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Origins: "Uncle Sam"

Ever wonder where the term "Uncle Sam" came from? Well, we did -- yesterday, in fact -- over an early-morning bowl of Trader Joe's whole-wheat "o"-shaped cereal. (Nasty stuff, that.) After choking down our nourishment, we resolved to find out.

Interestingly enough, the most widely-accepted story of the term's origin (there are several) involves similarly inedible rations. During the War of 1812, a New York meat-packer named "Uncle" Samuel Wilson had a supply contract with the Army. He shipped the meat, salted, in barrels marked "U.S.," which the soldiers and teamsters who transported them joked were the initials of "Uncle" Sam himself. So the government-supplied meat -- and thenceforth, anything else marked "U.S." -- was said to be courtesy of Uncle Sam.

If you don't believe us, just ask the 87th Congress of the United States, who in 1961 adopted a resolution "saluting Uncle Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of America's National symbol of Uncle Sam." Another story, about which neither the 87th nor any other Congress has rendered its opinion, posits that "Uncle Sam" was a creation by Irish immigrants who referred to the US by its Gaelic acronym, SAM; "United States of America" translates to Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá in Gaelic.

Also notable: the recruitment poster featuring the best-known image of Uncle Sam (above) was painted in 1917, and is derivative of a British recruitment poster from 1914 (below).
Kitchener-Britons.jpg

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Mister Rogers Is Now a Funko Pop! and It’s Such a Good Feeling, a Very Good Feeling
Amazon
Amazon

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood for fans of Mister Rogers, as Funko has announced that, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the kindest soul to ever grace a television screen will be honored with a series of Funko toys, some of them limited-edition versions.

The news broke at the New York Toy Fair, where the pop culture-loving toy company revealed a new Pop Funko! in Fred Rogers’s likeness—he’ll be holding onto the Neighborhood Trolley—plus a Mister Rogers Pop! keychain and a SuperCute Plush.

In addition to the standard Pop! figurine, there will also be a Funko Shop exclusive version, in which everyone’s favorite neighbor will be wearing a special blue sweater. Barnes & Noble will also carry its own special edition, which will see Fred wearing a red cardigan and holding a King Friday puppet instead of the Neighborhood Trolley.

 

Barnes & Noble's special edition Mister Rogers Funko Pop!
Funko

Mister Rogers’s seemingly endless supply of colored cardigans was an integral part of the show, and a sweet tribute to his mom (who knitted all of them). But don’t go running out to snatch up the whole collection just yet; Funko won’t release these sure-to-sell-out items until June 1, but you can pre-order your Pop! on Amazon right now.

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