Category Archives: Humor

A New Book: A Quaker’s Life in Our “Interesting,” Tumultuous Times

Emma Lapsansky-Werner and Chuck Fager at the Quaker History Roundtable, summer of 2017

Continue reading A New Book: A Quaker’s Life in Our “Interesting,” Tumultuous Times

But Why Stop with Pennsylvania??

Bulletin: Trump Said Dems Will Rename Pennsylvania—and Even Weirder Things

Donald Trump’s ramblings this weekend were truly deranged.

Donald Trump stands at a podium that reads "Text SC to 88022 Trump Make America Great Again 2024." He quints and makes an ok hand signal on both hands.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s gaffes are becoming more frequent and more indecipherable by the day.

Words for the sponsor . . .

At a National Rifle Association gathering in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Friday, Trump made plenty of strange blunders in front of his thousands of supporters, in his rambling, incoherent auctioneer style.

“I didn’t need this—I had a very nice life—nice Saturday afternoon,” Trump began the speech, apparently mixing up the days of the week.

He went on to claim he won Pennsylvania twice (he didn’t win in 2020) and warned voters that Democrats plan to “change the name of Pennsylvania” if Joe Biden wins this election.

“We have to win in November, or we’re not going to have Pennsylvania. They’ll change the name. They’re going to change the name of Pennsylvania,” Trump said.

There haven’t been any moves to change Pennsylvania’s name, and it’s not clear what he was referring to. . . . .

Comment: A tuned-in Friend agreed that the reference was likely to the very woke Quakers who have been removing William Penn’s name from numerous places and events etc. because he owned several slaves when he was in “his” colony, which Charles II– the “donor” — insisted on naming after his father, Admiral Sir William Penn.

Well, slavery was bad, for sure, but I can’t join in the canceling of old Billie; in his life I saw what to me were — not excuses, but mitigating circumstances — like establishing religious freedom on this continent (and helping gain it in Olde England too); and despite his slaveholding, his government planted the seeds that sprouted into the main stronghold of the real abolition movement. Not to mention he launched seventy years of peace with the Indians.

Besides, if he wasn’t prosecuted for man-stealing (as it wasn’t yet a crime), Penn was surely battered a lot by a pitiless fate, via other repressive laws and some very heavy misfortunes: (8 of his kids died young, along with his much-loved first wife); then in the end he went bankrupt, which sent him to prison in shame as an old man, after having served several years in stir already for religious and rights of conscience; finally he had major strokes which reduced him to an elderly man-child for his last several years.

Call me a softie, but methinks he’s been punished enough.

But I digress; we were talking about renaming Pennsylvania, since pulling down one statue of Penn won’t make enough difference. There are at least three in Philly, and the one on city hall is 500 feet up, and weighs, I’ve been told, 58,000 pounds.

Then there are at least two other big questions Trump’s allegation raises, of which the first is, what would “Pennsylvania” be replaced with?

Benjamin Lay, could he be Biden’s new Keystone State namesake?

My first thought would be to consider Benjamania, in memory of Benjamin Lay, one of the very first serious agitators against slavery, who ended up living in a cave near Abington.

Old BL was rather a character worth remembering. But then,  hmm:  he was also, it turns out, disowned (aka expelled) by the Quakers, not once but about four times, both in England and on this side of the pond, for various forms of obstreperousness.

Pokeberries (aka inkberries); serious colors

Furthermore, he was one of those militant vegans, whom thee couldn’t invite to a civilized tea, without having to fear a jeremiad about one’s iniquities, or being splattered by one of his rude illustrated “signs,” such as spraying everyone with pokeberry juice (also called inkberry, for good reason — just TRY to get those fuchsia and magenta stains out of your plain dress!)

So Lay’s record is, shall we say, a bit spotty.

But for me there’s always Utzsylvania, in honor of the word’s quirkiest potato chips.

And the second question Trump’s report raises, is why expect Biden’s radical nomenklatura to stop with Pennsylvania??

I mean, for pete’s sake, what would they do about Washington state?? Compared to George (& Martha’s) record of almost 600 enslaved people at their Mount Vernon, Penn is hardly worth mentioning.

NO! Not THAT Apple!

So surely, out the state’s monicker must go. And maybe the safest alternative would be something like Pomorumania, which is roughly “the land of apples” rendered in east coast Latin; they claim to produce 90 percent of the apples eaten in the U.S. (The runner-up was GrannySmithakota, which far outdistanced CosmicCrispia and Fujilandia.)

And from there they’ll travel to the Midwest, where surely the Hoosiers could reconcile themselves to be residing in Nativeamericaniana, as long as they didn’t have to move.

Elizabeth (in 1588): “Body of a woman, heart and stomach of a king”?

Farther east,  they dare not neglect Virginia, which for four hundred years has been blatantly objectifying and sexualizing no less a personage than Elizabeth I. But before they settle on another name, they might have to sort out the relevant pronouns, which could take some time. After all, She (err, They) was the one who busted the binary as early as 1588, openly declaring to the army that, “I know I have the body but of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king . . . .” We’ll leave that labor to the assembly of the Old Dominion’s august commonwealth.

Rhode Island should be an easier case, because, well Back in the Colonial Day, it was popularly called “Rogue Island,” in large measure because that was where heretics, uppity women, Quakers and other riffraff banished from Puritan Boston were pointed in the wilderness to their south. Conveniently, it’s the same number of letters, and Zip code abbreviation as well.

A few hours north lies another state that could be on the renaming list, not only of Biden but perhaps Trump as well — New Jersey. It hosts one of his favorite and most storied golf courses, and some people are saying that given his druthers, 45 would like the whole state to be redubbed New Bedminster. It does have a ring to it. And in the same state, a mere 22 miles away, there’s this college, nowadays called Princeton, which just cries out to be delivered from wokeness and rebranded as New Trump U.

But some of the same people are saying that if Biden wins, Bedminster is more likely to be turned into a special purpose facility, which could be better described as Mar-a-Lockup. . . .

These are only a few items gleaned from analysis of 45’s rhetorical flourishes of the weekend. So stand back and stand by: the campaign is young, though the craziness is old.




For Quakers, Friends & Others – A Welcome & Colorful Break From The Weekend Madness

Amid the upheavals, wars & rumors of war of the first weekend in October, 2023, there was a burst of light and fun and even joy, in one seemingly unlikely place — Alamance County, North Carolina. Let’s go visit it:

The occasion was as unlikely as the locale, by the historic railroad station  in the city  of Burlington, which was the scene of the ninth annual Alamance Pride Festival. It had the whole nine yards: tons of rainbow flags, stunning drag queens, and —yes, they went there— Drag Queen  Story Hour— in fact more than one. (But, in truth, they didn’t really last an hour; too many other things to do — “Psst, hey: the Quakers have candy!”)
Continue reading For Quakers, Friends & Others – A Welcome & Colorful Break From The Weekend Madness

A Blockbuster Billboard Bonanza & Its New Roadside Theology

I’m a longtime fan of message billboards and other roadside rhetoric.

Nowadays I don’t get out to see them as much. But this week, the net brought a batch  of striking new ones to me, from exotic Nebraska, mystic New Mexico,,  And I couldn’t wait to share them.

After all, they cover some of my favorite topics: Freedom. Choice. Multiculturalism. Fighting hate. Theology, especially the liberal kind. Chutzpah.  Calls to action.

And — what better to start with, to bring many of them together? 






Gray Alert for U. S. Quakers: Help Find The Missing White House Meditation Room!

[NOTE: No wonder D. C. is in such a terrible mess!  This is clearly a job for the spotlight-shunning Friendly Homeland Security Emergency Rescue Team. Sound the Silent Alarms!]
{UPDATE: The following article is not a spoof; as far as we know.]

“Friend Biden, we’re here to bring light to the White House Meditation Room. Which way, please?”

Welcome to POLITICO’s West Wing Playbook , your guide to the people and power centers in the Biden administration . . . .

The White House has a bunch of perks that come with working in it: the bowling alley , the mess , ostentatious holiday parties and ceremonies where dignitaries mingle. Continue reading Gray Alert for U. S. Quakers: Help Find The Missing White House Meditation Room!