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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Stuff you've never asked yourself

Did you ever wonder what would happen if a journaler ate BBQed chicken wings much too close to bedtime, and as a result had really, really strange dreams? 

No?  Well then, let's just file this one under 'Stuff you've never asked yourself', because if you stick around, you're going to get so much more information on the subject than you ever thought possible.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Yes, I ate a big plate of hickory smoked wings much too close to bedtime.  Yes, I had horrible dreams.  I dreamt that Uncle Sam and Abraham Lincoln had me tied to the bed and were giving me endless lectures about the dangers of being disconnected from the current political debate.

I woke up with a start around 4:00AM and seriously expected to see a couple of dark shadows in stovepipe hats sitting on the edge of my bed wagging their fingers at me. 

By the time I was fully awake I started asking myself things like; why had these two images decided to tag-team me in my sleep?... how would I be able to tell them apart in the dark?...and, why do people resort to recreational drugs when they can have all the hallucinations they want for the modest price of chicken wings and hickory chips?

The more I sat awake thinking about it, the more I couldn't help thinking about the visual similarities between Uncle Sam and Abraham Lincoln.  How had I never noticed that before?  More importantly, what the hell was I doing thinking about this at 4:00AM???

Turning over and going back to sleep was not an option so I went into our home office (being sneaky quiet since it is right off the master bedroom and next to the nursery). 

The first thing I did was do an image search for Uncle Sam... downloading a bunch of typical depictions of this American icon.  Then I started looking for pictures of Lincoln wearing his trademark Stovepipe hat.  The weird thing is (as if doing a Google search for Uncle Sam and Lincoln at 4:00AM weren't weird enough), Lincoln was rarely photographed or painted wearing 'the hat'.   

Once I had an even dozen pictures downloaded, I started viewing them side-by-side to see if there were any similarities.  It wasn't a perfect match, but there was certainly more than a passing resemblance.  This led me to wonder if the similarity that my unconscious mind had noticed was intentional or just a coincidence (remember... it's now almost 4:20AM by this point!).   

Here's an example of what I found:
Lincoln_1 Unclesam 
180pxlincoln Lincoln2

I love the Internet.  One of the first sites that Google served up was a fairly scholarly article about the origin of male American iconography, and how Uncle Sam eventually came to resemble Lincoln. 


Here is the relevant excerpt:

"The term [Uncle Sam] originated during the War of 1812 and was associated with an actual man--Sam Wilson, a supplier and inspector of military rations. (38) ...   Uncle Sam soon became a generic representation of the government. During the Civil War Uncle Sam was once again associated with a specific individual--Abe Lincoln. As the image of Uncle Sam grew more and more to resemble that of Lincoln, so too was Lincoln often depicted in Sam's traditional clothing.

While our contemporary image of Uncle Sam may have aquired [sic] its features, beard, age, and height from Lincoln, the traditional stars and stripes attire harkens [sic] back to the earlier character... "

Of course, the problem with absorbing this new bit of trivia is that my limited mental storage will have to jettison another equally useless piece of information in order to make room.

Oh Crap!  Now I can't remember the words to the closing theme of Gilligan's Island!!!

It is now almost 5:00AM and I am fairly certain I will have nothing of value to share with you when my alarm goes off in 45 minutes... so this is all there is today.

Oh... there is one more thing.  I don't know how many of you follow 'Pearls before Swine', the comic strip drawn by Stephan Pastis, but today's made me horse-laugh so loud that the dog woke up and came in to see if I was OK.  Here it is (click to see it full size):
(I chose to post it here rather than simply link to the strip because his archives only remain visible for 90 days)

Posted by David Bogner on April 7, 2005 | Permalink


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Very entertaining post.

I'm just wondering why those two figures would be so concerned about the way you explained our prime minister's policies to your kids, if that's what you meant.

I had a dream about that once. But it was a terrible nightmare.

So accordig to that great Republican and his likeness, what are the dangers of of being disconnected from the current political debate?

Posted by: Andy | Apr 7, 2005 3:39:22 PM

The weird thing is, Lincoln was rarely photographed or painted wearing 'the hat'.

Considering how long it took to make them, any photograph or portrait would have been done indoors. And it's bad manners to wear a hat indoors. It's a wonder there are any, since that leaves only sketches and drawings done from memory, 150 years ago.

On the Freudian side, if flying dreams are about sex, and sex dreams are about death, then dreams about being tied up and lectured to by political icons must represent... something tragic involving poodles and broccoli?

Posted by: Tanya | Apr 7, 2005 4:32:07 PM

Since I'm thinking of it, at least you didn't dream this.

Posted by: Tanya | Apr 7, 2005 4:45:51 PM

Ok, now I'll never be afraid to post any of my dreams. They couldn't be any more strange. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Apr 7, 2005 5:54:36 PM

President Lincoln: Two score and eighteen years ago our fathers brought forth on this land a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that the seed of Abraham should be sovereign in a land entrusted to them by Our Maker.

Now we are engaged in much michigas about disengagement, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

Hey, Sam, you smell some chicken wings?

Uncle Sam: Yeah, or is it chopped liver? Bogner, listen up! [pointing] I want YOU to pick a side on this issue. I want you to teach it diligently to your children, and talk about it when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you will wear it for a bracelet on your wrist, and it will be… Where the hell did all these bees come from?

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Apr 7, 2005 6:00:42 PM


That wasn't bad. Of course if you would have worked in a bit about coffee and soldiers it might have been funnier, but....

Posted by: Jack | Apr 7, 2005 7:10:05 PM

Andy... I don't remember specifics of what they were saying, but it was clearly a good scolding.

Tanya... your theory is as good as any! BTW, there were plenty of really good photographs taken outside on the battlefields of the civil war. It wasn't easy (since the camera was huge), but it was done all the time. I was pointing out that we all think of Lincoln with the hat... but there are relatively few images of him wearing it. So why do we always associate him with the hat? Oh, and thanks a lot for that new image! I swear... if I have blue-tinted dreams tonight about really buff Lincolns kicking my *ss, you are so gonna get an ear full in the morning!!!

Jack... I have an idea that your dreams could leave mine in the dust. ;-)

Doctor Bean... I may print this one out for the refrigerator door. That was a classic! Thanks.

Jack... Please don't encourage him!

Posted by: David | Apr 7, 2005 9:14:07 PM


I'd like to oblige you, but it wouldn't be honest to my character. I am known and loved/hated for encouraging all types of behavior. It is good to be a happy boy. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Apr 7, 2005 9:53:51 PM

Sank yu beddy mush. [bows deeply]

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Apr 7, 2005 10:00:11 PM

Were the civil war battleground pictures all of dead people? ;)

Kidding. But I wasn't thinking of the size of the camera as much as the time it took for the image to appear on the film. You used to have to sit perfectly still for photographs for a long time, but that may have been eliminated before the 1860s.

There's a myth that he wore the stovepipe hat because he was absentminded, and he could keep important papers in it and not lose them, but I don't have any idea if that's true or not...

Posted by: Tanya | Apr 7, 2005 10:40:44 PM

History of Photography tidbits: (Sorry in advance for being a photo-geek!)

1816: Nicéphore Niépce combines the camera obscura with photosensitive paper (This required an exposure, in bright sunlight, of eight hours.)
1834: Henry Fox Talbot creates permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper.
1837: Louis Daguerre creates images on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide and "developed" with warmed mercury. (the Daguerreotype process required exposures of just several minutes)
1854: Adolphe Disderi develops carte-de-visite photography in Paris, leading to worldwide boom in portrait studios for the next decade
1855: beginning of stereoscopic era
1861-65: Mathew Brady and staff (mostly staff) covers the American Civil War, exposing 7000 negatives


Posted by: Bayou | Apr 7, 2005 11:13:19 PM

Jack... OK, then at least go back and tell me what you think of the terms I suggested for our bet.

Doctor Bean... Jor beddy wilkum.

Tanya... I would check with snopes before you started spreading that one around. :-) Anyway, I am so bone tired from lack of sleep that I am calling it a night. I need to get up early and put together Photo Friday or Doctor Bean will start self-medicating.

Nite all.

Posted by: David | Apr 7, 2005 11:13:51 PM

What was in the sauce on them wings? Maybe some goood stuff didnt evaporate out?

Posted by: shmiel | Apr 8, 2005 5:46:24 AM

Impressive! I had never thought of the resemblance, but your sub-conscious did.

Have you ever noticed that "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and the Alphabet song have the same tune? That's the biggest revelation I've ever had. LOL

Posted by: Jim | Apr 8, 2005 7:12:13 AM

Bayou... Sorry about that! It looks like our comments crossed in the ether. Thanks for the info on photography. My wife has given me the abidged version once or twice but it clearly didn't take hold (not nearly trivial enough for my brain to find it attractive). :-)

Shmiel... no sauce, just smoke from the soaked hickory chips.

Jim... Did you ever notice that the verses and the chorus of Billy Joel's 'Piano Man' are actually the same tune? :-)

Posted by: David | Apr 8, 2005 7:32:56 AM

Jack... OK, then at least go back and tell me what you think of the terms I suggested for our bet.

I just saw them. That works for me. I am happy to get behind my Angels. :)

Posted by: Jack | Apr 8, 2005 8:16:14 AM

BTW, it is almost 8 am your time. If you don't hurry Old Doc Bean is going to be jonesing for his Photo Friday fix.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 8, 2005 8:17:33 AM

Jack... Just so you understand that 'behind' is probably the best way to describe your team's standing at the end of the regular season. :-)

Posted by: David | Apr 8, 2005 8:20:42 AM

Me? Nah. I can wait. I'm fine. I can quit anytime I want. I, uh, was just here to ahh... read more about, umm... something else. Yeah.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Apr 8, 2005 8:23:54 AM

Jack... Just so you understand that 'behind' is probably the best way to describe your team's standing at the end of the regular season. :-)

Behind the banner proclaiming victory is where you'll find us. :)

Posted by: Jack | Apr 8, 2005 10:16:21 AM

Troy, New York, where we lived for 3 years right after David was born, celebrates itself as "The Home Of Uncle Sam". I have a hazy relollection that they say the person on whom the figure was based was a Trojan, but I think they assert that he lived later in the 19-C. Does the article you quoted from mention his being from Troy? Or is this merely local propaganda for the tourists?

Posted by: Delmar Bogner | Apr 9, 2005 3:23:35 AM

It's all about the Hat. See my posting about the Pope and it will all make sense.

Posted by: bri | Apr 9, 2005 11:58:33 AM

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