The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Most Americans are familiar with the story of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin”, a fairy tale included in thousands of children’s storybooks. For those of you that have never heard the tale, or, if you’re a bit rusty on the details, the story goes like this:

In 1284, the town of Hamelin, Germany had a massive rat infestation. A stranger appeared in town, offering to get rid of the rats for a fee. The townsfolk agreed, and the man whipped out a pipe (the musical kind) and started playing a tune. The rats all heard the music and started following the piper, who then walked into the Weser River, causing all the rats to drown. For some reason, the townspeople then refused to “pay the piper” as it were, and the man vowed to get his revenge on the people of Hamelin. He came back a few weeks later and, when all the townsfolk were in church, the man piped a tune and lured 130 of the town’s children to a nearby cave, where they were never heard from again.

Like any folktale, there are several versions of the story. In many versions, only two of the town’s children survive – a crippled boy who couldn’t keep up with the others, and a deaf child who never heard the piper’s tune. In other versions of the story, the children are led to the Weser and drowned just like the rats. In still other versions, the piper takes the children to a cave and holds them hostage until the town either a) pays him the fee he was promised; or b) gives him a huge amount of gold as ransom.

But what you probably don’t know about the Pied Piper story is that most historians believe that it’s based on actual events!

Around the year 1300, the citizens of Hamelin installed a stained glass window in their local church depicting a piper leading the town’s children away (the “rat infestation” wasn’t added to the story until the 1560s). At the time, stained glass windows in churches were often dedicated to local tragedies; more “whimsical” use of stained glass (such as in the Shakespeare Memorial in London’s Southwark Cathedral) would come much later. Sadly, although there are several contemporary written accounts of the window, we don’t know what it actually looked like, as it was destroyed in 1660. Additionally, surviving town records indicate that there was, in fact, some such “tragedy” in the town in June of 1284.

Continue reading “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”

R.I.P. Erby Walker

Why doesn’t anyone tell me these things?

Erby Walker, a longtime employee of The Varsity restaurant and an Atlanta icon, passed away on June 23rd, 2008. Walker died at Grady Memorial Hospital from cardiac arrest. He was 70.

Walker was a full-time employee of The Varsity from 1955 to 2003. He then claimed to be “bored” in his retirement, so he went back to work at the restaurant 2-3 days a week. Although Walker didn’t invent the restaurant’s “What’ll ya have?” slogan, he made it his trademark and permanently cemented it into Atlanta’s consciousness.

I almost feel like I “knew” Mr. Walker my entire life. I remember my Dad taking me to The Varsity on Saturdays as a little kid, either before a Georgia Tech game, or when I’d go “work” at my Dad’s store*. I remember Mr. Walker being there. In fact, I even remember being scared of him, because he was so loud and intimidating. And he was always there.

When I got my own car at 16, I’d often get bored after school and take a carload of friends to The Varsity. Or go there on field trips. Or, let’s be honest: skip outta school on a lark to go to the High Museum and to The Varsity for lunch. Or maybe go there on a second or third date: hey, as a cash-strapped teenage boy in 1986 Duluth, GA, a trip to The Varsity was a lot more exotic than going to the movies. By then I realized that Mr. Walker wasn’t “mean”, he was just trying to serve 50,000 meals a day… and that took the skill and guts of a drill sergeant. And Mr. Walker was still there.

Throughout my 20s, I’d still eat at The Varsity on a semi-regular basis. I was downtown quite often, and would sometimes duck in for a quick snack. And Mr. Walker was still there.

By my 30s, I’d really cut back on going to The Varsity. I was living on the north side of town, and rarely went in to the city just to buy records or go to thrift stores. Most of my friends were “too adult” to want to meet up at The Varsity before the few concerts we went to see in those days, so we’d go to Noodle or some place in Decatur instead. In fact, it seems like the only times I went downtown in my 30s were to eat (at fancy restaurants) or to go to nightclubs (after The Varsity had closed for the evening). But I’d still go to The V a few times a year… and when I went, Mr. Walker was usually there.

In 2003 I moved to Charlotte. In a fit of homesickness, I went and bought a Varsity t-shirt from their website, and would often wear it out. I’d usually get at least one or two “hey – The Varsity! That’s cool!” comments. And when I go back to town, I still wanna hit up The Varsity…but now Mr. Walker won’t be there.

Damn, that’s sad. First Horace from Moes and Joes, then Skinny Bobby Harper, and now Mr. Walker. Atlanta’s losing its icons. Read the AJC story here.

Rest in peace, Erby!

Erby Walker

* – I say “work” because I was 5-10 years old at the time. My dad had a warehouse. I don’t know how much real “physical labor” I did back then, but it probably wasn’t much. If you think I’m a weakling now, you shoulda seen me at 5 years old!

Friday News Roundup

Sigh… the world really *is* going to hell, isn’t it?

In a brief filed by the MPAA in the Jammie Thomas file-sharing trial, the motion picture industry’s trade group said that “[i]ntellectual-property holders should have the right to collect up to $150,000 per violation without having to actually prove copyright infringement” (emphasis mine). In other words, the MPAA thinks that they should be able to sue me for $150,000, without having a single shred of proof that I’ve done anything illegal. What I want to know is… why aren’t more people up in arms about this? Of course, many people don’t download movies off the Internet, and many people only download a movies once or twice a year and don’t consider themselves “true pirates”. But come on people – this affects you too! Do you have teenagers? It’s entirely possible that they’re downloading movies and you don’t even know it. And it’s entirely possible that MediaSentry (or some other investigative company) could get your IP address by accident… what then? This scheme smacks of extortion on a massive basis… and no one seems to care.

The UK continues its slide towards Oceania with this story from The Telegraph. Apparently the UK’s National Children’s Bureau, a charity which receives almost £12 million a year from the British government, has released a guide which states that employees should be on the lookout for “racist behavior” in children. According to the guide, this includes children as young as three turning their noses up to curry and other exotic dishes. So if you have a three year-old boy in a British day care center, he is apparently a dirty racist if he says “yuk!” to Tikki Masala. Incredibly, the guide even says that babies should be monitored for racist behavior! Why, Britain, why? I swear, for a country that once ruled 25% of the entire world, you guys sure have lacked balls in the past 40 years!

Rejoice, Charlotteans! Our local monopoly airline – US Airways – announced this week that they will stop showing movies on domestic flights. This will lighten up each airplane by 500 pounds and will save an estimated $10 million a year in fuel. The airline says that no one watches movies on flights any more (thanks to portable DVD players and handheld video devices) and that the few that do watch the films usually bring their own headphones these days (which cuts off the $5 per headset fee the airline used to get). Good Lord, people! What’s next? Will US Air put in pay toilets? Will they charge a $15 “seatbelt rental fee”? You know, Lisa and I normally prefer taking “more, smaller” vacations a year to nearby places like Charleston or Isle of Palms. We think it’s nicer to go to the beach 2-3 times a year instead of saving up for one big (expensive) vacation. But news like this isn’t helping. We could go to New York City or Chicago, but to do that, we’d have to fly. And crap like this makes Charleston and Isle of Palms look better and better!

And, in the last bit of “bad business” news… Charter Cable ran a “World’s Greatest Dad” contest on their website, where children submitted stories about why their dad was the best dad in the world. Mike Lewis’ daughter submitted the winning entry, and the family was supposed to win a 65-inch TV. As Charter marketing wizard Jeff Hatcher began to to process the Lewis’ W-9 (the form the Lewis family needs for taxes), he noticed that  65″ TV was “too expensive for his marketing budget”. So he sent the family a 19-inch TV instead. Classy!

I bet you didn’t know this, but Microsoft still sells Windows 3.11! Or at least they will… until November 1, 2008. Although consumers have long since moved on to Windows 9x or XP\Vista, Windows 3.11 was still incredibly popular with the “embedded devices” crowd. “Embedded devices” are computers that perform specific tasks, like ATMs, cash registers and information kiosks. Although most of the embedded devices average consumers use have been running Windows XP or Windows CE for ages, there are millions of embedded devices running Windows 3.11 in businesses all over the country. There is a Charlotte business that I know that uses a Windows 3.11 machine to control a sheet metal cutter, for example.

Thursday is “70s Food Night”

Is anyone else out there watching Swingtown?

The show is about Bruce Miller (played by Coupling’s Jack Davenport), a Chicago-based commodities trader. After a big score on the market, Bruce decides to buy a much larger home on the other side of their Chicago suburb.

Much of the show’s conflict comes via their neighbors. Bruce’s wife Susan (Molly Parker) just adores their old neighbors, Roger and Janet Thompson (Josh Hopkins and Miriam Shor), who are more “uptight” and “white bread” than Ward and June Cleaver. However, both Bruce and Susan are intrigued by their new neighbors, airline pilot Tom Decker (Grant Show from Melrose Place) and his wife Trina (Lana Parrilla). You see, Tom and Trina are swingers. They also drink, smoke weed, pop pills and, in general, follow the whole 1970s “whatever’s groovy” school of thought. As you might guess, all kinds of bad (and uncomfortable) things happen when Bruce and Susan try to keep Roger and Janet as friends, yet also explore Tom and Trina’s kinky new world. Janet might not be as uptight as you think, Trina might not be the decadent hussy everyone assumes her to be, and Susan might be a hardcore feminist trapped in a housewife’s body!

Swingtown comes on CBS at 10pm on Thursday nights.

The cast of "Swingtown"

So anyway, A couple of weeks ago, by sheer serendipity, I ate a hearty dinner of Swedish meatballs and egg noodles just a couple of hours before Swingtown came on. In fact, I didn’t even think about the coincidence – eating a classic 70s dish and watching a show about the 70s – until about halfway through that evening’s episode, when one of the charaters was making dinner. But then it just clicked:

Thursday is now “70s Food Night” at the homestead!

Tonight I’m having a 70s classic: steak with blue cheese (Stilton, in this case) melted on top, with blue cheese macaroni and cheese. Next week, I think I’ll have Shake and Bake porkchops. Maybe I’ll even bust out the fondue set for the season finale!

So – what about you? What are your favorite 70s dishes?

Do you have any suggestions for my 70s Food Night?

Did you ever have “food night” for a TV show at your house? Maybe a slice of cheery pie and a cup of coffee before Twin Peaks?

Or maybe have “Dinner and a Movie Night” with cuisine to match the movie?

Or did you just have some tradition with TV and food, like how Lisa and I always used to get Chinese takeout for 24?

Talk to me, people!

FOR THE TRIVIA BUFFS: “Susan” is not only the name of Jack Davenport’s wife in Swingtown, it was also the name of Jack’s one true love in Coupling.

Patti LaBelle’s Mac and Cheese

Enjoy a twofer today: two recipes for macaroni and cheese!

Now this is my all-time favorite macaroni and cheese recipe… and with good reason! It costs like… $25 to make this dish from scratch, but Good Lord… is it worth it! The recipe is available all over the Internet and is usually attributed to singer Patti LaBelle. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I don’t care… It’s just good!


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Muenster cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup (8 ounces) Velveeta, cut into small cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 2-quart casserole dish (deep)
1 large pot
1 large saucepan
1 large bowl
1 colander or strainer
Cooking spray or butter

1) Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly butter or spray a deep 2 1/2-quart casserole.

2) Bring the large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the oil, then the elbow macaroni, and cook until the macaroni is just tender, about 7 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain well. Return to the cooking pot.

3) In a small saucepan, melt eight tablespoons of the butter. Stir into the macaroni.

4) In a large bowl, mix the Muenster, mild and sharp Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses.

5) To the macaroni, add the half-and-half, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese mixture, the cubed Velveeta and the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the buttered casserole.

6) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2-cup of shredded cheese and dot with the remaining one tablespoon of butter.

7) Bake until it’s bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes.

Mac & Blue Cheese

Enjoy a twofer today: two recipes for macaroni and cheese!

Mac and Blue Cheese

This isn’t my favorite mac and cheese recipe, but it’s a close second. It uses blue cheese (along with sharp cheddar) to give the mac and cheese a complex, “adult” flavor.

It’s best to not skimp on the ingredients when making this dish. Since it’s designed to appeal to adult tastes, this mac and cheese would taste heavenly with crumbled Stilton and a fine sharp English cheddar. The packs of “regular” shredded cheddar and tubs of blue cheese in your grocer’s dairy counter will work OK… but the dish will not be nearly as good!




1 pound elbow macaroni
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided
2 cups blue cheese, crumbled


1 large skillet
1 large pot
1 13×9″ pan
1 colander or strainer
Cooking spray or butter

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 baking pan using cooking spray (or butter if you really want to be naughty!)

2) Cook the macaroni per package directions. For best results, try to undercook the pasta just a wee bit, so that it’s still very much al dente. Drain and leave in strainer until the sauce is ready.

3) Melt the butter in the large skillet over medium heat. When almost completely melted, add the flour. Stir constantly to let the roux cook for several minutes (until the roux almost starts bubbling and no longer tastes like flour.

4) Gradually whisk in the milk and cream, and simmer until mixture thickens, whisking constantly.

5) Reduce heat to low and slowly add the 2 1/2 cups of grated cheddar and crumbled blue cheese. Whisk until cheese melts, about 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

6) Add cooked pasta to sauce and mix well.

7) Transfer mixture to prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining cheddar.

8) Bake until golden brown on top and bubbling, around 25 minutes.

Celebrity Breasts (Again!)

A longtime reader of the site wrote me recently, taking me to task for posting a Top 10 Celebrity Breasts list and not including pics.

You see, I met this guy through the Ars Technica forums, and worked with him in meatspace for about a year. And so… the Ars forums have a long history of people demanding pictures in certain threads. People that started any thread worthy of pics – be it a “Hurricane Grace just leveled my house!” or a “My GF just got a nipple piercing!” thread – certain posts demanded pictures, and people that posted incredible stories without pictures were taunted.

So, over time, Ars became known as a place where people had picture-taking bravado, as people (afraid of being taunted) began posting the most incredible pictures: people dangling off buildings… people with deadly Australian spiders in their bedrooms… the bomb squad working feverishly next door… the aftermath of fantastic car crashes and fires… everyone started reaching for their cameras first thing just “for Ars” instead of doing something… sensible like getting the hell outta there or calling the police.

And so, paying my debt as a true Arsian… I give you the pictures! Remember: I only used the top 10 girls from the InTouch poll – I just put them in my own order.

Click any pic for a high-res version:

cbreasts_01_scarlett_johansson 1. Scarlett Johansson – Ahhhhhh, Scarlett! Your firm, 23 year-old breasts… your blonde hair… your deep green eyes… your strange opinions on polyamory and apparent conversion to Neotrantra… it all just makes old men like me weep.
cbreasts_02_katherine_heigl 2. Katherine Heigl – “I know, right? Where has she been hiding those things?”
cbreasts_03_jessica_simpson 3. Jessica Simpson – Yep… the poor thing is as dumb as a box of rocks. And she’s dating the freakin’ quarterback of my hated rival: the Dallas Cowboys. But hey – did you see her in the Real Girls Eat Meat shirt? Man, that’s hot! Even better: she wore it as a swipe at Romo’s ex-gf Carrie Underwood, herself twice voted “sexiest vegetarian” from PETA. Grrrrrrrrr!
cbreasts_04_lindsay_lohan 4. Lindsay Lohan – There’s just something nasty about Linday Lohan’s boobies. And I mean that in the best way. Too bad for us, though: seems like ‘LaLohan’ (uuugh!) is playing for the other team these days.
cbreasts_05_megan_fox 5. Megan Fox – Actually, I don’t think Megan Fox has nice boobies. But the rest of her? It’s like “Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor… DAMN!” time, ya know?
cbreasts_06_beyonce 6. Beyoncé Knowles – Ya know, I secretly think that Kim Kardashian is hot (yes, really)… but Beyoncé’s booty is just plain ridiculous.
cbreasts_07_audrina_patridge 7. Audrina Patridge – Someone from The Hills or something, I dunno. I’m getting old and losing my pop culture compass. Or perhaps my compass is just much more refined these days. You pick.
cbreasts_08_tyra_banks 8. Tyra Banks – You know, Tyra Banks is crazy. And you know what Jim Cofer’s First Rule of Life is? “Don’t stick it in the crazy”. Sure… she looks good. But just wait until you start getting 120 text messages and 19 phone calls a day from this incredibly hot (yet completely crazy) woman.
cbreasts_09_jennifer_aniston 9. Jennifer Aniston – Really? Jennifer Aniston? I can see where some might find her attractive and everything… but come on. This woman lost a call-waiting face off against Angelina Jolie, and lost badly. She’s just a loser. And she’s not aging very well, either.
cbreasts_10_carmen_electra 10. Carmen Electra – Carmen Electra is a tired old bag. When I think of Carmen Electra, I think of two things: Dennis Rodman naked and\or sleeping with everyone in a bus station. Either one makes me shudder.

Tech’s “New” Uniforms

It’s common for a new college football coach to change his team’s uniforms in his first season. I suppose that it’s a visual reminder of the coach’s new regime or something.

In any case, Paul Johnson took over as head coach at Georgia Tech after least season, and the school announced that the team would be going back to their “classic white” uniforms (interesting side note: NCAA rules state that home teams must wear dark colors; exceptions to that rule were made for LSU and Georgia Tech, two teams that have historically worn white at home).

The Atlanta Journal’s website started this poll to see which “historical uniforms” Tech fans liked best. Here’s my take on them:

GT Traditional Unis #1 – TRADITIONAL UNIFORM: Georgia Tech’s traditional white uniform. I’ve known this uniform my entire life, and I love it. The purists will argue that this is Tech’s only uniform, while uniform junkies dislike a team having just one uniform for both home and away games. I like this, and am glad that Tech’s going with this full-time.
GT Throwback Unis #2 – THROWBACK UNIFORM: This is the Tech uniform of the 50s and 60s. I’m a complete sucker for the white helmet, and I think the team should wear it full-time. I also like the “mustard gold” of the throwback jersey; although it might seem jarring at first, I think the shade is more “manly” than the “new gold” jerseys the team wore last year. What I’d like to see is the throwback pants and helmets used with the traditional white jersey. THAT would be sweet!
GT Navy Unis #3 – REMEMBER SHAWN JONES? These uniforms remind me of Tech’s “glory year” (1990) and all the hype that went with it: the national championship, Shawn Jones, and the ability to beat UGA on a regular basis. Traditionalists (like my Dad) hated these uniforms (“there’s no navy in Tech’s colors!”) but to me, these unis bring back thoughts of the “good old days”. I can see the navy being HOT during games early in the year.
GT Recent Gold Unis #4 – SO LAST YEAR: These are the uniforms that Tech wore in 2007. I don’t like the shade of gold they use for this jersey, and I absolutely hate the font used for player names on the back. I’m glad these are gone.
GT 80s Unis #5 – EVEN FOOTBALL UNIFORMS WERE BAD IN THE 80s: Wow – this uniform is… something. Personally, I think the navy shirt with gold pants is just a bit too much. Looking back on it now, these unis aren’t THAT bad (hey, look at Oregon’s uniforms) but still… I’m more of a minimalist with my uniforms. The Steelers haven’t changed their unis in what… 40+ years?

God Bless America

You know, it’s easy to be “down” on America at the moment. What, between George W. Bush, the “war” in Iraq and a shitty economy, it’s easy to think of America as “just another country” in the world.

But 232 years ago, a group of men gathered in Philadelphia and told the most powerful king the the world the fuck off and leave us alone. That king said “no, you will bend to my will”. Those men, in turn, said “bring it”, and offered their lives, their fortune, and their sacred honor as a sacrifice.

Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

God Bless America: Hot Dogs!

Joey Chestnut defeated Takeru Kobayashi in a rare “overtime victory” in the 2008 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest today. In fact, this was the first ever overtime for the contest! Both Chestnut and Kobayashi had eaten 59 hot dogs by the end of the 10 minute “regulation time”. A “sudden death” was then declared, where each contestant was given 5 hot dogs to eat in the shortest amount of time. Chestnut, of San Jose, California, squeaked by the former 6-time champion to retain the crown for the United States.