Saturday, July 16, 2011

Today -100: July 16, 1911: Of false hair, French divorce, goats, and disgusted burglars

Headline of the Day -100: “Wrestles With False Hair.” Part of an endless series of stories since the passage of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff in 1909 in which the Treasury categorizes various imported products to determine the tariff to be paid on them. In this case, the law specifies that “drawn” hair is subject to a 20% duty while “raw” hair may be imported free, so the Treasury is busy determining which is which. “One section of the Treasury offices looks like an Indian camp after the visit of a scalping party.”

An article about the income tax amendment mentions parenthetically that of 15 state legislatures which have yet to vote on it, 9 are out of session until 1913.

A couple of French dukes sue because Louis XV gave their ancestor rights to a box at the Opéra Comique with a room behind it, a separate staircase and a private entrance, but since the reconstruction of the opera house in 1887, they’ve had only the box. The court (which evidently hasn’t heard of the abolition of aristocratic privileges during the French Revolution) awards them $2,000 in damages, but won’t order that the building’s entire facade be rebuilt to accommodate them.

More upper-upper-class French people news: with divorce rising (and fewer people shunning divorced women from polite society) but with French divorce proceedings pretty secretive, the question has arisen of whether and how one should announce one’s divorce in the pre-Facebook age. If you send out divorce cards, do you say “Monsieur and Madame X regret to announce,” when you obviously regrette rien, or “Monsieur and Madame X have the pleasure of announcing,” which some find frivolous? “Monsieur and Madame X have the honor”? The younger set dislike “The court has declared a divorce between Monsieur and Madame X” because it’s legalistic instead of sentimental. And what about the recipient: do you send congratulations or condolences?

Candidates to join the Elks will no longer have to ride the goat. That’s a euphemism for... oh, wait, for riding a goat.

Politically Correct Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “YELLOW PERIL IS IMMINENT.; FLOOD OF CHINESE MARCHING ON LOS ANGELES; Plague-stricken Contrabands Are Crossing the Line, and Four Hundred Waiting at Ensenada.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Burglar Caught, Disgusted.” Said the burglar, as he was led by police out of the home of an electrical engineer who had choked him into submission, “Richmond Hill is the worst place I ever saw. If I robbed every house in the place I wouldn’t get more than 25 cents.” In burglary as in real estate, it’s location location location.

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