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.

 

bloomcounty

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?