The Wild Rooster

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Double click for a larger version of this image…

When you grow up on a farm, you have a greater “admiration” for roosters. Well, perhaps admiration is the wrong word for it. You HATE ’em! Why? Pretty simple, really: it means that it’s time to crawl out of your bed, pull on your jeans and shirt and head out to do the morning chores – all before the sun is really up. After the chores, you go back to the farm house and kitchen to eat breakfast…and then it’s back outdoors to start the rest of the day’s work.

There are advantages to living on a farm – lots of them.  I wouldn’t change the early years I spent on the farm for anything.  Nor would I trade a summer I spent on the farm with my cousins in Iowa (we’d moved away from Iowa and were living in California at that time) just before my freshman year in high school.  But we worked HARD that summer…very hard, and it is hot and humid in Iowa during the summer!  By the end of the day, you were exhausted and fell into bed.

But, before you knew it, there was that danged rooster again, waking you up and heralding the new day.  I wanted to kill him!  Yet, somehow they remain fairly frequent objects d’art, like the metal one in today’s photo from the Flea Market.  Fortunately, he was quiet, or I would have wrung his neck!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1916, in San Francisco, a bomb at a Preparedness Day parade on Market Street killed 10 people and wounded 40. The bomb was hidden in a suitcase. The parade was organized by the city’s Chamber of Commerce in support of America’s possible entrance into World War I. San Francisco was suffering through severe labor strife at the time, and many suspected that anti-war labor radicals were responsible for the terrorist attack.

Labor leader Tom Mooney, his wife Rena, his assistant Warren K. Billings, and two others were soon charged by District Attorney Charles Fickert with the bombing. The case attracted international interest because all evidence, with the exception of a handful of questionable witness accounts, seemed to point unquestionably to their innocence. Even after confessions of perjured testimony were made in the courtroom, the trial continued, and in 1917 Mooney and Billings were convicted of first-degree murder, with Billings sentenced to life imprisonment and Mooney sentenced to hang. The other three defendants were acquitted. Responding to international outrage at the conviction, President Woodrow Wilson set up a “mediation commission” to investigate the case, and no clear evidence of their guilt was found. In 1918, Mooney’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

During the next two decades, many groups and individuals petitioned California to grant the two men a new trial. By 1939, when evidence of perjury and false testimony at the trial had become overwhelming, newly elected Governor Culbert Olson pardoned Mooney and commuted Billing’s sentence to time served. Billings was not officially pardoned until 1961.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, is the first person to become a billionaire (U.S. dollars) by writing books.


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