From the Wiki page:
Curse of the Colonel - refers to an urban legend regarding a reputed curse placed on the Japanese Kansai-based Hanshin Tigers baseball team by deceased KFC founder and mascot Colonel Harland Sanders.
The curse was said to be placed on the team because of the Colonel’s anger over treatment of one of his store-front statues, which was thrown into the Dōtonbori River by celebrating Hanshin fans following their team’s victory in the 1985 Japan Championship Series. As is common with sports-related curses, the Curse of the Colonel was used to explain the team’s subsequent 18-year losing streak.Some fans believed the team would never win another Japan Series until the statue had been recovered.
Comparisons are often made between the Hanshin Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, who were said to be under the Curse of the Bambino until they won the World Series in 2004.The “Curse of the Colonel” has also been used as a boogeyman threat to those who would divulge the secret recipe of eleven herbs and spices that comprise the unique taste of his chicken.
Moritz von Schwind [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In his recently published book, “The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome,”
Gordon Campbell traces the strange and unbelievable history of the oft-fantasized hermit. The Boston Globe
recently wrote a bit about Campbell’s new book and the history and origins of our modern take on the hermit lifestyle. Below are some amazing snippets of the Globe article, which are rich with lore and fact.
…For several decades beginning at the middle of the century, live hermits were the height of fashion for the British gentry. New trends in garden design—away from formal, geometric grounds and towards artificial Edens—created a new kind of cultural habitat, which some people filled with an actual occupant. Provided with a hut or grotto to call his own and a few simple meals a day, a garden hermit might live for years on a picturesque corner of the property. Wandering guests would marvel at this living, breathing symbol of rural withdrawal.
The hermit, Campbell argues in his book, was a public symbol of an emotion that we have since learned to bury: melancholy. Sadness was something one cultivated, a state that suggested emotional sensitivity and a kind of native intelligence. To employ a garden hermit—cloaked in rags, performing solitude—was to assert a fine sensibility, one keen to the spiritual benefits of privacy, peace, and mild woe.
And from Campbell’s interview:
The term is often seven years, the hermits are not allowed to wash their hair or cut their nails, which sounds horrendous. They had to live austerely, and when their term was up, they’d receive 4 or 5 or 600 pounds, enough to never work again. Landowners had enormous power. They could also say to one of their tenants, “I want you to be my ornamental hermit. Here is your druid costume.”
“[Teddy] Roosevelt had long been a promoter of guinea pigs as first-rate house pets for children; and he kept five in the White House: Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans, and Father O’Grady.”
-excerpt from The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 1858-1919 by Douglas Brinkley