The Charlotte News
Monday, March 11, 1940
Site Ed. Note: We carry over a thought from yesterday's note: Just after "Going Up the Country" and just before "Freedom", it goes: "Elliott from Harvard, the hitchhikers you need, the hitchhikers you picked up need the pills from your car. Please go to the information station right away. Lewis Picnic (ph. sp.), Lewis Picnic, your brother is in the Fallsburg police station. Number 9..."
The Governor of New York, whose first name is Eliot, and whose last name sort of rhymes with picnic, and who graduated law school at Harvard, was catalogued in the call-book, as revealed yesterday in the New York Times, as Customer No. 9.
And earlier today, it was reported that, yesterday, the President gave a country & western rendition of the "Brown, Brown Grass of Home", that well-known song, with a substituted lyric regarding his now scooted on down the road former assistant and chief of staff to the Vice-President.
Which reminds us to remind you that once upon a time, on that late-night Saturday program they have, there was a sketch presented by a well-known and very funny comedian in which was depicted the soon-to-be, though then not yet, President, musing about his first two years in office, which, it turned out, were instead only the first two weeks--regarding the Capitol being on fire again, (though having a bit different label than merely "Capitol" (you figure it out--the church lady won't let us say those kinds of things)), and that he was relying on his Vice-President for foreign policy advice, until informed by the deus ex machina that he had, indeed, killed him in a hunting accident. Only thing was that all of that was presented to us in that sketch in the latter days of the year 2000.
It all becomes acidic after awhile--like, wow, radioactive.
Well, the rest of the page today is here, including the letter from the little boy, eager like his friends to contribute to The News, all anent having a dream about a goat, so startling to him that he fell out of his bed and remained frozen on the floor the remainder of the night, afraid that his father would think him a burglar.
Silver plague. Yes.
Don't ask us how or why these things float into our station here; they just do, man.
Come off those towers, gentlemen. Ilium needs your service.
Okay, now. Pay attention. We're about to explain something.
The little piece below, "Avenue, Eh?", obviously by Cash, speaks of W.C. Handy, "Father of the Blues", his autobiography of the same name having been published July 1, 1941, the same day Cash died in Mexico City. And, as we once before ever so briefly mentioned, a copy of that book, of unknown origin, wound up in the book collection of Cash's sister, along with an inscription in it, in an unknown hand, referencing the "McClenagens", presumably the two friends of Cash and Mary who suggested finally that they get married on Christmas Eve, 1940. We don't have the book right now at our fingertips, but we shall let you see that part of it soon.
What does it mean?
Well, when summer comes rollin' around, we'll be lucky to get out o' town.
Meanwhile, watch out for the hog cholera. They say it's going around again. And be sure and watch out for the crane, too, gentlemen.
Meanwhile, here's the one and only Billy Shears.
Plague Of Silver
Enough To Make 2,000 Teaspoons For Every Babe
Back in 1934, Congress passed a law, known as the Silver Purchase Act, which ordered the Federal Treasury to buy silver until (1) its world price reached $1.20 an ounce, or (2) the Government had on hand a third as much silver as gold.
At the time the Government started buying silver, the price of it was about 46 cents a fine ounce. Today, after purchasing well over a billion dollars' worth of the stuff, its price is 25 cents.
The Government owns outright more than 2,500,000,000 ounces of silver, the greatest quantity ever held by any one nation, a good seventh of the world's entire production during the last 450 years.
And what is the Government doing with it? Nothing. Putting it underground, mostly, and paying guards to watch it.
Practically every economist of any reputation in this country has urged the abandonment of this costly, ineffective effort to restore the worth of silver. The Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve System has urged the same. In fact, almost everybody except politicians from the American silver-producing states and a few members of the State Department who want to keep on buying the good will of Mexico and other countries with silver to sell, has urged the repeal of the Silver Purchase Act of 1934.
Then why doesn't Congress repeal it? You can search us.
A Henderson Man Gets Off A Wee Bit Light
A news story from Henderson directs our attention to the case of Mr. W. Brooks Parham, of that city. It recites that a Superior Court order has permitted Mr. Parham to enter Duke Hospital for treatment before beginning service of a sentence in Vance County jail. And--corrects an earlier story which had it that all of Mr. Parham's sentences had been suspended.
What was suspended, it appears, was only a sentence of from three to five years for embezzling $9,000 from the Citizens Bank and Trust Company of Henderson. The eight months he got for forcible trespass still hangs over him.
We don't want to pick on anybody, and if Mr. Parham needs hospitalization, it would be inhumane to refuse it. Polite people like Mr. Parham need hospitalization with startling regularity every time they are sentenced to jail. And that is quite plausible: polite nerves are inevitably shocked by the prospect of jail.
But we can't help wondering just how it happened that Mr. Parham got that embezzlement sentence suspended. Wondering about the court's reasons. You can be pretty sure that Mr. Parham paid the $9,000 back, and that, as a consequence, his bonding company was tolerant. But the law takes no account of whether the bonding company was paid or not--holds that the crime is against the State and not against the bank. And rightly.
Else polite people like Mr. Parham could embezzle $9,000 in fair confidence that if they got away with it they would be $9,000 richer, and that if they were caught, their friends and relatives would rush to their rescue, put up the $9,000 if by that time it had been spent, and assure them of getting off with nothing worse than a suspended sentence.
Concerning A Dangerous Proposition In Memphis
Maybe it was really Boss Crump's idea. Or maybe it was the Memphis City Council's own. Anyhow, the latter, turning toney, is playing with the idea of changing the name of Beale Street to Beale Avenue. Bill Handy hasn't been heard from yet, but the colored people who live on the thoroughfare have and are loudly and flowerily protesting to the Council that it's a sin and a shame, since Beale Street is known all about the earth through the "Beale Street Blues."
And they are everlastingly right. We enter formal protest ourselves. Memphis without Beale Street would be like London without Fleet Street and the Mall, like Paris without the Champs d'Elysée and the Boule' Miche', like Athens without the Parthenon, like Egypt without the pyramids, like the Mississippi without the levees. Nay, like Ilium without the topless towers, like Helen without the fair hair, like corn beef without the cabbage, like Hamlet without Hamlet, like the tail without the dog. The equation, Memphis equals Beale Street is as solidly established in the a priori conceptions of humanity as the equation Ziegfield equals Gals. And to monkey with it is dangerous as monkeying with the structure of the atom.
It is high time a halt were called to this everlasting itch for fancy names to take the place of the good old ones. We confidently expect that before long some booby will bob up and want to change the name of Bear Wallow, N.C., to Ursina Springs.
"Beale Avenue Blues," indeed! A revolting, near-beer sort of name fit to make decent men bow their heads in shame.
At Any Price?
There Are Sometimes Worse Things Than War
This whole "peace" business, which we are so eagerly furthering, is more than a little dubious.
What lies behind it is the conviction on the part of millions that war is the worst of all possible catastrophes. That view has spread widely over the world, since the last war, and especially in the United States. But it is not a view which will stand up when examined closely.
It is natural that people should feel that way. War is an almost unimaginably terrible catastrophe. Nevertheless, there is a worse one--the rise of a cynical conviction that nothing is worth fighting for, the carrying of individualism so far that the tribal conscience is lost and each man seeks only to preserve his own life, the willingness to accept any alternative to escape war. For "he that would save his life shall lose it." The whole history of mankind proves that peoples are inexorably doomed when they arrive at that viewpoint.
Adolf Hitler and his Red pal are betting that the democracies of the West have reached that stage of decadence. Stalin is reported to have revised his demands so as to exclude Viipuri from the territory he wants to take. He will be, oh, very reasonable, that is, until he persuades the Finns to hand over the Mannerheim Line and trust his promises, to make themselves helpless before him. And Hitler, while continuing to talk of total victory, cunningly holds out the bait of restoring Poland and Czechoslovakia as puppet states--guessing, with probable correctness, that if the Allies ever yield at all the will to resist will be utterly lost, and that he will have ample time and opportunity to prepare and carry through the new conquests of which he dreams.
We Unearth Some Cunning Liquor Propaganda
Reading with absorption a treatise on hog cholera, we come upon the following:
Symptoms: The sudden death of one or more hogs calls the attention of the swine grower to the fact that something serious is the matter with his pigs and it is only after making a post-mortem examination that one can tell for a certainty whether it is hog cholera or not.
Which seems decisively to entitle the author to the solid platinum, fur-lined gingerbread box of masterpieces of understatement. Sudden death, we earnestly agree, is a symptom of something serious.
But for all the gentleman's gifts, he is plainly somewhat off-color on the moral side, and headed straight for trouble with the prohibitionists. Thus, he says:
If valuable hogs should be attacked with hog cholera they can frequently be cured by giving each one four grains quinine and two tablespoons of whiskey in two tablespoons of cold water every four hours, day and night.
Day and night, indeed. A hog will be a confirmed toper in no time. Is there nothing the saloon lobby will not do in its mad lust for profits? Ourselves, we register indignation and call the matter to attention with the suggestion that it be thoroughly investigated, the country informed of this new menace.
Site Ed. Note: Text continued from the Bahamas Stop (See bottom-end note of January 4 40) Stop Same advisements as to origins--late October 91 Stop No prior viewing or reading of editorials Stop Your grateful friend, as always Stop
"Go Ahead, Clear the Atlantic!" Best damned advice I've heard lately.
If it could be started, he would surely help, and by the attempt, itself, he now felt, temper his own mettle for the good fight which surely lay ahead for all as a community of mankind.
Somehow, somehow, he must still find the way to do it--to write that thing--without becoming Tartuffe, despite their Walpurgis-Tartar'an traps.
Despite the pressure of the moment, he could still delight in abstracting these fathoms-deep, shallow demonic dips.
"W.C. Handy, The Father of the Blues", in the gabardine suit, author of "Beale Street", "Yellow Dog", and "St. Louis Blues", among others. I should pick it up. Sounds interesting. His life sounds as if it has been as upside down as mine.
"Action Now!" That sounds about right.
He whispered to himself, "I will succeed. I must..."
Then, he hit the brick trip and stumbled in its shine...
It came from his feckly unattentive, still preoccupied, perusal of the Times. He would never look at a newspaper again.
His mind foundered in disbelief at what his eyes caught as his hands fumbled around the crease to flip over the front page.
There was an article on the left side detailing the arrest on Saturday and Sunday of 32 spies in New York City. It had come as the result of an F.B.I. undercover operation which had gone on for two years and had penetrated the very inner circle of spies, itself. J. Edgar Hoover had issued a statement after withholding the news of the initial arrests until the previous day.
Hoover was now quoted as saying that it was "the greatest spy roundup in U.S. history... This is one of the most active and vicious gangs we have ever had to deal with." The spies had been "snitching important national defense secrets and transmitting them to a foreign power." The article did not identify the foreign power. But as it said, "There is no doubt as to which Government these agents were serving." Twenty-five were German.
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