Ding-Dong, bin Ladin’s Dead

Filed under: Newsworthy, Typecast — olivander May 2, 2011 @ 10:35 am

Love, Freaky American Style

Filed under: Newsworthy — olivander April 5, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

From the August 12, 1897, edition of the Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette comes this curiosity:


Man Claiming to be Schlatter Says

He will Marry Mrs. Ferris

Canton, O., Aug 10 – The man who says he is Schlatter the healer has taken out a license to marry Mrs. Margaret Ferris, widow of the man who invented the Ferris wheel.

Mrs Ferris says she has not thought of marrying him. She calls him a freak.

Mrs. Brockins, Mrs Ferris’ sister, says Schlatter must have hypnotized her.

Schlatter and Mrs. Ferris first met on Sunday at Brady’s lake, a summer resort of the spiritualists about 25 miles north of the city. Mrs. Ferris became ill and Schlatter was called to treat her. The sick woman appeared benefited and the two met several times afterward. Then he went for this marriage license.

Francis Schlatter

Francis Schlatter was a French-born Denver cobbler who one day had a vision in which God instructed him to devote his life to healing the sick. He sold his business and everything he owned, gave his money to the poor, and traveled around the country, often on foot, supposedly curing thousands with just a touch.

He disappeared in 1895, leaving behind a note saying that he was through with his ministry, only to resurface occasionally and resume his healing ministry. One report said that he was in New Mexico, preparing for a sort of faith center that God told him was destined to be there. Doubtlessly, at least some of the men who emerged as Schlatter were opportunistic impostors, Hence, the article’s hedgey wording of “the man who says he is Schlatter”. At that time, it could never be assumed that any person who showed up in town calling himself Francis Schlatter was the real deal.

The strange story of Schlatter and Widow Ferris’ questionable engagement would not be complete if it did not grow only stranger, with Schlatter himself claiming that the whole story was made up by the media to get back at him (sound familiar?). On October 2, 1897, the South Bend Weekly Tribune reported this rather bizarre encounter with the healer:


To a Tribune Representative

He Denies He is Married to Mrs. Ferris and Shows Aversion for Reporters

Will Remain Here Two Weeks

Francis Schlatter, the western man who connected himself with fame by his healing of the sick by laying on of hands at Denver, Col., a trifle more than a year ago, slipped into town Wednesday.  With him were his secretary, F. W. Martin, and manager, G. C. McCallister.  The trio was snugly housed in the Grand View hotel Wednesday where Schlatter was seen by a tribune reporter.

“My manager will be here in a few minutes and he will do my talking,” said Schlatter in response to a question as to what he was doing here.  “Newspaper reporters have caused me a great deal of trouble since I came before the public and I have adopted a rule not to talk to any of them,” he continued.  “A few weeks ago I was in Pittsburg and I had not been in town an hour when there was a drove of reporters at my hotel seeking an interview.  I refused to see any of them so they invented that story about my marriage to Mrs. Ferris, widow of the late George Ferris, of wheel fame.”

“Is there no truth in the report that Mrs. Ferris has become Mrs. Schlatter?”  was asked the healer.

“None, whatever,” he replied.  “I have treated Mrs. Ferris for several years and naturally we became the best of friends.  We used to take long walks together and accidentally stop at the same hotel in Pittsburg.  The reporters manufactured the story of our marriage out of these circumstances.  My managers and I came here from Chicago and will remain about two weeks, giving clinics or demonstrations in public.”

Schlatter was very reticent in speaking of himself.  “That story has been worn threadbare by newspapers all over the country,” he said when asked how he discovered that he possessed superhuman powers of healing the sick.

Schlatter is a demure little man with a husky voice.  The only thing he possesses to distinguish him from a thousand others of his kind is a profusion of shaggy curls which hang down upon his shoulders.  He talks with the air of one who takes little interest in what is going on about him.

To add an even more unusual twist to the story, the real Francis Schlatter may in fact have died months earlier. After another man claiming the name Schlatter died in October, 1909 (only to be afterward revealed as one Charles McLean), the Los Angeles Herald ran this piece:

Believe Healer Died In New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M., Oct. 22.— That Francis Schlatter, the so-called “divine healer,” died in Mexico is believed by those who knew him here. In June, 1897, a letter was received by J. A. Summer of this city, from John J. Sexton of Casa Grande, Mex., dated June 1 of that year, telling of the finding of a body in Funga canyon, near that place, which was believed to be that of Schlatter. Near the body was a horse similar to the one Schlatter rode. A Bible, with the name “Francis Schlatter” written on the flyleaf, and a copper cane like that carried by Schlatter were found.

Good for her

Filed under: Newsworthy — olivander August 11, 2009 @ 10:26 am

This is the kind of story I like to read–the kind of outcome, anyway. (Emphasis near the end mine.)

Woman puts alleged attacker in the hospital

8/11/2009 10:30:02 AM

By Laura Gossman Horihan

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

A 24-year-old Rochester man is in the hospital after allegedly attempting to sexually assault a 19-year-old woman Tuesday morning.

According to police Lt. Dan Muyres, the woman was found standing in the intersection of First Avenue and First Street Southwest about 3 a.m., carrying a knife and asking for help.

She told police that a man she’d met in a downtown bar had tried to sexually assault her.

The woman said she used the bathroom in his apartment in the 100 block of First Avenue Southwest and that when she came out, he was naked and sitting on the bed. She said the man grabbed her from behind and put her in a choke hold.

She said she clubbed him on the head with a clothes iron, ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife, Muyres said. When he came toward her, she swung the knife, cutting his arm and puncturing one of his lungs, Muyres said.

While police were interviewing the woman, the suspect came out of his apartment bloodied. He told police that he’d been attacked by three men.

The man was arrested and taken to Saint Marys Hospital.

Little girl lost

Filed under: Errata, Newsworthy, Nuages — olivander July 7, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

Paris Jackson quietly asked her aunt Janet if she could say something as her father’s public memorial service came to a close, and in doing so stripped away all the grandeur and became the one person to be able to cut through to Michael Jackson the human being. If this doesn’t get to you, you’re a heartless bastard.

Goin’ Old Testament

Filed under: Newsworthy, politics — olivander June 30, 2009 @ 9:26 am

South Carolina Guv Mark Sanford invoked the biblical story of David to explain why he would not resign after getting caught in an ongoing tete-a-tete with an Argentinain woman. Jon Stewart had a little something to say about that.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Mark Sanford Consults the Old Testament
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

Ridin’ the Crazy Train

Filed under: Diversions, Newsworthy, politics — olivander April 8, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

Better-than-usual commentary from Jon Stewart on the current political santa anas. Our own state bird, Michele Bachmann, makes a cameo partway through.

Side note: to all the non-Minnesotans reading: sure, we may have inflicted upon you the crazypants likes of Michele Bachmann, Norm Coleman, Al Franken, Jesse Ventura, and Prince. Those of you not living in a state governed by an Austrian weightlifter might be tempted to view us Minnesotans as having, shall we say, questionable taste. To you I would just like to point out that we also gave you F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Garrison Keillor, the Mayo brothers, Winona Ryder, Bob Dylan, and the Coen brothers. Oh, and Kevin Sorbo. Hercules, huh? How ’bout that?

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Baracknophobia – Obey
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor

(Oh, was Winona not a good example?)

Biggest marketing backfire since New Coke

Filed under: Newsworthy, Rants — olivander March 17, 2009 @ 10:29 am

“Siffy”? You’ve got to be frakking kidding me.

SCI FI Channel to become Syfy; Imagine Greater is new message

Building on 16 years of water-cooler programming and soaring ratings growth following its most-watched year ever, SCI FI Channel is evolving into Syfy, beginning this summer, Dave Howe, president, SCI FI, announced today.

By changing the name to Syfy, which remains phonetically identical, the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider range of current and future imagination-based entertainment beyond just the traditional sci-fi genre, including fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure. It also positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and nonlinear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures.

If you can get past the buzzword BS, it says, “We’ll be rerunning all of NBC’s shows that have failed to syndicate to TBS, TNT and A&E, and maybe Wife Swap. And we’re gonna license the fuck out of ‘em.”

“Imagine Greater” will become the new brand message and tagline, inviting both consumers and advertisers into a new era of unlimited imagination, exceptional experiences and greater entertainment.

What? That doesn’t even mean anything. It makes “Think Different” sound positively Shakespearean.

“Without abandoning our legacy or our core audience…”

Wanna bet?

Syfyunlike the generic entertainment category “sci-fi”firmly establishes a uniquely ownable trademark that is portable across all nonlinear digital platforms and beyond, from Hulu to iTunes. Syfy also creates an umbrella brand name that can extend into new adjacent businesses under the Syfy Ventures banner, including Syfy Games, Syfy Films and Syfy Kids.

Corporatespeak gobbledygook. Translation: We could care less about our audience so long as we can get kids to buy our logo-emblazoned shit.

We all understood that the Sci-Fi Channel as we knew it was dead the moment they inexplicably canceled “Farscape” and began airing pro wrestling. This only proves that the marketing droids have taken over completely and are burning the last vestiges of what once was a great channel.

New and improved retrotech

Filed under: Newsworthy — olivander March 5, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

Here’s a headline you don’t see everyday:

Pneumatic tube system upgrade planned for Saint Marys Hospital

This summer, the 4-inch black pneumatic tube system at Saint Marys Hospital will be upgraded to provide faster, more reliable service. To perform this upgrade, the tube system will be taken out of service for approximately four months. The red pneumatic tube system, 4-inch by 7-inch pneumatic tube system and Electronic Track Vehicle (ETV) will be unaffected.

The new black pneumatic tube system will include three hubs that provide greater capacity and expedite deliveries. All 128 tube stations and 60 transfer locations will be retained, but upgraded.

How many places can you think of that are expanding their pneumatic tube system?

Bulls in the typewriter shop

Filed under: Newsworthy, typewriters — olivander February 27, 2009 @ 9:59 am

Today’s Toronto Globe and Mail has an article about typewriter collecting. You may recognize a few names in it *coughcough*.

The focus of the piece is on Martin Howard, who is displaying a portion of his exquisite collection of pre-1900s typewriters at the Toronto airport. Fellow NaNoWriMo Typewriter Brigader John Payton is featured as well.

I think the article highlights an important distinction among collectors of vintage and antique typewriters. Martin Howard is one of the heavy-hitters in our field. He collects only the finest and rarest specimens and has an extremely narrow focus of the 20-year period of early typewriter development at the end of the 1800s. His museum-quality pieces literally get the white-glove treatment.

In contrast, the article describes how my toddler likes to whack the keys. My favorite machine is not a Williams or a Jewett or a Desnmore, but a dirt-common Corona. And although we discussed it over the phone, the article does not mention how I use my typewriters for typecasting, and only briefly describes Mr Payton writing with his own machines. A toddler should be allowed nowhere near Mr Howard’s collection.

In short, I tend not to collect machines that I am afraid to use. I will leave the ultra-rare, ultra-expensive typewriters to the Martin Howards of the world. As nice as it would look to be able to display my machines behind illuminated glass, they would also seem a bit isolated and sad. (I like Herman Price’s display: nicely arranged, yet accessable.)

One of the reasons that I started Machines of Loving Grace was to bring inclusion to the amateur collector, those of us who don’t seek out just the rare machines but who appreciate displaying–and yes, using–the common typewriters that many Serious Collectors will not give a second glance. We may not know the detailed history of our machines, but we know that we like how the keys feel beneath our fingers. We are the bulls in the typewriter shop, who love nothing more than to lay hands upon, disassemble, and tinker with typers. Got rust? Who cares, so long as it works? Chipped paint? Adds character.

This isn’t to say that I won’t pass up a good deal on a rare machine when it comes along. I have a pair of Caligraphs that will probably never be used, but they were free and I’d have been insane to refuse them. And I have a fairly good investment piece in the Keaton, though I can’t read the music it types. But when I’m at the writing desk? Gimme that Underwood.

Happy 100th birthday

Filed under: Newsworthy — olivander February 13, 2009 @ 11:31 am

…to Clark Nova, born Clarence Novotny on this day in 1909 in Antioch, KS. At age sixteen, Clarence made his first silent motion picture, “The Underachiever”, for Flixio. It was Flixio’s Stakhanovite brothers who convinced him to change his name to the more leading-man-esque Clark Nova. He quickly moved into the romantic lead role in a series of mildly successful films–all but three of which have since been lost–and navigated the transition from silents to “talkies” better than many of his colleagues.

Although regularly deluged with mail from adoring female fans, Nova found less success in his personal life. Three marriages failed in rapid succession, and rumors that Nova was a “limp wrist” began to circulate in the entertainment tabloids despite the bevy of beautiful young women who came and went from his Beverly Hills home. “The girls circulated through that house like a faucet,” sniffed third wife Florence Vidor years later.

Following his final divorce in 1944, drinking and no-shows became a problem. His violent, drunken outbursts on the set and generally boorish behavior cost him several roles and gave him a reputation among studio execs as an actor to avoid. To make ends meet, he turned to writing for radio dramas, occasionally taking small, often uncredited parts in them as well.

His last performance was on March 24, 1952, in a small role in the Lux Radio Theater production of “Come to the Stable” that in a twist of fate reunited him with “Underachiever” co-star Loretta Young.

On August 14, 1952, Clark Nova was found dead from a single gunshot in his Oceanside apartment. Although the scene appeared to be suicide, no fingerprints were found on the weapon–a .38 Smith & Wesson which also had its serial number filed off. A subsequent investigation found that Nova’s death had probably been a mob hit, most likely revenge for Nova’s highly public outings with a mistress of crime boss Nunzi Spadafora. Spadafora underling Leslie “Bugeye” Rizzoli was eventually indicted but never convicted for the crime. Rizolli went to the electric chair for an unrelated crime in 1959, leaving Clark Nova’s death a decades-long subject for aficionados of unsolved Hollywood murders.

In 1992, Nova’s diaries turned up in a briefcase full of documents at a yard sale in Santa Barbara. In entried tainted with dispair and self-loathing, they revealed a tormented soul, popular but unsuccessful with the ladies, who harbored repressed homosexual urges. His death came only weeks after an entry confessing a sexual encounter with a young man who mowed his lawn, leading many to speculate that his death had been a suicide after all.

Somewhat perversely, Clark Nova is remembered today mostly in the form of the literary allusion he inspired: the talking asshole bug-typewriter in William S. Burroughs’ novel “Naked Lunch”.

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