Sunbeams cover


George Wilbur Peck (1840-1916)

1. 01 - The Dude and His Pajamas; The Boers and the Filipinos; The Soldier and the Branding Iron
2. 02 - "Admiral, is My Hat on Straight?"; Gave the Prisoner Rope; The Trust and the Drummer
3. 03 - When Dad was Scared; The Yellow Shoe Period
4. 04 - Unusual Hunting Experience; The Woman and the Cocktail; The Dakota District Attorney; Bi-Meatallic Sausage
5. 05 - Red-headed Boy Angel; Interrupted Wedding Trip
6. 06 - Clock Watcher and Whistle Jumper; The Woman Behind the Gun; An Experimental Turkish Bath
7. 07 - Spare the Child and Spoil the Rod; Hair Cut Curly; The Country's Bride and Groom
8. 08 - The Goat Meat Habit; New War Explosives; The Man Who Asked Questions
9. 09 - The Hen in Politics; Dreyfus and Embalmed Beef; The Deadly Pistol Pocket
10. 10 - Guest on a Coal Carrier; Calling an Audience with a Fire Alarm; American Jew Baiter Dead
11. 11 - The Horseless Carriage; Burning a Tar Barrel; Salt Water Baths for Hives
12. 12 - Elephant Hunting in Wisconsin; The Outing and the Mosquito; Why They did not Enlist
13. 13 - The Sultan Drowns Wives; How Uncle Charley Made an Apple Pie
14. 14 - The Chaplain and the Bull; Abolishing the School Recess; The Turkish Bath at Home
15. 15 - Free Postal Delivery to Farmers; The Barefooted Farmer Boy; The Drummer and the Farmer
16. 16 - Wants to be a Hero; Another Deer Murder Case; Should Woman be Eaten?
17. 17 - The Clerk Who gets Drunk; The Old Kicker Kicks; The Vacation Season
18. 18 - Surgical Operations in Public; Terrible Encounter Single Handed against a Biscuit
19. 19 - How the Fireman Fell Over the Cow; Learning an Easy Trade; A Bear with a Jag
20. 20 - The Terrible Root Beer Jag; Queer Case in New York

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George W. Peck was at times a writer, newspaper publisher and politician. Many of the Sunbeam essays had been published in Peck's paper, "The Sun", as amusing and often critical comments on social and political subjects, typically current in the beginning of the 1900's. Topics are often 'small town' United States, and Peck's gentle sarcasm or portrayals much resembles that of Twain. Listeners must be aware that the Spanish American War was a recent event, leading to the "Yankee" involvement in the Philippines. Admiral Dewey, who figures in several of the writings, had the Olympia as his flagship. The Dwight, mentioned in 'A Bear with a Jag', may have been Charles Dwight Sigsbee, Captain of the Maine in 1898. At this time the British Empire was in conflict with the Boers under Kruger, all topics of or mentioned in the early essays. In the slang of that time a "drummer" was a traveling salesman, while a trust was a financial combine with monopolistic powers. The essay title term "bimeatallic" likely is a take-off on the "bimetallic question", which referred to arguments over having gold and silver both as legal tender. Peck suggested, tongue in cheek, that there could be a 'standard' under which horsemeat should be disclosed as an ingredient of sausage. Indeed, many of the essays deal with questionable ingredients for foods, and were probably of high relevance to consumers who were without the regulatory protections and labelling requirements of today. In the same vein, the 'embalmed beef' served as rations to U.S. soldiers became notorious.