We the People

So have you ever had this happen to you? You are looking through some old stuff and you find something of incredible value mixed in with all of the ordinary stuff? Yeah, me neither, but then again, neither of us are Lorianne Updike Toler. Ms Toler, a 30-year-old researcher recently had an up-close-and-personal encounter with history when she recently discovered a draft of the U.S. Constitution amongst a stack of archives at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Researcher Lorianne Updike Toler was intrigued by the centuries-old document at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

On the back of a treasured draft of the U.S. Constitution was a truncated version of the same document, starting with the familiar words: “We The People. . . .”

They had been scribbled upside down by one of the Constitution’s framers, James Wilson, in the summer of 1787. The cursive continued, then abruptly stopped, as if pages were missing.

A mystery, Toler thought, until she examined other Wilson papers from the Historical Society’s vault in Philadelphia and found what appeared to be the rest of the draft, titled “The Continuation of the Scheme.”

As it turns out, Toler had unwittingly stumbled upon an earlier draft of the Constitution.

“This was the kind of moment historians dream about,” said Toler, 30, a lawyer and founding president of the Constitutional Sources Project, which promotes an understanding of and access to U.S. Constitution documents.

As it turns out, Toler had unwittingly stumbled upon an earlier draft of the Constitution.

Seriously, how cool is this?

The Perfessor

What’s that you’re carrying?

Two or three years ago I had minor surgery (for a hernia), and for the couple of weeks after the surgery I walked with a cane. As it happened, I had acquired one of my grandfather’s wooden canes, and that was the one that I used. Well, we had previously scheduled a trip to Florida around that time, and as a couple of weeks had passed, I decided not to use the cane while traveling as I was legitimately concerned about what airport security would have to say about me carrying (what was essentially) a weapon on board a plane.

Turns out, I was right:

Since 2002, TSA screeners have found more than 200 canes concealing either swords or knives. Many of these incidents involve elderly travelers who are just as surprised as the security screeners to find sabers hidden inside canes they may have inherited, found at antique shops, or received from charities. In September alone, four such incidents occurred according to documents provided by the TSA.

Apparently, there are quite a few folks who own “weaponized” canes:

On Sept. 15, an X-ray machine operator at San Diego International Airport discerned the outline of a 2 1/2-inch knife concealed in a cane. “The passenger stated that he bought the cane online and had no idea the knife was inside. The knife was removed from the cane and passenger was allowed to keep the cane,” a TSA report said. That same day, when another woman’s walking stick was found to contain a 13-inch sword at Philadelphia International, she explained that “her doctor recommended she use one and she just borrowed the prettiest one she found from a friend.”

So I guess the moral of this story is always know what you’re carrying.

The Perfessor

Let it Bleed

MargaretI realize that this event happened back in June, but I just recently became aware of it. Apparently, 90-year-old great-grandmother, donated her 25th gallon of blood to The Red Cross. Now while you may realize how very cool this is right away, you have to understand that you only have about four quarts of blood in your body, and can only donate a pint at a time, and can only give every eight weeks.

This means that it takes just over a year (like a year and three months, give or take) to get a gallon. So, assuming that Margaret managed to give six-to-eight times a year, it would have taken her well over 30 years to give that much blood.

I bring this all up because I’ve been giving blood since I was about 18 and just last week I reached 15 gallons which means (at my current rate of giving) I should reach 25 gallons in about 13 years, so by the time I reach Margaret’s age, I should be hitting 68 gallons or so.

The Perfessor

No Pie for you!

You remember the Soup Nazi episode from Seinfeld? Well, that’s what I thought of when I read this article in The Wall Street Journal this morning.

COLTON, Calif. — Last year, on the day before Thanksgiving, customers of Dorothy Pryor Rose’s bakery who had been waiting in line for hours to buy her famous pies began shoving and shouting.

So for today, Ms. Rose decided she wasn’t going to take any chances. She hired a security guard to keep the peace, and set up a barrier system to keep people in line. The line was expected to start forming before dawn and take as long as three hours to get through.

Although there is nothing she can do to prevent the occasional customer from scalping her treats in the parking lot — a $12 pie can go for more than $20 — she hopes her extra counter help will keep the line moving briskly.

Talk about your pie fights!

Ya just gotta love this holiday!

The Perfessor