However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Feel free to stay and read what you came here to read, but when it's time to leave go to the new place by clicking HERE.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Unpacking The Aunty Em Ericann Blog ► Part New

A moment in time
While I use this occasional series to peel back the layers and reveal some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of my blog, the more astute among my readers have already figured out that there is a hidden motive: This is my subtle way of trying to get people to click on the advertising on my blog.

That wasn't subtle at all.

No, you're right. Subtle can be over-rated. My need for people to click on the ads is not subtle either. I spend hours upon hours researching and writing some of these posts, yet the only compensation I receive is from the advertising...and only if you click on those adverts. If you liked something you've read here, why not help a blogger out?

Take a closer look at that column of ads over there on the right? Choose something that sounds interesting (but it doesn't have to be interesting). Then click on it. That's it!!! While it costs you nothing, dear reader, each click sends a few pennies (and I do mean "few") my way. I bet that every time you click on one of those adverts, you will feel better. Go ahead, try it! See? Now try it again. Feel even better, doncha? It works every time.

A moment in time on the The Aunty Em Ericann Blog
Meanwhile, I've noticed some interesting things in the latest set of statistics. For the longest time -- from almost the very day it was posted -- Aunty Em Ericann's Bun Fight With James Rosen of Fox "News" was my most popular all-time article. It was written on May 15th and remained at the very tippy-top of my All Time Popular Posts right out of the gate. However, it was recently overtaken -- by a very wide margin -- in just this last week by my Musical Appreciation ► Brian Jones post. The Brian Jones post went up on July 3rd, almost 2 months after the Rosen post, yet has jumped to the top of the leader board.

It probaly didn't hurt that The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th Anniversary since I posted the Brian Jones appreciation. Most people arrived at the Aunty Em Ericann Blog through a Google search. I wonder if yesterday's birthday of Mick Jagger will boost the latest numbers.

NUMBER 6 WITH A BULLET: It's also gratifying to see my Coconut Grove series rising in popularity, especially the post Unpacking Coconut Grove ► Part Two ► E.W.F. Stirrup House. This is the article in which I lay out the history of Ebenezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup and why his house and legacy should be saved. I would be gratified if you will pass this along to people who are interested in historical preservation.

Stay tuned for Part Three of this series. In the next installment, which is almost complete, I will expose who controls which properties surrounding the E.W.F. Stirrup House and who is responsible for the Demolition by Neglect that the house is currently undergoing. This could get very ugly, especially since there are millions of developers' dollars at stake.

James Rosen of Fox "News" who
wrote "The Strong Man." his and
cover-up of John Mitchell
ROSEN UPDATE: For those of you clamoring for Part Two of Aunty Em Ericann's Bun Fight With James Rosen of Fox "News," fear not: It's coming. While it's partially written, I have had more important things on my plate than proving why the 4-year old book "The Strong Man," by Fox "News" correspondent James Rosen, is nothing but revisionist history. And, not to put too fine a point on it, there are still a few interviews I need to conduct in order to expose Rosen's secret source on Page 61 (of the hardcover).

When Rosen wrote his John Mitchell apologia, his anonymous source could be assured that (s)he could lie with impunity about whether Anna Channault was telling the truth. However, subsequent releases of information about the 1968 presidential election, years before Watergate, proved that what Channault said was THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH.

This might be considered by some to be arcane, academic knowledge not worth revisiting at this point, some 44 years, or 11 presidential elections, after the one that put Richard Nixon in office. However, TREASON is never an academic issue and that's what Rosen's secret source is covering up by lying about Anna Chanault.

The million dollar question needs to be asked: Who could possibly be still around from those bygone days still interested in covering up Richard Nixon's TREASON? Rosen knows who it was and, by now, must know he printed an untruth told to him by his anonymous source.

I have my suspicions on who the source was. A few more interviews and I will be able to announce it as a fact. I am even willing to listen to what James Rosen might have to say, but he'd rather block me on Twitter than answer my uncomfortable questions about his book.

Another moment
in time.
BACK TO THE STATS: One of the statistics that continues to fascinate me is where my readership lives. While 'Merkins are far and away the top readers of my blog, I find it surprising that #2 is Italy by a wide margin over #3, the United Kingdom. Both of those beat Canada, where most of my family and friends live.

Italy? I don't even speak the language.

Meanwhile, feel free to poke around on my blog, leave some comments, call me names, whatever meets your fancy. However, don't forget to click on one of those adverts. Pretty please with sugar on top!



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Day I Shook Hands With Glenn Beck ► Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be

Glenn Beck. Picture by author. Eyes by Crazy.
In November 2009, not quite three years ago, I was still in the middle of my Performance Art project that began in '07. The idea was for this Canadian journalist with a established reputation, to subsume my identity completely and start writing about Politics as a woman under the nom de plume Aunty Em Ericann. The goal was to become a nationally known pundit under that name. Once I started writing about Glenn Beck for NewsHounds, I was well on the path to achieving that goal, if exchanging snarky tweets with former-Watergate felons and current Fox "News" personalities is any indication.

I had hoped to be able to play the joke out another couple of years until it was a punchline known by far more 'Merkin people than who know who Mel Kaminski is. Unfortunately that was no longer possible after Johnny Dollar, who mistakenly believes he's spouting CABLE NEWS TRUTH by defending Fox "News" lies, cyber-raped me, exposing my nom de plume along with my sex life, which, as far as I know, neither had anything to do with my political writing at NewsHounds.

Because my nom de plume was unknown to J$, it was clearly unknown. See the logic? Me neither. It became his mission to make it known. Why? Because I wrote the truth about Fox "News." Yet, my nom de plume was no big secret. Whenever I would have to call someone for research I would introduce myself and say, "I write under the name 'Aunty Em' for NewsHounds." The list of people who knew my nom de plume includes everyone who worked in any official capacity at NewsHounds; hundreds of friends, family and acquaintances, including cyber-friends I have known for a decade or more [Hi Harryheads]; and random Pop Stars. Trust me, it's not that big a secret if Flo and Eddie know. Who knows who they will tell when they're hopped up on that Geritol?

Hell, even Glenn Beck knew. At least he should have known. Because the day I shook his hand, I introduced myself to him. I first told this story at NewsHounds.

The Beck Week That Was
The Dark Underbelly Edition
When Aunty Em Met Glenn Beck
November 22, 2009

It was a big week in Glenn Beck World, the Fun Time Carnival that never seemed to end for me. If I wasn’t watching his show and taking notes, then I was trying to make sense of what the notes said. Then, early Saturday morning, as usual I collated all the craziness to try to bring a sense of the Beck Hall of Mirrors to my vast reading audience.

It’s possible I was just tapped out, but after dinner on Monday I didn’t even bother to review my notes. Maybe I was feverish with the swine (with lipstick) flu, but as I drifted off to sleep on Monday night I was troubled by the recent news out of Tampa, only about 250 miles away as the crow flies, where a marine went postal on a visiting Greek Orthodox priest. When police were finally summoned, Lance Cpl. Jasen Bruce alternatively claimed he attacked the man of God because he was a jihadist terrorist who yelled “Allahu akbar!”, or because he tried to rob him, or tried to grope him. (I guess the police can just pick from a menu.)

As my REMs took me deeper into sleep, I was now inside a Rod Serling short story, later made into an episode of the Twilight Zone. “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” scared the crap out of me when I was a teenager. I was now running down the street in panic. I heard the sound of breaking glass and it seemed to be coming from all directions. Something came out of the darkness and I only had time to flinch before it struck my forehead, opening a small gash which bled profusely into my eyes until I was nearly blind. When I was able to focus on anything it seemed to be a face screwed up in rage, so I turned and ran in a different direction.

As Pogo famously said, “I have met the enemy and he is us.”

Waking up bathed in sweat, relieved it’s only a dream, I turned on the tee vee and the Glenn Beck Show overnight repeat was on Faux Noise. I could relax. All was right with the world. Andy Stern was still the villain, the SEIU were always thugs, and the government was Roman Polanski, raping an innocent 13-year old by drugging her and pushing Health Care into one of OUR orifices. Or something.

Later in the show, and I couldn’t believe I re-watched it after taking notes on the original broadcast but I couldn’t sleep anymore, he said something that pissed me off more the second time I heard it than the first.

Beck said it’s a “literal lottery in Canada to see a doctor.”

That was a literal WTF Moment for me. I lived under the Canadian Health Care system for 35 years. In that entire time I never had a problem seeing a doctor of MY choosing, never had a single difficulty when further tests have been ordered, and never had to stick my hand into my pocket for a penny—no co-pays, no deductibles, and no pre-existing conditions. What’s more: I don’t know anyone who has ever had a single problem in the Canadian Health Care system. Everyone is covered for everything.

Now I am under the ‘Merkin System, which is no system at all. The new Health Care bills, take your pick, do nothing for me, other than provide a sizable penalty if I don’t purchase a policy from one of the rapacious insurance companies. If I could afford Health Care insurance I’d already have it.

Now I wouldn’t mind The Beckereeno arguing (falsely) that Universal Health Care, or a One Payer System, is the slippery slide into Socialism. But as a Canadian I’m getting pretty tired of the lies I hear about the Canadian system.

Before he signed off, The Beckster showed what a good sport he was by reviewing the same parodies that I did in last week’s column, adding one I hadn’t seen yet, a New Yorker column, that mentioned the thin-skinned one. “Last week Eric Cartman played a much thinner version of me. Then, over the weekend, even more animation. This time, from the New Yorker magazine, in which they called me energetically hateful, truth-twisting and the biggest lie of all, only ‘barely overweight.’

“By the way, an interesting fact about The New Yorker — it still exists. I mean, they're still printing it. Who knew?”

Beck showed he could laugh right along with us. After bashing (once again) Van Jones, the NEA (again), Anita Dunn (again), ACORN (again), Andy Stern (again), and the SEIU (again) he said, “To complete the "South Park" analogy here in the real world, all of those Wendy’s really were sluts. In fact, most of them called themselves sluts. They spoke about it, the benefits of slutdom, on tape. And then, they were caught being slutty over and over again and we put them on television saying that.” “It's just that nobody wants to believe that their representatives are sluts, even when they say it themselves. But America, no matter what The New Yorker says, sometimes our politicians really are sluts.”

By Tuesday I was invigorated by the rumours, which spread like wild fire. It began the instant Tee Vee Comedian Glenn Beck announced on his show that he’d have a SPECIAL BIG ANNOUNCEMENT at his appearance at (in?) The Villages, Florida on Saturday. It had originally been scheduled as a book signing, but was now being labeled a rally. A rally in The Villages? “Some people say” he’ll announce a Palin-Beck ticket for 2012.

One can only hope. What comedy that will be.

Sassy Sarah Palin didn’t exactly squelch those rumours when she praised him mid-week, according to The Atlantic:

"I can envision a couple of different combinations, if ever I were to be in a position to really even seriously consider running for anything in the future, and I'm not there yet," Palin tells Newsmax. "But Glenn Beck I have great respect for. He's a hoot. He gets his message across in such a clever way. And he's so bold -- I have to respect that. He calls it like he sees it, and he's very, very, very effective."

Beck spent the week hyping this big announcement, which left me in a quandary. Should I drive the 5 hours to the rally in (at?) The Villages on Saturday to hear this BIG ANNOUNCEMENT, or go to his book signing just up the road Friday evening, a 20 minute drive into the heart of Fort Lauderdale? Five hours versus 20 minutes; BIG ANNOUNCEMENT versus regular old book signing? In the end I chose the latter, knowing his comedy show would cover the former.

Tuesday’s show was all about One World Government and how it was coming a lot sooner than anyone expects.

Ever the coy promoter, when he made his announcement about The Villages late in the show, all that Beckereeno would say was, “I’m going to be in the history books and so will you.”

My mind was aflame ever since the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT of the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. That night I tossed and turned, trying to envision such a world in which a Palin/Beck ticket would have any credibility. I fell into a troubled sleep.

Again I woke up bathed in sweat and, instead of clicking on the repeat of the Glenn Beck Conspiracy Hour, I lay down on the couch in the living room and fell into a fitful sleep.

Wednesday Glenn Beck asked, “Who has confidence in the United States government?” and later told us what’s coming is a “war between the haves and the have nots.” I guess I’ll be fighting the haves. And, as always, they’ll be better armed than I. I didn’t sleep a wink that night.

By Thursday he was warning us “We are looking at the end of Western Civilization, the end of the world!”

It doesn’t get more Apocalyptic than that and it did nothing for my dream state.

I was trying to escape. Long columns and equally long rows of Teabaggers were all marching in a giant square. I was running between them, attempting to outwit my pursuer. Giant pictures of Glenn Beck, dressed in Fascist garb—exactly like the cover of “Arguing With Idiots,”— looked down on the multitudes. Leni Reifenstahl was crawling around with a video camera as she chased Griff Jenkins, who was chasing me with his microphone, trying to get the most telegenic images for the vast nation starved for leaders, as the country went to hell in a hand basket.

Signs that read “9/12 Project,” “Don’t Tread On Me,” and “Frog A Coal Mine” were everywhere, pumping up and down in unison. At the far end of the plaza was a reviewing stand. From my vantage point, dodging the Teabaggers all marching in lockstep, the people way up in front looked like ants, but I just knew Glenn Beck was up there about to deliver the Good News and claim to be the Leader that ‘Merka is Looking For.

As the crowd started chanting “Heil Beck, Heil Beck, Heil Beck…” I woke up bathed in sweat once again, with a realization of what these dreams mean, and you don’t have to be Siggy Freud to have figured this one out. My subconscious finally collated all those notes I’d been taking these past 3 months into a savage picture.

There is a coming disintegration of society. Blame it on those who want Health Care and other entitlements. Blame it on open borders. Blame it on thug unionists. Finally, blame it on the government. When the populace is sufficiently confused and scared, promise them an answer. Promise them a return to a nostalgic way of life, before the Progressives and Liberals got their grimy hands on the Constitution. Promise them an answer and they’ll swallow it whole, no chewing necessary.

Get enough people believing in this bullshit and they will BRING the disorder that Beck describes, just to get it over with already. Am I the only one who sees parallels to Germany before the Nazis took power?

2:38 PM and the line stretches around the corner already
That’s why I was trying to wrap this column up on Friday. It was about 2PM and Beck was not due in town for another 5 and ½ hours. Yet, I was already packing up the laptop, digital camera, and my notes so I could get there early, reconnoiter the local battlefield, and stake out my paparazzi nest. To be perfectly honest, I was more interested in his followers. I wanted to see just what kind of “Real Americans” will show up to bask in his presence.

2:38PM: I pull up to Barnes and Noble and although it’s a full 5 hours before Ben Gleck & Entourage arrive, there’s already a good 50 people lined up to see The Great One. Some are in lawn chairs, while others just shuffle in place. It’s only slightly amusing to see they are all behind plastic yellow tape that reads “CAUTION – CUIDADO,” separating them from those who had no idea Glenn Beck was going to be here and just wanted an afternoon’s book browsing experience. I unload the laptop from the car and, playing dumb, ask, “What’s going on here today?”

Once assured I don’t have to stand in line if I just want to go inside and use the wifi, I ease past the crowd by simply rolling my portable office right along the outside of the tape and into the doors. Let them wait outside in the 80 degree heat and high humidity. I’ve got my elitist computer as early entree.

The line grows to the back of the building.
I know from watching Beckereeno’s Connect The Dots Hour as intensely as I do, that you have to be bug-eyed crazy to buy into his opinions and conspiracy theories. None of these people have the bug-eyed craziness seen at his 9/12 Teabagging and SCAer rallies. It’s a pretty calm, sedate crowd. And, that’s what scares me most about this group of people lined up to see the man the Anti-Defamation League recently called “the fearmonger-in-chief:” they all look so effin’ normal! Yet, how normal can they be if they wait in line 5 hours for a few seconds of Glenn Beck’s time?

And, what does that say about me? Hopefully, it says that once I confront my personal demons I will stop having these nightmares.

By arriving so early, I am able to witness what was, obviously, a manager taking some of the store staff on a Glenn Beck Autograph Signing Preview. He tells them that at about 5:30 the line will be let inside the store and people will be allowed to start lining up upstairs. Taped arrows on the floor indicate how the crowd will snake up one aisle and down another. (They must have learned people moving from Disney.) I follow the taped arrows, much like following The Yellow Brick Road, until I come to a large open area in the center of the second floor, where a large table sits. I realize at once this is where The Great One will be signing his name over and over again.

It’s peaceful. It’s quiet. I am overcome with serenity.

3:40 PM: I set up my computer in the coffee shop, kick some of the above around for clarity.

The heterogeneous crowd.
4:30 PM: I convince a woman to watch my crap while I go outside for a cigarette. It’s a full three hours before The Great One arrives and the line has trebled. It now snakes around the corner of the building all the way to the back before turning back around and coming halfway back to the front. I wonder when I’ll have to join the line in order to get a copy of “The Christmas Sweat(er)” autographed by The Great One.

There’s something else about this group of people that’s slightly unsettling: They are all Caucasians. There is one person in line that I would guess to be Native American, but beyond this woman, I can see no blacks or Latinos, despite Fort Lauderdale having a very large populations of both. [Later I do hear a few Cubano accents behind me in line and a guy ahead of me was 1st Generation Cuban American.]

5:00 PM: I realize that I am about to miss The Glenn Beck Show in order to get a glimpse of Glenn Beck. But then, so will he. This is as good a time as any to mention that I have maintained, since the start of this column, that Breck prerecords his Friday shows. Earlier today, at 11:30, he did a signing or two. (I’ve seen conflicting itineraries.) Ain’t no way The Fat Man did a show today, or any Friday for that matter.

Expecting trouble? More police cars than your average Reggae festival.
I see some movement in the line through the thin pane of glass that separates me from these Beckerheads. Something’s going on so I pack up my stuff to take it out to the car. The line has doubled again. As I walk out to the parking lot, I can’t help but notice the increased police presence. Three cop cars are lined up in a taped off area of one side of the parking lot and another car is on the far side of the door. I put my stuff in the car to join the line, only to find out I need a Glenn Beck book to join the line.

I go inside and buy “The Christmas Sweat(er)” under the twin assumptions that it’s the kitschiest and the cheapest. I’ve already been informed that he won’t sign “Common Sense,” which made me wonder if he’s ashamed of it. Then I join the line for what appears to be a two hour wait. Random chatter overheard:

“I never really got into it [politics] until this last election. Then I started to see how they was lyin’ to us all along.”

“They say ‘Call your Senator, call your Congressman,’ but you know what? You call and they’re not listening.”

“They [Obama administration] will tweak the Constitution best they can.”

“It’s our own fault he [Obama] got there.”

“They never disprove him.” [Beck]

“There is a thing called Freedom of Speech you know.”

“We’re entering Dark Times, as he keeps telling us.”

“The thing with these people is you have to have an iron fist in a velvet glove. You have to be an SOB because you have MTV against you and all the universities against you.”

“That’s why I decided to go to a technical college instead of a university, so I [unintelligible],” replies the 20-year old.

6:00 PM: I’m finally at the front corner of the building, as people are slowly let inside and the line snakes forward. Ahead of me two guys are decanting a beer into coffee cups. “It’s the end of the week.”

Several times in line I heard reference to this mythical 1.7 million figure that showed up in Washington for Beck’s 9/12 Shindig and Dance Party. “The Washington Post said there were 60,000.” “They don’t want to tell the truth of how many are against them.”

I realize this is a waking nightmare. These people are spouting every Right Wing, and often debunked, Talking Point that exists. However, still among the various chatter were some classic exchanges.

“Isn’t that what the Tea Parties were supposed to be about?”

“I never did figure what they were about.”

One woman shouts to arriving friends, “Here are the Patriots!” These people think they’re saving the nation by buying one of Beck’s books.

The line snaked up and down the aisles of the store
and up and down the aisles upstairs too.
“Were you here for Steve Doocy?” one asks, as if I need any more proof I’m in a Faux Noise crowd.

“Doocy was here?”

“No, he was at Borders, but he was signing books.”

6:30 PM: I am at the front door with just 7 people ahead of me. Beyond this point you not only need a Glenn Beck book, but a wristband. However, it’s a full half hour before we get a wristband and start following the arrows on the floor.

“We’re trying to do lots of stuff like, err, save the nation.”

I just realized this is the largest concentration of toupees I’ve seen since I moved to Florida. Dotted among the people are also 3 NRA shirts, 3 Tea Party Shirts, and more ‘Merkin Flag Motifs than usually found in a bookstore.

8:00 PM: No sign of Beck and the lobby grows crowded.

8:08 PM: Several men wearing official Glenn Beck T-Shirts arrive, but they’re more like moving men than advance men. They are pulling a large black zippered box, about the size of a refrigerator compartment. “Some people say” Beck might be inside.

However, Beck’s obviously snuck in another door and a few minutes later appears on the upper level to cheers. He grabs a megaphone.

“Any 9/12 members here?”

More cheers.

Look! A voice from on high!!!
He tells us that tomorrow in (at?) The Villages he’ll be announcing a different direction for his show. The economy’s not good. What are they [in Washington] doing? Nothing. While he was in the hospital two weeks ago he was just like us. He was watching and wondering what to do.

“I’ve been waiting for a leader to show up. No one’s showing up.”

And then he hints about what he’s announcing tomorrow, what he’s calling “The Plan.” And, it’s a hundred year plan.

Did I just hear him right? A One Hundred Year Plan?!?!?! Even the Communists only came up with 5 Year Plans.

“I’ve learned a lot about community organizing in the last year.” [Loud laughs.] Democrats and Republicans join us, but if not we’re moving on.”

Then he went to sign autographs and the line moved like wildfire. Someone earlier said Beck could sign 800 autographs an hour. I scoffed at that. I figured it’d take 10-20 seconds each. Eight-hundred? No way.

I’m now a believer. When I was finally approaching The Beckster it was all stage-managed so quickly that I barely had time to react. I stopped to take a picture, but someone was already at my elbow pulling me forward, blurring my first shot. Then someone snatched the book out of my hand as Beck scrawled across it. I stopped to take another pic, when my book was thrust back into my hand and I was nudged forward. Just then everything parted. One of Beck’s people said something to him at the same time he thrust his hand forward. I was the only one standing there. I shook his hand firmly, one pump, and said, “Aunty Em.”

Look at the circles under his eyes. I have just introduced myself to Glenn Beck as "Aunty Em." He didn't care.
However he never heard me. He was already turning his attention to the next book to sign and I was being pulled along. It took 4 seconds, tops. You do the math.

When I got about 10 feet away, and was no longer being hustled along, I turned to take in the scene and the stagecraft one last time. There are the ‘fluffers,’ those getting people ready for their 3 seconds of Beck and the ‘cleaners,’ who guide people away.

What I was able to notice was the fact that the table which had been set out for signing wasn’t there. Beck brought his own thingie, which is what was in the big box his advance men carried in before he arrived. It’s a large lectern-like piece of furniture that allows Beck to stand behind, while also standing on a small milk crate, or something. This way he’s able to lean on the lectern and be normal height, but can raise himself on his back legs and be taller than anyone else.

It was one of those instinctual moments for me. Obviously Glen Beck found he didn’t like sitting at a table signing autographs, with everyone looming over him. Therefore, he carries this piece of furniture along with him, so he can always be the Biggest Guy in the Room.

When I left the building people were posing with a man in an Obama mask and in front of Beck’s bus. There appeared to be another 200-300 people still in line ouside and who knows how many in the conga line inside the store.

I went to this thing partially as an anthropological study and partly to do something about my nightmares. However, after hearing all the idiocy around me all day and Beck’s mention of a 100 Year Plan, I am not sure I’ll ever sleep again.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Detroit Riots ► Unpacking My Detroit ► Part Five

12th Street, Detroit. Michigan, one week before the 1967 Riot.
That's Pops' store way down the block on the left: Astor Furniture.
When people hear I am from Detroit, inevitably they ask about the Detroit Riot. “Which one?” I always reply. There was more than one, yet most people are only aware of the 1967 Black Day In July Riot. However, when you look at the history of Detroit, it’s apparent that rioting is in her DNA—both figuratively and literally—but I’ll get to that later. First I will tell you of my personal experiences during the '67 Riot because that’s what people really want to know when they ask about the Detroit Riot. I want to get it out of the way quickly [or as quickly as my story-telling tangents allow] because there are much better riots to talk about. However, you will need some important context.

Astor Furniture, on Detroit’s 12th Street, was where my father had a new and used furniture store in 1967. The street is now known as Rosa Parks Boulevard and Pops' store was at the corner of Blaine.  My house on the edge of Detroit, near 8 Mile, was less than 10 miles from Pops' store on 12th Street. However, it might have been a million miles away, as different as the two places were. My neighbourhood had no Black people; where Pops had his store, there were no White people. Detroit has long been considered one of the most segregated cities in ‘Merka and this gulf between where we lived and where my father earned his living was the personification of that for me as I grew up. 

Gordon Lightfoot tells you all about it:

I used to go down to 12th Street with Pops on the weekends and, as I got older, would often go out on deliveries with the all-Black crew to deliver furniture all around the neighbourhood.  Over the years I got to see the inside of many houses and apartments along 12th Street.  One of the things that always struck me was how many living rooms had little shrines to both Jesus and President Kennedy.  However, that’s not why you’re here. It’s the riot you want to know about.

Astor Furniture after the worst of the 1967 Detroit Riot.
Police have made the streets safe for firefighting.
The Detroit Riot of 1967 began on the corner of 12th Street and Clairmont, exactly four blocks from Pops' store. I was out of town. That's my alibi and I'm sticking to it.

Every summer I went to camp in the wilds of Ortonville, Michigan.  At some point every year they'd pack us onto a bus and smuggle us into another country. We would head off to Stratford, Ontario, Canada to see a Shakespearean play written by Shakespeare. I guess so they could tell my parents, "We tried to civilize him" at the end of the camp session. After the play we would grab a late meal in Stratford like the young sophisticates we were pretending to be. It was the only place we could spend any of the money we took with us to camp. The Tuck Shop had crap for sale. Every year the counselors made us promise that no matter what we wouldn’t phone home, or otherwise embarrass them in the Sin City of Stratford, Ontario, while they ditched us.

In 1967, when the play ended, we spread out to various restaurants around town.  It was on a newsstand at the restaurant I saw the 1st DETROIT RIOTS headline. On the front of the newspaper was a picture of Pops' store with the riot in progress right in front of it!!! I started running around Stratford looking for a counselor who could give me permission to phone home. Later we learned that the counselors already knew about the riot, but had withheld that information from us so as to not worry us. Word spread quickly among the campers and eventually there were lineups at all the payphones in Stratford.

There's Astor Furniture again on the right as police make the streets safe for firefighting.
This picture is © Kenneth Stahl, of The Great Rebellion who has graciously allowed its use.

So, that’s my Detroit riot story; I missed it entirely.  I bet my father wishes he could say the same.  He lost every stick of furniture in the store, as well as his front windows. However, he was better off than other business owners who were burned out. After Marshall Law was lifted, and civilians were allowed back in the area, he was able to start all over again in the same location.  However, it was a total loss for him.  Insurance was so prohibitively expensive that he did without it. After the riot he was left to pick up the pieces by himself.

I never worked on 12th Street again.

This is the building on the corner of Clairmont and 12th Street,
where police raided a blind pig, triggering the 1967 Riot.
The 1967 Detroit Riot began over a single flash point, following many years of bad mojo between the all-White Detroit Police Department and the all-Black neighbourhoods they patrolled. The trigger was a raid on a "blind pig," essentially an after-hours, illegal drinking establishment. Police decided they were going to arrest the people in the "blind pig." That's the official story and is correct as far as it goes.

Coincidentally, or maybe not, the blind pig was also a celebration for some returning Vietnam Vets. When police came to bust the joint it got loud. The veterans said, in essence, "Enough is enough. We just got back from Vietnam defending this country and we won't be treated like 2nd class citizens any longer." However, they didn't start the riot. They were the straw that broke the camel's back.

Due to the sheer numbers in the blind pig (reportedly 82) police were forced to call in several paddy wagons. As the arrests proceeded a crowd started to grow. It was a hot night and culturally this neighbourhood kept very different hours than the lily-White block where I lived, with everyone tucked safely into bed by 11 PM. It was always true that Black people were far more visible in their neighbourhood than Whites were in their own. Unemployment was one factor, culture was a bigger factor. During the '50s and '60s when White Home Life™ turned to suburbia, car culture, and backyard barbecues, Black Home Life™ was more street oriented; front porches, street corners, back alleys (which my neighbourhood didn't even have) were all gathering places for friends and family, especially in the days before air conditioning was ubiquitous.

All this to explain why a large crowd gathered almost immediately while police waited for the paddy wagons. However, that doesn't explain the anger that exploded into the '67 Riot. Years of injustice does. The neighbourhood came to view the Detroit Police Department as an Occupying Force and, despite the Civil Rights Act and promises of The Great Society, Blacks were still getting the short end of the stick, and getting it in their own neighbourhoods. The amazing thing to me about the '67 Detroit Riot was how instantaneous it was. It went from zero to Riot in under an hour and took five days to quell.

One of thousands of pictures of the '67 Detroit Riot I have viewed. I have only found Pops' store in two of them.

Just as fires cannot erupt in a vacuum, neither do riots. Among the several factors underlying the 1967 Detroit Riot three loomed large: White Flight, Police Brutality and a severe housing shortage. The housing shortage stemmed, in part, from a growing economy. The Big Three were hiring in those days. According to a web site at Rutgers:
Like Newark, Detroit was swept by a wave of white flight. During the 1950s the white population of Detroit declined by 23%. Correspondingly, the percentage of non-whites rose from 16.1% to 29.1%. In sheer numbers the black population of Detroit increased from 303,000 to 487,000 during that decade. (Fine 1989:4) By 1967, the black population of Detroit stood at an estimated 40% of the total population. (National Advisory Committee on Civil Disorders 1968:89-90). As in Newark, some neighborhoods were more affected by white flight than others. This was particularly true for the Twelfth Street neighborhood, where rioting broke out in the summer of 1967. “Whereas virtually no blacks lived there in 1940 (the area was 98.7% white), the area was over one-third (37.2%) non-white in 1950. By 1960, the proportion of blacks to whites had nearly reversed: only 3.8 percent of the areas residents were white. Given that the first blacks did not move to the area until 1947 and 1948, the area underwent a complete racial transition in little more than a decade.” Sugrue 1996:244)

This rapid turnover in population in the neighborhood brought with it the attendant ills of social disorganization, crime and further discrimination. It’s impact in the 12th street area was devastating. According to Sidney Fine, “The transition from white to black on Detroit’s near northwest side occurred at a remarkably rapid rate…In a familiar pattern of neighborhood succession, as blacks moved in after World War II, the Jews moved out. The first black migrants to the area were middle class persons seeking to escape the confines of Paradise Valley. They enjoyed about “five good years” in their new homes until underworld and seedier elements from Hastings Street and Paradise Valley, the poor and indigent from the inner city, and winos and derelicts from skid row flowed into the area. Some of the commercial establishments on Twelfth Street gave way to pool halls, liquor stores, sleazy bars, pawn shops, and second hand businesses. Already suffering from a housing shortage and lack of open space, Twelfth Street became more “densely packed” as apartments were subdivided and six to eight families began to live where two had resided before. The 21,376 persons per square mile in the area in 1960 were almost double the city’s average” (Fine 1989:4) This neighborhood would serve as the epicenter of the 1967 riot. 
When it's all gone just the marker remains.
Is this the ultimate fate of the E.W.F. Stirrup House?
It didn't help that, under the guise of Urban Renewal, it was decided to ram I-75 through the city. Paradise Valley and Black Bottom, the traditional Black areas of Detroit, were razed and paved over. While it's true these were some of the worst slums in Detroit, it was also home to the thriving Black Culture of the city, with many self-sustaining businesses along with Jazz and Blues clubs up and down Hastings. When these neighbourhoods were torn down, the people had to go somewhere. Because of redlining, Blacks couldn't move much farther than 12th Street. Had 12th Street not undergone such a dramatic demographic shift in such a short period of time, who knows how Detroit might have developed. However, that's all water under the Ambassador Bridge now.

Rutgers also outlined the issue of Police Brutality, another factor leading up to the riot:
In Detroit, during the 1960s the “Big Four” or “Tac Squad” roamed the streets, searching for bars to raid and prostitutes to arrest. These elite 4 man units frequently stopped youths who were driving or walking through the 12th street neighborhood. They verbally degraded these youths, calling them “boy” and “nigger*”, asking them who they were and where they were going. (Fine 1989:98). Most of the time, black residents were asked to produce identification, and having suffered their requisite share of humiliation, were allowed to proceed on their way. But if one could not produce “proper” identification, this could lead to arrest or worse. In a few notable cases, police stops led to the injury or death of those who were detained. Such excessive use of force was manifested in the 1962 police shooting of a black prostitute named Shirley Scott who, like Lester Long of Newark, was shot in the back while fleeing from the back of a patrol car. Other high profile cases of police brutality in Detroit included the severe beating of another prostitute, Barbara Jackson, in 1964, and the beating of Howard King, a black teenager, for “allegedly disturbing the peace”. (Fine 1989:117) But the main issue in the minds of Detroit’s black residents was police harassment and police brutality, which they identified in a Detroit Free Press Survey as the number one problem they faced in the period leading up to the riot. (Detroit Free Press 1968, Fine 1989, Thomas 1967). According to a Detroit Free Press Survey, residents reported police brutality as the number as the number one problem they faced in the period leading up to the riot. (Detroit Free Press 1968, Fine 1989, Thomas 1967).


Despite the election of a liberal Democratic mayor who appointed African Americans to prominent positions in his administration, and despite Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh’s good working relationship with mainstream civil rights groups, a significant segment of the black community in Detroit felt disenfranchised, frustrated by what they perceived to be the relatively slow pace of racial change and persistent racial inequality. Local militant leaders like the Reverend Albert Cleague spoke of self-determination and separatism for black people, arguing that whites were incapable and or unwilling to share power. The civil rights movement was deemed a failure by these young leaders in the black community. At a black power rally in Detroit in early July 1967, H. Rap Brown foreshadowed the course of future events, stating that if “Motown” didn’t come around, “we are going to burn you down”.
Detroit was ripe for riot by 1967, especially following the mini-Kercheval riot of the previous year.

The WikiWackyWoo sums up:
Over the period of five days, forty-three people died, of whom 33 were black and ten white. The other damages were calculated as follows:
  • 467 injured: 182 civilians, 167 Detroit police officers, 83 Detroit firefighters, 17 National Guard troops, 16 State Police officers, 3 U.S. Army soldiers.
  • 7,231 arrested: 6,528 adults, 703 juveniles; the youngest, 4, the oldest, 82. Half of those arrested had no criminal record.
  • 2,509 stores looted or burned, 388 families rendered homeless or displaced and 412 buildings burned or damaged enough to be demolished. Dollar losses from arson and looting ranged from $40 million to $80 million.[19]
That, ladies and gentleman, is your Detroit Riot of 1967. After John Lee Hooker reports to us via The Blues, we can get to the good stuff.

* I refuse to soften the ugliest word in the English language by using that awful construct "The N Word." Don't like it? Me neither.

Part Two - The 1943 Detroit Riot

When I start telling people about the 1943 Detroit Riot, they blink. Huh? What? Yet, the '43 riot seems almost as predictable as the '67 Riot. Just as fires cannot erupt in a vacuum, neither do riots. There were several pressures that led to the '43 riot. Again jobs and housing were two of the main flashpoints, but systemic racism was at the bottom of it all.

Dr. Ossian Sweet, movin' on up?
Not if the neighbours can help it.
One of the festering resentments in Detroit's ugly housing legacy goes back to the '20s, when Dr. Ossian Sweet found himself on trial for murder merely because he wanted to move to a better neighbourhood. Sweet purchased a house on Garland Avenue, on what would become my birthday, June 7, 1925. According to published reports, Sweet paid $6,000 over market-value to a White homeowner who knew how desperate Blacks were to find good housing. The trouble started when Sweet and his family tried to occupy the house in September. When a White mob formed for the second day in a row, it trapped Sweet, his wife Gladys, and nine other men recruited to help Sweet protect his Civil Rights. The mob threw rocks and shots were fired from an upstairs window; one of the mob was killed, another wounded. All 11 in the house were put on trial for murder, with Clarence Darrow defending. After a mistrial, there was an acquittal against Sweet and the prosecutors decided to dismiss all charges against the remaining defendants.

A sign near the Sojourner
Truth housing project.
Less than 20 years later Detroit housing would become another flashpoint, with Whites once again the instigators. When the Feds announced a housing projects for Detroit, on the edge of a traditional White neighbourhood, the local community assumed it was for their own kind. When  it was named the Sojourner Truth housing project, Whites protested. The government reversed its decision and decided this would be for Whites and it would find another location for a Black housing project, even tho' it would retain the Truth name. Then Detroit Mayor Edward Jeffries, Jr. got involved and the Feds reversed their decision again: This housing would be for the Black people of Detroit who desperately needed housing. On moving day Whites protested, turning away the first families. It was months before people would eventually move in.

Less than a year later, according to the WikiWackyWoo:
In early June 1943, three weeks before the riot, Packard Motor Car Company promoted three blacks to work next to whites in the assembly lines. This promotion caused 25,000 whites to walk off the job, effectively slowing down the critical war production. It was clear that whites didn't mind that blacks worked in the same plant but refused to work side-by-side with them. During the protest, a voice with a Southern accent shouted in the loudspeaker, "I’d rather see Hitler and Hirohito win than work next to a Nigger"*.[7]

The kindling was already there. Tempers were obviously at a boiling point and the muggy heat of a late June evening didn't help. According to PBS:
Belle Isle
Detroit riot began at a popular and integrated amusement park known as Belle Isle. On the muggy summer evening of June 20, 1943, the playground was ablaze with activity. Several incidents occurred that night including multiple fights between teenagers of both races. White teenagers were often aided by sailors who were stationed at the Naval Armory nearby. As people began leaving the island for home, major traffic jams and congestion at the ferry docks spurred more violence. On the bridge which led back to the mainland, a fight erupted between a total of 200 African Americans and white sailors. Soon, a crowd of 5,000 white residents gathered at the mainland entrance to the bridge ready to attack black vacationers wishing to cross. By midnight, a ragged and understaffed police force attempted to retain the situation, but the rioting had already spread too far into the city.

Man being dragged off a
Woodward Avenue streetcar
by an angry White mob.
Car burns on Woodward.
Two rumors circulated which exacerbated the conflict. At the Forest Club, a nightclub in Paradise Valley which catered to the black population, a man who identified himself as a police sergeant alerted the patrons that "whites" had thrown a black woman and her baby over the Belle Isle bridge. The enraged patrons fled the club to retaliate. They looted and destroyed white-owned stores and indiscriminately attacked anyone with white skin. Similarly, white mobs had been stirred up by a rumor that a black man had raped and murdered a white woman on the bridge. The white mob centered around the downtown Roxy Theater which harbored a number of black movie-goers. As the patrons exited the theater, they found themselves surrounded by gangs who attacked and beat them. As rumors about the incidents in Paradise Valley and the downtown area spread through the night, so did the nature and the extent of the violence. White mobs targeted streetcars transporting black laborers to work, forced the cars to come to a halt, and attacked the passengers inside. They also targeted any cars with black owners, turning them over and setting them on fire.

White mob overturns car in front of White Tower
By mid morning, black leaders in the community had asked Mayor Edward J. Jeffries to call in federal troops to quell the fighting. But it was not until late that evening, when white mobs invaded Paradise Valley, that Jeffries took the necessary steps to get outside help. Around midnight, a disturbing silence reigned over the city as a truce between the city's warring factions was kept by U.S. Army troops. More than 6,000 federal troops had been strategically stationed throughout the city. Detroit, under armed occupation, virtually shut down. The streets were deserted, the schools had been closed, and Governor Harry Francis Kelly had closed all places of public amusement. Most of the Paradise Valley community feared to leave their homes. Yet spurts of violence still flared up. As late as Wednesday, white mobs threatened black students leaving their graduation ceremony at Northeastern High School. The graduates had to be escorted home by truckloads of soldiers bearing bayonets.
An arrest by police
A victim
If you read between the lines, it seems pretty clear this is a White riot. While there may have been some skirmishes between isolated groups on Belle Isle, it wasn't until the [White] Navy got involved that things spun out of control. They were reacting to the rumour that a Black man did something-something to a White something-something.  Does it really matter what details were? That's the same excuse Whites always used when they went crazy and attacked Blacks. It was a "Get out of jail free" card for Whites for as long as anyone can remember. It was probably used as a knee-jerk excuse without any grounding in reality. The naval cadets attacked any Black leaving the small island over the only bridge and the riot escalated from there.

The chronology above is slightly off. The rumour that swept through the Black community came only AFTER the Whites were already rioting. It very well could have been true, based on what people were already seeing with their own eyes. Whites targeted any and all Blacks they could find, including innocent people who were just minding their own business. This was a White riot, with Black community defending itself and then retaliating. There's no other way to view the events in retrospect.

Black Past gives another perspective:
As the violence escalated, both blacks and whites engaged in violence.  Blacks dragged whites out of cars and looted white-owned stores in Paradise Valley while whites overturned and burned black-owned vehicles and attacked African Americans on streetcars along Woodward Avenue and other major streets.  The Detroit police did little in the rioting, often siding with the white rioters in the violence.

The violence ended only after President Franklin Roosevelt, at the request of Detroit Mayor Edward Jeffries, Jr., ordered 6,000 federal troops into the city.  Twenty-five blacks and nine whites were killed in the violence.  Of the 25 African Americans who died, 17 were killed by the police.  The police claimed that these shootings were justified since the victims were engaged in looting stores on Hastings Street.  Of the nine whites who died, none were killed by the police.  The city suffered an estimated $2 million in property damages.
An eyewitness to history:

Again, the WikiWackyWoo sums up: 
  • 34 people were killed, 25 of whom were African Americans in which 17 of them were killed by the police. 
  • Out of the approximately 600 injured, black people accounted for more than 75 percent and of the roughly 1,800 people who were arrested over the course of the 3 day riots, black people accounted for 85 percent.

Remember: It was War Time. Cartoonists feared the Japanese and the Nazis would use this incident to their propaganda advantage, with Jim Crow discrimination to blame. The mayor blamed Black hoodlums; Wayne County prosecutors blamed the NAACP for instigating. However, Detroit's Black community knew the truth and passed it along orally for the next 24 years until the next riot.

Ironically, the 1943 Riot was also one of the catalysts for the city's later decision to tear down Black Bottom and Paradise Valley for its so-called Urban Renewal. This was one of the direct pressures on the 12th Street area described in the section on the 1967 Riot above.

* as above, I refuse to soften the ugliest word in the English language.

Part Three - The 1863 Detroit Riot

Just as fires cannot erupt in a vacuum, neither do riots. The 1863 Detroit Riot -- dubbed at the time "the bloodiest day that ever dawned upon Detroit" -- has to be seen in context. It was during the Civil War, when Detroit was not yet a great city. Motown was little more than a small town, huddled along the river, which was also the international border to Canada. This is why Detroit was a terminus for so many escaped slaves traveling north on the famed Underground Railroad. This had created certain tensions within the separate Black and White communities of Detroit. Escaped slaves could be arrested and returned by bounty hunters. Some Free Blacks were arrested and sent south. Some Whites were sympathetic to the cause of abolition and others were not. Race was a big factor in the 1863 riot, as was the military draft. Many Whites didn't see this as their war and resented being forced to fight for a cause diametrically opposed to what they believed.

Was it all President Lincoln's fault?
In September of the previous year, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1st. The Proclamation had no practical effect on anyone --North or South. It merely freed the slaves in the southern states, already in rebellion. Those ten states had already refused to kowtow to Washington, having declared a Civil War in the first place, so it seemed unlikely they would do what Washington demanded. The Proclamation did not outlaw slavery, nor did it confer citizenship on 'Merkin Blacks. It did, however, stir up intense feelings on the part of racist Whites. So did the Detroit Free Press, which published incendiary articles about Blacks in the months prior to the March riot. According to Matthew Kundinger in his thoroughly researched Racial Rhetoric: The Detroit Free Press and Its Part in the Detroit Race Riot of 1863 [PDF]:

Once the articles are examined, it becomes clear that the Detroit Free Press was a racist paper, and it printed racist stories in the months preceding the riot. The paper was pushing a racial ideology, one that taught that blacks were inferior and a threat. I will show this by pointing to four types of stories the paper printed in the months before the war: stories that connected blacks to labor problems, blacks to citizenship issues, blacks to the war, and blacks to crime and a general degradation of the moral order. Within all of these categories the paper portrayed blacks as a threat. The readers of the Free Press were mostly lower class white laborers, a class with little power. Even absent the racial rhetoric, issues of labor, of voting, of war, and of crime—especially sexual transgressions such as rape—are at their core about power. By showing how African-Americans were a threat to whites when it came to these issues, the paper was suggesting that the already limited power of the white working class was at risk. Further, each of these categories represent a function that was vital to a man’s main role in life, being the head of his household. In essence, the articles of the Free Press were portraying a threat to its male readers’ power to fulfill their primary functions. The paper was showing a threat to their masculinity.
Copy of "A Thrilling Narrative..."
Oh, shit! Can't allow that to happen. Nothing is more fragile than the precious masculinity of the 'Merkin White Male, especially if threatened by Blacks. In that respect, the situation was not a lot different than it is today.

However, the Free Press didn't start the riot, no matter how incendiary were its articles. The riot started because somebody said a Black man did something-something to a White something-something. According to the contemporaneous document called A Thrilling Narrative From the Lips of the Sufferers of the Late Detroit Riot, March 6, 1863, with the Hair Breadth Escapes of Men, Women and Children, and Destruction of Colored Men's Property, Not Less Than $15,000 [Electronic Edition], one of the few eye-witness accounts remaining:
The Detroit Riot in 1863.
On the 6th of March an organized mob made their way from the jail down Beaubien street. They were yelling like demons, and crying "kill all the d--d niggers."* In the cooper shop, just below Lafayette street, were five men working, namely: ROBERT BENNETTE, JOSHUA BOYD, SOLOMON HOUSTON, LEWIS HOUSTON, MARCUS DALE. These men were busy at work in the shop until the mob made an attack upon the shop. The windows were soon broken and the doors forced open. The men in the cooper shop were determined to resist any that might attempt to come in. The mob discovered this, and did not attempt to come in, but stood off and threw stones and bricks into the windows, a perfect shower. There happened to be one old shot gun in the shop, a couple of discharges from which drove the mob back from the shop. The dwelling house was attached to the shop, in which were three women and four children, namely: Mrs. REYNOLDS, Mrs. BONN and one child, Mrs. DALE and three children.

Some ten minutes after the mob had fallen back from the shop, they made a rush upon the house in which were the women and children. The men in the shop seeing this, rushed out of the shop into the house to protect the women and children. The windows of the houses were soon all broken in; stones and bricks came into the house like hail. The women and children were dodging from one room to another to escape the stones. The men frequently stood before the women and children to shield them from the stones. Very soon after the men went from the shop into the house, the shop was set on fire by the mob. There were plenty of shavings in the shop, which facilitated the burning. The flames soon reached the house in which were the women and children. The mob by this time had completely surrounded the building. Mrs. Reynold attempted to go out at the back door but could not get out, for hundreds of stones were flying at that part of the building. Mr. Dale, in shielding his wife, got a blow in the face with a stone, which his wife might have gotten had he not stood before her. Some person outside was heard to say "the women will be protected--no protection for the men." Hearing this, Mr. Dale told the women to go out at the front door. Mrs. Dale seeing the blood running.
Anti-slavery newspaper of the time.
And it goes on for pages and pages of hard-to-read, heart-rending descriptions of Whites attacking any and all Blacks who are unable to flee. This includes women and children alike, and didn't spare the 80-year old pastor of the local A.M.E. Church. Essentially this riot, just like the 1943 Detroit Riot -- or the Tulsa riot I wrote about earlier -- was a White Riot. Whites went crazy and Blacks paid for it. A full reading of the two documents quoted above gives a much fuller story than can be given here, but you should take the time.

However, what was the legacy of the 1863 Detroit Riot? Wikipedia foolishly tried to sum it up with one prosaic sentence:

Detail from anti-slavery newspaper.

The riot resulted in the creation of a full-time police force for Detroit.
As I said above, Detroit was still not much more than a town and, in 1863, did not have police force. The riot itself had to be quelled by soldiers from Fort Wayne and some of the Michigan's 27th Infantry out of Ypsilanti. However, 35 burned buildings, 2 people dead and a "multitude of others, mostly African-American, mercilessly beaten" has a way of focusing the citizens on Law and Order. As a result of the 1863 Riot a full time police force was constituted. Written into the originating documents incorporating Detroit's 1st police force were the fateful words that guided Detroit ever since. Detroit's first officers were tasked with keeping the Blacks in line, because the 1863 came to be blamed on them. Some things never change.

Is it any wonder why I say riots are in Detroit's DNA, from 1863 to 1943 to 1967?

* as above, again, I refuse to soften the ugliest word in the English language.

I'll Take Game Shows Hosts For 200

Who began his career on a televised sock hop in Canada in 1963?

Need another clue?

It was called Music Hop.

Another clue? Are you brain dead? Okay. he hosted the following exciting CBC competition show:

What about if we give him a mustache?

Happy 72nd Birthday, Alex Trebek. You're a Canadian institution, on tee vee since 1963, longer than most.

And, a prank played on Alex Trebek: