My mom has been sending me these "Fun Facts" postcards for probably a year or so now. I've been enjoying them all, but this one really stood out.
I remember hearing about "Freedom Fries" back in 2003, but Liberty Sandwiches was a new one for me. So I decided to research some other historical name changes to see if I could learn something new. And I did! Apparently WWI was the heyday of renaming things to less German sounding things.
• German measles were dubbed Liberty Measles.
• Dachshunds became "Liberty Pups."
• Bratwursts were renamed Hot Dogs.
• Salisbury Steak turned into Meat Loaf.
• Sauerkraut was known as Liberty Cabbage.
• And Berlin, Michigan became Marne, Michigan.
I got this card from my Dad!
"This historic aerial photo shows the site of what was once Southern Railway Company's largest steam locomotive servicing facility. Begun in 1896 at a point roughly half-way between Washington and Atlanta, Spencer Shops and the town of Spencer, North Carolina were named for Samuel Spencer, the first President of Southern Railway. During the shop's heyday, over 2,500 people worked at the facility, providing almost all the employment for Spencer and the towns nearby."
I love this close up penguin pic that came to me from China via Postcrossing!
I recently received a great Postcrossing card from Japan that had a number of bird stamps and stickers on the back, a few of which are shown here.
Resolution: To read 50 books and 10 graphic novels in 2017 for a total of 60.
Status: I added 13 books to my list in May, bringing the total to 76. Twenty of those are graphic novels, so that means I have read 56 regular books, thus officially defeating my resolution for the year. I suppose my updated resolution will be to go for a hundred, but if I keep up my current pace, I'll have that easily beat before summer is done. So at this point, I don't know if I have another goal for the end of the year. Perhaps next month.
Note: This month I also finished the last of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, which I started on last year.
64. The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
65. Mr. Monk and the New Lieutenant by Hy Conrad
66. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
67. Deadpool Killustrated by Cullen Bunn
68. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley
69. MASH by Richard Hooker
70. Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James
71. Arrival (Stories of Your Life and Others) by Ted Chiang
72. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale
73. Deadpool: Too Soon? by Joshua Corin
74. The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
75. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
76. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll
In other news, as you may have noticed from the gap in postings, my resolution to post on my blog everyday is shot. I am also not going to worry about my resolution to cook new recipes. I will continue to do both things, I just won't be held captive to the whims of January Doug.
On Memorial Day weekend my family hiked the Sequalitchew Creek Trail in DuPont, Washington. I actually learned quite a bit on the trip, the first of which is that DuPont is named for the E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company, which built an explosive manufacturing plant there in the early 1900s. The explosives produced in DuPont were used in construction projects like the Panama Canal and the Grand Coulee Dam, as well as for munitions for both World Wars.
From one of the trail signs: "Locomotives pushed the dynamite laden flatcars in front, providing the engineer a full view of his dangerous load. A typical loaded dynamite train operating down the Sequalitchew Creek Line consisted of a Plymouth locomotive, a 'spacer' or idler flatcar, two powder flatcars equipped with air brakes and two maintenance long flatcars.
The weight of the train's cars loaded with 58,320 pounds of explosives totaled 51 tons, which had to be eased down the long grade by the little Plymouth engine. The chance that a runaway train might make it out onto the wharf was remote due to the sharp curve just beyond the tunnel under the Burlington Northern dike. However an additional preventive measure in the form of a derail track ran up the hillside near the bottom of the grade.
From the wharf at sea level to the bluff overlooking Nisqually Reach the 1.30-mile climb could be classified as 'mountain railroad' due to its steep average grade of 2.91%."
Once we arrived at the bottom, it didn't take me too long to wade out into the Puget Sound to take a 360 degree photo. I snapped a few other pics too, which I'll post below. We also saw an Amtrack train pass by on top of the Burlington Northern Dike. All in all, it was a great little hike.
In high school, my best friend introduced me to a lot of music. One song that really stuck with me was US3’s Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia). It was irresistibly different from our usual mix of hair metal and Top 40. Little did I know at the time that it was a remix of the Herbie Hancock tune "Cantaloupe Island", or that I would fall so hard for jazz later in life. So it pleased me to no end to hear Cantaloop recently during Midday Jazz on KNKX. It was an instrumental version which I had not heard before – although it still had some of the skat in it that is so fun to sing along with. And, as we did in high school, instead of singing the word “Jazz!” I substituted my friend’s name.
“Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades—words, words, but they hold the horror of the world.”
The first third of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front reminded me immediately of Richard Hooker’s novel MASH. MASH is one of those books I like better than its TV show, much like the Mr. Monk book series, but that’s probably a topic for another blog post.
Early on, it’s the gallows humor that really stands out in Remarque’s novel. When the soldiers are behind the front lines waiting to head into the trenches, we see them making due with the cards they’ve been dealt, challenging authority, and getting up to as much mischief as possible while the insanity of war rains down around them.
“At school nobody ever taught us how to light a cigarette in a storm of rain, nor how a fire could be made with wet wood—nor that it is best to stick a bayonet in the belly because there it doesn’t get jammed, as it does in the ribs.”
Once the soldiers get to the front lines, the tone of the book gets much darker, and the gruesome details of the war are laid before us in horrific detail. Take this bit, from a section describing the “corpse rats” that plague the trenches.
“In the adjoining sector they attacked two large cats and a dog, bit them to death and devoured them.”
All Quiet and MASH are both excellent books, and would make for a very good comparison study. I’ve added MASH to my list of books to reread this year. I’ve only read it once, but it currently has a spot on my list of favorite books of all time.
“One morning two butterflies play in front of our trench. They are brimstone-butterflies, with red spots on their yellow wings. What can they be looking for here? There is not a plant nor a flower for miles. They settle on the teeth of a skull.”
This great card came to me from a Postcrosser in Yaroslavl, Russia! The back says, in part, "In Russia, a stork is happiness. If he arrived and sat near the house, then soon there will be children in the family."
I was very excited to receive these two stamps from Singapore's Vanishing Trades series on a postcard recently! I have another in the series that I received almost exactly a year ago. Now I can add Cage Maker and Lantern Maker to my collection!
I bought this card recently to send to a lucky Postcrosser. After I purchased it, I read on the back that the mountain featured was Mount Baker. I had assumed it was Mount Rainier. I've never been to Mount Baker, and seeing how far north it is, I don't think I'll be visiting it anytime soon. Maybe one day though.
This little tender was built in 1883 and came to me via postcard from Bremervörde, Germany. The train even has my initials on it!