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Showing posts with the label Meditations

Inside a Stained Glass World with Mediation 10.23.19

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Dear Henry,

I really need to get busy getting my camper van together because, in addition to checking out Southern Arkansas and looking into the Museum for the International Concatenated Order of the Hoo-Hoo, I want to take a road trip to the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston.

Oddly enough, I am not all that interested in the books at this library, but rather, the three-story stained-glass globe within it.

The globe is called the Mapparium, and it opened in 1935.  The structure is comprised of 608 stained glass panels and because it is a globe it doesn't suffer from Mercator projection, so all of the countries are true representations. The globe room also provides "whisper acoustics" and even the smallest sound will carry across the structure.

Of course, the globe is obsolete and was almost immediately after it opened.  There were initial plans to update the panels as boundaries changed but by 1960 it was decided that the Mapparium was a work of art and needed to be pre…

Meditation 8.7.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci had a favorite cheese?

Today, after falling into a rabbit hole of cheese making, I learned about the wonderful, Italian cheese called Montebore.

Montebore is a cheese made in the Northern mountain provinces of Italy and first appeared in written documents around 1300.  During the heyday of its popularity, it was a widely-produced, although now, there are only a few cheesemakers left.

Montebore is a fresh cheese and is made predominately with full-fat sheep's milk (the ratio is about 70/30 to cows milk) and it is arranged in a salted wedding cake shape.  It is only aged about 20 to 30 days.

Montebore is the recommended cheese for Rabaton.

It turns out, da Vinci was quite the nutritionist and his diet of mostly vegetables, cheeses, and grains would impress any modern dietitian. He would recommend his diet of well-chosen, well-cooked, and simple meals to others. 

After reading about his eating habits and food choices, I am now on the l…

Meditation 8.3.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

It isn't a secret that I am a total Jules Verne fan and have been completely enamored by his books.  My favorite, of course, is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is particularly cool because it was the book which largely inspired the development of submarine technology.  The book particularly inspired the creation of the nuclear submarine.

The idea of a submarine has been "floated" since the late 1500s, with the first documented submarine being built in 1620 by Cornelis Drebbel and used oars for propulsion. The first military submarine (also human-powered), was called the Turtle and was built in 1775. It wouldn't be until the late 1800s that a submarine would operate with any type of fuel-driven engine.

Because of these propulsion difficulties, it took until the early 1900s (and the widespread use of the diesel/electric engine) before navies began regularly using submarines, although, once the technology was developed the submarin…

Mediation 7.30.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Continuing in my study of "People Who Helped The Insane" - I am so relieved that Fish has agreed to clear the history on my internet browser after I die -  I have come across the story of Ms. Nellie Bly.

I vaguely remembered hearing about her when I was younger and, after some research, I have decided that even by today's standards, she would be considered one of the bravest women in journalism.

Her first article, written under the pseudonym "Lonely Orphan Girl" challenged the current role of women and argued for divorce law reform, which garnered her a full-time position at the Pittsburgh Dispatch and she immediately began reporting on the working conditions that women faced in the area's factories.

She was then promptly reassigned to the women's section of the paper and told to report on fashion.

Unwilling to report on society and unable to report on local items of substance, Nellie Bly went to Mexico as a foreign correspondent.  While rep…

Meditation 7.24.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

I have discovered another reason for a road trip to Capitol Reef National Park - pie

Today I heard about a small cafe in Bicknell Utah, called the Sunglow Restaurant and Motel that serves the oddest assortment of pies, including oatmeal, avocado lime, pinto bean, and the most popular, pickle pie.

It is the pickle pie that has me the most intrigued.

The pies were the brainchild of Cula Ekker, who signed on as cook when her brother opened the motel in 1965 and while Cula died in 2014, she passed on her recipes and pie secrets to Bessie Stewart, who has continued the pickle pie tradition to this day.

So tell me, how far would you drive for a piece of pie?

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 7.23.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

What is in a name?

If your name is Black Bart - a lot.

My knowledge of outlaws is quite limited and based upon the name Black Bart, I assumed (the mother of all mistakes) that he was an outlaw of a particularly bad and malevolent sort.  A Lone Ranger alter-ego, roaming the plains on a large, black horse, causing death, mayhem, and large insurance claims.

I assumed incorrectly.

For one thing, he never rode a horse.

Black Bart was born Charles Earl Boles in England around 1829.  His family moved to the U.S. and begin farming in New York.  Charles and his brothers joined the gold rush in 1849 and the three had about as much luck as most other prospectors did.  Charles was the only one to live to return home.  He settled down and got married before enlisting with the 116th Illinois Regiment, taking part in the Battle of Vicksburg (where he was severely wounded) and Sherman's March to the Sea.

After the war, Charles tried his hand at prospecting again, this time Idaho and …

Meditation 7.15.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

There was another "insect cuisine" article in the paper. 

I am beginning to wonder if there is a conspiracy and that something is going to happen to our food supply and the media is prepping us for "bugs provencal" (no, not really, I'm kidding).

In the past, and after comparing Fish's and my survival skills to those of a reality T.V. couple, I have stated that I would eat a bug if I were starving, was in competition for a half a million dollars, or was at a Mariner's game. 

I do have my limits though.

The article I was reading was talking about using the larvae of the black fly as a food source. Another name for "larvae of the black fly" is maggots.

Eating maggots is a hard no.

While the article talks about the negative carbon footprint utilizing this particular food source, the protein ratio to body size, and all of the other benefits of fly larvae as a food source. The fact still remains that eating maggots is a hard no.

I will b…

Meditation 7.10.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Do you remember me telling you about the couple who died eating a raw marmot? I was shocked that the raw food trend had gone so far.

I was shocked again today about another raw food choice and because it turned fatal, I felt like I should warn you.

Please don't ever eat a gecko raw.  Even if someone double dog dares you.

Lizards (even the "Chicken of the Trees" can carry salmonella on their skins - which is why, when cooking and eating the iguana, you are supposed to skin and parboil the meat before seasoning it and cooking. 

More shocking, when I tried to Google the "Man dies from eating..." (I couldn't remember the which lizard type it was), lizard or gecko wasn't the first choice in the autocomplete results of the Google search box, that was man dies eating from slug (which caused rat lungworm), nor was it the second, which was man dies from eating roaches (choked to death).

All in all, I think there is a life lesson or two here:

Meals d…

Meditation 7.8.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

The 24 - hours has been a drama-filled adventure and I think it may take a couple of days for me to recover.

Do you remember me talking about my wrens living in the strawberry basket?  Well, they were starting to get big and really chatty and Ziggy wanted to figure out what the commotion was in the strawberry basket.

He pulled out the liner, spilling the nest out all over the porch.

Right away, Ziggy knew he was in BIG TROUBLE and, after Fish told me Ziggy was snuffing and nudging the baby that had spilled from the nest, I felt bad about scolding him (Ziggy got a double scolding, Fish had scolded him pretty good outside).

Fish put the nest back in the liner and the liner back into the basket back and then when waited. The parents showed up and they were quite upset (understandably).  They left and we didn't see them return.

We had done several internet searches since then and it was made clear that trying to hand feed and raise the birds ourselves was impossible, it n…

Meditation 7.1.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

On NASA's drawing board, and prepared to launch in 2026 is the Dragonfly.

Although the name reminds of a space western written by Joss Whedon, the Dragonfly mission plans to create a drone that will weather the eight-year journey from the Earth to Saturn's moon Titan to explore its geological structure and look for signs of life.

Titan is Saturn's largest moon and is the only other place besides Earth with any type of atmosphere.  It is also the only other place that has liquid water and while the atmospheric pressure is fifty times that of Earth, there is much within the chemical makeup of the atmosphere that would make life possible.

The craft is envisioned as a rotary type drone and will be expected to stop and several different sites, studying the geology and chemical composition of the moon when it reaches Titan in 2034.

I know that this is fifteen years away, but I can hardly wait to see the footage.

xoxo a.d.






Meditation 6.27.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

This weekend I had the opportunity to climb a 100 ft observation tower and I initially thought that I wanted to see the view of the Ozarks from the top.

After three platforms (so about 30 feet), as I began to sweat (it was very hot) and my legs felt like I was getting a quite a workout.  A couple of steps up to the fourth platform I decided that I no longer cared about the view from the top and climbed back down.

I kind of feel like a wimp now.

I especially felt like a wimp after I read about cyclist Hugh Sharp of Cape Cod Maine who rode a unicycle 180 miles to raise money for the American Lung Association.

I bet his thighs burned after that ride.

I need to go exercise now.

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 6.17.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

What would you do if you lost a toe?

Are you thirsty?

This story starts with a race, the Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon, a grueling, 300 mile, race, in Whitehorse Canada. 

This year, Nick Griffiths, a British ultramarathoner, gave the race a try.

Unfortunately, after 30 hours, he ended the race exhausted and frostbitten.  After initial treatment in Canada, he returned to his home in the U.K. to continue treatment and have three of his toes amputated.

Remembering an advertisement in Canada from The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City Canada, seeking toes for a drink ingredient, Mr. Griffiths chose to send his toes to the hotel, rather than allowing traditional disposal.

Since 1973, The Downtown Hotel has made a signature drink, The Sour Toe Cocktail.  It is a shot of whiskey with a mummified toe. The drink was conceived after discovering a severed toe in a cabin (because why not?). 

While the original toe has long since deteriorated, other toes have been contributed, and after a si…

Meditation 6.13.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

I love Bigfoot stories and I, rather tongue in cheek, want to entertain the belief in the Sasquatch.

The FBI, however, has determined that no one should believe in Bigfoot.

Back in 1976, a long time Sasquatch/Yeti researcher and hunter named Peter C. Byrne found some unidentifiable hairs caught in some brush.

Mr. Byrne sent the hair to the FBI for testing, which they did in 1977.

But, they never got back to anyone or released any kind of report.  So, of course, conspiracy theories sprouted, grew, and took on a life of their own and everyone was positive that the FBI had samples of Sasquatch hair that they had classified and tried to bury the knowledge of.

Turns out, the FBI is just really bad at correspondence and communication.

and the hair was just deer hair.

I was disappointed.

Of course, I didn't really think that the FBI had actual Sasquatch fur, but they could have left some ambiguity in the report.

Just to keep the dream alive.

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 6.11.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Have you ever heard of the Wankel T. Rex?   It is a great story...

Back in 1988, a woman named Kathy Wankel was rockhounding around the Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana.

The lake was very low that year,  the drought had been terrible and water was also being used for the large Yellowstone fire.

While searching through the lake bed, Ms. Wankel discovered a skeleton, an almost complete (90%) Tyranasarus Rex.

I have always wished to find something amazing.

Anyway, after an exhausting amount of bureaucracy, the skeleton, named Wankel T. Rex, will go on display in the Smithsonian's newly reopened fossil hall.

I make sure to look down now when I hike, just in case.

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 6.7.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Do you journal?

My grandmother loved was an amateur genealogist and loved family history (which she passed on to me).  She collected all sorts of documents related to our families past and had several different (often self-published or simply typed and photocopied) autobiographies, biographies, and journals.

I used to love reading through the autobiographies and biographies.  It was interesting to me what people did and thought and, most importantly, how they wanted the rest of the world to see them.

I approached the journals with fear and a feeling of invasiveness though and never really liked reading the journals of my forefathers.  I felt the same way when I attempted to read the journals of Sylvia Plath and Frieda Kahlo, neither of which I have finished, and I regret even trying.

"Everyone" talks about how helpful journaling is in your life, but the vulnerability of writing down my most personal thoughts and then having them read and scrutinized later distur…

Meditation 6.5.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Donald Culross Peattie said "For me, a weed is a plant out of place"

I have come to the conclusion that, based upon this logic, gladiolus are weeds.

Last year, knowing I was facing a redo with my garden in the near future, I wanted to put in an annual, just for some color and to keep up appearances and, when I saw a box of 100 gladioli for 14.99, I thought it was a perfect idea because gladioli don't overwinter, right?

Turns out, they do.  And they multiply.  And because of the water/flooding problems, they aren't necessarily where I planted them.

The more I move them, the more they seem to sprout up in inappropriate places.  They are everywhere and they are taking over the new garden beds, the new rock work, and even, the compost pile.

Who knew that gladioli were so invasive? It's a good thing they are pretty.

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 6.3.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Have you ever heard of the tsetse fly? 

A while ago I ran across some information about this little fly and heard about the damage it can cause.

The fly is the vector for trypanosomes  - the cause of sleeping sickness.

While not a problem is the U.S., the effect of the tsetse fly has been devastating on the African continent. Sleeping sickness will affect both humans and livestock.  Cattle are especially susceptible and the disease will destroy herds (both from illness and from culling) and surviving cows are smaller, weaker and unable to be sold for meat and dairy production is severely decreased.

I have just read that the government of Senegal and the government of the U.S. had actually come up with a solution to the problem of the tsetse fly using nuclear science, and they have solved the problem quite well. Tsetse flies in Senegal were irradiated with gamma radiation to sterilize them, dropping the fly population to almost zero.  Senegal ranchers and dairy farmers have…

Meditation 5.30.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

I am sure you have heard about Joan of Arc - the young French girl who, inspired by voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret led a group of French soldiers during the Hundred Year War's Battle of Orleans and helping Charles VII secure the throne.

Well, today is the 588th anniversary of her death.

While aiding the besieged city of Compiegne, the Burgundians captured Joan and sold her to the British.

Everyone knows she was burned at the stake for heresy, but, I was surprised to learn which type of heresy she was burned for.

I always thought it was because she had heard the voices of the saints.  Nope.  It was because she was wearing men's clothing.

As it is the feast day for St. Joan, women, I hope you are all wearing pants.

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 5.29.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

I *love* conspiracy theories.  I don't particularly like talking to conspiracy theorists, but I love reading about their theories.

One of my favorites is the moon landing hoax.

Most of you know that on July 20, 1969, astronauts for the US landed on the moon - the first of six crewed landings on the moon, ending with Apollo 17's landing on December 11, 1972.

There is a sizable segment that believes however that the entire thing was staged.  I have always wondered how exactly that believe came about.

It turns out that there was a book by Bill Kaysing called "We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle", published in 1976, that kicked this particular theory off.

I haven't read the book and so I can't vouch for the thoroughness of its research or the accuracy of the sources, I do know something about the author though.

Mr. Kaysing was a senior technical writer for Rocketdyne, the company that created the engines for the Sat…

Meditation 5.24.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Have you ever wondered where the history of the U.S. comes from? 

Particularly the history we teach in schools?

I had believed that the Statue of Liberty had been a gift from France to commemorate our independence.  It wasn't.

The statue was created to celebrate the end of slavery. 

In today's Washington Post, an article talked about the planning between French abolitionist Eduourard Rene de Laboulaye and sculpture Frederic Bartholdi, whose original idea was to celebrate the holding together of the Union and the ending of slavery, which they believed, fully allowed the realization of our War of Independence.

Of course, by the time the statue was placed in 1886 the freedoms that had originally been won during the Civil War were reversed by the Jim Crow Laws and even at the time of its placement it was being protested because of these inequalities.

So there you have it, the true meaning of the Statue of Liberty and what she represents.  Of course, the broken chains …