Museum of Appalachia

 

Scan 1Banner ISOA  On my most recent trip InSearchOfAmerica I visited the Museum of Appalachia. I was not expecting too much but was blown away by what I found. It is a museum like no other I have visited. The totally unique thing about this place was that all the building and most of the antiques were identified by the person who owned them and included stories about their lives.  It is almost as if you could picture them living in the buildings and using the instruments and such.

 

I took literally a hundred photos of the place. Here are a few to entice you to visit. The museum is located in Clinton TN in the northeast corner of the State.

 

 

 

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view

 

Ode to The Hardware Store

I am old enough to remember hardware stores like the one below. They were a big part of my growing up as I found myself fascinated by all the things and wanted to know what they did.

This hardware store is still in service in a small town in Indiana.  There aren’t any Lowes or Home Depots near so maybe it will survive a few more years.

Old Time Hardware Store.jpg

Tongue In Cheek..

I am going to do a little ‘explainin’ on this post about the foundations for RJsCorner. Everyone knows that a good house has to have a good foundation in order to survive. Since RJsCorner has been going on for almost nine years now and has over 3,000 posts it must have a pretty good foundation, even if it is not mentioned very often.

I started RJsCorner primarily because I had an overwhelming desire to write about my view of the world. I have always loved writing but had never tried to do it around a theme. I needed something as a common thread throughout my future posts. That something turned out to be based around my biggest hero/mentor/inspiration in life. His name was Will Rogers. He died almost 15 years before I was born so I really only knew him by his words and stories about him. If you do a search for “Will Rogers” in my search box at the top of each page you will find over a hundred posts about Will.

Will Rogers was a very prolific writer. Here are some words about him from the back of one of my favorite books:

2017-10-11_10-00-37.pngWill Rogers “was” America. Part Cherokee Indian and former cowboy, he captivated audiences around the world with sparkling gems of wisdom cloaked in gentle and uproarious country wit..

A simple, plain-spoken man, he was the voice of a nation during the ’20s and ’30s. Movie star, vaudeville headliner, radio commentator, his views and observations were syndicated daily and weekly in over 600 newspapers across the country.

Here is the essential Will Rogers — the story of his remarkable career, from Oklahoma “cowpuncher” to international star . . . and the warm, knowing and hilarious philosophies of the man embodied the heart and soul of the nation.

Will Rogers was a very prolific writer. He had a lot to say about the ‘human condition’ in America during his years. He tackled on a myriad of topics but by far the one he wrote most about was politics.  He described politics of his time as “applesauce”. It’s hard to find the original source of this term but to me it means that the political process takes something that is good and wholesome and pulverizes it into an unrecognizable mush.

His most famous quote was the title of the book above. He wrote some pretty critical words but they were always with respect for the subject at hand and with a dose of humor.

The descriptions of Will Rogers is quite varied. Some call him a humorist-social commentator, some a humorist-philosopher, and some a satirist. His words were primarily with a “Tongue In Cheek” spirit. For those of you who might have a different view from me on that phrase here is a pretty good definition:

When a statement is “tongue in cheek” it is ironic, slyly humorous; it is not meant to be taken seriously, however it’s sarcasm is subtle.

Though not meant to be taken seriously, it is not overt joking or kidding around, it is “gently poking fun”. A “tongue in cheek” statement may have a double meaning, some sort of innuendo or is witty in some way, particularly to the speaker. The tone or the context of the statement may make it to be taken seriously by the listener.

Here at RJsCorner I try to always keep Will’s philosophy of writing in mind.  Some who read my words just take them too literally when they are primarily intended as ‘tongue in cheek’.

These are indeed dark times for America but they are not the only time there have been dark clouds.  We will get through them as we have in the past, if we only don’t take them too serious.  In that vein I will close out this post with one of my favorite quotes from Will.

Do the best you can but don’t take life too serious.

That’s darn good advise for our times if you ask me….

Red America & Blue America (after the divorce)..

If you haven’t already read the first two posts in this series I would highly recommend you do that now because this one won’t make much sense if you don’t.

Red & Blue America – Part 1 

Red & Blue America – Part 2

Last time I promised you a settled map of what Red America and Blue America might look like under the “My View of the World” plan. Here it is:

background.png

I know, I know, Blue America kinda looks like a gerrymandered congressional map but it was the best I can do on such short notice.  Maybe if we assigned some committee to study it further they could do better. On second thought “design by committee” would probably take a decade and still be undecided. Since I am the sole proprietor of RJsCorner we will just leave it as it is.

2017-10-02_12-48-33.pngLet’s do some studying on what this means. Starting with the GDP it looks like Blue America will have about 75% of the GDP, leaving Red America with 25%.  Since Red America will likely immediately eliminate taxes, at least on the rich I just don’t know where their funding will come from except maybe borrowing or by printing more money. Blue America on the other hand since there military spending will be aligned with much of the rest of the world will have an abundance of cash for infrastructure improvement and such. It’s not likely they will want to reduce taxes so they will have to look for other opportunities to spend it.

2017-10-01_11-49-28.pngOk, How about population?  The weird map shown to the right here is proportioned by population. I don’t know if you see anything too obvious here but the blue does seem to overwhelm the red. So again,  Blue American even with Florida which RJsPlan gave them will be about twice the size for Red when you consider population. Maybe that is a good thing for them. Except for Florida which they got through trade there just aren’t many people in the red states. Since they will likely shut down social security and all subsidized health care they will probably lose citizens who migrate blue for those things.

Let’s  finish up here by looking at the top priorities of the two countries to see how they might fair.

Red America – I don’t think they will have enough taxes to keep up their military spending without, GOD FORBID, raising taxes. What will they do? They need a BIG army to feel safe especially now since Blue America almost surrounds them.

Blue America – They will quickly turn to a single payer healthcare system that might cost a little more will be much more efficient. Blue America will take their lessons from the successes of the world and not have to reinvent everything themselves.

In the final analysis, I don’t think Red America will be a very good place to live.  But for the most part that won’t be much different from today.  But, at least both red and blue may then be able to get things done that they want.

Red & Blue America is starting to sound like a good idea….

Ok, enough of this silly dreaming for now…. Back to this dark Trumpian world…at least for a little while…

In Case You Wondered…

Being a regular viewer of the cable TV show American Pickers I am very aware that people collect just about everything in the world. Being as how the USA is driven by consumer spending it’s not surprising that we have some of the biggest collections in the world.

In case you were wondering there is even a museum in Madison Wisconsin dedicated to a mustard collection. Who would have thought!  But it is quite a fascinating place to visit if you are in the northern hinterland.  Here is a sampling of what they have.

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view

 

Green Bay Railroad Museum – Part 2

ISOA Banner    Last week I showed you some of the amazing art at the Green Bay Railroad Museum. This week I will focus on the mighty engines and such.  Here are the pics for your browsing pleasure.

As usual click on any image to see a larger slideshow view

Hinterland Beauty

ISOA Banner   For this artsy Saturday I wanted to give you a simple picture that I took about ten years ago while traveling through the middle of our country. I don’t really recall exactly where it was taken; it could be almost anywhere.  But I think it shows the beauty of the country. The general saying is that 50% of the people live within 50 miles of a coastline. While the oceans are beautiful, those folks are missing another type of beauty if they don’t visit the hinterland once in a while.

Hinterland Beauty.jpg

Green Bay Railroad Museum

ISOA Banner Yes, I know that the heyday of the railroad is long past but I am one of those who believe they will return again in all their magnificence sometime in the future.  They are just so much more eco friendly than the millions of interstate trucks that currently dominate our highway system.

The point of this post is about a recent visit to the Green Bay Railroad Museum. It is a massive place displays dozens of the giant engines of the past. If you are in the area it is well worth a visit.

Here are some pics for you. This group is of the art work and some of the artistically inspired photos I took. The big engines and such will come next week.

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view

Le Clair – Antique Archeology

ISOA Banner   We visited the Memphis Antique Archeology store in 2016 and a couple of months ago we managed to get to the original store in Le Clair Iowa. Having a DVR we watch this show when we are eating dinner.  It has become a tradition here in the Walters homestead.

The Le Clair store is much smaller than I imagined it to be and of course none of the stars of the show were there but it was worth the visit.  We stayed the night at a hotel facing the Mississippi River and thoroughly enjoyed the small town. It has some very unique places to eat.

Here are some pictures of the store, another post will come soon to give you more details of the town itself.

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view

Serene..

For this artsy Saturday I want to put up a picture from my many visits to northern Wisconsin.  I don’t really remember exactly where this one was taken as it was in 1998 and there was no GPS at that time. But to me it absolutely reeks of serenity.

Northern Wisconsin.jpg

A Follow Up…

Given my last post was about the “repenter” of Times Square I thought I would follow it up with a quite different version.

click on any image to see a larger slideshow version

 

Looking back on the posts this week it is interesting to see how they are all linked by common threads.  I definitely wasn’t disappointed by the crowds and revelry on Times Square that Saturday night. 🙂

Playing With Light…

Light.jpgI just returned from a four-day road trip InSearchOfAmerica to the Chicago and Rockford IL area. It was quite a trip and made up for the very disappointing one that preceded it.  One site I just came upon ended up one of the most enjoyable.  It was at the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. The special exhibit on display was from the artist Bruce Munro.   From his book that I purchased it stated that he captures light based themes. I will be talking more about that in some coming posts but for now I wanted to give you an idea of what that description means.

I became very fascinated by the idea of using light as primary artistic medium and hopefully will be trying my hands at it in the coming months.

The one picture below is kind of my version of playing with light. The octagonal shapes and sparkles are from a Munro picture on the wall and all the other things in the picture are actually reflections off the picture glass of the other objects in the room.  Kind of neat, if you ask me..

Light-2.jpg

Eerie Place..

On my recent road trip I came across an eerie place.  I try to avoid Interstate highways whenever possible so that means that I come across the “bones” of America so to speak. By that I mean towns and other places that have been left to the ravages of time.  I will admit that sometimes I get depressed by taking this route across America. To see towns that are now not more than a couple of occupied houses surrounded by abandoned buildings. If I understand it right that is where most of Mr. Trump’s supporters come from.  But that is a different story…

When I drove by the site just outside a small town in northern Illinois I took a double take. Up near the road was what appeared to be a hundred year old abandoned mansion. That is somewhat unusual for an area like that but what really got my attention is that it was surrounded by razor coiled wire. I hit the brakes and did a U-turn to investigate. It turns out that I had discovered the Dwight Illinois Correctional Center.

Here is what Wikipedia says about that:

Dwight Correctional Center was an Illinois Department of Corrections maximum security prison for adult females. It is located at 23813 E. 3200 North Road in Nevada Township, unincorporated Livingston County, Illinois, near Dwight. Prior to the 2011 abolition of the state death penalty,  Dwight Correctional Center housed the State of Illinois female death row…

The prison was originally opened on November 24, 1930 as the Oakdale Reformatory for Women. It sits on 100 acres of land. The facility was closed at the end of March 2013.

In the last four years time is starting to take over that abandoned facility. Weeds are growing everywhere and tree limbs are scattered on the ground. Well that is enough of a description. Let’s get on to the pictures…

Click on any picture to see an enlarged slideshow view

Old Time Hardware Store..

Believe it or not the pictures below were not taken fifty years or more ago but just six months or so ago. I am old enough to remember visiting a few hardware stores like this one when I was a kid in the 1950s. I think that is where I inherited my fascination with nut & bolts and such.

Hardware Story-2.jpg

I don’t know how long this store can survive but I hope it lasts forever.  It doesn’t hurt that it is in a pretty rural area of Indiana. 🙂

Hardware Story.jpg

Galena…

slice7  I have visited Galena Illinois four times since the picture below was taken in 1990. The town just seems frozen in time to when U.S. Grant occasionally lived there.

Galena

Since the picture was recorded on film and then rescanned it doesn’t have the resolution to be a large scale photo but that doesn’t reduce it beauty.  It was taken in the early morning sun from Grant Park which is across the river from the town center .  Now onto my story about Galena.

My wife is a gamer, not the online kind but she does spend hours each week with her “computer friends” from a DVD of card and board games.  I think she has come to know those characters better than she does me.  Another part of her gaming is playing slot machines, so we occasionally spend some time in casinos.  Although they are not my favorite places I usually play $5 at a time and then call it quits.  It so happened that the last time we were in Dubuque Iowa casino I put my $5 in and it returned  over $400 in winnings!  To celebrate we decided to stop once again in Galena on our way home.

Galena-2As usual we spent hours walking the town and enjoying its scenic beauty.  I have probably taken 200 pictures of the town and yet never run out of something new to photograph each time I go. When we stopped at a high end gallery and saw the print “Galena Winter” I knew where a good portion of my winnings would go.  That picture has resided on our wall for a few years now.