Church in Bethany (Israel)

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I shot this picture this past January when we were in Israel on a tour. This church is located in what used to be Bethany.  If you grew up in Sunday school, you may remember the story of Lazarus. He and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, lived in Bethany and Jesus was a friend of theirs – in fact, he probably spent more time at their home than perhaps anywhere else when he was in the Jerusalem area.

This picture was taken inside the church that is close by the supposed tomb of Lazarus. It was beautiful inside, and the acoustics were incredible. What made it even better was our tour leader was a Christian musician named Michael Card – we’ve been fans of his music for decades. Sometimes when we went into churches, he’d bring his guitar and play and sing. It was awesome.

The Latin says, “I am the resurrection and the life” – a quote from Jesus recorded in John 11 in the New Testament. Lazarus, as the record in John states, had died and Jesus raised him from the dead.  The statement, “I am the resurrection and the life” is something he said to Lazarus’ sister, Martha, when Jesus arrived after Lazarus’ death.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon appeared in the New York Sun newspaper.

Known collectively as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the articles were supposedly reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The byline was Dr. Andrew Grant, described as a colleague of Sir John Herschel, a famous astronomer of the day. Herschel had in fact traveled to Capetown, South Africa, in January 1834 to set up an observatory with a powerful new telescope. As Grant described it, Herschel had found evidence of life forms on the moon, including such fantastic animals as unicorns, two-legged beavers and furry, winged humanoids resembling bats. The articles also offered vivid description of the moon’s geography, complete with massive craters, enormous amethyst crystals, rushing rivers and lush vegetation.

The New York Sun, founded in 1833, was one of the new “penny press” papers that appealed to a wider audience with a cheaper price and a more narrative style of journalism. From the day the first moon hoax article was released, sales of the paper shot up considerably. It was exciting stuff, and readers lapped it up. The only problem was that none of it was true. The Edinburgh Journal of Science had stopped publication years earlier, and Grant was a fictional character. The articles were most likely written by Richard Adams Locke, a Sun reporter educated at Cambridge University. Intended as satire, they were designed to poke fun at earlier, serious speculations about extraterrestrial life, particularly those of Reverend Thomas Dick, a popular science writer who claimed in his bestselling books that the moon alone had 4.2 billion inhabitants.

Readers were completely taken in by the story, however, and failed to recognize it as satire. The craze over Herschel’s supposed discoveries even fooled a committee of Yale University scientists, who traveled to New York in search of the Edinburgh Journal articles. After Sun employees sent them back and forth between the printing and editorial offices, hoping to discourage them, the scientists returned to New Haven without realizing they had been tricked.

On September 16, 1835, the Sun admitted the articles had been a hoax. People were generally amused by the whole thing, and sales of the paper didn’t suffer. The Sun continued operation until 1950, when it merged with the New York World-Telegram. The merger folded in 1967. A new New York Sun newspaper was founded in 2002, but it has no relation to the original.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The largest crater in the solar system is found on the moon. Called the South Pole-Aitken, this giant crater is on the far side of the moon and is 1,550 miles (2,500 km) in diameter. The largest crater visible to Earth (on the near side of the moon) is the Bailly Crater, with a 183-mile diameter.

 

Flashy!

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I am fond of color. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be color blind, but I would imagine the world would be much less exciting without color. I’m thankful that I can see color. It’s something we rather take for granted, don’t you think?  I  mean, when is the last time you really stopped and thought about being able to see color and gave thanks for it?

We took a vacation to the Pacific northwest in early July and as we were out walking one day with our eldest son and his family, we came across this house. I suppose that there are probably some in the neighborhood that don’t appreciate the color scheme of this house, but I loved it! I only wish more houses were brightly and creatively painted rather than another white or brownish house. This house is obviously loved…it took a lot of detailed work to paint it and they did a really neat job of it, too.

I think that just as people are different and unique, it would be great if houses were all painted uniquely. Go to your paint store folks…and get with it!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1572, King Charles IX of France, under the sway of his mother, Catherine de Medici, ordered the assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris, setting off an orgy of killing that results in the massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.

Two days earlier, Catherine had ordered the murder of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, a Huguenot leader whom she felt was leading her son into war with Spain. However, Coligny was only wounded, and Charles promised to investigate the assassination in order to placate the angry Huguenots. Catherine then convinced the young king that the Huguenots were on the brink of rebellion, and he authorized the murder of their leaders by the Catholic authorities. Most of these Huguenots were in Paris at the time, celebrating the marriage of their leader, Henry of Navarre, to the king’s sister, Margaret.

A list of those to be killed was drawn up, headed by Coligny, who was brutally beaten and thrown out of his bedroom window just before dawn on August 24. Once the killing started, mobs of Catholic Parisians, apparently overcome with bloodlust, began a general massacre of Huguenots. Charles issued a royal order on August 25 to halt the killing, but his pleas went unheeded as the massacres spread. Mass slaughters continued into October, reaching the provinces of Rouen, Lyon, Bourges, Bourdeaux, and Orleans. An estimated 3,000 French Protestants were killed in Paris, and as many as 70,000 in all of France. The massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day marked the resumption of religious civil war in France.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The sun contains 99.85% of the mass in the solar system. (Or, as Elvis would put it, it’s a hunka-hunka burning love!)

Buzz Flower

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I shot today’s photo with my cell phone. This particular flower was captured in Portland, OR in July of 2016. I liked the color of the flower and the bee that was gathering pollen. No, I didn’t get stung, but I also didn’t introduce myself to the bee, either!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1877, Texas Ranger John Armstrong arrested John Wesley Hardin in a Florida rail car, returning the outlaw to Texas to stand trial for murder.

Three years earlier, Hardin had killed Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb in a small town near Austin, Texas. Webb’s murder was one in a long series of killings committed by the famous outlaw-the 39th by Hardin’s own count. Killing a lawman, however, was an especially serious offense. The famous Texas Rangers were determined to bring Hardin to justice.

For three years, Hardin was able to elude the Rangers. Moving between Florida and Alabama, he adopted an alias and kept a low profile. Nonetheless, the Rangers eventually unmasked his secret identity and dispatched John Armstrong to track him down in Florida.

On this day in 1877, Armstrong, acting on a tip, spotted Hardin in the smoking car of a train stopped at the Pensacola station. Armstrong stationed local deputies at both ends of the car, and the men burst in with guns drawn. Caught by surprise, Hardin nonetheless reacted quickly and reached for the gun holstered under his jacket. The pistol caught in Hardin’s fancy suspenders, giving the lawmen the crucial few seconds they needed and probably saving Hardin’s life–instead of shooting him, Armstrong clubbed Hardin with his long-barreled .45 pistol.

Technically, the Texas Rangers had no authority in Florida, so they spirited Hardin back to Texas on the next train. Tried in Austin, a jury found Hardin guilty of killing Sheriff Webb and sentenced him to life in the Texas state prison at Huntsville. He served 15 years before the governor pardoned him. Released in 1894, an El Paso policeman killed him the following year.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Approximately 71 million pounds of chocolate candy is sold during the week leading up to Easter. Only 48 million pounds of chocolate is sold during Valentine’s week. In contrast, over 90 million pounds of chocolate candy is sold in the last week of October leading up to Halloween.

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

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In 1963, the immortal Nat King Cole released an album titled “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer.” Though the album only rose to #14 on the Billboard’s LP chart, I recall that song perfectly well, even though I was just a kid in those days. There was a certain lift to the song…it lifted spirits and captured the innocent days of summer that were such a fond part of my life. The lyrics:

CHORUS: Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies
Then lock the house up, now you’re set
And on the beach you’ll see the girls in their bikinis
As cute as ever but they never get ’em wet

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Don’t hafta tell a girl and fella about a drive-in
Or some romantic movie scene
Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin’
You’ll see more kissin’ in the cars than on the screen

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here
You’ll wish that summer could always be here
You’ll wish that summer could always be here!

Well, I was too young to know about drive-in’s and kissin’ girls and such stuff, but the chorus has never left my memory!

It is August 21. We have had a hot summer in the state of Georgia. Right now, our oldest son, who lives in Oregon, has been having triple-digit temperatures while we’ve been cooler than that here. And today, oh wonderful!, it is cooler here. There’s been a breeze blowing about all day and as I type this, the thunder is rolling through the treetops and the rain has begin to fall. The forecast for the next 15 days shows cooler weather than we’ve had nearly all summer…and that begins to hint to me that the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer may soon be starting to fade into the crispness of fall. I certainly hope so.

But there is something to be said for those summer days where children, like my two granddaughters in the photo I took, play away the days without a care in the world. Playing by the lakeside, eating bar-be-cue, laughing and goofing around…these are the kinds of days and things that I hope they will remember all the days of their lives – just as I recall the lyrics to this song!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1863 a ruthless band of guerillas attacked the town of Lawrence, Kansas, killing every man and boy in sight. The town was an abolitionist, pro-Union stronghold, and the guerillas, led by William Quantrill and William “Bloody Bill” Anderson,were said to have carried out the brutal attack on behalf of the Confederacy. Included in their group was Jesse James’ brother Frank and Cole Younger, who would later also play a large role in the James gang.

Bloody Bill Anderson got his name for his love of shooting unarmed and defenseless people. Reportedly, he carried multiple handguns, in addition to a saber and a hatchet. His horse was also outfitted with several rifles and backup pistols. Although he claimed to have political motives for his terrorism, Anderson more likely used the Civil War as an opportunity to kill without repercussion.

Jesse James, only 17 at the time, teamed up with Bloody Bill after he split from Quantrill’s band of killers. On September 27, 1864, their small splinter group terrorized and destroyed most of the town of Centralia, Missouri, and killed 22 Union solders.Later that day,they ambushed and killed 150 more Union men. A month later, Anderson paid for his crimes: He was caught by a full contingent of Union army troops in Missouri and killed in the ensuing battle. Jesse James was never brought to justice by the North for his war crimes and went on to become the 19th century’s most infamous criminal.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: why is it that we seldom seem to learn that the grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence?  Over 75% of people who marry partners from an affair eventually divorce.

Portland Street Scene

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You can see street performers in nearly any large American city. Near Pier 39 in San Francisco you can see musicians and mimes and also performers acting like metallic robots. They are fun to watch and often quite talented.

I don’t know where people get the nerve and courage to perform like that in public. My first non-sports related attempt was back in my high school days. There was an experimental class that emphasized the arts off all sorts and I took it as an elective. It was fun…and actually very interesting. I wrote some music (and discovered that being a composer was not my gift), dabbled in some stage stuff (I participated in numerous plays/dramas/musicals) and really enjoyed myself. But my first attempt at performing in public on my own was when I sang, “Sunrise, Sunset” on stage. Thankfully, it wasn’t recorded for posterity!

The young lady in this image was on the sidewalk down by the river in Portland, Oregon. She was quite gifted and was playing guitar (I don’t recall her singing, though), but she played more by hammering the strings with her fingers than strumming or “picking” the notes. I wish I could have stayed and observed her talent longer, but we were off to another destination.

People like this have my admiration and appreciation. I think the only talent that I have which I can demonstrate in public is to appreciate those who are gifted and encourage them!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (from History.com): in 1831, John X. Beidler, one of the best known of the notoriously secretive Montana vigilantes, was born in Pennsylvania.

Beidler, who preferred to be called simply “X,” had little formal education and tried his hand at a variety of trades. Initially a shoemaker, he also worked briefly as a brick maker and then traveled to Kansas where he took up farming. A supporter of John Brown’s radical abolitionist movement, he left Kansas for Texas after Brown was captured and executed for his abortive raid on the Harper’s Ferry armory in Virginia. From Texas, Beidler wandered northward, eventually joining the Gold Rush to Montana Territory in 1863.

When Beidler arrived in Virginia City, the area was plagued by marauding bandits who roamed the isolated roads of the region robbing and killing. The bandits were led by a charming psychopath named Henry Plummer who had managed to con the citizens into electing him sheriff of the nearby town of Bannock. Frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the local law enforcement, the citizens of Virginia City and Bannock formed a highly secretive vigilance committee and began systematically hunting down and hanging the road agents, including Sheriff Plummer.

Not long after arriving in Virginia City, Beidler joined the vigilantes and became one of the group’s most active members. Unlike most of the members, who took pains to conceal their identities, Beidler welcomed attention. Numerous legends arose around the so-called “Vigilante X,” and Beidler did little to discourage exaggerations—in fact, much of the Beidler lore was true. He was the principal hangman for at least five of the vigilante’s victims, and he survived several narrow escapes in his relentless pursuit of dangerous men.

After helping rid Montana of crime, Beidler became a stagecoach guard and deputy U.S. Marshall. He appears to have been highly effective in these roles, though he was criticized for sometimes overstepping the bounds of his authority. Apparently, the former vigilante still liked to take the law into his own hands.

As an old man, he fell on hard times and became dependent on the charity of Montanans who remembered his previous service. When he died in Helena, Montana, in 1890, his death certificate listed his occupation as “Public Benefactor.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: back in 1967, the band Procol Harum released a song titled A Whiter Shade of Pale, that included a reference to “vestal virgins”.  You may not know what that was referring to, but here’s a snippet: the Vestal Virgins of Rome were women priests who tended the sacred fire of Vesta, goddess of the hearth fire. If they lost their virginity, even as a result of rape, they were buried alive in an unmarked grave. In the 1,000-year history of the temple, only 18 Vestals received this punishment.

In an Oregon Marsh

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Somewhere in a marsh in Oregon, I shot this photo of a “flower”.  I don’t know for sure what kind of plant this is/was, but because it was purple, I liked it!  My first reaction was that it might be related to the Canadian thistle that I grew to despise when I was a kid in Iowa, but then I am pretty sure this plant wasn’t related at all. But in Iowa, those Canadian thistles were everywhere…and when they grew in a field of crops, they – and other unwanted weeds – needed to be removed from the field or they’d tend to take over.

So, since that was before the time of selective poisons that would just target certain types of plants while leaving others “unharmed”, every Iowa farm kid knew what it meant to “walk beans” or “walk corn”.

Usually in the early morning, a group of folk (mostly kids who wanted work and needed money) would line up at one end of a field with a how or machete in hand. You started walking down between two rows of soybeans or corn and when you encountered a weed, you’ll cut it down with the machete or hoe. It was hot, dirty work.  You’d walk from one end of the field to the other, then position yourself between two more rows and walk back the other way until the entire field had been “walked”.

By mid-day it would be very hot and humid. You’d sweat profusely. And the dust from black Iowan soil that had settled on the leaves of the plants clung to your arms and your soaked-through shirt. Not a pretty sight.

Looking back on it now, it has a certain nostalgic charm to it, but at the time we hated it.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1945, the  second atom bomb ever used in history was dropped on Japan by the United States, at Nagasaki, resulting finally in Japan’s unconditional surrender.

The devastation wrought at Hiroshima a few days earlier was not sufficient to convince the Japanese War Council to accept the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender. The United States had already planned to drop their second atom bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” on August 11 in the event of such recalcitrance, but bad weather expected for that day pushed the date up to August 9th. So at 1:56 a.m., a specially adapted B-29 bomber, called “Bock’s Car,” after its usual commander, Frederick Bock, took off from Tinian Island under the command of Maj. Charles W. Sweeney. Nagasaki was a shipbuilding center, the very industry intended for destruction. The bomb was dropped at 11:02 a.m., 1,650 feet above the city. The explosion unleashed the equivalent force of 22,000 tons of TNT. The hills that surrounded the city did a better job of containing the destructive force, but the number killed is estimated at anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000 (exact figures are impossible, the blast having obliterated bodies and disintegrated records).

General Leslie R. Groves, the man responsible for organizing the Manhattan Project, which solved the problem of producing and delivering the nuclear explosion, estimated that another atom bomb would be ready to use against Japan by August 17 or 18—but it was not necessary. Even though the War Council still remained divided (“It is far too early to say that the war is lost,” opined the Minister of War), Emperor Hirohito, by request of two War Council members eager to end the war, met with the Council and declared that “continuing the war can only result in the annihilation of the Japanese people…” The Emperor of Japan gave his permission for unconditional surrender.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, there are more than 73,000 Americans still unaccounted for.

Fun Studio Shoots

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On rare occasions, I get the chance to go into a photography studio and take some shots. There are a studios and photo clubs that every so often open up and let club members and non-members come into the studio to shoot with professional lighting. Sometimes they loan out triggers to trip the flashes. They set up various scenes of backdrops and bring in male and female models so you can practice shooting images. Sometimes they stage on-location shoots at a park, a lake, a museum or other spot.

I don’t get to go to these very often. Sometimes – rarely – they are free, or very nearly so, but at other times they can charge a pretty penny for the use of the studio (and that’s why I very seldom get to go!)  After all, it costs money to have people present in the studio, to have models, the electricity, etc., and I suppose that’s fair.

What I particularly enjoy about these sessions is taking head shots. Today’s photo is one such image that I took recently. What a difference professional lighting makes!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1873, while protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, Custer and his 7th Cavalry clash for the first time with the Sioux Indians, who will defeat them three years later at Little Big Horn.

During the previous two years, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry had not fought a single battle against the hostile Indians of the western Plains. Hungry for action, Custer was pleased when the 7th Cavalry was ordered to help protect a party of surveyors laying out the route for the proposed Northern Pacific Railroad. The new transcontinental railroad (the third in the United States) was to pass through territory controlled by hostile Sioux Indians. Custer was optimistic that the assignment would give him a chance to improve his reputation as an Indian fighter.

Initially, the military escort saw little action. The hostile Indians seemed to be avoiding or ignoring the survey party. For Custer, the mission turned into something of a lark. He spent much of his time shooting buffalo, antelope, elk, and other animals. To find good hunting, he often led the 7th Cavalry far away from the survey party and the main body of the military escort.

On this day in 1873, Custer was far ahead of the rest of the force, camping along the Tongue River in southeastern Montana. Suddenly, a large band of Sioux warriors appeared on the horizon and attacked. The Indians were led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, but the young braves seemed to have attacked impetuously and with little planning. Custer, who had been taking an afternoon nap, reacted quickly and mounted an effective defense. After a brief skirmish, the Indians withdrew.

Since only one soldier and one Indian were killed in the skirmish, Custer’s short battle along the Tongue River seemed relatively insignificant at the time. However, Custer’s easy escape in his first encounter with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse may have given him a dangerously scornful view of their fighting abilities. It helped to confirm his belief that the Plains warriors tended to flee rather than fight. As a result, when Custer again encountered Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Little Big Horn River three years later, his greatest fear was that they would withdraw before he could attack, and he rushed in without proper reconnaissance. That time, though, the Indians stood and fought, leaving Custer and more than 200 of his men dead.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: North America’s lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 C) at Snag, Yukon Territory, on February 3, 1947.

Over the Rainbow Bridge

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There is a “poem” that you can find on the internet called “Over the Rainbow Bridge”. The version of it that I’m familiar with is about how when dogs die, they go over the rainbow bridge where they play and frolic with others of their kind until their owners finally arrive and they are reunited.  (Here’s the link if you want to read it: https://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm)

I don’t know if there is really a rainbow bridge, but I can’t read the “poem” without tears coming to my eyes because of the dogs I have loved and miss, especially my Ramses and Casper, my boxer boys.  I hope it (or something very similar) really is true, because I really want to be with them again and to watch them, and all the dogs I’ve had throughout my life, playing together and never age or get sick again.

In the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is this “rainbow” bridge. It is a very popular spot in the garden and it is hard to find it without folks on it…but it helps when some of those on the bridge are loved ones as in this photo.

Here’s to rainbow bridges…real ones, and ones hoped for!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1846, in an ominous sign of the troubles to come, the Donner party found a note warning the emigrants that their expected route through the mountains ahead was nearly impassable.

The Donner party had left Springfield, Illinois, three months earlier. Led by two wealthy brothers, Jacob and George Donner, the emigrants initially followed the regular California Trail westward to Fort Bridger, Wyoming. From there, however, the emigrants decided to leave the established trail and take a new and supposedly shorter route to California laid out by a unscrupulous trail guide named Lansford Hastings. Hastings was not at Fort Bridger at the time-he was leading an earlier wagon train along his new route. He left word for the Donner party to follow, promising that he would mark the trail for them.

Reassured, the group of 89 emigrants left Fort Bridger with their 20 wagons and headed for Weber Canyon, where Hastings claimed there was an easy passage through the rugged Wasatch Mountains. On this day in 1846, they reached the head of the canyon, where they found the note from Hastings attached to a forked stick. Hastings warned the Donner party that the route ahead was more difficult than he had thought. He asked the emigrants to make camp there and wait until he could return to show them a better way.

Hastings’ note troubled the emigrants. To return to Fort Bridger to pick up the established route would have meant wasting several days. They decided to wait for Hastings. After eight days, when Hastings had still not arrived, the emigrants sent a messenger up the canyon to find the guide. The messenger returned several days later with instructions from Hastings to follow another trail, and the emigrants complied. The alternate route, however, turned out to be even worse than the Weber Canyon road, and the emigrants had to carve a fresh road through thick trees and boulder-strewn ground.

The Donner party finally made it through the Wasatch Mountains and arrived at the Great Salt Lake. Hastings’ route had cost them 18 valuable days. Unfortunately, their difficulties were only beginning. The “short cut” to California had cost them many wasted days, and the Donner party crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains late in the season. On October 28, a heavy snowfall blocked the high mountain passes, trapping the emigrants in a frozen wilderness. Eventually reduced to cannibalism to survive, only 45 of the original 89 emigrants reached California the following year.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women. The average American woman is 5’4” and weighs 140 pounds. The average model is 5’11” and weighs 117 pounds.

Godzilla……(Roll)

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I know that if you’ve only seen the most recent Godzilla movie,  you probably won’t be able to identify with what I’m about to say, but back in the days when I was a kid, there were Japanese movies about Godzilla (or other monsters) that we dubbed into English. That, frankly, made them hilarious rather than scary, because the mouth movements of the actors (who were speaking Japanese) never even came close to matching the English voice-over.  It was so pronounced (no pun intended!) that it became a common joke among English speakers who watched the movies, not to mention the “monster” was very unrealistic, but I suppose that was considered state of the art in those days. After all, the wheel had barely been invented and any use for fire other than burning down forests was yet to be discovered.

The more recent movie, though the plot wasn’t so hot, at least had cool special effects (for the most part) and it was recorded in English, so it didn’t have an out-of-synch sound track.

On a recent trip to California, after we finished visiting the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, we went to a Japanese food restaurant somewhere in San Francisco. We were sitting there, with my camera, when I noticed a neon sign, towering up above us like the monster himself, for “Godzilla Roll”.

No, it wasn’t talking about when King Kong knocked Godzilla over and he rolled around on the ground…it was talking about the size of one of their food items: the “Godzilla roll”.  Did we order one? Nope.  Just shot the picture.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1942, Jose Diaz was murdered, and his body was found at the Sleepy Lagoon reservoir, near Los Angeles, California. Two days later, police began to round up and arrest 22 men of Mexican descent in the Los Angeles area for conspiring to kill Diaz. Despite a lack of evidence,the 22 men were eventually prosecuted for beating Diaz to death. The trial and subsequent convictions characterized a period of racial prejudice and injustice in Los Angeles during World War II.

Media coverage surrounding the trial was particularly troubling. The Los Angeles Examiner referred to young Mexican Americans ashoodlums A captain from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s office told a grand jury that Mexicans had a “biological tendency” to be violent since they were descendants of Indian tribes who practiced human sacrifice. He went on to say that they had a “total disregard for human life” and an inbred “desire to use a knife or some lethal weapon. In other words, [a Mexican’s] desire is to kill, or at least, let blood. “

Despite the concerted efforts of a defense committee that had been put together by liberal activists and Hollywood actors, 17 of the accused were convicted and 12 were sent to San Quentin prison.

Over the course of the following year, hostility between Caucasians and Hispanics became so inflamed by the press, police, and city officials that the so-called “zoot suit riots” broke out the next summer. Allegedly,about a dozensailors had been attacked by a group of Mexicans wearing zoot suits-long coats with exaggerated shoulder pads and loose pleated pants. On June 3, 1943,50 Navy sailors responded to the assault by combing the streets in cabs, stopping to beat anyone wearing the popular Hispanic outfit. By the next day, hundreds more sailors had joined in the hunt.These unprovoked attacks continued for several days. On June 7, The Los Angeles Examiner reported that Mexicans would be out to retaliate, causing a civilian panic. The following day, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that made wearing a zoot suit a misdemeanor.

Finally, on June 8, U.S. military commanders restricted military personnel to their bases in Los Angeles, and the turmoil ended. A court of appeals eventually overturned the convictions of all 12 of the defendants in the Sleepy Lagoon case, and they were released after two years in prison.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: J.K. Rowling’s books were the first children’s books included on the New York Bestseller list since E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web in 1952.

How Fragile

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There are many fragile things in nature: a spider web, a newborn baby,  a human being at the mercy of a raging sea. The list is long.

I shot this image of a plant (I can’t tell you what it is but I know it’s not an elephant) because I was fascinated by how fragile it appears.  I don’t know that it is any more fragile than a dandelion, but if you zoom in on the image, you can see it is made up of very thin filaments. Yet it manages to withstand the storms of the Pacific northwest. It isn’t colorful, but it has beauty of its own.

Maybe we can learn a thing or two about strength from some of nature’s weakest things.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1971, a severe flood of the Red River in North Vietnam killed an estimated 100,000 people on this day in 1971. This remarkable flood was one of the century’s most serious weather events, but because the Vietnam War was going on at the time, relatively few details about the disaster are available.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) compiled a list of the 20th century’s top weather and climate events, based upon their natural wonder and impact on people. On the list were such major disasters as the Bangladesh cyclones of 1970 and 1991, both of which killed more than 100,000 people. The “Great Smog of London” of 1952 and the 1972 blizzard in Iran also made the list. Notably, not a single incident occurring in North American was included.

The Red River flood in North Vietnam made NOOA’s list even though relatively little is known about how or why approximately 100,000 people perished in the disaster. During the Vietnam War, information from North Vietnam was neither plentiful nor reliably accurate. What is known is that the Red River, which runs near the capital city of Hanoi, experienced a “250-year” flood. Torrential rains simply overwhelmed the dyke system around the heavily populated delta area, which is not far above sea level. As well as directly killing thousands of people, the flood also wiped out valuable crops, causing further hardship, especially as it occurred during wartime.

Though many more reservoirs have since been built in the Hanoi region, the area remains vulnerable to flooding.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Grover Cleveland was the only president in history to hold the job of a hangman. He was once the sheriff of Erie County, New York, and twice had to spring the trap at a hanging.

Pictures and Thoughts from a Day in Galen Dalrymple's Life

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