Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tauy Creek Digest #38: Dr. Martin Van Buren Stevens

Those of you who were able to see my presentation on the Douglas County Poor Farm know I mentioned a Dr. Martin Van Buren Stevens, who was a resident of the Farm in 1909.

Dr. Martin Van Buren Stevens was born in 1836, possibly in Ohio. He received his Bachelor's at Oberlin College and his doctorate from Adelbert College in Cleveland. From what I can tell, his main form of practice was phrenology but he may have also been versed in other practices as he became very well-respected around Lawrence.

Dr. Stevens was a very charitable and religious man. He attended the annual religious Chautauqua in Ottawa and was a massive presence there and whenever he went out. From accounts, Dr. Stevens was a very tall and gaunt man. His name appears in the Annual Report of the State Board of Health from 1899. In it, he condemns examinations and rushing children off to school without breakfast. It should be noted that his title of doctor appears in quotes. Dr. Stevens even attended the KU School of Law in his seventies but never graduated so never practiced.

Dr. Stevens was very active up through 1907 when he attended his last Chautauqua in Ottawa. Shortly after, his physical and mental health deteriorated and he was often found wandering Lawrence and begging for money. After he was arrested and spent several days in the county days in the county jail, he was sent to the county farm. There, his health rapidly declined. He had resisted the county farm for so long but finally consented.

Dr. Martin Van Buren Stevens passed away at the county farm on November 13, 1909. He was at the farm for two and a half months. He actually had enough for his funeral which was surprising to people. Little was ever known about him. During a revival, he testified that he had two wives and three children that had already passed on. He had a brother, Victor, who lived in Oskaloosa. He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

"Someway whenever I have taken anything up it seemed to be at the wrong time to make good."

Battle of the Birds

Well, this will be the worst Thanksgiving the Thornapples will ever have.

By my calculations, a twenty pound turkey would cost around $10 plus tax. A twenty pound chicken would cost around $14 plus tax. Maybe that's not accurate but I feel an entire chicken costs more than an entire turkey.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Why Does Food Need To Be Trendy?

Refusing to eat dinner because it's something different? That seems childish. As someone with basic human decency, I can at least try it and take a small helping just in case I don't legitimately like it. No, just be all childish about it, huff and puff, then angrily sit on the couch in front of the TV hungry all night. I don't care.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Marriage Woes

Why are trying to improve your relationship at this late stage of your marriage? For Wilberforce? That kid is going to need years of work with or without a parental divorce marked on that form.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

He's 74

Uncle Ted should think about how young he wants to go. Not only because no will believe him if he goes back far enough but because too young and there's to way he could've done whatever he did during the sixties.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bart the Daredevil

Episode 7F06 (#21)
Created by Matt Groening; Developed by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky
Directed by Wes Archer
Executive Producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Starring Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, and Harry Shearer
Also Starring Hank Azaria, Pamela Hayden, Maggie Roswell


While watching wrestling, Homer and Bart see an advertisement for a monster truck ralley featuring TRUCKASAURUS. Both Homer and Bart want to go but as luck would have it, Lisa's recital is also that night. Thankfully, Lisa's recital is at 5 while the monster truck rally is at 8. Surely there's enough time to go to both, right?

The recital ends with barely enough time to get across town to wherever the rally is being held but then Homer can't find a parking spot. When he thinks he's found one, it's learned that it's the entrance to the stadium. The car gets stuck in the mud and then TRUCKASAURUS appears ready to eat them. After being rescued, the Simpsons are ready to watch the monster truck rally. A high point, for Bart anyway, is the daredevil stunt from Captain Lance Murdock, who manages to ride his motorcycle over a tank of sharks, electric eels, piranhas, and a lion, with a bit of his own blood just to rile them all up, only to accidentally fall in when his bike tips over. With that, Bart decides to become a daredevil.
This makes me want to be a daredevil.

Bart starts out with skateboarding over cars, dogs, a bus, but soon sees bigger challenges with the Springfield Gorge. Lisa overhears his plan and tries to get Dr. Hibbert and Lance Murdock to dissuade Bart from pursuing this life. Instead, Murdock tells Bart to go for it because "bones heal" and "women love scars." Lisa then tells Homer and Marge who forbid Bart to jump the Gorge. Bart goes anyway and Homer arrives at the Gorge just in time to stop Bart. To prove a point to Bart, Homer says he is going to jump the Gorge just so that Bart has to watch someone he loves do something dangerous. Bart comes to his senses and stops Homer from going. Unfortunately, the skateboard starts rolling down the ramp and launches him over the Gorge but Homer doesn't quite make it and winds up in the hospital next to Lance Murdock.
So close.

Random Observations

  • I originally thought having Lisa's recital on Saturday was strange. Most of my afterschool programs and such were only on Fridays but I guess there are programs on Saturdays but usually it's because it's a two-night thing or if it's a big school. This is neither of those things.
  • There is a three hour time frame but yet the recital takes up nearly all of that time. Franz Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony", which Homer thinks won't last very long since it's unfinished, is actually 25 minutes or so which doesn't seem long but when performed by 2nd graders is probably difficult to sit through.
  • Schubert didn't finished this symphony, technically Symphony No. 8, either because he started working on another, more appealing to him, piece or because of a bout of syphilis. Musicologists cannot agree on which one.
  • I've always overlooked how the Simpsons wind up in the pit and nearly killed by TRUCKASAURUS but now that I'm watching it and actually reviewing it, it's so silly and unbelievable. Clearly this was the "children are watching" gag.
  • Bart: "Dad, I want to be a daredevil."
    Homer: "Hee, hee. Kids say such stupid things."
  • I have to give credit to Bart--and really the writers-- for building up Bart's attempts at being a daredevil. He tried jumping a car and got injured. Trying again, he was able to leap it and moved onto bigger things ultimately deciding to jump Springfield Gorge. I feel other animated shows and even The Simpsons of today would have Bart immediately try to jump the Gorge instead of having a build-up of Bart actually doing well at being a daredevil.
  • I've always loved the heartfelt autograph that Lance Murdock writes for Bart with his mouth.

Saturday Catch-Up

Who would say this to Brutus? This company only has five employees and that's counting Veeblefester. That's the only reason I can think of that would give Brutus as much power as he seems to have in this company.

More proof this company has only a few employees: Why is Brutus going to the president and CEO about payroll matters?

I don't really think about getting old. I don't mind it--it is just a number and you only are as old as you feel you are and all that jazz. The only thing I don't like about getting old is no longer being with "it". I used to be with "it" but they keep changing what "it" was and now what I'm with isn't "it" and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. And it'll happen to you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Maybe It Was Your Snoring

"I didn't sleep at all last night" isn't something to take literally. It's a figurative phrase meaning that Brutus got far less than adequate sleep. He didn't just lay there awake all night. He probably slept for an hour or so and snored, tossed and turned, kept waking up, rolling into positions that exacerbated his snoring. What I'm getting at is have some sympathy Miss Stay-At-Home.