Nov 182013

As I’m sure you’re well aware, the intrawebz are abuzz with all sorts of content in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Although almost every aspect of this dark moment in U.S. history has seemingly been covered and endlessly speculated upon, it always seems that something new can be discovered. And it’s my job as a quasi-journalist to share some less-heralded—yet critical—bits of information …. they all may not seem that important, but are all parts in the grand mosaic of that historic moment in time.

Just how important, well, that has yet to be determined.

So my conspiracy-hungry friends, here are:

The Top 10 Little-Known Facts About the Kennedy Assassination
(and they are all really true!)

1. On that fateful day in November 1963, President Kennedy was, in fact, wearing a sock on each foot.

2. The limo that transported the President, the First Lady, Texas Governor John Connally and others—a specially modified 1961 Lincoln (named after another president felled by an assassin’s bullet) Continental—had four white wall tires, four headlights and was painted midnight blue. It ran on leaded gasoline.

3. At the time of the assassination, accounting for the Earth’s elliptical orbit, the Sun was 91,821,757 miles above Dealey Plaza. The Moon was a 6-day-old waxing crescent.

4. The population of the United States was 189,241,798 in November 1963. It included Abe Vigoda, Michael Jordan and Johnny Depp. It did not include poet Robert Frost, Nicolas Cage or current First Lady Michelle Obama.

5. Jacqueline Kennedy’s iconic pink Chanel suit was double-breasted with navy trim and two pockets on each side. It had six gold buttons. It was never cleaned after the shooting and is currently stored in a secret location in the National Archives, and by request of the Kennedy family, will not be displayed until 2103, at the earliest.

6. At the time of the shooting, Joe Namath was the quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide, coached by Paul “Bear” Bryant. They finished the season 9-2 and defeated Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. It was the New York Jets inaugural season in the AFL under Weeb Ewbank; they would post a record of 5-8-1.

7. Elm Street, the stretch of Dealey Plaza on which Kennedy was shot, is a one-way street—and on November 22, 1963, JFK’s limo was traveling in a direction with what would normally be the regular flow of traffic. It is three lanes wide.

8. The Texas School Book Depository building is seven stories tall, and has seven rows of windows on the side facing Elm Street—but only three rows of windows on the side facing the Grassy Knoll. The original five-story structure was built in 1899, but was hit by lightning in 1901, causing it to burn down. It was rebuilt in 1903, when two more stories were added—including the sixth floor, from which Oswald shot Kennedy.

9. Lyndon B. Johnson, then Vice President—and someone that numerous conspiracy theorists have repeatedly try to implicate in the assassination—was riding two cars behind JFK in a four-door Lincoln convertible. In total there were 16 cars, 13 motorcycles and 3 buses in the motorcade. If you add up those numbers (16+13+3) you get 32, which is the same year (1932) that JFK started his sophomore campaign at Choate in Wallingford, Connecticut.

10. Dallas is 338 miles from Del Rio, Texas, and the U.S. border with Mexico. It is 1,102 miles from Havana, Cuba, and 5,753 miles to Moscow, Russia. Despite all the negative publicity from the assassination, Dallas has remained in Texas, even to this day.

Now that I’ve provided all this info, it’s up to you to weave the conspiracy from it. Please share—plenty of room in the comments!


Nov 042013

So as part of my gig, I find myself thinking a bit about words and expressions—and sometimes more about the ones we don’t use so much.

For example, I was standing outside of the offices of the New Haven Register and I saw a sign pointing the way to “Human Resources,” which made me wonder if that somewhere in the building there’s an office of “Inhuman Resources.” I don’t think anyone would be happy about being called down there for a meeting … especially for a breakfast meeting.

Speaking of journalism—we always hear about “breaking news,” but how come no one is ever “fixing news.” Or is that what they did back in the days of Yellow Journalism?

I was also considering the term “prehistoric,” which is often paired with the word “creatures” and almost always invoked in dinosaur discussions. Other than the obvious point that anything we can look back on is technically “history”—and therefore anything prehistoric can only be something that occurred before the existence of the known universe—I’m intrigued by the idea that by the very definition of it, we will never know what “posthistoric” creatures will look like. Sort of sad, really, because I’m thinking herds of giant zombie tardigrades roaming the abandoned streets of Earth will be kind of cool to see.

"We're the most badass indestructible creatures on the planet ... and we'll be here to play in the dust that once was you poor lesser organisms. So there's that."

In the same vein, I often visit a deli that proclaims it’s food as “world-class“—is there an alternative? I mean, our whole existence is pretty much confined to this world, so everything made here is automatically “world-class,” right? Of course, this deli proclaims to create its fare with “only the freshest” ingredients … you know, to differentiate itself from the scores of eateries that serve up cuisine concocted from the oldest crap that they can find laying around. Chew on that next time you’re watching an ad from The Olive Garden.

Why is it that Autumn is the only season that has a second name—Fall? I suppose that comes from the leaves falling, but then why don’t we also call Spring “Grow” or “Renew” or even “Warmer”? Then we could call Summer “Hot” and Winter “The Death Season of Cold, Ice and Misery That Only The Mentally Ill and Kate and Steve Frank Could Like.”

Let’s talk about how actors and actresses are almost always referred to as “stars”—stars are supposed to be the brightest lights in the night sky, but there are other heavenly bodies up there, too. So if the leads or the most famous actors and actresses are the stars, doesn’t it stand to reason that the supporting or character actors that revolve around them should be referred to as planets? Like, “Curtis W. Armstrong and Clint Howard are two of the finest planets that Hollywood has to offer.”

On a completely different subject: If you’re for something, you are “pro” that issue—pro-life, pro-abortion, pro-capitalism, pro-cannibal … Yet, a “protest” is something staged when you’re against something. Interestingly, a “contest”—which it seems like what you *should* call it’d when you’re staging an event against a particular issue—is a competition staged to bring about a positive resolution. Really, the “con” is sort of superfluous and it could just be called a “test,” which is already a competition of sorts. I suppose a contest then is in the same vein of conjoined twins in that it involves two … but then shouldn’t it be called a “bi-test,” if we’re sticking to proper prefixes?

Speaking of proper language and grammar, I always remember my high school English teacher Mrs. Scinto used to point out that although many people are described as “uncouth,” not many (like myself) are complimented for being imbued with oodles of couth.

I also find it interesting that when we describe something as “awesome,” it’s usually because it’s got more than “some” awe in it, but yet if it was completely full of awe—and thus “awe-full,” or “awful,” well, that’s the opposite end of the spectrum. I mean, when we’re regretful, we’re full of regret, or beautiful, full of beauty, but this just doesn’t follow.

Not hard to understand why so many who immigrate here prefer to keep English as a second language—because it’s been proven to be crazy.

But it’s the only language I know … so I guess I’ll keep using it.