Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

I’ll start things out on a macabre note. While watching the evening news and seeing how Central Park is now housing makeshift hospitals (a first since the Civil War), a Navy hospital ship arriving at the shore, and refrigeration trucks used to store an influx of the dead, now would be a good time to invest in death care stocks. Houston-based Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) is the largest funeral-care provider in North America. Carriage Services (NYSE: CSV) is a leader in the funeral home and cemetery industry. StoneMor Partners (NYSE: STON) is the second-largest network of funeral homes and cemeteries in the U.S.

WifeGeeding’s nephew was recently accepted to Baylor (as if there was any doubt with that family lineage, you have no idea). I think instead of a letter he received some sort of celebratory video. However, he’s considering going to Mary Hardin-Baylor to squeeze in a few years of baseball. The first time I heard of Mary Hardin-Baylor was at a Baptist church camp when all the Baptist universities visited. Their recruiter basically had one sales pitch to all the guys, the girl-to-boy ration was four-to-one.

I always wondered about how the school got its name. It’s like a perfect marriage for someone who can’t decide to attend Baylor or Hardin-Simmons. But, is the “Baylor” and “Hardin” the same ones associated with Baylor and HSU? Here’s what I found out along with a few other nuggets.

  • Baylor was named after ordained Baptist minister, district judge, and politician Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor. He was born in Kentucky, served in the Kentucky militia, and as a state congressman. Later, he moved to Alabama and eventually elected to their House of Representatives. In Texas, he was the judge of the Third Judicial District of the Congress of the Republic of Texas and later appointed to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas as an associate justice. He never married, had no children, and retired and died in Gay Hill, Texas, which is now a ghost town. Initially, he was buried in Independence, Texas (on the original site of Baylor University). In 1917, his remains were exhumed and transferred to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. As for how he became the university’s namesake, “Some at first wished to name the new university “San Jacinto” to recognize the victory which enabled the Texans to become an independent nation, then before the final vote of the Congress, the petitioners requested the university be named in honor of Judge R. E. B. Baylor.”
  • The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor was chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1845 as Baylor Female College, the female department of what is now Baylor University. Both colleges started in Independence, TX  and in 1886 relocated to their permanent homes in Waco and Belton. It was later named Baylor College for Women and almost folded during the Great Depression until It was saved by a generous gift from Mary and John G. Hardin. In gratitude, the college changed its name to Mary Hardin–Baylor College in 1934.
  • John. G. Hardin was born in Mississippi, moved to Tennessee, and eventually to Texas.
    • In 1879, Hardin moved his family to northern Clay County (later Wichita County) where the couple had purchased a 127-acre homestead at the price of one dollar an acre near what would become Burkburnett, Texas. In order to pay back the loan for the property, Hardin gathered buffalo bone from the prairie and hauled them to Wichita Falls where he received fifteen dollars for each ton.
    • His first wife died and he married Mary Catherine Funk. She’s the Mary Hardin in Mary Hardin-Baylor. That clears up a lot for me, for the longest time, I thought Hardin-Baylor was someone’s actual last name. Like, perhaps a woman with the last name Hardin married a man named Baylor and she kept her name as Hardin-Baylor. You should have seen my face when this epiphany hit.
    • The Hardins wealth mainly came from oil. in 1936 they donated $400,000 towards the construction of a four-year college in Wichita Falls thus establishing Hardin Junior College, later Hardin College, the predecessor of Midwestern State University.

So, at one time, the Hardins had three colleges with their name on them. In addition to that:

Mr. and Mrs. Hardin established trust funds for a number of educational and charitable institutions including Baylor Female College (renamed to Mary Hardin-Baylor University) in Belton,  Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University), Howard Payne College (now Howard Payne University) in Brownwood, and Buckner Baptist Children’s Home in Dallas. In 1934 John and Mary Hardin provided a life-saving gift to Simmons University of Abilene. When asked why the couple supported Christian schools, John Hardin said:

“We are inclined to believe that Christian education of the right type is the greatest work for good that can be done. It is foundation work and the basis upon which good citizenship grows.”

You know who else had their names on a bunch of colleges, Sid Richardson. Colleges and universities themselves may not have the name Richardson in them, but about every other college in Texas seems to have a building named after him.

NBC5’s David Frinfrock seems like a nice and humble sorta fella, so I thought it was odd he was showcasing an Emmy award during his at-home weather forecast. You’d figure it would be on top of that wardrobe in the background and not so predominately displayed right next to him. Humblebrag? Hey Jimi, check out the temperature. (A joke for an audience of two.)

OpenTable will allow people to reserve shopping times at supermarkets
The feature would work much like restaurant reservations

Tampa megachurch pastor arrested after leading packed services despite ‘safer-at-home’ orders

The pastor of a Tampa megachurch is facing charges after refusing to close its doors despite a “safer at home” order in effect in Hillsborough County, meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. The sheriff says up to 500 people were in attendance at Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne’s Sunday services.

Sheriff Chad Chronister and State Attorney Andrew Warren on Monday announced that an arrest warrant had been issued for Pastor Howard-Browne. He faces misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency order.

The River at Tampa Bay Church held two services Sunday, Chronister said, and even offered bus transportation for those services. The chuch’s livestream showed a packed crowd cheering and applauding.

Waco ISD principal tests positive for COVID-19

According to Waco ISD, the principal was on campus at times the week after spring break. He was also present when at-home learning kits were distributed to G.W. Carver families last Monday.

Good for the school district making this public, I can (unfortunately) see a lot of places trying to hide or cover this sort of thing up.

Tom Bosley may best be remembered for his role as the father in Happy Days, but I remember him as the man in the Glad sandwich bags, clingwrap, and garbage bag commercials. When I first saw the clingwrap commercial sealing liquids inside, I instantly wanted to try it only for my father to instantly stop my experiment.

But it as Ziplock who taught me yellow and blue make green.

Random tidbits about the old television series The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (Sept. 1969 – March 1972).

  • The first time I heard of this show was when I was in my late twenties and a team leader at work randomly tole me I reminded her of the kid in the show. I have yet to have watched a single episode or clip of the show.
  • The series starred Bill Bixby, who is probably best known as Bruce Banner from The Incredible Hulk (Nov. 1977 – May 1982) television series. The actor who portrayed his son in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Brandon Cruz, had a guest role in The Incredible Hulk in the show titled “747” which aired in 1978.
  • Cruz became a punk rock musician and an assistant editor on South Park. In 1991, Cruz was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star “Lifetime Achievement” Award, which I had no idea was a thing. Other recipients include Jerry Mathers, Robert Blake, Drew Barrymore, Charlene Tilton, Mario Lopez, and Melissa Joan Hart.

Spring Break vs. COVID19: The Real Impact of Ignoring Social Distancing

We ran an analysis using data from Xmode Social to see the travel paths of anonymized mobile devices that were active at Spring Break at one single Ft. Lauderdale beach. As the map shows, the footprint of social gatherings like these can be massive and put our whole nation at risk!

DJI Won the Drone Wars, and Now It’s Paying the PriceChina’s flashiest global brand has a 77% share of America’s consumer drone sales. It also has to deal with coronavirus, the trade war, a $150 million fraud scandal, and skeptics in the U.S. and Chinese governments.

I had a hard time navigating that website trying to read an article, so here’s a summary article – Go read this Businessweek story about the downsides of DJI’s drone dominance

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4 Responses to Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  1. Bizarro Big Tex says:

    Do those two bread signs combine to form the definition of a paradox? I lean toward “yes” as an answer.

  2. Bizarro Big Tex says:

    Or maybe dichotomy is a better term? Still can’t find my Roget’s.

  3. Ben W. says:

    I’d tap the brakes on investing in the funeral-service industry, unless you’re doing it as a short-term investment for just the next 4-6 months. People are increasingly moving away from the “full” funeral experience, with a casket and visitation/wake and a funeral service followed by a caravan of multiple funeral-home-owned cars going to a graveside service. More and more people are going to simply a direct cremation, maybe an urn, and a visitation only (either at the funeral home or, increasingly, at the family’s home or some other location). Why? Price. Funerals are expensive and cremation is much less costly. So while in the short term it may be a good investment, I think long term that industry is going to continue to see flattening of overall revenue. (Source: my dad, a just-retired funeral director for 30 years.)

    Alright, wiseguy – I’ll see your “Courtship of Eddie’s Father” and raise you “My Mother the Car.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Frinfrock’s Emmy… maybe he uses it for a paperweight, or a nutcracker.

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