Friday, January 30, 2009


PLEASE GO BACK TO #153 (William & Mary-Nov. 20th) for some more neat history!

A) SUFFOLK is an English word meaning "south folk" and is pronouced correctly as Suf-FOLK!
B) NORFOLK is also an English word meaning "north folk" and is NOT pronouced as Nor-f**k, but correctly, historically, as Nor-FOLK!
C) English town and is pronounced "gloss-ter."
D) PORTSMOUTH....English town...."Port at the Mouth of the River."
E) STAUNTON...old English family name is pronouced "Stan-ton" up in the Shenandoah Valley...
means "stone town."
F) a native American word and means "Daughter of the Stars."
G) S'-M-O-R-E-S! a tantalizing word that means "yummy and means that I want some more!"
H) a native American word that means a form of 'money'...Roanoke originally was named "Big Lick." Roanoke (and Roanoke county combined) is the largest city in the mountainous region of Western Virginia and is described as 'The Capital of the Blue Ridge.' Young Roanokers have begun to call their town "Noke" or "the Noke!"
I) C-VILLE....Charlottesville, in the Piedmont (foothills) of Virginia, is affectionally called C-Ville. This guy is proud to have studied at U.Va. a bit. And spent many an afternoon on "The Corner" on Main Street. ( first 600+ novel being completed has something to do with that university across from The Corner...secret).
J) BRISTOL (Va./TN)...there are two cities in Virginia with dual locations, and Bristol is one. There is a street that separates the two...on one side is Tennessee and walk across the street into Virginia...interesting governments. The other one is BLUEFIELD (Va./W.Va.)...both have separate city governments in separate States. This historian has visited both.
K) BUENA VISTA....a small town next to Lexington, in Rockbridge correctly pronounced, locally, "Bu-na Vista", and not the Spanish pronunciation! Both are in the Shenandoah Valley. Don't make the mistake of using that Spanish pronunciation...locals will LOOK at you twice! The word originally meant "good view." By the way, Lexington, a small town, is home to two universities...VMI and W&L! And Buena Vista has a small college, Southern Virginia College.
L) WAYNESBORO....named for General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, Revolutionary War hero!
M) FRONT ROYAL....from a term during the Revolutionary War, too..."Front the Royal Oak"...deserters were lined up in front of a huge, old oak tree and.......
N) NEWPORT NEWS....the origin that I believe is true comes from Capt. Christopher Newport. During the terrible, trying times at Jamestowne, those left sailed back down the James, leaving. Capt. Newport sailed in, saw them and made them go back up the river to Jamestowne, WITH plenty of provisions (f00d) from England! "Newport's news...he was coming back with food!" Virginia also has honored this early 'Virginian' by naming a growing university in his honor in Newport News!
O) CROAKER (James City County, Va.)....comes from the abundant fish in nearby York River! The place in the road originally was named Hollywood, for holly trees.
P) HANGMAN'S LANE (Williamsburg, Va.)....located on Capitol Landing Rd. at Rte. 143! Persons were taken "way out" of town to be hanged! Town didn't want the hanging IN town. Sheriff built a scafold with three posts and two boards across top, resembling a tri-corner effect.
Q) NORGE (JCC, Va.)....founded in 1898...Norge comes from the Norwegian spelling for Norway and pronounced "Nor-ga." Norge depot there was an early important commercial business for shipping potatoes and sweet potatoes to distant markets. Past Hickory Neck Episcopal Church, on Rte. 60 and across the road, you can still see an early sweet potato barn over in the field, past an early home...the Stewart place.
R) BARHAMSVILLE (New Kent County, Va.)....Bennett Barham had a home in that area in 1823.
S) LIGHTFOOT (JCC, Va.)....two possible stories here. A prominent lawyer, Philip Lightfoot, was a merchant in that area prior to 1768. The other story involves Lightfoot Taylor who ran a stage stop in that area in the 1800s. "Going to Lightfoot's" was an expression used back then for that area.
T) WALT DISNEY!....this imaginative genius had a special, reserved seat in the back of the old Williamsburg Theatre on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg. He would sit with his friend, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in the back of the once ornate theatre, before C.W. decided to change things, and view one of the Disney films together...and chat a bit.
U) TOANO....two different stories. Was first called Burnt Ordinary. When the C&O Railroad Co. built the railroad through, one story claims they named the station, and town, for a spring out in Utah, Toano Springs. Another story claims that it was named for a Native American, with the word meaning "pipe camping place."
V) MOSCOW, Va.....there is a one-store place in the road northwest of Staunton, but it's pronounced "Mos-co." Used to stop there for a soda and oatmeal cookie on the way to trout fish in the North River Gorge.
W) JERUSALEM CHAPEL....Abandoned, in ruins, very old and historic wooden chapel on Brick Bat Road in James City County, Va. A handful of years ago went out a few times to measure all its details and built a scaled model of the way it was in its heyday. Another case of deeply being saddened because it has been left to simply fall apart! What a CRYING shame!
X) area of James City County near city limits of Newport News. Was originally named Carter's Grove Quarter, where their slaves lived in cabins. At one time the area was called Black Swamp Quarter, also. Carter's Grove Qarter was shortened to Grove Quarter and then to Grove!
Y) LANEXA, Va.....New Kent County, Rte. 60. The original village is located off the "new" Rte. 60 a few miles to the left on the river! Turn left in what is now called Lanexa and take just a few minutes to see a few of the old store buildings left. There was a depot there but no longer
Z) ROCHAMBEAU....a James City County, Va. name. French Gen. Jean Baptiste Rochambeau commanded the French troops in Virginia during our Revolutionary War and fought with our Gen. George Washington at Yorktown!
AA) URBANNA, Va.....this Middlesex County town was formed by combining "urban" and "Queen Anne."
BB) THE TOWN of no more, so to speak! Before WWII there was a normal town, Magruder, where our Camp Peary exists today. Yes, the federal government came in and moved everyone out (paying $ for the properties). I'm told that the remnants of the town are still "in there." On my list of historical research is to visit Magruder inside Camp Peary.
(Latest...I did receive special permission to go on the Camp Peary property, with an aide taking me, to see what''s left of the town of Magruder. A church, and cemetery, one two-story home and a barn. My escort was very helpful and even copied some old pics of those buildings for me! Good experience. Last summer was given permission to see the old Lee House (Kiskiack House) on Navel Weapons Station property along the York River!)
CC) SEAFORD....The original name was "Crab Neck." The name was changed by an E.E. Slaight to create a more pleasant sound. Could not uncover who Slaight was and why he had the power to make the change. There was a Clarence J. Slaight in 1914 who became Seaford's Postmaster.
DD) MONTICELLO....Jefferson pronounce it "Mon-Ti-CHELL-O! He liked the Italian word meaning "little mountain."

Thursday, January 29, 2009


A wise adage overheard by a farmer working in his veggie garden one spring evening as the sun set to the West, and after he and his farmhouse wife shared a simple meal of yeast rolls, turnip greens, mashed spuds and a slice of grilled country ham...oh, and a glass or three of brewed sweetened iced tea. His wife would bake a peach cobbler, with flaky crust, for later when they would sit on their overstuffed sofa, enjoy a bowl of the cobbler covered with 'dirty vanilla' ice cream and enjoy "American Idol. Later, he would walk to the old barn and tell the farm animals a bedtime story before working on his computer's FaceBook."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This native Virginian, during my 'blue highways' adventures throughout the rural and hinderlands, has 'captured' on film tens of hundreds of the American farm icons over the past decade or so. My like affair with the wooden 'cathedrals' continues....
The barn was the focal point of every farm and famhouse...BUT they're disappearing rather quickly for they're a pain to maintain and "them people" tear them down simply to get the cured lumber.
As a Virginian, this historian and researcher has stuck with only the ones from my State, unless on trips to Pennsylvania, West-by-gosh Virginia and New England. Our Shenandoah Valley is my fave photographing grounds, though, especially the Amish and Mennonite barns around Rockingham County.
WHY? They don't make them anymore...and they're aesthetically beautiful as utilitarian icons! I am "turned on" whenever there is a chance to wander inside one, no matter the size or location. Often, the older barns have spaces between the perpendicular siding or pieces missing creating a "cathedral" feel from the inside looking out, with the sun shining across the boards. The old barns have character and plenty of stories IF they could talk. My fave barn essay/article ever written was about my impressions, as a little boy, visiting my grandparents' barn in Rockingham County in the Shenandoah Valley. I was scared going into the old barn, but my grandmother had asked me to go out and 'fetch' more eggs from the barn for her cake...and cookies! What I discovered deep inside the bowels of the ancient barn was.....well, you'll have to wait to read The Serpentine Bond! 'cause the scene is included, like fiction, in my first novel!!! The SB has been completed, and being polished and placed onto WORD...coming closer and closer to completion. Creative writing, by the the way, is absolutely WORK! I sometimes rewrite a scene a time or three. And I sometimes feel like I'll never make it to success with my novel, BUT it will!! Also, had to add two new chapters to make the novel flow smoothly. And, for fun and practice, will also compose essays for a newspaper publication or three. My bestest essay was the research and publication last Fall of the story of Joseph Shelton Watson, a William and Mary student in 1801. He designed and sent aloft Virginia's first hot-air balloon on the Courthouse lawn in Williamsburg! Finally, this W&M college student is NOW a hero. For years, a Virginia Historic Marker languished at Scotland and Richmond Road without notice. Sadly, he died in 1805, and I have yet to uncover why at such a young age. The latest one, Waller Mill Park Trails, was just completed, after intense research and photography, between work sessions on WORD.
Now, nearly 100 essays and national and state articles have been published to continue on with my intent to learn to write many styles....everything but poetry! Am not a poet...yet.

And why do I share all of this? influence you, and others, to try and go after your dreams and goals...and NOT give up. An English teacher during my high school years once told me, in front of a class, that this guy would NEVER be a 'good' writer...never. She DID influence me to work, work and work and PROVE her wrong! So, YOU can have your own story to tell about not quitting one day...soon.

And BARNS, rough-hewn souls of the countryside, are honored and cherished for what's left of the icons of patina wood along the country roads far, far away from the artificial lights of the cityscapes!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

180- WHAT WOULD SOCRATES SAY?...#1......

Not 'say', but what would Socrates ask?
Today, he might just ask what and how YOU, the individual, would be involved in recent weeks with assistance like that given to banks, insurance companies and the auto industry... more coming asking for handouts by our Government, not private funds. Will YOU, the INDIVIDUAL, be counted in for any financial problems that you may have? If not, WHY NOT?
Also, did you, would YOU approve of our U.S. Government bailing out those groups?

Just paused to check out FOX NEWS...(1/29/09) of "them" brilliant mathematicians figured out that, for all of the billions being handed out to "private" hands, and with 300,000,000+ Americans, that would make each one of us get a check for around $3,500!!!!!!!!!!! Well, now, what do YOU ponder on that truism?....squire

Monday, January 19, 2009

178- FOR THE RECORD!....

When former President Clinton's adminstration people left our White House on January 20, 2001, and President George W. Bush began his first term in residence, including all of the many offices connected to the Bush administration, "dirty" messages were left on many of the White House and related telephones and the "W" was torn off of the computers' throughout the many buildings closely associated with President Bush......
When President George W. Bush left our White House and the many of his team's offices over to the new President today, January 20th, not a single "dirty trick" was committed! As a matter of fact, President Bush and Mrs. Bush went way out of their way to make the transition the best and smoothest in Presidential history!!

Some national reporters back in January of 2001 thought the "dirty" actions were funny! Some "Americans" thought and said the same..............


They've been around high schools for decades and still are inept at uncovering the underlying abilities of each individual student. One of these eons parents and students will begin a 'revolution' to expect a handful of those intelligent, intuitive teacher leaders to step up and forward and lead the way out of the quagmire of tests that do not fairly measure for the complexity of problem-solving abilities, that do not measure that all-important CREATIVITY ability and that do not measure for individual persistence needed where a student who keeps on keeping on is honored for same! And those SOLs currently legislated and mandated are the prime source for that quagmire of ineptness in measuring the real value and success of each individual student. That, Virginia, is the problem created by standarized tests. Admit it...they're much easier to compose, score by running a card through a machine and slapping a label beside our children's report cards.
Enough excellent teachers are nudged into "teaching to the test", to make and give the primary goal of real learning a magical illusion of the progress of an individual student. Progress, then, has evolved into a fallacy, a false impression of success.
"Where have all the good educators gone?" should be the song of the decade! "You didn't understand how to work that math problem, Charles, and that's why the absolute answer is
incorrect. I'll show you how to correct your mistake," the 'good educator says.
"Rachel, you memorized all of the details from a Civil War list of causes, but you weren't curious about how they affected America's cultural society afterwards, during the late 1800s into the 20th-century. Those lessons could have aided our country in World War I and II. Class, let me help you with looking far beyond a list...."

Hmmmmmmmmmm...what good is a test that ignores curiosity, ignores learning from mistakes and ignores what an individual has developed with complex problem-solving abilities, exciting creativity and just plain persistence. Those, by the way, are much higher, advanced "tests."

Friday, January 16, 2009

176- AMERICA'S HEROES #1..."MIRACLE on the HUDSON"......

Capt. Chesley "Sully' Sullenberger III, 57-year-old pilot of U.S. Airways, is our #1 American Hero for 2009! By now, you've heard about his miraculous landing of his airplane smackdab in the middle of the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey. The former Air Force pilot, under unbelieveable pressure, brought his plane down onto the water, and held his cool.
Pilot license at age 14...flew fighter jets while in Air Force...his nice wife, Lorraine, met at the front door to greet the press and two daughters., in Danville, California. Has mastered glider flying and studied the psychology of how cockpit crews behave during a crisis.
"Sully" not only has flown airplanes much of his life, BUT an expert with how many types of airplanes actually work. And, different ones have quickly called him a humble person!
Back in his hometown of Denison, Texas, as a boy, neighbors remembered him for crop dusting at the age of 15! And his sister, Mary Margaret Wilson, remembers her brother building model airplanes as a child and being so meticulous to paint even the smallest detail. He simply has been in like with airplanes all of his life.
Been we have to also remember that the passengers did what they had been told, along with the almost instantaneous rescues by the bravery once again of the Big Apple's finest rescuers! As his wife said on Thursday, "He's a pilot's pilot!"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

175- THE CHINESE NEW YEAR Of The OX!-----(YEAR of the BROWN COW)....

Ji Chou....The Chinese New Year date is 4706! (You may see it as 4707, also). The Chinese New Year of the OX begins this January 26th!
According to the Chinese legends, persons born in the Year of the Ox speak little, are patient and inspire confidence in those around them. BUT, could be a bit bigoted, eccentric and become angry easily....when they do talk, they have an eloquent way....usually mentally sharp and physically alert. Do not like to fail at anything and are rather easy-going. Tenacious, hardworking.
Princess Diana, George Clooney, Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher and Richard Gere were born in the Year of the Ox!
20% of the world's population, by the way, is Chinese.
As a sociologist, I like the Chinese custom by parents of "surr-prising" their children with little red envelopes, 'hong bao', containing $$$.
This year, 2009, is forcast to be an exciting year full of growth, stability and accomplishments, as the elements of Earth and Water will come together during the year!
This coming week would a good excuse to dine, with family and friends, at your fave Chinese restaurant. Have dined Chinese in D.C., Philadephia and New York's neat Chinatown, which I like, but my fave Chinese restaurant is in Williamsburg, Virginia...the Peking!!


a- I appreciate, now, the requirement for me to learn to be and practive being tranquil, calm, relaxed BUT concentrative from the spine and waist and reaching to the arms and legs. Movements are very slow and executed, with the possibility if needed, to be protective. Breathing regularly and smoothly are important. Inner strengths and energy are shown outwardly through prescribe external actions and movements.
b- Learning to reach that calmness and inner strength will, I feel, take some time!
Tai Chi is graceful and quite low-impact for people of all ages, by the way.
I wish you could see a group of Chinese rising early to meet and practicing...they flow from one controlled pose to another. The entire body becomes involved, not just arms and legs.
c- Surprisingly, Tai Chi is a martial art, with many styles. If one does the movements quickly? They become combative and for self-defense. Tai Chi, rather, was created over 2,000 years ago for MEDITATION!
d- A feel that Tai Chi Chaun is for ron rascal says, "Inch by inch, everything's a cinch!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

173- PHILOSOPHY 505...IS YOUR LIFE........?.....

Seems like many of us tend to fit most everything or everyone into whether it is black or white! For the record, that leaves little room to manuever. What about thinking in terms of most everything being a shade of GRAY. This CENTRIST is sold on that far!
"You either like me or you don't." Think...there are days or even moments when someone you 'like' ticks you off, or you're in a clunky mood around them. Should you tell them that you don't like them at any given moment in time?
Before you tell someone to get lost, or that you hate them? Wait until the next day...hmmmm.
Life is more like shades of GRAY....!

Monday, January 12, 2009


#1) "Your shipping is free!" it really free? What if the seller actually added on the shipping costs, to their advantage, BEFORE the final price was given to you?....hmmmmm. This one is a favorite on TV commercials.

#2) "CALL NOW!" Listen carefully to those many TV ads selling YOU anything. Each one blasts away for YOU to CALL NOW...CALL NOW! Ever wonder why? This wordsmith created a word to tell why---"Slychology." Someone out there in commercial land has deduced that YOU react much quicker when they include the "CALL NOW" now pitch towards YOU...think about it.

#3) TV is now loaded with ads directed towards YOU to bombard YOU with buying their drugs to "cure everything." Take their pill, and all of those health problems they so carefully list in their ads will cure anything? They, legally, list everything from runny noses to heart attacks to stool problems to your lack of sex drive to make sure that YOU cannot sue later, because you were told! Think back...count the number of "pills" ads that crop up during the hour you've watched your fave TV program? Now, how much money was spent to place them on TV, over and over and over. Those costs went into what you'll pay for buying those scare "pills"...the ones that will "cure" you. It's an old-fashioned method of "putting a little birdie in your ear."
Whoops, forgot a point...noticed how every TV ad for selling YOU those "cure all" drugs has one or more persons smiling and happy and content and living life out and about on a golf course or in a park? Content or contentious, I ask YOU?
Think for yourself!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Ready for this one?
Deer Cave, in Borneo's Mulu National Park, is the world's largest cave, or rock chamber! The entrance and main area is soooo large that forty Boeing 748s, side by side, will fit. It is so large that five of London's St. Paul's Cathedrals would fit inside the entrance area with a bit of room to spare.
Wooden plank walks have been built for approaching the Deer Cave entrance! Inside, the wooden plank walk continue for a time.
But beware at exactly 5pm each day...over a million bats leave that huge entrance, searching for food.
And did I mention what else lives is in the cave? For centuries, bat guano has accumulated on the cave floor, and is home to........................millions of roaches and other creepy-crawly critters
There are photos on the Internet...go to Deer Cave, Borneo!


Most of you don't realize it, but our cent will change forever this February!
To celelebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday next month, February, four (4) new "reverse" designs will be introduced, issued in 3 months intervals.
#1 will have the Birthplace in Kentucky, released on February 12, 2009 on Lincoln's brthday.
#2 is His Formative Years in Indiana 3 months later...(Lincoln is taking a break from splitting rails to read and write).
#3 depicts his Professional Life at the Illinois Capital...(he's a lawyer and Representative standing before the Illinois capitol).
#4 is his Presidency in Washington, D.C...(depicts U.S. Capitol dome built during the Civil War). year, 2010, a new "permanent" reverse design will be unveiled of our Lincoln penny.
For the record, the familiar portrait of ABRAHAM LINCOLN will remain on the front!

They're called "wheat ears" or "wheaties"....have any? Oh, serious collectors use the word "cent" and not penny. Who cares, though, so long as we communicate!

169- "MOM, WHY DO THEY LAUGH AT ME?"......

"They laugh at me because I'm different.
I laugh at them because they're all the same!"
(friend from Greece)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Think of a fulcrum...a seesaw is a teeter-totter. Remember the trials it took to learn to balance both sides of a seesaw on a playground? Slides...those merry-go-rounds on every playground, where one person pushed and ran and then jumped on with squeals and giggles? And swinging, too. I tried to figure out how to swing all the way around, as a munchkin, or swing really high and jump out! Life was much simpler, then.
I really liked "Flowers for Algernon", the play, and later the film, "Charly." As a wannabe director, the last scene in "Charly" was so simple but brilliant: one sees Charly, intelligence gone again, sitting on a swing....!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


A wise elderly, corncob smokin' farmer, way back in a hollow on the front porch of his cabin high in the Blue Ridge Mountains, used to say that "askin' questions was a sign of intelligence!" So, I ventured, once, back up in his hollow while on a photography trip nearby to ask the mountain philospher about homemade peanut butter cookies. Why do they always have those crisscross fork marks on top?
"Tradition! Old-timey recipes, even today, call for using a fork to mix 'em, then roll into a small ball for bakin'. Since you got a fork there already, might as well flatten 'em out with it! Simple.... Also, since some folks hereabouts can't tolerate peanuts, that crisscrossing thang, if'n one can't read, tells 'em to beware of the peanuts...simple, again! Oh, that little crisscrossing stuff is kinda creative, cute and artistic, too. Know what I mean? My wife is the one that does 'em! I am not too darn swift in the kitchen. Know what I mean, jelly bean?"

Thursday, January 1, 2009


"Some see things as they are and say, why?
I dream of things that never were and say, why not?"
-George Bernard Shaw-

(My sentiments precisely!!!...squire)