Archives for January 2015

Of Myths and Certain History

Some of my readers might know that I live near the #1 city park in the USA.  You might also know that I volunteer there.  The Garden of the Gods park is one of my very favorite places and I totally enjoy my Monday afternoons when I can share the park with visitors.

By now, you’re asking what this has to do with 1775.   Hold on, I’ll get to it.

This formation in the Garden of the Gods is called the Kissing Camels.  As you can see, the humps on the camels are not even close to the same size – heck one hump isn’t even on the same rock.  So, from some vantage points you can see a humpless camel.  This has led to a rather common myth – that one of the camels humps broke off.

Recently, we had a gentlemen visitor that told anyone who would listen, in great detail, about the lightning strike back in the 70’s that took out that hump and sent rock crashing down into the park.  If truth were measured by certainty, this story would have been 100% true.  Problem is, there is zero truth to the tale.  That rock formation has been the same at least back to when the park was donated to the city in 1909.  I had to follow after the storyteller and let the staff members know that his story was pure myth.

So, here’s the point.  I was recently engaged in a discussion about whether British troops were housed in civilians homes in 1775 against the homeowners wishes.  I have always heard that they were.  This scholar said I was wrong.  He assured me that the source documents are clear on the subject.

Maybe I am wrong on that one.  I do try to verify my facts with source documents if at all possible.  But the reality remains that it’s a wonder that, 240 years later, we can find anything even resembling the truth. 


Unalienable Rights

by Leah Hotchkiss

Just a little grammar lesson…words have meaning. Especially in court, whose language and thought processes are based in the dead (not open to change) and very specific Latin language.

Unalienable (un aLIENable): Incapable of being alienated, that is, sold and transferred." Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 1523: You can not surrender, sell or transfer unalienable rights, they are a gift from the creator to the individual and can not under any circumstances be surrendered or taken. All individual’s have unalienable rights.

Inalienable: Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights. Morrison v. State, Mo. App., 252 S.W.2d 97, 101.

You can surrender, sell or transfer inalienable rights if you consent either actually or constructively. Inalienable rights are not inherent in man and can be alienated by government. Persons have inalienable rights. Most state constitutions recognize only inalienable rights.

Kindly Point Me to the Loo

I have a dear, sweet friend who is something of a throwback to an earlier, more genteel time. I don’t think she’d mind this characterization. She’s absolutely lovely. The first time I heard her excuse herself and her little girl to “use the loo” I simply smiled. It was totally in character.

And, I totally get it. I, too, am a bit of a throwback. I am not comfortable with the out-there-ness of talk of private bodily functions. I make no apologies.

The key word here is PRIVATE.

Hence the colonial privy.

As we look back on our colonial forebears and at their lack of indoor plumbing, the question arises: what did they call the loo? tells us this, “This little structure—of brick or wood, painted or unpainted, of vernacular or high-style design—was also known as a bog, boghouse, boggard, or bog-shop; a temple, a convenience, or temple of convenience; a little house, house of office, or close stool; a privy or a garde-robe, terms that descend from the Middle Ages. Or a jakes, a sixteenth-century term. Williamsburg’s St. George Tucker once defined a jakes as a garden temple.”

In later, pioneer times, it was an outhouse. In colonial times, these outhouses ranged from temporary sheds that were moved when the pit was full, to structures that were fashioned to match the house. Many homes didn’t have “a necessary” at all. This was a time of transitioning from chamber pots. Public buildings, like churches or taverns, though, did have a privy or even several out back.

And, here’s another thing that might make you squirm. Leather was tanned with urine. So many communities had great vats where urine was stored. Then pole men would come, take away the vats and sell the urine to the tanners. Ahem.

While we’re on the topic, where in heck did the term “restroom” come from? I don’t think I have ever rested in one.

Wonder how long it will take to get “skip to the loo” out of my head.