30 March 2007

Photo Hunters - Water

Time for another Saturday Photo Hunt hosted by tnchick.com

To visit more photohunters click here

Put a Piscean near water and this smile is what happens, particularly when sailing Loch Long is Scotland.

"There is nothing- absolutely nothing-
half so much worth doing
as simply messing about in boats."

Kenneth Grahame. "The Wind in the Willows"

28 March 2007

Quirky Quote Contest

The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.
-- Tom Clancy

"We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being."

Our Town, Thornton Wilder

So Much to Say, So Little Time: A Contest for All Bloggers

27 March 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Asilomar

A Capitol of Cat Boxes

It is really, really hard to blog when you are so angry you are foaming at the mouth. Unfortunately, this administration has me in that state at regular intervals. You expect any political party and their representatives to shade the truth a bit in their favor. There are usually two sides to every arguable issue or there wouldn't be anything to discuss.

Let's see:

The President quotes from an Iraqi blog about the improvements in the area. Read any background articles or check the links on the site and you will find recent items such as the story of the eldest member of the family of dentists being killed by U.S. soldiers. A 78 year old man was passing by and our guys killed him for being in the way. Thanks a lot George.

The President says things are getting better in Iraq and within 24 hours before another 200 Iraqis are blown up by their fellow countrymen. Thanks a lot George.

Shiite militants and police enraged by deadly truck bombings went on a shooting rampage against Sunnis in a northwestern Iraqi city today, killing as many as 70 men execution-style in the latest eruption of sectarian violence outside the capital. Baltimore Sun
A devastating series of bombings in a crowded market in a Shi'ite Muslim neighborhood of Baghdad and in a predominantly Shi'ite town north of the capital killed more than 130 Iraqis yesterday, the same day a new US envoy asserted at his swearing-in that the American mission in Iraq was not an impossible one. Boston Globe

The Irani's take British hostages because they can now that the downfall of Iraq and the American installation of a Shiite government there has made them the biggest bully on the block. Thanks a lot George.

Another member of the Texas mafia is caught being a total incompetent and liar and the person who advises him turns out to have a diploma mill graduate, taking the 5th amendment because she knows the hole she has dug for herself. Great appointments George.

How many deaths, dismemberments, and life long mental illness will it take before this "my way or the highway spoiled brat of a President is tossed on his ear so that the grownups of either his or the opposition party can start running things again.

The lies and scandals in the functions of government just keep piling up faster than they can back scratch enough to cover them with sand. Just like cat poop, they think if you can't see it, it's not there until someone steps in it. Well folks it's time to empty the sand box, because as Mattie Albright said recently, "Annihilation is not a policy".

26 March 2007

Going Places

When you start in on genealogy, one of the pleasures is finding out who came from where when. On my mother's side, this will be a little hard to determine as several from that branch were among the earliest settlers to Virginia and Maryland and a few met the boat. There is one one young German man shown below that arrived just before the Civil War in time to earn a few dollars fighting in an Illinois regiment.

On my father's side, everybody went everywhere. Those Scots just seem to be adventurous types and some of those migrations are shown .

A project such as this is actually fairly easy to put together with just a little research. All of the ship pictures were on line except for the one post card we were fortunate enough to have from my great uncle on his resettlement to Africa.

The records of the 1800s to Australia and the resettlement of families from Scotland are not as easy to determine, but I hope to identify the ship that carried the Bissets there. If anyone knows drop me a line.

Stephen and Margaret White S S Algeria
Scotland to California

Adam Pfeiffer (Later Pifer) Lower left
S/S Saale, Norddeutscher Lloyd
Germany to Illinois

William White S/S Cameronia, White Star
Scotland to California

Jessie (not shown), David, William, and Robert White
S/S Letitia,
Anchor Donaldson
Scotland to California

During WWII David went to England and brought back his war bride Joyce from England to California.

The Durwards moved originally in the clearances from Highlands to lowlands and then various branches went to the England, United States, and one shown by James Durward who went from Scotland to Rhodesia, Africa

Sorry no picture of Mungo Bisset, wife and ten little Bissets who went from Scotland to Australia, but get there they did.

If you get a chance put together your own map and timeline of the events that caused the moves away from home.

Manic Monday - Spring

Today's word is Spring, and somehow my brain just did one of those word association leaps to Slinky. Therefore, my sophisticated side gives you Jack Vetriano's very slinky ladies and my childlike presence says, Oh just push the button.

25 March 2007

A Nice Place To Live

If you have children or just love your home, Sunday is a must see event. On the Discovery Channel at 8:00 p.m., the eleven part series Planet Earth begins. Even if you can't watch, try to make the time to visit on line. The films and games are worth the time, and it's a great place to learn about the place where you live.

The World Wildlife Fund is gearing up for Earth Day on April 22. Check out the website for ideas about the small changes that you can make to help endangered species.

I'm off taking care of Rory who has now had me making two worried visits to the vet.

23 March 2007

Profile In Courage

He stands a chance of being the next President of the United States, and if he gets there, she is probably the reason why. No man could be married to Elizabeth Edwards and not be better for the experience, and John Edwards has spent more than 30 years in her company.

This time around the "first lady" living in the White House could be a woman, a man or even a daughter in the subordinant place. Elizabeth Edwards already has earned her place in the sun if only for her beauty and strength.

20 March 2007

Making Wishes

Everyone has impossible wishes. The things some big some small that we would change if we were playing God.

1. Peter Allen would still be alive. He along with all those phenomenal talents, particularly those of stage and screen, who died too young before medical science started making it possible to "live with" AIDS. We lost a generation of unbelievable talent and I wish we had them all back.

2. The religions of the world would leave each other alone and in peace. My God, Your God. Who cares? Who has the best invisible friend? All the morals are basically the same and come down to "be good to each other". Why are you killing your fellow man?

3. Everyone could learn to giggle and have a good sense of rhythm. Being "tickled" by life is one of the essentials to a happy life, and it's more fun if you can dance through it.

4. Politicians would actually care more for their constituents than they do for money, power and prestige.

5. Everyone should have at least one "Great Love". However it ends, the memories will carry your through the rest of your life.

6. The population of the world would be 3 billion people smaller tomorrow. Just go "poof" without the ugliness, pain, and anguish that is bound to come in the next 50 years.

7. In addition to the great love. Everyone would have one great "call in the middle of the night when things are rotten and you need a shoulder to cry on" friend. They would last for decades and would always think you are under 30.

8. No child would ever suffer just because the adults were at war.

9. No adults would ever be at war.

10. I would have been a guest at this dinner party

Please add your wishes.

19 March 2007

Chipping Away

I promised Mo gore, food, love, beauty and sex all in one post about one word, so here it goes:

It is now official. I am a sick, sick puppy. The very first chip that came to mind was the foot sticking out of the wood chipper in Fargo

Past mommyhood came to the rescue with a dietary form of Chocolate Chip Cookies. Have a bite and then go rent an Oscar winning if somewhat gory movie.

Just to make all you cat lovers feel chipper, may I introduce you to the king of the household Rorschach AKA Rory.

And then finally there is Michaelangelo who insisted that every block of marble contained a statue. You just had to chip away the parts that weren't the figure. I'm glad he stopped chipping in time on this one.

18 March 2007

Life Used to be Exciting

In these days of instant communications all over the world, we have lost surprise in favor of convenience. This may not be a wonderful idea when the hurry up deprives us of imagination and anticipation.

On March 18, 1852, in New York City, Henry Wells, William Fargo and others signed articles of association for a joint stock company to do a banking and express business in distant California.

Rushing for gold and silver in the West, overland by pony and stagecoach, coming through for miners, merchants, farmers and ranchers, building on the frontier, offering “Ocean-to-Ocean” service by 1888 Wells, Fargo & Co. grew with the nation and is part of American History.

In the musical, "Music Man", Meredith Wilson captured that feeling of wonder in a truly fun song, "Wells Fargo Wagon". There's a cute community playhouse production of the number at the bottom since I couldn't get a clip of the copyrighted original.

When was the last time you were truly truly surprised by anything and what was it?

Wells Fargo Wagon Lyrics


O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street,
Oh please let it be for me!
O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street,
I wish, I wish I knew what it could be!

First Voice:
I got a box of maple sugar on my birthday.

Second Voice:
In March I got a gray mackinaw.

Third Voice:
And once I got some grapefruit from Tampa.

Fourth Voice:
Montgom'ry Ward sent me a bathtub and a cross-cut saw.

O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' now
Is it a prepaid surprise or C.O.D.

Fifth Voice:
It could be curtains!

Sixth Voice:
Or dishes!

Seventh Voice:
Or a double boiler!

Eighth Voice:
Or it could be

Yes, it could be
Yes, you're right it surely could be

Eighth Voice:
Somethin' special

People:Somethin' very, very special now

Eighth Voice:
Just for me!

O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street.
Oh, don't let him pass my door!
O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street
I wish I knew what he was comin' for.

Ninth Voice:
I got some salmon from Seattle last September.

Tenth Voice:
And I expect a new rockin' chair.

Eleventh Voice:
I hope I get my raisins from Fresno.

The D.A.R. have sent a cannon for the courthouse square.

O-ho the Wellth Fargo Wagon ith a-comin' now,
I don't know how I can ever wait to thee.
It could be thumpin' for thumone who is
No relation but it could be thump'n thpethyul
Just for me!

O-ho, you Wells Fargo Wagon keep a-comin'
O-ho, you Wells Fargo Wagon, keep a-comin'.
O-ho you Wells Fargo Wagon, Don't you dare Make a stop
Until you stop for me!

17 March 2007

Happy St. Patricks Day!

My father was born in Scotland and was quite proud of it despite coming to the U.S. as a child (The one on the far right). One of my earliest memories was the orange bow tie for St. Patricks Day in prideful defiance of the wearing of the green. The day had to be toasted with Scotch not Irish Whiskey and Harry Lauder was more likely to show up on the record player than anything that sounded like cheerful leprechauns.

All of this good humored razzing went back to a very real and traumatic period in history when The Ulster Colony was founded to settle Scots on Irish soil to put down Catholic revolt. This war between Protestants and Catholics went well into modern times, with The Troubles only recently being brought to a quieter resolution. Still over the years some have tried to make light of these problems and perhaps that is why there seems to finally be peace.

For all those descendents of Irish and Scots who made their way to America where even the Chinese celebrate St. Patricks Day with green beer and good times, have a wonderful day. The lyrics are at the bottom of the page for all those who would like to sing along to a truly fun song.

The Orange and The Green

Oh, it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen.
My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was green.

My father was an Ulster man, proud Protestant was he.
My mother was a Catholic girl, from county Cork was she.
They were married in two churches, lived happily enough,
Until the day that I was born and things got rather tough.

Baptized by Father Riley, I was rushed away by car,
To be made a little Orangeman, my father's shining star.
I was christened "David Anthony," but still, inspite of that,
To me father, I was William, while my mother called me Pat.

With Mother every Sunday, to Mass I'd proudly stroll.
Then after that, the Orange lodge would try to save my soul.
For both sides tried to claim me, but i was smart because
I'd play the flute or play the harp, depending where I was.

Now when I'd sing those rebel songs, much to me mother's joy,
Me father would jump up and say, "Look here would you me boy.
That's quite enough of that lot", he'd then toss me a coin
And he'd have me sing the Orange Flute or the Heros of The Boyne

One day me Ma's relations came round to visit me.
Just as my father's kinfolk were all sitting down to tea.
We tried to smooth things over, but they all began to fight.
And me, being strictly neutral, I bashed everyone in sight.

My parents never could agree about my type of school.
My learning was all done at home, that's why I'm such a fool.
They've both passed on, God rest 'em, but left me caught between
That awful color problem of the Orange and the Green.

12 March 2007

Gone Surfing

One of the joys of the internet is window shopping. All over the world there are unique and wonderful things to buy, do and visit. Sometimes you can pick up a little something, but most of the time you are waiting on the lottery to clean out the merchandise or take the trip. We all do it, just wander around a bit to go ooh, aah, and dream about "someday".

This is the one I always stop at just for a mental vacation while looking at the beautiful pictures and imagining the gentle winds, delicious food, dreaming in the open air, and hand and foot services.

Sir Richard Branson should give me a weekend just for saying wonderful things about Nekker Island in the British West Indies. This is the real life Kokomo only with way more luxuries.

Where do you surf to go dreaming?

10 March 2007

Ides Comin'

The argument of what is Evil, Greed, Lust for Power and Ambition have been at war for as long as human beings have existed even in the minds of those accused of these qualities. Our current president seems to have friends and loyalists who believe in him. There is a chance that he will succeed in what he considers noble intentions. The whole of world opinion could be wrong and I just might be in error in believing him to be the worst president with which the country has been cursed. Only time will solve the riddle. So herewith five days of Shakespeare. Have at it on the continuing argument in the comments.

Julius Caesar
by William Shakespeare
Act 3 Scene 2

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones:
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honourable men,--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once,--not without cause:
What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him?--
O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason!--Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

09 March 2007

A Little Place In The Country

Mount Stuart Monument

Mount Stuart Greenhouse

The Alley

Mount Stuart Rear

Mount Stuart Front Entrance

Bute Ferry

The family home is a little place on the Isle of Bute named Mount Stuart. The current head of the family is Johnny Bute, 7th Marquess of Stuart

March 10, 1792, John Stuart, 3rd earl of Bute and advisor to the British king, George III, died in London. Although most Americans have never heard his name, Lord Bute played a significant role in the politics of the British empire that spawned the American Revolution. Bute became Prince George’s tutor and also befriended George’s mother, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, the dowager princess of Wales. (Trivia: the city of Augusta, GA is named after her) This relationship, although never proven to be sexual, resulted in a tremendous scandal when written about by John Wilkes. Wilkes abhorred Bute and named his newspaper North Briton as a direct insult to Bute’s Scottish origins.

Prince George became King George III in 1760, while Britain was in the midst of the Seven Years’ War with France. The king, along with Bute, who was now his advisor, worried that the tremendous expense of the war in North America would drive Britain to bankruptcy. William Pitt had transformed the American branch of the war, known as the French and Indian War, from disaster to triumph argued for a preemptive strike against Spain in 1761. The king, with Bute’s guidance, rejected Pitt’s idea, and forced him to resign.

The squabbling between Bute, Pitt and Wilkes had a lasting impact on Anglo-American politics. In 1763, the new first lord of the treasury, George Grenville, began taxing the American colonies to help refill Britain’s coffers. Wilkes’ arrest made him a martyr in the eyes of many at home as well as in those of the American colonists as they strained under the taxes imposed by Grenville’s ministry. A condition that directly led to the American revolution.

Music of Your Life

To say that my musical tastes are eclectic would be one of the understatements of all time. If you check the CD's on the shelf the range is from old folk songs through early pop to jazz via old time rock and roll to grand opera with just about every musical genre in between except heavy metal rock and rap which I leave to younger generations even if I can't help bouncing up and down to some of the granddaughter's rap things. To be sure the collection is a little heavy on the soundtracks but only because the other obsession is musical theater.

We have a syndicated oldie oldies station in Tacoma KIXI that plays music from the 40s, 50s, and early 60s that they refer to as "Music of Your Life". Even the more modern performers are only represented when they do songs from those eras such as the recent Rod Stewart classic song albums or Bette Midler doing Peggy Lee. Within the past hour have played Doris Day, Harry Chapin, Nat King Cole, keely Smith. Click on the link to listen on line.

My mother was a phenomenal singer. For whatever reason she didn't have the drive or self confidence to give Judy Garland a run for her money, but the voice could have. As a result, I grew up in a world of bedtimes and car rides comprised of standards and a deep appreciation of the emotional power of all music while always on the way to somewhere else. To this day a flat or sharp in any singers performance will make me cringe by comparison. Of course it is one of the jokes of genetics that I got my mother's hips and dad's voice.... Oops!

As a lifelong gypsy, the songs of wandering will always get my attention: It's just the Gypsy In My Soul; Far Away Places; Anyplace I Hang My Hat is Home etc., so it is no wonder that the first "my" record was Gogi Grant's, "The Wayward Wind".

This all started me thinking. What was the first record (for those who remember records)/Tape/CD that you bought with your own money? It can't be gift money. It has to be allowance, babysitting, or special chores, money you had to work to earn. Let's hear some "my first" music.

08 March 2007

Other Heroes

In a time of war, it is good to honor those who have served. The many fine men and women who do their duty are to be cared for and honored. Wherever human beings go their animals go with them as workers, comfort and pets. Unfortunately, that sometimes means that the animals go to war. These loving and loyal companions are celebrating an aniversary today.

Beginning on 13 March 1942, the Quartermaster Corps ran the Army's so-called "K-9 Corps" and undertook to change these new recruits into good fighting "soldiers." The readily-used phrase "K-9 Corps" became a popular title for the War Dog Program in the 1940s and 50s. The term however is not official. Its origin lies in its phonetic association with the equally unofficial, alternative phrase "Canine Corps."

After World War II, the sentry dogs and the silent scout dogs continued to be of great value. The end of 1946 saw the beginning of the Quartermaster Corps "Dog Training Branch" at the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) Quartermaster School in Lenggries, Germany.

Probably the most famous War Dog was Chips. Chips was donated by Edward J. Wren of Pleasantville, New York, was trained at Front Royal, Virginia in 1942, and was among the first dogs to be shipped overseas. He was assigned to the 3d Infantry Division and served with that unit in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. His assignments included sentry duty at the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in Casablanca in January 1943. Although trained as a sentry dog, Chips was reported on one occasion by members of Company I, 30th Infantry Regiment, to have broken away from his handler and attacked a pillbox containing an enemy machine gun crew in Sicily. He seized one man and forced the entire crew to surrender. He was also credited by the units to which he was assigned as having been directly responsible for capture of numerous enemy by alerting to their presence. In recognition of his service Chips was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, both were later revoked. In 1993 Disney produced a TV move about Chips called "Chips the War Dog".

Dogs continue to serve the armed forces. In the Korean War the Army used about 1,500 dogs.. During the Vietnam War about 4,000 dogs were employed. Of these 281 were officially killed in action. Most recently dogs have been deployed in the Persian Gulf War and now to Iraq for Mine Detection. An effort is currently underway to to petition the U.S. Postal Service for a stamp honoring military working dogs.

When Things Really Click

This week's Theme: CLICK

Ansel Adams

El Capitan

Moon Over Halfdome

One of my favorite places on earth is Yosemite. When you descend into the valley there is a rest stop view point where you look down the valley to see both Half Dome and El Capitan. When you get to the bottom there is a wonderful shop where you can purchase copies of the work of a man of genius who knew how to click. We all take photographs. The click and whirr and snap to capture a forever image, but few of those looking down that valley can make these into a work of art.

Near the store is the pioneers graveyard and the Ahwahnee indian village. What must those earliest people have thought when they first came to that valley and met the local inhabitants. Today it is a place for tourists to go "click!" to take away a souvenir to prove they have seen these things as well.

Now you can go to your mouse and click on this space for a visit to the Ansel Adams Galleryfor even more of the images he created simply by knowing when to click.


Now what you do, if you have a Manic Monday post on your blog, you CLICK on Mr. Linkie and leave a link to your blog so myself and others can come have a look. If you do or don't have Manic Monday post, please still CLICK on "Comments" and leave me a message.

Dancing Sitting Down

On a blog I visit daily the subject of Baryshnikov came up in passing because several people had seen the Charlie Rose interview the previous night. I related that his is the one and only autograph I had ever requested simply because I wanted it on the poem by Joseph Brodsky that was dedicated to him.

In addition to the autograph, I have a rare photograph that is a copy of one that appears in Nina Alovert's Baryshnikov in Russia. It required special permission from the publisher to copy. It is remarkable because his head is down so that you can't see the face, and he is sitting on the floor wearing a simple black leotard, yet no one has ever failed to identify the person in the picture.

It is absolute proof that you don't have to be able to move in order to dance. You have no way of knowing if he just finished and is resting or is just waiting to leap up and begin yet the dance is so obviously in his head that there is no doubt that it is happening.

From "Classical Ballet" by Joseph Brodsky

How splendid late at night, Old Russia worlds apart,
to watch Baryshnikov, his talent still as forceful!
The effort of the calf, the quivering of the torso
rotating round its axis, start

a flight such as the soul has yearned for from the fates,
as old maids cherish dreams while turning into bitches,
And as for where in space and time one's toe end touches,
well, earth is hard all over; try the States.

At 59 he can no longer do the incredible leaps that actually made you believe that this time gravity wouldn't win and a man would finally fly without benefit of wings. Instead he now dances with an artistic tension so strong that somehow in your mind's eye you can still see him soar.

Thursday Thirteen # 1

Thirteen Things about Genealogy

1…Don't look for famous people. They may be there, but most people don't have them. One or two may show up in passing, but their history has already been written. You are tending to the unknowns.

2....The stories are as important as the dates. Tell as many as you know.

3.... History not passed on is history lost.

4.... Your children won't care about the family tree until you are dead. Don't expect it and don't neglect it, as they will have a host of questions to ask when you aren't there to answer.

5.... If you do absolutely nothing else, label your photographs. When somebody cares, they will want to know the names and locations of all those people in the funny clothes .

6.... Scandals happen to every family in every generation. You're sainted great great grandmother was a teenager too. You are the family historian not the morality clean up crew.

7.... Keep a diary (or print copies of your blog). They will be invaluable later. Historians depend on writers writing.

8.... Almost every city, county and state have a genealogical or historical society usually staffed with volunteers willing to share everything they know. You will not find a more generous group anywhere.

9.... If you are an American, the National Archives and Ellis Island are national treasures. Most American sources are a pain because they are kept by State and County not nationally, but you can still find a lot of information at the National level. If you are from elsewhere, find out who is responsible for your records. If you are Scots, I am so jealous, the color is a permanent shade of green.

10... Find a "Family History Center" and hug a Mormon. You will find more information, expertise, and assistance there than virtually anywhere else, and most of it is absolutely free no strings attached.

11... Save your sanity. Get a good computerized genealogical program. Trying to do it family sheet by family sheet has been known to lead to nervous breakdowns. Print it out and make backup copies anyway; crashes happen.

12... Timelines and "Today in History" can help you understand what your ancestors faced.

13... The human comedy is really really funny.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!