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Tomorrow in History, 1919

Since I won't be able to update tomorrow morning, I wanted to make this post today about the 86th anniversary of:


"Shortly after noon on January 15, 1919, a fifty-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses collapsed on Boston’s waterfront, disgorging its contents in a fifteen-foot-high wave of molasses that traveled at thirty-five miles per hour. When the tide receded, a section of the city’s North End had been transformed into a war zone. The Great Boston Molasses Flood claimed the lives of twenty-one people and scores of animals, injured more than a hundred, and caused widespread destruction."

The above is quoted from author Stephen Puleo, who has published a wonderful book about the flood called "Dark Tide:The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919." It tells the story of what happened and also places the event in historical context. Both gnomi and I read the book and highly recommend it. For more information on the book, you can visit his website at http://www.stephenpuleo.com/

(Disclaimer: I have never met Mr. Puleo. We just like his book.)

For more information on the flood, including some links, see http://www.boston-online.com/bizarro/disasters.html.


At the risk of sounding like a cold-hearted *&%#@: Favorite. Disaster. Ever. I really must read that book sometime soon...

Embarassing Ways to Die

I've heard about the great molasses flood before, and I've always thought that it ranked high on the list of embarassing ways to die. It's like drowning in less than an inch of water. It's strange -- some tragedies have impressive resonances and some don't. Drowning in molasses just seems like a silly way to go.

Re: Embarassing Ways to Die

Right, because it's not like a housefire or something, where you can say to that person's relatives "oh, my cousin/sister/aunt/etc died in a housefire..."

I mean, really, what do you say! "oh, yeah, I have a third cousin once removed who fell into a vat of pink powder at the necco plant and suffocated!" Really.

Re: Embarassing Ways to Die

"oh, yeah, I have a third cousin once removed who fell into a vat of pink powder at the necco plant and suffocated!" Really.


Re: Embarassing Ways to Die

NO!!! Not really.

Re: Embarassing Ways to Die

oh. okay. now I can laugh at your fictional dead relative without feeling bad about it.

Re: Embarassing Ways to Die


Re: Embarassing Ways to Die

Part of the reason Puleo wrote his book was because the event seems so ludicrous, and yet it really was horrific. In his Author's Note, he points out that a few children's books alluded to the event, but in the context of having fun in a whimsical world of molasses. In truth, the flood of molasses flowed with such force that it knocked over buildings and swept people away.
Have fun at the ALA.
Um, thanks, but I won't be going to the ALA until Sunday afternoon. I'm also not quite sure of the relevance here. If it's because I posted that I won't be posting Saturday, that's because I don't use the Internet on Saturdays, for what are the usual obvious reasons. (For those same reasons, I can't go to the ALA until Sunday.)
Though theoretically you could've posted this Saturday after dark...
I wish this weren't so, but I'm reminded of the Smothers Brothers song about the man who fell into a vast of chocolate. Thee was a note of distress in there, but it was played for laughs.
There was also an awful British film several years ago about a man who fell into a vat of chocolate. The tainted batch proves extremely popular. The film, called "Consuming Passions" starred Jonathan Pryce, Vanessa Redgrave, Sammi Davis, Prunella Scales, and Andrew Sachs (the last two of "Fawlty Towers")
Thanks for the links. I've wanted to learn more about the flood ever since I heard about it.
I didn't know you'd both read the book - cool! I've been raving about it for a while . :-) Glad you both enjoyed it!
Yeah, gnomi read it in mid-August (as you might remember from http://www.livejournal.com/users/gnomi/95612.html), which prompted me to read it too. We had taken it out of the library, and then we decided it was a book that deserved to be in our collection. So we went out and bought the hardcover, just as the trade paperback was being released. Which made it hard to track down the hardcover, but we managed to find a copy at New England Mobile Book Fair.
I'm glad it's done well enough to be re-released as a trade... he did a very good job.

December 2016

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