Digging holes here and there in American history.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011


The American Civil War began in 1861.  Did you know 2011 was the 150th anniversary, or sesquicentennial, of the war?  Some states are marking the anniversary with special events.  What is your state planning?  There has been some controversy over how this significant historical event should be commemorated 150 years later.

A good link to learn more:  www.civilwar.org/150


We take photography for granted.  It has been around throughout our lives.  It's hard to imagine a time when family or special events could not be preserved permanently through photographs.

To some degree, photography has lessened our reliance on the written word.  We don't have to use descriptive terms when we can simply include a photo.  As they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words."

Long before photography, people had to use descriptive prose to "paint a picture" for the reader.  Take this description of one great American as written by a friend:

"Straight as an Indian, measuring six feet two inches in his stockings, and weighing 175 pounds. . . . His frame is padded with well-developed muscles, indicating great strength. His bones and joints are large, as are his hands and feet. He is wide shouldered but has not a deep or round chest; is neat waisted, but is broad across the hips and has rather long legs and arms. His head is well-shaped, though not large, but is gracefully poised on a superb neck. A large and straight rather than a prominent nose; blue gray penetrating eyes which are widely separated and overhung by a heavy brow. His face is long rather than broad, with high round cheek bones, and terminates in a good firm chin. He has a clear though rather a colorless pale skin which burns with the sun. A pleasing and benevolent though a commanding countenance, dark brown hair which he wears in a cue.

"His mouth is large and generally firmly closed, but which from time to time discloses some defective teeth. His features are regular and placid with all the muscles of his face under perfect control, though flexible and expressive of deep feeling when moved by emotions. In conversation, he looks you full in the face, is deliberate, deferential, and engaging. His voice is agreeable rather than strong. His demeanor at all times composed and dignified. His movements and gestures are graceful, his walk majestic, and he is a splendid horseman."

Any ideas who this might be?

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