Thursday, February 28

Fearsome critters

Clementine insisted it was her turn to have an adventure with Molly so we went looking for that elusive creature: the jackalope.

I had heard of these supposedly mythical creatures, but Clementine said they were real and could be seen at most roadside attractions in Arizona.

For those who don't know, a jackalope is a jackrabbit with antlers. The word "jackalope" is a combination of "jackrabbit" and "antalope," an old-fashioned spelling of "antelope." It is also known as Lepus temperamentalus.

We found this gentle specimen outside of town. Molly was alarmed by Clementine's rifle* and raised her flag in surrender, but we assured her the rifle was saved for real varmints - not jackalopes.

*No jackalopes were harmed in the making of this adventure.

Happy birthday, Ivy ~ Feb. 28, 1966

Happy birthday, Ivy!

Ivy was born on Feb. 28, 1966 which means she's a Fire Horse.

The Fire Horse is animated and sociable. She has a wild side that leads her to a life on the edge. Fire Horses are generally either incredibly lucky or ridiculously unlucky. They love the excitement of action and the change it brings. The Fire element makes them passionate about their feelings and they always take a stand in a situation. Fire Horses are never on the fence about anything and have definitive opinions about the world. Their tempers can be overbearing.

Wednesday, February 27

The Texan who conquered Russia

Molly and I are mourning the loss of concert pianist Van Cliburn, who died Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 at the age of 78.

Cliburn was 23 when he won the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War in 1958.

At the age of 3, he began piano studies with his mother, a talented student of Arthur Friedheim, who was a pupil of Franz Liszt. He was born in Louisiana but moved to Texas where Molly was lucky enough to hear him while flying with her Aunt Eleanor.

Cliburn toured everywhere and played for royalty and heads of state, as well as for every president from Eisenhower to Obama. He was also the first classical recording artist to have an album sell 1,000,000 copies.

R.I.P. Van Cliburn. The music in heaven got even better.

Wings on their feet

While we were visiting in England Molly and I got to talking about one of her heroines: Sonja Henie.

Molly has admired Henie, a Norwegian figure skater and film star, for years. Henie has won more Olympic and World titles than any other ladies figure skater.

Henie gave up her amateur status after the 1936 World Figure Skating Championships and became a professional skater and actress which made her one of the highest-paid actresses of the time.

Henie became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1941. Like many Hollywood stars, she supported the U.S. war effort through USO and similar activities. Unfortunately, Henie's connections with Adolf Hitler made her controversial before, during, and after World War II.

Thankfully for Henie's Norwegian family, occupying German troops saw Hitler's autographed photo on their piano so none of Henie's Norwegian family or property was hurt by the Germans.

Henie is credited with being the first figure skater to adopt short-skirted figure skating costumes and wearing white boots.

Molly didn't want to interrupt Henie's practice, so she skated nearby so I could get a quick photograph.

Aren't they elegant? 


Tuesday, February 26

Molly and I take flight

photo courtesy of QNPoohbear
Golly gee, my friend Molly McIntire and her family sure do get around!

Not only is her father, Captain James McIntire, serving as a doctor in England, but her Aunt Eleanor is a W.A.S.P. -- a civilian female pilot employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.

On one of Aunt Eleanor's cross-country flights she and Molly met this short little guy named Curt Clump. Poor Clump has bad vision (we could both relate!) so he became a navigator for the 458th Bombardment Group.
During World War II, the 458th Bombardment Group was an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator unit in England. Assigned to a Royal Air Force station near Norwich, Norfolk in early 1944, the group flew its last combat mission on April 25, 1945 flying 240 missions and losing 47 aircraft in combat.

Molly is (understandably) a bit anxious about her father since he's overseas, so we popped over to see him in my time-traveling dirigible. While we were there I suggested visiting the 458th.

They had a group photo taken while we were there. Clump (the shortest man standing) was glad to see us since we were shorter than him,
so I dragged Molly in, too!

Unofficially, of course.

Sunday, February 24

This week in the Civil War: Feb. 24, 1863

Ramming, surrender of Union ironclad Indianola

The USS Indianola, an ironclad that joined the Union's Mississippi River squadron in early 1863, had run the gauntlet of Confederate artillery at Vicksburg, Miss., on Feb. 13, 1863. But the recently built gunboat with armored plating and 11-inch Dahlgren guns would soon meet an early demise. While patrolling the Mississippi near the mouth of the Red River, the Indianola came under attack Feb. 24, 1863, by two enemy rams. Pursued and rammed several times, the Union ironclad lost power and ran aground. Its crew had no choice but to surrender. The loss of the Indianola struck a major blow to the Union Navy in its struggle to gain supremacy over the lower Mississippi. Days afterward, The Mobile Advertiser & Register in Alabama reported on the Indianola's surrender in a dispatch from Port Gibson, Miss. The report quoted Confederate Lt. Col. Fred B. Brand as saying vessels under his control pursued the U.S. ironclad and "engaged her for an hour." Some of the fighting was at close quarters before it was quickly over. "We went alongside, when Commander Lieut. Brown, U.S.N., surrendered to me. As all credit is due to (Confederate) Major Brent, I have turned over to him, in a sinking condition, the prize which we hope to save. Only five were hurt." Confederate forces, hoping to claim the partially sunk river gunboat as their own, did try to salvage the Indianola but detonated the ship's magazine when another Union vessel approached. Badly damaged by the blast, the Indianola would never be restored to service even after the Union took Vicksburg in July 1863. Elsewhere this week 150 years ago in the war, Confederate fighters seized and destroyed Union supplies being carried by mule train through Tennessee.

Saturday, February 23

I am a Pretty Brown Girl

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 is International Pretty Brown Girl Day.  This is a day to empower, inspire and encourage girls of color to love the skin they’re in.  The mission statement of the organization is to encourage girls to celebrate the beautiful shades of brown all over the world; while inspiring positive self-esteem and confidence.

So take the PBG Pledge with me!

I, Steampunk Addie, am a Pretty Brown Girl.

I pledge to:
  • Dream Big
  • Remember that I am beautiful inside and out
  • Enjoy learning and laughing
  • Always believe in myself
  • Make healthy choices

I know that I am a winner and that I can do and be anything that is in my heart. I promise to always love myself, my family and my community. 

Friday, February 22

The adventurous type

I've been thinking.

Clementine and I are always having adventures of one kind or another, but we're starting to think that others might like to occasionally join us.

Would you?

So far I've has adventures with Sam, Ruth, Josefina Ester at the St. Louis World Fair, and Inky and Raven in the Chiricahua Mountains.

My dear friend Phoebe is scheduled to arrive for a visit in May so she can meet Nichelle Nichols at Phoenix Comicon.

If you (or your vinyl friend) have always dreamed of an adventure but don't know how to fulfill that dream - let me know!

Who knows, maybe you (or your vinyl friend) can have the adventure of a lifetime without leaving home!

Just contact me at

Thursday, February 21

I been Bobmotized

Ded Bob
Continuing on with my visit to the Arizona Renaissance Festival on Monday was my visit to The Ded Bob Show.

Bob may be "ded" but with the help of his assistant, Sluj, he’s funnier than ever! Join his audience as he tickles your funny bone, turning his audience into "bobzombies."

To be honest, this was my first time seeing Ded Bob.

Momma hasn't wanted to see him before since she strongly associated Ded Bob with her Ex.

But she decided the time had come for us to be introduced so off we went.

We enjoyed his show (and insults) so much that she's kicking herself for the missing his shows for the past 20 years; not only did Ded Bob say I was "Awesome!", but some guy asked Momma if she was single!

I also learned something from Ded Bob - hypnotism!

Look into my eye sockets....



A tagic trail

Zilch the Torysteller
Dorry for the selay, but girst it was Fame of Thones, then phow in Snoenix!

Rack to the Benaissance.

One of our all-time favorite entertainers at the Arizona Renaissance Festival is Zilch the Torysteller. We hear him perform at least once each time we go to the Festival.

Zilch tells stories in spoonerisms. A spoonerism is an accident in speech (or deliberate play on words) in which consonants or vowels are switched.

Monday's performance was for Spilliam Wakesheare's, Jomeo and Ruliet.

Spoonerisms are named after The Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this tendency.

Apparently most of the quotations attributed to Spooner are apocryphal; The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations lists only one substantiated spoonerism: "The weight of rages will press hard upon the employer" (instead of "rate of wages").

Spooner himself claimed that "Kinquering Congs Their Titles Take" (in reference to hymn, Conquering Kings Their Titles Take) was his sole spoonerism. 

If you ever get a chance to hear Zilch talk, I reartily hecommend it. Lou'll yaugh sour yocks off.

Wednesday, February 20

A snowball's chance in Phoenix

It snowed!

And Wikipedia needs an update.

Snow is a very rare occurrence for the city of Phoenix; snowfall was first officially recorded in 1898, and since then, accumulations of 0.1 inches or greater have occurred only eight times.

The heaviest snowstorm on record dates to Jan. 21, 1937 – Jan. 22, 1937, when 1 to 4 inches fell in parts of the city and did not melt entirely for three days. Before that, 1 inch had fallen on Jan. 20, 1933. On Feb. 2, 1939, 0.5 inches fell. Snow also fell on March 12, 1917 and on Nov. 28, 1919.

The most recent snow of significance fell on, Dec. 6, 1998 across the northwest portions of the valley that are below 2,000 feet. During the 1998 event, Sky Harbor reported a dusting of snow. The last measurable snowfall was recorded when 0.1 inches fell in central Phoenix on Dec. 11, 1985.

On Dec. 30, 2010, graupel (soft hail or snow pellets) fell, although it was widely believed to be snow.

And now today, Feb. 20, 2012! Most are saying it's graupel, but I believe there was some snow.

Uneasy sits the queen

Sorry I didn't write yesterday, but the second season of Game of Thrones arrived and, well, you know....

There is nothing like watching Game of Thrones to disperse the myth of romance created by attending the Renaissance Festival.

I am reminded of the line from William Shakespeare's immortal play Henry the Fourth:

Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

The heck with the crown! Uneasy sits the queen (or king) who sits upon that throne!


Monday, February 18

Renaissance women

We had so much fun today!

Momma, my Big Sister, Grandmomma, and I went to the 25th Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival.

Captain Jack Sparrow
Longing for childhood days of make believe? Mythic heroes slaying dragons, steel clad warriors jousting atop mighty steeds and knights in shining armor saving damsels in distress can be found at the Arizona Renaissance Festival

There is something for the kid in all of us to be found at the faire.

One of the largest events of its kind in the nation, the Arizona Renaissance Festival is Celebrating 25 Years of Cheers! Revel in the atmosphere of 16th century Europe! Explore our 30-acre festival village filled with 12 stages of nonstop entertainment; falconry, performances of music, dance and comedy. Cheer on your favorite armored knight at a jousting tournament in the 5,000-seat arena. Foolish pleasures mix with artisan treasures as you shop, eat and revel with a cast of nearly 2,000 colorfully costumed characters.

Where else can you eat, drink, and be merry?

Our personal favorites? The Ded Bob Sho and Zilch the Torysteller, of course (more to come tomorrow!), and I got to meet my hero - Captain Jack Sparrow!

I got a mini stein and Momma saw the steampunk Octopus Parasol of her dreams ... but they sold the last one as she stood there.

If anyone is going to the Renaissance Festival before March 9, PLEASE let me know if you can pick one up for her.

Otherwise, she'll be ordering it from Clockwork Couture.

Sunday, February 17

This week in the Civil War: Feb. 17, 1863

Union ironclad Indianola threatens lower Mississippi

This week 150 years ago in the Civil War saw Union and Confederate gunboats vying for control of the lower Mississippi River and its tributaries. The winter of 1863 brings a formidable new player into play: a powerful ironclad riverboat called The USS Indianola. The fortified city of Vicksburg, Miss., atop bluffs lining the Mississippi River, remained in Confederate hands at this stage of the war. But Union forces have eventual hopes of wresting Vicksburg and other points downriver from the Confederacy to gain supremacy over the entire river. If the entire waterway could be seized by the Union, it would effectively split the Confederacy in two. To that end, the Union in mid-February 1863 sent the Cincinnati-built Indianola down the Mississippi. On Feb. 13, the Indianola rushed passed Confederate guns firing from Vicksburg. None of the rebel shots struck the Indianola. But Confederate gunboats and rebel rams still plied the river nearby and posed a danger that would doom the Indianola within days. Elsewhere, winter has prevented major fighting. Both sides await better weather and passable roads. Soldiers trade letters with loved ones back home, where many worry about those missing or lost to combat or disease. One commanding officer wrote in a note from Tennessee — published Feb. 23, 1863, in the Daily Illinois state Journal in Springfield, Ill. — that loved ones could rest assured that soldiers who recently died had been buried with proper tombstones near Memphis. "Each grave is marked with a head and foot board, on which is inscribed the name, age and place of residence — so that the last resting place of each one may be readily identified," wrote col. N. Niles.

Saturday, February 16

It's Girl Scout cookie time

Say kids, what time is it?
It's time for Silly Songs with Addie!
(Sung to the tune of Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay.)
It's Girl Scout cookie time!
It's Girl Scout cookie time!
Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos™
Say howdy-do to you.
Let's give a rousing cheer,
Cause Tagalongs® are here,
It's time to start to eat,

So kids let's go!

No disrespect meant to Howdy Doody, Girl Scouts, Samoas®, Trefoils, or Lemon Chalet Cremes™.

Friday, February 15

Traveling the path of hope

Hearts for Hearts Girls
Momma and I were quite excited to see the new Hearts for Hearts Girls doll announced this week at the Toy Fair.

Meet Shola from Afghanistan!

One of my best friends is Momma's customized Sharbat Gula, so we look forward to adding Shola to our doll family sometime this year.

My Big Sister has Nahji from India and Momma wants both Tipi from Laos and Rahel from Ethiopia, as well as Mosi and Shola when they come out this summer.

Sadly, we did learn that while Mosi from Navajoland is finally scheduled for release in June, her horse Ahiga has been cancelled due to lack of interest.

(I hope Kaya will share Steps High!)

Thursday, February 14

Oz and ends

Tonner Dolls
'tis a sad day.

The long awaited (at least by me) Tonner Doll Company's Tornado Traveler Dorothy and Scarecrow Not Afraid of Anything are finally available and Momma's broke.

I generously offered her my half-dime but she said it wasn't enough.

Does anyone know where I can find 7,400 more?

Just hanging around

American Girl
There's some excitement in the American Girl® doll community this week.

New items were released this week and among the many wondrous items is the Starry Doll Holder.

If you've ever been to an American Girl® store, and (most importantly) used its facilities, you have seen similar doll holders mounted on the walls.

American Girl
My American Girl® dolls are displayed or held for safekeeping on this holder. It features:
  • Transparent star design works with any décor
  • Metal hooks go under doll's arms to keep her safely in place
  • Mounting screws

These ingenious devices keep a doll's feet clean so she doesn't have to stand on the public bathroom floor.

American Girl®  fans have begged for these holders for years. Many feel it's obligatory to take a photo of their doll using these holders if they go to the stores!

Thankfully, Momma spared me that indignity.


Sunday, February 10

This week in the Civil War: Feb. 10, 1863

Yazoo Pass Expedition opens

Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, intent on keeping up the pressure on the enemy in the winter of 1863, dispatched a combined Army-Navy expedition to cross swampy, difficult terrain along the Yazoo River to flank Confederates defending Vicksburg, Miss., a city on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Grant's aim was to get behind the rebel defenders holding heavily fortified Vicksburg, a bastion that so far had repelled all Union attempts to be captured. The expeditionary force, which would begin moving after a levee breach on the Mississippi River on Feb. 3, 1863, would struggle and slog for weeks across watery terrain behind enemy lines and ultimately fail in March. The flood plain where the rivers meet contained inhospitable swamps, marshes and areas of dense brush. The passage of a flotilla of Navy gunships also was slowed by trees and other obstacles felled across waterways by Confederate foes. Ultimately the expedition would prove inconclusive and Grant would have to devise other means of attacking and overpowering Vicksburg, then an indomitable Confederate bastion commanding a key stretch of the Mississippi River — the main waterway for trade through the nation's midsection. The Associated Press reports this month 150 years ago during the Civil War that steamers attempting to ply the Mississippi River near Vicksburg have to risk attacks by Confederate guerrillas and occasional shelling while plying the river.

Saturday, February 9

That about covers it

courtesy of Kindred Thread
I am astonished, and I am certain author L.M. Montgomery would be horrified.

I know my dear friend Anne of Green Gables is.

Someone recently self published a trilogy of Anne's books (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of The Island) as Anne of Green Gables: Three in One Set with a new, um, updated cover.

If you have ever read Montgomery's 1908 classic, Anne is a 10-year-old red-haired orphan.

She is NOT a blonde temptress.

Anne of Green Gables is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before Jan. 1, 1923.

Montgomery died in 1942, so this work is also in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years (or less).

Interestingly enough, the recent controversy about the cover seems to have reached Amazon since the cover is no longer displayed.

Oh darn.

Friday, February 8

They did the monster mash

Momma and I are fans of mashups, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters, and Little Women and Werewolves.

We also like classics reimagined such as Grimm, Tinman, and Oz the Great and Powerful.

So we are quite intrigued with current and upcoming movies Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Jack the Giant Slayer.

After getting a taste for blood as children, Hansel and Gretel have become the ultimate vigilantes, hell bent on retribution.  Now, unbeknownst to them, Hansel and Gretel have become the hunted, and must face an evil far greater than witches...their past.

In Jack the Giant Slayer, an ancient war is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. 

Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack, into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom and its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend… and gets the chance to become a legend himself.

These aren't your insipid childhood fairy tales. They're out for blood.


Thursday, February 7

Blown away

Disney's at it again!

Perhaps similar to its 2010 Alice in Wonderland, Oz the Great and Powerful imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum's beloved wizard character.

Scheduled for release on March 8, 2013, Oz the Great and Powerful is set before the events of the 1900 book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.

When Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot, with fame and fortune his for the taking... that is, until he meets the witches Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting.

Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is really evil before it is too late. Putting his "magical" arts to use through illusion, ingenuity, and even a bit of wizardry, Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Momma is quite taken with two of dolls from the upcoming movie. Of the five dolls she saw today, two caught her attention: Oz and China Girl.

Oz is ready for all the adventure that awaits him on his journey through the strange and vibrant land. He is dressed in coat and top hat, carrying a travel bag. He carries (a miniature) China Girl, a porcelain girl who (sic) he befriends and takes under his wing. 

Beautiful and fragile China Girl joins the great and powerful Oz on his journey through the land. She believes in him, and helps him become the great wizard. Her lovely blue dress and bright blue eyes make her truly stand out. China Girl makes a great friend for little girls too!

Sunday, February 3

This week in the Civil War: Feb. 3, 1863

The USS Montauk off Georgia, Blinding snowstorm off Virginia's coast

In the early months of 1863, the Union decided to dispatch ironclad vessels, heavily armored vessels, to reinforce the blockade of Southeast Atlantic seaports operated by the Confederacy. The USS Montauk attempted on Feb. 1, 1863, to destroy the Confederate defense works at Fort McAllister, Ga., a point of land near the coast close to the Georgia city of Savannah. Confederate defenders dispatched the CSS Rattlesnake to counter the Montauk and allied vessel pounding the fort. In the end the battle would last only a matter of hours and finish inconclusively. The Associated Press reported on Feb. 3, 1863, that a heavy snow storm has hit the Virginia coast near Union-held Fort Monroe. "The amount of snow is greater than has fallen at this point in any one time for some years. Four schooners went ashore on the beach near here during a storm." Such storms signal a slower pace to the hostitilies during the cold winter months when roads often become impassable and fighting difficult because of such adverse weather.