Wednesday, August 31

The house next door

The girls asked Me today if I would take them to see 5135 Kensington Avenue.

I was happy to oblige and they filled Me in on the story as we headed over.

Sam, Ruth, and Josefina Ester try to get me to hide!
The well-off Smith family lives there with four daughters and a son.

The family was shocked when Mr. Smith revealed that he had been transferred to New York, which meant that the family had to leave St. Louis before the St. Louis World's Fair!

Mr. Smith later announced that the family would not leave St. Louis when he realized how much the move would affect his family. And the whole family has been able to attend the World's Fair.

The story ends at night with everyone overlooking the lake at the center of the World's Fair just as the lights come up on the entire fair.

Sounds like a pretty good story to Me. Maybe someone could make it a moving picture someday and call it, Meet Me in St. Louis.

The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair
Daily Calendar

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 1904
  • Mining Gulch Day, 10,000 free watermelons given out
  • Bulgaria's V.I. Exhibits opened
  • Two simultaneous marriages took place on Observation Wheel
  • Eagle Day

    Tuesday, August 30

    O Captain! my Captain!

    Sam expressed interest is seeing my "newfangled" airship, The Enterprise, so I arranged for a private tour.

    Not that it's hard when you're the Captain.

    She was surprised that the blueprints were in German but I reminded her that I met Ferdinand von Zeppelin in 1863 when he acted as an observer for the Union Army Balloon Corps during the American Civil War.

    I like to think I helped spur his interest in dirigibles and flight, so when I asked for my own little zeppelin he was happy to oblige. 

    Sam, Ruth, and Josefina Ester seem impressed with my floating bookmobile. Sam wants to know if I can fly them (including Uncle Gard) back home to New York once they're ready to leave the World's Fair.

    I don't know if she'll be so eager once she finds out how cold it can get up there....

    We're fairly stuffed

    Sam, Josefina Ester, Ruth and I check out my favorite exhibition.

    Sam, Ruth, Josefina Ester, and I are having a grand time at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair! 

    Samantha and Ruth are both from New York. Sam is curious about everything and Uncle Gard is accompanying the girls along with a maid as a chaperone. Ruth is a Society girl who wants to be where all the fashionable people are. New York City is great but St. Louis is where it's at right now.

    (Samantha wanted to know if I arrived in one of those newfangled airships that are on display. Of course! Now, if I can just figure out how to get her on board the Enterprise....)

    Josefina Ester is a first generation American who lives in St. Louis so she can show us where everything is! Her parents immigrated to St. Louis from Palermo, Sicily. She is named after her grandfather (Joseph) and her grandmother (Ester). Her father is a shoemaker and has his own shop in St. Louis. Her mother stays at home. Josefina Ester is an only child.

    Her family and some other Sicilian immigrants are part of the Italian Pavillion at the Fair. She is very interested in many of the science exhibits.

    Waffle ice cream cones
    We've been busy taking in the sights ... and eating lots of yummy goodies!

    Thankfully for us, doll food is calorie free!

    As I mentioned yesterday, a number of foods claimed to have been invented at the Fair including the waffle-style ice cream cone, the hamburger, hot dog, and peanut butter. (It is more likely, however, that these food items were first introduced to mass audiences and popularized by the fair.) 

    Cheeseburger with french fries
    If you (or your doll) are now drooling over these luscious foods, drool no more! I can't recommend Pippaloo's doll food enough. She's the artiste who sculpted these luscious creations.

    Don't they look good enough to eat?

    Pippaloo creates realistic polymer clay food for your American Girl or other 18-inch doll. All items in her shop are ready to ship. She strives to make unique and high quality products that will delight dolls and their owners alike.

    Hot dog with mustard
    According to Pippaloo, "My polymer clay obsession started out quite innocently when my two young girls asked me to make some cookies for our American Girl dolls. Dismayed by the lack of realism and incorrect scale of so many of the foods that AG makes, I soon found myself on a mission. That was about four years ago. As you can no doubt imagine, we now have some very well fed dolls."

    Are your dolls craving something specific? She is always happy to do custom orders. Custom orders can take from one to three weeks to complete, depending on the request.

    Peanut butter and jelly
    Food items are crafted from polymer clay and are in perfect 1:3 scale for American Girl dolls.

    Because of the realistic nature and scale of the food, these items are not intended for children under the age of 6. Her food is not for human consumption - it is only tasty to dolls!

    All items are crafted by Pippaloo in her smoke-free home studio.

    Since all her clay food is handmade, no two will be exactly alike - but each piece you receive will look as realistic and scrumptious as the ones pictured. 

    Now, what should I try next....

    On the Net:

    The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair
    Daily Calendar

    Tuesday, Aug. 30, 1904
    • Improved Order of Heptasophs
    • Olympic Marathon Race, temperature over 90 degrees. Fred Lorz crosses finish line, but had ridden a car for 11 miles. Thomas Hicks won the race, but required assistance after taking strychnine and raw eggs.

      Monday, August 29

      Well, she was an American Girl

      Boy howdy, was I mad when I saw there was an American Boy Day at the St. Louis World's Fair on July 5, 1904.

      Excuse me, but what happened to American Girl Day?!

      Upon further investigation  I discovered it was sponsored by a then-popular magazine called The American Boy. 

      More investigation showed it to be two hours of speeches in Festival Hall.


      The American Boy was a monthly magazine published from November 1899 to August 1941. At the time it was the largest magazine for boys, with a circulation of 300,000, and it featured action stories and advertising for the young boy.

      In 1929
      the magazine merged with its rival, Youth's Companion. (Hey, Laura Ingalls Wilder read that as a girl!)
      Out of curiosity, I looked and Girl Scouts published a magazine from 1917 until 1979, originally called The Rally (1917–1920) and then The American Girl, with the The later being dropped.

      At one time this magazine had the largest circulation of any magazine aimed at teen-aged girls.

      (The American Girl is not to be confused with the currently published American Girl magazine. Launched in 1992, the new magazine reaches 470,000 girls every other month.)

      I am now somewhat mollified since girls have better things to do than to sit around listening to speeches.

      Like explore the World's Fair with friends and discover new foods....

      Meet me in St. Louis

      I'm off to St. Louis for the III Games of the Olympiad and hope to meet my friends Sam, Ruth and Josefina Ester at the 1904 World's Fair while I'm there.

      The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair opened April 30, 1904 and closed Dec. 1, 1904. While organizers tried to hold an Olympic event (such as tug of war) every day from July 1 to Nov. 23, the bulk of the recognized Olympic sports were held from Monday, Aug. 29 through Sept. 3. 

      The first U.S. Olympics had originally been awarded to Chicago but St. Louis threatened to hold a rival international competition. The Olympians totaled 651 athletes: 645 men and six women representing 12 countries. (Those six women represented the U.S. archery team!)

      The International Olympic Committee later declared that 94 of the events were Olympic, but only 42 events included athletes who were not from the United States since many European athletes did not come due to the expense(The United States placed "first" with 239 medals and Germany came in second with 13.) 

      The marathon included the first two black Africans to compete in the Olympics: Len Taunyane and Jan Mashiani, who participated in the Olympics even though they were supposed to be in the Fair's Boer War Exhibit. Taunyane placed ninth (dogs chased him a mile off course) and Mashiani came in 12th.

      St. Louis organizers repeated the mistakes made at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris by reducing
      competitions to a side-show that were overshadowed by the Fair. The Games were so poorly run that the modern Olympic movement almost came to an end.

      The 1904 Fair's 1,200 acre site was the largest to date with more than 1,500 buildings, connected by 75 miles of roads and walkways. Exhibits were staged by 62 foreign nations, the United States government, and 43 of the then-45 U.S. states. It was said to be impossible to give even glance at everything in less than a week. The Palace of Agriculture alone covered about 20 acres and 19,694,855 individuals attended the fair!

      A number of foods are claimed to have been invented at the Fair including the waffle-style ice cream cone, the hamburger, hot dog, peanut butter, iced tea, and cotton candy. It is more likely, however, that these food items were first introduced to mass audiences and popularized by the fair.

      I'm sure Sam, Ruth, Josefina Ester, and I shall be reporting on the foods later this week!

      The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair
      Daily Calendar

      Aug. 29 - Sept. 3, 1904
      • Third Olympic Games of the modern era, Track & Field events begin (U.S. won 23 of 25 gold medals)

      Sunday, August 28

      This Week in The Civil War: Sunday, Aug. 28

      Grant's rise, a daring proclamation

      On Aug. 28, Ulysses S. Grant takes early steps in his ascent to military fame, appointed commander of federal forces for the district of southeastern Missouri at Cairo, Ill., where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers converge. Experienced military officers are in much demand on the Union side early on and Grant will soon be drawing recognition for his ability to fight hard and win battles further west. He will later drive Union victories at Vicksburg, Miss., and battlefields in Tennessee en route to winning command of the Union army and — years from now — forcing the Confederacy's surrender in 1865. This week also brings a startling, unauthorized move by a Union general that rocks Lincoln's government: Major Gen. John Fremont declares martial law in Missouri and orders the state's slaves emancipated. "All person who shall be taken with arms in their hands within these lines, shall be tried by Court Martial, and, if found guilty, will be shot," Fremont proclaimed. The property "of those who take up arms against the United States .. is declared to be confiscated .. and their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared free men." Fremont's bold order — aimed at reining in a divided border state that hasn't seceded — sets abolitionists rejoicing. But the proclamation oversteps the bounds of President Abraham Lincoln's new confiscation law and Lincoln soon sends a special messenger to have Fremont revise the order. Lincoln is still a few years from announcing his famed Emancipation Proclamation. For now, the president is wary of linking an anti-slavery stance to his war effort in fear of eroding support in slave states that haven't seceded and might be pushed to the Confederate side. Ultimately, Fremont's proclamation will be revoked altogether.


      I have a dream

      Nobody can say it better today than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      His 17-minute "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered on Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

      I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

      I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

      And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
      Free at last! Free at last!
      Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

      "Free at last, they took your life
      They could not take your pride."

      Pride (In the Name of Love)

      Saturday, August 27

      How beautiful the hands

      While wandering around Washington, D.C. this week (between earthquakes and hurricanes) I couldn't help but notice the beautiful hands on the Abraham Lincoln memorial.

      Monument theorists have suggested that the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Statue is using sign language to represent the letters A (left hand) and L (right hand). The National Park Service says this is an urban legend, but historian Gerald Prokopowicz writes that it is possible that sculptor Daniel Chester French intended Lincoln's hands to be formed into sign language versions of his initials.

      French was familiar with American Sign Language since he had a deaf son and he would have had a reason to pay tribute to Lincoln for signing the federal legislation giving Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf, the authority to grant college degrees.

      Coincidentally, the Episcopal Church remembers two important leaders for the deaf today in Holy Women, Holy Men.

      Thomas Gallaudet was born in 1822, in Hartford, Connecticut. His mother, Sophia was deaf, and his father, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, was the founder of the West Hartford School for the deaf, which was the principal institution for the education of the deaf in America from 1806 to 1857 (the year of the founding of Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C.). The father had intended to become a priest, but had become an educator of the deaf instead. The son also intended to seek ordination, but was persuaded by his father to work for a while first as a teacher of the deaf. He did, and so met and married Miss Elizabeth Budd, who was deaf. He was ordained in 1851, and the next year established St. Ann's Church in New York, especially for deaf persons, with services primarily in sign language. As a result of his work, congregations for the deaf were established in many cities. (Alternatively, some congregations that are mostly hearing will have someone standing near the front and signing the service for the benefit of deaf parishioners.) Gallaudet died Aug. 27, 1902.

      One of Gallaudet's students and parishioners was Henry Winter Syle, deaf from an early age, who had attended Trinity College (Hartford, Conn), St. John's (Cambridge, England), and Yale. Gallaudet encouraged him to become a priest, and in 1876 he became the first deaf person to be ordained by the Episcopal Church in the United States. He established a congregation for the deaf in 1888, and died Jan. 6, 1890.

      Friday, August 26

      Let the hurricane roar

      It's funny how our minds work.

      You start thinking about one thing (earthquakes) which leads to another (hurricanes) which leads to yet another (Laura Ingalls Wilder).

      Obvious, right? I thought so. 
      And just before Pa laid the fiddle in its box ... he played a gallant, challenging tune that brought them all to their feet, and they all sang lustily,
      Then let the hurricane roar!
      It will the sooner be o'er.
      We'll weather the blast
      And land at last
      On Canaan's happy shore! 
      The Long Winter, Chapter 13
      "We'll Weather the Blast" 

      "The Evergreen Shore" was written by William Hunter and set to music by William B. Bradbury and was first published in 1861. Bradbury also wrote the music to Sunday School standard "Jesus Loves Me"! 

      Both Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane used a different fourth line of the chorus, "On Canaan's happy shore," instead of, "Safe on the evergreen shore," which may have been how the Ingalls family learned the song.

      Wilder began writing about her Little House books after the deaths of Ma and Mary and the stock market crach of 1929. Published during her lifetime were:
      • Little House in the Big Woods (1932)
      • Farmer Boy (1933)
      • Little House on the Prairie (1935)
      • On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937)
      • By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939)
      • The Long Winter (1940)
      • Little Town on the Prairie (1941)
      • These Happy Golden Years (1943)

      Lane used the first line, "Let the Hurricane Roar," as the title of a serialized story using the names of her grandparents as characters and family stories. (Apparently this caused some friction between Wilder and Lane since Wilder felt the family stories were hers to tell.) It was published in 1932 by the Saturday Evening Post and as a book in 1933.

      Let the Hurricane Roar has since been renamed Young Pioneers and the names of Charles and Caroline changed to David and Molly. 

      But I digress. Again.

      For those on the East Coast who have endured the 2011 Virginia Earthquake and are preparing for Hurricane Irene, I encourage you to remember:
      Then let the hurricane roar!
      It will the sooner be o'er.
      We'll weather the blast.

      Thursday, August 25

      King of night vision, king of insight

      As I'm sure you know, every good spy (or pirate) has to have a telescope.

      But did you know Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei made a telescope with about 3x magnification (based upon vague descriptions of a telescope invented in the Netherlands in 1608) and demonstrated it to Venetian lawmakers on Aug. 25, 1609?

      Galileo later made versions with up to about 30x magnification. His telescopes were a profitable sideline for Galileo who sold them to merchants who found them useful both at sea and as items of trade. With a Galilean telescope (also known as a terrestrial telescope, or spyglass) the observer could see magnified, upright images on the earth.

      Galileo could also use it to observe the sky and he published his initial telescopic astronomical observations in March 1610 in a brief treatise entitled Starry Messenger.

      He began publicly supporting Copernicanism (or heliocentric view) after 1610, which placed the Sun at the center of the universe, with bitter opposition from some philosophers and clerics.

      In 1633 Galileo was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for "following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture," and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life where he died on Jan. 8, 1642, at the age of 77.

      Galileo has since been called the "father of modern observational astronomy," the "father of modern physics," the "father of science," and "the Father of Modern Science."

      Stephen Hawking said, "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science."

      Galileo, I lift my spyglass to thee in a toast.

      Perhaps coincidentally, a series of six articles now known as
      the Great Moon Hoax were published in the New York Sun beginning on Aug. 25, 1835. The supposed discovery of life and even civilization on the Moon were falsely attributed to Sir John Herschel, one of the best-known astronomers at the time. 

      Eventually, the authors announced the sun caused the lens to act as a "burning glass," setting fire to the observatory that destroyed the telescope.

      Wednesday, August 24

      This fragile earth, our island home

      I am So Thankful no one was Seriously Injured, but oh, how I loath seeing historic sites damaged.

      Washington Monument. Mathew Brady, 1860
      The 5.8-magnitude quake near Washington, D.C., that toppled capstones from the National Cathedral and cracked the Washington Monument also damaged a Virginia church where Robert E. Lee once worshiped.

      The epicenter of Tuesday's quake was northwest of the
      former Confederate capital of  Richmond, Va.

      At St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Culpeper, Va., the quake separated the narthex (lobby) from the nave (the main body of the church) and the building has been condemned, according to the Richmond-based Diocese of Virginia.

      Lee and Gen. J.E.B. Stuart worshiped there in June 1863 before the Army of Northern Virginia marched toward Gettysburg.

      Sadly, most of these churches, including the National Cathedral, have discovered they are not covered by earthquake insurance. Damage at the Washington National Cathedral alone is estimated in the millions of dollars.

      Viva la Vega!

      Those magnificent women in their flying machines!

      Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a solo transcontinental nonstop flight across the United States, when she took off from Los Angeles on Aug. 24, 1932 and landed her Lockheed Vega at the Newark Airport in New Jersey 19 hours later. She established a women's record of 19 hours and 5 minutes and set a women's distance record of 2,447 miles. 

      The Dallas Morning News reported on Aug. 26, 1932: 
      When the aviatrix stepped wearily from the cockpit of her ship after landing, an enthusiastic crowd, predominantly female, rushed out to greet her, and almost knocked her over.
      “Don’t come near me. If you knew what I feel like—” 
      She threw her hands up in a tired gesture. When photographers asked her to smile, she told them, “I don’t feel like smiling. I’m too tired.” 
      There was a broad smile on her face a moment later, however, as she asked the cameramen, “how’s this?”
      While it's a great photo of Amelia, this is sooo undignified. 

      Tuesday, August 23

      Darth Vader safe and sound at National Cathedral

      Skip the jokes.

      The highest elevated point of Washington, D.C., the "Gloria in Excelsis" central tower of Washington National Cathedral, sustained significant damage in the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Tuesday, Aug. 23.

      However, Darth Vader is safe and sound, as far as I know.

      According to the Cathedral's Twitter account, "We've checked, and Darth Vader appears to be okay." 

      Yes, Darth Vader.
      In the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.
      The Force is strong with this one. 

      Mason Foreman Joe Alonso is currently assessing the damage to the Cathedral building with the help of other Cathedral stonemasons and structural engineers.
      Three of four pinnacles (corner spires) on the central tower have been damaged. Specifically, three "finials" (capstones shaped like fleurs-de-lys) have fallen from them, with more significant damage to two of the pinnacles. Similar decorative elements on the Cathedral's exterior also appear to be damaged. Cracks have appeared in the flying buttresses around the apse at the Cathedral's east end, the first portion of the building to be constructed, but the buttresses supporting the central tower seem to be sound.
      No individuals were injured either within the Cathedral or on its grounds. Despite some cracks on upper floors in the interior, no damage to the stained-glass windows has been reported. The building has been closed to visitors until further notice.

      The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation erected the cathedral (officially named the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul) under a charter passed by the U.S. Congress on Jan. 6, 1893.

      Construction began on Sept. 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and ended 83 years later when the last finial was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990. The foundation operates and funds the cathedral, which is not funded by the U.S. government.

      It is the sixth largest cathedral in the world, the second largest in the United States, and the fourth tallest structure in Washington, D.C. 

      Coincidentally, the National Park Service says the memorials and monuments, including the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, were evacuated immediately after the quake.

      I hope it wasn't something I said or did....

      Aim for the moon


      Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon on Aug. 23, 1966.

      Three years later, Man would be on the Moon.

      And to think they used to say it would never happen.

      (And some people still say that!)

      Monday, August 22

      The chain reaction of evil

      Please stop and remember all the men, women and children who died 180 years ago during Nat Turner's Rebellion that took place Aug. 21-22, 1831 in Southampton County, Virginia.

      Also known as the Southampton Insurrection, rebel slaves killed 55-65 white people, the highest number of fatalities caused by slave uprisings in the South. The rebellion ended within 48 hours, but Turner remained in hiding until he was discovered in a hole on Oct. 30 and arrested. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death on Nov. 5, 1831 and hanged on Nov. 11 in Jerusalem, Va.

      In the aftermath, the state executed 55 or 56 slaves (the state reimbursed the slaveholders for their slaves) accused of being part of the rebellion and at least 100-200 blacks were killed by militias and mobs.

      Across the South, state legislatures passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks, and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services.

      A stone of hope

      I'm off to Washington, D.C., again today.

      Why? Today is the "soft opening" of the Martin Luther King, Jr., national memorial.

      Of course there's controversy about it, but I think it's brilliant.

      The photo at left shows an early artist concept but the finished image seems to be similar, except for the quote on this side which now reads:


      The quote is a line from his famous "I have a dream" speech which he delivered 48 years ago on Aug. 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C.

      The other side is inscribed with these words:


      a statement by Dr. King himself when asked how he would like to be remembered.

      The memorial is scheduled to officially open later this week on Aug. 28, 2011 with President Barack Obama.

      Sunday, August 21

      A supercalifragilisticexpialidocious hat

      Look at what Momma and I found today after church at an eating establishment called Cracker Barrel.

      I love this hat, passed on an orange version (why wasn't there a green one?), and said unprintable things about a leopard-skin witch hat.

      This Week in The Civil War: Sunday, Aug. 21

      Homefront Help, Amphibious Assault

      Tenn. Gov. Isham G. Harris, his state in the Confederacy, issues a call for the homefront women to prepare blankets, uniforms and other clothing for troops set to fight. Tennessee is a state of divided loyalties that mustered tens of thousands of Confederate troops but saw thousands also go to the Union side. Some of the bloodiest fighting in a single day is still far off, at Shiloh in April 1862. For now the war, in its early stages, sees light and scattered skirmishes for a time. Confederate soldiers, like Union counterparts, are adjusting to camp life. Yet there are reports of Confederate officers scrambling to procure large quantities of tobacco for those grumbling troops deprived of a smoking habit. Union Major Gen. Benjamin Butler sets sail Aug. 26, leading a naval force from Fort Monroe, Va., to stifle blockade runners and seize Hatteras Inlet, N.C. On Aug. 28, the naval ships begin bombarding Forts Clark and Hatteras, Union troops then wade ashore and both forts are captured from poorly trained defenders as the Confederates surrender. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is damaged by artillery in the fighting. More significantly, these early Union victories strengthen the federal blockade of the South seacoast, squelching blockade runners off North Carolina. The expedition is hailed as the first amphibious assault in U.S. Navy history and the territory is the first seized by the Union that will be held for the rest of the war. There is rejoicing in the North, anger in the South. Butler is fast earning Confederate wrath as one unnamed Southerner's poem attests: " ... In every land, The Scoundrel is despised. In Butler's name the foulest wrongs and crimes are all comprised ... Ages unborn will tell in scorn of him as mankind's scourge."

      Saturday, August 20

      And now it's time for silly songs with Addie

      Are ya ready kids?
      Aye, aye captain!

      I can't heeaar yoouu!


      Who lives in an airship, where else would she be?
      Steam Punk A-ddie!
      Observant and curious, time traveler is she.
      Steam Punk A-ddie!

      If aeronautical nonsense be what you wish.
      Steam Punk A-ddie!
      Then drop by her blog to see what she'll dish.
      Steam Punk A-ddie!

      Steam Punk A-ddie,
      Steam Punk A-ddie,
      Steam Punk
      Steam Puuunk

      With apologies to SpongeBob SquarePants

      Defending the Conspirator

      Momma and I watched the moving picture "The Conspirator" last night and I've been thinking about it since.

      Mary Surrat's tale is an unhappy one but was well told. However, what caught my attention was her attorney, Frederick Aiken.

      Aiken, a Civil War veteran, is best known for his defense of Surratt who was accused of conspiracy in the assassination of President Lincoln. His speech in her defense was included in the The World's Best Orations in 1899.

      After his untimely death the Washington Weekly Post wrote on Dec. 24, 1878:
      "Aiken was one of the most active workers in the Democratic cause, and his brilliant pen and eloquent voice were incessantly employed. When that unfortunate victim of Republican fury, Mrs. Mary Surratt, was dragged from her bed at midnight by the brutal minions of Stanton, and hurried before a court-martial organized to convict, Col. Aiken was one of the gallant few in the District that dared to lift his voice in behalf of justice and right at the imminent risk of his life and nobly undertook to conduct her defense. His defense of Mrs. Surratt is one of the . . . most praiseworty efforts on record. Col Aiken's memorable speech on that occasion will be long remembered as fulfilled prophecy, everyone now believing her to have been innocent. After this trial, Col. Aiken was called on . . . to assist in the defense of Jefferson Davis, and prepared some of the preliminary papers in that case.

      "In 1865 he was admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States and practiced in that and the District courts with such esteem until 1868, when he gave up law for his former and most loved . . . journalism. He had previously, during the war and after, assisted Col. Tom Florence in editing the 'Constitutional Union,' and in 1869 became the editor of the 'Sunday Gazette.' The 'Herald' of Washington remembered the brilliant success which attended Col. Aiken's management of this journal. In 1871 he became the dramatic editor of the 'National Republican.' In 1876 he was attacked with a heavy fit of sickness which consigned him to the verge of the grave, and from the affects of which he never totally recovered.

      "In the winter of 1877, Col. Aiken started with the 'Post' at its city editor position, which he held until the time of his death, he being the first of its staff that has died. He died at twenty minutes past twelve o'clock Sunday night after only three day's sickness that his friends felt but little anxiety for his condition."
      Talk about a thankless job. I am thankful for people like Aiken who speak for those who are given no voice.

      Friday, August 19

      Captain's Log, Stardate 2011.231

      Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

      I salute you today Mr. Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991) on what would have been your 90th birthday. You have been a source of hope and inspiration for millions since 1966.

      I have been and always shall be your friend.

      Live long and prosper

      Wednesday, August 17

      The birthplace of America

      Ahh, Philadelpia. I knew I loved thee. 

      The President's House in Philadelphia
      Our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence there on July 4, 1776 and it served as one of the nation's many capitals during the Revolutionary War.

      When the U.S. established its Constitution by signing it in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 1787, the question of its capital city arose.

      Many cities desired to be the national capital but none was willing to concede to the others. Also, there was rivalry between the proposed 13 States of the United States as to which one would contain the capital city.

      A compromise was reached to establish a federal district separate from any of the states, and this would contain a brand-new city for the capital. The new capital district was given the name District of Columbia, and the capital city of Washington was founded within it.

      After the July 1790 Residence Act, Philadelphia served as the temporary national capital for 10 years, beginning Aug. 17, 1790, during the construction of Washington, D.C.

      President George Washington occupied The President's House in Philadelphia at 524-30 Market Street from November 1790 to March 1797, and President John Adams occupied it from March 1797 to May 1800.

      Historic events at the house included the signing of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 (boo hiss!) and the Alien and Sedition Acts.

      In 1793, one of the largest yellow fever epidemics in U.S. history killed as many as 5,000 people in Philadelphia, roughly 10 percent of the population.

      The state government left Philadelphia in 1799 and the federal government left soon after in 1800, but the city continued to be a major force and maintain its reputation of Brotherly Love.

      Tuesday, August 16

      Having a rum time

      Yo ho! It's National Rum Day!

      I can't figure out who proclaimed it so, but as a Good Pirate, who am I to argue?

      Speaking of proclamations, did you know President Abraham Lincoln
      declared that the 11 states of the Confederacy were "in a state of insurrection against the United States" 150 years ago today when he signed Proclamation 86.

      issued 48 proclamations during the Civil War and no, National Rum Day was not one of them.

      While not as well known as the Emancipation Proclamation, the Aug. 16, 1861 proclamation effectively stymied a once bustling cotton trade between the South and Border states and further bolstered an ongoing federal naval blockade of Southern ports and waterways.

      (Have you heard of blockade runners? It's just a genteel term for pirates and profiteers.)

      I thought 48 proclamations sounded like a lot until I did some library research and discovered that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed 3466 proclamations and executive orders during his three terms!

      Phew! That calls for a drink!

      We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads,
      Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
      Aye, but we're loved by our Mommas and dads,
      Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
      Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

      Monday, August 15

      Orange you thrilled I'm not a zombie

      Two days later and I'm still sniggering.

      I ask you, does she, or does she not, look like a zombie?

      I didn't know ma chère amie Cécile had it in her.

      Now, where can I get a red and black jacket like the other zombie?

      I already have the matching boots!