Archive for February, 2014

February 27th: Lying About Ending Domestic Surveillance Day!

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

On this day in 1970, The New York Times reported that domestic surveillance had officially ended.

That report turned out to be false.

In 1986, Congress put an end to domestic surveillance. Again.

Cut to this January. In response to public outrage over leaked documents revealing the extent of the NSA’s domestic surveillance, president Obama gave a speech announcing NSA reform.

In honor of the premature end of domestic surveillance, we at UPG are celebrating February 27th as National Lying About Ending Domestic Surveillance Day!

So today, take a moment to wave to the cameras, speak into the microphones, and send happy face emoticons in your texts and emails.

And enjoy some lemony NSA-Approved Eaves Drops!

Eaves Drops from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild

National Black Finger Puppet Month: Barack Obama

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

February is Black History Month, so we have decided to honor the occasion by posting about great African Americans we have immortalized as finger puppets.

Today we highlight the 44th president of the United States, BARACK OBAMA.

Obama

Here are some facts about Barack Obama and about UPG’s Barack Obama finger puppet:

Barack Obama is the first African-American president, the first president born in Hawaii, the first U.S. president to address the British Parliament, and the first president to endorse gay marriage.

The Barack Obama Finger Puppet is approximately 4″ tall.

“Barack” means “one who is blessed” in Swahili.

Barack Obama has won two Grammys and the Nobel Peace Prize.

Barack Obama is the 6th left-handed post-war president.

The Barack Obama Finger Puppet is also a magnet.

When he was living in Indonesia, young Barack Obama had a pet ape named Tata.

We were happy that Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination in 2008, because his likeness is much more conducive to designing a finger puppet than Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama’s secret service code name is “Renegade.”

National Black Finger Puppet Month: Harriet Tubman

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

February is Black History Month, so we have decided to honor the occasion by posting about great African Americans we have immortalized as finger puppets.

Today’s personality is the legendary abolitionist HARRIET TUBMAN (1820-1913).

Tubman

Here are some facts about Harriet Tubman and the Harriet Tubman Finger puppet:

Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849, and returned to rescue her family. She would go on to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

The Harriet Tubman Finger Puppet is approximately 4″ tall.

As a child, Harriet Tubman was struck in the head by a slave overseer. Her resulting head injury led to seizures, headaches, narcolepsy and powerful visions throughout her life. Tubman was a devout Christian, and she saw these visions as messages from God.

Harriet Tubman’s nickname was “Minty.”

Harriet Tubman was a spy and nurse for the Union army during the Civil War, and was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war.

The Harriet Tubman finger puppet is also a magnet.

Tubman underwent brain surgery in the 1890s and refused anesthesia. She just chewed a bullet during the surgery.

National Black Finger Puppet Month: Louis Armstrong

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

February is Black History Month, so we have decided to honor the occasion by posting about great African Americans we have immortalized as finger puppets.

Today we highlight groundbreaking musician LOUIS ARMSTRONG (1901-1971).

Armstrong

Here are some facts about Louis Armstrong and about UPG’s Louis Armstrong Finger Puppet:

Louis Armstrong was nicknamed “Satchmo,” “Pops” and “Ambassador Satch.”

Louis Armstrong was born in a section of New Orleans so poor that it was called “The Battlefield.”

The Louis Armstrong finger puppet is also a magnet.

Louis Armstrong appeared in more than 30 films.

By the age of seven, Armstrong was working, selling papers and singing in the street for money.

In 1912, Armstrong was arrested for firing a pistol into the air while celebrating New Year’s Eve. He was sent to the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys, where he received his first music instruction.

The Louis Armstrong puppet includes a (non-working) trumpet.

The recordings Louis Armstrong made with his Hot Five and Hot Seven bands are some of the most important of all the jazz classics. His vocal style has influenced generations of singers.

The Louis Armstrong finger puppet is approximately 4″ tall.

Louis Armstrong regularly smoked marijuana and considered it to be beneficial to his health.

Armstrong was an elegantly-dressed performer, so our Louis Armstrong finger puppet sports a tuxedo.

National Black Finger Puppet Month: Frederick Douglass

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

February is Black History Month, so we have decided to honor the occasion by posting about great African Americans whom we have immortalized as finger puppets.

Today we highlight the great abolitionist FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1818-1895).

Douglass_0255

Here are some facts about Frederick Douglass and the Frederick Douglass Finger puppet:

Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. When he escaped from slavery, he named himself after a character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Lady of the Lake.

We opted to go for the older bearded Douglass as the look for the Frederick Douglass Finger Puppet. He looks distinguished with the beard. Although he looks pretty dreamy without it.

Frederick Douglass was a strong supporter of women’s rights, and was the only African-American participant at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.

Douglass was a highly-valued consultant to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. After President Lincoln’s death, Mrs. Lincoln sent Douglass her late husband’s walking stick.

The Frederick Douglass finger puppet is also a magnet.

Douglass was biracial. His mother was a slave and his father was a white man unknown to him.

Frederick Douglass ran for vice president with the Equal Rights Party in 1872 (Victoria Woodhull was the nominee for president). At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Douglass was the first African-American to receive a vote in nomination for the presidency.

After his first wife died, Douglass married his white secretary. Douglass said in response to the ensuing controversy, “This proves I am impartial. My first wife was the color of my mother and the second, the color of my father.”

Frederick Douglass’ three autobiographies are American classics and are regarded as some of the finest examples of the slave narrative tradition.

The Frederick Douglass finger puppet is approximately 4″ tall.

National Black Finger Puppet Month: Zora Neale Hurston

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

February is Black History Month, so we have decided to honor the occasion by posting about great African Americans who we have immortalized as finger puppets.

Today we highlight author, folklorist and Harlem Renaissance legend ZORA NEALE HURSTON (1891-1960).

Hurston

Here are some facts about Zora Neale Hurston and about UPG’s Zora Neale Hurston Finger puppet:

Zora Neale Hurston was the daughter of two highly accomplished former slaves. Her mother became a school teacher, and her father was the mayor of one of the first incorporated all-black communities in the US.

The Zora Neale Hurston puppet wears a floppy hat (like Zora used to wear) and a pearl necklace.

At a young age, Hurston worked a variety of jobs, including as a maid for an actress in a touring Gilbert and Sullivan group.

Hurston was a Republican and libertarian, although she was not a social conservative.

The Zora Neale Hurston puppet is approximately 4” tall.

Zora Neale Hurston studied at Barnard College under Franz Boas, the pioneer of modern anthropology.

Penniless at the time of her death, Zora Neale Hurston was buried in an unmarked grave.

In 1973, Alice Walker found Hurston’s grave and erected a gravestone. She was also responsible for bringing Hurston’s work back into print. It remains in print and widely admired today.

The Zora Neale Hurston puppet is also a magnet.

National Black Finger Puppet Month: Sojourner Truth

Friday, February 7th, 2014

February is Black History Month, so we have decided to honor the occasion by posting about great African Americans who we have immortalized in the form of finger puppets.

Today we’ll talk about abolitionist and women’s rights activist SOJOURNER TRUTH (1797-1883)

Truth

Here are some facts about Sojourner Truth and about UPG’s Sojourner Truth finger puppet:

Sojourner Truth’s birth name was Isabella Baumfree.

Truth’s owners were Dutch, so Dutch was Truth’s first language. She spoke English with a Dutch accent.

The Sojourner Truth finger puppet can have any kind of accent you want.

After her son had been sold to a man in Alabama, Truth went to court and won him back, one of the first times a black woman won a court case against a white slave holder.

Truth dropped the name Isabella Baumfree and became Sojourner Truth on June 1, 1843.

Sojourner Truth was a towering 6’2″.

The Sojourner Truth finger puppet is approximately 4″ tall.

Sojourner Truth gave her most famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” at a woman’s rights conference in Akron, Ohio as part of a nation-wide lecture tour in 1851. You can read the text here.

Truth met with Abraham Lincoln at the White House in 1864. She called him the “best president who has ever taken the seat.”

Truth lobbied against segregation laws in Washington D.C., and played an instrumental role in desegregating streetcars in that city.

The Sojourner Truth finger puppet is also a magnet.

National Black Finger Puppet Month: Rosa Parks

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

February is Black History Month, so we have decided to honor the occasion by posting about great African Americans who we have immortalized in the form of finger puppets.

Today we’ll talk about civil rights activist ROSA PARKS (1913-2005).

Rosa Parks Magnetic Personality

Here are some facts about Rosa Parks and about UPG’s Rosa Parks finger puppet:

Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist before her arrest for civil disobedience, but her brave stand that day was not premeditated.

Parks had had a previous run-in with the driver of that bus.

The Rosa Parks finger puppet is approximately 4” tall.

Rosa Parks was one of several women who challenged Alabama laws that forced people of color to stand if white people wanted a seat on the bus.

After her famous arrest, Parks was found guilty of disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. She was fined $10 plus $4 in court fees.

Rosa Parks was a stylish dresser.

UPG chose some fancy clothes for the Rosa Park finger puppet.

Parks lost her job and had to move from Montgomery after the bus boycott.

The Rosa Parks finger puppet is also a magnet.

Rosa Parks was of African, Cherokee-Creek, and Scots-Irish ancestry.

When Rosa Parks died, the United States Senate and House of Representatives made a joint resolution that she lie in honor (the civilian version of lying in state) in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. She was the first woman, the second African-American, and the second private citizen to be so honored.