Monday, October 7, 2013

October musings, Chester Arthur, and stuff like my birthday.

October has arrived and with it comes a government shutdown, baseball playoffs without the Mets again (but our first runner up, the Red Sox, are back in), my 57th birthday, therapy classes, and an MRI and all the time I need to put them all in the proper order of enthusiasm, considering that to make it a perfect month all we need is a colonoscopy, but my doctor told me we can save that for next year.  Guess you can't have everything.

I'd written this whole blog out in one of my note books, and what I saw there later this week was a lot of whining, so I scrapped it.  There is something to letting things rest a bit, and then reread it to see how bad it actually is, and it was, so let's go with a new version.

I never watched even one minute of Breaking Bad, but always had plenty of time for the folks stuck in the zombie apocalypse on the other channel.  Crystal meth versus active dead people.  A drug that can destroy lives versus lives that were destroyed by a plague, only the victims get back up and want to eat you.  Actually, not that much difference.  I never saw Walter White in the waiting room of the Social Services department where I worked, but I sure saw his customers. The Active Dead People.


Walking Dead's Milton

So I had a meeting with my neurologist last week, and if you consider that my co-pay is 15 dollars a visit, that means I pay one dollar a minute to touch my nose and his finger, walk in a straight line (not happening) and how many fingers is he holding up.  Entertaining as this is to me (and you), I am basically being told I look great and see you in six months, and I give him money to do that.  But I'm not great.  Friday I had a meeting with a local publisher about getting my book out when it is done.  Occasionally my brain would just shift into idle and I'd stop in the middle of a sentence.  The person I was speaking with was patient enough to wait it out, and we had a good talk.

It's like you are an old car, and you are taken to the mechanic, who looks around the front of the car and tells the owner its amazing the car is still going, but there's nothing he can do to make it any better except look at it.

Now on to Chester Alan Arthur.  Some of you may know that October 5 is Chester's birthday, and that each year at every presidential grave site a wreath is sent by the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to note the birthday of one of his predecessors'.  Chester is one of Mr. Obama's predecessors, number 21 out of 44.  Normally the wreath is placed before the gravesite by Marines or another of the Armed Services, there some speechifying, and military (gun) salute, and lots of photographs for the media.  This year, however, due to the shutdown, no Marines, but one citizen was kind enough to bring  a classic firearm and salute the man who was Commander in Chief from 1881-85.

Normally, it looks like this:

The book I am working is about his younger years living in and around my home town so I'm learning more and more about the dude.

Chester Arthur
Tom Martin

Date Born
Oct 5, 1819
Oct 9, 1956
Year of Death
So far so good
Age at Death
I will be 57 on 10/9/2013
Chronic Illness
Bright’s Disease
Politician, Government official 
Career Civil Servant
Lived in Lansingburgh, NY?

I am doing my best to not notice that Chet died when he was 57.  But that happens. You get to an age and what's the first thing you turn to? Obituaries, right.  Look at the ages.  Got passed that one! Whew! Whoa, 55 for her, poor thing.  Twenty years after the Civil War ended, the men of Chet's time were mourning the passage of their comrades in arms.  Chet even visited Ulysses S. Grant when the General was finishing his memoirs up near Saratoga, and in the summer of 1885, attended his funeral.

Arthur always had a bad rap when he was in the White House that he was nothing but a hack who sold the furniture, and partied the time away. Nothing of the kind.  He held the office in deep respect and carried himself well, making sure civil service reform was done, and keeping the United States on the world stage.  His party opted not to nominate him in 1884, but he took it in good stead and retired to a law practice and his family.  He knew he was quite ill, and he died the following year.

Chester's wife died a few months before the 1880 election, so Chester carried on alone, with the daughter acting as White House hostess.  I am grateful to still have my wife, my First Lady, with me.

No one will fire muskets over my grave (unless the undertaker has made a serious miscalculation) but I do hope these stories and others coming soon would entertain.  I am grateful to you for taking the time, and Hello Russia.  More soon. 5000 plus hits!


  1. Funny, I don't recall a mustache. You're not just making this stuff up, are you?

  2. Chester's got a mustache, I got a mustache. Chester does lead in mutton chops. Fact is better than fiction, sometimes.