RedState's Watercooler - Open Thread - July 30, 2018: Edgar Allan Poe’s Brief Tenure at West Point, 'Starry Night' Fright and a Millennial Who Hates CT

Idiotic Remark of the Week


Nancy Pelosi referred to the 9/11 terrorist attacks as an “incident” in her weekly press conference as she blamed Republicans for the current border crisis.



Edgar Allan Poe’s Brief Tenure at West Point


It’s hard to imagine poet Edgar Allan Poe in the role of a West Point cadet. Poe arrived at the United States Military Academy in July 1930. By the end of the year, he was desperately unhappy and began searching for a way out. Rumor has it that he showed up for a cadet parade wearing nothing but his belt cartridge and was immediately dismissed, a story that persists to this day.

But there are no records of Poe showing up for drill naked. Instead, Poe was court-martialed after he stopped going to class, parade, roll calls and chapel in January 1831. The following month, he was dismissed.

The rumor is so much more fun than the reality!



‘Starry Night’ Coming to Your Neighborhood


One year ago, Lubomir Jastrzebski and Nancy Nemhauser of Mount Dora, FL, painted the exterior of their home to resemble Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting. They were hoping it would calm their 25-year-old son, a Van Gogh fan, who suffers from autism. (Photographs of the home can be viewed here.)

The city’s “code-enforcement officers claimed the project violated Mount Dora’s sign ordinance and might distract drivers.” City officials fined the couple and insisted they repaint the house in one solid color.


Following a year of legal wrangling, the Mount Dora City Council unanimously agreed to allow the family to keep the art on their walls.

“It’s a big day for the arts, it’s a big day for Mount Dora, and it’s a big day for freedom,” said Richard Barrenechea, the artist who painted the house.

Let’s just hope no neighbors feel the need to keep up with the Jastrzebski-Nemhausers!


Unexplained Midday Darkness in Siberia


Last Friday, residents of Yakutia, Siberia, located above the arctic circle, witnessed a three-hour period of darkness beginning at 11 am. They said the effect was similar to a solar eclipse. Except that it most definitely was not an eclipse.

Yakutia is so far north that it normally enjoys 20 hours of daylight in July. Locals described seeing a “reddish haze in the sky. Adding to the ominous atmosphere, the air seemed to be thick with a grimy haze of black dust.” Some residents reported “that the mysterious smog turned barrels of water into barrels of mud and that nearby lakes emerged from the eclipse covered in a filthy, black layer of pollution.”

One week later, there has been no official explanation from the government as to what caused it. Theories have ranged from a possible meteor strike to “devilry.” But, NASA says the likely reason is that:


It’s wildfire season in Siberia, and hundreds of fires have already burned tens of thousands of acres of forest since May. While most of these fires are hundreds of miles away from the dust-eclipsed towns in question, smoke and aerosols released by some of these fires have been tracked halfway around the world.

The author is quick to remind us that strange things often happen in Siberia such as:

a bag full of severed hands that turned up in the snow in March to showers of gold bullion that rained from the sky. And industrial Siberia has some long-standing pollution issues (see the “blood rain” of industrial rust that fell on a factory parking lot just a few weeks ago).

For more photos, click here.



Millennial “Hates” Connecticut Due to its Lack of Diversity


On the Fourth of July, my daughter invited several of her millennial friends from Manhattan for an afternoon barbecue at our Connecticut home. A sweltering day, they were enjoying the pool, the food and each other.


Well, all except for one. “Where’s Scott?”

“He’s in the house watching TV. He hates Connecticut because it’s not diverse enough.”

Yes, really.



Awkward Moment of the Week



Quote of the Week


“To liberals, compassion seems to be defined by how many people are dependent on the government.

To conservatives, it’s defined by how many people no longer need help. One promotes dependence, the other freedom, responsibility and achievement.”

Star Parker,



As always, this is an open thread.




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