Tuesday, December 09, 2003

umm...just had to post this, which is possibly the most disturbing thing I've ever seen on ebay.

Also, I took one of those online personality quizzes today, which are usually really inane and stupid, but this one is one of the best I've seen. It tests which historical lunatic you are. Apparently, I am Joshua Abraham Norton...he was the first and last Emperor of America. Bollocks you say? well, listen to his story:

Born in England sometime in the 1820s, he carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out his fortune in 1854. After this, he was never quite the same. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when he expressed his dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring himself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. He remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.

Within a month he had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, he summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, he decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, he disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname "Frisco" for his home city.

His days consisted of parading around his domain - the San Francisco streets - in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. He dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. He was a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord's Prayer quietly, head bowed. Once arrested, he was swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute him on the street. His renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for him and his two dogs. (As an aside, he were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of his faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed his occupation as "Emperor".

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of his attire, replaced it at their own expense. He responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. His death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline "Le Roi est Mort". Aside from what he had on his person, his possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, his correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. His funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.

The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.

This guy sounds so much like me it's scary. I like that total eclipse of the sun part. Why didn't I learn about him in American History. Mrs. Getty, you have failed me.


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