Friday, May 31, 2019

Measuring for recipes

Measuring Cup, Bake, Cook, Eat, BakerYesterday, I had to buy a new set of measuring cups because the current set I have kind of broke apart and disappeared.  I've been using my tea cup rather than the more standardized cups.  From a mathematical point of view, it works because I'm using the same base to calculate the 1/4th, 1/2, 1/3rd, and the rest but I don't know if the cup was 8 ounces.

When I popped through the store, I found this great looking set of measuring cups and spoons I bought due to the color, the looks, and the fact they are all connected with a solid reinforced ring.

In the middle of the store, I wondered how long we've been using measuring cups because in a few of the books I have with recipes from the 1800's, they use the term "tea cup" which I know is not the same sized cup I used.  If you remember Fannie Farmer, she wrote the Boston School of Cooking cookbook and ran the Boston School of Cooking, she decided to standardize cooking measures and created the first "level" measuring cups and spoons..  In addition, she maintained these measuring cups and spoons are an important part of a kitchen's equipment.  She is the one who came up with the sizes we use today.

I grew up using teaspoons and tablespoons from the silverware set because my mother wasn't much of a cook so I don't remember having the special spoons around.  I think I was in middle school before I realized measuring spoons existed and even today, if my measuring spoons aren't handy, I use something from the silverware sets.

Although she standardized measuring cups and spoons, it took a while for this idea to spread around the world.    It took till the 1940's for these items to become part of everyone's kitchen supplies.  As the acceptance spread, manufacturers began making them due to demand but the first began appearing in around 1900.

I realize this is a bit shorter than normal but I'm getting ready to head off to Hawaii by packing and finishing things.  I'll have some pictures for you next week on my trip.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The 7 Best Places To Visit in June

Van, Vintage, Beach, Cool WallpaperSummer is coming or almost here and everyone is making plans for where to go.  Some love going to the beach, others would rather camp, and others find a hotel with pool but there are some recommended places to visit in June.

Maine makes the list due to its great shoreline, hiking up Cadillac Mountain, camping, and the great city of Portland to enjoy.

This is the month to visit Peru when the dry season starts and before it gets too warm.  This is a great time to check out Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley which provides a glimpse into the past, but you need to be careful of the altitude.  Stay in Cusco with its cobble stone roads to experience three different June festivals.  One festival is for making a pilgrimage to the local glacier, another is  a Christian celebration, and the last celebrates the winter solstice.

If you want to stay in the United States, try South Walton, Florida with its Underwater Museum of Art which showcases sculptures doubling as artificial reefs to encourage the sealife or look at the coastal dune lakes which have a nice mix of fresh and salt waters and found in very few places on the earth.

June is also a great month to check out London when it has its best weather and the town blossoms with people coming out to enjoy the warmth.  June is also when the Queen celebrates her birthday, and a Taste of London with all the renown chefs coming out to cook mouthwatering meals. If music is more your thing, they have the Hampton Court Palace Festival in June.

This is also the best month to visit Puerto Rico, before the rainy season.  Check out the old town in San Juan or visit the bioluminescent bay or the Gozalandia Waterfalls.  There is also a lot of great food including mofongo a dish with plantains.  The last time, I visited Puerto Rico, I tended to eat in small coffee shops and ate a lot of plantains.  Those are good.

If you visit the Cote d'Azur in France, do it in June before it becomes too popular.  On June 21, attend the all night music festival ringing in the first day of summer.  You can explore the rest of the French Rivera or hop a train over to Monoco where Princess Grace, formally Grace Kelly lived most of her adult life.

If you want something different, fly to Tasmaina, the small island off the southern coast of Australia to watch the whales as they swim past and check out the southern lights as this is the best place to see them.  Tasmania host a fantastic festival which combines pagan rituals with art displays, music, and theater.

You could try Uganda during June if you want to see the mountain gorillas in any of the national parks or wildlife parks.  This is so popular, it is necessary to set up the trip a few months in advance because of the limited number of permits available.

So these are the best places in the world to visit during June.  I'm heading to Hawaii for a conference and then to Croatia just because I tend to just throw a dart in the map and go for it.  I hope you'll check these place out.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs

Dog, Weimaraner, Pet, Canine, Portrait The other night, I watched a show on hotel rooms and the guy who inspected his room found several live bedbugs running over a mattress.  Out in the bush of Alaska, it is not uncommon to find bedbugs in school carpeting, homes, and other places so I check my mattress and house for bedbugs.  Yes, I've found a couple but I immediately attacked the problem.

I've even stayed at one hotel where I spotted a bed bug crawling across a table.  When I notified the front desk, they immediately had me change rooms and contacted maintenance to take care of the room.

At the hotel on television, the owners denied having a bedbug problem because none of the guests complained so they brought in a dog who'd been trained to sniff out bedbugs.  I'd never heard of such a thing but they took the dog through and he found infestations in 11 out of 50 rooms.  The next day, a company specializing in ridding rooms of bedbugs arrived and discovered some of the infestations had gone into the wall.

I admit, I didn't know they trained dogs to sniff out bedbug infestations.  Although many in the industry are skeptical about the dog's ability, records indicate that specially trained dogs have a 97% success rate of finding bedbugs compared to a human's 30% rate using visual inspection.

 The problem with using a visual inspection is that young bedbugs in the larvae and nymphs are a light yellow to off white color easily blending into the mattresses and they are no larger than a sesame seed so they are extremely small. Even when grown up, most bedbugs are no more than 1/4th inch long, making them hard to see.

In addition, a dog is able to sniff out the bedbugs within minutes while it can take hours for the human to tear the room apart looking for the critters.  There are facilities where dogs are trained to search the most likely places bedbugs hide.  Most of these training facilities are located in Florida.

As for the breeds, hunting dogs such as Blood Hounds and Beagles or energetic breeds such as Jack Terriers, Border Collies, or Labradors are often adopted from rescue shelters and trained for the industry.  Trainers prefer the smaller breeds because they are less likely to scare the home owner and can be lifted to check out headboards or high shelves.

The ideal age is for the animal to be between 8 and 12 months when they start training but that does not mean older dogs are automatically eliminated.  All candidates undergo between 800 and 1000 hours of special training in mock hotel rooms before being certified.  In order to receive certification from the NESDCA, the dog must pass a test proving they can find life bedbugs.

Further more, a handler will spend between $8.000 and $15,000 for a trained certified dog and they themselves must undergo training with the dog for a minimum of a week so they learn to work together.  A bedbug sniffing dog will only work 8 to 9 years before being retired to enjoy life as a family pet.   A properly trained dog and his handler can earn in the area of $325 per hour or almost the same as a lawyer.

So now you know more about bedbug sniffing canines, their use and training.  let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Meals That Changed History

Cuisine, Food, Italian, Antipasti Earlier I looked at food that changed the world but did you know there are a few meals that changed the world by changing history?  I didn't until I read this short piece on the topic.

A little bit of background before I begin the actual topic.  We all know that if you eat a really good meal, you feel great and are open to persuasion.  Lobbyists know this and use it all the time when they invite politicians out for dinner where they can wine and dine them. Its in these settings they make deals, get their pet projects passed through congress, and change minds.

This idea was used back in 1814 after Napoleon was defeated and several countries wished to divide up his empire. The French king,  King Louis XVIII, had his Foreign Minister take control of the conference by bringing his world renown chef with him.  He did and the rest is history.

We've done this in the United States, just after the Revolutionary war when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison squared off against Alexander Hamilton over the question of how the states would pay for the Revolutionary war.  Hamilton wanted the debt evenly divided but Madison and Jefferson felt that would put undue stress on the poorer states so over a well cooked dinner with lots of great wine, Hamilton agreed to a compromise that made everyone happy.

In 1914 when rumors spread about a planned attempt on the life of Grand Duke Ferdinand, he decided to head home rather than visit Sarajevo because he'd finished inspecting the military but over a great dinner, his advisors convinced him to go ahead with his original plans otherwise the people in Sarajevo would see it as an insult.  He was convinced and on his short Sunday visit, he was assassinated setting off the events leading to World War I.

It's well known that The Pretender to the Scottish throne, Bonnie Prince Charlie, lost at Culloden but one thing that is not usually shared about this event is that Prince Charlie and his commanding officers drank a lot of whisky and wine, ate lots of wonderful food while discussing their upcoming victory.  The soldiers starved and the next morning as they recovered from the alcohol, they lost 1200 men in a one hour battle to the British.

Four historical events changed due to having a good meal with alcohol and great food.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  have a great day.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Hypoallergenic What?

Dog, Cat, Pets, Animals, Friends Saturday night, I attended a barbecue complete with dogs and kids.   The three dogs wandered through the place looking for people to play with them while escaping some of the toddlers who love, love, love, dogs.

During a conversation, one of the dogs came up. The dog looked kind of like a small walking beat down brown carpet and the lady commented that it was a hypoallergenic dog.

I've never heard of such as thing but she said it had less hair and dander so people with allergies are less likely to have problems while owning a pet.  The key is that they shed fewer hairs and less dander hits the air.  This means there are less allergens in the air, on furniture, on people, and less chance of allergenic reactions.  This does not mean, the dogs are 100% hypoallergenic but it does mean more people are able to own dogs who may not otherwise do it.

The best dogs to own if you have allergies include Tibetan Terriers who have long hair, shed very little and need lots of grooming, Maltese Terriers who are small fluffy clouds and are extremely gentle, Shih-Tzu who are covered with hair who are gentle and extremely loyal.  There is also the Brussels Griffon with shorter hair, loyal, and a great watchdog, or the Portuguese Water Dog just like the one owned by Obama is an energetic medium sized dog who can spend hours either on land or in the water.

Then there are poodles of any size who are classified as hypoallergenic and are classified as odor free.    It is recommended the poodles always be clipped but personality wise, they are intelligent, trainable, and funny or the West Highland White Terrier which is a small cute loving dog who sheds some but is still considered hypoallergenic.  Check out the Bichon Frise, a small lovable lap dog who is easy to train and fun, or any one of 13 other breeds including Afghans Hound or the Italian Greyhound.

If you are a cat person, don't worry because there are several cats who are classified as hypoallergenic.  There is a protein in the cat's saliva that is what most people react to.  These cats produce less of this protein and makes it better for people who have allergies.  Check out the Oriental Shorthair which sheds way less hair than most so if hair is the problem, this would be a good choice. There is also the Cornish Rex which has no outer hair, only a down layer, or maybe get a Sphynx, a totally hairless cat so there is no hair to trap the saliva.

You could go with a Russian Blue which has short hair but a beautiful blueish coat, or perhaps look at the Bengal whose hair traps very little saliva, or maybe a Balinese whose saliva produces less of the protein in its saliva.  If you prefer long haired cats, look at the Siberian cat, or the Laperm shed much less than other breeds due to its curly hair, or the Javanese cat who only has the top layer of hair rather than the full three layers.   Finally, check out the Devon Rex who is related to the Cornish Rex but has both less and shorter hair than its relative.

So if you have allergies and love dogs or cats, you might still be able to have a pet if you check out one of these breeds.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Scamming the Nazi's.

Influenza, Flu, Fever, Grippe, Cold, BedI watched a show the other day, which shared the story behind a very old vial from World War II that is kept in a museum.  The contents of this vial, saved thousands of people from being sent off to concentration and labor camps.  The method was ingenious and it played on the Nazi fear of Typhus.

It happened in the town of Razwadow, Poland.  A man who worked in a labor camp came home to visit his family but didn't want to go back.  If he refused to go back, he and his family would be forcibly shipped of to the death camps but if he went back, he might not survive so he went to a local doctor.

The doctor and his coworker created a mixture that when injected into people would turn the results of a blood test for Typhus to positive, every time.  People didn't actually have the disease but their blood tests said they had it so the Nazi's refused to send them off to camps.  Instead, people were quarantined in their village.

The doctor, Eugene Lazowski, believed it was part of being a doctor to fight the Nazi's in anyway he could and proved it by first escaping from a German POW camp and going home.   Since his house backed up against the Jewish Ghetto, he was prohibited from treating any Jew.  but he worked out a way to help them anyway.  If anyone was sick, someone would tie something on the fence and he'd sneak in at night, treat them, and sneak out before dawn.  To get supplies, he adjusted records so they showed he used more supplies treating his Polish patients so he'd have what he needed for his hidden patients.

During World War I, the Germans developed a fear of typhus because it ran ramped through the trenches, making so many soldiers sick.  As a result, the Germans still feared the disease and required all people infected with or suspected of having typhus be reported to the authorities, given a blood test, and German labs tested all samples.  Any Pole infected would be quarantined and spared work in labor camps but any infected Jew was killed.

Lazowski and another doctor discovered if people were injected with the dead bacteria that caused typhus, their blood tests came back positive so they regularly used this on people in the area so their village would be declared an "Epidemic Area" and the Germans would regularly avoid it.

They made sure they followed the natural ebb and flow of the disease so it mimicked real life and they often sent patients to other doctors for tests otherwise if they were the only ones treating infected people it might alert the Germans.  As time went on, they began offering the "Protein Stimulation Therapy" to patients in other villages who were coming down with a variety of symptoms such as coughs, aches, etc.  Every person tested positive for typhus.

Unfortunately, the death rate did not match the expected death rates for Typhus so the Germans sent out doctors to investigate the anomaly.  Lazowski quickly gathered the sickest of the villagers, put them in a dirty room and invited the doctors in to check them out.  The doctors quickly took samples, saw the positive results, and got out of there as fast as they could due to their fear of the disease.

Due to their quick thinking, Lazowski and the other doctor saved over 8,000 people from death, some who were Jews and others who were Poles.  They did not reveal their scam until 1977 when they wrote a paper for a medical journal.

By playing on Nazi fears, these two doctors proved you could fight the Nazi's.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Longest Lived Lightbulb!

Lantern, Lamp, Filament, Light Bulb We all know that light bulbs are rated to last only so many hours before they burn out.  Many of us, have switched to LED lights for better energy consumption and they tend to be longer lasting but these new ones are not as good as some of the original ones.

There is a light bulb in a Fire Station in Livermore, California that was still burning after 117 years.  This light bulb has a slightly thicker copper filament in the center instead of the usual one.

Thomas Edison's first commercial light bulb was designed to last at least 1,500 hours and within a few years, light bulbs were rated at 2,500 hours or more.  This created a problem for companies who produced light bulbs.

This long last light began burning in the fire house in Livermore, California. The light bulb was donated to the firehouse back in June 1901 by the owner of the Livermore Power and Light company. The light acted as a night light so firefighters didn't have to fumble around in the dark.  It has been on continuously except for the occasional power failure.  The hand made light bulb, constructed by Shelby Electric Company of Shelby Ohio, began as either a 30 or 60 watt bulb but is now producing about 4 watts.  Over time, the light has been moved around from one fire house to another but its still burning after over 1,000,000 hours of use.

In the early days,  lightbulbs were built to last so people didn't need to buy as many replacements which means companies didn't sell as many.   In 1924, manufacturers got together, forming the Phoebus Cartel to do something about it.  Supposedly, they met to discuss quality control while establishing territories but one of the top goals to discuss what to do so people would buy more lightbulbs rather than fewer.

One of the things that came out of this meeting has changed and shaped our world today was "planned obsolescence, the same thing most companies use today to maximize profit and more importantly, generate repeat sales.  Planned obsolescence is the practice of making things so they last a set amount of time before having to be replaced.  The cartel decided light bulbs should not last longer than 1000 hours and this ploy stayed in effect till the 1950's when the agreement was exposed to the public. This lead to the 1000 limit being lifted and they prohibited manufacturers from making limited time light bulbs.

Now, with new improved lightbulbs, their life time is being extended to 2,000 and 3,000 hours of life.    There are now lightbulbs that use less energy, last longer and be brighter.  Light bulbs have come a long way since they were first made.  let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

First leg

Monday night I arrived to the airport in plenty of time to catch my 12:30 a.m. flight to Seattle but in the time between leaving home and arriving at the airport, the plane went from on-time to a couple hours late.  Apparently, the plane had mechanical problems so they had to wait for another plane to become available.  The airlines was great in that they rebooked people who would miss their flights and provided snacks and drinks for everyone.

As time ticked on, they provided updates but the gate information wasn't as up to date as it could have been.  Note the picture to the left.  It says we were due to leave at least an hour before we boarded.  It provided amusement to many of us.  Eventually, the plane finally arrived but they had to track down the pilots for the return trip and by 3:06 a.m. we finally pulled out and made our way to Seattle.  Again, the airport stepped up to the plate and by the time we landed at the North Terminal, everyone had been rebooked.  All I had to do was check in with customer service to get a new boarding pass and wait about six hours for the next flight.

As soon as we deplaned, we came across this fallen tree log in the middle of a social area.  I took the picture while standing in front of Customer service, looking back towards the gate we deplaned through.  

The log is actually a sculpture laying in the middle of the floor. If you notice, the flooring looks a bit like dirt to match the fallen log.  The area is between the elevator and the exit to the trains.

The airport added to this concourse, made it look nicer but they are still finishing construction.  I like it much better now that they've revealed the finished parts.
If you look at the picture to the left, you'll see what looks like a glass elevator shaft.  The decorator had tall tree's painted on the back side of the structure.  The trees go up and up and up, just like the structure.  It's towering but not intimidating.

So much of the North terminal has changed since I was last through at Christmas.  It looks refreshed and it is so much larger.  It took a bit to find the way down to the train because they are still finishing off things.  

Due to additional renovations happening at the C concourse, they've closed the C concourse stop by gates C 16 to C 20 so you have to get off at the D concourse which puts you by Gate D-3.  If you need to get to one of the gates by Waji's, you have a decent walk.  

The airport has blocked the entrance to the train station in concourse C.  They've painted trees on the fences designed to keep people safe.  I don't know how long the construction will continue as I only fly through a few times a year so I see these when they are done.

The airport is also redoing the center area where they had all the fish places. They've got the area blocked off with signs indicating when it opens, it will offer more seafood places.  I do know, they've opened a couple of wine bars in the center and up Concourse C.  There are a couple of new restaurants that have opened.

I had 6 hours to explore the airport today between when I landed and when I boarded my connecting flight so I took several walks around, just to get some exercise.  This is when I took a few of these photos.  I hope you like them.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Radio, Old, Tube Radio, NostalgiaIn this country, we had radio shows such as Gunsmoke, Fibber Magee, The Lone Ranger, and so many other programs that people listened to regularly.  These weekly shows entertained all of us but did you know there were thousands of Spanish language radionovelas or radio soap operas.  I listened to a show on NPR the other day about Tulane University and its effort to preserve these shows.

The country of Cuba holds the record for producing  the largest number of Spanish Language radio soap operas, both daytime and night time of any Spanish speaking country between 1930 and 1950.  They exported these programs to other Spanish speaking countries and people became addicted the them, including Fidel Castro due to the frequent plot twists.

After the Cuban revolution, many of the Cubans who fled to the United States, continued producing these Radionovelas which ran on over 200 stations around the world.  One of the companies, America's Productions Inc produced over 130 Spanish soap operas from 1963 to 1970.  They hired displaced Cubans who were writers, actors, musicians, directors, and engineers for these because the Cuban actors could speak a "Continental" Spanish or a non regional Spanish so no one could tell where they were from.

Often times, the heroes would be fighting for democracy against some unnamed enemy. Rather than name the enemy "The Communists" Radiomovelas referred to them as "Existentialists" Furthermore, some soap operas were complete propaganda, while the more commercial ones were not.  No matter what, the shows made the Cold War both fun and profitable and many provide a wonderful look of the 1960's and 70's.

Many of these soap operas targeted the house with with breaks advertising house hold and luxury items.  No matter , there were so many twists and turns in these soap operas that people had to continue listening in so they wouldn't miss anything.  In addition, they'd run for years and through out the time, they kept people's attention.

As stated earlier America's Productions Inc was responsible for creating a huge number of Radionovelas.  This company was owned and run by Minin Bujones and her husband Louis Boeri a business man who had never made a soap opera prior to his leaving Cuba.  His wife,  Minin Bujones, was considered the Lucille Ball of Cuba.  His children believe he might have been a spy for the United States because he often took trips to Washington, D.C.

Currently, Tulane University is paying someone to go through all 9000 plus reel to reel tapes in the library's collection to determine who made each episode from the actors and actresses to the engineers, directors, and everyone who helped make the episode.  She is putting together resume for each person based on the information provided on the tapes.

The university is also digitizing their collection so people can use the material to study the Cold War and the world's perception of it.  I hope you find this as interesting as I do.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Local Farmers Market.

 I visited the local Farmer's Market this past Saturday and took a bunch of pictures to share with everyone because we are so far north that most people don't realize we can grow things here.

I am in Fairbanks at the moment.  Fairbanks, Alaska is about 155 miles south of the Arctic circle which means we have sun light most of the day.  Although the sun sets, it does not go far enough below the horizon for the sky to get dark.

What you see in the picture to the left are bowls made out of birch trees while the table to the left in the photo offers hand made wooden spoons, salad forks, and other accessories again made out of birch.  Birch is a very popular and sturdy wood.

The lady in the photo to the right offers starts every spring.  She makes a point of using heirloom varieties with short growing seasons because if you grow tomatoes outside, they are often killed by mid-August due to frost.  If they are grown in a green house, they often make it to mid-September before they die.

This picture was taken from just outside the main building looking out across the market.  Originally, the Farmer's market occupied a small area on the state fair site but the market grew so big, they had to move because there was absolutely no parking available when events were happening.  So they bought land, moved the main building and put in a parking lot.

There is a great mix of artists, carvers, soap and lotion makers, food, yarn, and so much more.  The Farmer's Market has its own stand where they sell t-shirts labeled "Alaskan Grown".

This photo is of an artist who makes what looks like stained glass magnets but they aren't actually glass.  They are absolutely beautiful.  I bought one for the Bride and Groom of a wedding I'm heading for later this week.  I also purchased some birch kitchen things for them.

There are even four bakeries at the market.  One makes only cupcakes that you can request a specific frosting and the second produces Eastern European goodies.  Another makes all sorts of baked goods like croissants and the last produces all sorts of Japanese sweetbreads filled with mochi or sweet red bean paste.  All of these bakers produce some great foods.

Of course you can get all sorts of starts such as cabbage, tomatoes, flowers, and you can even find some cucumbers, radishes, and early lettuce at this time.  Usually most vegetables to be raised in greenhouses to be ready this early.

In another few weeks, people will be offering more.  If I'm lucky, the lady from the hot springs will show up with cantaloups, watermelons, and eggplants.  She and her husband use the hot springs to power their greenhouse. When they offer cantaloupe they sell out within 30 minutes of the opening.  Their produce is always so popular.

The above picture is taken across the market towards the vender parking lot.  The regular parking lot can get so busy that it's totally filled within one hour of opening.  I'll be sharing more photos of my upcoming trip.  I'm leaving tonight because I'm heading down to help one of my relatives celebrate her 90th birthday.  Her husband is 95 and still doing well.

I'll keep you posted.  Hope you have a great day.  Let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 19, 2019


Fire, Marshmallow, Eat, Food, Sweet

The snow melted and its time for eating outside.  Want one?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Nicky's Family - A Movie Review

Children, Siblings, Brother, Sister It happened a long time ago in a world far away from what we know.  It involved a man who saw the future and tried to change what he could before going on with his life, never mentioning it to anyone, even his wife.  It remained a secret until the day his journal was found and the world got a look at it.  If you asked him if he'd done something special, he'd tell you "No", he'd done what was right.

The place: Czechoslovakia

The year:  1939
The hero:  Nicholas Winton

Nicholas Winton was only 29 at the time.  He was in Europe getting ready to head off on a skiing trip when he received a call that changed his life.  Instead of skiing, he checked out the situation in Prague, a country Hitler wished to take over as part of the plan to take over Europe.  Nicholas saw a map of the proposed Third Reich, saw the changes in Germany with Hitler in charge, and knew.

So he set to work, writing any and every country begging them to let him send children so they'd be away from the madness but only one country responded to his letters.  All through this, he was watched but when they couldn't see him doing anything wrong, they sent in a beautiful spy who claimed she worked for the Swedish government and could save some children.  His friends knew but he kept dating her until she took 25 children to Sweden for him before disappearing.

The British Government said they would take children but there had to be a family waiting and the family had to have 50 pounds available to prove they could do it.  He set himself up as the head of a governmental body, made proper travel papers for each child, kept lists, made photos so people could choose a child and one day began moving them.  He got several transports out of Germany but the very last one, the biggest one didn't make it out because World War II started in September of 1939.

At this point, Nicholas put away everything, joined the RAF and went on with his life.  The children settled in and went on with their new families till after the war.  Some children learned about their families and some didn't but they all went on wondering about the man who saved them.  Then in 1988, his wife discovered his journal documenting the names of every child he swept out of Czechoslovakia and the names of those who took care of them.  His wife sent it to a journalist who researched it and in 1988 Nicholas Winton appeared on a British show where he was reunited with many of those he'd saved.

This man who worked tirelessly over a 9 month period managed to get 669 children out of the country before everything closed down.  He gave 669 children a chance to grow up, to marry, to have children and grand children.

Nicky's Family is a documentary about this man, the children, and how he got them out.  I watched it on Amazon using Amazon Prime.  It was awesome and well worth seeing because saving 669 children was no easy feat.  If you can, check it out.  I highly recommend watching it.

If you are wondering, Nicholas Winton was eventually knighted by the Queen and he died after living for 106 years in 2015.

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

It's There. Sometimes Hidden, Sometimes Not.

Hospital, Bed, Doctor, Surgery, HospitalI am running late today mostly because I spent a couple of days with no internet while traveling and finally got hooked up.  Normally, I would have done this ahead of time but my internet kind of crapped out so I couldn't.  Now for today's topic which is quite serious.

Yesterday was one of those weird days.  I woke up in the morning to a thick fog blanketing the day. It was so thick, I couldn't see more than about 10 feet ahead and that automatically means no travel.

It cleared up and I got out of town to Bethel and over to the big terminal and that is where I ran into IT!  As you know, I'm a teacher and I'm always running into current and former students.  In this case, I ran into a sweet young lady who'd started the year well but as the weeks passed her attendance dropped until she no longer came to school.  I asked others about here but no one seemed to know where she'd gone.

Her appearance shocked me and told me everything I needed to know without a word.  Both eyes were swollen, ringed with deep vibrant purple almost like a child applied eye shadow around the whole eye.  There were stitches in her scalp where a big gap of hair looked as if it been pulled out.  Her arm, wrapped and in a sling, appeared to have been broken.  All through this, she smiled.

I asked her about it and she told me her EX-boyfriend had done it.  Yes, the police had him in custody, away from her.  He would be charged and end up in jail.  I discovered, she'd gotten together with him after she came to school here.  Little by little he took over her life until she no longer came to school.  I didn't ask but it appeared he controlled her life to the point he'd even correct some of her actions.  Eventually, it lead to her being severely hurt.

I know at school, they've had regular session on what constitutes both good and bad relationships. They've showed videos but I also know students experience bad relationships because they don't see the relationships as bad, only as "He didn't mean it."  Years ago, I had a young lady who constantly broke down frequently, leaving the room in tears.  It came out later, she'd been sexually abused as a child by her brother but it stopped when she hit puberty.  Later on, he started again when she was in high school heading for graduation.  The worst thing, he was a police officer.  Yes, they arrested him and he went to jail.

In many places there is a culture of hiding abuse.  It happens and unless something happens to inform officials, it stays hidden and continues.  Even physical abuse like this is hidden because the person who did it was drunk and didn't know what they were doing so the mind set says that "It's ok".  The worst thing is even when these cases are reported, the system can't do anything about it because no one is willing to talk.

I am sorry she was physically hurt but at the same time, it got someone out of the village who could have done this to another girl.  She promised me she would go back to school and get her diploma but somewhere else away from his family because they would blame her for their son going to jail.

Sorry to be such a downer but it happens.  It happens in so many places with people protecting the perpetrators so its hidden.  Its a shame no one speaks about and the silence lets it continue.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

In Transit.

silhouette of person standing in front of glass while taking photo of planeI am traveling today from the village to town.  The hub airport has no internet and I had to turn my internet off on Sunday so that I could pack everything.  I should be back tomorrow.

Monday, May 13, 2019

15 Of The Worst Places To Visit

airplane from aboveIt's May already and many of us have plans to head off to visit places.  Some are on the best places to visit but other are in the worst place to visit.  I've decided to look at the worst places to visit because some of them I do want to visit someday but only if I have a reason to go there such as attending a conference otherwise I won't go.

So many people want to visit New York City to the point that over 13 million visitors go there every year.  That is about 5 million people more than the 8.5 million who live there.  It is said the food is over priced and you'll be bumping against people as you walk from your hotel to a restaurant.

Another place is the Galapagos Islands.  Yes, that is where those giant tortoises reside and we all want to go see them in their natural habitat but the Galapagos have a fragile ecosystem.  Although the Equadorian government has restricted visitor, over 200,000 go and eventually it can impact the delicate balance.

It is strongly advised one totally avoid North Korea because it is easy to disappear or end up in jail. Furthermore, things are a bit dicey among North Korea, the United States, and other countries. Even with the danger, over 5,000 people manage to visit the country every year.

Another place on people want to visit list is New Delhi.  We hear of New Delhi, think of Ghandi, and as a place to go visit for enlightenment but they don't tell us that New Delhi has over 19 million people living there and its considered one of the most polluted cities in the world.  Of course if you are mountain climber, Mount Everest is on your list of places to scale but its a very dangerous mountain to reach the top.  At least 300 people have died trying to reach the top and 6 of those died in 2017.  Furthermore, the cost of trying to make the climb ranges from $30,000 to over $100,000 which is out of most people's reach.

Egypt easily made this list.  Even though it has the pyramids and the Great Sphinx , it is considered one of the most dangerous places to visit especially for women travelers.  One of the cities I visit on a regular basis hit this list due to the smog, the lack of public transportation, the traffic, and the number of people.  Its Los Angeles with its Disney Land, Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags, and other sites but the sites are spread out and you really need a car to get from one point to another.  I hate driving there.

The Bahamas made the list.  Although it has sunshine, beaches, and other touristy placers, this country is said to be one of the most expensive summer destinations due to the $299 nightly hotel cost.  Las Vegas made the list even though it is considered one of the cheapest places to visit due to the lack of activities other than drinking, gambling, and going to shows.

Myanmar has made the list even though it was considered one of the must visit destinations not long ago.  Unfortunately, the army attacked the Rohingya and the country is now off limits to tourists.  On the other hand, it is suggested one avoid Amsterdam because over 20 million people visit that city of 800,000 every year.

Dubai is here because it is said to lack culture but has over 70 shopping malls including the largest one in the world.  It is suggested tourists avoid Rio de Janerio due to its high homicide rate.  The president called in the military to take over running public security which lead to protests and even tourists are seeing a rise in crime.

Montego Bay, Jamaica is having the same problem to the extent that tourists are restricted to the area with resorts due to the high crime rates in surrounding areas.  When the number of homicides rose suddenly in Montego Bay, the government implemented a state of emergency.

The final place I'm listing is Moscow Russia which has the reputation of most unfriendly place in the world.  It places last on hotel's taxi's and everything else including trying to get directions from locals.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Not This

Running, Water, Outside, Mud, Muddy

Not This!!  The Snow is melting and its all turning to mud, mud, mud, and more mud!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Travel in Luxury While In The Air.

Landscape, Clouds, Mountain, Lake, WaterIf you've ever read Jules Verne, you know his imagination took off in the direction of this topic along with other wonderful creations. In addition, most of us have seen the Hindenburg as it burst into flames in 1937 because its earned a place in history but if you read my entry a couple days ago, you know this was it's 63rd  flight.  This means that air travel using airships had been around for quite a while.

Lets start with a bit of history.  The flight of the first hot air balloon inspired a French engineer to design an 84 foot long dirigible powered by three engines back in 1783 but it was never built.  Unfortunately, the designer and his American friend flew a hot air balloon over the English Channel, but had difficulty in keeping it high enough off the water and ended up throwing everything they could, including their clothing.

Other engineers played with the design, improving on it until in 1895, Count Zepplin created the Zepplin Airship. This one differed from earlier designs because the 110 foot vessel had a thin, rigid, tough skinned balloon filled with helium.  In addition, it had a small crew and some passenger compartments suspended below the balloon.  With its two 15 horsepower motors, it could reach speeds of 25 mph.  At first they were used to take passengers on scenic trips operating as an airline but with the outbreak of World War I, the military ordered 20 Zepplins to make bombing runs over Britain.

Shortly after World War I, in 1925, Goodyear released its first Pilgrim airship which was capable of carrying two passengers, a pilot, and a mechanic.  Its 80 horsepower engines gave it speed and it acquired a reputation for offering luxury cruises but later on, the United States government used them for surveillance but today, we see the Goodyear blimp at major sporting events.

In the mean time the Graf Zepplins acquired a reputation for its sleek lines cutting effortlessly through the air.  By 1929, the Zepplin circumnavigated the world in 21 days while offering luxury unheard of in today's world.  One year later, they created the Hindenburg class of airship, launching the first one in 1936 with public restrooms, promenades, cabins, restaurant, bar, and a smoking room.  The interior designer covered the walls in hand painted silk showing scenes historic voyages.  The cabins were only 78 inches by 66 inches with a set of bunk beds, and a sink.  This airship rivaled the ocean going vessels of the time and the Hindenburg earned the nickname "hotel in the sky." because it could carry 50 passengers at a time.

Furthermore, the Hindenburg had an improved design so it could carry passengers ,cars, mail, cargo, and luggage across the Atlantic.  It had four 16 horsepower diesel engines built by Daimler-Benz, the same company who engines for torpedo boats.  Its skin had been impregnated with aluminum oxide to prevent UV radiation from passing through and it made the skin sparkle.

From 1936 to 1937, the Hindenburg made regular trips from Germany to America and back taking only 43 hours to complete one way instead of the normal 5 day trip.  Other countries such as the United Kingdom tried to complete but they were not successful.  After the fatal accident, airships as airlines didn't do well and World War II began.  By the end of World War II, Zepplin, the company, went out of business.

By the end of World War II, various airlines had begun moving passengers across the ocean faster and in decent comfort replacing airships as the favored mode of transportation.  At this point, airships were a thing of the past, only appearing here and there.

I hope you found this topic as interesting as I did. Have a great day and let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Four Food That Changed the World.

Salad, Figs, Cheese, Goat CheeseWe don't usually think about food as something that changed the world other than the development of coffee houses or such but it's true. Each of these items changed the world, yet we often eat them every day without knowing their historical influence.

For instance, bread caused a revolution.  yes, you read that right and are probably wondering how that happened.  Well back in the mid 1700's in France, bread was important to the Frenchman's diet.  The first thing to know is that bread was considered a public service needed to prevent people from rioting so bakers were classified as public servants under the control of the police department.

In addition, the average worker used half of his daily earnings to buy bread for the day, but due to the grain crop failing two years in a row, and by 1789, the price of bread rose so the average worker now spent 88 percent of his daily wage on bread.  Add in a tax on salt which unfairly targeted the poor, and the lower class rose up in anger.  As far as historians can tell, Marie Antoinette never actually said "Let them eat cake" when informed.

Not too many years before this event taxes levied on tea encouraged a bunch of people to board ships and throw 45 tons of tea over board in Boston Harbor, sparking the slogan stating "no taxation without representation" because the British Government had the right to levy taxes in the colonies as they wished.  The tea tax had been passed to help the flailing East Indian Company by giving them a monopoly.  Unfortunately, the Americans tended to smuggle in cheaper tea from the Dutch.  After a series of actions by the British Government, war broke out and America gained its independence.

Of course you can also look at bananas as causing changes in government.  American companies often spread out to Latin American countries to start plantations to grow bananas because it was economically cheaper.  In the process of starting up plantations, these companies also gained quite a lot of political power.  One company, United Fruit Company, built railroads for countries in exchange for land, they became entwined with the local government.  This company often got out of paying taxes, or paid workers in company script which could only be used in company stores.

Eventually in Guatemala, the president of that country wanted the United Fruit Company to sell its lands back to the government.  Instead the company sent a report to the United States Government indicating that communism was trying to get its foot in the door and the company's PR people brought journalists down who wrote dozens of articles to support them.  Eventually, the CIA came in and tossed the president out.  They stripped him down to his underwear and marched him to the airport where he boarded a plane never to return in 1954.  You know this company because they are known today as Chiquita Bananas.

Last for this column are potatoes.  Potatoes originated in South America and made their way over to Europe in the 16th century.  Potatoes are easy to grow, cheap, and filling so many folks took to growing them, especially in Ireland but one day in 1845, several farmers noticed the leaves of their potato plants turn black.  When the farmers dug up the potatoes, they appear fine but within days they'd rotted due to an infestation of a fungus. Unfortunately, the Irish climate was perfect for the fungus and it grew and spread rapidly causing the "Potato Famine."

What made it difficult for most of the Irish is that they didn't own the land they worked.  They paid rent to absentee owners but as the crops failed, they were evicted for not paying rents.    During the famine, the government started soup kitchens to feed people but over three million people lined up to receive one meal a day but the cost was prohibitive and they had to shut them down.  Over the next four years, it is estimated that at least one million people died and over 1.5 million people immigrated to the United States. One vegetable caused so many people to flee or die.

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

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Cuckooland Museum

Cuckoo Clock, Black Forest, ClockImagine if you will a place you can visit when touring the United Kingdom filled with cuckoo clocks, tools, and vintage motorcycles.  I realize it is not the usual type of museum but if you are into any of that, this is the place to visit.

Cuckooland Museum is located in Tabley, Knutsford, Cheshire, England.  It was founded about 20 years ago and is currently recognized as having the largest collection of cuckoo clocks.

This museum has a collection of over 600 clocks from the Black Forest region of Central Europe.  The very first cuckoo clock they found, a rare parquetry style, dated back to 1850.

Although no one is sure who actually invented the cuckoo clock,  Franz Anton Ketterer is said to have made the first one in the Black Forest region in about 1730.  This clock was based on a concept from the 17th century combined with a reference in a book to the sound of a cuckoo bird indicating the hour.

There are two tales floating around one of which may or may not be true explaining who made the first clock.  One story says that two traveling salesmen came across a man with a cuckoo clock and became so fascinated with the item, they had to sell it and became rich men.  The other story claims a clock maker so loved the way church bells told every one the time, he decided to create a cuckoo clock which used a cuckoo clock to announce the hour by popping out and cuckooing the number of hours.  Soon, the popularity of the clock spread and everyone wanted one.

There are two basic types of cuckoo clocks, one is the traditional type with a face carved out of Linden wood while the other is a chalet cuckoo clock which looks a bit like a house.  Both have chains and weights in the shape of pine cones.  Since every clock is hand made, each is unique and an individual.

The owners of this museum, brothers who are both clock repair people, have spent their time collecting mostly rare and unique cuckoo clocks for everyone's enjoyment.  In addition, they also have some cuckoo and quail clocks which sound a quail call on the quarter hours while the cuckoo sounds on the half hour and hour  while  a cuckoo and echo clock made by Beha.

Regular tours are offered showing the wide variety of clocks they have collected over the past couple of decades along with a pipe organ and a vintage motorcycle collection.  Furthermore, they have accumulated a good set of Black Forest Tools.  I didn't know about this museum until I saw a small factoid somewhere telling the name had changed from the Cuckoo Clock Museum to the Cuckooland Museum.

I plan to check it out the next time I visit the United Kingdom but if you are near there, check it out.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Splash of May History

Blue Sky, Twigs, Apple Flower, SpringThere is a song from Camelot about the month being wonderfully gay.  Out here the snow is slowly melting, exposing patches of mud with not a piece of green visible, other than a house or two of that color.

When we hear its May, we think about May Day, Mother's Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Memorial Day but there are other days to think about such as on May 6th, the Hindenburg caught fire at 7:20 pm as it came in for a landing in New Jersey.  This incident, shut down air travel.  What is interesting about this airship is that it had made 62 previous flights quite safely but due to an electrostatic charge and leaking hydrogen, the 63rd was to successful.

On May 7, 1915, a German submarine sank the Lusitania by torpedoing it just off the coast of Ireland causing the United States to enter the war sooner than planned.  One day later, May 8th, 1942, the Japanese lost their first major defeat of the war when they lost at the Battle of the Coral Sea.  This particular battle was the first in history where opposing navel forces used only aircraft.  The two sides never got close enough to see each other.

In Russia, they celebrate May 9th, Victory Day, when they defeated the Nazi's at a cost of 20 million lives.  On the other hand, two rail lines met at Promontory Utah on May 10, 1869.  The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, one building from the east, and one from the west met at this point where a golden spike was driven in at the connecting point.  The story goes that Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific rail line, had the privilege of driving the spike in but he missed it on his first swing, causing those who'd spent days driving spikes in to laugh.

Irving Berlin was born on May 11, 1889.  Berlin was well known for his musical compositions such as White Christmas, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Oh how I hate getting up in the morning, and so many more.  Irving Berlin was born in Russia but his family emigrated to New York City when he was four.  When his father died, he began singing on street corners and saloons as a way to raise money for his family.  Irving Berlin is considered one of America's greatest songwriters despite the fact he could neither read nor write musical notation.

Finally, on May 12, 1937, King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey due to the abdication of his brother Edward VIII.  Edward VIII reigned for under a year and voluntarily gave up the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.  The last bit is for those of you who have trouble keeping track of British Royalty and who reigned when.

This is just a quick look at the beginning of May from the 5th to the 12th.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Mother's Day Around The World

Rose, Orange Rose, Blossom, Bloom Mother's Day, a day to celebrate our mothers for what they do and have done for us.  We know it is celebrated in the United States but what about other. countries.  Is it strictly an American holiday or do others celebrate it.  It is indeed celebrated around the world, so join me in a quick tour of other countries to see how they do Mother's Day.

Let's start with France.  They passed a law back in 1925 to celebrate "fetes des meres" on the fourth Sunday of May unless it conflicts with Pentecost when it is moved back one week. They celebrate it much the same way we do with cards, flowers, and dinners.

The Chinese imported the holiday so its a fairly new holiday.  The holiday aligned with their respect of older people and devotion to one's parents. They also celebrate it the same way we do with cards, flowers, and dinners.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom has celebrated a Mothering Sunday since the 16th century.  It always landed on the fourth Sunday of Lent and families attended church together.  Although it has integrated giving cards, etc, it always lands in March.

In Mexico, Mother's Day always falls on May 10th regardless of the day of the week.  It is a time for taking mother out to dinner, with flowers, music, and everyone has a great celebration.  Then there is India which follows the American tradition of having Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.  They also present flowers, cards, and gifts to their mothers.

Originally, Mother's Day in Japan or Haha no Hi with Empress Koujun's birthday but it migrated to the second Sunday of May after she passed.  Flowers are the primary choice of gifts off spring bestow on their mothers.

Russia has an interesting history in regard to Mother's Day.  Originally women were acknowledged on March 8th, the International Women's day but since the fall of communism, Mother's Day moved to the last Sunday of November.  However, most of the gift giving happens in March.

In Egypt and other Arab countries, Mother's Day always falls on March 21st, the official first day of spring.  Mother's Day is unofficial but it is still celebrated with lots of gifts.  In Thailand, it is celebrated August 12th, the same day as Queen Sirikit's birthday.  For this day, the Thai prefer jasmine as the gift of choice.

Originally, Argentina celebrated Mother's Day on October 11th, the same date as the Catholic Churches Assumption of the Virgin Mary but when the date was changed to January 1st, merchants asked the government to keep Mother's Day in October to help them financially.

Ethiopia celebrates Mother's Day at the end of the rainy season with a three day feast where everyone comes together to celebrate as a family. This usually occurs in the fall with the children bringing ingredients and the mothers cooking up some wonderful foods.

This is just a glimpse of how Mother's Day is celebrate in places other than the United States.  I hope you liked it.  Let me know what you think, I"d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, May 3, 2019

New Mexico and Tennessee Connected By A War.

Nuclear Weapons Test, Nuclear Weapon It was World War 2.  The United States was at war with Japan and Germany.  We were fighting on two fronts and we needed to develop weapons to give us an advantage during the war.

Many of the German scientists escaped from Germany, bringing with them their pre-war research. The United States took advantage of this by having them work in secret developing weapons.

The main site for research and development was located in Los Alamos, New Mexico.  The government too over the Los Alamos Ranch School with its huge campus with 54 buildings which included 27 were houses, dorms, and other living accommodations, a school, etc.  This was perfect and it 16 miles away from the nearest town.  By 1943, it was up and running fully.

The town was so secret, it did not appear on any map. Furthermore, there was only one post office box for all the mail coming to the site.  Most people arrived in Santa Fe, before being taken to Los Alamos to work on creating and building the first plutonium atomic bomb.  It took only 27 months for the "Manhattan Project" to produce meet its objective.

You probably wonder what this has to do with Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  The government needed a place to produce the plutonium needed for the atomic bomb being built in New Mexico so as part of the "Manhattan Project", they built the town of Oak Ridge.  The government used its right of eminent domain to clear people off of 60,000 acres of land, near the new TVA dam just outside of Norris, Tennessee.  This dam produced the necessary electricity needed for the reactors used to make both Uranium and Plutonium.

In order to build the city quickly, three neighborhoods were built complete with schools, shopping, drug stores, beauty parlors, barbers and everything else a family might need, all within walking distance.  Furthermore, the government arrange to have single family housing built and shipped into the "Secret City" one half at a time. At one point, houses were being built at the rate of one every 30 minutes.

Code named "Clinton Engineer Works", the facilities grew to employ over 75,000 people making it the 5th largest city in the state.  In fact, for its first six years in existence, Oak Ridge was totally secret, just like Los Alamos.  Things were so secure, the town did not appear on any maps, guards were posted at all entrances to the location, and all residents had to wear badges when they were outside their homes.

So New Mexico made the bomb and Tennessee produced the fuel.  That is how the two are connected.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

They Escaped By Train!

Ball And Chain, Restrain, Heavy, IconI just discovered a book which told the story of a married couple who made their escape from the South in a truly unique way.  They were both slaves, each working for a different owner but allowed to live together.  She worked as a lady's maid and he worked for a carpenter so they had a better life than most.  No matter, they were still slaves, property who could be treated in any way, killed, or sold.

Over the years, they saved as much money as they could from the little they received from his job.  Finally, a few days before Christmas in 1848, they left but the route they chose to escape to the north was completely different than anyone else's.

Ellen and William Croft made history this way. She was the daughter of a slave and plantation owner, meaning she was still classified as a slave but her skin was so light, she could pass as "white" but her husband was dark enough that he could not.  So they hatched a plan in which she would be "Mr Johnson" who had injured his arm, wore colored glasses, and had something wrong with his jaw. This disguise made it so she could buy tickets for her and her "slave" because slaves could not purchase transportation tickets for themselves.

They timed their escape so they could board the train just as it left the station.  Mr Johnson rode in first class while William spent most of his time in the servant quarters.  William would fix medications and rubs for his "Master" to take care of him.  As they moved traveled along the route, Mr Johnson was totally accepted as the master and was given advice on how by best treat his servant. This continued as they traveled by train, boat, and train again northward.

Eventually, they reached the last leg of the journey, heading into Philadelphia but at the last check point, Mr Johnson has to "prove" that William was his "slave".  Fortunately, others on the train could verify they'd gotten on the train long before.  This allowed the customs man to wave them through because this was the last point the south could capture runaways before the north.

Furthermore, on the trip into Philadelphia, other people encouraged William to run away, gave him names, and even the name of a boarding house.  He took the information and used it once they arrived in Philadelphia.  At the boarding house, Mr Johnson became Mrs Croft as she changed back into her clothing.  Those who helped escaped slaves suggested the Crofts head to Canada because they could still be captured in Philadelphia and sent back.  In Canada, they'd be truly free.

Since it was winter, the couple headed toward Boston, stopping first with a Quaker family who taught them their letters and to write their names before they moved on to Boston but in 1850, slave hunters arrived in Boston to take them back south.  They escaped once more to England where they settled for the next 20 years and started a family with 5 children.  In 1870, they returned to the United States where they settled in Georgia and founded a school for newly freed slaves.

After living in the south for the rest of their lives, she died in 1891 while he lived till 1900. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Old Lady First To Go Over Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls, Waterfalls, River, Canada
 Whenever I visit a new place, I take time to check out any interesting natural formations such as waterfalls.  I've seen small ones, large ones, even some in the middle of nowhere but I have seen the one that most people think about when talking about the United States.  

I admit to being impressed when I stopped through Niagara Falls.  I remembered standing there, half expecting someone in a barrel to bob by and tumble over the falls.

I knew it wouldn't happen but I also wondered when the first person crashed over the falls.  Why did it start? I also wondered why anyone would go over with one real potential ending being death since the close to four million cubic feet of water spills over the edge, each and every minute.  The drop of 167 feet is equal to a 16 story building.

The first person to successfully drop over the edge in a barrel was a 63 year old retired female teacher who was financially struggling. In 1901, Annie Edson Taylor padded an oaken barrel, she tested first by sending a cat over the falls encased in it before doing it herself.  Since the cat survived, she went for it and she suffered only a cut on her head. Unfortunately she didn't make much money and her manager took off with her barrel.

In 1911, one Bobby Leach, built himself a torpedo shaped barrel out of steel plates welded together.  Although he successfully completed the drop, he shattered both kneecaps and busted his jaw.  He had more success as the "First Man to go over the Falls" by touring the country until he killed himself when he slipped on an orange peel while on stage in 1926.

As far as I can tell, these two were the only ones who tried prior to 1920 when English barber, Charles Stephens made an attempt himself by using an anchor as ballast.  Unfortunately, the anchor fell out the bottom taking him with it and he died. 

Then in 1926, a stuntman decided to go over the falls, not with a barrel but with a 6 foot rubber and steel ball in the shape of a barrel.  He survived the fall, later selling pieces of his ball to tourists as a way of making money.  

Four years later, a Greek immigrant built a ten foot barrel that weight almost 2000 pounds.  He was certain this vessel would be indestructible and he'd survive.  He took his pet turtle with him, popped into the water and his barrel went over the falls.  Unfortunately, it took a while to get his barrel loose so by the time they found him, he'd died but his pet survived.

There have been 15 people who attempted going over the falls between 1901 and 1995 including one person who tried using a kayak and another who used a jet ski with a specially designed parachute that failed.  Neither of these two survived and there were three more who didn't make it.  One man tried it twice while a duo wanted to raise awareness against drug usage so their barrel had a message painted on the side.

Please note that it is illegal to go over Niagara Falls and if anyone does, they face heavy fines for it.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.