Archive for May, 2017

How About Some Shakespeare?!

May 27, 2017

ShakespeareDo you ever get that hankering to attend a Shakespeare play?  While there are numerous places throughout the country that offer the occasional play, the three best venues to do so in the United States include: the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR), the Illinois Shakespeare Festival  (Bloomington/Normal, IL), and the Utah Shakespeare Festival (Cedar City, UT).

If you can’t make it to one of these, there are several other festivals around . . . then check out this list of Shakespearean Theatre Companies to find a company near you.

My college offers a week-long trip to Ashland to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in late summer every year (hosted by our resident Shakespeare Scholar, Dr. John Mercer).  I’ve been dying to go along on this trip, but the timing for me just hasn’t worked out yet (it has recently conflicted with my regularly scheduled vacation to Michigan to visit family) . . . one of these years the timing and the stars will align to allow me to attend.

Fun Fact Friday, Number Twenty-Five!

May 26, 2017

This week’s fact comes under the category of “Literature.”  Do you happen to know what the “wherefore,” from “wherefore art thou, Romeo?” means? Hint: it doesn’t mean where.

The short answer: it means why?

The longer answer: spoken by Juliet whilst on the balcony, she is lamenting the antagonism between their two families (Juliet’s Capulets and Romeo’s Montagues).  Juliet is basically asking Romeo “why did you have to be a Montague?

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

The Child’s Bath!

May 25, 2017

Mary_Cassatt_-_The_Child's_Bath_-_Google_Art_ProjectOn this the birthday of Mary Cassatt (American painter), here is one of her oil paintings, “The Child’s Bath” (from the late Nineteenth Century) that is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.    Cassatt spent most of her adult life in France and was eventually invited to join “the group of independent artists known as the impressionists.”  (from The Art Story Biography).  She was connected to both impressionism as well as realism during the course of her career and was influenced by Edouard Manet, Thomas Couture, Gustave Courbet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir; among her friends: Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, and Berthe Morisot.  Cassatt herself influenced fellow painters Degas and Morisot as well as Lucy Bacon and also had an impact on the Post-Impressionism and Feminist Art movements.

Grand Expedition!

May 24, 2017

Did you know that on this day, May 24th (in 1869), was the beginning of the first exploration of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado by a man other than a Native American?  Major John Wesley Powell left Green River City (above the head of the Colorado River) with nine men and proceeded through the canyon and emerged from the lower end on August 29, 1869.  Only five of the nine men who started the trip completed the trip.

Some other “firsts” for today throughout history include:

  • Commercial telegraph service (1844)
  • State adoption law to consider the interests of the child (1851)
  • Civil War combat action that earned the Medal of Honor (1861)
  • Union Officer killed in the Civil War (1861)
  • Artillery fire to be directed from the air (1862)
  • Army field telegraph used in warfare (1862)
  • Steel arch bridge (1874)
  • National banking association (1875)
  • Anti-saloon organization (1893)
  • Public garage (1899)
  • Oil journal (1902)
  • Strike settlement mediated by the federal Department of Labor (1913)
  • Air combat arm of the Army (1918)
  • Croix de Guerre awarded to an American (1918)
  • Air-conditioned train (1931)
  • Baseball game at night by major league teams (1935)
  • Food-O-Mat (1945)
  • House with a built-in nuclear bomb shelter (1959)
  • Spy satellite (1960)
  • Transatlantic supersonic jet service (1976)
  • Senator to change political control of the Senate by switching parties (2001)

Source: Famous First Facts (6th ed.) by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Let’s Dam It!

May 23, 2017

 

A collection of small sticks and/or branches strategically placed in the stream is all that is required to create a weir to catch fish without a rod or reel.

weir

\ weer \, noun;

1.  a small dam in a river or stream.
2.  a fence, as of brush or narrow boards, or a net set in a stream,channel, etc., for catching fish.

 

Let’s Not Be Idle!

May 22, 2017

Physical activity has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of reasons . . .

  • Control Your Weight.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
  • Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers.
  • Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles.
  • Improve Your Mental Health and Mood.

So, how active are you?  Here are the best and the worst states by the percentage of people who are over 50 years of age who engage in NO physical activity whatsoever . . .

States with the lowest percentage of non-active seniors:
1. Colorado (18%)
2. Oregon (20%)
2. Washington (20%)
4. Idaho (21%)
5. Vermont (22%)

States with the highest percentage of non-active seniors:
1. Arkansas (39%)
2. Mississippi (36%)
3. Oklahoma (35%)
3. Kentucky (35%)
4. Louisiana (34%)
4. West Virginia (34%)

Source: May 2017 AARP Bulletin; 2014 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; numbers are rounded; respondents reported activity level over the previous month.

The Raven, Part Two!

May 21, 2017

Here is the finishing part of the poem “The Raven,” generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Enjoy!

The Raven (Part 2)

Poor Sally trembled for her eyes,
She knew papa would tell no lies,
Yet she was sure she could not keep
(If she sat down) her eyes from sleep;
So to the field she weeping went,
Oppressed with grief and discontent;
But, ere that she had walked a mile,
The changeling thought upon a wile
To save her eyes from all mishap,
Yet get a comfortable nap.

Upon her back she laid her down,
Pulled up her petticoat and gown,
Her milk-white smock and apron blue,
All these quite over her heat she threw,
To guard her eyes (her greatest care)
She left her other members bare.

As thus she lay upon the plain,
Chance brought that way a youthful swain,
Who, quite astonished at the sight,
Viewed Sally’s limbs with great delight;
That it was Sally well he knew,
Both by her gown and apron blue;
He long had loved the charming maid,
But of her folly was afraid,
And could not think to pass his life,
With such a silly simple wife.
Oft he had met the beauteous dame,
As oft had whispered her his flame,
Had leered upon her, squeezed her hand,
Yet could not make her understand
His meaning, other being by,
And wanted opportunity;
Now, seeing how the fair one lay,
He could no longer bear delay,
Nor wait to gaze upon her charms,
But rushed at once into her arms.

The idiot waked with great surprise,
And thought the raven picked her eyes,
But when she found that theyt were safe,
The silly fool began to laugh;
Nor did she in the least complain,
Although he put her to some pain;
But, stammering, said, “You graceless bird,
“And while you nibble at that part,
“You’re welcome to it with all my heart;
“Although you had a longer beak:
“I own it is of monstrous size,
“But yet too short to reach my eyes.”

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of Mia treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).

The Raven, Part One!

May 20, 2017

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Enjoy!

The Raven (Part 1)

In Wiltshire, where the farmers keep
Upon the downs great flocks of sheep,
There dwelt an honest thrifty swain,
Adjoining to the famous plain
Of Salisbury, and it was there
He grazed and fed his woolly care.

To him his teeming female bore
Eight sons, and daughters have a score;
And if that children blessings be,
None in the shire so blessed ashe:
Whilst he, a foe to idleness,
To make their charge in breeding less,
In something useful did employ
Each prating girl and forward boy:
And thus he lived a happy life,
Pleased with his children and his wife,
Until his wealth made noise, and then
His sons got farms, his daughters men.

Yet Sally, at her father’s stayed,
And though fifteen, was still a maid,
Lovely as what was ever beheld,
And all her sisters far excelled,
In shape and face, but then her mind
Was of a very different kind:
No sort of work could Sally do,
She silly was, an nothing knew.

Her father grieved, but ’twas in vain,
He sent her out upon the plain,
With scrip and bottle by her side,
In hopes that she at least might guide
His fleecy care, his much loved  sheep,
But still the fair one fell asleep:
The flock went wandering here and there,
Sure proof of Sally’s want of care.

The father chid the drowsy dame,
She wept, but next day ’twas the same;
She could not guard her eyes from sleep,
And every week she lost a sheep.
The father fretted, Sally cried,
A thousand different ways he tried,
To make her careful, but in vain,
She slept and slumbered on the plain.
At last he gravely told the maid,
If she slept thus, he was afraid,
The ravens, as they soared about,
Her eyes some day would nibble out.

Continued tomorrow . . .

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of Mia treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).

Fun Fact Friday, Number Twenty-Four!

May 19, 2017

Today’s fun fact(s) revolve around camels.  Did you know that . . .

  • camels have three eyelids? (Real Fact #5)
  • camels’ milk does not curdle? (Real Fact #14)
  • despite its hump, a camel has a straight spine? (Real Fact #49)
  •  a camel can drink 25 gallons of water in less than three minutes? (Real Fact #714)
  • wild camels once roamed Arizona’s wild deserts? (Real Fact #848)

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts

Lasagna in a Hurry!

May 18, 2017

When you find you are not in the mood to deal with lasagna noodles and sauce from scratch, here’s a wonderful recipe for lasagna that you can throw together in a hurry (using only four ingredients).  And it is positively fantastic!  Enjoy!

Ravioli Lasagna

1 pound of ground beef
1 jar (28 ounces) of spaghetti sauce
1 package (25 ounces) frozen sausage or cheese ravioli
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain off the excess juice.  In a greased 2-1/2 quart baking dish, layer a third of the spaghetti sauce, have of the ravioli and beef, and 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Repeat the layers once and top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.

Super easy!