Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Like Listening To A Trainwreck"

The phrase, "Like watching a trainwreck" is among the most widely used cliches' these days, as we endure the final 16 months of the disastrous Zerobama administration.

(lovingly lifted from friend )

Likewise, listening to Barry hUSsein this morning as he preached to the United Nations, about how difficult 'peace' is to achieve through his narrow tunnel vision.

You'd think that watching or hearing a train wreck was always a terrible thing; and all too often it is exactly that, isn't it?

Yet it was not always so:
Once, it was a much anticipated, festive spectator sport.
(lovingly lifted from )

By 5 p.m. the afternoon of September 15, 1896, nearly 50,000 people had gathered anxiously on a wide stretch of Texas prairie near Waco. Moments later, they watched two 35-ton locomotives, each pulling seven boxcars, collide head-on at a combined speed of 120 miles per hour. The publicity spectacular was staged at Crush, Texas, a short-lived town established just for the occasion. Organizer for the event (and namesake for the town) was William George Crush, a passenger agent for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company, commonly known as "the Katy."

The collision, intended as publicity for the railroad, was planned and promoted for months in advance. The locomotives, Old No. 999 and Old No. 1001, were displayed prominently during tours throughout the state.

Rather that the usual entrance fees charged for major public attractions, Katy officials announced that they would charge no admission for the well publicized event. Further, they promised that food concession contractors would not be allowed to sell lunches at extortionate prices, and that containers of "fresh Waco water" would be abundant and free. The only fee would be the train fare required to transport the many thousands of spectators to the crash site. Even these fares were offered at bargain rates--none over $5 from anywhere in Texas. As a result, the excursion trains were so packed that some people were obliged to ride on top of the cars for lack of room inside.

As a promotional stunt, however, the Katy's well laid plans turned sadly sour. At the instant of impact, one of the boilers unexpectedly exploded. As a result, bolts and scraps of iron and debris were hurled hundreds of yards, some into the spectator area. Two spectators were killed and a few more seriously injured.

It is not now known whether Scott Joplin, the great ragtime music composer from Texas, was one of the spectators on that September afternoon in 1896. Twenty-seven year-old Joplin was sufficiently impressed with the event, however, that by year-end he had composed The Great Crush Collision, one of the earliest of his many compositions.

The early rag written by my favorite American composer Scott Joplin is dramatic and upbeat and fun to listen to, much like a sporting event wherein which a train wreck occurs.
Please enjoy the music of a real Texas trainwreck, from 115 years ago~!


Most Rev. Gregori said...

Do you suppose that we can find someone to compose a ballad about the Great American train wreck?

The Local Malcontent said...

THAT'S my very next bloggie, Abouna~