Archive for the ‘ Afterwits ’ Category

Othello, Shakespeare’s timeless story about race, love, jealousy, and betrayal was a bit too much for early 19th century Washingtonians.

Set in 16th century Venice and Cyprus, Othello the Moor (aka a black man), a general in the Venetian army has married Desdemona, a white woman, in secret.

Her daddy finds out and all hell breaks loose.

Stuff happens, Desdemona dies due to Othello’s unwarranted jealousy, a few others die, Othello is heartbroken when he finds out Desdemona had been faithful, and kills himself.

All in all, not your usual rom-com.

Well, it wasn’t a rom-com at all; it was a Shakespearean tragedy of the highest order.

When Othello was performed in Washington DC in the 1830s, a Washington Newspaper Reviewer called for the lynching of the playwright.

Shakespeare had been dead for over 200 years.

Nothing’s changed much.

All I Said Was…

… “The average American says the word OK seven times a day.”

OK is a relatively young word when one compares it to the span of time.

So, where’d it come from?

It’s political.

During the presidential campaign of 1840, Martin Van Buren was running for re-election and was opposed by William Henry Harrison.

Van Buren, a little remembered President was fighting for his political life in the battle.  His rise to power from Kinderhook in New York State was epic and there are many lessons to be learned from his technique, style, and practices.  Many of the political practices we use today came from Van Buren’s New York machine.

He created a regency in NY, unseated powerful men along the way, and landed in the White House as Andrew Jackson’s anointed successor.

The parallels to current stories are compelling, and his biography in the American President Series is a “can’t putter downer.”

Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re yawning.  But I love this stuff.

Anyway, his opponent, William Henry Harrison was touted as living in a log cabin, being a country boy, drinking hard cider, a real man’s man and a man of the people.

Harrison born on a Plantation along the James River called Berkley, was the son of a slave holder, and a descendent of the first families of Virginia.  He was also a military hero in the vein of Jackson even if his politics were the polar opposite.

He was no country boy.

Van Buren on the other hand, born in a tavern to a working class and often broke family, clawed his way UP to the top of the political podium, and saw his fortunes fall with the panic of 1837.

Imagine politicians being deceitful in self-representation!!

Well I Nevah!

There is a list a mile long of where the term OK possibly came from, but the most accepted one tells us it comes from the time of President Van Buren’s second campaign.

Seems the folks in Boston started using it as a substitute for the slang term oll korrect.

The fad took off in Bean Town around the summer of 1838 where abbreviations were coming into vogue.

NG was no go, GT was gone to Texas, and SP was small potatoes…

..and OK stood in for oll correct.

While William Henry Harrison’s campaign slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too,” stirred the masses and reminded them that Harrison was a great military man and Indian fighter, and referenced his victory over Tecumseh at Tippecanoe,  it also reminded them that Van Buren was a politician from the start and never donned a uniform.

Van Buren’s campaign slogan “Independent Treasury and Liberty,” while full of good ideas, didn’t ring anyone’s bell, so his supporters started telling folks things were “OK with Old Kinderhook” since Van Buren was from Kinderhook, NY.

Things were not OK.

Van Buren raked in 60 electoral votes, Harrison 234.

BTW, the election of 1840 was the first time campaign slogans were used in American politics. Slogans of course have become altogether OK!

If All The Girls…

Dorothy Parker, American poet, short story writer, critic, and satirist, best known for her wit, and wisecracks died on this date in 1967.

It was truly a great loss to literature.

She is responsible for some of my favorite quotes.

There are hundreds.

I’ll leave you with a few; after all, it is Wordless Wednesday! HA!

  • Of course I talk to myself, I like a good speaker, and I love an intelligent audience.
  • Never throw mud: you can miss the target, but your hands will remain dirty.
  • I like to have a martini, two at the very most. After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under my host.
  • Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.
  • Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.
  • If you wear a short enough skirt, the party will come to you.
  • If all the girls who attended Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

And my favorite…

Their pooled emotions would not fill a teaspoon.


There are more…Google her…

One By One…

It is the way of man; we’re born, we grow, we live, produce, fade, and pass on.

No one escapes it, but each time someone near to me passes,  I’m reminded that one by one a generation leaves us and we become the older generation.

The oldest – at least for a time.

Friday brought another reminder, Richard Nunery, father, grandfather, and trusted family friend passed away at the age of 90.

He leaves behind four daughters, several grandchildren, and a host of friends.

His death cuts a little deeper not only because of its reminders, but because Mr. Nunery was my dad’s best friend for over 50 years.  Our families are connected by faith, the past, the future, and firm friendships that started on a snowy New Year’s Eve 1957.

There were two men who were responsible for our move to Germantown in 1957; Tom Calhoun , whom I’ll post about someday, and Richard Nunery.

Mr. Nunery was the head of the pastoral search committee when FBC Germantown was looking for a new pastor in 1957.

I’ve told the story before, but humor me, Dad came to Germantown for a week’s revival, stayed nearly three, and shortly thereafter, the church called him to be the pastor.  He held that post for over 20 years until his health got the best of him and he retired and became Pastor Emeritus  for a few.

Both men were fixtures in Germantown. Dad, the pastor, and Mr. Nunery an established insurance salesman with his own agency. In their respective ways each offered assurance and insurance to many.

Dad with the plan of salvation and assurance, and Mr. Nunery with not only the gospel, which he shared with many, but a plan for retirement, keeping families protected and secure, helped hundreds if not thousands in the town.

In a sense, they both peddled fire insurance.

At a time like this when we see a generation leaving us one by one, it reminds us of our duty to carry on their message, their beliefs, their values, and their faith.

Nature’s way of making room can be saddening, but it should bring us hope as well.