HistoryBuff.com September 2008 Newsletter
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I Wish I Had Thought of That!

Although I do not approve of drug abuse, I love this one! Throughout the late 1960s and middle 1970s, there was a magazine on the newsstand by the name of High Times. As the era and title suggests, the content was about drug use. An example article was "How to Grow Marijuana." The magazine also had a classified ad section. Early on, one classified ad read as follows: "For Sale: Mexican pot. $2 per ounce…" then when on with name, address, etc. Months later, through mainstream newspapers, I learned more about the ad results. 100,000 orders poured in with many sending money for several ounces each. Yes, the classified ad was investigated by several government agencies and found to be harmless. Harmless??? You see, the gentleman that placed the classified ad, lived in San Diego and made almost daily trips to Tijuana, Mexico, a short drive. Each time he brought back with him fifty pounds or more of Mexican pots. Customs let him through each time. You see, he was selling ceramic pots made in Mexico. Although this was a deceptive ad, government officials ruled that he could keep the money and did not face any charges. (Would you believe, there were actually dissatisfied customers that contacted their attorney general to complain that they did not receive marijuana!!!) A successful drug or alcohol detox program is the Recovery Helpline.

Picture this, you are 19 years old and go to a local bank for a loan to buy a car. Since you have no credit history, your father needs to be a cosigner to get the loan. Your father signs the loan document. You then receive in the mail your payment coupon book. When it is due, you tear off one of the coupons and mail it in with your payment. Shortly thereafter, you receive a letter from the bank thanking you for paying off your loan and letting you know you can obtain another loan WITHOUT a cosigner. You take them up on the offer. In fact, over the next six months, you get five loans, make one payment for each loan, then get letters from the bank thanking you for paying off your loan and offering another loan. In turn, you literally go into the used car business. You end up paying only $50 or so per car and sell them at $1,000 each!

As a matter of routine, your bank does a routine audit and discovered thousands of dollars unaccounted for. Checking deeper, CPA’s discover where the problem is. It all traces back to you! You borrowed $900, made one payment of $52 and somehow the loan got marked as paid off within the bank's computer. Since it was the 1960s and computer hackers literally did not exist then, bank officials are stumped. They call you in for an interview. They lay it all out for you and tell you that they are willing to drop all charges and let you keep the money IF you tell them how you did it. How did you do it? When the time for the first payment comes, you tear off the LAST coupon and mail in the payment. You see, at the time, banks were just beginning to use magnetic ink and readers on their checks and payment coupons. The last coupon also included magnetic ink instructions to mark the loan as paid off in the computer and send a thank you letter. As a result of knowing this, the last coupon no longer has the added instructions for the computer. Instead, the computer counts payments made and when the total number of payments reaches the total number for the loan, THEN the computer marks the loan paid and sends out a thank you letter!

Overheard at National Landmarks

While shooting panoramas of President Dwight Eisenhower's farm home in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a park ranger related this story to me:

Because the bathrooms are so small in the Eisenhower home, instead of letting tourists actually enter them, the original doors have been replaced with glass doors. That way the tourists can still see inside. One time, a teenage son asked his father why the bathrooms had glass doors. The father, not knowing any better, told his son that was because Eisenhower was president and the secret service had to be able to keep him in view at all times. With that, the son told his dad that he no longer wanted to become President of the United States!

HistoryBuff.com Updates There has been lots going on with HistoryBuff.com in the past month.

Newsletter Archives Now Online Over the past few months several people have emailed me requesting if they could obtain copies of past issues of this newsletter. I dug through my archives and found most of the past issues intact and ready to go. A few issues I no longer have a copy of. I have now uploaded what I have and created a link to them. The link is http://www.historyreference.org/newsletter/index.html. Enjoy reading them.

Donations As many of you recall, several months ago I changed the email address for my site due to receiving in excess of 500 SPAM emails on a daily basis. Although I took steps to make it so that no where on the site the "bots" would be able to find it. Despite those measures, I am now up to about 50 SPAM emails per day. However, I will keep the newer email address (current one) until the SPAM emails get too far out of hand again.

When I changed my email address, I also added the new one to the HistoryBuff.com PayPal account and deleted the old one from the account. PayPal automatically sends me an email when each person makes a donation. However, after about 3 months with no donations, I checked my PayPal account and saw that, in fact, several people had made donations but I wasn't notified. It took over 2 hours on the telephone with PayPal customer service to finally get it straightened out. It actually took my insisting that I speak with a supervisor before the problem was remedied. Those that made donations in the past few months were: Barbara Johns, Susan Freedman-Varbero, Morris Brill, Paula Stephen, and Daniel Hunt. Many thanks for your donations. It is always appreciated.

Additonal Panoramas Now OnlineOver the summer I had the opportunity to shoot several more panoramas of historic sites. The ones online now are: Surratt Tavern that played a role in the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865, Appomattox Court House National Park in Virginia. This is where the surrender papers were signed by General Grant and Lee to end the Civil War.

July Contest

CONTEST ONE QUESTION: Who was the only first lady (wife of president) that was born in a foreign country?

ANSWER: The wife of John Quincy Adams. Louisa was born in England

CONTEST TWO QUESTION: What song was recognized as the unofficial anthem of the Confederate States of America?

ANSWER: There were three acceptable answers: Dixie, The Bonnie Blue Flag, God Save the South.

Eighty-five people entered. Twenty-one people had errors in their entry: Not selecting a prize; Selecting a prize from the Contest One entry, but answered the Contest Two question; or incorrect subject heading. One prize went unclaimed.
The July Contest Winners Were:
  • Cindy Obermier - Illinois
  • Layne Chartrand - Missouri
  • Robert K. Broder - New York
  • Bruce Bernstein - Maryland
  • Mike Madej - New York
  • Lin Hill - Virginia
  • Joe Roll - Michigan

This Issue's Questions:

To enter Contest One, answer the question: Three United States Presidents died on July 4th. Who were they?

To enter Contest Two, answer the question: Who was Abraham Lincoln's FIRST Vice-President?


Contest Rules

  • Contest entry deadline is Tuesday, August 19, 2008. Later entries will be disqualified. Winners will be notified by email within 24 hours after the contest deadline. Winners' names and states will be published in the next issue of the HistoryBuff.com newsletter.

  • To enter Contest One or Contest Two, email your answer to curator at historyreference.org

  • To enter Contest One, use "Contest One Entry" for the emailed contest entry subject heading. Any other subject heading will be disqualified.

  • To enter Contest Two, use "Contest Two Entry" for the emailed contest entry subject heading. Any other subject heading will be disqualified.

  • Subscribers may enter both contests, but only win one prize.

  • If entering both contests, entries must be sent in separate emails.

  • You MUST select ONE prize from the list.

  • If answering the Contest One question, select your prize from the Contest One prize list.

  • If answering the Contest Two question, select your prize from the Contest Two prize list.

  • From subscribers entering the contest, submitting the correct answer, correct subject heading, submission received by the deadline, as well as advising which ONE contest prize they want to win, EIGHT will be selected to win ONE of the contest prizes below.

  • Subscribers to this newsletter that won a prize in my trivia contests in the last 90 days are ineligible to win.
August Contest One Prize Selection
(Only one of each offered)

A Mighty Fortress
By Charles Alling

A Mighty Fortress is the personal account of the captain and crew of a lead bomber in the enourmous formation raids made by the 8th Airforce during the last few months of WWII.

This book may be ordered from Amazon.com.

For a complete listing of this publisher's titles, please visit www.casematepublishing.com


The Gentleman's Magazine
Contains 95 Pages


August Contest Two Prize Selection
(Only one of each offered)

DVD Classic TV

Howdy Doody

5 Episodes of the Classic TV Series

DVD Movie

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1935)
Hitchcock Movie Starring Peter Lorre

Original Historic Newspapers

The Atlas (Boston) historic newspaper from 1837

Original Manchester American & Messenger (New Hampshire) historic newspaper from 1853

Original New Hampshire Patriot historic newspaper from 1868

Original Coldwater Republican (Michigan) historic newspaper from 1876
Movie Trivia Answers

1) Abraham Lincoln's mother was Nancy Hanks. It is Tom Hanks that is a descendent of Nancy Hanks.

2) The prop was used in the scene where Dorothy and her companions are driven by a horse of a different color around the Emerald City. The prop once owned by Abraham Lincoln was his personal carriage while he was president. The carriage is now owned and on display at the Judy Garland Museum in Kansas.

3) The boy was Kurt Russell.

That's it for this issue.

Rick Brown

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