Bullets Or The Ballot Box…

2018-01-24_15-52-48I believe that I live in a country that is just as flawed, but in different ways, as most others in the world today.  One of the most serious flaws is that we have an inordinate love of our guns. Our culture is primarily centered around violence. We are four percent of the world’s population, yet own almost fifty percent of the world’s guns.

But there is one characteristic of this country that leaves me with hope and pride and a feeling that we can survive just about anything that the world throws at us.  That characteristic is that we as a nation of people settle our differences at the ballot box instead of with bullets.

I know in the middle of our three hundred year existence that we managed to kill a half million of ourselves over the idea that one human being can own another.  Thankfully that war ended on the moral side of things and even more so that it is the only time we have taken up guns against each other.  We are pretty unique in that regard and all you have to do to see that is look at the history of just about any other country.

Resolving our conflicts with our ballot instead of bullets does result in two and four year periods where we have to put up with our serious mistakes. This is one of those periods. We will start remedying that mistake this coming November and finally drive the unstable narcissist out of office in twenty-four months after that.

Yes, I am extremely proud that we settle our major differences with our ballots instead of with our bullets. That fact alone makes me proud to call myself an American.

Cackle Footer Banner

Just Doesn’t Hack It…

slice8.pngA few months ago I told you that I was moving my InSearchOfAmerica stuff to Flickr. That site now has over 800 pictures and about 8,000 visits of my travels throughout America.  That is pretty good but one thing that is missing are words.  Flickr is primarily a visual media and there is just not much there to support the written word.

2018-07-01_10-44-57So, to eliminate that problem I am doing a little backtracking.  I have decided to use a parallel approach to my ISOA catalog. Starting soon, I will be adding regular ISOA posts back to RJsCorner. The one thing that will be different is that I will limit my pictures on each post to a couple and then give a link to a larger album on Flickr.

I know, a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words but a picture without words describing the story behind it leaves the picture less than it should be.  I think this solution will satisfy the void that Flickr only is leaving me with.  If you have any suggestions on this topic please let me know.

Cackle Footer Banner

Madison Regatta

I took a uRV trip to Madison Indiana for the annual Madison Regatta this past weekend. This is the first time I have been there so it was on my bucket list.  I am generally not a powerboat racing fan but it was neat to see these guys go 100+ mph across the water. If you want to see more pics, check out my Flickr Album.

IMG_6158.jpg

IMG_6185.jpg

Santa Fe on Flickr

Just a short post to tell you that I just added a Santa Fe album to my Flickr portfolio. Click here to see it.

Santa Fe has become my favorite city InSearchOfAmerica. It is flush with history, heritage especially things Native-American and Spanish.

Santa Fe-18

Nantucket…

Banner ISOA  I made an “executive” decision a while back to use Flickr as the residence of my future InsearchOfAmerica photo arrays. Just added a new photo album there. If you ever wondered what the island of Nantucket looks like click here. We were there in 1999. We knew that would be our last year living on the east coast so Yvonne insisted we go to Nantucket so she could buy a lightship basket to add to her collection.

The island is not as famous as Martha’s Vineyard but still had its share of multimillionaire’s summer cottages and thousands of small shops. The disappointing thing about the island was the number of cars there. Every street was clogged with them.  Maybe I am spoiled by Mackinac Island where no cars are allowed

Nantucket_-5.jpg

On The Road – Clifty Falls State Park

2018-02-01_14-56-42.png

Clifty Falls State Park in southern Indiana is one of my favorites. The campgrounds are well laid out and maintained and the hiking trails are manageable for this senior.  And of course, the park is a mecca for photographers. As is my custom on my micro-RV trips I had breakfast at the inn after a night in the campgrounds.

Being close to Madison Indiana, the campground makes an enjoyable base for a multi-day stay and that is what I did. I enjoyed a day in the park, another in Madison, and third day at St Meinrad Archabbey near Ferdinand. If you are a Catholic, and even if you aren’t, the archabbey is so peaceful it would be worth the trip.

It seems that most people, including me, generally think of Indiana as a “travel through” State and kind of boring.  But if you take the time to stop and see some of these sites you may just change your mind about that.  At least for a little while. 🙂

Below are some pictures of this trip for your enjoyment. As usual, click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view.

Land Of Enchantment

For this Saturday’s artsy post, I want to present to you a picture from one of my favorite States. I am presently writing a detailed post about New Mexico but wanted to give you one of my favorite pictures of Santa Fe. It has been my desktop background for several months now:

Santa Fe.jpg

 

Cleveland Treasures

For this Artsy Saturday, I wanted to give you some pictures that I see as the quintessential Cleveland.  I am not a sports nut by any stretch of the imagination so their well-known teams just aren’t “Cleveland” to me.  The Cleveland Clinic is a crown jewel for the city but I will talk about that in a future post.

When I visited the city a few years ago I discovered that it has a much more diverse population then I imagine. Part of that is ethnic neighborhoods. The restaurant sign below is in the Italian district.

The city center includes the Terminal Tower constructed in 1926. These fantastic windows are located there.

Some cities “modernize” and throw away these types of things. Cleveland rightfully celebrates them.

ClevelandCleveland-2

Celebrating the Shuttles

On July 20, 1969, when I was working the midnight to noon shift at a local gas station to earn money for my last year in college. The owner had brought in a small black and white TV so I could watch a historic event.  That was when a man put his first step on the moon.  From that day forward I was hooked on space.  It is hard to believe that the computer I am now typing on has more power than all the computers on that spacecraft.

The space shuttles were an important part of the NASA program so I want to celebrate them with this post.  These pictures were taken in 2012 during our last venture into Washington DC.

 

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

Nothing Lives..

For these “InSearchOfAmerica” pics I want to take you to the “Forty Mile Desert” leading into the Great Salt Lake.  The forty mile road was as straight as an arrow and there was absolutely nothing living there. It was an eerie place.

Salt Lake

 

Salt Lake-2.jpg

West Virginia, Mountain Mama..

I want to do an extended post on some of the States I have visited in order to get to know them better. I will start this project out with the State I really know very little about and that is West Virginia.  I have been through it a few couple of times but have never spent much time there.  My initial source of information about WV is from the old John Denver song, thus the title of the post. Here are some of the lyrics from that song:

Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.
Life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze.
Country roads, take me home to the place I belong. 
West Virginia, mountain mamma, take me home, country roads. 
WV is a picturesque State that seems to have been left in time from another age. My first thoughts of the State have always been coal mines and company towns where backward-educated people allowed coal mine owners to use them as slave labor in a very unhealthy environment.  I’m sure the folks living there disagree with my vision, I wouldn’t expect it otherwise.
Here are some of what I learned about the State in my recent studies:
2018-01-01_10-21-14.png
  • The biggest city in the State is less than 51,000 inhabitants. That is very small compared to all the States surrounding it.
  • Family income is about $43,000 and is the 48th State for personal income. The national median income is $59,000.
  • WV is one of the few States that has been consistently losing population for some time now.  One reason is low birthrates. The other is a constant youth migration to other areas.
  • The State is 95% white which makes it one of the least diverse in the nation.
  • 50% of its citizens are Evangelicals which of course accounts for the wide margin of the Trump victory there.
  • Less than 20% of the population has a college degree. It is the least educated State in the country.
  • The State, according to a CNBC study ranks at the bottom as being the worst State for business. There are practically no major businesses besides coal companies. The number one employer is Walmart and coal miners make up only about 2% of the total households.

These are the factual things I learned. I am sorry that it is not more encouraging. There just doesn’t seem to be much going for the State. I always thought that Alabama and Mississippi were at the bottom of most of these statistics, so it surprised me to see WV there in too many cases.

Despite all these things, West Virginia is indeed a beautiful State. The Shenandoah Valley, which is mainly in Virginia, is one of the most beautiful areas in the eastern US. That accounts for tourism being one of the biggest attractions.  Maybe West Virginia needs to go back to the John Denver song and concentrate on their beauty to bring higher paying jobs to the region?  I want to end this post on a positive level by saying that the West Virginia State Museum located in the State capital complex is one of the best I have ever visited. 

Here are some pictures I took there and in the countryside.

 

 

 

 

Slavery..

Banner ISOA   I ran across a rather startling picture at the Andrew Johnson Historic site in northern Tennessee this year.  Before I talk about that, I was thoroughly amazed at how Johnson’s hometown managed to spin the story of him to make him appear to be a heroic figure which is very contrary to most public opinion.

I guess I have not come across too many photos showing how intrinsic slavery was to the southern States.   This picture, according to the legend below it, was taken in Atlanta in 1864 just after the Emancipation Proclamation.  The “Auction & Negro Sales” store was in the same row with all the storefronts.  Sadly selling human beings was just the way it was in those days.

Slavery Auction - Atlanta.jpg

If you want to see more details click on the picture for a larger view.

On-The-Road – Studebaker Museum

I had been in South Bend Indiana a couple of times in the past few years before I realized that it was the home of Studebaker car manufacturing.  So, I thought it was worth another trip to that city. It was the last trip I took for the 2017 season.

While Studebaker was never considered a mainstream car it was a well made and totally Hoosier. The Avanti model has gotten quite a calling now and is sought out by many collectors.

 

Circle Of Life…

We went to Disney World in the Spring of 2016 for our 30th wedding anniversary. At least for me, it was a very memorable experience.  My wife took the idea that Disney World was for kids and was therefore determined to not have a good time.  Unfortunately, for the most part, she accomplished that. But that is another story I guess.
We spent five days at a Disney resort and visited all the parks, or at least I did. One of the most memorable events I went to was “Lion King”. The production was way beyond anything I had imagined.  Being deaf the songs didn’t come through but the atmosphere was almost overwhelming even without the music and words.
It was not until almost a year later that I came across the premiere song “Circle of Life”. Here is a portion of the lyrics:
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the Sun
There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
Some say eat or be eaten
Some say live and let live
But all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give
The song was written by Elton John and has become very famous. The Broadway play is now entering its twentieth year and has generated more revenue than all the Star Wars movies combined.  I particularly like the words “You should never take more than you give”.  That should be a guiding principle in all our lives.
My brain no longer recognizes the sound of musical instruments and most songs I remember are mainly just words and cadence but that is enough to have an impact on my life. I still cling to the folk songs of my youth, or at least the words and memories.
To close out this post I want to give you a gallery of some of the pictures I took of the Disney World version of Lion King.
As usual click on any image to see a larger slideshow view. 

On The Road – Ft William, Thunderbay Canada

2017-12-06_10-44-27.pngWith this post, I am going to try to add more on-the-road trip reports here to RJsCorner. I thought this would be a good project for the 2017-18 winter months. The subject of this post is Ft. William in Thunderbay Ontario Canada which is on the north side of Lake Superior. It is in my top five historic sites I have ever visited.

Here is a little background on Ft. William from Wikipedia:

Fort William Historical Park is known as a living history site. Numerous historic buildings have been reconstructed to show the range of the post, and costumed historical interpreters recreate Fort William of the year 1816. Fort William was then not primarily a settlement, but a central transport depot within the now-defunct North West Company’s network of fur trade outposts. Due to its central role, Fort William was much larger, with more facilities than the average fur trade post. Reflecting this, Fort William Historical Park contains 42 reconstructed buildings, a reconstructed Ojibwa village, and a small farm.

Historical interpreters represent the many roles and cultures involved in the fur trade, including Scottish fur traders (people of capital), who often took Native American wives and had their families living with them; French Canadian voyageurs and workers, who also had wives from among the Natives; and native hunters and trappers. The native people in the Fort William area are predominantly Ojibwa and are represented accordingly among the interpreters.

As I have mentioned before I favor fur trading forts as opposed to the military ones. They just seem to more accurately reflect the culture of the times that they represent. The military forts emphasize the battles that took place there.

Fort William is well worth the trip for anyone who wants to understand the cultural heritage of North America and this re-creation is top notch. Here is a rather extensive menagerie of pictures of the fort.

As usual click on any pic to bring up a larger slideshow view.