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Mad Indulgence

Imagine you’re standing in a gallery of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. As an ardent student of history, you’re transfixed by Benjamin West’s 1772 masterpiece The Treaty of Penn with the Indians (shown below). This work seemingly invites you to step into it, to hear the speakers and to witness the Quakers and Indians reach agreement.Benjamin_West_-_The_Treaty_of_Penn_with_the_Indians_-_WGA25555

Now … imagine it’s possible to virtually step into the painting! Your eyes dart to the left and the right, noticing what’s beyond the picture’s frame. In fact, you have a 360º virtual view of the scene! Are there boats on the river to the left? Are there buildings to the right? What else did the artist see (and choose to leave out) that your virtual tour permits you to view? Continue Reading →

Don’t Move Me, Bro!

When our five-year-old grandson is here for the day (as he was today), he’s always anxious for the male members of the family to show up at end of day. He looks forward to playing video games (XBOX) with our oldest grandson … and he can’t wait for my Beloved to arrive home so they can “drive” the big white truck (a Ford F150) together. The child hops onto his granddad’s lap and they motor around our 3+ acre lot. (The other grandchildren are equally thrilled when they’re given opportunity to get behind the wheel.)semi-truck-image1

If this little guy were allowed to drive a truck like the one pictured above, I think he’d be more than pleased to give it a try! He has been interested in vehicles since he was a baby. The other day he showed me one of his Matchbox cars, which I immediately identified as a fire truck (it was red, had a fireman insignia painted on the side) and he respectfully (but adamantly) corrected me:  “It’s actually a tanker truck.” (Yes, he uses the word actually.) Continue Reading →

Eradication Meditations

The saga of my garden continues. A couple weeks ago, I posted about my concern that last year’s raspberry canes I pruned (drastically) back in February weren’t going to sprout new canes. There’s good news to report on that front! Not only have they sprouted nicely but they look to be thriving! I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a partial victory on this! See the picture below.2015-05-04 20.14.16When my Beloved announced over the weekend he was going to purchase tomato and green pepper seedlings and maybe a few other vegetables for planting, I was both surprised and goaded into action! Until now, he had more or less ceded the raised-bed garden space to my care … but I wasn’t going to refuse his sudden interest, no, no, no! So I knew I had to take immediate action! Continue Reading →

Not So Honest Abe

When the ads began airing for the second season of TURИ:  Washington’s Spies, I decided to take some time out for an American History diversion. Since I hadn’t watched the first season (which aired beginning in April 2014), I wanted to view those episodes first and I’m still going through them. I may not catch up until season two goes to Netflix.Turn-AMCThe series has received generally favorable reviews. Critics on the rotten tomatoes website were mixed, offering a 52% favorable though the audience score (82%) was more impressive. Those ratings have gone up now that season two is in progress.

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Mother, May I Mayday?

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Today is the first day of May. Having watched numerous television shows in my youth where the pilot or ship’s captain grabs up his microphone and utters those three words in hopes of rescue, every May 1st, I’m reminded of those dramatic scenes of video terror.MaydayLandPlaneOf course, I would never actually utter this standard distress call in real life (I’m neither pilot nor ship’s captain) … since making a false distress call is a federal offense. Continue Reading →

Heroes Or Villains?

The trailer for the DC Comics superhero film, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a hot item this weekend. Watch the trailer here. As a one-time fan of both Batman (the Christian Bale film series from 2005-forward) and Superman (the George Reeves television series of the 1950s), I’m not particularly enthusiastic about forthcoming productions. For me, I want my superheroes to remain the way I remember them.superman batmanThe upcoming film was originally set to release in 2014 and then was delayed to be released this year but was once again pushed back, this time until 2016. The delays are puzzling and the story line has been, so far as I can tell, kept under wraps but the title is intriguing. Are Batman and Superman going to participate in the ultimate challenge and meet face to face in the UFC Octagon? Continue Reading →

What Does Cinderella Do?

Thanks to the recent release of Disney’s live-action movie, Cinderella, there’s been a resurgent popularity for the romantic fairy tale. In a February post, I mentioned my enthusiasm for the upcoming (at that time) movie and my eagerness to see it. (I’m hopeful to catch it this coming weekend.)
Unfortunately, from about the 1960s and forward, the Cinderella mythology fell out of favor because the feminist dogma unofficially rejected her as an undesirable sexist stereotype. Google “feminism and Cinderella” and numerous posts result, many of which attempt to provide a new take on this formerly discarded fairy tale heroine.
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Spring Break 1969

Back in 1969, a group of students climbed aboard a chartered Trailways bus departing from northwest Arkansas and bound for Daytona Beach FL. It was Spring Break and there were nearly fifty of us who made the 19-hour trip … guys and gals eager to unwind from long hours devoted to our studies. Drinking in the pleasures of warm weather and the smell of a salt sea would be a blessed change of pace!Daytona

We weren’t a particularly rowdy group though we could get noisy and our zest for life often overstepped bounds. We knew how to enjoy life and pursue “good, clean fun.” On our adventure to the beach, we anticipated enjoying the atmosphere of a week-long fun-in-the-sun party … in the company of about 50,000-75,000 other students. Continue Reading →

What We Do For Love

In my family, there are several family history buffs. My cousin B. (and her husband) have gathered a storehouse of information on our forebears and I’m always amazed at their tenacity and stamina for the hunt. This couple has slogged through wastelands and cow pastures where cemeteries used to be located (and still are, but few know about them). A little mud (or cow dung) is trivial to this pair.ReimerPfundt

While B. and her husband have gathered family history information on the hoof, so to speak, my tendency is to shun the mud (or cow dung) and search for facts electronically. All the online resources that have become available over the last ten years are my gold mine. But guess which one of us has the better track record at snagging the real gold and gems?

One hint:  it’s rarely me.

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Opening a Door . . . For Closure

Origins matter. Whether your family has lived in the same vicinity for 200 years or you’re part of the broad population that moves around every couple of years, wherever you “come from” is important. My own interest in origins feeds my love for genealogy.

Elfreth's Alley FROM:  http://tiny.cc/zhi5ux

Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia PA FROM: http://tiny.cc/zhi5ux

It’s not just the ancestral names and faces who are fascinating but also the places from which they came. There are questions like, what is it that compels a family to uproot their lives in a certain locale and transport lock, stock and all possessions to another place to establish new roots? On the other hand, what drives other families to stay rooted in the same place over many generations?  Continue Reading →

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