Category Archives: History

Surprise!

Husband and I are now safely ensconced at the downtown Minneapolis Marriot. We  arrived at the hotel at about 5:00 PM on Tuesday. I was so surprised that the traffic going into downtown was negligible. The traffic going the other way was horrible. We were grateful.

Last week I was very surprised to learn that the grandmother of one of my fellow Lutheran Church choir members worked for a decade or more as both the Headless Girl and  the Three Legged Woman in the circus. It isn’t often that young woman from Harvey, ND makes the big time like that. You also don’t hear of many Lutherans in the circus. At one time there were 9 headless girls touring the US in circuses. It was all done with mirrors. Look up Olga the Headless Girl.  You will be surprised and amazed.

What has surprised you lately?  Do you have any friends with surprises?

On Your Toes

Today in 1581, the first ballet was performed in Paris. It had been commissioned by Catherine De Medici  and was called “Ballet Comique de la Reine”.  I love ballet, and so do our children. Both studied dance for many years.

The only ballets that  I have seen in live performance were by the Winnipeg Ballet, which is a very fine company.  We saw them perform Giselle and The Firebird.  We sometimes saw dancers from the company wandering the halls of our psychology department as they went to appointments to manage their eating disorders with one of our professors, an unfortunate side effect for some dancers.

What is your favorite ballet? Tell about your experiences with dance.

 

 

Right or Wrong

Today marks the anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing on an island near the Bahamas and believing he was in  Asia. My, was he wrong.  No one in my father’s family was ever wrong, so they thought.  They believed they were really French.  They just couldn’t reconcile themselves to be Dutch.  In reality, they are Frisian, but how do you explain what that means? I never expected Ronald Reagan to be elected president. My, was I wrong.

When have you been really, really, right? When have you been really, really, wrong?

Better Living Through Electricity

I notice that today marks the anniversary of the introduction of the electric blanket in 1946. It sold for $39.50.  I suppose that was quite a bit of money for that time. My parents talked about the wonders of rural electrification in the 30’s and 40’s, and how that was such a help for them and their families. I remember that my mother bought an electric blanket in the 1960’s, and what a weird thing it was, with this plastic polyester fabric that had these hard tube-like things inserted in it, and a thermostat that hung out of the edge of it.  I suppose it made sense if the gas you paid to fire your furnace cost more than the electricity that came our of your outlets.

We rely heavily on our weird Swedish mixer for kneading our bread, our Breville food processor for chopping everything imaginable, and our Chinese grinder for coffee and spices.  I suppose that electric blankets were ousted by down comforters for economy and convenience.  We use our down comforter all year.

We are expecting a major winter storm in the next day or two, and I have made sure the remote starter for our gas stove in the basement is operational in case we lose power and I need to heat the house.

What electric appliances do you rely on? How do you keep warm?

Comic Duos

Today is significant in history for the 1927 release of The Second Hundred Years, the first Laurel and Hardy film in which they appeared as a team, as well as the 1942 debuts on radio of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and a weekly show by Abbott and Costello.  It is also the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. I suppose Mrs. O’Leary and her cow are a duo, but they are not terribly comic.

Talk about your favorite duo, comic or not.

Aliens Among Us?

Back to my rant on reactionary headlines. Now I’m seeing news that some videos from quite a few years ago have been leaked from Navy archives, videos that the Navy says are “real”.  They show unidentified objects that have never been explained.  So now aliens exist and are among us according to the headlines.

Personally I’m not willing to say that we are the only life in the universe. As Matthew McConaughey says in the movie, Contact

However, I’m pretty sure that if there is other life in the universe, the human race doesn’t have it within itself to RECOGNIZE that life. I think that our definition of life is too small.  Even our definition of life is based on what we currently believe to be life:  “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants form inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity and continual change preceding death.”

I’m also pretty sure that any kind of life/civilization that can get to Earth is/will be way more advanced than we can imagine. So I’m not really concerned that the Navy video is really aliens – if aliens are here, they are advanced enough to keep themselves hidden from us.  For all we know, aliens do walk among us and we’ll probably never figure it out?

What place in the universe would you like to visit?

Band Memories

I had a real blast from the past this weekend when I tuned into the new MPR Concert Band Stream. I played the bass clarinet all through high school and college. It isn’t a very exciting instrument, but I had a lot of fun playing. I have a few recordings of my college band, but I don’t own many wind band cd’s. Husband was worried it would be all Sousa marches, but even he, that hoity toity cellist, enjoyed the selections we heard. He really liked the emphasis on percussion. We heard lots of Vaughn Williams, Holst, and Percy Grainger pieces for wind band, selections I remember playing,  along with more modern things .  They were very evocative for me, reminding me of emotions associated with the music, and memories of ensemble playing that I hadn’t thought about for a long time.  I do hope there are enough recordings of wind band music to fill up the daily program.

What are your memories of learning an instrument or playing in the band?