JEFF’S ECCENTRIC PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS: EMPEROR NORTON

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image from sparkletack.com

Think that politicians are off their rocker? I don’t blame you. No Matter what political party you belong to, there is no argument that most have more than one screw loose. And if there is any city in USA that has plenty of loose screws that is none other than San Francisco. But probably never in the city’s history (or the American government’s) has there been a more eccentric or bizarre character than Joshua Norton, the first and still only Emperor of the United States of America

The Emperor was born in England somewhere between 1814 and 1819, but grew up in South Africa. Joshua Abraham Norton moved to the US in 1849 with about $40,000.00, a little over one million in today’s money, to his name to seek his fortune. After some successes in real estate, he tried to make a monopoly in the rice industry with unsuccessful results that ruined him. Probably embarrassed, he left San Francisco for a short time.

Then, on September 17 1859, he entered a number of articles to various city newspapers declaring himself the “Emperor of these United States,” and later “Protector of Mexico.” For the next 20 years he paraded around the city inspecting his “realm” and delivering his own brand of philosophy and wisdom to all who would listen in an old navy uniform with golden epaulettes, a worn out old saber, gifts from the local military fort, and often with a beaver hat with a peacock feather and a brass rosette. (see picture). The people however decided to play along with him, giving him real royal treatment and the imaginary monarch was genuinely loved and respected by his “subjects”.

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image from en.wikipedia.org

He was given free meals at restaurants, rides on the trolley, a reserved seat at theaters and city council, and had a yearly inspection of the Army post at the Presidio of San Francisco. He only accepted handouts if the giver gave them as taxes and had his own money printed that was jokingly used by local business and were great souvenirs for visitors. His Imperial residence was just a room in a boarding house that he lived in for free. He even stopped an anti-Chinese riot by standing between the groups and recited the Lord’s Prayer. Another interesting event of his “reign” was when a police officer actually attempted to arrest him and send him to an asylum. The people were outraged and demanded that their Emperor Norton be released. The chief of police complied, issued a formal apology and had the police force salute the Emperor whenever he was present. His Highness saved the embarrassed policeman’s job by issuing an Imperial Pardon for the man who arrested him. He also printed a number of decrees, often printed in the city’s newspapers, demanding things like disbanding the Republican and Democrat parties, creating a League of Nations and even was a leading supporter of building the San Francisco-Oakland Bridge, a command finally obeyed long after the Emperor’s death, starting in 1933 and completed in 1936.

Some fascinating rumors spread around Emperor Norton during his “rule.” There was some talk that he sent a letter to Queen Victoria of the British Empire, asking for her hand in marriage. Some also said that he was the son of Napoleon III although Norton never claimed that, (and Louis Napoleon would still be a kid when Joshua Norton was born). Other people said that he was secretly still rich and only faked insanity. He is reported to have met a real emperor, Pedro II of Brazil when the South American monarch made a visit to the US and really did write to Queen Victoria, though I doubt she wrote back. On his way to a lecture at the California Academy of Science, His Majesty fell from a stroke and died on January 8 1880. His funeral had about 30,000 mourners and even a three gun salute. In 1934 a new tombstone was placed on his grave that said: Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.

The Emperor Norton remains a figure admired, laughed at and laughed with in American lore and San Francisco culture. He has inspired characters or appeared as a character himself in books, comics, role-play games and musicals by various authors including Mark Twain, Christopher Moore, Neil Gaiman and Robert Anton Wilson. Several western and anthology television shows have done an episode on the American Emperor including “Bonanza.” There is a walking tour in the city called “Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine” with a guide dressed and acting as Joshua A Norton. There is even a parody religion, Discordianism, that has him as a second class saint (first class is for fictional characters) and one of the oldest LGBT organizations, the International Imperial Court System, uses the Emperor as an inspiration. (Well it is San Francisco!) The founder, Josè Sarria, gave himself the title “the Widow Norton,” and is buried at foot of his hero’s grave.

Every January 8 in the city he once ruled celebrates Emperor Norton Day. In America’s capital of Eccentricity, he still reigns  as the King of Eccentrics and is still the only monarch of the United States of America.

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image from foundsf.org

What SEEDS means to me

What Seeds means to me

2/16: At the time of writing this I have been working at SEEDS FOR AUTISM for over a year. During this time I’ve come out of my shell a lot. In High School I was always the quiet person in class that wouldn’t talk anyone and no one would even try to talk to me. I did have a couple of friends from Middle and Elementary school that I would hang out with at lunch and on the bus, but we didn’t have any classes together. I secretly felt kind of lonely but was to afraid to actually talk to new people. After I graduated, my family took me to a job/program/school fair where SEEDS had a booth. It seemed interesting, so that summer I signed up for the summer program -and it was a lot of fun. I met some nice people who I became acquaintances with, but I still didn’t feel at home/comfortable yet. Then in December, I joined the official SEEDs program. I was still pretty nervous, until someone who also works at SEEDS said he remembered me from the summer program and welcomed me into the SEEDS family. I felt bad because I didn’t remember him.  After a while though we became good friends and still are. I started talking about similar interests, things that are on my mind, how life is going, and now I have many new friends! Now I feel like I can make friends, share what I have to say, and I am slightly more confident. I am now truly part of the SEEDS family!

5/25: Today I am leaving SEEDS, I still feel the same as I did when I wrote the paragraph above. I am leaving because SEEDS has given me confidence to follow a new opportunity. I will miss all of my friends and all of my instructors very much, but it’s time to move forward with my life, and SEEDS FOR AUTISM has given me the knowledge to do so successfully. I have learned skills and made things here that I never thought I would ever be able to. I am very grateful for SEEDS FOR AUTISM and everyone here for helping me with so much. The only thing I can say now is, thank you!

~Breanna D.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

~Nelson Mandela

My Favorite Department

My name is Matthew and my favorite department is Newsletter. In Newsletter I get to use my talent of making amazing stories and harness it into great blog posts. In Newsletter I learn to make cool titles with pictures. In Newsletter I’m free to write about what’s on my mind or what I write in my journals and I get a lot of support from Michele and my friends they are the first people in the world that like my stories and believe I could be a writer.

To Have the Courage and Faith

When life is either good or bad, sometimes we have the courage to do what’s right, to be a team member or trustful friend: if someone is having a bad day, you can have a talk of comfort.

To have a positive confidence is to have great time with friends or family, to keep in touch or have a sense of humor.

Doing this is a way of never thinking anger and hatred, always think joy and happiness.

by Angel.

Kyle’s food for thought quotes!

medieval

 

“To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.” —Michael Jordan

Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.

– Mark Twain

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

– Mark Twain

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu

Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war. – Donald Trump

If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill

 

Scream Queens spoiler review

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Warning: this show is not to be watched by the faint of heart!!!!!!!!!! 

Scream Queens is a TV show about a sorority called Kappa Kappa Tau, where 20 years ago, a mystery was born. The main Chanel, Chanel Oberlin decided to prank the sorority’s housemaid, Ms. Bean, unfortunately the prank went horribly wrong and Chanel burned Ms. Bean’s face off in the deep fryer. The Chanels are not the nicest people, but they are being targeted by a serial killer called the Red Devil who, one by one, kills the sorority pledges by various methods. One of the sisters, Hester is faking a condition which requires a neck brace that she stole from another patient at the asylum where she had been living for the past 20 years. Hester devised a scheme in which she falsely claimed that she was pregnant with Chad, Chanel’s boyfriend’s baby. In anger, Chanel pushed Hester down the stairs after finding out that Hester was lying about being pregnant. Chad took Chanel to his family’s house for Thanksgiving, then Hester showed up and the Radwell family engaged in what can be described as the most mean spirited game of Pictionary. The school’s head, Dean Munsch, has a deep dislike for the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority and through her inaction, at least 4 of the sisters die. Dean Munsch’s ex -husband fell in love with one of his students, a young woman named Feather and asked the dean for a divorce. Instead, she killed him, cut up the body, scattered the body parts around the house and framed Feather for the murder. Feather was sentenced to life in an asylum. Chanel #3’s biggest secret is that (shocker) her father is the infamous serial killer, Charles Manson. In the first season, there are multiple deaths, including Hester’s twin brother, Boone. Chanel #3’s real name is Sadie Swensen.  Chanel #5’s real name is Libby Putney. That information only comes out during the Chanel’s murder trial. The Chanels were found innocent but after Chanel insulted the jury, the verdict was changed to guilty.

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Twenty years ago, a pledge gave birth in a bathtub during a party at the sorority house. Dean Munsch apparently covered up the death by disposing of the body. One of the sisters took the babies and tried to raise them. Unfortunately, the stress and guilt was too much for her and she committed suicide. The girl’s sister spent 20 years in an asylum planning her revenge with the help of Hester and Boone, who turned out to be the twins who were born at the party at Kappa Kappa Tau. The sisters of Kappa Kappa Tau decide to host a slumber party, where Chanel #3’s secret is revealed accidentally by her newfound lover, Sam, who then is dared by Chanel #3, in anger, to go down to the creepy basement and take a nap in the blood filled bathtub. Sam is then killed by the Red Devil who suffocates her with a sheet of plastic. Hester planned to get away with murder and pinned the blame on the Chanels by falsely claiming Chanel #5 shoved a high heeled shoe into Hester’s eyeball. Then the Chanels were falsely accused of murder by Hester, who produced all kinds of falsified evidence against them. The Chanels were sentenced to life in prison at the Palmer Asylum for the Insane. The Chanels were enjoying themselves in the asylum, until Chanel’s boyfriend, Chad appeared in the asylum late at night dressed as the Red Devil, holding a butcher knife.

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In season 2, the serial killer is the Green Meanie, who kills several patients as well as Chad who is killed and his dead body falls through the ceiling at his wedding to Chanel, causing her to scream in horror. The Green Meanie also maims Denise the security guard by electrocuting her with defibrillators that are supposed to be used to shock the heart. The Chanels recruit new Chanels, including a male Chanel, Chanel Pour Homme named Tristan. They met Tristan while in prison because he sent them some fan fiction.Tristan is then killed and his intestines are excised. Then Chanel #11, who’s real name is Midge, who has 11 fingers, has her 11th finger chopped off by the Green Meanie, who then stabs her in the stomach. Nurse Hoffel’s Maiden name is Bean because her sister was Ms. Bean and she wants revenge against the Chanels. Back in 1985, there was a pregnant woman whose husband was murdered by the hospital staff. Her baby turned out to be Dr. Cassidy Cascade who is Chanel #3’s love interest. In the newest episode, Chanel #3 runs a psych test on Dr. Cascade, which reveals that he is one of the Green Meanies. She decides not to turn him into the police, saying she wants to be happy. Dean Munsch decides to have Dr. Brock perform a surgery on a woman with a attached twin and weak heart. The Chanels assist on the surgery and sing the song “99 Red Balloons” to calm down Dr. Brock who’s having a panic attack.

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The dean’s previous lover, Weston, returned to seek revenge on the Chanels because his daughter, Grace, ended up in an asylum because the trauma from the murders was too much for her. Then he killed the hospital candy striper, Chamberlin, who was hired through a Craigslist ad. It is revealed that Jane Hollis, the woman from 1985, is one of the 3 Green Meanies (the others being Dr. Cascade and Weston). She killed the doctors and patients in 1986. She drugged Zayday and tied her to a web in a octagon shaped room. Dr. Cascade, with the help of Nurse Hoffel, killed Chanel #9 by inserting numerous needles all over her body. In the finale, the Chanels are set free from the horror of being hunted by a serial killer. The four Green Meanies (Nurse Hoffel, Weston, Jane Hollis and Dr. Cascade) all met dead ends (Weston burned in a pool filled with hot oil, Jane Hollis was shot, Dr. Cascade died when he jumped in front of #3 and was impaled with a knife and Nurse Hoffel drowned in quicksand). Hester stole all Dean Munsch’s money and ran off with Dr. Brock to Blood Island. The episode ends with a cliffhanger: Chanel gets into her car and notices a Kappa ring and Red Devil costume in the backseat and screams.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the next season of Scream Queens, because it is my favorite show.