Tag Archives: HISTORY

Clyde Beatty – Bainbridge’s King of the Big Top!

NOTE: I originally published this collection of memories on February 12, 2004. It mostly consists of input from people who knew or knew of Clyde Beatty. 

NOTE X 2: I mentioned on Facebook that I’d recently observed a Clyde Beatty Exhibit or Museum in a Bainbridge storefront. A friend sent me this link to the exhibit and its hours of operation. Click HERE.

Bainbridge’s Clyde Beatty

My wife is a black and white game show addict. During the night, when she can’t sleep, she often watches old reruns of What’s My Line, I’ve Got A Secret, etc. When she sees something that I may be interested in, she will frequently record it for me. Last night she was watching a rerun of What’s My Line and the featured “Mr. X” turned out to be Bainbridge’s own Clyde Beatty. If you’re too young to remember Clyde, he was a renowned animal trainer who appeared in several movies and with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus for many years. I did a little Internet snooping and came up with the following information:

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Trying to Understand The US Constitution

I doubt most Americans have read the Constitution and of those who have, they are unaware of what lay beyond the brief and mostly skeletal document. This article from NPR was written to try to provide some of the thinking that went into the document and maybe clear up some of the misconceptions that surround it. In my view, this, or something like it should be required reading for citizenship.


What is the president actually allowed to do under the U.S. Constitution?

It’s a question that’s come up from time to time at NPR, and when it does, we’ve turned to experts such as Kim Wehle, now a law professor and CBS News legal commentator. Now, she’s written a book about it. It’s called How to Read the Constitution — and Why.

Wehle says that all the debates around the constitutionality of various Trump administration policies inspired her to write the book. She says she originally had a contract to write a book for an academic audience but found herself writing for laypeople.

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A Story About Carpet Knives & A Little Jim Crow

When I was a kid and visiting my aunt and uncle in Columbia, SC during the summers many of the Lincoln Street guys carried folding carpet knives. They had lubricated the hinge and over many openings and closings, limbered it up. The trick was to grab the back of the blade’s edge and with a sharp wrist flip, open the knife for whatever action was intended. I thought it was cool and wanted one of those knives for myself. So, one day I journeyed to uptown Columbia and purchased a carpet knife from a long gone Army Navy store.

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A Kindred Spirit

I received this from a friend this morning and it touched my heart. The letter’s author and I share many of the same experiences, both growing up convinced our America was perfect, both seeing some of the real world aboard a US Navy ship, and both coming to learn that America wasn’t the utopia we’d believed it to be. We also share the

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A Little Taste of Sam Hopkins

Most music lovers have probably never heard of Sam Hopkins. But call him Lightnin Hopkins and maybe the light bulb switches on. Hopkins was from Texas and before his death in 1982 he became one of the best known of all the early blues pioneers.  He was also one of the most prolific and frequently recorded.

People always reference Robert Johnson’s style of guitar playing as being the best but best is something hard to define. I personally don’t know any blues picker better than Hopkins.

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The Skill & Art of Flintknapping

The first time I heard of flintknapping was in a college course I took on Western American History. Flintknapping, by the way, is the art and craft of making arrowheads and other stone tools.

If you aren’t aware, the hobby of searching for and collecting Native American artifacts is huge and can be practiced in about any area of the United States. It’s a complex topic that involves periods of time, type of materials used, manufacturing techniques, styles, and the trading of information and materials among the many native tribes.

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The Muffuletto From the North

Sometime in the early 1990s my wife, my son, and I were in the French Quarter of New Orleans and finding ourselves hungry we tripped into the closest restaurant to us; a very old place called the Old Absinthe House. As first-time visitors to NOLA, we didn’t have a clue that we had stumbled into one of the oldest and most famous bars in America. The Absinthe was where Andrew Jackson met the pirate Jean Lafitte to ask help in repelling the British invasion of the lower Mississippi and New Orleans. Lafitte agreed and history was made.

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Horse Manure Stories Involving Krupp, the Kaiser, & My Amish Neighbor

One of my Amish neighbors just opened a harness shop and I was offered a tour. Afterward, I thought he’d be interested in knowing the history of E.L. McClain and his invention of a hinged collar and the manufacturer of collars and horse pads. He said he’d heard that Greenfield’s high school had been built by a millionaire but wasn’t aware of the source of the wealth. We both learned a little something and he sincerely enjoyed the story about McClain’s collars.

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A Few Words About BBQ and Other Things

Ohio never had much of a barbecue heritage and growing up there I had no knowledge of what real barbecue was. I also had no knowledge of the great variety and the forever argument over who has the best. Barbecue to us buckeyes was what you got at a drive-in restaurant and it usually came out of a can, sauce and all.

My first experience with real Carolina ‘cue was at Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro, NC. We spent a week at Atlantic Beach and when we’d talk to people on the beach they’d ask us if we had stopped at Wilber’s for the barbecue. At the end of the week, on the way back to Ohio, we stopped and had a large family style meal of pulled pork, vinegar slaw, potato salad, hush puppies, sweet tea, and banana pudding. For years we went to Atlantic Beach every year and never passed Wilber’s without stopping for a plate. It was my first and to this day, remains my favorite. Matter of fact, there’s a bottle of Wilber’s Eastern Carolina vinegar sauce in our fridge at this moment.

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Yes Virginia, There Are Still People Using Dial-Up Internet Access

Several weeks ago a fellow on Facebook was seeking input on what local high-speed Internet ISP services were available, he was still using telephone dial-up. Almost instantly my eyes bugged out and my ears rang with the memories of 56K squealing as they strained to make a connection to AOL (America Online) or some other provider.

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Deja Vu, He Has a Secret Plan

Turned on the news this morning and the lead story was about Trump announcing he has a secret plan for providing the American people with the perfect health care plan. There are at least two barbs to this fishhook. First, it’s secret. While we all get excited about secrets we should all know that secrets only hide and never make clear. Secondly, the other part of Trump’s caveat was that his secret plan wouldn’t be ready until after the 2020 elections.

Still having a bit of memory remaining my mind immediately flashed back to 1968 when Richard Nixon promised the American people that he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam and that he wouldn’t be able to reveal it until after the presidential elections.

The reality of Nixon’s secret is that he openly told interviewer David Frost that he never had a plan. Plus, once elected Nixon expanded the war into two neighboring nations and got another 22,000 American troops killed.

I was pleased when a few minuted later I turned on Morning Joe and Joe was having this same deja vu moment about Nixon and what his secret plan got us.

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Enemies of the People

Several times during his stay in the White House Donald Trump has used the phrase, “enemy of the people.”  He has aimed it at his own security agencies, against all Democrats, who he now insists hate Jews, and against the media of record, which he insists is fake.

Recently Trump again raged against the New York Times, calling it the enemy of the people for an article that comes even closer to proving he has used his executive office powers to further obstruct those investigations probing deeper into his own misbehaviors.

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The Very Short History of American Health Care

One aspect of American history that is pretty simple to understand is the history of government-sponsored health care. The short and long answers are the same, there hasn’t been much. There was an early program for seaman, another for impoverished former slaves, a little attention given to some mentally ill people, and that’s about it until Medicare and Medicaid were passed in 1965.  There were earlier attempts and while progressive health care programs became realities elsewhere in the world the doctors of America, and their American Medical Association were vehemently opposed to what they saw as insidious socialism.

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Justice Isn’t Blind, It Just Wears Blinders!

Back in the 1960s, there was a local farmer that got caught up in a check-kiting scheme. Before it was all over he had been charged with multiple felonies, several bank officials had their careers ruined, several banks either failed or came close and the farmer that started it all, to my knowledge never spent a day in jail.

That the farmer had got off scot-free the same newspaper published a below the centerfold story about a poor white woman who had written an insufficient check for a few dollars and had been sentenced to a lengthy jail term.

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Eisenhower Told Us But We Didn’t Listen

Back in the 1950s president Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex; the ever more powerful relationship between those who make the weapons of war and those who buy and use them. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to Ike’s warning and the MIC is more powerful than ever.

I recently heard an economist state that the cost of Medicare for All could be covered if we ever got serious about reigning in our military budget. America currently spends more on its military that of the world’s nations combined.

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