The Original Fake News

A Reporter’s Goof Made Americans Party Like Crazy

Holy Cow

Roy-NY JournalWe’re hearing much these days about fake news. Don’t worry – I’m not touching that discussion with the proverbial 10-foot pole.

But fake news isn’t new. A century ago one incident of it drove America into a frenzied celebration. The problem was, it wasn’t factual. Here’s how it happened. Continue reading

5 Fun President Day Facts

FORGOTTEN TRIVIA FROM FIVE CHIEF EXECUTIVES
Holy Cow

RushmoreHappy Presidents’ Day. Or President’s Day. Or Washington’s & Lincoln’s Birthday. Take your pick. This holiday is known by all those names, depending on your state.

Officially, Uncle Sam calls it Washington’s Birthday (according to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968) with its observance mandated for the third Monday in February. But Washington’s actual birthday is February 22, which never falls on the third Monday. Since it’s ridiculous to celebrate George’s birthday before the fact, and since Nancy Lincoln conveniently delivered Abraham on February 12, Americans gloss over this minor inconsistency by splitting the difference and saying the holiday celebrates all presidents. (Much the same way your parents told you, “Every day is Children’s Day.”) Continue reading

Lulu’s Lost Legacy

FORGOTTEN QUEEN OF THE WILD WEST SHOWS

Holy Cow

Lulu-Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show posterIt was a simple idea: if Americans couldn’t travel to see the West for themselves, the West would come to them.

So for 30 years from 1883 to 1913, the region was celebrated in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. It combined the breathtaking spectacles of a circus with a Smithsonian-level dedication to preserving the West’s unique legacy. My Grandfather Powell told me about seeing Buffalo Bill and his show as a boy in 1910.

Lulu-girl rider posterImitation, they say, is the most sincere form of flattery. And Buffalo Bill’s show had many imitators. Some very good, like Pawnee Bill’s West West. And many that were not so good.

With that entertainment form largely forgotten today, it’s no surprise that people also forgot the important role women played in those shows. Continue reading

Abraham Lincoln II

THE GRANDSON THE PRESIDENT NEVER MET

Holy Cow

Jack-LincolnIf you’ve ever held a penny, memorized the Gettysburg Address in school or visited that big marble memorial in Washington, you’ve heard of Abraham Lincoln.

But you’ve probably never heard of Abraham Lincoln II. Since we honor our presidents in February, this is the perfect time to introduce you to the grandson Abe Lincoln never met. Continue reading

The Strange Afterlife of Elmer McCurdy

FROM BUMBLING CRIMINAL TO TRAVELING CORPSE

Holy Cow

Elmer-faceSometimes bizarre things happen to bizarre people.

Our subject spent 31 years in failure until blundering to his bloody demise. Yet it took a hit TV show to eventually bring him to his eternal rest an incredible 66 years later.

This is the story of the strange afterlife of Elmer McCurdy. Continue reading

Our First Foreign-Born First Lady

WHY A PRESIDENT TRIED TO KEEP THEM FROM MARRYING

Holy Cow

MelaniaWith a new presidency underway, Americans are getting acquainted with a new first family.

That includes first lady Melania Trump, the former model who was born and raised in the former Yugoslavia (now Slovenia).

Believe it or not, she isn’t America’s first foreign-born first lady. Another woman claimed that distinction 192 years earlier.

This is her story. Continue reading

When the Orphan Train Came to Town

LOVE ROLLED IN ON STEEL RAILS

Holy Cow

Trains with KidsAmerica grew because of westward migration. We all know the stories of hardy pioneers loading covered wagons and heading west.

Yet for 75 years a much different type of westward movement relocated nearly half a million people in new homes far away.

This is the story of the Orphan Trains. Continue reading

The Baby Bump That Wasn’t

THE MADE-UP PREGNANCY THAT CAUSED REAL HEADACHES FOR BRITAIN’S QUEEN

Holy Cow

Baby bumpAn out of wedlock pregnancy …

Palace intrigue and backstabbing …

A headstrong monarch scorched by public fury …

Sounds like business as usual at Buckingham Palace, doesn’t it?

But you won’t find this story in Fleet Street tabloids. It happened 178 years ago, it ruined an innocent woman’s good name, and it taught a young royal a lesson she never forgot. Here’s how it all went down. Continue reading

The President’s Cow Is Missing!

HOW A BELOVED FIRST FAMILY PET ALMOST BECAME HAMBURGER

Holy Cow

cow-and-eobFor two years in the early 20th Century, the Washington press corps was fascinated by a White House resident. They hung on every development, reported every coming and going and even vied for exclusive interviews.

It wasn’t the president, nor the first lady or even one of their children. It was a 1,500 pound member of the president’s extended family who stole America’s heart.

She was Pauline Wayne, a Holstein cow who captured the media’s fancy in a way no other presidential animal has before or since. Yet at the height of her fame, she came dangerously close to an unplanned trip to the slaughterhouse. Here’s how it happened. Continue reading

Sgt. Stubby, Canine Combat Hero

The Lovable Mutt That Made America Proud

Holy Cow

good-openHeroes come in many varieties. There are Super Heroes, everyday heroes, unlikely heroes and yes, even four-legged heroes. This story is from the latter category.

A while back, I told you the tale of the real-life pooch who popularized the famous saying “a dog is man’s best friend.” (Click here to read it.) Turns out a dog is a good comrade to have at your side in the thick of battle, too. Continue reading