Smile of the Day

Life is getting much too serious, yes? Who doesn't need a daily smile?

Saturday, January 14

Creativity with troublesome kin

Let's say you are working on your family geneology, and you run across a mention of your great-great uncle, Remus Starr, a fellow absolutely lacking in character, who was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. A cousin has supplied you with the only known photograph of this relative, showing him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture are the words:

Remus Starr: Horse thief
Sent to Montana Territorial Prison, 1885, escaped 1887
Robbed the Montana Flyer six times
Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged, 1889

Pretty grim situation, right? But let's revise things a bit. We simply crop the picture, scan in an enlarged image and edit it with image processing software so that all that is seen is a head shot. Next, we rewrite the text:

Remus Starr was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad.

Beginning in 1885, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.
... and there you have it.


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