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Curmudgeon’s Corner: Waddaya Gunna Do?

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan do the usual round of political news, discussing dirty tricks on the campaign trail, the latest veepstakes talk, the New York investigation into Trump, and possibilities of a disputed election. But first, they respond to some feedback, review a book Sam read, talk a little about family history and how 2020 sucks, and react to the explosion in Beirut. A full show as usual!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2020-08-08
Length this week – 2:08:10

  • (0:00:22-0:37:53) But First
    • Feedback
    • Sam Book: The Two Towers (1954)
    • Family history
    • 2020 sucks
    • Beirut explosion
  • (0:39:54-1:21:23) Campaign 2020 Dirty Tricks
    • Foreign interference
    • Controlling the narrative
    • Kanye West
    • Historical dirty tricks
    • Slowing down the mail
  • (1:22:40-2:07:50) Campaign 2020 Clean Tricks
    • Veepstakes
    • Trump interview
    • New York Trump investigation
    • Laws with no teeth
    • Disputed election?

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 16

Note: This is an excerpt from the memoirs of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr (1827-1910).  He was my mother’s mother’s father’s father.  The full diary is available here, with chapters transcribed from the scanned PDF of the manuscript into more easily read text as I have time.

Chapter 16

When I returned to Ripton we had an uncommon winter for amusement. I did not wish to teach the singing school as father had given me my time and I had taken Bacon’s shingle mill to run on shares with Henry of his father, but I proposed to the singers we have Trueman Parkill of Cornwall, Vt. for teacher. We had pleasant times. Miss Smith and myself practiced several pieces some were to be acted. One that would bring the house down every time, was Fanny Gray. The verses were responsive, one verse in particular was broken in response.

(She sings:) Put up your hat, don’t take your stick. Oh prithee Charles do stay. You never come to see me now, but you long to run away.

(He says:) Good bye, (She sings:) Good bye, you’ll come again. (He sings:) Yes. One fine day of these.

(She sings:) He’s turned the street, I knew he would, he’s gone to Fanny Grays!

They would call us back, but we never repeated it the same evening I would answer the calls with the The Old Oaken Bucket, The Indian’s Lament, Woodman spare that tree, &c, &c.

That winter the singing teacher from Bristol, Vt. name of Crane had a school in Weybridge, they wanted to close out the school with an exhibition, and Crane joined a petition with several others, wrote for me to help them out. I sang my favorite songs, everything went nicely; But there was one thing happened, never heard the like! A four part song “Bell Brandon”, that I was familiar with, was played on the piano by Samantha Wright. Mrs Elizabeth Tyler took the soprano, Mason Harrington the base, do not remember the alto, myself the tenor, and the first verse Mrs. Tyler fell half a tone. I whispered and pointed on the notes, to Samantha, she took the cure, and struck the piece half a tone lower, and was capable to do it, and the four verses were rendered lowering the music half a tone each verse. After we were through, Crane came to me, says he, “Hurlburt you managed that well, but I was terribly frightened.” He was bald headed and the drops of perspiration were all over. I understood afterwards, Mrs. was not aware of her failure at the time, and there was hardly any one in the house noticed it.

The day I was twenty one was town meeting 5th of March 1848. So I left the shingle mill to take the freeman’s oath, and have the voting privileges of an American Citizen, soon after taking the oath, the authority composted of the selectman and Justices of the Peace, came to me to let them vote for me for constable and collector. At first I was astonished, then as they kept urging, with the venturesomeness of youth I gave consent, I was unanimously elected, but after the meeting the authority told, I must get bail, mentioning my father would be sufficient. I went to father, but he positively refused to do it, saying, a boy just twenty one going that risk. In a town where it was comparatively new, property constantly changing ownership. The inhabitants many of them disorderly. So I gave up, for I would not call on any one else.

Hon. Daniel Chipman a lawyer, a man of note he heard of the case, and sent for me to come and see him. Then he and I went to father. But father would not yield. I remember what father said to Chipman. “That it was a very bad beginning for a young man”. Chipmunks answer was: “A bad beginning makes a good ending.” On my return with Chipman to his house, Chipman proposed to me to become my bail for $1000, as the law required. Chapman said to me. “I will exact one promise. When you come to a question in law you do not understand come to me.” To which I willingly agreed. Now there was no law but what Chipman was good authority, and his advice has been a life long help. I gave Mr. Chipman no trouble in my two years service.

I hardly know how much of my experience in this office I should relate, but I will give a sample. I became a deputy sheriff, had quite a business, my friend Henry Bacon attended the shingle business until the first year closed. When we dissolved, and what time was spared from the office work was devoted to millwright-work, or to look up lines on wild land for non residents.

One day I drove down to Smith’s Tavern and there was quite a crowd, men and women. The town grand juror “James Peirce” was just coming after me to serve a warrant on Charles Adams, who had early that morning threatened his sister’s life. After Mr. Peirce obtained papers, then, he told me. “That I would risk my life to go for Adams, as he had gone into the woods a couple of miles to his sugar camp to boil sap for maple sugar, he had taken a heavy rifle he had made for himself, his bugle and a quantity of rum, and would shoot the first man that came near,” continuing advice. “That I had better go to Middlebury and get a Church the High Sheriff of the county”. Then some women came and told me I would certainly be shot just at this time Sorell’s mother “Mrs Smith” came and said to me, “Sorelle did not want I should go”. At this time this was more than I had ever hoped for. So I told Mrs. Smith I was well acquainted with Adams, and to say to Sorelle, I was no coward, for I at this moment made up my mind, to know how I stood in regard to winning her.

Now I will say I had exchanged work with Adams, he was a very skillful blacksmith, had worked some days to help at ironing sleighs and shoeing oxen when he had been harried with work. I went up with horse and sleigh, when I got near the fire of his kettle I hitched my horse to a tree, and went afoot, as I got in sight he took his bugle and blew it. I then hailed him, the first he saw me, as soon as I got in speaking distance, he hollered out and took his rifle and said. “He knew what I come for, and I am not going!” I told him, I knew I could not force him, but I had taken the papers to serve, and had been advised to get help, but concluded that he would be better suited for to see me come alone. Well let me hear the papers read. He became different at once, left out the curse words most, only when he clinched the promise. “By G** I’ll go!”

So he packed up his things, fixed his kettle to boil down the usual way – the pole it was hung on, was so balanced that it would rise up higher away from the fire as the sap evaporated. Then took him down and delivered him up to the court. Then he wanted me to go to Middlebury eight miles after Lawyer Julius Beckwith to care for his case.

Adams paid fees willingly, and he brought witnesses to prove his sister was mistaken, and the case was thrown up no cause of action.

Afterwards, about two years, Adams went on a bear hunt. The manner was of surrounding a tract of woods, drawing closer together, until the game is cornered and shot. He had just blown his bugle, when others in hearing heard the report of his rifle – supposed to have placed the rifle against a tree to blow his bugle, when the lock struck the tree, sending a heavy charge through his heart. I was appointed foreman in the coroners jury by the justice, and we brought in a verdict according to the above.

Editor’s note:

The full lyrics to Fanny Gray according to digital.nls.uk and traditionalmusic.co.uk follow. (I merged the two versions to make something that seemed to make more sense than either of them alone and to match HHHJr’s recollections of the alternating parts at the end.)

FANNY GRAY

She:

Well, well, sir, so you come at last,
   I thought you'd come no more,
I've waited with my bonnet on, 
   From one to half-past four.
You know I hate to sit alone,
   Unsettled where to go,
You'll break my heart -- I feel you will,
   If you continue so.
You'll break my heart -- I feel you will,
   If you continue so.

He:

Now pray, my love, put off that frown,
   And don't begin to scold,
You really will persuade me, soon,
   You're growing cross and old,
I only stopp'd at Grosvenor gate
   Young Fanny's eye to catch;
I won't -- I swear -- I won't be made
   To keep time like a watch,
I won't -- I swear -- I won't be made
   To keep time like a watch,

She:

It took you, then, two hours to bow,
   Two hours to take off your hat;
I wish you'd bow that way to me,
   And show your love like that;
I saw you making love to her,
   You see I know it all,
I saw you making love to her,
   At Lady Glossop's ball.
I saw you making love to her,
   At Lady Glossop's ball.

He:

Now really, Jane you're temper is.
   So very odd to-day,
You're jealous, and of such a girl,
   As little Fanny Gray, --
Make love to her, -- indeed my dear
   You could see no such thing,
I sat a minute by her side,
   To see a turquoise ring.
I sat a minute by her side,
   To see a turquoise ring.

She:

I tell you that I saw it all --
   The whispering and the grimace,
The flirting and the coquetting,
   In her little foolish face,
Oh, Charles, I wonder that the earth
   Don't open where you stand,
By the heaven that is above us both,
   I saw you kiss her hand.
By the heaven that is above us both,
   I saw you kiss her hand.

He:

I didn't, love -- but if I did?
   Allowing that is true,
When a pretty girl shows her rings,
   What can a poor man do?
My life, my soul, my darling Jane,
   I love but you alone; 
I never thought of Fanny Gray, --
   How tiresome she is grown.
I never thought of Fanny Gray, --
   How tiresome she is grown.

She:

Put down your hat, don't take your stick,
   Now pr'ythee, Charles stay?
You never come to see me now,
   But you long to run away,
There was a time, there was a time,
   You never wished to go, --
Now what have I done, what have I done,
   Dear Charles, to change you so.
Now what have I done, what have I done,
   Dear Charles, to change you so.

He:

Pooh! pooh! my love -- I am not changed,
   But dinner is at eight;
And my father's so particular,
   He never likes to wait.
Good bye! 

She:

Good bye! You'll come again.

He:
 
Yes, one of these fine days!

She:

He's turned the street, I knew he would,
   He's gone to Fanny Gray.
He's turned the street, I knew he would,
   He's gone to Fanny Gray.

The alternate arrangement of the last part of the song more in line with the non-HHHJr sources I found would be:

He:

Pooh! pooh! my love -- I am not changed,
   But dinner is at eight;
And my father's so particular,
   He never likes to wait.
Good bye! Good bye! I'll come again.
   Yes, one of these fine days! --

She:

He's turned the street, I knew he would,
   He's gone to Fanny Gray.
He's turned the street, I knew he would,
   He's gone to Fanny Gray.

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 15

You will understand at a little past eighteen years I was called on to take charge of a choir and look up the material. I obtained four ladies who could sing the soprano, two to sing alto and my friend B. H. Bacon came in with four others to take the bass, the tenor I reserved for myself. My friend’s father, “Benjamin Bacon”, being a fine player on the clarinet offered his services, Mr. Bacon played mostly the soprano, but if I wished and alto absent he would play that. The choir was a success. Our choir seats were conspicuous being at one side, and at right angles with the pulpit. The floor of the house was level only raised at the pulpit. As I went to take my seat which was the outer end to the congregation only one seat left for me, the soprano occupying the balance, the ladies had insisted that Miss Smith should be seated next to me “the leader”. This close sitting made myself and Miss Smith in a short time familiar as the business of the choir was concerned.

It to me was a position of care, anxious to have good music, sung with reverence, proper time, try to express the language of each line and verse, giving quick movement when called for – then medium to slow as required to express the grandeur of “Watts” Hymns, which were marked in the Congregational Hymnal.

When winter set in I was requested to have a singing school and Miss Smith intimated to me that I might stop for her which willing act naturally gave me a chance to return with her, and somehow I was requested to rehearse a tune, that might be improved, so a little time was spent at her home. I had a fine sounding melodeon that could be placed on a stand and furnish the wind with the left elbow, which came finally to be left there on which was practiced many pieces, evidently we enjoyed each others society when together; but occasionally some of these stylish people from Middlebury would be present; when I knew that my room was better than my company. I assure you I was not in the way.

I will now tell of one instance of embarrassment that occurred the first summer that I lead the choir. It was a fine summer day, I think we had sung the first hymn, when two girls walked in, there being no usher, they came up to the singers seat, as the soprano were not all present and I somehow had left a little vacancy, one of them seated herself in front that scarcely seated any one except a child, they were dressed in some gorgeous print, the one next to me was large, probably one hundred and fifty pounds. Their name as far as I ever knew were Mial Hier’s daughters, blue eyes, very red cheeks, said to be Dutch. The one next to me had a large bunch of caraway in her hand, and it was not long before she proffered me a sprig. I fixed my eyes on the communion table in front of the pulpit! She mad several attempts to induce me to accept which I ignored. Mind you the whole congregation could observe every movement. Mrs. Smith, Sorelle’s mother set where she could observe all. When she had a chance she spoke to me about it, saying, “my cheeks looked like the blood would bust through.” But said, “I acted like a gentleman.”

These girls had walked up the mountain more than two miles, probably had never attended chuch anywhere but a few times. But you put yourself in my place – for after singing the second time as I took my seat, on the girl sitting down I was nearly covered with the stiff new print!

To continue the account of the love or friendship with Miss Smith this state of things when on for quite a while. I considered that I had no just grounds for it and when I was at Weybridge one day found a select-school for advanced scholars v??? to be opened for three months made arrangement to attend, I was half past nineteen years, not quite heart broken, but I had endeavored to sift out my thoughts and find where I took, then when school commenced dropped all this romantic imagery as to try my best to improve in learning. The teacher Edwin Evarts had been several years in the South teaching advanced scholars. He advised me on textbooks, says he, “Take studies being used here and Mental Philosophy”. It was a success, I became stronger minded, little things worthless to worry over disappeared, and I was ready for what n??? happen.

A Miss Mary Foot came to this school with her sister younger, they drove their own team, a one horse rig, a young man Alfred Sturtevant perhaps two years more senior pushed himself forward, taking Mary’s horse to its hitching place, and exerting himself disagreeably in being first to get the team at close of afternoon session. Miss Foote was well known to my cousin Loeazer Robbins, and confided to her that she did not want Alfred to meddle with her horse, and wished Loeazer would intimate to me to get it. Well I guess! When anything of this kind came across my pathway, I was on hand, I just made it my business – and no one made any protest. The boys had found by experience that I was hard to handle. There were some of the older young men joked Alfred, that he was cut by that Green Mountain chap; Alfred was very sullen in his looks. I mistrusted him but how o??? when he would pitch on I could not tell.

But one day we were playing base ball – and the rule was, to knock the ball over the fence, the side that got it first was to take the game. One day it was knocked over the fence in quite a plat of Canada thistles well grown, I was nearest and I sprang for it. I got the ball when Alfred jumped on me to take it away, he was the heavier weight, and he bore me to the ground, but I turned him down, and held him down till he begged to be let up. The rail fence was lined with the scholars seeing the fracas. But I guess his black suit looked as if it was aged in a short time. Alfred made no more attempts – and the years have come and gone, and we have never met.

Note: This is an excerpt from the memoirs of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr (1827-1910).  He was my mother’s mother’s father’s father.  The full diary is available here, with chapters transcribed from the scanned PDF of the manuscript into more easily read text as I have time.

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 14

The winter I was 17 years old I went to school most two miles from where I lived to Arnon A. Atwood. At that time it was called the “Hollow”. There was the post office, layer, town clerks office, gristmill and tannery. There was but few scholars. This school was kept in part of the tannery, and the scholars were the most queer set I ever remember of. Some young girls that were about my age, appearing very lady like, they put on no airs, seemed natural, and the studies, algebra, philosophy, chemistry and geology were attended to. There was Sorelle Smith, Amelia Cook, Eliza Sanford, of boys of any size I can remember but one, B. Henry Bacon, somewhat more than a year my senior. I did not make his acquaintance very quickly it seemed to be several weeks before we saw fit to make approaches in that light. But we finally come to acquaintance that lasted without break for ten years.

Henry really was the only boy or young man strictly acquaintance I ever had, after some months we became confidential all but in regard to the one girl I had placed my best thoughts on, the loveliest most bewitching creature, worshiped at a distance, and continued in that manner, as by something then carelessly said one day, I was sure that this young lady was his intended. At what stage of courtship I could not know. He was a near neighbor, and perhaps more advanced than myself in art at appearing at easy in company of a young lady. So I smothered all hopes, and kept my mind on my studies.

This young lady Miss Sorelle Smith was the only child of Landlord Smith of the hotel. So this young lady had the opportunity of meeting tourists who traveled and stopped off at this tavern already a summer resort. She had been sent to the Middleburg Seminary several terms, and was especially attractive young lady at balls, dances and parties; had made acquaintance at Middleburg with the “Jeweler” John Dyer only child “Hattie” also with Mary May of a fine family. Miss Dyer afterwards married Sattler Phelps, son of John Phelps quite noted in Vermont.

Now really, as I had set my choicest thoughts on Miss Smith, I kept it all to myself, I seemed to have perception enough for that. The winter passed away and my acquaintance at school did not become any closer, though I was in studies, being somewhat advanced beyond all the rest either older or younger and the teacher “Atwood” who was an uncle of Miss Smith seemed to acknowledge he carried me through our studies as far as he knew.

I went after school was out, back to the saw-mill and kept studying ever while running the mill. Especially music, so I became familiar with many songs in use at that time. As I had but one object of adoration, I was living to improve all my abilities to become advanced to be qual to the class of people I imagined Miss Smith belonged to. I attended the Congregational Church, was urged into the choir. I was then singing under a leader, name Norman Lewis, one of the deacons. But Lewis had a difference with Rev. Asa Hemenway, one of the finest gentlemen ever permitted to stay on this earth awhile.

Deacon Lewis undertook to drive the minister away, left the choir, so as to obstruct the service. But one member of the church with Mr. Hemenway came to see me, and to my great astonishment, wished me to take the leadership of the choir. It seemed to me I was not advanced enough, and I hesitated, but the two cleared all obstacles, I finally consented, And when the Rev gentlemen clasped with me at parting at fathers saw mill, the tears were coursing down his cheeks.

I never knew just what the trouble was, but always concluded Dea. Lewis had been exasperating in his conduct, that Mr Hemenway could not bear any more. Mr. Hemenway’s last words at that time were “I shall always remember this of you.”

Mr. Hemenway came to Ripton to take charge of the church there from the City of Bankok, Siam. Besides his labors there as a missionary he taught the English language to the prince of Siam, and they were in correspondence at this time. I think that prince is now the present Emperor.

Note: This is an excerpt from the memoirs of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr (1827-1910).  He was my mother’s mother’s father’s father.  The full diary is available here, with chapters transcribed from the scanned PDF of the manuscript into more easily read text as I have time.

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 13

The spring I was fifteen years old my father moved to Ripton, on the Green Mountains. He built a sawmill, it was thirty by forty feet. He finished off the part intended for a shingle mill and lived in it. The damn was built in range with the upper end of the mill; so the pond of water was near a slide or rather an inclined plane was from the floor of the mill into the water, and the logs were drawn from the water as wen by the mill power of a sash sawmill. The lumber from the saw, made from the logs that came out of the water were excessively heavy. I remember to carry them away took my whole strength. When winter came the logs were brought to the mill in front on the logway.

As I attended to the mill a good deal, I kept a level (Handspike) made from a small spruce tree about two and a half inches think, neatly shaved and convenient to handle the logs. A neighbor by the name of Martin Powers took this lever and used it in place of a skid to pile logs up on the pile front of the mill, and when he had used it I would find it broken. I made another and told Powers I did not wish him to use it for a skid. But Powers was a wrestler and won at times at elections and raising of buildings. He was a married man, probably twenty three years old. The next day he came with a load of logs, came in the mill and grasped my lever. I took it away from him, father being present cautioned Powers to let me alone, for one of us would get hurt. But Powers clinching me side hold and I flung him to the floor as quick as thought! He was badly hurt. Anyway he kept running down. He sent for me one day and told the wrestling would end his life, and he told me I was not to blame, that he had wrestled with many and never one so quick as I was. I was a good deal affected to think he was going to die, and I went to father with the fact. Father said, “I was not to blame. Powers begun by clinching first.” But there was always a feeling, like, I wish it had not happened. I noticed father and mother made a quite a number of donations to the widow after his death.

The next winter I went to school to a lady teacher “Ann Maria Leavette.” My senior by one year, she was an excellent teacher, and I went on in my studies of grammar and arithmetic to the end of the text books. The evening spelling schools were of great importance to us, there would be a houseful coming from other districts.

In my seat at school a young man two years older than myself sat with me. He became desperately in love with the teacher, and he studied the dictionary to find words he considered appropriate to compose a note to the teacher for her company to her boarding house. His name was Reuben A. Damon. He finally with much effort made the following: “To Miss Leavette. May I have the superiority of going home with you from spelling school?” Signed, “Reuben A. Damon.” This he showed me, and I supposed it was all proper. Reuben studied on it quite a while when he exerted himself again to improve it. This was the result. “Miss A. M. Leavette may I have the exquisite felicity of going home with you from spelling school” signed ‘R. A. Damon.” I was completely astonished at this; for I was very bashful; still I just worshiped the beautiful Miss Leavette well knowing she was unreachable but very careful not to let it be known. So Reuben had the whole field. Sometime in the calm of the recess at spelling school Miss Leavette came to me and whispered “If I would kindly walk with her to Mr. Cook’s where she boarded after spelling school.” But how I must have looked? How my ears did burn for I was in a surprised state of earthly bliss! But I was punctual to be on hand at the moment wanted.

I never knew whether Miss Leavette was given the note, but I noticed that Reuben changed his love in a few weeks, as he came to me for advice. “He wished to know and tell him which I thought would be the best girl for him of three?” naming Miss Joan Fletcher, Miss Jane Downer or Miss Sorelle Smith?

In my youthful wisdom I surmised that Miss Fletcher being the first name would be the one, I named her, Damon visited her a number of times, wioth no result as known, perhaps he called on the others, but was never known to me. Damon several years after married Eunice Lovett, she died in a few years, when he married her sister Dolly Lovett, that account ends the history of R. A. Ramon in this narration.

Note: This is an excerpt from the memoirs of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr (1827-1910).  He was my mother’s mother’s father’s father.  The full diary is available here, with chapters transcribed from the scanned PDF of the manuscript into more easily read text as I have time.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: The Moons of Saturn

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Bruce talk about:
* Listenership / Rosetta-Philae / Space Exploration
* Russia and the “New Cold War”
* Net Neutrality / Cord Cutting
* Streaming Video / Interstellar / AFI List / Relative Finder


Recorded on 13 Nov 2014

Length this week – 1:19:04

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Curmudgeon’s Corner: Anything Anyone Wants It To Be

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Bruce talk about:

  • 3 Degrees of NSA
  • Filibuster Non-Reform
  • Genealogy is Fun

Recorded on 23 Jul 2013

Length this week – 1:03:38

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Goodbye Grandmother Minter

Mary Sue Wootton Minter

26 Jan 1918 to 19 Aug 2012