Baby Turtles, Bonnie and Clyde, and Outlawing the Semicolon

English: Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, somet...

English: Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, sometime between 1932 and 1934, when their exploits in Arkansas included murder, robbery, and kidnapping. Contrary to popular belief the two never married. They were in a long standing relationship. Posing in front of an early 1930s Ford V-8 automobile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a week of missed opportunities, once again.  I found out too late it was World Turtle Day, and while internetting around to see what I had missed, I found I had also missed National Taffy Day, Chardonnay Day, and The Bonnie and Clyde Festival in Gibsland, Louisiana, where the whacky Dallas duo were ambushed and killed on May 23, 1934.  Bummer. And, then there’s the raging debate over semicolons.

Missing World Turtle Day blows. The worldwide celebration is observed in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects that encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms.  Founded in 1990, the American Tortoise Rescue is responsible for promoting the idea turtles need love too, and seems to practice what they preach, claiming to have placed 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes.  Does this call for a re-reading of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species ?  In a Darwinian world where might makes right, human industry polluting these slow-moving, antique, and unproductive members of the food chain into extinction makes perfectly good sense when reviewing the bottom line…which is always the bottom line.

Taffy Day…Chardonnay Day…I can take or leave the taffy, but I’m open to housing any homeless bottles of decent Chardonnay.

A Bonnie and Clyde Festival though, and the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Louisiana in the Spring…I am making plans for next year and circling the dates on my American Tortoise Rescue calendar.  This does sound choice.  A group of actors from Denton, Texas, a town whose local bank was robbed twice by the B&C gang, show up annually to re-enact the ambush and squirt fake blood all over Ringgold Road where the real event took place.  Besides reenactments, tourists can meet some of Bonnie and Clyde’s relatives, such as Clyde’s nephew, Buddy Barrow, and his sister Marie Barrow.  And now and then some of Bonnie’s kin show up as well.  Then there’s “Boots” Hinton, whose father Ted was one of the six lawmen from the ambush.

English: L.J. "Boots" Hinton, curato...

English: L.J. “Boots” Hinton, curator of Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, LA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Boots” must be a popular name to bear in the piny woods of Louisiana, since the undertaker who embalmed Bonnie and Clyde back in 1934 was C.F. “Boots” Bailey.  He was an attention-mad sniveler though, complaining to the press about what difficult clients the notorious outlaws had been.  Seems the two bodies were so full of bullet holes the embalming fluid leaked all over Boots’ boots.

Some lifetimes life just sucks.

To get a scholarly perspective, anyone attending the event can sit in on the Friday night historians meeting at which “they come and argue about stuff,” says Billie Gene Poland, one of the festival’s organizers and the curator of the Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum in Gibsland.

The Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum…or…The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum.  It’s like deciding between the Louvre and the Paris Museum of Modern Art on your last sober day in Paris.

English: Bonnie_&_Clyde Ambush Museum (Revised...

English: Bonnie_&_Clyde Ambush Museum (Revised), Gibsland, LA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Ambush Museum doesn’t have a budget, they depend on donations, which means the pickin’s here are pretty slim.  There are some gun displays and two female mannequins dressed to look like the gangsters.   Outside the museum, there are lots of vendors selling everything from commemorative T-shirts to small swatches of cloth torn from the pants Clyde was wearing when they were gunned down.  Seems authenticty might be an issue.

For those who prefer Broadway, you missed out too.  The musical “Bonnie and Clyde” was run off the road.  Premiering at the La Jolla Playhouse on November 20, 2009, the show idled around the country, eventually making it to Broadway on November 4 of last year.  It only lasted 69 shows, then died, which seems to be a connecting thread here.  There’s always the 1967 film by Arthur “Bloody Art” Penn, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.  And Bonnie’s poem (figures she was a poet) “Trail’s End” has inspired songs by everyone, as in Brigette Bardot, Flatt and Scruggs, Mel Torme, Merle Haggard, Die Toten Hosen, a German punk band, and even weirder…in 2007, Belinda Carlysle, former head mistress of the all-girl pop band The Go-Gos.

And, if obsessive disorders interest you more than crappy music, you might look into Hybristophilia – Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome, big brother to Asphyxiophilia, Autassassinophilia, and Chremosistophilia.  Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome sufferers seem to be turned on by predatory types, becoming sexually aroused and more orgasm responsive when contemplating the careers of psychopathic killers, which is why Ted “Boots” Bundy,  Jeffrey “The Heel” Dahmer, and Charlie “Sole Man” Manson never knew a slow mail month while in prison.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car at the National Mus...

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Trivia Tidbit:  Bonnie and Clyde’s death car is on display to the public at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment.  Who would have thought there would be such a place…and, who would have thought a country ever-teetering on the brink of fiscal disaster would fund such a museum…and, who would think this ramble would need another bit of useless trivia?

This has been a very trying post, and I feel a touch of Hybristophilia coming on, so I’m going to have to hold off on the semicolon question and write some letters.


Earth Rise – The Birth of Earth Day?

earth riseWould there be an Earth Day without the shots of the Earth rising above the horizon of the Moon?  Shots like these, taken by astronauts involved in the Apollo program‘s moon missions gave earthlings a whole new perspective.

I’ve had people who were around back in the early seventies and active in the environmental movement tell me that it was such a powerful image at the time, one that had never been seen before, it had a truly sobering effect on the collective conscience.  The visual proof that we all lived on a small blue planet in the middle of a vast universe that was extremely unforgiving to creatures attached to oxygen, water and such earthly delights…creatures such as human beings.

Various elements of the Flat Earth gangs had so embedded the idea that the Earth was the center of the universe into the thought processes of so many powerful humans that even after the blasphemers  Copernicus and Galileo had had their says it still had to be an underpinning of many people’s World Views.  The idea that there were limits involved with our temporary tenancy had been theoretical, and easily ignored before these photos, both beautiful in their unique point of view, and their stark contrast.  People who were already aware of the importance of taking care of the homestead were given a practical tool that could be used to instill a sense of total awe, and a sense of responsibility, into the thinking of people who had until then taken our Third Stone From the Sun for granted.  Good enough.  All that wealth, time, and energy focused on getting to the moon first did result in something useful.

“The Dark Side of the Moon” has to be one of the most interesting documentary films I’ve ever seen.  One of the aspects it mentioned up front was how white-bread homogenous the astronauts chosen to participate in the Apollo program were.  All white males with strong attachments to conventional family values and established religious dogma.  Alternative views of the universe or mankind’s role in that universe were not going to be acknowledged or encouraged.  It didn’t work out so well.

One of the first people interviewed for the documentary was Yuri Gagarin’s widow.  She told the interviewers something her husband had always been afraid to mention publicly or privately to anyone except her…that he had heard a humming sound when he was in outer space, as if there was a force of some kind at work “out there” that until then had only been imagined by artistic types, such as composers – Holst, The Planets, or the Sound of the Spheres, maybe.  This led into a where-are-they-now bit about the former Apollo astronauts.

One of the former astronauts interviewed had been so thrown out of his previously held world view that he had retreated to a remote area of Hawaii, if memory serves me, where he painted large murals of cosmic bodies using his moon boots and a rock pick instead of brushes or painter’s knives.  The footage of his interview showed him among a few of the paintings he had created using these unconventional tools, and they stunned me, a truly artistic statement of a feeling of separation from the familiar and “known” world.  Now there was a man whose world view had been changed by the experience of being propelled out of the comfort and assurity of his previously unquestioned belief system.

Another astronaut interviewed also seemed to be attempting to deal with this challenge to his sense of place in the universe.  He was filmed standing on Mt. Ararat, the wind blowing his hair in his face…and it was a serious face.  His eyes had a strange, haunted look to them, as if he was clinging onto a sinking life raft and he knew it.  And what was he doing on Mt. Ararat?  Why, looking for the ultimate life raft, Noah‘s Ark.  His voice was shaky, about as shaky as the “proof” he had come up with that this truly was the site where Noah and his Ark had made landfall…a few pieces of wood, most burned…fire refuse.  It didn’t appear as though his previously held idea of a life raft was doing much for him.  He too seemed like a soul detached, like the astronaut from Kubrick’s2001 A Space Odyssey” that was last seen spinning off into the dark depths of an unknown, forbidding, and assuredly deadly universe.  Instead of coming to terms with a new world view he was desperately back-pedaling…back to his roots, his core belief system, despite what he had seen, done, and possibly heard…if he had heard the same hum of the universe that Yuri Gagarin claimed to have heard.

Happy Earth Day, earthlings…tread softly.