Whilst listening to a comedy radio station (LaughTraxx on Radio@Netscape) i caught the name Betty Ford.

I was curious how her name was linked to the infamous Betty Ford Center, the alcohol and drug rehabilition centre.I wanted to know what the link between the centre and the first lady was, so I used Wikipedia to do some research.

Having read the article about Betty Ford, I found out that she struggled with a dependancy on both alcohol and pain killers.

Then the hyperlink adventure began:

As a non-americain and 79-baby, i knew very little about Mr Ford, President Gerald Ford, Jr. Naturally I looked him up and discovered that he was born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr., but had his name changed after his mother remarried. That in itself was curious. But I read on…

It turned out that President Ford escaped two assasination attempts: one by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, the other by Sara Jane Moore. The latter was a lost soul by account of the wikipedia-entry. She was a nursing school student, an army recruit and an accountant but had five husbands and four children before she got revolutionary. In her forties, she attempted the assasination in an effort to prove her worth to her radical friends. Groan..

The former assasin was a different case altogether and all the more exiting to read about. It turned out that she was connected to the famous psychopath criminal Charles Manson. Lynette suffered a terrible childhood that would ruin her life. Finding herself destitute and living on the streets, she was a perfect prey for Manson. The Wikipedia article suprised me in its depth, chronicling Fromme’s career in the penal system. I was most suprised to read that she would be released soon: september 5th 2005! I hope she’s complete rehabilitated.

Then came the anti-hero Charles Manson. That was a real adventure in history; the crazy idea of an imminent race war that was so imminent that he and his followers had to tempt fate by framing the Black Panthers for their indiscriminate murders of white Beverly Hills elitists. The Manson article intimately described Manson’s horrid childhood; i see a pattern here ;).

Amoungst other things, his single, alcoholic prostitute mother no longer wanted him and sent him to a boarding school. He soon escaped and went back to his mother, but his mother rejected him, forcing him on the street.

The even more detailed description of his penal career, even including excerpts of the prison reports written about him. He was quite a character: always looking for attention, abusing the trust of others and eventually raping at razor point and even pimping his fellow inmates! Downright gone.

Nonetheless Manson was let out on probation and managed to do "good" outside too. He married twice, his first child Charles M. Manson, Jr. (d. 1993; suicide at age 38) was born to Manson’s first wife (married at 17!), who left him for a truck driver after Manson got himself in jail again.

The rollercoaster continued with tangents into Scientology, The Beatles and even the good Ol’ Beach Boys!

Just amazing stuff to read.

Wikipedia is truely a treasure trove of information.
I love it!