April 05, 2006

Bow Down Before Me!

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

I knew there was some reason for my delusions:

Born in England sometime in the second decade of the nineteenth century, you carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out your fortune in 1854. After this, you became quite different. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when you expressed your dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring yourself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. You remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.

Within a month you had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, you summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, you decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, you disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname "Frisco" for your home city.

Your days consisted of parading around your domain - the San Francisco streets - in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. You dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. You were a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord's Prayer quietly, head bowed.

Once arrested, you were swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute you on the street. Your renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for you and your two dogs. (As an aside, you were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of your faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed your occupation as "Emperor".

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of your attire, replaced it at their own expense. You responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. Your death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline "Le Roi est Mort". Aside from what you had on your person, your possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, your correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. Your funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.

The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.

Sovereign Yips! to CalTechGirl, who led me to this via another test.

UPDATE: Several commenters have discovered their inner William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott. Basil Seal has a post up on this most eccentric 5th Duke of Portland. [Ed. - you know, to distinguish him from all the other 5th Dukes of Portland.] Quiet, you.

YIPS from Steve: This should come as a surprise to no one:

I'm Pope Stephen! Hurrah.
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Made Bishop of Agagni by Pope Formosus, you became Pope yourself in 896 by putting your immediate predecessor, Boniface VI, to death. Your reign lasted all of fourteen months. However, you firmly assured your place in history by putting the rotting corpse of the aforementioned Formosus on trial in the splendidly named Synod Horrenda. Naturally, Formosus was clad in full papal vestments. Having dug up the stinking remains once already, you proceeded to have them found guilty, reburied, re-exhumed, relieved of the three fingers of the right hand used in consecrations and finally thrown into the Tiber. All ordinations performed by the luckless Formosus were annulled. After this delightful display of gratitude, you were promptly strangled, paving the way for an increasingly short-lived series of successors and the reinstatement, dereinstatement and rereinstatement of Formosus' Papal deeds.

Posted by Robert at April 5, 2006 12:56 PM | TrackBack

Caligula. And that's after answering no to the incest question.

Posted by: The Colossus at April 5, 2006 01:41 PM

Lordy, Emperor Norton!?! Well, thanks for that Frisco thing. If only you could fine people outside your borders, dear Emperor...

Posted by: tee bee at April 5, 2006 01:53 PM

I was Norton too!

Posted by: caltechgirl at April 5, 2006 01:55 PM

William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott here. Never actually heard of the man, but after reading about him I must admit he sounds like a kindred spirit.

Posted by: utron at April 5, 2006 01:57 PM

Hmmm... I doubt there will be many contenders for the throne of Ludwig II, Swan King of Bavaria. You say hallucinations, I say vivid daydreams.

Posted by: tee bee at April 5, 2006 02:07 PM

Aaaaaand you get that funky castle to boot!

Posted by: Robbo the LB at April 5, 2006 02:11 PM

William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, the Fifth Duke of Portland!
Like Utron, I've nver heard of him before. One question, how do you construct a room with no floor. There's got to be dirt down somewhere, unless you've got a tunnel clear through to the other side of the world.

Posted by: rbj at April 5, 2006 02:22 PM

Charles VI of France, also known as Charles the Mad or Charles the Well-Beloved, here. (And that's after answering yes to the incest question [so *there*, Colossus...])

Posted by: Rex Ferric at April 5, 2006 03:29 PM

Ha!! thanks for the Basil Seal link, Robbo. From Rum & Monkey's test, I kind of like the idea of leaving little more behind me when I die than hundreds of hatboxes, each containing a single brown wig. That, and forcing disobedient servants to skate themselves to exhaustion on my underground skating rink.

Posted by: utron at April 5, 2006 03:34 PM


Ah, I guess the expression "like kissing your sister" had a special meaning in the Ferric household . . .


Posted by: The Colossus at April 5, 2006 05:19 PM

Not just one, Robbo: "three fairytale castles - Linderhof, Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee."

They call me crazy, but they're just jealous.

Posted by: tee bee at April 5, 2006 07:05 PM

Nicola Tesla! Yes!!

Posted by: ahriman at April 5, 2006 10:34 PM

You can't be Tesla! I'm Tesla!!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 6, 2006 07:06 AM

No, I'm Nicola Tesla!

Join us now as we find out who the real (Pep) Nicola Tesla is on...To Tell The Truth.

Just ask Steve-o--is this is, or is this not, me!


You developed an aversion to human contact, particularly involving hair, and a fear of pearls; when one would-be lover kissed you, you ran away in agony. Later, you insisted that any repeated actions in your day-to-day life had to be divisible by three, or, better yet, twenty-seven. You would, for example, continue walking until you had executed the required number of footsteps. You refused to eat anything until you had calculated its exact volume. Saltine crackers were a favourite for their uniformity in this respect. In the midst of important work, you forgot trivial details such as eating, sleeping or, on one memorable occasion, who you were.

While whether the [death]ray ever existed is still doubtful, it is said that you notified the Peary polar expedition to report anything strange in the tundra, and turned on the ray. First, nothing happened; then it disintegrated an owl; finally, reports reached you of the mysterious Tunguska explosion, upon which news you dismantled the apparatus immediately. An offer during WWI to recreate it was, thankfully, never acted upon by then-President Wilson. Turning to other matters, you investigated the forerunner of radar, to widespread derision.

Posted by: Pep at April 6, 2006 11:13 AM

Great work!

Posted by: Rebecca at June 27, 2006 11:47 AM

Thank you!

Posted by: Zane at June 30, 2006 04:42 AM

Good design!

Posted by: Ethan at July 1, 2006 04:05 PM

Great work!

Posted by: Quentin at July 13, 2006 07:58 AM

Thank you!

Posted by: Ellen at July 13, 2006 08:08 AM

Well done!

Posted by: Vincent at July 16, 2006 11:19 AM

Thank you!

Posted by: Sally at July 22, 2006 08:17 AM