Category: Coma History

Timeline of Bans in Coma

11 Coma Ban Decision Tree

By Robert McGuiness, Coma News Reporter, Not an Alcoholic

The recent ban on paper products in Coma is just one of many bans enacted over the past six months.  Some of the more significant ones are listed below:

April 7-  Mugs or cups that depict a graphical representation of love using a heart as opposed to spelling out the word “love”

April 19- Naked salads (salads, including macaroni-style and potato-style lacking appropriate dressing or reasonable sauce of some kind)

May 22- References to “That 70s Show”, “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, Lindsey Lohan movies or other media that glorifies the use of marijuana, alcohol or other mind-altering substances

June 5- Non-dairy whipped topping

June 15- Open containers containing more than five gallons of gasoline may not be set on fire within city limits

June 29- Open sores or wounds of more than 4 cm in length

July 11- Music, spoken-word poetry or miming that deliberately creates “spirit of rebellion” in youth

July 30- Frisbee playing in public places within city limits (“Hippies to the Woods” proclamation)

July 30- Hanky panky (“Hippies to the Woods” proclamation)

July 30- Fun Dip and any candy or food item that utilizes an edible device as a form of silverware (“Hippies to the Woods” proclamation)

August 4- Murder in public places within city limits

August 12- Paper products and items that are comprised of at least 80 percent paper or require paper in their production or require the use of paper in order to function properly

To assist citizens in making good, legal choices, the mayor’s office has issued a helpful cheat sheet for people to use when deciding to undertake an activity.  See above.


Depot ‘Boondoggle’ Celebrated

By Stan Bargemeyer, Coma News Daily intern, Sometimes wears pants

Thirty years ago, the attraction now known as Trashtown National Historic Site in Coma was a train wreck.

Trashtown USA, as it was then known, was basically a junk yard of train parts that had fallen off as locomotives passing through Coma and trash that passengers dumped out windows but local organizers dreamed of much more.

They tried for years to raise local money to transform the space into a local collection of historic trash piles but  failed to generate enough money to support its maintenance, much less pay for development and renovation.

Legislative Supermen

While organizers of the local site failed to spark visitors’ imaginations–despite arranging the trash in the shape of Theodore Roosevelt, for instance–they succeeded in attracting the attention of a few powerful men in Washington, D.C. In September 1986, U.S. Rep. Donald Dingleberries passed out in the junk yard after a three day bender and upon waking famously said “What fresh Hell is this?”

The visit had the effect Trashtown USA principals were hoping for, according to The Coma News Daily’s account of the visit. Rep. Dingleberries, a key figure in numerous federal porkbarrel schemes, knew how to spin trash into gold.

“During a later sober tour of the once-busy junk yard, Dingleberries suggested that the area may one day become a national park where the story of rail trash dumping in the United States will be told,” according to a Sept. 16, 1986, Coma News Daily story.


When Dingleberries requested operational specifications for improving “this steaming pile of opportunity” Trashtown General Manager John M. Shart Jr. wasted no time in getting that information to the congressman, telling Coma News Daily he was “working with Trashtown architects and operations people right now and hope to send the specifications to Congressman Dingleberries in Washington this afternoon,” the Sept. 16, 1986 article reported.

Mr. Dingleberries wasted no time after arriving back in Washington, D.C. Just days after his visit to Trashtown, the congressman introduced legislation to make Trashtown a national junk pile. A Sept. 23, 1986, Coma News article reported that U.S. Sen. Arlen “Angry Red” Weiner was expected to introduce a bill nearly identical to Mr. Dingleberries’.

Tramp Stamp of Approval

The same article noted “Both Weiner and Dingleberries hope Congress will put its stamp of approval on the plan before it adjourns, although Coma Mayor Buckey “Buck You” McMasters said today it will take a ‘Herculean boonedoggle’ to accomplish that goal.”

About $500 million in funding to turn Trashtown into a national historic site was wrapped into a “$500 billion package of legislation that would provide for the continued operation of the federal government,” according to an Oct. 8, 1986, Coma News article. Mr. Dingleberries “managed to attach the Trashtown allocation to the Parks Service bill, specifying that the $500 million is to be used to build the national museum at Trashtown and to pay various entities operated by people also named Dingleberries.”

Roller-Coaster Nausea

The next few weeks must have seemed like a roller-coaster ride for those with a stake in Trashtown’s fate. But 30 years ago this month, Trashtown got its designation at a national historic site and its initial federal funding, thanks in large part to Mr. Dingleberries’ tireless advocacy. Thankfully, the local public servant got more than just our thanks–he was able to retire a couple years later after amassing a $900 million fortune while working in Congress.

“Public service is its own reward–much like cocaine,” Dingleberries said in an interview shortly before his untimely passing in 1992.

This Day in History: Hot Dog Hammer Invented in Coma

By Coma News Daily Staff

Like everybody else, Ezra Kocklebloch loved hot dogs. But it took Kocklebloch to turn eating hot dogs into an event.

The idea for the hot dog hammer came to Kocklebloch one day while watching a group of boys gathered around one boy holding a magnifying glass.


“He was burning caterpillars but you’d think he was spinning gold, based on the rapt attention of the other youngsters,” Kocklebloch said in a 1995 interview with Coma News Daily.

The crowd-pleasing violence showed Kocklebloch the future of his hot dog stand. He fashioned wooden hammers from Lincoln Log sets, clogs, and bundles of chopsticks and lent them to hotdog buyers.

“The indescribable joy on a boy’s face as he hammers a hot dog, before eating the pieces–that’s what kept me showing up for work at that hotdog stand for the next 30 years,” Kocklebloch said.

Although the hot dog hammer never gained much popularity, it’s influence could be seen in the later popularity of the broccoli bludgeon and carrot club.

But for a generation of kids raised in Coma it was hard not to think of a hot dog every time they saw a hammer.

This Day in History: Cat Park Invented

By Stan Bargmeyer, Coma News Daily elderly intern


On July 23, 1984, more than three years of effort resulted in the cats of Coma and their people finally having a park to call their own.

At 9:00 a.m. on that historic day, Mayor T. Boone Dickens gave a short speech thanking local Cat Park advocates for their research, dedication, and steady commitment to bringing a Cat Park to town.

About a dozen cats and their family members showed up for the opening day activities and to check out the new park. Most of the animals immediately jumped the fence and ran away.


History has shown us that there is literally no length this town will not go to to appease our feline overlords.

The few remaining cats were soon chased off by a local dog that wandered by the Cat Park and began uncontrollably barking.

Despite the loss of the cats, their owners were able to enjoy a day sitting in the covered pavilion, sharing potato salad, and talking about their cats.

When discussions of the Cat Park for Coma were first brought before the Town Council there was much skepticism and limited support. After three years of steady efforts of a group of committed Cat Park supporters and advocates, led by the husband and wife team of Riley Jacobs and Summer Moon Beam Roehner, the idea became even more unpopular.

But by cultivating a series of favors owed to them by Town Council members, the pair were able to realize their dreams of a dedicated space for Coma cats to run away and–occasionally–to play and socialize with other felines.

The site is the current location of the Coma Wastewater Treatment Plant and Spring Water Dispensary.

Mailbox ‘Hat’ Invented in Coma

On This Day in History…
Mailbox ‘Hat’ Invented in Coma

By Stan Bargmeyer, senior citizen intern


A mailman during the recent Funny Hat Day to honor the historic Coma Hardt Hat, which aimed to deter mailbox baseball.

Robert Hardt grew sick and tired of picking up the remains of his mailbox after local mailbox baseball players kept knocking it loose.

So, in 1987  he decided to do something about it.

First came a treated 4×4 post, but it was snapped. He moved up to a 6 inch fencepost, and they got it too–although it cost them the front bumper of their truck.

Next came Hardt’s “stunt” mailbox, which placed several fake mailboxes in a row so the lead box got hit. However, on some “heavy rotation” nights batters would work their way through all five stunt boxes until they were able to destroy his actual box.

In his diary, Hardt recalled that he ran out of mailbox money for a while so he took to camping out near his mailbox and reporting the license plate numbers of smashers to the Coma Sheriff.

“Fat Bastard wouldn’t do a thing,” Hardt wrote. “And I think some of the box-smashers are off-duty deputies.”

Undeterred, Hardt moved on to a very large mailbox, with a smaller one inside it, and filled the cavity
between the two with concrete.

“They got that one with a snow plow mounted on the front of a truck,” Hardt wrote in his diary.

The first “Hardt Hat” mailbox was a regular mailbox mounted on a spring pole. The next couple of times
they smashed it, Hardy just hammered it back out.

“I thought they might get tired if they found I wasn’t bothering to replace the mailbox,” Hardt wrote. “That
stopped em for a while; then they realized that the spring post was in two bolted-together sections. So they stole the top section and mailbox.”

His second Hardt Hat mailbox finally did the trick. It was simply a heavy duty quarter-inch steel box welded to a 4-foot long heavy coil spring set in a 7-foot deep concrete base.

“The solution was so simple and staring me in the face all along,” Hardt wrote to himself.

Even decades later, Hardt Hat mailboxes continue to dot Coma and their recoil continues to provide satisfying dents in drive-by vehicles across town.

Coma’s Clown General of World War II

Coma’s Clown General of World War II

Brigadier General Isaac “Burpy” Clemens, better known as the “Clown General of World War II” or “Burpy the Clown” was a successful American General in the European theatre during World War II. Born and raised in Coma, Clemens is often cited as the man who saved the Allied Forces during the Battle of the Bulge, Clemens was an expert field strategist who often employed unorthodox tactics which caught his enemies off guard and unprepared.

Clemens gained notoriety in 1944 when he successfully twisted more than four-thousand balloons to create a fake infantry unit that provided a distraction to German units in France, allowing allied forces to secure an important bridge north of France.

A graduate of West Point (Class of 1916), Clemens served during World War I as an artillery officer where he gained the reputation as a tough but lovable leader.  He served on Dwight Eisenhower’s staff during World War II and received several commendations for his service.

During the Potsdam Conference of 1945, Clemens nearly caused an international crisis when he inadvertently sprayed seltzer water into the eye of Russian leader Joseph Stalin during their initial greeting.

Clemens died in 1961 and is buried in the Coma cemetery.


Clemens is photographed with General Dwight Eisenhower’s staff during the Potsdam Conference

Remembering Coma’s Infamous Panty Embezzelor

By Stan Bargmeyer, Coma News Intern

Coma School Board member James W. Jacob “Jake” Smyth made and lost several fortunes as he worked his way from sales clerk to a well-known town elderman.

But the Coma man, who moved here from England when he was 15, found himself embroiled in scandal in the 1930s while operating the largest laundry service in Coma.


Coma History: Missing panties on an epic scale cost one Coma man his career, savings, and freedom. But were they ever found?

Jonathan T Buttontop was the first to raise concerns about Smyth potentially embezzling thousands of pairs of women’s underwear from his patrons. It took months for the accusations to gain traction, but Buttontop refused to let the matter drop.

Criminal charges were first lodged against Smyth in April 1932 and an indictment followed five months later.

Customers also filed the first class action in Coma asking a judge to force Smyth to reimburse them for the lost–and now unwanted–panties.

After more than a year of legal wrangling, Judge Samuel E. Skull decided Smyth owed the victims either 87 cents apiece or replacement pairs of “study cotton drawers.”

Coma News Daily reported on Dec. 2, 1933 what  the newspaper article called “a victory not just for local lady-persons, but also for Mr. Buttontop.”

His “one-man fight … has borne fruit–of the loom,” the newspaper article stated.

At a subsequent trial, Smyth plead no contest to four charges related to the embezzlement of 48,189 pairs of panties.

At his sentencing to serve five to 10 years in the State Penitentiary, Smyth stood in the packed courtroom “nattily attired in a blue suit, blue tie to match, white silk panties in his coat pocket with his rimmed glasses held in place by his characteristic black ribbon,” Coma News Daily reported on Nov. 17, 1934.

Before leaving Coma, Smyth was quoted as saying “I bear no ill will against anyone or their undergarments” and expressed hope that he would pay his debt to society and then return to Coma, an article on May 21, 1935, reported.

It was not clear when exactly Smyth was released. He died at his daughter’s home on Eighth Avenue in April 1951 after suffering a heart attack.

None of the missing panties were ever recovered.

Food Celebrities’ Violent Visits to Coma

By Stan Bargmeyer, news intern

Long before the current crop of well mannered and cultured celebrities, like Kanye and Miley Cyrus, a celebrity visit to Coma usually meant trouble.

That was the case during the 1979 Coma visit by Colonel Sanders, who punched three chickens in the face when they failed to win their poultry races at the county fair.


A white suit, white goatee, and dark glasses couldn’t class up that dark day when the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken unleashed his own brand of dark justice.

The pattern continued with the 1983 visit by Duncan Hines, who famously  developed and sold the rights to cake mixes.

“I have a warm spot in my heart for Coma and particularly the dedicated lunch ladies,” Hines told a Coma Rotary Club luncheon, shortly before attacking a waiter with his bare hands.

The attack and two subsequent kerfluffles in town were accompanied by Hines’ rantings that people were trying to steal his delicious cakes and muffins.

“You people in this town are blessed with a lot of good eating places,” Hines said as he was carted off to a state sanitarium.

The chain of celebrity violence took a break during pleasant and song-fill 1985 visit of the Marlboro Man,  actor David McLean.

“The Marlboro Man was the best thing to happen to Coma in my lifetime,” former Mayor Ezekiel Huntsman said in a 2006 interview.

By far the worst violence was felt during the 1991 visit by actor Val Gould, better known as the Quaker Oats Man.

Wearing a white wig, large hat, red coat, satin pantaloons, white socks with black shoes, Mr. Quaker traveled the nation to give talks, including 20 speeches in Coma schools in one week.

Instead of touting products, Mr. Quaker unleashed diatribes against the American military and “the 3 percent”

“Capitalism is a monstrous lie and only a whole grain breakfast can defeat it,” Gould told pupils, shortly before burning down much of downtown Coma.

The town still bears the scars of that breakfast icon’s visit.