Wednesday Reads: Like the Dormouse said, feed your head …

opalized woodGood Morning!

It’s been a horrible few weeks and I’m in for some things that are interesting and will feed my brain for a change.  For example, That’s a  beautiful piece of opalized wood providing those rainbow colors and it’s selling for around $7000 if you’ve just gotta have it.

I’m not sure you’ve read how the excavations at Jamestown have been going recently but they’ve found some interesting graves.  (Yeah, you know me and my thing for old graves.)   They’ve discovered four bodies and one very odd box.

When his friends buried Capt. Gabriel Archer here about 1609, they dug his grave inside a church, lowered his coffin into the ground and placed a sealed silver box on the lid.

This English outpost was then a desperate place. The “starving time,” they called it. Scores had died of hunger and disease. Survivors were walking skeletons, besieged by Indians, and reduced to eating snakes, dogs and one another.

The tiny, hexagonal box, etched with the letter “M,” contained seven bone fragments and a small lead vial, and it probably was an object of veneration, 20150727_JAMESTOWN_imagecherished as disaster closed in on the colony.

On Tuesday, more than 400 years after the mysterious box was buried, Jamestown Rediscovery and the Smithsonian Institution announced that archaeologists have found it, as well as the graves of Archer and three other VIPs.

“It’s the most remarkable archaeology discovery of recent years,” said James Horn, president of Jamestown Rediscovery, which made the find. “It’s a huge deal.”

Boys in the BoatSo, my brother-in-law is retiring on his next birthday and my sister has a great gift idea.  She’s getting him a Kindle and asking us to tell her what book we’d like to load up there for him.  I’m torn between 1Q84 by Haruki Marukami, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole, and Fooled by Randomness by Nassem Nicholas Taleb.  I had to ask what others are offering up too.  Doctor Daughter and Doctor Son-in-Law wanted all the Game of Thrones books.  Youngest Daughter chose Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  The book that was offered up the most times was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  So, now I’ve decided I have to read those last two.  What book would you offer up for a newly retired guy with a lot of time on his hands?

I just learned about the group of unlikely working class boys from Washington that beat all kinds of uppity crusty rowers and the NAZIs to win the 1936 Olympic Rowing medal.

On the morning of Aug. 14, many people in Seattle woke up excited to catch the regatta’s final event live on CBS. Those listeners had a vested interest in the race. The United States team, a crew from the University of Washington, came very close to missing the trip to Berlin. Immediately following the Huskies’ victory in the Olympic trials, the team was informed by the U.S. Olympic Committee that it needed to come up with $5,000 to pay its way to Berlin. Seeing an opening, Henry Penn Burke—chairman of the Olympic Rowing Committee and a University of Pennsylvania alum—offered to send his beloved Quakers in place of the Huskies. The sports editors of Seattle’s top two newspapers, outraged on behalf of the local heroes, enlisted newsboys to solicit donations while hawking papers. With American Legion posts and Chambers of Commerce throughout the state chipping in, enough money was collected in three days to send the team to Berlin. As a consequence of the funding drive, remembered Gordon Adam, who rowed in the three-seat, “people in the city felt that they were stockholders in the operation.”

The Washington crew had been rowing together for less than five months prior to the Olympics. Coach Al Ulbrickson had originally named a different group of rowers as the varsity at the start of the college season. The second boat, made up of strong but inexperienced oarsmen, knew they rowed faster than the first string and was angered by the slight. After the varsity shoved off the dock for their first practice, the angry eight carried their boat to the water silently. “We were standing about a little bit after we put the oars in the oarlock,” Moch explained to me the year before he died. “Somebody said, ‘You know this thing is going to fly.’ ”

The teammates soon devised a mantra. Quietly, they would repeat the letters L-G-B. When asked the meaning, they would explain it stood for “Let’s get better.” What it really meant was “Let’s go to Berlin.”

You can read more about the rowing team and the 1936 Olympics which is best known for Jessie Owens’ amazing performance.

Hillary Clinton has taken a stand against Big Oil and the Koch Brothers in Iowa.  Go Hillary!!HIllary

Hillary Clinton vowed to take away big oil’s subsidies and use the money for clean energy while campaigning in Iowa.

During a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, Clinton laid out her vision for combating climate change by encouraging clean energy technology.

In the process, she dropped a bomb on the Koch brothers:

We will make America the world’s clean energy superpower.

We will develop and deploy the clean energy technologies of the future. Transform our grid to give Americans more control over the energy they produce and consume. And yes, I will defend President Obama’s Clean Power Plant—Clean Power Plan against attacks from Republicans and their corporate backers.

We’ll launch a Clean Energy Challenge that supports and partners with states, cities, and rural communities that are ready to lead on clean energy.

We’ll stop the giveaways to big oil companies and extend, instead, tax incentives for clean energy, while making them more cost-effective for both taxpayers and producers.

We’ll support—and improve—the Renewable Fuel Standard that has been such a success for Iowa and much of rural America.



The happiest news I’ve had for awhile is the return of Bloom County. 

Fans of the well-loved comic strip Bloom County are celebrating this morning, after cartoonist Berkeley Breathed issued the first panels of his satirical strip in decades.

Breathed won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on Bloom County back in 1987; two years later, he quit producing it. On Sunday, he posted a photo of himself to Facebook in which he sat in front of a computer screen with an empty cartoon template titledBloom County 2015.

“A return after 25 years. Feels like going home,” he wrote.

And on Monday, one of Breathed’s central characters, Opus, awoke from his long slumber with a question:

“That was some nap!! How long was I out, Milo?”

“25 years.”

Breathed released the new strip via Facebook. The most popular comment on his post seems to sum up many fans’ response: “And suddenly the world is back in alignment. Thank you Sir.”

Yes.  Thank you Sir.  I’ll have another.

So, this is a totally open thread because I’m probably having another challenging day while you’re reading this.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

17 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Like the Dormouse said, feed your head …”

  1. joanelle says:

    I loved the Boys in the Boat, the Invention of Wings, the Nightingale, the Orphan Train, but I don’t know your brother-in-law so I don’t know if any of these would prove interesting to him – hope this is a better day ☺️

  2. janicen says:

    My latest book recommendation is “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. If you like WWII stuff, and who doesn’t?, this one is excellent telling the story of the war and how ordinary people in France were affected. It’s the first WWII novel I’ve read which tells the story of the war from the perspective of two women and how they navigated the incredible hardship and pressure, and what they did to survive and protect those they loved. It’s really well written too.

  3. janicen says:

    The story of the Olympic rowers is truly inspiring! I love that they crowd sourced the funding for the trip to Berlin!

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Remember when Howard Dean lost his bid for the presidency when he let out a “loud whoop” for winning votes in his quest for the White House? Based on that alone he was soon gone as a candidate.

    Fast forward to today and we have Donald Trump accused in court documents of marital rape, comments dismissing John McCain’s war record, using words like “loser, stupid, liars” in describing his opponents and his non stop bragging about his “awesome” abilities, wealth, and intelligence and this only drives up his ratings within the GOP. Unimaginable.

    What is wrong with people when even considering this blowhard’s chances of holding the highest office in the land and crowning this sexist, racist egotistical crazy as the number one presidential candidate. Yes, it is entertaining to a certain degree however it is dangerous to even begin to envision this man as “the leader of the free world”.

    He has proven to be a liar. His treatment of women is abhorrent. He has yet to offer one solution to the issues at hand and is allowed to ramble on and on taking shots at his opponents and yet is leading in the polls.

    Something as insignificant as a man letting out a war whoop in celebrating a victory was enough to toss him aside yet this lying sack of manure is far ahead of his opponents based on his egregious behavior and finds his supporters referring to his behavior and statements as “truth telling”.

    American voters get what they deserve and heaven help us all if this guy succeeds.

    • dakinikat says:

      All the Republican candidates say perfectly insane things daily. It’s disheartening to see one of the two major parties go completely off the rails. They say horribly racist and misogynist things. They spew economic nonsense. They basically represent religious extremism. Huckabee said the Iran deal was sending Israel to the ovens. We never had issues with any of these countries until a bunch of Europeans overthrew Palestine with the original tactics of terrorists. Why can’t we divorce religious craziness from our foreign policies? He will be the first person wanting Israel blown up if the ever rebuild that silly old Temple on that Muslim holy place.

    • NW Luna says:

      I don’t understand it either. Trump and all his Republican cronies are full of hate and they utterly lack any insight into what to do to make things better for Americans, excepting of course the rich. Either they are clueless, or they don’t care, or — more likely — both.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Thanks for the info on Jamestown – intriguing.