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Posts Tagged ‘history’

Long Live the Queen!


picture of Queen Elizabeth - Time's 1952 Woman of the Year

Happy Presidents' Day! It might seem strange to give the title "Long Live the Queen!" to a Presidents' Day blog post and to start off with a picture of Queen Elizabeth II of England, but I think my doing so will make more sense to you as you read the post. Many people know the expressions, "God Save the King!" or more recently "God Save the Queen!" He seems to have done just that with Queen Elizabeth II.

In February 1952, at the age of 25, Elizabeth ascended the throne to become the queen. Time magazine named her its Woman of the Year for 1952. That was a long time ago, and that young queen is now in her eighties. I hope this post of pictures with little commentary will document at least one aspect of her 58 years as queen, so far.

For Presidents' Day 2010 I would like to do a tribute to the presidents through the eyes of Queen Elizabeth II.
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Thanks or No Thanks?


picture of pilgrims praying

A national day of thanksgiving has been a part of American life since the earliest days of our country in the early 1600s. By the mid-17th century, the custom of thanksgivings was established throughout New England and began to spread southward during the American Revolution. The newly established Congress recognized the need for such a celebration. The Founding Fathers thought it important that this tradition be recognized by proclamation.

Soon after approving the Bill of Rights, a motion was made in Congress to initiate the proclamation of a national day of thanksgiving. In 1789 Congress requested that the president "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God...." And President Washington did just that.

After 1815 the annual tradition of a presidential proclamation ceased and did not resume until during the Civil War, when President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. The traditional day eventually became the last Thursday of November.
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A Saturday not like All the Rest


(This will also be a blog post not like all the rest....) A couple of Saturdays ago, before my teacherly duties began, Becka and I planned to go to the mountains for the day. But alas, I woke up during the night with a bug and instead spent the day in bed sleeping (and losing 3 pounds). 🙁 Yesterday we were finally able to get away, but not before doing several jobs we really wanted to do — washing the car and cleaning the garage. Becka has a post about our day also, called A day in the mountains. Reading both posts will give you a more complete picture of our day.

picture of crossing sign

When I first went out yesterday morning to go to Krispy Kreme to pick up and bring home "hot ones" for our breakfast, I discovered that we ought to find, buy, and put up a sign similar to the one on the right. Apparently when we pulled in or out of the driveway on Friday, one of us ran over a toad. Although I took a picture of it, I'll spare you having to see its flat little body.

After breakfast, while Becka vacuumed out the car and washed it, I attacked the garage. Even though we don't have a sign warning about toads crossing our driveway, we do have a sign in the garage, beside the door into our kitchen, warning guests about something they'll find in our house.

picture of cat sign

Our cat Adelaide is crazy, but she's not at all dangerous. It was just a fun sign we found many years ago at the Mast General Store, and guests have gotten a laugh from the sign through the years.

picture of black widow spider

I frequently spray the perimeter of the garage because a number of bugs and spiders make their way in from outdoors. Therefore, as I cleaned, I found quite a few dead beetles and other less identifiable, dried-up, dead insects and spiders. As I swept out the garage, I had to kill two black widow spiders and I destroyed their egg sacks! This is not the first time we have found and killed black widow spiders in our garage. I've put a picture on the right of a black widow spider. They (and also the toads) live in the stone drainage ditch that runs the length of the back of our lot. Here a couple of pictures of the ditch whose maintenance seems to be my part-time job.

picture of ditch

picture of ditch

In the bushes on the right in the second picture above, I found a writing spider (also known as an Orb Web Spinner — thanks, Joe). Here's a picture I snapped of it. It's just huge — from tip to tip of its legs is about two inches!

picture of writing spider

After our cleaning tasks were over, we left for lunch in Travelers Rest. Right across the street from the café where we had lunch sits Leopard Forest Coffee, a place I've been wanting to visit. So we checked it out while we were that close. Here's a picture of Leopard Forest Coffee.

picture of Leopard Forest

After lunch and a stop to buy apples near Hendersonville, NC, we headed up to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville. Becka shared a few pictures of what we saw, but here a several others. Everywhere you look, it's gorgeous. A few fall colors were already visible.

picture of Blue Ridge Parkway

picture of Blue Ridge Parkway

We saw what we think are mountain laurels with berries. Maybe one of you botanists can confirm if that's what this is. (Added March 29, 2010 — A plant-loving young man told me that the tree is probably mountain ash, not mountain laurel.)

picture of mountain laurel berries

We got off the Parkway at Highway 276 to head down the mountains towards Brevard, NC. We stopped to visit the Cradle of Forestry. Becka has some description and pictures of what we saw there in her post, but I'm going to show you the cool car we saw in the parking lot.

picture of MG

picture of MG

We hadn't planned enough time to do everything available at the Cradle of Forestry. We did the 1 mile hike and saw the buildings that had been part of the Biltmore Forest School — first official school for forestry in America. However, we didn't have time to take the 1.3 mile hike to see the other interesting stuff, including this steam locomotive.

picture of steam locomotive

We'll just have to do it all when we go there next with a grandchild or two in tow.

If you missed my post last year about our trip to that area, it tells some of the other great things to see and do there.

Have any of you tried out any of the places we love in Western North Carolina? I'd enjoy hearing about your impressions of them. Happy Labor Day! In honor of the holiday, we'll be laboring.

quotation...

"In an age that idolizes novelty, we must not despise history." - Eric Newton

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?


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Toasters


picture of D-12 toaster

Did you know that this year is the 100th anniversary of the invention of the first commercially-successful electric toaster? (You just never know what you're going to find on my blog, do you?!) 😀 A man named Frank Shailor developed his electric toaster, the "D-12," at General Electric. On the right is a picture of the D-12.

In a blog post last week called Recent Inventions I posted a picture of a Star Wars toaster that would toast the image of Darth Vader on the bread. A commenter posted a link to a Hello Kitty toaster available at Target. Here's a picture of that toaster:

picture of hello kitty toaster

That comment got my wheels turning about what other kinds of toasters that might be available out there. I did some web searches for images and found way more than I wanted to use in this post. Here are a couple of the ones I enjoyed in particular:

Here's a Volkswagen toaster that reminds me of the hippie vans of my teen years and early 20s:

picture of VW toaster

I found this contraption that allows you to write on bread through the use of a mounted hot-air gun.

picture of printing toaster

Imagine finding messages from your spouse on your morning toast — Take Out the Trash!

Among the many designs possible on toast — from objects to cartoon characters to real people — I found this one interesting:

picture of Obama toast

I know that to some, he's the "toast of the town," but others would like him to be "toast." Time will tell....

Speaking of time, I found a toast clock that might fit in with someone's décor....

picture of toast clock

How about a game of Tic Tac Toast? Two people, armed with peanut butter and jelly could have a battle of early morning wits....

picture of Tic Tac Toast

I would love this transparent toaster — I would know just how dark my toast is getting without having to keep popping it up.

picture of transparent toaster

The following picture made me think about what toasters might be like if various companies made them.

picture of Microsoft toaster

What if various companies made toasters ... what would they be like?

If Microsoft made toasters ...
Every time you bought a loaf of bread, you would have to buy a toaster. You wouldn't have to take the toaster, but you'd have to pay for it anyway. Toaster XP would secretly interrogate your other appliances to find out who made them. Everyone would hate Microsoft toasters, but would buy them nonetheless since most of the good bread works only with their toasters. Of course, if Microsoft really did make toasters, they would likely require an upgrade to your bread.

If Apple made toasters...
They would do everything Microsoft toaster does, but 5 years earlier, and the bread would be non-removable.

If Linux made toasters...
You'd have to hack into it to make it toast both sides. Plus the Linux toaster would only come in parts, user have to assemble the toaster themselves, but the bread would be free!

If Google made such a toaster, it would likely be in Beta for the next 5 years…

If Xerox made toasters...
You could toast one-sided or double-sided. Successive slices would get lighter and lighter. The toaster would "jam" your bread for you.

If Fisher-Price made toasters ...
"Baby's First Toaster" would have a hand-crank that you turn to toast the bread that pops up like a Jack-in-the-box.

If Sony made toasters ...
Their "Personal Toasting Device" would be called ToastMan, which would be barely larger than the single piece of bread it is meant to toast, can be conveniently attached to your belt.

If The Franklin Mint made toasters ...
Every month you would receive another lovely hand-crafted piece of your authentic Civil War pewter toaster.

If Timex made toasters ...
They would be cheap, quartz-crystal wrist toasters that take a licking and keep on toasting.

If CostCo made toasters...
They'd be really inexpensive, as long as you bought a case of them.

If Radio Shack made toasters ...
The staff would sell you a toaster, but not know anything about it. Or you could by all the parts to build your own toaster.

If K-Tel sold toaster ...
They would not be available in stores, and you would get a free set of Ginsu knives with each one for slicing the bread, and all for only $19.95. Call them today at 1-800-URADUMMY. That number again, 1-800....

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I know that there are many creative minds and great senses of humor out there among my readership. What would the toasters of some company that you know of be like? Do these pictures make you hungry for some toast? 🙂

quotation...

"Light is custom made for darkness." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Why do toasters even have a setting that burns the toast to such a horrible crisp that no one would eat?


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Can You Take It with You?


picture of us at Biltmore

This past weekend I was reminded strongly of the folly of living for stuff. A few weeks ago a friend gave us tickets to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC. We had not been there since the day we got engaged, almost 33 years ago. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, even though it was cold and rainy. We could not believe how many visitors there were! It was a packed out house (or as I love to say, a packed outhouse)!

As we toured the house many thoughts went through my mind. Some of the rooms were literally so large that our entire little house would fit inside them. The 175,000 square-foot (16 300 m2) house with its 255 rooms and beautiful gardens reminded me of the châteaux we have visited in Europe. Although today's liberal politicians would try their best (or worst) to incite us to class envy by criticizing George Vanderbilt for using his own money to build the house he wanted and could afford, the building project and maintenance afterwards provided jobs for many people. I said to my wife that since Obama wants to create jobs, he ought to build a house like this. One difference would be that he would not be doing it with his own money.

As I viewed some of the amenities in Biltmore, my mind went to a post I did called Changing Times about what life was like in the US in the year 1900, which is right at the time Vanderbilt had just moved into his new estate. There was quite a contrast between what we saw in Biltmore and what most Americans considered the norm in 1900.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but I was able to find some online to show some of the amazing features.

The first thing you see upon entering is the "Winter Garden." There were many plants and flowers throughout the house, and as far as we could tell by what we touched, they were all real.

picture of winter garden

Here's a view of just part of the banquet hall. The table can be extended to a length of 40 feet. Notice the triple fireplace at the far end.

picture of banquet hall

In the basement of the house we saw the Vanderbilts' two-lane bowling alley.

picture of bowling alley

Although there was no water in it, we were able to see the world's first indoor swimming pool in the basement.

picture of swimming pool

After visiting the house we stopped at the River Bend Farm on the Biltmore Estate. Even though it was winter and rainy, we were glad we visited it. As we watched a film inside the barn we learned much of the good that had come to the people living in that area as a result of George Vanderbilt's having built his mansion there. His interest in horticulture and his goal of running Biltmore as a self-sustaining estate was extremely beneficial to people in the area and added to advances in farming techniques in the United States.

Near the barn we visited the woodworker's shop, the blacksmith's shop, and the mercantile. The blacksmith was particularly entertaining and informative.

picture of blacksmith

There was a barnyard with animals to pet, including two huge horses. Here's one of them.

picture of horse

We enjoyed petting the adorable baby pygmy goats that were the size of our cats.

picture of baby goats

I don't know how much George Vanderbilt obsessed about his mansion, but I do know that he was able to live there for only a short time 1898-1914, dying at the age of 52 of complications from an appendectomy. And his magnificent house is still here – he couldn't take it with him. It made me think of a story to share.

There once was a believing rich man who was dying. While on his death bed, he tried to get the Lord to let him bring his earthly treasures with him to heaven. "Lord, please, I have worked so hard to accumulate all these riches. Can't I bring them along?"

The Lord spoke to his heart, telling him, "I never grant this request. Go ahead and plan what you would bring if I permitted you to bring just one suitcase, and we'll talk about it once you're in heaven."

The man immediately began to think about what he could take in just one suitcase. Finally he had a servant fill a large suitcase with gold bricks. Shortly thereafter, he died.

When the man got to heaven, he was amazed at the beauty surrounding him, and to say he was overwhelmed when he saw the Lord for the first time would be a huge understatement.

Enjoying the splendors of his new home, the man completely forgot about the suitcase he had wanted to bring along, until the Lord asked him about it. "My child, tell me what you planned to put into that suitcase you wanted to bring."

"Oh yes, Lord. I forgot all about that! I had my servant pack a large suitcase with bricks of gold."

The Lord said, "I know you haven't been able to see everything up here yet." He continued by asking him kindly, "But what in the world were you thinking when you decided to bring pavement?"

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Have you ever visited the Biltmore or other mansions of the world? What were your impressions? Becka reminded me Saturday of a quotation from Joan, a friend of my mom, "Europe is a nice place to visit, but I sure wouldn't want to have to dust it!"

quotation...

"Possessions have a way of possessing us as they take the place of God in our hearts." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.


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