Right to Smoke Non-Tobacco, Rights to Monopoly, Wrong to Kidnap Kaiser

Freedom of Expression!

Courts Haven't Ruled in Favor of This Kind of Free Speech

This one may be headed to the legal history bin:  Many municipalities have enacted anti-smoking laws.  I do not understand how constitutional position of such laws in relation to private business,  but I suppose that has probably been adjudicated.  But, the laws typically specifically address the smoking of tobacco products.  They often say nothing about non-tobacco products.  My history professor, Dr. Thomas Mackey, always reminded me of the importance of words and to write what you mean and mean what you write.  Legal professionals are supposed to write with such specificity but sometimes they fall short.  In Denver, apparently the law bans smoking of tobacco products so The Denver Curious Theater says it will go to the Supreme Court of the United States to argue their right to smoke non-tobacco products during theater productions.  Gee…I wonder what non-tobacco product they are considering?  They’ve been arguing for three years before state courts that the non-tobacco smoking is a form of free speech and should be protected as a right of free expression.  The Colorado Supreme Court didn’t buy it, serving up a smoking 6-1 ruling against the plaintiffs.  It will be interesting to see if the SCOTUS decides to hear the case.  I’d love to hear what Justice Scalia has to say.  Actually, if you look at some of Scalia’s less celebrated opinions, it’s possible that he may surprise some folks if he gets the chance.

Monopoly "Inventer" Cashed In, But Was it Legit?

Monopoly "Inventer" Cashed In, But Was it Legit?

I Doubt That Darrow Could Beat Tom Cruce

I Doubt That Darrow Could Beat Tom Cruce

On This Date in History:

When I was a kid…I’m talking kidnergarten through second grade…we played Monopoly all the time. We’d have games that lasted for days. Tom Cruce was always hiding money under the board and so we never knew how much he had. I think sometimes we made up our own rules. The game would often be transferred from one house to another, depending on the mood of the mother of whatever house we began the game. If the atmosphere became too tense, we simply moved to someone elses house.

1935 Version

1935 Version

That is my history of Monopoly and its probably a little more clear than the history of the game itself. Parker Brothers made a lot of money selling the game after it bought the rights in 1935. It had always been believed that Charles B. Darrow sketched the original version on a piece of oil cloth. Darrow, an out of work salesman, did not have the means to distribute the game so he offered it to Parker Brothers. But the game company thought it was too complicated and took a pass. So, Darrow joined forces with a friend and sold several sets in and around Philadelphia. Parker Brothers took another look at it and bought the rights. But, the story may be a bit more complicated than that.

Magie's 1904 Patent

Magie's 1904 Patent

In 1971(1973 or 1974 in some sources), someone came out with Anti-Monopoly. Naturally, Parker Brothers wasn’t too enthused and off to court they went. In the testimony, witnesses claimed that the game had been patented on this date in 1904 by Elizabeth J. Magie. Ms. Magie followed the theories of economist (now thought of as a socialist) Henry George and came up with the game to show the evils of real estate monopolies. Her early version was known as the Landlord Game and spaces sported names like Lord Blueblood’s Estate where trespassers were sent to jail. There was also Poverty Place. By the 1920’s, the game was being played in eastern universities by students who held left-wing ideals. At the Quaker Haverford College in Philadelphia, the student yearbook in 1924 made reference to the game and called in Monopoly.

Five years later, the students at Atlantic City Friends School were introduced to the game by a Quaker teacher. The spaces were given names found in Atlantic City with property values assigned and spaces painted in the colors that are familiar today. The story goes that a visitor to the school

1935 Marvin Gardens Card Misspelled

1935 Marvin Gardens Card Misspelled

took the game back to Philadelphia and showed it to a Quaker hotel manager named Charles Todd. Todd, in turn, showed it to Darrow. Todd said that Darrow was slow to catch on to how the game was played. Todd claimed that Darrow asked him to write up the rules and make a copy of the game board for him. Todd then asserted that “he(Darrow) stole the game and took it from there.” As proof, Todd said that when he made a copy for Darrow, he misspelled Marven Gardens. Instead of an “e” he used an “i” and that is why Marvin Gardens is not spelled properly on the board game.

So, Charles Darrow may indeed have been a fraud…but he did gain a monopoly…at least for awhile after he received U.S. Patent 2,026,082 for the game in 1935. Darrow became the first millionaire game designer in history and three years after he died in 1967, Atlantic City put up a commemorative plaque on the boardwalk near Park Place to honor the man who may not have invented Monopoly, but certainly profited from it. It looks like to me that the Quakers must have felt like that they got stuck with Baltic and Medeterranean while Darrow had Boardwalk and Park Place.


Kaiser Wilhelm II

Hand Over the Kaiser!  Well…Never Mind: 

After World War I, Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II found haven at a friend’s castle in Holland.  American Colonel Luke Lea was outraged, thinking that the former head of Germany should be tried as a war criminal.  Tennesseans from the days of Davy Crockett and his Tennessee Volunteers at the Alamo have been known for their toughness and hard headedness and Lea and his pals decided to hold up that tradition.  Lea got 7 other guys from his home state and plotted to capture the Kaiser and present him to President Wilson  as “a New Year’s Eve gift” at the Paris Peace conference.  So, the 8 Tennesseans acquired some passes, stole a couple of cars and, on this date in 1919, went to the Dutch town of Amerongen.  When they got to the castle, they BS’d their way past some guards and demanded to see the Kaiser.  Count von Bentinck asked what they wanted and they said they’d only tell the Kaiser.  The Kaiser refused to see them.  They argued a bit and then just decided to say “never mind” and left politely.  By that time, a crowd of soldiers had gathered but the octet managed to get in their stolen cars and made a clean getaway.  Or so they thought.  They were eventually apprehended and squeaked past a court martial, though I don’t think that was ever too much a concern.  See, the American commander, General John J. Pershing later said that he’d have given a year’s pay to have gone with Lea and his private expeditionary force.  It’s good to have the king on your side. 

CONUS Snow Depth NAM 7 AM Friday

Weather Bottom Line:  As of January 4, 2o10 58.1% of the United States was covered with an average of 5.9 inches of snow.  In a few days, that coverage will expand as a pretty quick moving shortwave dives down from the northern Rockies, across the plains, through the Ohio Valley and into the Carolinas.  Behind it will be another shot of arctic air that promises to keep Kentuckiana in a deep freeze.  As it passes on Thursday, it still appears to be the best shot this season for some decent snowfall.  Some models have over 4 inches of snow but I kinda like the 2-3 inch range a little better. The NAM has come in line with this thinking as it calls for a 2.5 inch snow depth over our region by Friday morning.  It’s possible for more than that, depending on the humidity of the air.  Lower dewpoints may result in a great snow to liquid ratio and so a fluffy snow may be closer to 4 inches.  Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see schools closed on Friday given its the first snow, its  the first week of school for the new year and it’s a  Friday and everyone wants a long weekend.  With snow on the ground, easily single digits and maybe low single digits could be in the cards Saturday morning.  You probably heard that here first but others will come around.


3 Responses

  1. if you’re interested in a personal story about vaccines and the government check out http://bennymay.wordpress.com/

  2. Just a note to tell you that Marven Gardens was not a misspelling.
    The properties on Monopoly are named for streets and areas of Atlantic City.
    Marven Gardens is a community that is located between Margate and Ventnor City. They are the next 2 towns south of Atlantic City.
    Just to let you know. Actually Marvin is a misspelling. lol

  3. lol I should have read the article, it has the correct spelling.

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