Creepy

There was a resort in the north Georgia mountains my family used to go to when I was a kid. The resort eventually went bankrupt. My dad’s best friend was friends with the caretaker, so after the resort closed, my dad and his friend would sometimes slide the guy a couple hundred bucks to let us stay for a weekend.

It wasn’t too strange at first. It was the same old resort… just with my family and our family friends being the only people there. But as time went on, it got creepy: the golf course, once so carefully maintained, went to seed. The tennis courts started to crack, and weeds started poking up through them. The water in the swimming pool, once an inviting shade of blue, slowly turned a sickening green.

To my young self, the creepiest thing of all was the resort’s dining room. Like a failing restaurant, the resort shut down without warning, so that employees couldn’t make off with cases of Scotch and lobster. So the dining room sat – perfectly preserved, as if ready to serve dinner that night – for years. There were bread plates, water glasses, silverware, ash trays and cloth napkins, carefully fanned into peacock shapes, on every table. Silk flowers sat in vases frozen in time. The dining room bar remained perfectly stocked with whiskey, gin and vodka.

The (golf) pro shop was the same: perfectly still, with boxes of golf balls and sets of clubs sitting patiently on the shelf, awaiting purchase by people who would never come. And, by the cash register, a stack of scorecards and an acrylic box full of those tiny pencils – still carefully arranged vertically, point side down – as if the club pro had simply stepped away for a few minutes.

I was probably 3 or 4 when we started going there and maybe 6 or 7 when the club shut down. We went 4-5 times after that, when I was 8-10. And yes, I did walk around the resort by myself, pretending some disaster had happened, and I was trying to find a safe hide-out. Walking Dead-style. Still, I’ll never forget looking in that dining room. The doors were locked, of course, so I had to stand on my tip-toes to see inside through the wall of windows that faced the 18th green. And the windows got grimy with time, so even the ghostly dining room itself eventually faded from view.

HISTORY REPEATS: The Heist of the (14th) Century

Hi! I’m Jim! I have a website where I sometimes share quirky tales from history. Every Monday for the next four weeks, I’m going to share one of those stories to (re)acquaint you with my site in a feature I call HISTORY REPEATS.

Everyone loves a good heist film, right? Our final tale is about one of the most audacious robberies in history: when a man, seeking revenge and tipped off by a monk, robbed the King of England:

Dick Puddlecote was angry. And not your average “oh, I forgot to pick up the dry cleaning” angry, either. He was angry to the very core of his being. Trillions of cells made up Dick’s body, and every last one of them was furious with the King of England.

Check out this amazing true story!

The Heist of the (14th) Century

HISTORY REPEATS: The Charlotte History Field Trip

Hi! I’m Jim! I have a website where I sometimes share quirky tales from history. Every Monday for the next four weeks, I’m going to share one of those stories to (re)acquaint you with my site in a feature I call HISTORY REPEATS.

Our third tale comes from the time I took a field trip to an almost-forgotten Charlotte landmark that may have provided the inspiration for the city’s nickname:

Bags of oats and corn were loaded into British wagons, while livestock pens were emptied of pigs and goats. But then, the strangest thing happened: one of the British soldiers knocked over a giant beehive, and angry bees started swarming all over the troops. Confusion and chaos reigned. Thompson and his men had been waiting patiently for a good time to shoot, and this was it. They opened fire, killing one British officer instantly. The militiamen silently moved to new locations, reloaded, and opened fire again. This caused Captain Doyle to think they were under attack by a larger force, so he ordered a retreat.

Even if you’re not from Charlotte, you just might love this quirky tale, too! Check it out:

The Charlotte History Field Trip

Tonight’s the Night!

The series finale of The Americans airs tonight on FX.  It’s a little too late to start watching it now, but if you should find it on a streaming service, it’s absolutely worth your time. The Americans was simultaneously one of the best TV shows of the 21st century, yet also one of the most underrated  of all time.

The Americans

So… Goodbye to Philip and Elizabeth, and Paige and Stan… and poor Henry! It was a hell of a ride!

HISTORY REPEATS: The Berners Street Hoax

Hi! I’m Jim! I have a newly redesigned website where I sometimes share quirky tales from history. Every Monday for the next four weeks, I’m going to share one of those stories to (re)acquaint you with those tales in a feature I call HISTORY REPEATS.

Our second tale is about the Berners Street Hoax… quite possibly the greatest prank of all time:

Berners Street wasn’t very wide to begin with, and as word of the deliveries spread, onlookers appeared. The street was completely clogged with angry merchants, curious bystanders and police, who wanted to know why traffic had come to a complete stop on Oxford Street. As it happened, traffic had ground to a halt throughout much of London. But Hook had it all planned out. Like a symphony, this prank was approaching a crescendo.

It’s a hilarious story guaranteed to make your sides split! Check it out:

The Berners Street Hoax

HISTORY REPEATS: Timothy Dexter

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Hi! I’m Jim! I have a newly redesigned website where I sometimes share quirky tales from history. Every Monday for the next four weeks, I’m going to share a story from my site to (re)acquaint you with some of those tales in a feature I call HISTORY REPEATS.

I’ll kick this off with the amazing true story of Timothy Dexter, a Colonial American who, by all accounts, should be remembered as “the worst businessman in history”… except for his unbelievable string of good luck:

A group of high society types then told Dexter he could make money by shipping gloves to the South Sea Islands… and you can guess what happened next: Dexter’s ship of gloves arrived just as some Portuguese ships were about to leave on a trading mission to China. The Portuguese bought all the gloves, and once again Timothy Dexter, like some sort of 18th century Kozmo Kramer, fell backwards into money.

It’s an amazing tale! You should check it out:

Timothy Dexter: Informer of Deer

Quick Site Update

Hi Folks!

A quick update about a “bug” I found on the new site: if you want to embed a YouTube video in a WordPress post, all you have to do is paste the URL into it, like this:

Incidentally, I’m kind of obsessed with that song – if you have time, you should give it a listen!

It wasn’t always like this. Before WordPress supported this natively, a third-party plug-in was needed to embed videos. I used one called Smart Youtube PRO, which worked the same way, but you had to add a V before the http part of the link, like this:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgUfdhd9fzU

I haven’t reinstalled the plug-in yet, so for now every post from 2015 or earlier that has an embedded YouTube video is broken. I don’t know if I want to track down every single post on this site that has a video and convert each one to the “new” WP native format – that’d be a lot of work.  It would be much easier to simply reinstall the plug-in… but lots of those old posts contained music videos, many of which have since been deleted from YouTube. So I kinda need to go through those posts anyway, to see if I can find replacements for all the deleted videos. Or I could just leave the whole mess as it is.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

I’m Back!

Hi Folks!

My apologies if you tried accessing this site in the past week. There was some… unpleasantness between myself and my former host. So after 16 years I ditched them for a new one! But since my former host also has a separate registrar, I thought it best (not to mention cheaper) to move my domain to Namecheap. My former host (and registrar) held on to the domain name to the very last second before releasing it… which finally happened in the wee hours this morning. So now I’m back… “from outer space!”

I hope you like the new look! When moving the site, I was much more concerned about technical stuff. When all that went off without a hitch, I suddenly realized this was a semi-creative endeavor, too. So at worst I’d have to recreate the theme of the old site. Come to find out, I went with the Twenty Seventeen default instead. I’m easy like that. Expect a few tweaks in the next couple weeks, though.

ONE BIG CHANGE: Please update your RSS feeds if you’re one of the 7 people who actually get feeds from this site! Also, my old site was in a subdirectory (jimcofer.com/personal), while the new site is not. If you have trouble with the site, make sure it’s not going to the old address. UPDATE: I added a server-side redirect, so if autocomplete takes you to /personal, you’ll be 301’d to the new site.

Thanks!

Jim