Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
San Antonio in the Mid-19th Century
Sunday, January 16, 2011
White Nights by Ann Cleeves
A local artist Bella Sinclair is hosting a joint exhibition at her home, the Manse, in Biddista, Shetland Islands. A mysterious man shows up at the Manse and when Jimmy Perez, the local policeman, speaks to him, the man is acting rather confused, claiming a case of amnesia. The next morning Jimmy is called to investigate a body that has been found. It turns out to be the man no one claims to know, holding a mask in his hand. Roy Turner from Inverness comes in to help with the investigation. They must determine who the man is and why someone in Biddista would want the man dead. It's an interesting case. There were plenty of options as to whom the murderer might be. I had not completely settled on a suspect in my own mind when the outcome was revealed. I did enjoy this second installment, although I believe I enjoyed the first one slightly more. This review is based on an Advance Readers Copy loaned to me by a friend. 4 stars.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Which Sign Do You Follow?
As I began to think of this, I remembered my first encounter with something of this nature. It arose out of my own genealogical research. I looked at my great grandfather's birth in his family Bible. The entries for each child read something like "Firstname" was born on "date" under the sign "name of sign." It was of course written in German script instead of English, but instead of seeing the standard tropical zodiac sign that I'd expected with his birth date, it gave a different one. As I began to examine the other members in his family, I knew that there was some other zodiac system in place because they all differed. My curiosity was peaked, and I had to do a little research to figure out exactly why all the signs were different. I discovered that the Amish used "moon signs" which were important for planting instead of the traditional astrological ones.
I believe that we'd all discover that we had three different signs if we chose to add the moon ones -- the traditional Tropical Zodiac signs of Western origin, the sidereal signs of Eastern origin, and the moon signs that were important to planting.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Touched by an Angel
John moved away but then came back during his high school years to live with his grandparents in a nearby town. He no longer went to school with us, but we were able to keep up with him and see him from time to time. By the time we had our 10th year reunion, John was a "star." He'd been in several movies and was portraying a medic on the television program Tour of Duty. By our 20th reunion, John was in the long-running show Touched by an Angel. It's sad that he won't make our 30th reunion later this year. The reunion dynamics are certain to be different without him there.
We'll miss you, John.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Behind as Usual, Snow, and a Book Review
We're having an unusually snowy winter in East Tennessee. We had so much snow and ice at the close of last semester that some of us began to dub it "the semester that never ends." This is the 3rd snow event in about 4 or 5 days for us, and we have another on the way. A friend of mine said he was sending snow our way, and I replied that he could keep it because I'd already shoveled more than my quota for the year!
I participated in a read-a-thon over the weekend. One of the books I read was Francis J. Bremer's Puritanism: A Very Short Introduction. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). I ordered the book from NEHGS recently when the item was on sale. I want to share my review of it with you all because I suspect many of us have early New England ancestors.
Author Francis J. Bremer delivers exactly what is promised by the title of this book -- a brief introduction on Puritan thought. There are a few quotes, mostly in shaded sidebars. While one could tell the author was familiar with primary source writings, she utilized quite a few secondary sources in this overview of the Puritan movement. There are no footnotes, but there are bibliographies which accompany each chapter, leading the reader who wishes to explore the topics more fully to good sources. We learn a bit about the history and theology of the movement, how the Puritan interacted in society, and about personal lifestyle. The weakness of the book is in describing the decline of Puritanism and describing the genealogy of present-day groups claiming some level of origin with the Puritans. This book, however, is well-suited to persons who just want an introductory level of knowledge about Puritan history and theology. 3.5 stars.