July 18, 2007

You can't keep a good man down.

Steevil, in conjunction with the post yesterday about the press' fascination with stories of a stinky nature, sent me a link to an article about an archaeology team excavating some 19th century privies in California. Interesting finds, indeed:

[...] They uncovered a pistol, a buoy knife, whisky flasks, a set of false teeth, two dog skulls and a blade from a set of sheep shears. [...]

Ah, yes, the buoy knife, named after famed Alamo fighter and cork-filled channel marker, Jim Buoy.

Danged homophones.

Now, in fairness to the AP, subsequent versions of the story were updated (without noting the correction) to remove the word "buoy," and then even later versions had gotten around to substituting "bowie." Maybe later follow-up subsequent updated versions will get around to capitalizing Bowie. (Ah--indeed they have! Although, again to be fair, bowie can be something of a generic term.) Anyway, the article above from USATODAY is one of the few versions floating around with the original humorous version of verbiage.

Now if people could only figure out what a Bowie knife actually looks like--one version of the AP story came with pictures, and the knife shown looks nothing like a Bowie knife. Maybe there's another knife they're talking about, but the general level of expertise of the writing team kinda makes me doubt anyone knows much of anything about anything.

Anyway, if you read the whole story, you also get to run across this corker:

[...] "It might be an early crime scene," project archaeologist John Foster said. "It looks like the two dogs were decapitated. Then whoever did it dumped the skulls and the blade, thinking the women probably wouldn't be looking too hard into the bottom of the privy." [...]

Uh, not so fast, there Sparky. "Crime scene"? Look, doof, just finding a knife in a privy doesn't mean it was used to kill anything, and moreover, even if it was used for killing two dogs, killing a dog wasn't a crime back then. Second, if someone was up to mischief, why dump the dogs' heads in the privy? What about the bodies? Are you telling me the womenfolk back then would not be so indelicate as to note two headless dogs roaming the streets? If they were going to do anything, they would've just buried the animals and not gone to the trouble of cutting off their heads. What, do you think the "perps" were afraid someone would check dental records!? And why would he assume the dogs belonged to women? And why would he assume it wasn't women who did the killing?

Archaeology can tell you a lot about the way people lived in the past, but it works better if you can resist the urge to play like some cut-rate investigator from CSI-Ventura. People threw all sorts of stuff down the privy, as well as dropped things by accident, as well as disposed of various offal and viscera and every other thing. Best not to read too much into what you find until after you've done a bit more lab work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at July 18, 2007 10:43 AM

All that stuff would indicate to me is the likelihood of the site being the home to a Chinese Restaurant at one point in time.

Posted by: skinnydan at July 18, 2007 11:00 AM

Oh, come now--why would they throw away the best part!?

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 18, 2007 11:08 AM

The important questions is “where was Michael Vick?”

Posted by: jim at July 18, 2007 11:13 AM

We might not want to know.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 18, 2007 11:25 AM

David Bowie was at the Alamo? I never knew that. He probably stayed in the basement.

Posted by: skillzy at July 18, 2007 12:13 PM

With Michael Vick. And Pee-Wee's bike.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 18, 2007 12:17 PM

THAT would explain why Michael Vick's alias was Ron Mexico!

Posted by: skillzy at July 18, 2007 12:24 PM

See--things begin to fall into place when you do careful research.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 18, 2007 12:29 PM

I love watching The Alamo with John Wayne, particularly when Jim Bowie (as portrayed by Richard Widmark) would come in the scene and that big ol' knife would be lashed onto his side. Was Jim Bowie actually at the Alamo, or was that Hollywood taking a little license?

Posted by: Marc V at July 18, 2007 12:51 PM

No, he really was there, although fell ill (suspected tuberculosis) before the battle started. Santa Anna himself inspected Bowie's body to make sure it was him and that he wasn't merely pining for the fjords.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 18, 2007 12:57 PM

Furthermore, as long as I'm ridiculing newspapers, I should have remembered that the sister paper of the Annapolis Crab Wrapper is the Bowie Blade http://www.bowieblade.com/.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at July 18, 2007 03:27 PM

Steevil's quite the cut-up.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 18, 2007 03:53 PM