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Showing posts from January, 2020

What the Hare With All the Rabbits?

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Dear Henry,

As January comes to a close (and in preparation for February 1st), someone asked if I knew the story behind saying "Rabbit Rabbit" at the beginning of every month.  I only had the vaguest idea of the tradition but I love a good rabbit hole (bwahaha, I couldn't help it) and decided that this was a bit of folklore worth investigating.

Like many good stories, it has to do with witches and saying "Rabbit Rabbit" is only a small part of it.

Back in the day (around the Middle Ages, near as I can tell) to ward off witches, the people of England would greet each other at the first of the month with a pinch and a punch, while shouting "pinch, punch, first of the month", to drive the witches out of everyone you encountered that morning. Technically, the pinch is supposed to be a pinch of salt but because people are people, we all know that this became a painful way to start each month.

The response to "pinch, punch, first of the month" wa…

In Memory of John Jacobs

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Dear Henry,

The other day I read about the WWII Japanese prisoner transport ship the Enoura Maru.

On January 9, 1945, the Enoura Maru was docked at Takao in Formosa and was overfilled with Allied prisoners. The ship was attacked by a raid of mostly American aircraft.  As many as 400 prisoners died during the attack and the days that followed. The survivors were transferred to the ship Brazil Maru and sent to Moji Japan.  Over 500 additional Allied prisoners died on that leg of the journey.

The account I read had an eyewitness testimony of the experience from USAF servicemember John Jacobs.

While John Jacobs is a fairly common name, I can generally puzzle together enough information to piece together enough for an entry in the www.everydaypatriot.com blog.  Such would not be the case here.

It wasn't that there wasn't any information about John Jacobs, it was that there was so much and the sheer number of John Jacobs became overwhelming.

For example, there was *this* John Jacob…

What's New - Jan 25

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Dear Henry,

This past week was cold and frosty and the temperatures stayed below freezing most of the time.

The grey sky, its pronounced lack of sun, and continual drizzle caused me to spend most of the indoors.  I regret not grabbing some bouquets this week, the house could have used the color.

This type of weather is also really uncomfortable for me and it is weeks like this that I feel the repercussions from the accident the most. So, I spent most of the week wrapped in an electric blanket, indulging in a lot of grilled cheese and tomato soup and increasing the backlog (now at 52) of books to be reviewed at www.riteoffancy.com.

But then I suppose, I will always find another book to read, even if I catch up on the backlog, so my reading and reviewing list will always be full, I think.

The weather pattern is supposed to change for the warmer this week and, really, I find it hard to complain. Arkansas winters are pretty mild most of the time. I have decided to plant some of the winte…

What's New - Jan 18

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Dear Henry,

This week has been a week of white flowers, all with the barest hint of yellow.

If I were to look deeply into the symbolism of this (and who wants to do that?), I would guess it means I miss the sun and I do.

This part of the winter is my least favorite part.

I did take advantage of the lack of sun this week to photograph Pinon Creek and Tanyard Creek Falls, the two of the more popular falls in the Bella Vista area - I have been revealing the images over the last week and still have more to come.

Stay tuned for prints.

After researching Rear Admiral Bowman McCalla, I stayed with the era and learned about Surgeon Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War surgeon and a prisoner of war, she is also the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.  I also read about General Henry Cochrane, a protocol loving marine who managed to find his way into the thick of many fights.

In honor of the weather/lack of sun, my reading choices were a little dark too - beginning with The Hangman's Dau…

What's New - January 11

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Dear Henry,

This week I had to say good-bye to my beloved Subaru, which, after 10 years and 199,997 miles, had its transmission fail. I'm rather sad about it.  Fish and I will be car shopping today.

The carless situation has allowed me to focus on one of my New Year's goals - Spend More Time Editing - and so, I was able to get several new 16 X 20 canvas wrapped prints, including "The Forgotten Fall", up at the shop

I think the "Gerbera Back 2019" turned out especially well.

I also got a little personal this week, revealing the details of an auto-pedestrian accident I experienced so many years ago.

There was some interesting military research this week, beginning with Warrant Officer John K. "Jack" Morgan, a helicopter pilot who was killed during Desert Storm.

Out of the WWII military roles, I discovered Staff Sergeant Frank Rosynek, who was stationed in the Pacific during the War as well as Major Katherine Tolen Harris, a flight nurse who evacu…

The Beauty in the Broken

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Dear Henry,

I found this cute, little mushed flower and decided it would be a work of art.

Ever since the accident, I have a soft spot in my heart for the bruised and the broken and when I realized this little flower was overlooked because it was rumpled, it broke my heart (yes, yes, I got entirely too emotional about a flower).

Because of this soft spot, I am quite drawn to the Japanese Kintsugi pottery repair method, where the pieces of broken pottery are reassembled and repaired with gold (or other precious metals) to enhance damage and to reveal the piece's history and resilience.

Kintsugi is also a philosophy, one which recognizes the history of breakage and repair is a history to be celebrated and acknowledged, not hidden.

It is difficult to do in practice though. The easiest way to wear damage is with the titles "victim" or "survivor", titles that I have never liked because those bring the focus exclusively to the damage and I will, forever, be so much …

What's New - with Purple Dahlia

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Dear Henry,

I always seem to be a little quieter and more contemplative during the holidays - using the forced manual labor of Christmas decorating to recharge and regroup.

It doesn't mean I haven't been busy though. I have been sifting through different publications, looking for additional facts - it's a never-ending search and a labor of love - and reminds me of a quote from the book 600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster "I prefer facts but sometimes sense is all you have to go on".

With the glut of historical articles, I ended up discovering an Antarctic Exploration Tale, one of the many scientific expeditions that occurred right before the onset of WWII.

My recent research brought me Colonel Hans Christian Adamson, who with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, spent 24 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean following a plane crash. I also discovered Colonel Rosemary Hogan, a career Army nurse, who was held as a prisoner of war at the Santo Thomas Internment Camp with 77 o…

The Executive's Mountains

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Dear Henry,

I read about an odd mountain range called "The Executive Committee Range", and I have to admit, the name had me intrigued.

It sounds like where the secret organization who rules the world hangs out, right?

Even more ominous-sounding, this mountain range is completely isolated and currently doesn't belong to a single country. 

Does this sound like an even more promising for the location of a hidden lair?

Maybe, if the average yearly temperature didn't hover around -50. The Executive Committee Range is in Antarctica.  And not just any part of Antarctica - This mountain range is in an obscure and difficult to reach corner in the most difficult to reach continents on earth.

In 1939, the United States Antarctic Service Expedition was created using resources and personnel from the US Navy, State Department, Department of the Interior, and the US Treasury.  The expedition was also funded with private donations. The objective, per order from President Franklin …