Tag Archives: Georgia

…a Georgia Mornin’

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Double click for a larger image

Life is full of fine things.  I don’t mean fancy things that cost a lot of money.  I mean truly fine things: the love of family, the song of a bird, the laughter of a grand child, the gentle touch of a loved one’s hand, the music that uplifts and soothes, a cold drink on a hot day.  These are all fine things – they are good things.  And I love them all.  The images that dance in my memories of my children, grand children, best friends, my wife, of sights and sounds and smells – fine, fine things, indeed.

Although I am not a morning person by nature, once I have managed to drag myself out of bed and head out with the dog for her morning walk, I find the air is full of possibilities for the new day.  The birds are singing again after a night’s sleep just as the frogs are bedding down for the day.  The early morning light is spectacular and golden and the reflections on the lake outside our front door are lovely.

What is there not to like about a spring morning in Georgia?  Can’t think of a thing…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1942, the first day of the first modern naval engagement in history, called the Battle of the Coral Sea, a Japanese invasion force succeeded in occupying Tulagi of the Solomon Islands in an expansion of Japan’s defensive perimeter.

The United States, having broken Japan’s secret war code and forewarned of an impending invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby, attempted to intercept the Japanese armada. Four days of battles between Japanese and American aircraft carriers resulted in 70 Japanese and 66 Americans warplanes destroyed. This confrontation, called the Battle of the Coral Sea, marked the first air-naval battle in history, as none of the carriers fired at each other, allowing the planes taking off from their decks to do the battling. Among the casualties was the American carrier Lexington; “the Blue Ghost” (so-called because it was not camouflaged like other carriers) suffered such extensive aerial damage that it had to be sunk by its own crew. Two hundred sixteen Lexington crewmen died as a result of the Japanese aerial bombardment.

Although Japan would go on to occupy all of the Solomon Islands, its victory was a Pyrrhic one: The cost in experienced pilots and aircraft carriers was so great that Japan had to cancel its expedition to Port Moresby, Papua, as well as other South Pacific targets.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  On August 28, 1991, the first true email message from space was sent by the crew of the space shuttle STS-43 Atlantis using a Mac Portable and specifically configured AppleLink software. The message?  “ET phone home” (nah, just kidding about that last bit!)

A Study in Contrasts

_MG_8984Ah, the south at its best!  I shot this photo at Twin Lakes (we are staying at Twin Lakes RV Park while we’re in the Atlanta area) a mere 4 days ago. It was a beautiful morning, the weather of the prior week when Atlanta had been shut down by a storm growing faint in the rear-view mirror. We hoped that the severe winter weather was done for this winter.

Alas, it was not to be. It started raining during the night last night and then I noticed at some point that the rain had stopped. Little did I know that the reason the sound of the rain had gone away was because the rain had turned to snow. When I got up this morning, snow was on the ground. It snowed into the afternoon before it quit., with flakes as large as 1.5-2″ drifting steadily downward in the still air. And now, if you’ve watched the national news tonight, the weather folk are forecasting a potential “catastrophic” storm. There is supposed to be snow, but it will mingle with some cold ground temperatures and an ice storm is now forecast…in Georgia!!!! What?!?!?!?!

Here’s a photo I shot this morning of my bride and our dog while the snow was still falling at the same lake in the photo above. My, how things change!!!!

SM_MG_9031I think maybe next year I’ll winter in Greenland!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln left home in Springfield, Illinois, and embarked on his journey to Washington, D.C.

On a cold, rainy morning, Lincoln boarded a two-car private train loaded with his family’s belongings, which he himself had packed and bound. His wife, Mary Lincoln, was in St. Louis on a shopping trip, and joined him later in Indiana. It was a somber occasion. Lincoln was leaving his home and heading into the maw of national crisis. Since he had been elected, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union. Lincoln knew that his actions upon entering office would likely lead to civil war. He spoke to a crowd before departing: “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being… I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail… To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

A bystander reported that the president-elect’s “breast heaved with emotion and he could scarcely command his feelings.” Indeed, Lincoln’s words were prophetic—a funeral train carried him back to Springfield just over four years later.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  the Second Congo War, which began in 1998 and involved eight African nations, is the largest war in African history. An estimated 5.4 million people died as a result of the war and its aftermath, making it the deadliest worldwide conflict since World War II. The war officially ended in 2006, but hostilities still continue today.

Bitten

_MG_8678There are some places in life that are more dangerous than others. For example, you don’t want to get between a rock and a hard place or between a man and his remote control or a woman and her chocolate!  Why? Because it’s just flat out dangerous! It would be like being at the front of the line on the morning after Thanksgiving at 1 a.m. when everyone bursts into the electronics store in order to get the latest iPhone. You could get killed in the stampede!

There are things here in Georgia that you’d be well advised to avoid, too. Don’t get between a Georgia red-neck and his brew, or his fishing pole or his hunting rifle. And, don’t get between a Georgia person (man or woman) and their Georgia State Bulldogs.

It almost doesn’t matter what store you go into, you can find something about a Georgia sports team virtually everywhere. College, pro, even high school…it’s everywhere. People are rabid about their sports teams here!!!

I found this little fellow in, of all places, the wine tasting/gift shop in Dahlonega recently. I think he makes a fine looking beast, don’t you?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1996, after three hours, world chess champion Gary Kasparov lost the first game of a six-game match against Deep Blue, an IBM computer capable of evaluating 200 million moves per second.  Man was ultimately victorious over machine, however, as Kasparov bested Deep Blue in the match with three wins and two ties and took home the $400,000 prize. An estimated 6 million people worldwide followed the action on the Internet.

The February 1996 contest was significant in that it represented the first time a human and a computer had duked it out in a regulation, six-game match, in which each player had two hours to make 40 moves, two hours to finish the next 20 moves and then another 60 minutes to wrap up the game.

Kasparov, born in 1963 in Azerbaijan, became the Soviet Union’s junior chess champion at age 13 and in 1985, at age 22, the youngest world champ ever when he beat legendary Soviet player Anatoly Karpov. Considered by many to be the greatest chess player in the history of the game, Kasparov was known for his swashbuckling style of play and his ability to switch tactics mid-game.

In 1997, a rematch took place between Kasparov and an enhanced Deep Blue. Kasparov won the first game, the computer the second, with the next three games a draw. On May 11, 1997, Deep Blue came out on top with a surprising sixth game win–and the $700,000 match prize. (Don’t you wonder how the computer spent its money?!)

In 2003, Kasparov battled another computer program, “Deep Junior.” The match ended in a tie. Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in an effort to keep cool, Babe Ruth played baseball with a cabbage leaf tucked under his hat.

Measure Up?

_MG_8714We humans seem fascinated with measuring things. It wasn’t enough to have a regular clock, we had to devise an atomic clock so we could measure more precisely. It wasn’t enough to know that the moon is some 220,000 miles away, but we had to develop techniques to bounce laser beams off it to know how are it was to within some number of inches (the same is true for GPS systems for us more earth-bound folk).

We want to know what buildings are tallest, what is the heaviest, what is the fastest, and we measure Olympic foot or swimming races down to the hundredths of a second (if not closer). Perhaps that is why the Guinness Book of World Records is so popular – we are obsessed with measuring stuff.

Sometimes that’s good. For example, in fishing, you need to know how long some species of fish are so you know if you can keep one that you caught, or if you have to throw it back. If you get caught with one too small, you can face a hefty fine.

It’s true here in Georgia, too, but it seems that perhaps fishermen here take it not quite so seriously. Imagine if you’re out fishing and catch a bass only to find out that you don’t have a tape measure. How can you know if the fish is large enough to keep? Use your empty beer cans, of course!!!!  Leave it to Bubba to come up with that solution!!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1937,just three days after U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s speech in which he broke diplomatic relations with Germany and warned that war would follow if American interests at sea were again assaulted—a German submarine torpedoed and sank the Anchor Line passenger steamer California off the Irish coast.

The SS California departed New York on January 29 bound for Glasgow, Scotland, with 205 passengers and crew members on board. Eight days later, some 38 miles off the coast of Fastnet Island, Ireland, the ship’s captain, John Henderson, spotted a submarine off his ship’s port side at a little after 9 a.m. and ordered the gunner at the stern of the ship to fire in defense if necessary. Moments later and without warning, the submarine fired two torpedoes at the ship. One of the torpedoes missed, but the second torpedo exploded into the port side of the steamer, killing five people instantly. The explosion of the torpedo was so violent and devastating that the 470-foot, 9,000-ton steamer sank just nine minutes after the attack. Despite desperate S.O.S. calls sent by the crew to ensure the arrival of rescue ships, 38 people drowned after the initial explosion, for a total of 43 dead.

This type of blatant German defiance of Wilson’s warning about the consequences of unrestricted submarine warfare, combined with the subsequent discovery and release of the Zimmermann telegram—an overture made by Germany’s foreign minister to the Mexican government involving a possible Mexican-German alliance in the event of a war between Germany and the U.S.—drove Wilson and the United States to take the final steps towards war. On April 2, Wilson went before Congress to deliver his war message; the formal declaration of U.S. entrance into the First World War came four days later.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: a rumor that Ozti (the Ice Man found frozen solid in the upper Alps and dating back to 3300 BC) still had viable sperm (quick-frozen as if in sperm banks) prompted a number of Austrian women in the 1990’s to ask if they could be artificially inseminated and have his baby.

Georgia Peaches

Georgia peaches.  Those two works make my mouth water!  Peaches are my favorite fruit.  I love them in a bowl with sugar and milk.  I love them plain.  I love them baked into cobbler.  I like them either blended in or put on top of vanilla ice cream.  I love them in milkshakes. I love them dried and dehydrated.  Get the point?

One of the things we have enjoyed about living in Georgia for the past 7 months has been the peaches.  You can’t always get fresh peaches here – the calendar and weather just doesn’t work that way – but when you can get them, they’re wonderful!

Peaches in the new world were originally planted in St. Augustine, Fla., then Franciscan monks introduced them to St. Simons and Cumberland islands along Georgia’s coast in 1571. By the mid-1700s peaches and plums were cultivated by the Cherokee Indians.  Raphael Moses, a planter and Confederate officer from Columbus, was among the first to market peaches within Georgia in 1851 and is credited with being the first to ship and sell peaches successfully outside of the South. His method of shipping peaches in champagne baskets, rather than in pulverized charcoal, helped to preserve the flavor of the fruit and contributed to his success.

Today, over 40 species of peaches are grown and harvested in Georgia.

The photo today was taken on Saturday when we were at a Farmer’s Market in the area.  Did we buy some?  You bet!  ‘Scuse me…I think I’ll go eat a peach!!!

Come and get ’em!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1497, navigator Vasco de Gama left Portugal with a fleet of ships in search for a sea route to India, sailing along the edge of Africa, the Middle East reaching India almost a year later.  In recognition of his achievement, Portuguese King Emmanuel I gave him the title “Admiral of the Indian Ocean.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: it is legal to have a duel in Paraguay provided both participants are registered as blood donors.  Just one more perk to being a blood donor, I guess…

Chillin’ in Sweetwater Creek

I’m sure that you have heard that it gets hot in Georgia.  So far (cross my fingers and hope I didn’t just jinx us!) we’ve not had it to bad, but then again, it’s only June 10!  Today was overcast, cool and rainy!!!!  Not bad at all..but it is about 94% humidity according to the weather channel.

Yesterday (Saturday), Laurel and I packed up the dog and went to visit one of Georgia’s state parks: Sweetwater Creek.  It’s not that far from where we live, and we found out about it from a brochure we picked up last December when we stopped at a visitor center when we entered the state.

There is a fairly large lake, lots of wooded grounds, many trails and of course, Sweetwater Creek.  There was a picture in the brochure of the river – lots of rocks in the water.  The picture was taken in the fall when the leaves were turning color and it was really pretty, so we thought we’d check it out.  It was pretty and we had a good time walking down the trails by the creek.

It was a warm day, not hot unless you were in the direct sun, but definitely warm.  At one point, we stopped along the creek and Lucy decided that it was time to cool off, so she waded into the water and lay down to cool off.  She even tried laying her snout down in the water, but it was a bit too deep.  I got several pictures of her, but this one from the rear end shows a bit of the creek and the rocks that are all over in the creek.

As my wife pointed out when she posted a similar picture on her Facebook page: Lucy’s rear end isn’t really as big as it looks here in the picture…at least that’s what Laurel thinks.

Lucy, our yellow lab, chillin’ in the creek…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1939, after a full day without drinking, Dr. Robert Smith, better known as Doctor Bob, and his friend WIlliam G. Wilson, founded Alcoholics Anonymous.  It was the start of a lifetime without alcohol for both of them, and for any thousands more throughout the years.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: beets reminded early cooks of animals when they cut them open (due to the color of the juice that looked like blood), thus the name “beets”, which comes from the French “bete”, which means “beasts”.

Get Fired Up!

What sorts of things really get your motor running?  What does it take to really “light your hair on fire” about something?  For some, it’s shopping for shoes (go figure!), for others it’s a mani-pedicure (there’s another term for it, I think it’s “mani-pedi” but what do I know)?  Some get all excited about jumping off a high bridge with a bungee cord tied to one ankle.

I have to confess that now that I’m not as young as I once was, I find that simpler things get me all excited: like being able to get out of bed in the morning without back aches and pains, or even waking up in the morning at all!!!!  I get excited, as you may have guessed, any time that I have a chance to take my camera somewhere and take pictures.  And, as those of you who have been reading my posts for a while will know, when I have a frozen Snickers and cold, icy Dr. Pepper on which to feast!

Today’s picture shows you what gets some folks all fired up.  This is the troupe known as Barely Balanced.  They are a group of acrobats/jugglers that travel around doing their act.  They were at this years Georgia Renaissance Festival, and they announced to us after their last act of the day (their fire act) that they told the promoters that they would be back again next year!  Now that is cool (pun intended!)

Here’s a shot of them getting all fired up.  I hope you enjoy it!!!!

Go light your hair on fire!!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1329, Robert the Bruce, who seized the Scottish throne in 1306, died of leprosy.  You may recall him from the movie, Braveheart.  In the movie, his dad died of leprosy, too.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  in the United States, sales of cheddar cheese account for 2/3rds of all cheese sold.  My favorite: Cabot Sharp Cheddar (www.cabotcheese.coop)….you’ll not taste a finer cheddar cheese anywhere!  You can order their cheese online, but you can find it in better grocery stores…we even found it in California stores!

A Georgia Springtime

This is our first spring in Georgia.  Let me say this about my first impressions: springtime here is beautiful!  The weather has been fantastic the past 2 weeks and temps are forecast for all this week in the mid-70’s, with lows at night around 53-58.  Perfect sleeping weather!  (I wonder if I’ll be eating those words come summer!  I fear that may be the case.)

Right now the trees that are in bloom are spectacular.  There are white, pink, purple, yellow flowers everywhere.  And the azaleas!!!  Reds, pinks, whites, lavender, purples…and they are huge, not small little plants.  They must love the Georgia clay and weather.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

I know every year when the Master’s golf tournament rolls around that they talk about the azaleas in Georgia and how beautiful it is.  We’re learning what they’re talking about.  I have truly been impressed.  The leaves are appearing rapidly on the trees and it is delightful.  I’m hoping that spring lasts all year long!!!

Here is a shot of some azaleas that are growing in our back yard.

Delight on a stem...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1965, the U.S. spacecraft, Ranger 9, crashed into the moon.  It took 5000 pictures on its way down, and those pictures were broadcast for the first time on live TV.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: when one cooks poultry and finds bones with dark splotches, it means that the bird was previously frozen.  When poultry is frozen, the blood in the bone marrow ruptures, and when it is thawed, the ruptured cells leak causing discoloration.  Cooking then turns the red splotches dark brown.

Down in the Holler

Yessuh, folk talk funny roun’ these here parts.  They talk about things like “sewin’ machine awl” (oil) and things down in the woods in a low-lyin’ place as bein’ “down in the holler.”  (hollow)

Well, yessiree, I’m gettin’ the hang of it, I think.  And here’s a barn shot I took recently that was down in the holler a wee bit.

I hopes y’all ‘ll come back now, heah?

The barn down in the holler...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson sent 12,000 US troops over the border into Mexico in a failed attempt to apprehend the bandit, Pancho Villa.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  at the time of the Civil War, New Orleans was the Confederates most populous city.

Weathered Barn

This afternoon we drove northward into the southern end of the north Georgian “mountains.”  One needs to get used to the use of the term “mountains” when describing this geographical feature in Georgia.  When one comes from California, or Colorado, mountains are much larger than the ones that one encounters in the East.  Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful and we enjoyed our day immensely.

We heard about a town called Helen, that is in Swiss Alpine style.  It was an enjoyable place and we’ll probably go back again some time.  On our way, we ran across some old, weathered barns…and of course, I was honor bound to stop and photograph them.  Today’s picture is the second barn we encountered.  At this point, the sun was shining on the scene, the grassy field was lovely and full of life, in contrast to the barn that was clearly dying.

Barn on the way to Helen, GA

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1927, 25,000 diggers made claims in the diamond fields in Gasfontein, South Africa.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Nyctitropism is the tendency of the leaves or petals of certain plants to assume a different position at night.