Friday, April 03, 2009

Hail Emperor Norton! (9/15/06)

All hail Norton I, Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico! This year marks the 147th anniversary of the beginning of His Imperial Majesty's 21-year reign. A visionary, Norton called for the construction of a bridge that would span San Francisco Bay and demanded that the Democratic and Republican Parties -- not to mention the United States Congress -- be dissolved. While some may have questioned the Emperor's sanity (he was arrested in 1867), San Francisco police officers always saluted him when they saw him on the street. When Norton died in 1880, he was revealed to be virtually penniless, but local business leaders chipped in for a grand funeral that stretched for two miles and was attended by some 30,000 citizens. He lies buried in Colma, California. To those who doubt either Norton's fitness to rule or the divine right of kings, please note that on the day after his burial there was a total eclipse of the sun in San Francisco.

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