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October 9, 2008 Sellersville Theater, Sellersville, Pennsylvania
Moonalice poster by Chuck Sperry
According to Moonalice legend, the tribe played a little known role in saving the Continental Army at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777–78. Under the command of noted hemp farmer George Washington, the Army made camp in Valley Forge with hopelessly inadequate supplies and training. As a result, 2,000 soldiers died of disease over the course of a normal Pennsylvania winter. Yet somehow the Army emerged in the spring of 1778 as a first-rate fighting force. How did that happen? History credits Baron Freiderich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian offer who trained the soldiers. What history doesn’t properly explain is how Steuben did it. Fortunately, the Moonalice legend fills in the holes in the story.
Steuben was unusual for a European officer in that he understood and worked directly with enlisted men. He understood how to motivate them. He eschewed traditional methods, such as the cat o’ nine tails and the firing squad. Instead, he used metaphorical carrots. Actually, the substance underlying the metaphor was hemp. George Washington’s hemp.
To reward the troops for a job well done, Steuben initiated a ceremony that the French later named the “feu to joie.” The translation is Fire of Joy. The French used it to refer to a parade-ground salute with hundreds of musket shots. Steuben’s version used hemp and matches. Whose approach do you think was more effective?
According to Moonalice legend, you can’t get there from here. We recommend that you enjoy the herbal products of your choice and then go somewhere else.
According to Moonalice legend, October 9 has been a date with ups and downs. Exactly 1005 years ago, Leif Ericksson first landed in North America. Leif was into Viking entertainment. The local Moonalice tribe was open minded, but chose not to join in. So Leif had a few hits of the local herb and then went home. In 1919, the Black Sox “lost” the World Series, leading to an ugly scandal and a premature end to the career of Joe Jackson, a Moonalice on his mother’s side whose refusal to use footwear prevented him from getting a Nike contract. The fact that he left the game in disgrace 50 years before Nike may also have been a factor. The weirdest event of all came in 1992, when a 13-kilogram fragment of the Peekskill meteorite landed in the driveway of a family named K—-, destroying their 1980 Chevy Malibu. It could have been worse, the meteor just missed the barn where the K—-s were curing their hemp harvest.
In India, today is Vijayadashami. (Vee-jay-a-da-shami), which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. In this country, we will celebrate this on November 5.