Sunday, December 9, 2018

Lil' Kim (ft. The Notorious B.I.G.) – "Queen Bitch" (1996)


I write a rhyme
Melt in your mouth like M&M’s

Everyone knows that M&M’s “melt in your mouth, not in your hand.”

Forrest Mars, Sr., got the idea for M&M’s in the 1930s when he saw Spanish Civil War combatants eating British-made Smarties, which were chocolate pellets with a shell of hardened sugar syrup that prevented the chocolate from melting.  (Smarties were oblong, while M&M’s are round.)

Mars started producing M&M’s in 1941, and sold the candy exclusively to the U.S. armed forces during World War II.  (Chocolate was rationed during that war.)


There was no “m” printed on M&M’s until 1950.  That “m” was originally black, but was changed to white in 1954.

In 1976, red M&M’s were replaced with orange M&M’s after Red Dye #2 had been found to be carcinogenic by the FDA, which banned its use.  M&M’s had never used Red Dye #2 – they were made with Red Dye #40, which was safe – but the public was suspicious of red foods as a result of the banning of Red Dye #2.  Red M&M’s made a comeback in 1987.

In 1995, tan M&M’s were replaced by blue ones.  Today, plain M&M’s are a mix of blue, brown, green, orange, red, and yellow candies.

If it was up to me, I’d replace the brown M&M’s with purple ones.

*     *     *     *     *
When I was growing up, there were only two varieties of M&M’s candy: plain and peanut.  (I don’t know why the manufacturer of M&M’s added that apostrophe not the product’s name when that name is a plural noun, not a possessive noun – but they did.)


Today you can get not only plain and peanut M&M’s, but also peanut butter, almond, pretzel, puffed rice, dark chocolate, and caramel M&M’s.  

A couple of those varieties sound promising, but why gild the lily?  I’m sticking with plain M&M’s.

*     *     *     *     *
Did you know that M&M’s are the most-referenced candy in pop music?

According to LyricFind, M&M’s are mentioned in 122 songs.


Skittles are mentioned in 100 songs, while Hershey’s are referenced 92 times.  

The other types of candy that are most popular with songwriters include Kit Kat (which is mentioned in 60 songs), Jolly Rancher (39 songs), Tootsie Roll (38), Starburst (36), Twizzlers (16), and Lifesavers (9).

*     *     *     *     *

“Queen Bitch” was released in 1996 on Lil’ Kim’s debut album, Hard Core, which has sold over five million copies to date.

Rolling Stone said that Hard Core was a “landmark of bold, hilarious filth” that “single-handedly raised the bar for raunchy lyrics in hip-hop.”

Click here to listen to “Queen Bitch.”

Click on the link below to buy the track from Amazon:

Friday, December 7, 2018

Busy McCarroll – "O Fair New Mexico" (2015)


Land with its bright mañana
Coming through weal and woe
State of our esperanza is Nuevo México

One day shortly after I moved to Washington, DC, in 1977, I heard a story about a young medical school graduate who had a problem when he submitted his application for a license to practice medicine in the District of Columbia.  

After looking over his paperwork, the clerk on duty – who was filling in for a vacationing colleague – asked why he had not submitted documentation showing that he had passed the examination required of graduates of foreign medical schools.

“I didn’t go to a foreign medical school,” the puzzled young doctor said.  “I went to Georgetown.”  (Georgetown University, which has a well-known medical school, is located in DC.)

Georgetown University's Healy Hall
He flipped through the documents in his file and pulled one out.  “Here’s my Georgetown diploma,” he said, handing it to the clerk.

She examined it carefully, then shook her head.  “You can’t tell me this is a diploma from an American medical school,” she said.  “It’s not even in English.”

Georgetown University diplomas are written in Latin.

*     *     *     *     *

I always figured that story was apocryphal.  Back in the day, the District government had a well-deserved reputation for sloth and incompetence.  But surely the city’s employees weren’t that clueless.

Recently, a New Mexico newspaper had a story about a bureaucratic snafu that was most definitely not apocryphal.   

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, Gavin Clarkson – a resident of New Mexico – went to the DC Marriage Bureau to pick up a marriage license.  (Clarkson and his fiancee were planning to get hitched in Washington, which is where she lives – which is why he was applying for a DC wedding license.)

Mr. and Mrs. Gavin Clarkson
When Clarkson gave his New Mexico driver’s license to the clerk at the Marriage Bureau, she told him that an international driver’s license wasn’t an acceptable form of identification, and asked him for his “New Mexico passport.”

Clarkson told the clerk that New Mexico was, in fact, one of the 50 United States.  The clerk was skeptical, but accepted Clarkson’s New Mexico driver’s license after consulting with a supervisor.

“She thought New Mexico was a foreign country,” Clarkson told the Las Cruces Sun News.  “All the couples behind us waiting in line were laughing.”

*     *     *     *     *

The last year hasn’t been a good one for Clarkson – who like me is a graduate of Rice University and Harvard Law School.

He resigned his position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior after the department’s inspector general issued a report critical of a program he had overseen.

He then sought the Republican nomination for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, but finished third in the June primary election.  (After announcing his candidacy, Clarkson was fired from his New Mexico State University associate professorship.  He promptly filed suit against NMSU, alleging that he had been wrongfully terminated because he is a pro-life Christian, a Choctaw Indian, and a Republican – not necessarily in that order.)

Clarkson on the campaign trail
When the Republican nominee for secretary of state dropped out of the race a week after winning the primary, party officials named Clarkson as her replacement.  Unfortunately, he lost that election as well.

Given that run of bad luck, what’s your over-under on how long before Clarkson’s wife dumps him?

*     *     *     *     *

New Mexico became the 47th state in 1912.  

Sheriff Pat Garrett
The New Mexico state song, “O Fair New Mexico,” was written a few years later by Elizabeth Garrett, the daughter of Sheriff Pat Garrett – the man who had shot and killed William “Billy the Kid” Bonney in 1881.

Click here to hear Busy McCarroll’s recording of “O Fair New Mexico."




Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – "What I Am" (1988)


I'm not aware of too many things
I know what I know 
If you know what I mean

Every American president since James Madison has attended services at St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is located just across Lafayette Park from the White House.

Of all those presidents, George H. W. Bush – who died last week – was almost certainly the most considerate.

St. John's Church in 1816 (with the partially
burned White House in the background)
Bush, who was raised in the Episcopal Church, attended St. John’s with his wife, Barbara, fairly regularly during his four years in office.  But the Bushes almost never attended the 9:00 am or 11:00 am Sunday services, which attracted large numbers of worshippers.  

That was because Bush appreciated how disruptive it was for a sitting president to show up at one of those services.  The Secret Service had to clear St. John’s and search it prior to the Bushes entering the church, and all those who came to worship had to go through a metal detector before going inside.

Rather than inconvenience hundreds of St. John’s parishioners, the Bushes got up early and came to the 8:00 am service, which attracted only a handful of people.

*     *     *     *     *

I know about all that because my late father-in-law was the rector of St. John’s during the Bush Administration.

He would get a call from the White House on Saturday night if the Bushes planned to come to St. John’s on Sunday.

Once he and my mother-in-law invited my oldest son – who was their oldest grandchild – to spend the night and go with them to the 8:00 am service, where he sat with his grandmother and the Bushes in the “president’s pew” that is reserved for the use of any U.S. president who worships at St. John’s.

Presidents often give small souvenirs to people they meet, and President Bush gave my son a tie clasp with the seal of the President of the United States on it.

The tie clasp was in a small cardboard box with a facsimile of Bush’s signature printed on its top, and was fitted into an indentation in a square piece of spongy plastic foam:


My son – who was seven or eight years old at the time – took the piece of foam out of the box for some reason and found that a folded five-dollar bill was hidden beneath it.

I have no idea if Bush routinely tucked a five-dollar bill beneath the Presidential tie clasps he gave away.  Maybe he did that only when a child was going to be the recipient.

Or maybe that five-dollar bill was President Bush’s emergency money.  You know, if he ever got separated from his Secret Service companions and had to take a taxi or bus back to the White House.

*     *     *     *     *

It’s customary for newly-elected presidents to have an Inauguration Day service at St. John’s before they are sworn in.

My father-in-law pulled a few strings so I got to be one of the ushers for President Bush’s 1989 inaugural service.

The Rev. John C. Harper leaving St. John's
with the Bushes and Quayles (1989)
The Bushes and their many family members sat on the right side of the church.  The left side was reserved for the family of Vice President-elect Dan Quayle and his wife, Marilyn.  

I was assigned to usher on the left side.  I may have escorted a Quayle brother-in-law, an aunt and uncle, and a couple of second cousins to their pews, but no one more glamorous than that.

*     *     *     *     *

George Herbert Walker Bush was the last World War II-era president.  He was a year older than my father, while the man who beat him in the 1992 election – Bill Clinton – was much closer to my age.

It was easy for me to respect Bush – his age and military service gave him a certain gravitas that was shared by other members of the “greatest generation.”

I couldn’t respect Bill Clinton in the same way.  After all, I had grown up with guys like Bill Clinton.  I knew what was going through his mind, because the same nonsense was going through my mind.  

George H. W. Bush taking
the oath of office in 1989
I looked at George Bush and saw my father.  I looked at Bill Clinton and saw myself and my high-school friends.  (You’re telling me that one of the guys I used to play spades and binge-drink cheap 3.2% beer with is going to be the president of the United States?  You must be kidding!)

George Bush getting oral sex from a 21-year-old intern in the Oval Office?  It was unthinkable.

But Bill Clinton doing that was no surprise.

*     *     *     *     *

The day George H. W. Bush was inaugurated, today’s featured song occupied the #24 spot on the Billboard “Hot 100.”  It eventually climbed to #7, and spent a total of 19 weeks on the “Hot 100” chart.  

“What I Am” is ranked #77 on VH1’s list of the greatest one-hit wonders.  It was featured in an episode of Miami Vice, an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D., and an episode of Beavis and Butt-head.  Name another song that can make that claim!

Our 41st president moved to Texas after college, but Edie Brickell was born there.  She married Paul Simon on my birthday in 1992.

Click here to listen to “What I Am.”

Click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, November 30, 2018

Malcolm McLaren – "Madam Butterfly (Un bel di vedremo)" (1984)


Who on earth can it be
Coming up the path for me?
What on earth will he say?
Shall I run to him or run away?

In 1964, American philosopher Abraham Kaplan formulated “the law of the instrument”:

Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s restatement of the law of the instrument is more familiar:

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

The point both men were trying to make is that we need to be careful when choosing a tool to use.  It’s tempting to pull out the tool that we are most comfortable using, regardless of whether it is the best one for the job.


If you ask a law professor for help in solving a problem, you’ll probably be told that a new law is needed.

New laws are to law professors what hammers are to small boys.  Law professors tend to pound every troublesome situation they encounter with legislation.

*     *     *     *     *

Irina Manta is a law professor at Hofstra University who believes that there ought to be a law that punishes anyone who uses Tinder or another dating app to fool someone into having sex with him or her.

Law professor Irina Manta
Here’s an excerpt from her soon-to-be-published law review article that describes the kind of harm her proposal would address:

A prototypical hypothetical case is a man whom we shall call Marvin Simmons who claims to be single but is actually married.  A woman named Leila is using dating apps to find someone single who is open to the possibility of a serious monogamous relationship.  She is 39 years old and would ideally like to have biological children if she finds the right partner.  Marvin and Leila both right-swipe and a match is created.  

Marvin is most definitely not what she is looking for, but his lie misleads her into thinking that he is in the pool of people worth exploring.  They spend some time chatting and decide to meet for drinks. A few dates later, they begin having sex.  

Marvin is a busy business executive, so he can only meet once or twice a week.  Furthermore, he tells Leila that it has been a rough year for him – he got divorced a year ago and his mother died recently, so he wants to get to know someone slowly and feels the need to spend much of his rare free time alone or with friends.  

Leila has googled Marvin and while he does not really use social media (“Facebook is such a waste of time!” he told her), she finds a LinkedIn page with the name that he gave her and the information checks out.  Leila has no reason to assume that Marvin Simmons is a fake name.

Leila’s feelings for Marvin grow over time and she hardly dates other men any more.  After a few months, however, she becomes increasingly concerned because not only has he not introduced her to any of his friends, but they have still not been to his apartment.  His explanation made sense at first – his apartment was under renovation and her apartment was close to his work, so it seemed logical to hang out there during intimate times.  When Leila demands to see Marvin’s apartment, regardless of the state of the renovations, he finally confesses that he is actually married and his wife does not know about his extracurricular activities.


Feeling violated (i.e., recognizing the dignitary harm she suffered) and heartbroken (i.e., experiencing emotional harm), Leila is left without meaningful recourse.  She could tell Marvin’s wife what happened, if Leila even figures out his true identity, but violence could erupt and the wife may not believe that Leila was in the dark about his marital status that whole time.  Leila has no useful way to leverage social sanctions.  She has wasted months on him, and several more months pass before she is able to trust enough again and recover from the depression into which this incident plunged her.  Meanwhile, Leila turns 40, and the passage of time has diminished her odds of being able to conceive a child.  Marvin’s deceit was directly responsible for her inability to pursue her best interest.

There may well be a good match for Leila out there, but in addition to bringing about dignitary and emotional harm, individuals like Marvin greatly increase Leila’s search costs.  There is never a guarantee that a dating relationship will work out, but the relationship with Marvin was essentially doomed to failure from the start.  Similar to the scenarios that arise in trademarks, Leila could not get the “product” she wanted due to its misleading branding.  Marvin was using the romance equivalent of a deceptive trademark or of false advertising, which are actions prohibited by the Lanham Act and other laws in the commercial context.

Professor Manta believes that there should be a law giving Leila a legal cause of action against Marvin because he lied about his marital status so that she would have sex with him.

Because lawsuits are expensive, she would allow Leila to file her case against Marvin in small-claims court – where procedures are simplified, and where plaintiffs can represent themselves instead of hiring lawyers.

Because it is hard to measure the harm that Leila suffered in dollars, Professor Manta thinks the law should specify how much Marvin would have to pay if he is found guilty of sexual fraud.  

She suggests that $5000 might be an appropriate damages award.  Such an amount would certainly be sufficient to deter most potential fraudsters – especially serial fraudsters.

*     *     *     *     *

Professor Manta’s Leila-Marvin hypothetical is unusually detailed.  Because Professor Manta is une femme d’un certain age who freely admits to have used dating apps – in fact, she met her husband on Bumble, a “Sadie Hawkins”-style app where only the woman can make the first online move – I asked her if she herself had been a victim of sexual fraud by a married man.

An ad for the dating app Bumble
“No, that story is made up for hypothetical purposes,” she told me, “although I know people who have encountered elements that make up parts of the scenario.” 

A significant component of the damages Leila has suffered at the hands of Marvin relates to the time she has wasted in a relationship with a man who is not what he claims to be – and not what she is looking for.  According to Professor Manta, those wasted months are particularly precious to Leila – a 39-year-old women who wants to have children – because “women lose their fertility in a much more dramatic way than men” and because “their appeal to the male dating pool drops over time as well; women in their early to mid-20s are highly prized, after which there is a steady decline.”  

What if instead of swiping right on Marvin, Leila swiped right on Oliver – who was single, but who deceived Leila by claiming to be open to marriage, fatherhood, etc., when he was really only interested in a short-term sexual relationship?  

Or maybe Leila hooks up with Theodore, who admits from the beginning that he is married but claims that he is about to leave his wife when that’s not true?

Professor Manta’s proposal would not provide a legal remedy for Leila in such a case, even though Oliver’s or Theodore’s lies result in exactly the same harm to Leila as Marvin’s.

“We cannot and should not have the law intervene for this type of scenario,” she told me.  “I am interested in fairly binary pieces of information – whether the man is married but says that he isn’t, etc. – and not these kinds of things.”


Professor Manta’s proposal is also limited to cases where the woman had intercourse with the fraudster.  The value of Leila’s wasted time is the same whether she has had intercourse with Marvin during the course of their relationship or not.  So why would Professor Manta allow Leila to recover only if Marvin has persuaded her to sleep with him?

“We have to draw the line somewhere,” she explained, “and sexual intercourse seems like one logical point.  But I don't see a huge problem with using sexual penetration of any sort instead.  Ultimately, we are trying to estimate at what point significant dignitary and emotional harms are likely to kick in, and for most people that won't be at the stage of just kissing.”

In other words, the harm Leila suffers by wasting time with a married man is the same whether she has sex with Marvin or not.  But the emotional distress that results from Marvin’s lies is likely to be greater if she has had intercourse than if she and Marvin simply held hands or kissed. 

*     *     *     *     *

If you’re not a lawyer, you’ll might find the language Professor Manta uses to be rather odd.  Marvin increased Leila’s “search costs,” and caused her to suffer “dignitary harm”?  Leila has “no useful way to leverage social sanctions” against Marvin?  Marvin has engaged in “misleading branding” that’s akin to a marketer’s deceptive trademark?

This isn’t the way normal people look at the world, is it?

No, it’s not.  But it is the way that law students and law professors view life.

*     *     *     *     *

I enjoyed reading Professor Manta’s thoughtful article – for one thing, the topic is certainly a lot more juicy than that of the typical law review article – and I found it an interesting intellectual exercise to work my way through the specifics of her proposal.


While I can’t argue with Professor Manta’s conclusion that Leila has been harmed by Marvin’s deception, I doubt that her legislative proposal will be enacted into law.  Even if it does become law, I question how many Leilas would choose to pursue their Marvin in court.

I can live with that outcome because I think there are probably way too many laws and lawsuits in this country already.  It doesn’t really bother me that there’s not a legal remedy for every wrong that people encounter in everyday life.  Not all of our problems are nails that need to be pounded by a legal hammer.

*     *     *     *     *

So what do you do if  you’re Leila, and you want to put the hurt on Marvin – but there’s no law that allows you drag his sorry ass into court.

The answer should be obvious: You let your inner Glenn Close loose on that bastard!


*     *     *     *     *

“Un bel di vedremo” is an aria sung by the title character of Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 opera, Madam Butterfly.

At the end of that opera, Madame Butterfly commits suicide by cutting her throat. 

In the original version of the 1987 movie, Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close’s character cuts her throat as “Un bel di vedremo” plays on the soundtrack.  

A few years before Fatal Attraction was released, the late Malcolm McLaren – the impresario behind the Sex Pistols – released Fans, an album that combined opera and R&B.


Click here to listen to McLaren’s adaptation of “Un bel di vedremo,” which made it all the way to #13 on the UK singles chart.

Click on the link below to buy that song from Amazon:  

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Buffalo Springfield – "For What It's Worth" (1967)


A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, “Hooray for our side”

A couple of years ago, the governor of Maryland issued an executive order requiring Maryland schools to open after Labor Day and close by June 15 (absent unusual circumstances).  

Maryland law requires public schools to be open for at least 180 days per school year, and some county boards of education complained that not being allowed to start school before Labor Day made it very difficult for them to squeeze 180 days of instruction by June 15.  (Maryland law also requires that schools be closed on ten specified holidays, as well as primary and general election days.)

No school before Labor Day means
more beach time for Marylanders!
My county’s schools have been open for 184 days in recent years.  Board of education member Patricia O’Neill opposed pushing back the opening day of school to the day after Labor Day because she believed it would necessitate cutting the school year to 180 days.

“Personally, I think we are shortchanging children by using a shorter school calendar,” O’Neill said. “Our calendar should be going up in the number of days, not going down.”

*     *     *     *     *

Given that, you might wonder why Ms. O’Neill supports a proposal to allow students to skip three days of classes to participate in political protests and demonstrations.


“Learning doesn’t just occur in the classroom, it occurs in life experiences,” O’Neill told the Washington Post.

So it’s vitally important to have more days in the classroom – except when it’s not.

*     *     *     *     *

Public reaction to the proposal seems to be mostly negative:

I am in the school system in an instructional support capacity every day.  We already struggle to keep our students caught up and on the same page because of absences due to illness, family issues, truancy and testing.  Students already have the time to make their voices heard on designated days . . . it's called the weekend.  Ms. O'Neill should know better.

Here’s another comment from someone opposed to the proposal:

Oh good grief!  It’s not the job of schools to populate protest marches.  Stick to your mandate . . .  teach curriculum.  Students have ample opportunities on their own time through church, civic, and summer vacay-volunteerism to be “well rounded.”  How about you teach to educate and not have to grade-inflate, huh? 


This citizen believes in the old principle that “Children should be seen and not heard”:

Most of the world's problems can be chalked up to the fact that everybody thinks their opinion is way more important than it actually is. So let's make it easy for immature, impulsive teenagers to skip school and add their voices to the cacophony because we absolutely need to hear what's on their minds.  

*     *     *     *     *

One commenter questioned why students would be excused to march in a protest, but not to perform  public-service activities:

Volunteering at the senior center, working at a food bank, reading stories at the library, are as much a civic virtue as holding a sign. 


Several people pointed out that students are already free to protest on Saturdays, Sundays, and school holidays, and during summer break.  (If school is in session 180 days a year, that means students can march in demonstrations the other 185 days without missing a minute of school.)

We [who work in the schools] already struggle to keep our students caught up and on the same page because of absences due to illness, family issues, truancy and testing.  Students already have the time to make their voices heard on designated days . . . it's called the weekend.  Ms. O'Neill should know better.

And school is over at 2:30 PM,  which leaves plenty of time for afternoon and evening protesting.

*     *     *     *     *

Several of the commenters must have skipped school the day the teacher covered the First Amendment:  

Obviously this should only be for some protests and not others.  I mean, it isn’t right to excuse students for protesting against progressive policies – why would we support fascists that way?


Here’s a comment from another “progressive” commenter:

The school must be able to approve the marches.  We do not need kids supporting conservative causes like gun rights. 

(“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”?  The hell you say.)

*     *     *     *     *

This commenter believes not only that students should be allowed to skip school to attend demonstrations, but that they be given extra credit for doing so:

Give them extra credit for attending demonstrations.  If they set fire to a limousine give them more credit.  If they threw feces on a Republican, even more.

*     *     *     *     *

Most of the discussion of the board of education’s proposal that I’ve seen haas overlooked one very salient fact.

That proposal allows students to skip three days of school each year to participate not only in “civic engagement activities” – that is, protests and demonstrations – but also in political campaigns.


In other words, students can miss three days of classes to stuff envelopes with candidate mail pieces, hand out political brochures, and make phone calls to potential voters.  

As I’ve noted above, students are already free to do all those things on weekends and after 2:30 pm.  But board of education members in my county are elected officials.  Having an additional source of free labor is likely to be irresistible to them.

I’m predicting the new policy will be approved . . . even though the protest sign carried by a local student in a recent protest march suggests that the three school days earmarked for "civic engagement activities" might be better spent teaching spelling:

“Your thougts [sic] and prayers are not enough”
*     *     *     *     *

The 1967 Buffalo Springfield classic, “For What It’s Worth,” was featured on 2 or 3 lines just last year.


But it’s lyrics are perfect for the subject matter today’s post – plus it’s a great song. 

So I’m featuring it again.  (My blog, my rules.)

Click here to listen to “For What It’s Worth”:

Click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Seven Mary Three – "Cumbersome" (1995)


She’s wanting me less 
And I’m wanting her more

Last week, I spent the better part of two days riding the Virginia Capital Trail, a 52-mile-long paved bicycle trail that connects Jamestown (Virginia’s first capital) and Richmond (the state’s current capital).


The VCT traverses an area that is full of history, which explains why the Virginia Department of Historic Resources has placed no fewer than 44 historical markers along its course.

I didn’t stop to read all of the markers I rode past, but a few of them got my attention.

*     *     *     *     *

The first successful English settlement in North America was named Jamestown in honor of King James I of England.

The first group of Jamestown settlers landed there in the spring of 1607.  A second group of colonists crossed the Atlantic and joined them in 1608, and a third contingent came ashore in October of that year.

That third group of settlers included eight German, four Polish, and two Slovakian craftsmen.  Those Poles are commemorated on a historical marker placed at the eastern terminus of the VCT in Jamestown:


Here’s the text of that marker:

Skilled craftsmen of Polish origin recruited by the Virginia Company began arriving in Jamestown aboard the Mary Margaret about 1 Oct. 1608.  Poles contributed to the development of a glass factory and the production of potash, naval stores, and wood products.  Soon samples of their work were shipped back to England.  The workers were so highly prized that they were assigned apprentices so that their skill "shall not dye with them."  Capt. John Smith praised their work ethic in his writings.  Court records indicate that as a result of a labor dispute, Poles were granted full voting rights on 21 July 1619.

*     *     *     *     *

While the Poles were model citizens, the Germans who had come to the New World with them quickly bailed on Jamestown and defected to a neighboring Paspehegh Indian settlement.

That may have been because the colonists were in desperate need of food.  Or it may have been because they were in desperate need of women.

A Virginia Capital Trail rider
There were over a hundred settlers in Jamestown at the beginning of 1609, but only two of them were women.   

Presumably the male-to-female ratio in the nearby Paspehegh villages was much more favorable than it was in Jamestown.

*     *     *     *     *

The Paspeheghs were not particularly welcoming to the Jamestown settlers – although they did sell them some corn in the winter of 1607-08 (when the colonists were starving).

The two groups skirmished repeatedly over the next year.  In one of these clashes, Captain John Smith captured Wowinchapuncke, the Paspehegh chief.  When Wowinchapuncke escaped, Smith retaliated by raiding his village and killing several of his men.   

(The Paspeheghs were a sub-tribe of the Powhatans, whose chief was named Wahunsunacock.  His brother was Opechancanough.  Opechancanough, Wahunsunacock, and Wowinchapuncke don’t exactly fall trippingly from the tongue.)

A Paspehegh and a Jamestown colonist square off
In 1610, the English attacked the Paspehegh capital, killing 70 or so members of the tribe and capturing one of Wowinchapuncke’s wives and her children.  On the way back home, they threw the children into the James River, then shot and killed them.  After arriving at Jamestown, they stabbed the wife to death.

Wowinchapuncke was mortally wounded in 1611, and that was the end of the Paspeheghs. 

*     *     *     *     *

This marker is located about six miles northwest of Jamestown, just before the VCT crosses the Chickahominy River:


Here’s what it says:

Wowinchapuncke was the chief of the Paspahegh Indians when the English established Jamestown in the tribe's territory in 1607.  He consistently resisted the English intrusion, earning both respect and hostility from Jamestown leaders.  Captured and imprisoned at Jamestown, he escaped, and the English retaliated by killing several Paspahegh men.  After the English destroyed a Paspahegh town in August 1610 and executed Wowinchapuncke’s wife and children, he continued to harass the English until he was killed in a skirmish near Jamestown in February 1611.  In 1991, the archaeological remains of a large Paspahegh community near here were excavated.

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A few miles southeast of the bridge that carries the VCT over the Chickahominy River is a marker commemorating the Battle of Green Spring, a Revolutionary War engagement that took place there:


Here’s what is written on the marker:

Nearby, late in the afternoon of 6 July 1781, Gen. Charles Cornwallis and cavalry commander Col. Banastre Tarleton with 5,000 British and Hessian troops clashed with 800 American troops commanded by Brig. Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the Marquis de Lafayette.  Believing that the main British force was across the James River, and that he was attacking Cornwallis's rear guard, Wayne soon realized that he was facing far superior numbers.  He startled the advancing British forces by charging them, exchanging volleys, and then withdrawing his troops from encirclement and certain defeat.  Dusk prevented Cornwallis from pursuing the Americans.

Cornwallis anticipated that Lafayette might attack his rear guard once the main body of his army had utilized the Jamestown ferry to cross over to the south bank of the James River.  So he kept most of his forces on the north bank of the river and laid a trap.

American general “Mad” Anthony Wayne walked right into that trap with his 800 troops.  Lafayette could see what was happening from his vantage point, but he and the forces under his command were simply too far away from Wayne to do anything about his plight.

General “Mad” Anthony Wayne
Wayne ordered his men to fix bayonets and countercharge the numerically superior British army.  It was a high-risk, high-reward tactic, but it worked.  Wayne’s attack put the British on their heels long enough for Lafayette to arrive with reinforcements.  The Americans were able to retreat in an orderly fashion, and Cornwallis chose not to press his advantage because it was getting dark.

Cornwallis ferried the remainder of his army across the James River, and made his way to Yorktown, where George Washington’s Continental Army – assisted by French troops and the French fleet – eventually surrounded him.  

With no hope of reinforcement or resupply, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington on October 19.  His surrender essentially ended the Revolutionary War.

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Jason Ross and Jason Pollock formed Seven Mary Three when they were students at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA – which is just a few miles from Jamestown.

Ross and Pollack got the idea for the name of their band from the old CHIPs TV show.  Seven Mary Three was the radio call sign for Officer Jon Baker – who was portrayed by Larry Wilcox.   

The call sign for Officer “Ponch” Poncherello – who was played by Erik Estrada – was Seven Mary Four.

Bruce Jenner on “CHIPs”
I bet you didn’t know that when Estrada held out for a bigger share of the show’s profits during its fifth season, he was replaced by Bruce Jenner.  (Estrada returned to the show after missing seven episodes.) 

Click here to listen to “Cumbersome.”

And click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon: