The FRED Society was founded in 1984, and still appears to be going strong. It's a kind of support group for people (mostly men) named Fred, designed to address the negative connotations associated with the name. That is, when people hear the name Fred, they tend to think of characters such as Fred Mertz (the bumbling neighbor on 'I Love Lucy') or Fred Flintstone. The Fred Society would like us to think of Fred Astaire instead.
Every hepcat knows the name of the Peppermint Lounge, famed in 1960s lore. But not as many folks recall that the same space was transformed in the 1970s into the Barnum Room, the only club with transvestite trapeze artists above the dancers.
Apparently there have been several instances of the formation of clubs to serve as fraternal organizations for bald men.
The New York Times has this 1896 report.
Then comes this account in 1920, also from The New York Times.
Then comes this report from 1954.
But sometime after that, the original group must have gone under, because in 1972, John T. Capps, III founded the Bald Headed Men of America. They were profiled in a PBS documentary from 1989, as partially shown below.
Unfortunately, the mutability of the English language has not been kind to James W. English's stories of Scouting known as The Tailbone Patrol. In 2013, the title sounds like one of those how-to-pick-up-women books, or a "Girls Gone Wild" episode.
The Freemasons are famous for having a series of hand signals by means of which their members can identify each other wherever they may happen to be in the world. Now you too can pretend to be a Freemason. The secret is that, first, you need to memorize a series of hand signals all of which indicate different days of the week. The signals also require that you have pockets in your clothes (or that you have clothes on, period... so these won't work in a nudist colony):
Sunday sign: right hand in pocket of breeches, with thumb out, pointing to the left side. Monday sign: left hand in left pocket, thumb out, pointing to the right side. Tuesday sign: right hand in right waistcoat pocket, with thumb out, pointing left. Wednesday sign: the reverse—left hand in left waistcoat pocket, with thumb out, pointing right. Thursday sign: right hand in right coat pocket, with thumb and forefinger out, pointing downwards. Friday sign: exactly opposite—for right, read left. Saturday sign: putting the first three fingers of the right hand to that part of the right eyebrow next the ear, and so drawing it along till the 3rd finger touches the nose.
Note that you also need to be wearing a waistcoat! Now for the secret greeting. When a Brother meets a Brother he first has to give the signs of the two preceding days, and then the other Brother returns the 7th or Saturday sign. And that's it!
Today, the average upstanding citizen is a pale shadow of his or her riotous ancestors. We don't drink as much or smoke as much or act goofy in public as much (despite the roll call of weird behaviors as collected by our Fearless Leader, Chuck.)
Look at this boring clip of a contemporary American Legion parade from last year.
Then view this account from 1947, when randy old codger Legionnaires rode bucking ATVs through the streets, poured water from hotel windows, and shocked innocent women with cattle prods (probably the very ones sold through Johnson Smith catalogs, as shown earlier on WU).
Now, answer truly: which era would you rather live in?
Curling? Curling!?! Was this really a prime activity of the Rotary Club, even--or especially--back in 1973?
Interstate curling leagues and tournaments? Charity curling events, attended by beaming wives and kids?
Somebody please inform us if they ever heard of a connection before, between Rotarians and curling.
"Taping," by the way, for all you youngsters out there, does not refer to crafting items from duct tape or preparing one's hands for a mixed martial arts bout, but to capturing sounds with one's reel-to-reel magnetic tape recorder.