The last Roman emperor:
Romulus Augustus (born perhaps around 460 – died after 476, possibly alive around 500), is sometimes considered the last Western Roman Emperor, reigning from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476. His deposition by Odoacer traditionally marks the end of the Western Roman Empire, the fall of ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Western Europe.
The historical record contains few details of Romulus’ life. He was installed as emperor by his father Orestes, the master of soldiers of the Roman army after deposing the previous emperor Julius Nepos. Romulus, little more than a child, acted as a figurehead for his father’s rule. Reigning for only ten months, Romulus was then deposed by the Germanic chieftain Odoacer and sent to live in the Castellum Lucullanum in Campania; afterwards he disappears from the historical record.
My oldest nephew rarely talks, but last night over the phone he delivered some genius:
I know what you should name your car Uncle Steven.
White ninja, because it’s so quiet.
That’s a good one. I really like that.
You know what else you could name it?
That’s…pretty awesome, actually.
* * *
You know what’s cool about you owning a Prius, Uncle Steve?
It means you’re not compensating for anything.
[seconds of total silence as I process what he just said]
I guess that’s true…
My dad should buy a truck! [laughs]
It’s decided. The car’s name is officially Vanilla Sweetness. I’m going to listen to so much Marvin Gaye in that beast. It needs an air freshener shaped like a crown.
I had this (entirely unresearched) idea two days ago that eating a high protein diet would speed my recovery, so I’ve spent yesterday and today gorging on meat and eggs. In that time my extensive bruising almost completely went away, the external swelling disappeared, the pain (which started on Monday) is now mild, and the wound itself went from gnarly and oozy to clean and healed shut. Now, I’m not going to say it was the 7 eggs, the power bar, the half rack of ribs, the 2 lbs of grilled chicken, the ham, and the can of peanuts, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.
The strange thing about Frasier is how blatantly homosexual so many of its characters are while being treated as straight, the most obvious being Niles. (And, in a strange twist, the two most hetero characters, Martin and Bulldog, are homosexuals in real life.) It’d be impossible to make now, 20 years later, with the social change in the west with regard to homosexuality. To me, a guy that remembers it during its original run but was a kid at the time, it scans as awkward and permeated with an unbelievable sexuality.
- 1975 saw a rash of reports of a prophetic nun vanishing from cars after hitching lifts near the Austrian-German border. On 13 April that year, after a 43-year-old businessman drove his car off the road in fright at the disappearance of his passenger, Austrian police threatened a fine equivalent to £200 (1975 value) to anyone reporting similar stories.
- In early 1977, nearly a dozen motorists in and around Milan reported giving lifts to another vanishing nun, who (prior to her unexpected disappearance) forewarned her benefactors of the impending destruction of Milan by earthquake on 27 February (this disaster did not happen) (La Stampa, 25 and 26 February, 1 March 1977; Dallas Morning News 25 February 1977).
- In 1979, near Little Rock, Arkansas, a ‘well-dressed and presentable young man’ was hitching lifts despite laws against such activity. When safely aboard, he would confide details of the forthcoming Second Coming of Christ to his startled host(s). After revealing his insights, he would vanish from the moving car. The ‘presentable young man’ continued his excursions for over a year. The last reported sighting took place on 6 July 1980, when the vanishing hitchhiker’s prophecy was apparently a bungled kind of meteorology. He assured his worried driver (and passengers, thus making this a multiple sighting) that it would ‘never rain again’ – before vanishing from the speeding car a moment or two later. A named Arkansas State Trooper – Robert Rotten – later confirmed to the press (Indiana Star, 26 July 1980) that they had logged two reports of this character’s behaviour, but were unofficially aware of many more.
- At around the same time as the above prophetic hitchhiker, a second itinerant soothsayer was vanishing from cars around Interstate 5, between Tacoma, Washington, and Eugene, Oregon. Described as a 50-60 year old woman, sometimes in a nun’s habit, the hitchhiker would discourse on God and Salvation before vanishing from the car’s cabin. Another witness had been warned to repent his (unspecified) sins, or die in a road accident. As 1980 progressed, this vanishing hitchhiker began to display a worrying interest inMount St. Helens. She took to warning motorists that the eruption of that volcano in May 1980 signified God’s warning to the Northwest and that those who did not return to the fold could expect to perish volcanically in the very near future (18 May, to be precise). Tacoma police logged twenty calls from motorists who had met this sinister individual. Latterly, the woman took on a new guise (or perhaps a new vanishing hitchhiker with similar preoccupations assumed her duties) and the roads were again busy with whispered intimations of pending disaster (this time, set for 12 October). The Midnight Globe (5 August 1980) quotes two police officers who had dealt with shocked motorists and one motorist who claimed to have met the vanishing woman or women.
Mel found an infinitely deep hole full of water that can bring pets back to life (or so he said, and who would lie about something like that?):
Mel’s Hole is a supposed geographic anomaly discovered by Mel Waters on his land near Ellensburg, Washington. Waters claimed that he lived in or near Manastash Ridge, Washington, about nine miles due west of Ellensburg, though later investigation revealed that no such person was listed as a resident. According to Waters, the hole has paranormal properties, including a possibly infinite depth and the ability to restore dead animals to life.
But who cares about Mel’s Hole when you could visit some crybaby bridges?
Crybaby Bridge is a nickname given to some bridges in the United States. The name often reflects an urban legend that the sound of a baby can be, or has been, heard from the bridge. Many are also accompanied by an urban legend of a baby or young child/children being killed nearby, or thrown from the bridge into the river or creek below.