envelope.

“Salt River” is an imaginary place where political hopes go to die.  You can find various folk-etymologies deriving it from a real place, and perhaps-real events, but by the time of this song it was symbolic.  A politician could row up Salt River, or go up Salt River by a fast steamer, or fall off the bridge of Popular Sentiment into Salt River, or be stuck neck-deep in Salt River, or lost in the bends of Salt River, or come to the headwaters of Salt River, depending on how complete the disaster they suffered had been.


Tomorrow: A New Song (to the tune of Old Rosin the Beau).

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