Tag Archives: art

What We All Need

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Many of the songs on the radio, whether you are talking about rock, rap, country, jazz…the primary theme of most songs has something to do with love.  Everyone wants to be loved, and to have someone to love.  Maybe I didn’t say that strongly enough: we don’t just want to love and be loved – we all need it. Some folks never find love from another human, but they find it from a pet or from their God. What would a life be without love? How much would we be missing if we missed knowing and experiencing love.

At the Johns Creek Art Festival that we went to a bit over a week ago, one book had art that was taken from words from rock songs. Stills/Nash/Young, the Beatles, Lynyrd Skynard and others were represented. I thought it was rather creative, but I don’t know if he is violating copyright laws by doing this or not.  Still, it was interesting.

You didn’t grow up in my generation without knowing these songs. It was the greatest era of popular music ever, in my humble opinion.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1994, Susan Smith reported that she was carjacked in South Carolina by a man who took her two small children in the backseat of her car. Although authorities immediately began searching for three-year-old Michael and one-year-old Alex, they could find no trace of them or of Smith’s car. After nine days of intense national media attention, Smith finally confessed that the carjacking tale was false and that she had driven her Mazda into the John D. Long Lake in order to drown her children.

Both Susan and her husband, David Smith, who had had multiple affairs during their on-and-off relationship, had used their children as pawns in their tempestuous marriage. Apparently, Susan was involved with another man who did not want children, and she thought that killing her children was the only way to continue the relationship.

Ironically, Smith’s murder came to light because she had covered her tracks too well. While believing that the car and children would be discovered in the lake shortly after the search was started, she never anticipated that the authorities might not be able to find the car. After living under the pressure of the media’s scrutiny day after day, Smith buckled. She was convicted on two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In a book David Smith later wrote about the death of his children, Beyond All Reason, he expressed an ambiguous wish to see Susan on death row because he would never be able to relax and live a full life with her in prison.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: When Pluto was discovered in 1930, many people wrote in suggesting names for the new planet. Some suggestions were Cronus, Persephone, Erebus, Atlas, and Prometheus. Eleven-year-old Venetia Burney suggested the name Pluto. She thought it would be a good name since Pluto is so dark and far away, like the god of the underworld. On May 1, 1930, the name Pluto became official, and the little girl received a £5 note as a reward.

Meet Ms. Asparagus Head

Double click to see Ms. Asparagus is a stunningly larger image (if you dare!)
Double click to see Ms. Asparagus is a stunningly larger image (if you dare!)

Do you remember Mr. Potato Head? I thought that Mr. Potato Head was long gone until I was playing with my youngest granddaughter a few months back. Much to my great surprise and delight, she pulled out Mr. Potato Head and we played with it for a while! Yeah, I grant you that it doesn’t take great genius or even serious thought…but it was…and to my surprise still is….fun!

Well, today’s photo isn’t one I took of Mr. Potato Head, but this image reminded me of Ms. Asparagus Head.  Doesn’t it sort of look like asparagus that is growing out of the top of her head?  Or at the very least, some kind of green, leafy vegetable? No, this is not a chia head…it’s plaster of Paris and is a decoration, but I was asking myself (in spite of the bright colors which I like), “Why?”

I got no answer. So now you must be plagued by it, too. Oh, by the way, you’re welcome! (Misery loves company!)

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1812, one month after Napoleon Bonaparte’s massive invading force entered a burning and deserted Moscow, the starving French army was forced to begin a hasty retreat out of Russia.

Following the rejection of his Continental System by Czar Alexander I, French Emperor Napoleon I invaded Russia with his Grande Armée on June 24, 1812. The enormous army, featuring more than 500,000 soldiers and staff, was the largest European military force ever assembled to that date.

During the opening months of the invasion, Napoleon was forced to contend with a bitter Russian army in perpetual retreat. Refusing to engage Napoleon’s superior army in a full-scale confrontation, the Russians under General Mikhail Kutuzov burned everything behind them as they retreated deeper and deeper into Russia. On September 7, the indecisive Battle of Borodino was fought, in which both sides suffered terrible losses. On September 14, Napoleon arrived in Moscow intending to find supplies but instead found almost the entire population evacuated, and the Russian army retreated again. Early the next morning, fires broke across the city set by Russian patriots, and the Grande Armée’s winter quarters were destroyed. After waiting a month for a surrender that never came, Napoleon, faced with the onset of the Russian winter, was forced to order his starving army out of Moscow.

During the disastrous retreat, Napoleon’s army suffered continual harassment from a suddenly aggressive and merciless Russian army. Stalked by hunger and the deadly lances of the Cossacks, the decimated army reached the Berezina River late in November but found its route blocked by the Russians. On November 26, Napoleon forced a way across at Studienka, and when the bulk of his army passed the river three days later, he was forced to burn his makeshift bridges behind him, stranding some 10,000 stragglers on the other side. From there, the retreat became a rout, and on December 8 Napoleon left what remained of his army to return to Paris with a few cohorts. Six days later, the Grande Armée finally escaped Russia, having suffered a loss of more than 400,000 men during the disastrous invasion.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Elias Howe (1819-1867) said one inspiration for his invention of the sewing machine came from a nightmare he had about being attacked by cannibals bearing spears that looked like the needle he then designed.

Beware the Frog!

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Double click for a larger version of the image…

Did you know that there are around 5000 species of frog in the world?  Every continent has them except for Antarctica. The largest frog in the world is the Goliath frog. It can grow as long as 3 feet when stretched out, and can weigh as much as a human baby (7+ pounds). They are found in Equitorial Guinea and Camaroon in western Africa, lack vocal sacs (so they make no noise) and can as long as 15 years.

The recently discovered Paedophryne amauensis is not only the world’s smallest frog, but also the world’s tiniest vertebrate.  It is about the size of a housefly, averaging 7.7mm long, living solely on the rain forest floor leaf litter detritus in New Guinea.

The Goliath frog could be quite alarming due to its size, the Paedophryne amauensis is interesting because of it’s diminuitive size, but the poison-dart frog is the deadliest of all the croakers. On average they are about 6/10ths of an inch long and are native to central and South America. They are called the “poison-dart frog” because four species of them are used to kill prey by some of the indigenous tribes. They dip the tip of their blow darts into the poison secreted by the frogs and the darts are used to kiill prey…and on occasion, undoubtedly, people. It is said that a single drop of the poison will kill a human being within three minutes.

So, instead of “Beware of Dog”, I thought this item which I saw at a craft fair on Saturday, gave new meaning to “Beware of Frog!”

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1998, a pipeline explosion in Jesse, Nigeria, killed 700 people. The resulting fire burned for nearly a week.

Nigeria is an oil-rich country on the west coast of Africa. The oil fields are controlled by several multi-national corporations in cooperation with the Nigerian government. Very little of the proceeds from oil exports reaches the average citizen of the country and millions of people live in abject poverty. In fact, gas pipelines run right through impoverished villages.

One such pipeline ran through the town of Jesse, where it became commonplace for residents to steal oil from the pipeline to supplement their meager incomes. This was known as “bunkering” and was taking place on October 18, when a helicopter was dispatched to disperse the people assembled at the pipeline. Just after the helicopter arrived, a massive fireball shot up 100 feet into the sky. The exact cause of the explosion remains unknown.

The pipeline explosion incinerated hundreds of people instantly. Others died from agonizing burn injuries. The fire burned so hot that rescue workers could not approach the scene for six days. Meanwhile, survivors, some suffering from terrible burns, were afraid to go to the hospital for fear that they would be charged with theft or be blamed for causing the fire.

Finally, specialists from Houston, Texas, arrived with firefighting foam that helped the firefighters extinguish the blaze. Heavier security surrounding the pipelines was instituted in the wake of this disaster.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Speed dating, invented by a rabbi from Los Angeles in 1999, is based on a Jewish tradition of chaperoned gatherings of young Jewish singles.

Without a Leg to Stand On

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The statue (or what remains of it) that is the topic of my photo for today stands in Oakland Cemetery in downtown Atlanta, GA. I thought it was interesting because it was both headless, missing part of her right arm and the lady is also missing one leg…yet she still stands, thanks to the fact that her gown or dress forms part of the support for the statue.

I wondered who took the head and if they were also the ones who took the leg. There is a low cement wall that runs along the south side of the cemetery and I would imagine that someone probably hopped that fence one night and decapitated the statue and broke off one of the legs, too. It’s a shame. I would have liked to see this statue when it was whole.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1940, cowboy-movie star Tom Mix was killed when he lost control of his speeding Cord Phaeton convertible and rolled into a dry wash (now called the Tom Mix Wash) near Florence, Arizona. He was 60 years old. Today, visitors to the site of the accident can see a 2-foot–tall iron statue of a riderless horse and a somewhat awkwardly written plaque that reads: “In memory of Tom Mix whose spirit left his body on this spot and whose characterization and portrayals in life served to better fix memories of the Old West in the minds of living men.”

According to Mix’s press agent, the star was a genuine cowboy and swaggering hero of the Wild West: He was born in Texas; fought in the Spanish-American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Boer War; and served as a sheriff in Kansas, a U.S. marshal in Oklahoma and a Texas Ranger. In fact, Mix was born in Driftwood, Pennsylvania; deserted the Army in 1902; and was a drum major in the Oklahoma Territorial Cavalry band when he went off to Hollywood in 1909.

None of these inconvenient facts prevented Mix from becoming one of the greatest silent-film stars in history, however. Along with his famous horse Tony, Mix made 370 full-length Westerns. At the peak of his fame, he was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, earning as much as $17,500 a week (about $218,000 today).  Unfortunately, Mix and Tony had a hard time making the transition to talking pictures. Some people say that the actor’s voice was so high-pitched that it undermined his macho cowboy image, but others argue that sound films simply had too much talking for Mix’s taste: He preferred wild action sequences to heartfelt conversation.

On the day he died, Mix was driving north from Tucson in his beloved bright-yellow Cord Phaeton sports car. He was driving so fast that he didn’t notice–or failed to heed–signs warning that one of the bridges was out on the road ahead. The Phaeton swung into a gully and Mix was smacked in the back of the head by one of the heavy aluminum suitcases he was carrying in the convertible’s backseat. The impact broke the actor’s neck and he died almost instantly. Today, the dented “Suitcase of Death” is the featured attraction at the Tom Mix Museum in Dewey, Oklahoma.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In 2007, a dog named Rocco discovered a truffle in Tuscany that weighed 3.3 pounds. It sold at auction for $333,000 (USD), a world record for a truffle.

Purple Haze

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Double click for a larger version of the image

The last post I made was about a large, colored glass ball that was sitting outside of a store in a small Vermont town. Today’s photo is of one of the purple balls that sat beside the one in the photo on Tuesday.

I love purple. Isn’t it interesting how people have different favorite colors? Why do you suppose that is? I wonder if any studies have ever been done to see if there is any correlation between personality traits and a person’s favorite color?

Jimi Hendrix sang of a Purple Haze that was in his mind. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and is included on lists of the greatest guitar songs, including at number two byRolling Stone and number one by Q magazine. Whether or not Hendrix liked purple, I have no clue, but “Purple haze all around, don’t know if I’m coming up or down; Am I happy or in misery, whatever it is that girl put a spell on me” helped propel the song to greatness. Somehow, I suspect many of us guys feel that way about the girls that stole our hearts!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1864, Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow drowned off the North Carolina coast when a Yankee craft runs her ship aground. She was returning from a trip to England.

At the beginning of the war, Maryland native Rose O’Neal Greenhow lived in Washington, D.C., with her four children. Her deceased husband was wealthy and well connected in the capital, and Greenhow used her influence to aid the Southern cause. Working with Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Jordan, she established an elaborate spy network in Washington. The effectiveness of the operation was soon demonstrated when Greenhow received information concerning the movements of General Irvin McDowell’s army shortly before the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861. A female courier carried messages from Greenhow to Confederate General Pierre G.T. Beauregard at his Fairfax, Virginia, headquarters. Beauregard later testified that because of the gained intelligence, he requested extra troops from General Joseph Johnston’s nearby command, helping the Confederates score a dramatic victory against the Yankees in the first major battle of the war. Confederate President Jefferson Davis sent Greenhow a letter of appreciation the day after the battle.

Federal authorities soon learned of the security leaks, and the trail led to Greenhow’s residence. She was placed under house arrest, and other suspected female spies were soon arrested and joined her there. The house, nicknamed “Fort Greenhow,” still managed to produce information for the Rebels. When her good friend, Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson, visited Greenhow, he carelessly provided important intelligence that Greenhow slipped to her operatives. After five months, she and her youngest daughter, “Little Rose,” were transferred to the Old Capitol Prison in Washington. She was incarcerated until June 1862, when she went into exile in the South.

Greenhow and Little Rose spent the next two years in England. Greenhow penned a memoir titled My Imprisonment and traveled to England and France, drumming up support for the Southern cause. She then decided to return to the Confederacy to contribute more directly to the war effort. Greenhow and her daughter were on board the British blockade-runner Condor when it was intercepted by the U.S.S. Niphon off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The Yankee ship ran Condor aground near Forth Fischer. Greenhow was carrying Confederate dispatches and $2,000 in gold. Insisting that she be taken ashore, she boarded a small lifeboat that overturned in the rough surf. The weight of the gold pulled her under, and her body washed ashore the next morning. Greenhow was given a hero’s funeral and buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, North Carolina, her body wrapped in the Confederate flag.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In 600 B.C., the Greek Aesop told a fable about a bat that borrowed money to start a business. The business failed and the bat had to hide during the day to avoid the people it owed money to. According to Aesop, that is why bats come out just at night.

It’s Not Local, It’s Glow-ball

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When we were in Vermont back in August (sure seems like it was much longer ago than that!), we took some time to visit a small Vermont town. My lovely bride has a thing about walking around the town and checking out the stores. Outside of one store, they had some large glass balls that were really pretty and they captured my attention. I thought they were beautiful as they reflected the sky and their colors were gorgeous. This is one of them…the other was a rich purple color (maybe I’ll share it tomorrow!)

I don’t know how these things are made, do you? My hat is off, though, to the artist who made them!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1913, Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the engine that bears his name, disappeared from the steamship Dresden while traveling from Antwerp, Belgium to Harwick, England. On October 10, a Belgian sailor aboard a North Sea steamer spotted a body floating in the water; upon further investigation, it turned out that the body was Diesel’s. There was, and remains, a great deal of mystery surrounding his death: It was officially judged a suicide, but many people believed (and still believe) that Diesel was murdered.

Diesel patented a design for his engine on February 28, 1892,; the following year, he explained his design in a paper called “Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine to Replace the Steam Engine and Contemporary Combustion Engine.” He called his invention a “compression ignition engine” that could burn any fuel–later on, the prototypes he built would run on peanut or vegetable oil–and needed no ignition system: It ignited by introducing fuel into a cylinder full of air that had been compressed to an extremely high pressure and was, therefore, extremely hot.

Such an engine would be unprecedentedly efficient, Diesel argued: In contrast to the other steam engines of the era, which wasted more than 90 percent of their fuel energy, Diesel calculated that his could be as much as 75 percent efficient. (That is, just one-quarter of their energy would be wasted.) The most efficient engine that Diesel ever actually built had an efficiency of 26 percent–not quite 75 percent, but still much better than its peers.

By 1912, there were more than 70,000 diesel engines working around the world, mostly in factories and generators. Eventually, Diesel’s engine would revolutionize the railroad industry; after World War II, trucks and buses also started using diesel-type engines that enabled them to carry heavy loads much more economically.

At the time of Diesel’s death, he was on his way to England to attend the groundbreaking of a new diesel-engine plant–and to meet with the British navy about installing his engine on their submarines. Conspiracy theories began to fly almost immediately: “Inventor Thrown Into the Sea to Stop Sale of Patents to British Government,” read one headline; another worried that Diesel was “Murdered by Agents from Big Oil Trusts.” It is likely that Diesel did throw himself overboard–as it turns out, he was nearly broke–but the mystery will probably never be solved.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The Capuchin Crypt in Rome consists of five chapels and a corridor 60 meters long—and it is decorated with the bones of 4,000 deceased monks. The coffee drink Cappuccino takes its name from this order of monks who were known by their custom of wearing a hood or cappucio with their habits.


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Double click for a larger image…

Who said that scarecrows are of necessity scary looking things? I grant you, I shot some in Dahlonega last Saturday that were rather ghastly in appearance (you’ll see some before long in this blog), but not all of them were that way. For instance, the Elvis scarecrow I shared a couple days ago, and how about this one today? Isn’t she a knock-out?

Well, maybe not. It would be interesting to do a study of the difference between male and female scarecrows to see which are more effective at scaring away the crows from the corn. Almost all the scarecrows that I’ve seen in my life were definitely of the masculine gender (if a creature made of straw can be said to have gender anyway!).

Which do you think would be more effective? Why?

This scarecrow has a real problem with proportions, but it was eye-catching and different, and that’s what caught my attention.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1881, tensions neared a breaking point between the Earp brothers and the Clanton-McLaury families, the two major power centers in Tombstone, Arizona.

Two days earlier, a stagecoach had been robbed and the Tombstone sheriff formed a posse that included Morgan and Wyatt Earp to find the culprits. On the basis of a boot print found in the dust, the posse arrested Frank Stillwell, a sometimes deputy of the Cochise County Sheriff, John Behan. Stillwell’s actual guilt or innocence aside, two of the leading Cochise County ranching families, the Clantons and McLaurys, saw the arrest as a deliberate attack by the Earps on their continued control of the county.

Many country-living ranch families like the Clantons and McLaurys deeply resented the city folks who increasingly dominated law and politics in Tombstone–especially the ambitious Earp brothers: Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil and James. The ranch families maintained tenuous control over the wide-open country surrounding Tombstone, thanks in large measure to the sympathetic support of Cochise County Sheriff Behan. Sheriff Behan detested the Earps–a sentiment that was entirely mutual–and made a point of ignoring their well-founded complaints that the Clantons and McLaurys were stealing cattle and horses. Likewise, while the Earps often acted as law officers and posse members, Behan and the ranchers knew the brothers were not above ignoring the law when it came to their own questionable dealings in the Tombstone gambling and saloon business. So when the Tombstone sheriff and the Earps arrested one of Behan’s own deputies for the stagecoach robbery, the Clanton and McLaurys claimed they were being unfairly harassed and warned the Earps that they would retaliate.

Both sides publicly accused the other of corruption and collusion with criminals, leading the governor of Arizona Territory to report later that month, “Many of the very best law-abiding and peace-loving citizens [of Tombstone] have no confidence in the willingness of the civil officers to pursue and bring to justice that element of out-lawry so largely disturbing the sense of security…[The opinion] is quite prevalent that the civil officers are quite largely in league with the leaders of this disturbing and dangerous element.”

The governor was right, and the situation would not be resolved without violence. The Earp brothers and Clanton-McLaury families were headed for a showdown at the O.K. Corral in October.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Bears have been known to eat almost anything, including snowmobile seats, engine oil, and rubber boots.

Elvis Isn’t Aging!

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Double click to see a larger version of “the king”

Well, now I think I can die in peace. I’ve seen “the king”!

Who would have ever thought that they’d see Elvis on the square in downtown Dahlonega, GA?!?! I never expected to see him there. So, imagine my surprise when my wife and I had driven up there this past weekend, we parked the truck in the lot (yes, in Georgia if you’re any kind of man at all, you need to have a truck), and headed over to the restaurant where my wife loves to eat when we’re in that town.

We crossed the street, and there, staring me in the face, was the king himself! He was much quieter than I’d expected he would be. And the hair on his chest looked surprisingly like straw, but there was no doubt about who it was. Wow. I was blown away! It’s been over 38 years now since the papers reported that Elvis died (August 16, 1977). Of course, there have been many who believe it was all just a conspiracy, that he’d taken his massive pile of money and gone into hiding. I never was one of those conspiracy theorists, though. I thought he really was dead. Boy, was I wrong!!!

Naturally, as soon as I saw him, I started looking around for Priscilla, but never did see her.

Or, come to think of it, maybe I was right. This Elvis, after all, didn’t make a sound. I couldn’t detect any rising and falling of his chest with that straw-chest hair. And the entire time we ate in restaurant and walked around the square, he didn’t move a muscle. Maybe that’s because he didn’t have any. Maybe he was just an entry in the scarecrow contest. And maybe they fooled me!

Either way, one thing is certain: Elvis isn’t aging at all!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1781, after receiving reinforcements, Major General Nathanael Greene of the Continental Army resumed offensive action against Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart and the British soldiers at Eutaw Springs, located on the banks of the Santee River in South Carolina. The Patriots approached in the early morning, forcing the British soldiers to abandon their uneaten breakfasts in order to fight.

Greene commanded approximately 2,200 men compared to the less than 2,000 British soldiers commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart. Unbeknownst to most of the Patriots, however, British Major John Majoribanks had managed to secure his unit in a stone house, impervious to Patriot Lieutenant Colonel William Washington’s cavalry attack. When Patriot soldiers took over the British camp and began to devour the abandoned breakfast, Majoribanks set his men upon them. A four-hour inconclusive bloodbath in the burning sun ensued, ending in both sides retreating from the battlefield. More than 500 Americans were killed or wounded in the action. British losses were even greater and the greatest sustained by any army in a single battle during the entire Revolutionary War. By the end of the battle, 700 of their soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. Because of the high number of casualties the British sustained, Stewart subsequently ordered his men to withdraw to Charleston, South Carolina, to regroup.

The Battle of Eutaw Springs was one of the hardest fought and bloodiest battles of the Revolution and proved to be the last major engagement of the war to take place in the South. The Patriots’ partial victory cemented their near-complete control of the southern section of the country.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Bears can see almost as well as humans, and they can hear a little better. But they can smell much better. In fact, a bear’s sense of smell is around 100 times greater than a human’s. Polar bears can track down an odor from 20 miles (32 km) away. They can smell a dead seal under 3 feet of solid ice.

Falling towards fall…

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Double click for a larger version of the image…

Have you noticed how the days are growing shorter? It is getting light slightly later each day and dark slightly earlier and it will continue that progression until December 22 when it reverses course and heads back the other way.  We are not far away from the vernal equinox, when the hours of sunlight and dark are equal.

Today it doesn’t feel much like fall outside, at least not here in Georgia. It’s a warm one today, but it have been cooler over the past couple of weeks, and we welcome it. This was our first year of being here throughout the entire Georgia summer. I have to say that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d imagined it might be. Sure, it was warm and at times very muggy, but all in all, not bad.

Our oldest son just moved his family up to the Portland, OR area. He noted that this morning it was a crisp 48 degrees at his house. The news said that in the west right now it is about 15 degrees below normal temperature. That’s good – it may help the weary firefighters who have been battling horrendous blazes for months now.

I’ve noticed a few leaves turning yellow – not in great profusion, but it is beginning. The lake near which we live will be ablaze in color before too much longer. Those are all good signs that we are falling into fall.

This being a three day weekend and fall approaching, I thought that this photo that I shot a few months back might be appropriate. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1780, patriot Francis Marion’s Carolina militia routed British Loyalists at Blue Savannah, South Carolina, and in the process Marion won new recruits to the Patriot cause.

Following their surprising success at Nelson’s Ferry on the Santee River in South Carolina on August 20, Lieutenant Colonel Francis “The Swamp Fox” Marion and 52 of his militiamen rode east in order to evade pursuing British Loyalists. They were successful, but during their escape, another, much larger, force of Loyalists led by Major Micajah Ganey, attacked the militia from the northeast. Marion’s advance guard, led by Major John James, routed Ganey’s advance guard and Marion ambushed the rest, causing Ganey’s main body of 200 Loyalists to panic and flee. The success of Marion’s militia broke the Loyalist stronghold on South Carolina east of the PeeDee River and attracted another 60 volunteers to the Patriot cause.

Marion, a mere five feet tall, won fame and the “Swamp Fox” moniker for his ability to strike and then quickly retreat into the South Carolina swamps without a trace. He also earned fame as the only senior Continental officer in the area to escape the British following the fall of Charleston on May 12, 1780. His military strategy is considered an 18th-century example of guerilla warfare and served as partial inspiration for Mel Gibson’s character, Benjamin Martin, in the film The Patriot (2000).

Marion took over the South Carolina militia force first assembled by Thomas Sumter in 1780. Sumter, the other inspiration for Mel Gibson’s character in the film, returned Carolina Loyalists’ terror tactics in kind after Loyalists burned his plantation. When Sumter withdrew from active fighting to care for a wound, Marion replaced him and teamed up with Major General Nathaniel Greene, who arrived in the Carolinas to lead the Continental forces in October 1780. Together, they are credited with grasping a Patriot victory from the jaws of defeat in the southern states.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: A baby dolphin is born tail-first to prevent drowning. After the mother breaks the umbilical cord by swiftly swimming away, she must immediately return to her baby and take it to the surface to breathe.

Wear like a pig’s nose?

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Double click for a larger version of this image…

Have you ever work overalls? I have. You don’t spend time on a farm in Iowa without wearing overalls! Even as I kid I was wearing overalls…on Halloween when I’d dress up in a pair of my dad’s overalls, we’d stuff a pillow in the belly area to make me look like a fat man, I’d put on a pair of those classes with a fake nose and plastic mustache and we’d drive from farm to far trick-or-treating. It wasn’t anything like trick-or-treating in the city where you can go house to house and in 30 minutes you’ve got an entire pillow case full of candy. No, I think that on a typical Halloween in Iowa, we’d visit maybe 6-8 farms and that would be it. But it was fun and I loved it.

So, after leaving the farm, I never thought a whole lot more about overalls…until a couple of weeks ago when I saw this sign for sale at the Lakewood Antiques Flea Market in Cumming, GA. Can someone explain what this means to me? I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a pig’s nose!!!

All I can figure is that pigs root around in dirt and mud for a lifetime with their noses and their noses never seem to wear out. Perhaps that’s what they’re saying about Finck’s Detroit-Special Overalls. Any other ideas, folks?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: I’ll bet you didn’t know this: in 1784, four counties in western North Carolina declared their independence as the state of Franklin. The counties lay in what would eventually become Tennessee.

The previous April, the state of North Carolina had ceded its western land claims between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River to the United States Congress. The settlers in this area, known as the Cumberland River Valley, had formed their own independent government from 1772 to 1777 and were concerned that Congress would sell the territory to Spain or France as a means of paying off some of the government’s war debt. As a result, North Carolina retracted its cession and began to organize an administration for the territory.

Simultaneously, representatives from Washington, Sullivan, Spencer (modern-day Hawkins) and Greene counties declared their independence from North Carolina. The following May, the counties petitioned for statehood as “Frankland” to the United States Congress. A simple majority of states favored acceptance of the petition, but it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass, even after the counties’ changed their proposed name to “Franklin” in an attempt to curry Benjamin Franklin’s and others’ favor.

In defiance of Congress, Franklin survived as an independent nation for four years with its own constitution, Indian treaties and legislated system of barter in lieu of currency, though after only two years, North Carolina set up its own parallel government in the region. Finally, Franklin’s weak economy forced its governor, John Sevier, to approach the Spanish for aid. North Carolina, terrified of having a Spanish client state on its border, arrested Sevier. When Cherokee, Chickamauga and Chickasaw began to attack settlements within Franklin’s borders in 1788, it quickly rejoined North Carolina to gain its militia’s protection from attack.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: John Lennon started a band in 1957 called the Quarry Men and later asked Paul McCartney to join. Paul brought in George Harrison, and later Ringo Starr would replace Peter Best as drummer. The band changed its name a few times, which included the names Johnny and the Moondogs, The Rainbows, and British Everly Brothers.  Whatever they did worked: according to the Beatles Album Sales Statistics, through 2012 they had sold over 2 billion albums.