Also known as Cess Polling. It's a form of non-traditional presidential polling that was started in Emmetsburg, Iowa in 1980. Voters were asked to indicate which candidate they preferred by flushing their toilet at the appropriate time. The local water plant then measured how far the water level dropped in the city water tower to calculate how many toilets had been flushed.
The tradition of flush polling continued throughout the 1990s, though I can't find any sign that it was used in recent elections.
With the Trump-Kim summit all over the news, this 1969 N.Korea/U.S. meeting seems timely:
Back then, an American and North Korean general sat across a table from each other for 11 hours and 35 minutes. For the entire time, no one took a bathroom break or ate, and during the final 4½ hours, no one even spoke. They just stared at each other in silence.
Recently filed campaign contribution reports reveal that Ana Lisa Garza, who primaried unsuccessfully to be the Democratic candidate for a seat in the Texas state house, received more than half her campaign contributions in the form of frozen "deer semen straws" — which came to an estimated value of $51,000.
ABC7 News explains that down in Texas "deer semen has been a popular way to support political and charitable causes for years." This is because deer semen straws can fetch thousands of dollars within the deer-breeder community. And so, they've become a form of currency.
Nick Belluso, while running for governor of Georgia in 1978, came up with the idea of hypnotizing the voters to vote for him. So he hired a hypnotist and created a TV ad which went as follows:
Candidate: This is Nick Belluso. In the next ten seconds you will be hit with a tremendously hypnotic force. You may wish to turn away. Without further ado let me introduce to you the hypnogenecist of mass hypnosis, the Reverend James G. Masters. Take us away, James.
Hypnotist: Do not be afraid. I am placing the name of Nick Belluso in your subconscious mind. You will remember this. You will vote on Election Day. You will vote Nick Belluso for governor. You will remember this. You will vote on Election Day. You will vote Nick Belluso for governor.
However, Belluso's scheme was foiled when every TV station but one refused to run the ad, fearing the hypnosis might actually work, which would open them up to potential legal liabilities.
So Belluso lost the election. Though he subsequently became a perennial candidate running for many offices, including President of the United States in 1980.
You can see most of the ad in the clip below.
Also worth noting: Belluso claimed he had been endorsed by "The Force."
This curious book, compiled and published by the U.S. Government, is a catalog of examples of ethical failure among federal employees. As explained in the intro:
The Standards of Conduct Office of the Department of Defense General Counsel’s Office has assembled the following selection of cases of ethical failure for use as a training tool. Our goal is to provide DoD personnel with real examples of Federal employees who have intentionally or unwittingly violated the standards of conduct. Some cases are humorous, some sad, and all are real. Some will anger you as a Federal employee and some will anger you as an American taxpayer.
Some of the categories of ethical failure include Abuse of Position, Bribery, Conflicts of Interest, Credit-Card Abuse, Financial Disclosure Violations, Fraud, Gift Violations, Travel Violations, Misuse of Government Resources and Personnel, and Time and Attendance Violations.
The town of High Wycombe in England has an ancient custom of weighing their mayors, first upon taking office and again at the end of their term. To have gained weight is taken as evidence that they've grown wealthy at the taxpayer's expense. It's like an ancient form of fat-shaming.
In the 1950s, the mayor of Minneapolis, Eric Hoyer, decided to adopt this custom. He even arranged to have the official scales flown in from High Wycombe. He apparently was pretty confident that he'd lost weight, but according to the scales he had gained some. He blamed the extra weight on the ceremonial costume he was wearing for the occasion.
It's an interesting custom. Perhaps we should weigh more politicians periodically. Such as an annual weighing of senators and the president.
Back in the old days, when politicians still felt obliged to reveal their finances...
October 1952: Mike Murphy, 12-year-old candidate for secretary of the student body at Madison high school in Phoenix, AZ, felt it would be the honest thing to do to release a full financial statement. He revealed that he earned a dollar a week allowance, and a dollar for every gopher he caught in the yard. Gophers from neighbors' yards didn't count. He won the election.
March 1995: During the discussion of a bill in the New Mexico state senate, Sen. Duncan Scott (R) proposed the following amendment:
When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant's competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than 2 feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts.
Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length, and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding the defendant's competency, the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong.
It passed in the Senate, but didn't make it through the House.
As you can see from this 1914 article George Washington Glick was practically unknown when his statue was new. Is it any wonder then that, as Wikipedia tells us, "In 2003, Kansas became the first state to replace a statue [in the National Statuary Hall] when it replaced Glick with a bronze of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Glick's statue was moved to the Kansas History Center in Topeka."
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.