Friday, August 28, 2009

The History Is Funny Store Is Now Open!

I know, two posts in one day after four posts in a year is a little excessive, but I have a funny story to tell you about this very blog, which I guess would make it a (History Is Funny) Is Funny story.

Sunday night I had the TV tuned to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" for about five minutes. Now, I don't usually watch game shows these days because after an ignominious defeat on a certain show where you have to answer everything in the form of a question, I just get mad. And Sunday's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" was no exception - they were on the million dollar question, which involved identifying Lyndon Johnson's favorite beverage.

Well, obviously I know that. I even blogged about it once. Time it was that my site was on the first page of google results for "LBJ Fresca." In fact, that was still true as of Sunday, a fact I didn't connect until I looked at my site stats and saw that I'd gotten over 1,600 unique page views within an hour or two of that trivia question airing. (Of course, now that this bit of trivia has fallen into game show lore, I'm no longer on the first page of google hits. Oh well. I think I'm still one of the first hits for "Andrew Jackson groin shot". You take your victories where you can get them.)

My supreme moment of idiocy lies in the fact that I've been building a t-shirt shop to go with this blog, and I didn't have a link up on the day I had a moment of dubious internet fame, thus costing me perhaps dozens of sales. It starts to become clear now how I haven't managed to retire before age 30 with my massive piles of game show winnings and/or Nobel Prizes, I know.

I won't make that mistake again. You must all know about the site now: presenting the History Is Funny Store, brought to you by printfection. I have half a dozen designs up so far, with many more to come. I have a couple of the shirts myself and the print quality and shirt quality are excellent. I have kept the prices as low as possible so it feels a little less like highway robbery - I make a buck off of anything I sell here, and that's it.

Happy shopping! Feedback and suggestions are more than welcome.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

As a longtime aficionado of the Kennedy mystique (and I do mean long-time; I had my own copy of the Warren Report when I was nine), I was saddened to learn about the passing of Ted Kennedy this week. Of all the Kennedy brothers, he certainly accomplished the most, even if his legacy is a little bit tarnished by scandal and the looming shadow of two brothers who did something he couldn't compete with - dying young with potential.

My favorite accomplishment of Senator Kennedy's didn't take place on the legislative floor, but at a college where he'd be hard-pressed to find anybody who agreed with him on anything. Kennedy was a good friend of the Reverend Jerry Falwell despite their ideological differences, but when Falwell invited him to speak at Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University), I don't think anybody really expected him to take him up on it, or if they did, they expected the hard-line liberal to come in fighting. But his speech, known as the "Truth and Tolerance in America" speech, was an eloquent, respectful meditation on the separation of church and state, as well as a call for national unity.

No matter your political ideals or affiliation, his message here is a great read. (And not without a little wry humor.) You can watch the video, see the audio, or read the full text at American Rhetoric.

(The image in this post is Senator Kennedy with my favorite ex-Prez, Jimmy Carter, in 1977. It's from the National Archives via the Carter Library.)