Longevity

Don’t you wonder what secrets to a long and happy life Forrest Fenn might share?  (In addition to being extremely fortunate in the outcome of his flying career, I mean.)

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100 years ago

So, I asked him.  Diet?  Exercise?  Are you some sort of vegan?

His response:

This old lady was asked that question. She said she drank 4 Dr. Peppers a day since she was 8 years old. She said her doctors promised she would die at an early age if she didn’t stop. She said, “I’m 104 years-old, still drinking 4 Dr. Peppers a day and my doctors are all dead.”

Wiki-link — Dr Pepper   Interesting:  they sued Coca-Cola back in the fifties.

Once, at the county fair, I tossed rings and won a couple large, glass bottles of Dr Pepper.  I had to give them to my brother because I couldn’t stand the flavor;  tasted too much like prune juice?    Like a lot of other fine things, I acquired a taste for it later in life.

Happy hunting, all!

 

 

Portal

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I won’t be making it to this year’s Fennboree, but if I could, I would take a moment in Santa Fe to get a look at an ancient wrought iron gate on East Palace Avenue, the site where dozens if not hundreds of scientists, mathematicians, and physicists, after meeting with gatekeeper Dorothy McKibben, disappeared from sight beginning in April 1943.P1000401

(Well, first I might stop at that French pastry shop at La Fonda where Amy bought those gorgeous treats for Forrest’s book signing last September.)

Said portal transported those invited to the site of the Los Alamos Ranch School on a mesa in New Mexico.  You probably know (part of) the rest of the story, but for me, I learned a lot from a book called Bomb, by Steve Sheinkin, my newest favorite non-fiction author.  Wow.  He used to write textbooks for schools but kept notes on all the things they wouldn’t let him put in–fascinating stuff I should have learned.   Sheinkin puts it together in a compelling and quick read.  (Young Adult level but hey, who’s got time for an academic treatise these days?)

So back to the story:  the race between the Americans and the Germans to develop the bomb; some very, very brave Norwegians on a mission; the spies who wanted to steal the plans for Stalin;  the guys who just wanted to give it to the Russians so there wouldn’t be only one superpower in possession of the new and terrible weapon of mass destruction.

When I was young, my ideas of Russian spies were partly based on Boris and Natasha, and hearing intimations about the McCarthy era excesses.  Somehow my public school history classes never got much past the Civil War by the end of the school year, hence the black holes in my knowlege.  (No, that’s not a typo;  it’s spelled Fenn’s way.)

 

[Side note:  There was a Rocky and Bullwinkle episode titled Buried Treasure.  Hmm.  Frostbite Falls?]P1000443

 

I could also rave about Sheinkin’s newest book,  Most Dangerous:  Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret Viet Nam War.  I have no excuse for not knowing or remembering more about the topic, having been of school age when it was in the newspapers, except that the facts didn’t all make it into the media at the time.  I wish that weren’t still true. History gives us perspective if we’d only choose to look at the parallels in our own day.  Does your view of Ellsberg color your impression of Snowden?  What caused Benjamin Arnold to switch sides?  Had you even heard of the Port Chicago 50?

Do you agree with Abraham Lincoln?

“I am a firm believer in the people.  If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.  The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

(Check out Steve Sheinkin’s  other books like King George:  What Was His Problem?  or The Port Chicago 50:  Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights or  Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, etc.)

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Bears, Oh My!

Summer’s winding down and bears will be getting hungrier.  Rethinking my entire Yellowstone area hiking plans.  Hmmm.  How far south do the grizzlies range?

Bears, oh my!

Bears, oh my!

Cute story by Ryan Gebhart for Middle Grade readers about a boy and his grandpa.  FICTION, fortunately!

From “Beowulf” (The Other Beowulf)

A Year In Verse

From “Beowulf and the Fire-Dragon”:

Hold thou now fast, O earth,now men no longer can,
The treasure of mighty earls.From thee brave men won it
In days that are long gone by,but slaughter seized on them,
Death fiercely vanquished them,each of my warriors,
Each one of my people,who closed their life-days here
After the joy of earth.None have I sword to wield
Or bring me the goblet,the richly wrought vessel.
All the true heroes haveelsewhere departed!
Now must the gilded helmlose its adornments,
For those who polished itsleep in the gloomy grave,
Those who made ready erstwar-gear of warriors.
Likewise the battle-sarkwhich in the fight endured
Bites of the keen-edged bladesmidst the loud crash of shields
Rusts, with its wearer dead.Nor may the woven mail
After the chieftain’s deathwide with a champion rove.
Gone is the joy of harp,gone is the music’s mirth.
Now the hawk goodly-wingedhovers not through the…

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Skydiver almost hit by meteor [Video]

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This is the first ever film of a meteorite hurling at terminal velocity towards Earth. It was filmed by skydiver Anders Helstrup who was almost struck by the object as it hurled through the sky.

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“Afraid of Nothing”?

The “Afraid-of-Nothing” Dreadnoughtus schrani specimen recently uncovered in Patagonia is 7 times bigger than a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but I wonder how much brighter.

 

Skull of Tyrannosaurus rex, type specimen (CM ...Skull of Tyrannosaurus rex, type specimen (CM 9380) at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. This was heavily and inaccurately restored with plaster using Allosaurus as a model, and has since been disassembled. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If T Rex was just a big chicken, brain-wise, no wonder he’s no longer around.Photo: cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex braincase a...Photo: cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex braincase at the Australian Museum, Sydney. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Tyrannosaurus rex "Sue" displayed at...Tyrannosaurus rex “Sue” displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moveable Feast---solar-powered, auto open and close chicken coop/tractor built by Mr. WMoveable Feast—solar-powered, auto open and close chicken coop/tractor built by Mr. W

I haven’t actually named the five hens, but one of the twin red ones is going to have to be called Ginger.  Not that there’s a Professor.  Possibly a Mrs. Howell…

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Fearless, fearsome, or chicken?

 

 

 

Cities of Gold

 

Cover of "Cities of Gold: A Journey Acros...

Cover via Amazo 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I read another Douglas Preston book this spring.  (I bought this one, Mr. Preston.)   It was a departure from his horror/thrillers I’d read previously, but this non-fiction book was fascinating in another way.

He decided to retrace the steps of Coronado from the border of Mexico to the Pecos Pueblo in search of the Seven Cities of Gold.  It turns out that it was a bit of a wild goose chase for Coronado, but people will believe what they want to believe when it comes to treasures of gold.  Time hasn’t changed that.

Preston smoothly wove massive amounts of history into the story of his trek on horseback through some very harsh lands.  He’s also made use of the experience in some of his fiction, i.e. ThunderheadTyrannosaurus Canyon, and others.

Tyrannosaurus footprint from Philmont Scout Ra...

Tyrannosaurus footprint from Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s see.  Did Mapsmith call Dal foolhardy?  Well, let’s just say it takes a certain mix of courage, stamina, and not too much information to undertake some adventures.  Which is why the glory goes to the brave.  Kudos to all of you.  Lacking two of the above, I’m just happy to get the vicarious thrill when I read about your adventures.
Pecos Glazeware Bowl, labelled as serpent desi...

Pecos Glazeware Bowl, labelled as serpent design, Pecos National Historical Park From the ruins of the Pecos Pueblo in in San Miguel County, New Mexico.

 

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