Friday, August 31, 2018

How Long Has Chess Been Around.

Checkmate Chess Resignation Conflict Board  I remember trying to learn chess when I was a teenager.  My brother developed an interest in learning chess and needed someone to practice with.  I got volunteered so I learned chess but I was never particularly good at it because I didn't develop the ability to see multiple moves ahead.  That could be my brother didn't tell me I needed to plan moves ahead so I consistently lost. 

Once I headed off to college, I never played it again.  I might get one of those chess apps so I can learn it on my own under my own terms.  My curiosity came to the forefront the other night when I saw an episode of Murdoch which involved a case with chess players.  Crabtree went undercover at a chess tournament with a girl relaying moves in his earphone. 

It is said that chess can be traced back about 1500 years to Northern India where it spread out across Asia and the rest of the world.  As the game spread, the rules changed until the 1880's which is known as the Romantic age of chess.  But its origin is shrouded in time and no one knows exactly who invented it.

One story is that a wise man in a kingdom created the game to show the king why each person was important.  The game had kings, queens, rooks, bishop, knights, and pawns to show everyone had a role to play.  The king loved it so much, he ordered everyone in the kingdom to learn.  The wise man refused  all gold or silver and requested only one grain of wheat on the first square, two grains on the second, four grains on the third etc until the end which is a variation of the penny doubled everyday for a month problem.

Another legend says the game originated in China back around 200 BC.  It is said that Commander, Hán Xin invented the game to represent a certain battle but soon after, the game was forgotten and disappeared but reappeared in the 7th century with new rules.  It really didn't represent the chess of today but the game survived even when it was prohibited or sanctioned by the Catholic church.

Due to the complexity of the game, it is believed that many people helped create the game.  Be that as it may, the first chess champion won the title in 1886.  Until Wilhelm Steinitz became the champion the rules changed, were rewritten, and did not represent the game we play today.  The method of play was more of a romantic play relying on tactics and dynamic play but in the 20th century, technique changed to be more strategic due to huge data basis, chess engines, and online classes and computer partners.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day and wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Were They or Weren't They?

Moscow Red Square Russia Tourism Soviet Un  Yesterday, I shared with you some of the more famous pretenders to the Russian throne but today I'll share another five.  All of the stories are interesting and hard to dispute at the time.

Another woman who claimed to be Princess Anastasia was Eugenia Smith.  She arrived in the United States in 1922.  At the time she was married and settled in Chicago but at some point she let it be known she was Princess Anastasia.  She claimed to survived the killing squad.

Enough people believed her story that she received regular invitations to visit wealthy clients around the country but in 1963, she finally went public with her claims.  At this time, she convinced publishers to publish her memoirs which included all the details of having survived the massacre.  Several of the imposters got into the argument of was she or wasn't she but the son of the doctor killed with the family stated she wasn't because he supported Anna while an Alexi imposter spoke supported her.  When the bodies were discovered in 1991, she refused to provide her DNA.  In fact, when she died, many papers listed her birthday and birth place as Anastasia's.

Then there was Michael Goleniewski who claimed to be Prince Alexi.  He worked as a spy for the Russian government but the big issue with his claim is that he was 18 years younger than the real Prince, in good health, and who claimed to have survived the massacre.  He was born in Poland and worked as a Polish spy before switching his allegiance to the Russians.  He was such a spy that at one point, he was spying for Poland, Russia, and the United States.  As stated earlier, he met Eugenia Smith and claimed she was his long lost sister.  In fact, he claimed the whole family survived but was hiding in Europe.  He got so obnoxious in regard to his claims that the CIA let him go.  He continued making the claims until his death in 1993.

Things calmed down until the beginning of the 21st century when an older woman arrived claiming to be Anastasia. Natalya Petrovna Bilikhodze spent her life in Georgia raising a family but made her claim when she held a press conference in 2002 for the publication of her book.  She claims to have survived the massacre only to escape to Georgia where she married but never shared her identity due to fears of being murdered.  The reason she came forth was because the Russian owed her money.  Specifically, they owed her the Romanov fortune worth about three trillion dollars she wanted to distribute to the Russian people. Around the same time in 2002, she died but they were able to find a sample of her DNA but the results proved she was not a Romanov.

We can't forget Nadezhda Vasilyeva who began pushing her claims of being Anastasia in 1920 when discovered in Siberia.  She claims to have escaped being killed and she was on her way to China when stopped.  The Bolshevik government arrested her and sent her off to a series of prisons for the next 15 years. At that point, she was sent to a prison hospital where she eventually dropped those claims before claiming she was the daughter of a rich merchant.  When she died in 1970, she'd returned to claiming she was Anastasia. 

The final claim comes from a woman in South Africa by the name of Alina, who in 1954 that she was the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, third daughter of the Tzar.  She had no papers, no documentation but the Duval family took her in but she never made a public claim nor did she discuss her supposed escape and life.  Even her pictures did not really look like Maria's.  The claim comes from a Duval son made the claims after Alina died but no one really believed him and those claims were dismissed.

So you have read the claims of the ten most famous imposters.  It appears they found all the bodies in 1991, tested the DNA and found all the members of the family so none of these could be a Romanov. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Imposters, Imposters, and More Imposters.

Russia, Sankt Petersburg  Anna Anderson was not the only person who posed as a member of the Romanov family but she was the most famous one.  The one who lasted the longest before her identity was disproved after her death.  She was not the only one who made the claim of belonging to the Romanov's because the bodies had been hidden and the world in Russia just after their deaths was one of chaos and unknowns.

This allowed people to easily  impersonate members of the family because no one could prove they were dead. It was only the word of a rapidly changing country who underwent like three revolutions in 8 years.  Each revolution bringing a new government and the Romanov's had died during the first revolution and secrecy was good for the new government.

Anastasia was not the only member who the public chose to impersonate, several tried to impersonate Prince Alexi, the thirteen year old hemophiliac son of the Tzar. At this time, hemophiliacs did not live long due to lack of medical advances.  One imposter, Ernest Veerman who immigrated to Canada from Estonia.  He ran a print shop for most of his life until he reached the age of 68 when he made the claim that he was in reality, Prince Alexi. 

When asked how he'd lived so long, he replied that the doctor had totally misdiagnosed his condition.  He attributed the deafness in one ear to the guns fired near it.  Although he pursued his claims to his death, most people did not believe his claims, especially after being examined by several medical personnel and an order to stop making claims.  His third wife believed him to the point she offered a tooth for evidence after his death but it was never tested. 

Another woman, Olga Boodts, claimed she was Olga Nikolaievna, oldest daughter of the Tzar.  Originally, she informed her husband of her alleged identity in 1926 when she married a German officer but that it needed to be kept a secret or she could be killed.  It wasn't until later she revealed her identity and in that identity she denied Anna Anderson's claims while pursuing her own.  When she died, she was buried with the name Olga Nikolaievna on her grave stone and the headstone was damaged in 1995.

Then there was Larissa Tudor who was said to be Tatiana, the most prime daughters of the Tzar.  She never made a claim and the only thing indicating she might have been was a name on her headstone and a legacy with no explanation.  Larissa was a belly dancer who married an Englishman in 1923.  By the age of 28 she was dead.  Her name on the head stone was Larissa Feodorovna which was strange because the term feodorovna referred to foreign women who married Russian Crown Princes.  In addition, she left a large sum of money to her husband with no explanation of its origin. 

The stories that continued after her death included that she was the Princess Tatiana who escaped the massacre, traveled to Istanbul and worked as a belly dancer until she met and married the Englishman.  This is just a story with no proof.

Of course, there is Suzanna Catharina de Graaff who claimed to be the illegitimate daughter. The Dutch woman stated that upon her birth, she was taken away to help the family avoid the humiliation of raising a fifth daughter.  At that time, Russian law required the heir to be male and the Tzarina worried about having a son to the point her body mimicked pregnancy but within a few years she gave birth to her story so this claim made sense.

The story goes further to say that the "fake" pregnancy was actually when the Tzarina was pregnant with Suzanna and upon her birth, she was entrusted to a Dutch con artist to raise.  He alleges he was paid money to raise the Princess Alexandra.  In the 1950's Suzanna met and made friends with Anna Anderson who acknowledged her as her sister.  It wasn't until the last weeks of her life that Suzanna made her claims of being the long lost family daughter public but she'd played the role through her life even going so far as to claim to be the recipient of a royal dowry made up of rubles, trinkets, and china.  Later on, the rubles were examined and they proved to be pre-revolutionary, new and unused.  Her claim was never proved.

This is the first half of the list of the more famous imposters.  Tomorrow, I'll give you the last five people.  I'd love to hear what you think.  Have a good day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Anna Anderson.

St Petersburg Russia Nonoj Petersburg Even  Most of us, who are a bit older, know the story of the Russian Tzar, complete with the hemophiliac son, Rasputin, the overthrow, and the disappearance of the children. 

Many of us are familiar with a woman who mysteriously appeared not long after the family disappeared.  She claimed to be the sole remaining member of the royal Russian family but at the time, no one could disprove her claim.

I remember one of my relatives talking about a news program years ago where they interviewed her on television.  She stood there claiming she was the last surviving member of that family.  They'd found Anna Anderson living a quiet life in the United States where she spoke with newsmen.  Apparently, she showed up in 1920 and 1922 making claims of being the surviving daughter of the family.

The story goes that she survived the bullets because of the jewels sewn into her corset so soldiers stabbed her with a bayonet but the blade was dull so she survived.  When the soldiers came to dispose of the bodies, she convinced a soldier to help her escape.  Eventually she ended up in Berlin but her relatives did not believe her so she tried to take her own life by jumping off a bridge.

Anna's alleged scars from the Russian secret police were said to have been caused when there was an accident at the weapons factory she worked in during World War I.  A couple of people identified her as Anastasia including the daughter of Rasputin, a German doctor who compared photographs in 1964, and a handwriting expert who identified the handwriting as identical. 

Fast forward to 1994 when two different groups did some DNA testing on a blood sample and a piece of the intestine, both fairly old but usable. The reason for this is simply that by this time Anna had died and insisted on being cremated so there was not usable DNA available for testing. The results of both tests indicated that Anna Anderson was in reality Polish.  She came from a farming family and was four years older than Anastasia.

The DNA identified Anna as a person from a Polish farming family. A surviving niece said that Anna wanted more out of life than what she had. She wanted to be famous. The last her family heard from here was a postcard a bit before Anastasia made her first appearance in 1920.  To the end of her life, she maintained she was Anastasia.

Her supporters claim the DNA samples given to the researchers was switched with another and the results were wrong.  They claim the Russians didn't want it known that Anastasia had been found but I don't think that is true especially after so many years.  In addition, the missing bodies were found in 1991, 7 years after Anna Anderson passed away.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day and tomorrow, I'll speak more on the other imposters.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Extra Extra Read All About It.

More Flame Fire Brand Burn Better Greater  If I said the word "Extra", most likely you would think something or someone that is not essential to the original such as supersizing your fast food order.  Or you might buy something because of all the other things included to make the deal seem sweeter.

 If your mind works a different way, you might have thought of the people you see in television shows and movies.  The people who walk by in the background, the ones who sit in all the other tables in the restaurant, or the people who fill out the movie theater.  They make the scene seem natural yet they do not say a single word because they job is to make it all a reality.

You might even think of the dancers who dance behind the stars on a video, movie, or show. The ones who mirror the vocalist's movements turning it into something more.  Even in movies, dancers are hired to complete a ballroom, or perhaps are the other students in a show like Glee or Fame.  They turn a few people into a fully populated ball complete with those who sit watching and those who dance.

If a music video or movie wants better than average looking people, they might hire models who specialize in music videos or short films from an appropriate agency.  Even people on those exercise videos often hire extras to exercise with them.  The ones who are behind the leader, who exercise with them and provide the modifications if you need something a bit easier or the higher level than the leader.

Of course, we mustn't forget the political arena because politicians are known for hiring people to fill out crowds and make it look as if people support  this particular candidate.  Even Trump admitted to paying a company to hire people for one of his rallies.  Apparently, politicians do this often enough to warrant the existence of several companies who provide the extras.

Are you throwing a Murder Mystery Party at your house, or for an event, you can hire everyone you need for the party and each person who is hired, is considered and extra because you hired them for a short period of time. In addition, there is a whole class of workers classified as extras because they fill out personnel for an event or job.

If you hire a caterer who provides the food and staff for an event, the waiters and waitresses, the cooks, the cleaning staff, everyone.  They are all extras, people who are hired to be there, to provide services in the background, much like extra's in movies and political rallies.

There are extras everywhere you look in this world.  I'm sure there are other types of extras in places I've not thought of.  I hope you enjoyed this.  Please let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Bordeaux Classification of 1855.

Wine, Glass, White, Grapes, DrinksThis particular entry is thanks to an episode of Murdoch Mysteries in which someone is killed due to drinking wine spiked with arsenic.  The bottle was supposedly from some small obscure winery in Italy but no one could find information on it.

They had to bring in several wine experts but one commented that the only way to tell Italian Wines apart was by the nose.  The French set up a system in 1855 which gave people a ton of information.

Unofficially, people began classifying the wines from Bordeaux as early as the 1600's but it wasn't until 1855 that the classification became official.  One of the most unique things about this document is that only two wines have been added in over 150 years since its publication.  One because the vineyard was forgotten and the other because of a name change.

What this document did was classify Bordeaux wines from the Left Bank based on price and quality in the five different categories of First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Growth.  This document was written with in a few weeks and was based on the vineyards of the day.  Now, people are suggesting the list be redone because many of the vineyards have disappeared or changed hands several times.

In the mean time, here is an explanation of each of the five growths.

The First Growth represents the finest and most expensive in the world, often running at least $1,000 or more per bottle.  These wines are considered in a class all their own.  Originally these wines sold for more than 3000 French francs per barrel. These wines come from Chateau Lafite, Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Haut-Brion Pessac Leognon, and Chateau Mouton Rothchild.

The Second Growth represents 15 of the 61 chateaus listed in the document. One of the Second growth, the Rothchild's was elevated to a First growth leaving 14 in this group.  Over time a Super seconds group formed which is between the First and Second growths. The Second Growth wines sold for about 2,500 French francs per barrel.

The Third Growth contains 14 chateaus whose wines sold for between 2,100 and 2,300 French francs per barrel.  One of the factors used to classify the wines was the sales price the wines reached in the market place over a long period of time - calculated from 1815 to 1855.

The Fourth Growth has chateaus still producing strong wines.  In addition, there was less argument of which vineyards were placed in this growth than any other one.  Ten chateaus are classified as Fourth growth vineyards.  These wines sold for between 1,800 and 2,100 French francs per barrel.

The final growth, the Fifth Growth sold for between 1,400 and 1,600 French francs per barrel.  The remaining 18 chateaus fall into this segment. 

If you look at the growth classifications as grades, the First Growth would be an A+, the Second an A, the Third an A-, the Fourth a B+ and the Fifth a B.  As stated earlier, the classification was made mostly based on the prices each producer got for their wine over a 40 year period.  The prices have changed but the classifications have not.

Ohh, it turns out the mysterious wine was produced in Toronto by the man and his brother 40 years earlier.  The brother poisoned the wine that killed the man because the man vetoed their first bit of wine and refused to produce any more.  Forty years later, the wine had aged into a great wine.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day and a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Left and Right.

Marriage, Bridal, Wedding, Shoes  Shoes come in all sizes, colors, and types.  There are sneakers, running, high heels, wedges, golf, track, glittery, stripped, leather, canvas, and so many more choices.  The one thing they have in common is each pair of shoes has a left and a right.

This has not always been the case and it certainly is only a recent development.  Up until 1818, all shoes were made the exact same with no distinction between left and right.  None and they were not that comfortable because they didn't have any curve.  The same form could be used to create either shoe since it was a straight form.  At this time, all shoes came in two widths for every size.  The original slim size which was the same size as the form or the stout or wide which required a bit extra leather on it to provide the extra width.

In 1818, someone made the first right shoe in Philadelphia.  Unfortunately, they didn't take off fully at this point.  In addition, most shoes were made using the same tools as those used in Ancient Egypt.  It wasn't until 1845 that the first changes occurred when the first machine for shoe making came into use.  It replaced the hammer and lapstone used to pound the leather.  By pounding the leather, the fibers become more dense resulting in longer wear.

In 1858, another machine designed to show the upper leather to the soles of shoes.  This was a huge step towards mechanization, especially as many shoemakers were called up to fight in the Civil War.  McKay bought the patent for this machine and as a way of convincing others to use the machines, he made an agreement with many factories who previously turned him down.  He would place the machine in their factories and they would pay him a small amount of the money saved due to increased production.  McKay created a royalty stamp which noted the payment made on shoes made with this machine.

This was actually an important development for two reasons.  First it allowed companies to obtain machines without a huge outlay so it was much easier to stay up with all the latest fashion changes in shoes and second, he created interchangeable parts so the machines would never be down.

In 1875, another machine built by the son of the founder of the Goodyear rubber company, expanded mechanization of shoes.  This machine made Welt and Turn shoes, a different type of shoe making the production more efficient.  Welt and Turn shoes have been around since the 14th century but is still around.

Imagine in the space of less than a century, shoes started having both a left and right and their production became mechanized.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The First Chinese Woman In America.

Model Shenzhen Polytechnic Good Photo Woma  Long time ago, in a world that was so different than now, the Chinese began coming to the United States.  Many came to find a better life, many came to escape a government they didn't like but do you know the circumstances that brought the first woman from China?

Although records are somewhat difficult to find, it is generally agreed that Afong May arrived in the United States in 1834, almost a decade before most Chinese began arriving.

She'd been brought over for one reason only by two entrepreneurs who had traveled to China to obtain goods for sale in the United States.  While there, they came across Afong May and decided it was the perfect opportunity to make money by showing her around the country.  From what I can find, even the name Afong May was set by the business men as part of their display.

The only real information found on her is that she was born in Guangzhou, Canton, China to a distinguished family.  The businessmen made a payment to her parents for so they could bring her to America with the understanding she would be returned in about two years.

The records indicate she arrived in New York City on October 17, 1834 because a short blurb in the New York Daily Advertiser who listed her name and parental information.  Upon her arrival, the businessmen charged 25 cents for a view of this unusual lady.  Although they claimed she was a princess, there is no collaborating evidence to support that.

She didn't just sit there, she appeared in a room decorated as if it were in China where she ate with chopsticks, moved around on her bound feet, showed her feet to the curious gawkers, and answered questions in Chinese.  At the age of 19 years old, she was all of four foot six inches tall with small bound feet of only 4 inches long. 

She drew quite a few people to see her as she was so different than what most had seen to that time.  There were few Chinese there thus making her an oddity.  Although she was to return to China after two years, she actually stayed in the United States visiting various venues in New York City,  Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, etc until 1847 when she supposedly left on a tour of Europe.

By the time she left for Europe, she was a household name. She'd met the president, the congress, and other dignitaries.  After 1847, she disappears from the annals of history and no one is sure where she went.   There are no records indicating anyone interviewed her, nothing showing if she received any pay.

I was unaware of her until I heard something on the radio about this women.  Imagine leaving your homeland to go to another country only to live your life on display as part of the sideshow.  There is no one else around from home who speaks your language.  I don't even know if she ever married because the records are vague on that.

At least she is mentioned in history and people can learn a bit more about her.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Are You Prepared?

Band Aid First Aids Injury Bandage Care WoSorry about not posting but I had the opportunity to attend a new type of first aid training called “Stop The Blood”.  This training was developed by the American College of Surgeons for use in emergency situations involving blood loss.

Do you know what to do if you are attending a concert and a gunman starts shooting into the crowd?  What about if someone invades your business shooting everyone he sees?  I now know what to do after attending the training.

If someone invades your business, you need to see if you can make your way out of the building quickly and safely without running into the gunman.  If you can do it as fast as possible while leaving your belongings and getting everyone out.  Once clear of the building, call 911 to report it and prevent others from going in.

If you cannot make it out of the building, lock yourself in a room with the lights out after blocking the door.  Turn your cell phone off so it does not ring and remain silent.  Only attack the person if there is no other option but this is only a last resort because you cannot hide or make it out of the building.

Now for being in the scene after a shooting or other event with people injured and bleeding, the doctor teaching this course went through all the steps for helping staunch the blood flow.
The three basic steps are as follows.
A - alert 911
B - identify where the bleeding is.
C - Compress the area of the bleeding.

He admitted that there are certain types of injuries that can only be handled in a trauma center.  What he did say was if possible you might need to place a tourniquet above the wound so the bleeding stops and do not release it.  It used to be you were told not to leave it on more than 20 minutes but they have found it is better to leave it on.

If the injury is in a place where you cannot use a tourniquet, you would then look at using a shirt or other piece of cloth on the wound while applying a lot of pressure.  The doctor said it was going to hurt and if the patient complained about it hurting, you were going it properly. You might also have to stuff fabric or gauze into the wound to pack it as a way of stopping the bleeding.

Since I attended the class, I will be receiving a certificate saying I have completed the course.  If you can take the class, I highly recommend it.  It is well worth it.  Check your local fire department, Red Cross, YMCA, or other place that offered CPR training to see if they do or could offer this.

Let me know what you think, I would love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, August 17, 2018

911 in Space

Today I attended a talk on medical emergencies in space.  It was so interesting in that many of the methods used to treat medical emergencies on earth cannot be used in space due to the lack of gravity.  Some of the issues are:

1. Blood does not flow out as it does here.  It forms into a huge spherical mass because blood has a higher surface tension than water ant it is a denser material so it is harder to pop which you do not want to do because it means you have lots of smaller spheres.  Scientists created microfiber materials to absorb the blood.

2.  If you need to realign a broken bone, you cannot pull or push on it without the person moving.  You cannot put pressure on anything because you end up pushing yourself away.  In addition, if you try to arrange the body so gravity pulls things down such as in a hanging cast, it does not work.  The surgeon stated that bones tend not to properly heal due to the lack of gravity.

3. If they need to see if a bone is broken, it’s hard to take a x-ray machine with you because of the weight. In addition, astronauts are exposed to enough environmental radiation without being exposed to more.  It could be unhealthy.  They have managed to build ultrasound machines the size of projectors and those are easy to send into space.  Furthermore, ultrasounds give enough information to make certain diagnosis.

4.  Even for medications, they have to be in a form a person can easily take without a ton of water and relying on gravity to get it down.  Even injecting meds has its own problems.

Those are the top 4 problems should a major medical problem arise in space.  I hope you found it as interesting as I did.  Thank you for letting me share.  Let me know what you think, I would love to hear.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Invisible Disabilities

Wheelchair Disability Paraplegic Injured DWhen we think of someone who is disabled, we expect to see someone in a wheelchair, or with crutches.  We might also think they carry a white cane indicating blindness but we expect to “see” the disability.  If we cannot see it, obviously a person is not disabled but that is a fallacy.

I work with a woman who is legally 80% disabled due to issues with her neck, both shoulders, and both knees.  Looking at her you’d think she was not disabled.  She looks perfectly fine. I know another person who was in a head on collision.  Both heels were pulverized, the heart was damaged enough he suffered congestive heart failure and some traumatic brain injury.  If you saw him now, his heels have healed well enough that he is able to walk well most days.  His heart is pumping much better and his thinking is clearer but there are days he gets frustrated because his brain isn’t working quite right.

If you looked at either person as they stepped out of their cars parked in handicapped parking, you might call the police to report them for illegally parking.  Even with the permanent plates, you might not believe they qualified.

Both of these people are legally handicapped yet they may not look it.  They are members of the group with invisible disabilities, disabilities you do not see.  Sometimes we have to accept the disabilities even though we cannot “see” them.  

Do not swear at them thinking them liars.  Do not key their cars in protest because you think them faking.  Do not push them because you could hurt them.  Just because the disability is not visible, it does not mean they are not.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Ipad Tablet Technology Touch Computer Scre  After over a week with lots of trials and tribulations, a miracle occurred.  If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I live in the middle of Bush Alaska which means I do not have access to the same things most people do.

Out here, we do not have easy access to medical services, grocery stores that more than convenience stores, roads, or regular air service.

Even the internet is limited where I live.  I cannot get unlimited at all.  I think they are finally starting it in Nome, Kotzebue, and Bethel but it has a long time to go before it gets to me.  I'm still on a limited plan with humongous overage charges if you go above you 15 or 25 GB per month.

Back on August 3rd, I put in a request to bring my internet up so I could work at home.  On August 4th, the company flipped everyone over to a new billing system.  I waited a good week before I called in again asking about my internet.  Well it turns out that when the system flipped, my account didn't because I'd requested my service be suspended over the summer. 

When the system flipped, it saw my account as inactive and it didn't do anything with it.  When I next called in, they had to set it up again with all the same information.  I upped my plan so I'd have more data to work with at home and I wouldn't have to go into work.  I was again told it would be up in 24 hours. 

I waited and waited and waited but nothing.  The other thing is with the change over, the volume of customers calling in exploded so there was a message of having a high volume and if it wasn't an emergency, please call back at another time.   So yesterday, I tried calling in, I got in line, and my cell phone blipped out and silence.  Talk about muffling some choice words.  I gave up for the moment.

Last night I called in again, got through and discovered the person who set me up forgot to hit one final button to send it to the appropriate department.  So all this time, the order has been sitting in a que going no where.  The person helping me had to call tech support but they couldn't do anything, so he called the original person who released it and got it moving.

He said they shot it to the front of the line and my internet was up.  Yeah! until I tried it.  It didn't work.  He said the receiver was up and working so it had to be my router.  I spend about an hour on my equipment, trying different cables, resetting everything, you name it.  I finally went to bed and woke up about 3:30 in the morning.

I tried my internet just because and it worked.  Yeah.  So not I don't have to call another tech support, don't have to buy new equipment, nothing.  I am set and so thrilled.  I am now up and running again so I don't have to try to get it all done at work.

It is like having Christmas in August.  Have a great day and enjoy yourself.   Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Mannequins, Fashion, and Glass.

Shopping Mall Shop Windows Fashionable Clo We've all seen them in stores.  They wear the latest fashions designed to catch our eyes and make us want to buy the product.  More often, we see them sitting in the window as we walk by and it draws us into the stores.  They brings in people.

Mannequins as we know them have not been around for more than about 150 years.  What caused mannequins to change and evolve was the development of the plate glass windows.

Up until the mid 19th century, stores did not have large plate glass windows.  Most stores had stacks upon stacks of clothing.  If anything resembling a mannequin existed, it was often found in tailor or dressmaker's stores to advertise their work.

The first few mannequins dating from the mid to late 1700's were made out of wicker (yes the same stuff your garden furniture is made of) or wire. Neither was particularly outstanding and were often made to order.  Around 1850, the first glass windows began showing up in Paris before spreading out across the continent to America.  By around 1900's mannequins as we know them began showing up.

The original ones were about 300 pounds made of wood, wax and iron.  They came out around the 1900 and the female ones had the perfect corseted shape but were totally stiff.  These came in only three poses.  Many people were upset with the mannequins so new laws were passed requiring store owners to cover store windows when changing outfits.

The basic shape changed about every ten years and reflected the change in society and fashion.  There were even changes as materials changed to make the mannequin more flexible and life like.  During the 1920's mannequins were more androgynous to reflect the flapper look while in the 1930's they became a bit softer and more feminine.

Somewhere in the 1930's or so, a mannequin maker created a female mannequin who went everywhere with him. Time did a spread on her and Tiffany's even provided jewelry for her to wear.  She attended social events and was featured in social columns of newspapers.  Her fame ended when she fell off a chair and broke.

In the 1940's the male mannequins looked more like soldiers with their bearing and looks but the women shrank 2 inches to use less materials so more were available for the war effort.  Then in the 1950's women were again at the normal height with the usual curves while the men looked more like the dad in "Father Knows Best".

Come the 1960's the female mannequin resembled twiggy with her boyish figure while the 1970's had female mannequins looking more feminine.  About the 1970's or 1980's Asian and African American mannequins started hitting the stores and were more accepted.  By the 1990's there were even petite, pregnant and teen age mannequins.

What is so interesting about the evolution of mannequins is that they mirror accepted societal norms for women especially through time since 1900.  When women were expected to be skinny, the mannequins were skinny.  If they were expected to have curves, mannequins had curves.  Its almost a mirrored reflection.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The History of Doughnuts.

Donuts, Doughnut, Sweet, Cosy, Tasty Most people love doughnuts.  They might prefer the more traditional flavors or they might go after some of the wilder flavors.  I tend to prefer malasadas which are Portuguese Sweet Doughnuts.

Have you ever wondered where they came from?  What is their history or are you like most people who just accept them because they've always been around. 

Well some from of doughnuts have been around since the beginning of time but its more recent history is important.  Allegedly, doughnuts first made an appearance in the United States way back when the Dutch came over with their" Olykoeks or Oily Cakes".  

A few hundred years later in the mid 19th century, Elizabeth Gregory used various spices from her son's cargo along with lemon zest in the deep fried dough. Supposedly, she places hazelnuts or walnuts in the center where the dough may not have cooked as well thus leading to the name doughnuts.

Her son claims to be responsible for the hole in the middle of the doughnut.  Some historians claim her son was cheap and by placing a hole in the center, they were cheaper to make while others claim the hole makes it easier to digest.  A third group say the hole in the center makes it easier to hold during large ways because the doughnut can be slipped on one spoke of the wheel.

In an interview, Captain Gregory claims to have used a round tin pepper lid to cut the center out and states it was the first time ever that people had seen the hole in the doughnut.  Unfortunately, doughnuts did not become popular until the first World War when women served them to soldiers in the trenches.  This provided a taste of home and soldiers who returned from the war, yearned for a taste of them in their daily lives.

In 1920, the first doughnut making machine made an appearance in New York City when a Russian immigrant began selling them in his bakery.  The machine began the idea of throwing a ring of dough into the oil to cook, so the finished product has the hole in the center with no waste.  Over time, machines have been refined and the taste grew.

In 1931, the New York Times Newspaper let people know where to get doughnuts on Broadway.  The article described the making in poetic detail so people wanted to buy the product.  By then, the Russian immigrant was making $25 million a year by mass production and delivery to stores around the country.   Some of the early doughnuts were sold with a feel good saying because of the depression.

Come 1937, three young men living in North Carolina borrowed the ingredients began producing and marketing doughnuts under the world famous Krispy Kreme label.   The desire for the product expanded and people drove from all around to enjoy the doughnuts.  Again, World War II created more of a market for doughnuts as young ladies provided them for soldiers at various canteens and it appeared in one of Irving Berlin's musicals.

Over time, Krispy Kreme grew and other companies such as Dunkin Donuts met the country's demand for doughnuts.  The consumption continues to grow as people have them for breakfast, celebrations, etc.  I grew up only knowing about Dunkin Donuts.  I have my first Krispy Kreme back about 15 years ago.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Note:  I am still waiting for my internet to start up at home.  They are extremely slow and they had a changeover in the billing system so my account didn't flip over and I had to start the whole process again.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Kayak Race

Girl, Kayak, Canoe, Kayaking, PaddleKayak races this weekend.  Only one can go at a time so it takes a while.  They have to be timed.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Going Down River

Boating Trace Foam Water Island DepartureGoing down river to see two historical sites associated with the village. See you later.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The 22 Most Expensive Vacation Rentals in the World part 2.

Chile, Patagonia, Glacier, Ice, Iceberg Continuing with the idea that you've won the lottery and could afford to take a vacation anywhere in the world, here are the other eleven possible luxury resorts.

12.  Fogo Island Inn located in Newfoundland, Canada.  It is quite remote and easily gotten to by helicopter otherwise its by boat.  As part of the experience, guests provide sponsorship and are matched with local people to learn more about the culture there.

If they'd rather, they can enjoy the hot tubs located on the roof.  Its most expensive suite requires you to ask the price but its said to be somewhere around $3,100 per night.

13.  Try the Chalet Zermatt Peak found in Zermatt, Switzerland which offers great services for you and 13 friends after a day of skiing.  One advantage is a Michelin - starred chef who will cook for you while another allows you two in house massages each day.  If you go off season, the cost is only 57,000 per week while the price can rise to $191,000 during peak.

14. Rent an Omani Dhow at Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman so you can sail around the area visiting small fishing villages and private bays. This luxurious boat is a reminder of the days of yore with Jason the Argonaut.  Its possible to book a spa expert, cooking classes with the chef, or dives all for $22,000 for a three day, two night adventure.

15. There is always the fourth floor apartment referred to as the Maharahjah's Pavillion in Raj Palace located in Jaipur India.  It has its own private entrance and private elevator which can take you all the way to the roof with a jacuzzi and panoramic view of the town.  If desired, it is possible to pop down to the second floor to visit the museum.  All this for $15,000 per night.

16.  Or try the Royal Penthouse Suite found at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland.  $80,000 per night will give you access to 12 rooms covering over 5,500 feet.  The best feature is the wrap around terrace which gives a phenomenal view of the Alps.

17.  For something a bit less expensive, head over to the Presidential Suite at the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, Italy.  The $20,000 suite has chandeliers, velvet covered furniture, and its own swimming pool.

18. Don't have time to head to Bali, then check out the Alang, Alang Chateau in Cannes, France with its Balinese retreat designed for up to 16 people at once.  It has a swimming pool and staff but the most notable thing about this chateau is the dinosaur skull in the living room.  This place can be rented for $41,000 per night.

19.  On the other hand, check out the Royal Suite at the Burj al Arab found in Dubai.  This royal suite is located on the 25th floor.  It has two master bedrooms, each with its own jacuzzi, marble entryway, and a grand staircase leading to the second floor.  All this and more for $9,000 per night.

20. Don't want to stay in one place, try the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. The suites on this train rival those found in a hotel.  There are heated floors in the bathrooms, laundry services, plush bar complete with pianist, and other wonderful additions.  The best suite costs at least $31,000 for the 15 day journey.

21.  The Suite 5000 is not found on the Mandarin Oriental website in New York City.  Its reputation, is strictly by word of mouth.  The suite is found on the 50th floor and its like staying at a museum.  New York inspired art work lines all the walls in the suite and records of music all the way back to the 1930's is available for your listening pleasure.  Its rumored the price for this suite goes for $36,000 per night.

22. An for those who do not want to go far, check out the two story Sky Villa found at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. This wonderful villa has a cantilevered pool extending over the balcony of the Palms Casino Resort.  The 9,000 square foot place includes a round bed with mirror on the ceiling for only $20,000 per night.

All of these places sound wonderful and I'd love to have the money to enjoy them but I don't. That won't stop me from checking these places out on the internet and it won't stop my dreaming.  Maybe someday I'll win the lottery so I could go.  You never know.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The 22 Most Expensive Vacation Rentals in the World part 1.

Polynesia, French Polynesia, Tahiti When I pass through Washington state, I often buy lottery tickets because there are machines designed to sell people lottery tickets without ever leaving the secured part of the airport.

I dream of winning so I can quit work, build or buy that dream house, go to all the places on my bucket list, and be able to buy anything I want without breaking the budget.  I suspect we all have that dream.

Generally when I travel, I find the cheapest fare, cheapest hotel or hostel, etc so the holiday does not cost an arm and a leg.  So where could you go if you won the lottery and wanted to go to some of the most expensive vacation places on earth?

1.  Pikaia Lodge in the Galapagos Islands. It is a place that is accessible to all the other islands.  Their restaurant sits at the edge of the crater.  Everyone is allowed to wander about checking out the huge tortoises.  For the low cost of $10,250 per week, you can rent a pool side suite.

2. The Villa at North Islands in the Seychelles has a private resort with only 11 villas, anyone of which will only set you back a minimum of $11,000 per night.  Think of 8000 square feet with wooden decks, a coconut grove, and even a private entrance giving access to a private beach.

3. The Post House at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. The most expensive room at just under  $4400 per night has floor to ceiling windows, and private Jacuzzis.  In addition, there are fantastic views of the ocean.

4. Bisate Lodge located near the Volcano National Park in Rawanda.  The six villas are built to resemble royal lodges with central fireplaces and decks built to observe the near by volcanoes.  If you prefer to work, you can help out with the country's reforestation project.  All this for just $1,100 per night.

5. White Deserts one day trip to Antarctica.  You will travel by private jet from Capetown, South Africa to Antarctica where you are given a full eight hours to explore the area.  Just before heading back you will be treated to a gourmet champagne dinner.  This one day adventure will cost you $195,000.

6. Tierra Patagonia resort in Chili offers spectacular views of mountains in the Torres del Paine National Park.  The hotel encourages guests to sit on a couch, enjoying a glass of local wine while checking out the mountain view through floor to ceiling windows.  This will set you back about $3,400 per person per night.

7. Hill Top Villa on Laucala Island, Fiji is quite isolated.  The resort is accessible only by private road on an island that is privately owned.  For $44,000 per night you can enjoy the seclusion, if the island's owner approves you.

8. In Paris, France, you could rent the Penthouse apartment at the Hotel Georges V.  This place has a clear view of the Eiffel Tower on the other side of the Seine.  In addition, the apartment has so many luxury items including a marble infinity bathtub which could be yours for a measly $26,500 per night.

9. Necker Island, a privately owned island in the British Virgin Island offers a large variety of wildlife for viewing along with scuba diving, water skiing, or sailing for only $80,000 per night for you and up to 33 of your closest friends.

10. Villa Manzu located in Costa Rica.  This eight suite building is located on 5 acres of isolated land.  Guests may access the wine room for sommelier chosen wines and cigars as part of the $16,500 per night charge.

11.  The Africa House in the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa.  The Africa House is found at the Royal Malewane. It is an air conditioned six bedroom house complete with four post beds.  They offer hunting with private guides, meals prepared by private chef's and access to a wonderful spa all for $15,000 per night for up to 8 guests.  It is possible to rent the whole place for $51,000 nightly.

This is the first half of the list. I hope you enjoyed this.  I love to dream and maybe one day I might get to visit one of these places but more tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Pardon My French and other comments.

Garden Park Castle Art Horticulture Baroqu  The other day, I attended a meeting where the presenter said "Pardon my French!" just before he used a swear word.  I realized I'd heard that phrase all my life but never knew where it came from.  Its something people always used before they'd use a swear word which made it O.K. to say the word.

It appears the phrase came about in the 19th century when people inserted a french phrase instead of using the English equivalent.  They would apologize for using the french word because the person they spoke to might not understand the french word or words used.  Over time, it changed meaning to excuse a person for inserting a swear word into the conversation.  Supposedly it is a way to use a swear word while pretending it is of french origin so no one understands it but we all know its a swear word.

Another phrase I've wonder about is "Raining Cats and Dogs".  We know that would never actually happen but we use it all the time to describe a downpour.  The history of this phrase is lost in time but it is speculated that dead animals would be found in the streets or dead animals fell through thatched roofs if you look far enough back.  This particular theory is considered false.  There is more evidence that it was actually a literary device used to describe the heavy rainfall.

How about "Get a taste of your own medicine"?  Apparently, it is from one of Aesop's fables where a con man sells medicine he knows will not cure anyone but when he fell sick, people fed him his own medicine.  This phrase has been in use for a very long time.

Have you ever gone on a "Wild Goose Chase"?  It is one of those phrases that Shakespeare added to the English language when he invented.  Originally, it referred to horse racing where a horse followed the lead horse at a specific distance much like geese flying in formation.  This formation is described in a manual from 1593 in detail.  The name of the formation - Wild Goose Formation - is then taken by Shakespeare and used in his writings.  By 1811 the meaning had changed to our modern definition.

The last one I'm going to look at is "Barking up the wrong tree".  This comes from colonial America where they used packs of dogs.  It originated when animals such as raccoons tricked dogs into thinking they were in a tree.  Barking up the wrong tree was used to indicate the dogs were barking at an empty tree.

I hope you found this just as interesting as I did.  Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Himiko - Real or Imagined?

Asia, Ceremony, Chinese, Dress, CultureIn the most recent Tomb Raiders movie, Lara Croft's dad disappears after going after something to keep Himiko from escaping the tomb she was trapped in.  Supposedly, she could turn people into zombies and she should not be released.

As always my curiosity took over.  Was Himiko a real person or was she created by script writers who wanted a female villain.  Yes, there was a queen in Japan back in the third century.  Long before Japan became a country.

Himiko or Pimpko ruled over Yamatai peacefully for 50 to 60 years once she was crowned high priestess and supreme leader of her land during the first half of the third century.  In order to rule during this time period, you had to convince people you were in the with the gods because religious authority and spiritual authority were linked and female shamans held a special place in society.

Apparently, she was also a shaman but her powers did not include supernatural powers or the ability to trump death.  No one is sure where Yamatai existed but it is thought to be one of the larger Japanese Islands.

According to legend, she never married but had 1000 handmaidens to serve her.  In addition, the only male associated with her, is her brother.  He handled communications, and assorted states of affairs once she decided to pursue her shamanism.  Although researchers believe they found her tomb, they were not allowed to check it out because it was declared a royal site. 

Information on her came from Chinese and Korean histories along with archeological verification. Based on the written information, she sent diplomatic missions to China at least four times during her reign. It is also said that she ruled over 100 countries in addition to performing her religious duties.  At one point, the Chinese Wei Dynasty sent her 100 bronze mirrors which were a status symbol during this time period.

When she died in 248, a guy took the throne but a 13 year old relative of Himiko took the throne from him.  Himiko was buried in a great mound with 100 of her attendants. It is said to be one of the first great mounds ever created.  In 2009, scientists used radio carbon dating to establish a certain mound dated back between 240 and 260 AD or about the same time as her death. The Imperial Household agency designated it as a royal tomb so no excavation can occur. 

She disappeared from history because the 7th century ruling class emulated the Chinese style and that meant you did not mention shamans.  She resurfaced during the Edo period due to the work of two scholars.  At one point, there was a huge argument on whether the Chinese or Japanese records were more accurate.  Since there is very little known about here, certain things have been claimed, such as:

1.  Yoshinogari holds an annual bonfire complete with the appearance of Himiko.

2. A Kyushu brewery released "Himiko Fantasia" shochu in her honor.

3. Sakurai City has a Himiko mascot and features her avatar on line.

4. There are multiple Queen Himiko contests throughout Japan.

5. She has inspired numerous books, anime, manga, films, etc.

She was the first strong female shaman and queen they are aware of.  So if you see the movie, know she is not the evil Queen they claim she is. 

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Monday, August 6, 2018


I got back on Thursday.  My new work computer was not available till today. This past May, I chose to suspend my internet service but when I called them to reinstate it last week, they were having issues so I do not know when it will be up.  So I didn't get anything done.  I should be back to normal tomorrow.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Heading Back To Work

Virgin, Airline, Sky, Flight, AirThe summer is over and its time for me to head back to work.  Unfortunately, it is not a simple matter of just hopping in the car and driving a few minutes to the school building.  It takes quite a lot more.

I am actually sitting in the airport in Fairbanks waiting for my 8:00 am flight to Anchorage where I'll connect to the ten something out to Bethel.

Once in Bethel, I usually end up on the evening flight out to the village because I'm not always sure I can get a lift from one terminal to the other.  Out in Bethel, each airline has its own small terminal of which only one actually has security screening.  That one has flights that run outside the state while all the other ones are either local or never actually leave the state. 

The airline with security is the one I usually travel because I need the airline miles.  In addition, I use that one to travel outside of Alaska.  Their security is so small they cannot begin screening until the twice or three times a day flight is on the ground.  Some days they have two flights while other days, they have three.  Today is a two flight day. 

If I take the evening flight, I won't be able to connect to the local airline because they run three flights a day and their last flight of the day leaves around 5 PM while the evening flight for the larger airline arrives around 8 pm.  It doesn't work out.

So once I've landed in Bethel, I grab my luggage before heading outside to find the van that runs between the arrival terminal and the departure terminal.  Its not bad but they do not have enough plugs at either terminals to charge all the mobile devices people use now a days.

I should land at the gravel airstrip around 6 tonight where someone will come out to pick me up.  If they don't, I can get a lift from one of the folks out there.  They'll just throw my luggage on their four wheeler aka ATV and drive me home. 

I do not usually travel with this much crud but I have two suitcases and two carry-ons.  Most everything in the two suitcases and one carry-on is food.  I brought enough food to get me through until I head off to San Jose in a couple of weeks.  Actually, some of the stuff will last longer than two weeks because I bought a ton things but the perishables, I will eat completely.

It is not unusual for people heading back to have coolers full of frozen meats, fish, or boxes and suitcases filled with fruits and veggies. The prices out in the village are so high, its worth using most of the luggage allotment for fresh stuff.

So basically, it takes a good 8 hours of travel for me to get out there although the flights are only 1 hour each, its the time between that can take time.  I leave at eight in the morning today and will get there around six in the evening unless I'm able to get there early enough to catch the morning flight.

I hope to have something tomorrow on the first Chinese woman brought to the America in 1834.  Have a great day.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

"Lost Tribe of Coney Island"

Boy, African, Africa, Child, Portrait The other day I bought a book called "The Lost Tribe of Coney Island" by Claire Prentice on Amazon.  It was on sale and the material sounded interesting.  I have not had a chance to read it but I did research the topic a bit and was amazed at how and what happened.

Coney Island is one of those places that began as a entertainment park with rides, etc.  This involves a Barnum like person who took advantage of something the government was doing to make money.

In 1902, the Americans won the Philippine - American war and two years later, the American government arranged for 1300 members of several different groups in the Philippines to come to Saint Louis for the Exposition.  They were displayed in their "villages" complete with houses, etc.

One particular group, the Igorrotes, captured the attention of people because they regularly ate dogs and were heat hunters.  The man in charge of them, Truman Hunt, waited till the exposition was over before returning to the Philippines to bring more Igorrotes to the United States.  He wanted to take them on tour around the country and in the process earn money. 

He hired 51 men, women, and children at a salary of $15.00 per month for a contracted period of one year in 1905.   He took them on tour around the country, eventually landing at Coney Island in 1905 where they performed regular shows for the curious.  They would dance, eat dogs, fight, have sham weddings, and crafts.  People were intrigued.

He created publicity moments to keep people's morbid curiosity about these people alive.  Over the year and a half  he had them,  he "safe guarded" all monies they made selling their crafts and kept their salaries as well so they worked for nothing.Furthermore, he forced them to eat dog meat daily although they did not normally and he split them up and rented them out to others in other parts of the country. 

As the money rolled in, Truman Hunt spent it extravagantly and took up drinking to the point it caused his behavior to change.  He became violent, attacking the Igorrotes for their monies to the point, they stuffed the money in their ear canals or up their rears.

Eventually, the government became aware of his mistreatment of the Igorrotes due to the complaints from another group who also brought the Igorrotes over.  The government assigned an agent to arrest Hunt, free the Igorrotes, and put Hunt in jail.  In addition to the government agent tracking him down, he was chased by ex-wives, creditors, and Pinkerton detectives.  After a long search, they found him in 1906 and he was convicted.  He served 18 months in a work house in Memphis.

I mentioned another person who showed the Igorrotes around.  He treated them well and was responsible for turning Hunt in.  Although the other person treated them well and arranged several tours, it was the tour to Europe in 1913 where he treated the peoples as badly as Hunt did that caused laws to be passed prohibiting this type of thing.

I hope you enjoyed this,  I'm off to read the book.  Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.