Make Sure You Know Who Your Friends Are

If you are looking for cooler conditions, head for the North Pole because we’re not cooling off anytime soon. Though, if you do go that far North, you may need to check with the Russian embassy since the Russians have declared the North Pole belongs to them. Rain is possible in small doses on Saturday with a dying front but don’t build an ark just yet. The big fat ridge over us will snuff any frontal boundaries from doing any damage and this heat wave will continue for the foreseeable future. A tropical wave in the Eastern Caribbean looks pretty impressive on satellite but the Hurricane Hunters didn’t find a closed low. Wouldn’t be surprised if we have a depression, at least, for Friday or maybe later.

On This Date in History: President Warren G. Harding died in San Francisco in 1923. Officially he died of a heart attack but speculation is that he may have been murdered. However, all subsequent investigations have determined that he was not poisoned, as conspiracy theorists suggest. Why would there be a conspiracy? Well, Harding had allowed his Secretary of the Interior to take over from the Navy Department the Teapot Dome oil reserve in Wyoming. The Secretary then allowed for two oilmen to develop the oil field there and another in California. Murmuring began as the Secretary suddenly upgraded his lifestyle. Turns out he had received $400,000 in “gifts” from the two oilmen. The Teapot Dome Scandal was the first huge Federal Government corruption scandal in the 20th century if not in all US history. Many more have followed. When told that his friends may be enriching themselves at the Federal Trough, Harding is said to have exclaimed, “My…friends…they’re the ones that keep me walking the floors nights!” Herbert Hoover urged Harding to publicly expose the scandal but Harding did not in fear of the public uproar. Harding avoided the whole mess and possible impeachment by conveniently dying before the Teapot Dome Scandal really bubbled to the surface.

In 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed in Deadwood, South Dakota. It wasn’t in a gunfight though. Hickok was playing cards in Saloon Number 10 with his back to the door. A tinhorn gunman named Jack McCall came in an shot Wild Bill in the back of the head. Legend is that Hickok was holding a pair of black aces and black 8’s. That is now commonly known as the “dead man’s hand” though most of the time the suit is not noted and just aces and eights will suffice for the moniker. Two things have eluded me: One is how does someone named James Butler become “Wild Bill?” The other is why he had his back to the door. Hickok had a storied life as a gunfighter and his reputation made him a target for those wanting to make a name for themselves. So, he typically sat with his back to the wall. I guess on August 2, 1876 he thought he was among friends. Seems Wild Bill and Warren G. needed to be more careful about their friends.


One Response

  1. In the “Who Knows?” and “You Can’t Zig When You Need Zag,” departments…

    “An early record refers to him as “Duck Bill” (perhaps in reference to a protruding upper lip he hid beneath a moustache), but his gunfighting skills changed his nickname to “Wild Bill”. His killing of a bear with a bowie knife during a turn as a stage driver cemented a growing reputation as a genuinely tough man who feared nothing, and who was feared for more than carrying a fast gun.”

    “On July 21, 1865, in the town square of Springfield, Missouri, Hickok killed Davis Tutt, Jr. in a “quick draw” duel. Fiction later typified this kind of gunfight, but Hickok’s is in fact the only one on record that fits the portrayal. [1] The incident was precipitated by a dispute over a gambling debt incurred at a local saloon.”

    “On August 2, 1876, while playing poker at Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, in the Black Hills, Dakota Territory, Hickok could not find an empty seat in the corner, where he always sat in order to protect himself against sneak attacks from behind, and instead sat with his back to one door and facing another. His paranoia was prescient: he was shot in the back of the head with a .45-caliber revolver by Jack McCall. Legend has it that Hickok, playing poker when he was shot, was holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights. The fifth card was either unknown, or some say that it had not yet been dealt. This famous hand of cards is known as the “Dead Man’s Hand”.”


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