Saturday, February 28, 2009

201- YOUR HUCKLEBERRY FRIEND?....

I do remember enjoying the cartoons with Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound Dog, but only recently I got it, had an epiphany just the other day! Now, I understand, after all of this time, what a "huckleberry friend' really is. It is a very special friend who has been in your life for many years, especially since childhood. They are your good chums who have your back, who love you. But, there's more invovled. A true huckleberry friend is one who has stuck by you, does stick with you and loves you...NO MATTER WHAT!

Remember Huckleberry Finn?

And I also realized this week some of the lyrics in a film, "Breakfast at Tiffanys" that I really liked, from "Moon River": "...two drifters off to see the world--there's such a lot of world to see...we're after the same rainbows end waiting round the bend my huckleberry friend...."

Friday, February 27, 2009

200- ST. ELMO'S FIRE......?

Remember the film? I went searching for a real St. Elmo's fire, not a film.
In simple terms...it's a bright blue or violet glow appears on point structure like lightning rods, church spires, masts, chimneys and even along the wings of an airplane. And has also been recorded across grass and leaves. Usually, the glow had a hissing, sometimes buzzing sound assoicated with it.
St. Elmo's "fire" is really not fire but plasma, meaniing the electrical "fire" around the object causes ionization of the air molecules. That is what causes the faint glow in low-light.
And, during a thunderstorm, the ground often is electrically charged between it and the clouds, creating the St. Elmo's Fire withe the help of oxygen and nitrogen in the earth;s atmosphere.
History, for hundred of years, has recorded many occurances of St. Elmo's Fire as being favorable or even ominous signs or omens. Some of the famous incidents in history were used as signs! And ships often recorded sighting the phenomenon, like Magellan's first circumnavigational sailing around the world. Aircraft incident sightings have also grown in numbers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

199- MERMAID'S TEARS...LUCKY TEARS...SEA GLASS!....

Most, in the know, use the term SEA GLASS! Orange, then red, are the most collectible and valued, with smooth, frosted pieces of glass to be uncovered along some beaches around the world! Sea glass is created from the natural interaction of our environment on LITTER made by man! And the process takes years!
A bottle makes its way into the water and eventually is deposited into the ocean, pieces, and over time is tumbled over and over along a beach over natural stones and rocks. That process alone takes many years, creating the unique colorful pieces that a small group of collectors value, and others sell as a means of earing money on a personal basis.
Those small groups of collectors have learned the secrets to uncovering the man-made gems, even down to knowing which ones are valued the most because of scarcity and beauty. They've learned to seek out the best beach locations and to painstakingly shuffle, inch by inch, through the sand and especially stone strewn areas. One prime spot, by the way, is right across from populous San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge...and Alcatraz.
Colors...they're determined by the source...bottles, of course, windows, art, flasks, containers, jars and even plates. Whiskey bottles, early bleaches and medicines for amber. Late 1800s fruit jars, soda and ink bottles produce soft blues. And more.
Yes, even mid-1900s Dr pepper, RC Cola, Coca-Cola and beer bottles create those foam looks after years of tumbling in the surf. Rare colors and extremely rare colors, like gray, pink, black, yellow, turquoise, red and that orange piece. Think of all of the sources of just glass that have made it to the beaches as far back as the 1700s!
I'm sure that some of you are beachcombers, if only for shells or stones. Add "sea glass" to your collecting habits. Start seeking out rocky beaches...and shuffling through the stones. Aha...there's a purple piece of sea glass. It's slightly below rare!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

198- PENMANSHIP...CURSIVE WRITING...GET RID OF IT?....

Remember someone around you who had that fascinating style of cursive writing? What happened, America, to PENMANSHIP? This historian believes I know the answer to that question!
A Social Commentary is my purpose. Think...I don't like how the computer has taken over communication in so many ways, especially the use of typing words. How can one practice penmanship by typing letters? BUT, our society is expanding at a fast rate with "technology". We must advance or we remain in the past! And knowing the difference between when, what, where and how to cherish the past is so important, too. This historian and researcher admires the use of and ability to write in flowing cursive, BUT I ALSO use and appreciate the ability to creatively type in my 'puter, especially bidding for stuff on eBay, creating my BLOG material and importantly writing my novel(s)on WORD! Therefore, as a centrist, I once again use and appreciate both styles. And do remember some of those neat educators who marked a grade on a report card for PENMANSHIP! Oh, some of us believe that non-penmanship, just printing or sloppy handwriting, signifies that one could be lazy or simply a non-Renaissance persons.
Get rid of CURSIVE WRITING? Heck NO!

197- A COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY DEGREE IN THREE YEARS?....

YES! The higher educational system has been doing just that for years in GREAT BRITAIN!
So, why not in America? Hmmmm...reminds me of the high school system in America. The secret is to focus, concentrate on a narrower field of study. Just because the Liberal Arts programs have been historically set up for a typical four years doesn't mean that it can only work that way. As a British educator would say, "Get to the point...sooner!"
Advantages include a student, who knows where they are headed, reaching that goal sooner. The obvious reason? $$$$ saved...and that important time!
Maybe it's time for our American higher education to come out of the past and rethink...well?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

196- WILLIAMSBURG'S URBAN LEGEND......?.......

Yes, this author likes to tantalize at times...this is one of those times! Our Capital, Richmond, Va., a very old city, has quite a handful of urgan legend tales, including a 'werewolf' living in Hollywood Cemetery, and why not Williamsburg, the Colonial Virginia Capital? Let's see....a woods...lake.....late at night or early morning....geese disturbed and sounding off back in a cove. All of this smackdab in a huge woods in the middle of a growing urban area? Wait, this one is not about a werewolf, either!
Do we really have a clandestined urban legend right here in the Colonial Capital of Virginia? You'll have to bundle up, around midnight or later, and slip out to those woods, around the edges of a lake 'finger' to be lucky enough to hear...and see something long gliding, undulating, through the murky dark waters. "It"could be watching, uh, you, too....
Hmmm, ever wonder if the Waller Mill reservior is alone all night long?

195- THE WORLD'S MOST FASCINATING HISTORY MYSTERIES #6.....RICHMOND, VIRGINIA'S 1925 TRAIN TUNNEL CAVE-IN!...

This one really is fascinating when you discover more about the cave-in on Church Hill in the older section of Virginia's capital in 1925! I've visited both portal areas, venturing into the west portion of the tunnel and have accumulated some good, detailed research....coming. Is anyone still entombed inside the narrow gauge train tunnel after 83 years! WHAT a true history mystery!

Locomotive 231 and 10 flatcars have rested inside the Churc Hill tunnel in Richmond since october 2, 1925. The engineer and two workers were killed when the tunnel crumbled on and around them. When the tunnel was constructed in the 1870s, after the end of the Civil War, a dozen more lives were lost. At times, over the years since, small cave-ins have occurred above.
If you are familiar with the Church Hill of Richmond, it is a like a steep monadnock between the eastern entrance way into the old downtown section of the Capital. As you reach the summit on Broad Street, you can look across the "valley" to the next hill where the Capital and other state buildings are located. Hundreds of fine old homes, once deteriorating and rental properties, are now being restored, with familes and professionals moving in. The church where Patrick henry spoke his famous "Give me liberty...." speech still stands as a monuent to the Revolution that began our country!

The engine is buried under about 20 to 30 feet of dirt near the west end of the 4,000-foot tunnel. After all fo these years, since 1925, the goal is bring up the engine. The engineer's body was retrieved a few days after the accident. The remains of the two workers is thought to still be buried with the engine and flatcars.

I have explored both portals of the tunnel. The east portal is sealed with concrete right up to a street. The west portal has the tunnel going in about 100-yards or so, then sealed by concrete. The top of the concert seal has shifted down enough for some adventurous person, I'm told, to actually crawl back a bit but not as far as the train. Even though I am a spelunker, this guy would NOT try that adventure! I did stop at a Police Precinct station on Church hill and talked with an officer. She told me about taking a well-known author, Richmond native, inside the open tunnel section. That's how I found it. It's hidden in a "wild" wooded section, and made me feel a bit useasy walking to it and into the grown-up, weedy tunnel. Gave me some of those funny shivers the entire time I explored and photographed. Slides were taken of both portals and the open tunnel portion on that west side for my research. I will add to this blog post on when and if the train is retrieved. If you see me in person, out and about town or at the Rec Center, you're welcome to ask me about the Church Hill tunnel cave-in.

The latest: after trying and trying to get someone, anyone, in the Richmond City government and news media to share info on the latest for trying to bring up the narrow gauge locomotive from the 1925 tunnel cave-in, someone from the Richmond Times-Dispatch came to my rescue! In 2006 water poured into the dig around the tunnel on Church Hill forcing the engineers to cease operations and NOT continue on with the project to bring out the small locomotive and possibly even the men trapped in there. I did read newspaper accounts in 1925 and later. Some, over the years, felt that bringing out the remains would not be a proper respect for their memories.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

194- CRACKER JACKS!...BUT WHAT WAS SAILOR JACK'S DOG'S NAME, HUH?....

BINGO!
They were sold at the Chicago's World Fair in 1893 by Frederick and Louis Rueckheim and originally called "Candied Popcorn and Peanuts". And THANKS, in 1912, those unique prizes were added! I once collected the neat widdle prizes but, because there were billions and billions out and about, ceased. If you go to eBay, you'll see how enough collectors get into that line of collecting the molasses-tinted icons.
A complete set of just 176 Cracker Jack baseball player cards, bt the, sold for $800,000 once!
And the BIG question? Why, with Poppycock, Fiddle Faddle, Screaming Yellow Zonkers and Crunch 'N Munch has our American society maintained a "religious thing" for Cracker Jacks? I'll bet that not a single person EVER to read this blog has ever not opened a wax sealed package, checked out and kept the prize and, uh, munched away! You even probably licked your fingers, too. C'mon, 'fess up.

193- NEWSPAPERS...THE "WATCHDOGS Of OUR AMERICAN DEMOCRACY!"...

Newspapers, I am so sorry to say, are going the way of the "Thank You" we used to hear all across the country!
Yes, this avid historian, researcher and author once delivered "hard copy" newspapers along my neighborhood streets, every day but Sunday! I picked up, packed and folded those newspapers in a special way in order to toss on the porches. But, when it rained or snowed, this guy was 'out there' smackdab in the elements of the weather! BUT, I did develop the habit of always reading newspapers, everywhere I traveled and still do, every day! While in New Orleans once, the New Orleans Picayune became a fave.
They're slowly going out of vogue, though, with the internet taking over our sources of receiving the "news." That, I and others are sorry to realize, is the problem. We knew that most newspaper were out there to give us all of the news, all sides, fit to publish. Take the time, next time you watch a compressed TV "news" program, if you're getting the total prospectives of a story, or simply a portion, if at all.
How many "reporters" were dispatched to Alaska when the story erupted over a certain Governor being chosen as a candidate? Were they intent upon "fair and balanced" reporting?
My point? As the paper newspapers fall by the wayside, our sources for receiving our "fair and balanced" diminish because "we" are developing into a Nation of "instant" news that must fit into exactly a three minute time space...or else! Our "watchdogs of democracy" likewise are falling by the wayside...and that, American society, is a "freaking" shame!"

Monday, February 16, 2009

192- AN "ANYTIME VALENTINE", WHENEVER...#1!....

"It's not enough to love someone when it's easy....!"

And what if someone created an "Anytime Valentine"? They would be: little things to share with that "spacial" person any time, like---leaving a widdle note in someone's car...sending a text-message before a test or big presentation or just "cause"...a wink from across a room...easing up beside that "spacial" one and holding a hand for a moment in time...whispering sweet everythings in someone's ear...a simple "surr-prise" drive in the country...(a "surr-prise" is better than a surprise)...a chocolaty chocolate chipper cookie from THAT bakery.....finding an old-fashioned soda shoppe, if any are left, and ordering a real chocolate ice cream soda and sharin' with ONE straw, up close and personal!....

As an official cowboy/girl would say, "It's bestest when you share an "Anytime Valentine" on the spur of the moment! Know what I mean?"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

191- WELL...WHAT IS A TRUE-BLUE AMERICAN?....#1....

I want you to meet two....CUE WILLIS and Inell Halcomb.

Cue Willis was ALWAYS a gentleman, when I knew him, and always a dapper dresser. And I liked and respected him from the first time meeting Cue in Williamsburg, Va. Earlier in his life he played pro basketball, and, naturally, went out of his way to make a person feel important. Cue is no longer with us, but he is because that's why memories are important to many of us. Memories makes us live on far beyond passing away in person!
Inell Halcomb is with us, and, when I think of this mother and grandmother, I can "see" an angelic face every time I was invited for Thanksgiving dinner in her home in Gove, outside of Williamsburg, Va. Inell is a gracious lady of the first order!
Both ARE true-blue Americans, and the kind that I respect the most in our society.

Friday, February 13, 2009

190- HAVE YOU EVER HEARD SOMEONE SAY, "I DIDN'T HAVE TIME....?"....

Making the excuse of "I didn't have time...." to someone else is actually an attempt to justify, rationalize. There are times, of course, when time IS close for a productive, hardworking person. However, maybe a much better approach would be? "I'll make time!"....or, "There is too much on 'my plate', and I'll beg off for the time being."
But don't pull that worn-out cliche on someone...please.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

189- THE LANGUAGE of LOVE.....

A) "If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn't love as much in eighty years as I could in a day." (Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights.")

B) "We'll always have Paris." (Bogart said that to Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca.")

C) "BEEP, BEEP...." (The Roadrunner said this to my hero Wile E. Coyote.)

D) "Summer romances begin for all kinds of reasons, but when all is said and done, they have one thing in common. They're shooting stars, a spectaucular moment of light in the heavens, fleetin glimpses of eternity, and in a flash they're gone." (From "The Notebook")

E) "It doesn't matter if the guy is perfect or the girl is perfect, so long as they are perfect for each other." (From "Good Will Hunting")

F) "You make me want to be a better man." (Jack Nicholson in "As Good As it Gets")

G) "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." (From "When Harry Met Sally")

H) REVIEW: you'll find previous "love stuff" at #65 ("World Languages")...#88 ("Stamps!")...#8 (I), #15 (II), #21 (III), #39 (IV), #111 (V) and #115 (VI) are all "So...What Is Love?"

Saturday, February 7, 2009

188- CONFUCIUS SAID THIS, really!.....

"Every piece of marble has a statue in it waiting to be release by someone of sufficient skills to chip away the unnecessary parts. Just as the sculture is to marble, so is education to the soul. It releases it. For only the educated are free. You cannot create a statue by smashing the marble with a hammer, and you cannot by force of arms release the spirit of the soul." (Confucius)

187- DO YOU DREAM IN CHOCOLATE?......

Think about it....
(Secret: early B&W films used chocolate syrup instead of blood in scenes. For example, in the original shower scene in the B&W 'Psycho'?...chocolate syrup was used for the shower scene.)

Milton Hersey created his Kisses candy in 1912!...Mr. Goodbar...Krackle...Snickers (family horse)...and what about that current EXTREME DARK CHOCOLATE fad? Will it stick around and become a fashion? I LIKE that Dark Chocolate with Orange...et vous?

Let's see...a thick hot fudge chocolate sundae, made with "dirty vanilla" ice cream? Any DOVE chocolate candy, with those neat wrappers with sayings inside? How about a REAL chocolate malt milk shake?...a chocolate ice cream soda? M&Ms? Real hot chocolate made from scratch, NOT from a packet?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

186- OUR JEFFERSON NATIONAL EXPANSION MEMORIAL!......

Hmmmmm...take a guess. This is the official title, but what does America really call this fascinating memorial?

Hmmmm #2...can you say the St. Louis Arch? It's by our Mississippi River, "the Big Muddy!"
Was exciting to go all the way to the top of the Arch. Then, on my way to study in Bozeman, Montana at Montana State U., drove up to Hannibal, Missour to get a "feel" for one of my all-time fave authors. Took the time to take off my sandals and waded in the "M-i-crooked-letter-crooked-letter-i-crooked-letter-crooked-letter-i-humpback-humpback-i" River...and explore that famous cave!
ADVENTURES!!!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

185- "Y-E-A-R-N to L-E-A-R-N!".....

American education, in general, is archaic and the all-important yearning-to-learning is missing from its internalization in American society.
Individuals...we should be asking each and every student, "What are YOUR talents? Talent is deep inside, internalized, and intelligent visionary educators must look for them. That effort takes a bit of time and skill as a 'people person.' Right away, that's where a few intuitive educators in America have realized the missing links to a student yearning to learn...from within, not with that archaic educational system that's been around for decades. When an indidual student catches on, to learning, they take off with a fascination for exploration, trying, questioning, and yes, even 'failing' for the moment...not giving up, keeping on keeping on.
We NEED MORE schools and schools-within-a-school for the performing arts, thinking skills and inventive minds. Also, educators who understand individual students in order to uncover and develop what his/her talents really are...internalization! And that's why I feel and now know that the current system of those SOLs being used as skills measurements has and are ruining our chances for a once again "powerful" nation of thinkers and doers...and creators! Our American society is no longer a creating and inventive one like we once were, leading the world. Enough countries, now, are ahead of us.
IMAGINATION needs to be rewarded! But, today, it's much easier to teach to the test, to drill for the "facts" and then spit back "answers" that fit what someone in an office in a State capital has SAID was the correct answer to make the proverbial bell light up and ring. Reminds me of a Psyschology 103 class and something about dogs!
To turn our American society back into a vibrant, exciting, creative, producing country that some other countries have discovered, like we used to be, our national education goals have to be re-examined and changed. Too many students are bored and complacent, sitting in a sterilized classroom in neat rows and, by rote memory, respond to an unimaginative leader. Some imaginative EDUCATORS, teachers, do break the mold!
Ah, the value of creativity then moves into our businesses, towns, cities and even, yes, our governments. We will have CREATED a revolution.
What if creative and intelligent persons ran our country...for a change?

184- HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY, THIS FEBRUARY 2nd!...NATIONAL ROOSTER DAY COMING ON APRIL 1ST!!!!

Only one suggestion is needed....please pronounce, correctly, February: FEB-BRU-ARY!...thanks.
No matter what...some of us still appreciate the early heritage customs whether they make logical sense or not. It's simply called 'fun.'

Someone told me that a national "Rooster Day" is going to be observed for the first time this coming April 1st. IF the rooster that's being primed as the national focus for the event on CNN, living on a farm deep in the woods of James City County, Va., crows on or about 6:00 a.m., that means that there will be sunshine within two weeks! If, however, that rooster doesn't crow on or about 6:00 a.m.? There will most likely be some rainfall some time during the month of April!