Monday, August 30, 2010

Famous Marches on Washington

What do Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, the Vietnam War, the KKK, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gay & Lesbians have in common? They all inspired a march on Washington.

Americans have been pretty routinely marching on Washington since 1894. Before 1995 the government made estimates of the number of participants. In 1995 the organizers of the “Million Man March” were so critical of the National Park Services’ conservative estimate of 400,000 participants that the government discontinued making estimates of the number of participants at such events.

There is no effort at making an unbiased count of march participants today. Estimates of the “Restoring Honor” march on Washington range from 87,000 – 650,000. Estimates may vary by ideology.

Below are march numbers based on “conservative” government estimates of earlier marches on Washington:

Woman’s Suffrage March of 1913: 5,000

Ku Klux Klan March to protect America against Blacks, Jews, Catholics, labor unions, and communists of 1925 : Participants 35,000 (Overall national Klan membership reached 6 million paying members in 1924).

Martin Luther King Jr. march on Washington of 1963 (during which King made the “I Have a Dream Speech”): Participants 250,000

March to end the Vietnam War of 1969: Participants 600,000

March to end the Vietnam War of 1971: Participants 500,000

National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights of 1987: Participants 500,000

Million Man March of 1995: Participants 400,000

My titles on Amazon

My titles at Barnes & Noble

The best reading experience on your Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cocktail History

The first cocktail known to history was described in an American periodical of 1816. The first British cocktail bar was opened in London by the great chef Alex Soyer (of the Reform Club) in 1851. It lasted five months before being closed down as a danger to morals. 

The American exhibition at the Paris Exposition of 1867 included a genuine American bar dispensing New World concoctions. A British journalist, George Augustus Sala, reported, “ At the bar…were dispensed…cobblers, noggs, smashes, cocktails, eye-openers, moustache twisters and corpse revivers.” Sala was amused and delighted. Not so two other English writers, Henry Porter and George Roberts, who deplored the, “…sensation drinks which have lately travelled across the Atlantic…We will pass the American bar, with its bad brandies and fiery wine, and express our gratification at the slight success which, ‘Pick-Me-Up’, ‘Corpse-Reviver’, ‘Chain Lightning’, and the like, have had in this country.”

Eventually, American culture triumphed and cocktails were adopted in Europe. One of the classic cocktails, the “Side Car” was invented at the end of World War I at the bar of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Not to be outdone, an American variant of the “Side Car” called the “Cable Car”, was created by Abou-Ganim in 1996 when he tended bar at Harry Denton's Starlight Room in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco.

Few hotels in the country are as synonymous with the city they call home as the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Known by locals as "The Drake," the hotel defines San Francisco. When the hotel opened its doors in 1928, the city had never seen anything like it. Although the city boasted a number of luxury hotels, the Sir Francis Drake Hotel was something else entirely: a sleek state-of-the-art marvel reflecting the dynamic spirit of a new metropolis emerging from the devastating 1906 earthquake.

My titles on Amazon

My titles at Barnes & Noble

The best reading experience on your Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.

Friday, August 13, 2010

George Washington's Cook


Hercules, a slave at the Mount Vernon plantation, who had been George Washington’s long time cook was summoned to Philadelphia in November 1790 to become now President George Washington’s personal cook. Hercules was a self taught culinary artist, “as highly accomplished a proficient in the culinary art as could be found in the United States,” according to those who sampled his cooking. Washington was well pleased with Hercules and allowed him to make extra money by selling leftovers from the presidential kitchen. This extra money Hercules spent on expensive luxuries and fine clothing. “…his linen was of unexceptional whiteness and quality, then black silk shorts, ditto waistcoat, ditto stockings, shoes highly polished, with large buckles covering a considerable part of the foot, blue cloth with velvet collar and bright metal buttons, a long watch-chain dangling from his fob, a cocked-hat and gold-headed cane completed the grand costume of the celebrated dandy…of the president's kitchen.”

In November 1796, during a visit of the president and his entourage to Mount Vernon, Hercules’ son was caught stealing. Washington suspected that father and son were planning to runaway. When Washington returned to his presidential duties in Philadelphia, the once renowned Hercules was left behind at Mount Vernon reduced to the status of a common laborer on the farm. On February 22, 1797, George Washington’s sixty fifth birthday, Hercules made his bid for freedom, escaping from Mount Vernon forever.

My titles on Amazon

My titles at Barnes & Noble