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Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Weapon of Mass Destruction?

As  revealed in a recent post, two of our male grandchildren from a warm State visited chilly Minnesota for a week. During one of our many outings, 4th grader Leonard revealed he was especially interested in rocks. Seems as though, I  told him, I happened to personally know an expert on the subject, my friend Gary, a.k.a. Mr. Science who taught Geology and Earth Science.
Of course, Gary was a collector of not only lots of rock but Indian artifacts as well. Walking our GSD Lily that afternoon, Leonard had found an interesting rock which he thought had a fossil embedded. Mr. Science identified it as Chert. Chert is a microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline sedimentary rock material composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2). It occurs as nodules, concretionary masses, and as layered deposits. Chert breaks with a conchoidal fracture, often producing very sharp edges. Early people took advantage of how chert breaks and used it to fashion cutting tools and weapons. The name "flint" is also used for this material. Gary presented Leonard with a genuine arrowhead from his own collection.      
A few years earlier I had taken a somewhat larger role in instructing younger family members in Indian lore.  Showing Leonard some native wildflowers in my garden, we happened upon Canadian Bloodroot.  Naturally, an inevitable question arose. The sap of this beautiful spring wildflower was indeed red. Unfortunately upon showing the evidence I daubed some on the Grandchild while sharing a few stories of the warriors of the  Lakota Nation. It seems at least one female member of the family did not appreciate me "indoctrinating innocent youth in warlike virtues".  Indeed, I was properly chastised but one must admit they are beautiful flowers....:)


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Greater Journey - Americans In Paris

The weather here in Bluff Country has been quite unpredictable for days. With temperatures fluctuating wildly from one day to the next, one day I'm outside and the next in my "winter" mode. What that means is lots of arm chair sitting/snoozing, bird feeder watching, some soup making  and reading.

Now to the reading part. Mr McCullough has done it again. Two Pulitzer prizes ( for John Adams and Truman) along with numerous other award winning best sellers and a Presidential Medal of Freedom apparently weren’t enough. Recently, I ran across  a  recycle at the Goodwill store where my spouse hangs out occasionally. It was  The Greater Journey: Americans In Paris. The theme of this book might be summed up by  the authors statement that "not all pioneers went West." These were the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians architects and others who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work. Most had never left home, never experienced a different culture. They achieved so much for themselves and their country,  profoundly altering  American history and culture
These "pioneers"   included (just to name drop a little) :
Oliver Wendel Holmes - Doctor, Poet.
Charles Sumner - Abolitionist, Senator
James Fenimore Cooper - Author
Samuel F.B. Morse - Painter, Inventor
Emma Willard - Educator, Author
Nathaniel Hawthorne - Author
Elizabeth Blackwell - 1st female Doctor
Ralph Waldo Emerson - Author
Louis Gottschalt - Pianist
George Healy - Portraitist
Mark Twain - Author
Henry James - Author
Harriet Beecher Stowe - Author
Elihu Washburne - Ambassador
August Saint Gaudens - Sculptor
Mary Cassel - Painter
John Singer Sarget - Painter
American no longer needed to only look to Europe for guidance in all things....
Over one hundred years later America has another gifted artist. Historian/biographer David McCullough. He knows how to tell a really good story.

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@Barrie Summy

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Customer Support!

Oh sure. It's been a crummy day already. A State of Minnesota Department farmed out  Customer Service to a business in Denver, Colorado......ugly. :(

My all time unfavorite (besides the usual annoyances) was the time I bought a new computer which didn't work.  I called help and talked to "Fred" who happened to live in India and spoke the King's English. After an hour or so of trying to get my new computer to open he admitted it didn't work and he would send me another new one.  He needed my address. I gave him our P.O. Box Number. " I need your physical address," he stated.  The conversation which ensued for over an hour consisted of me trying to explain the meaning of Box Number and him demanding something called a physical address. Finally, understanding his problem I told him that Fillmore County, Minnesota was probably the last place on planet earth that didn't have street addressess....