Sunday, January 22, 2012

The First Jonquil of 2012

Once again I won't have to drive to find a jonquil on February First, a questing tradition I began 30 years ago or more. We already have several blooming in our own yard. This one showed up yesterday, January 21, 2012, at the edge of our driveway in front of the house.

Spring is coming to Rome, Georgia again. Welcome.

Here are some previous daffodil posts:
Harbinger of Spring
Jonquils Before Groundhog Day
January Jonquils
Lovers, Poems, or Daffodils

A New Look

I've been blogging here since November of 2005. Time for a new look. I may experiment for a while. Several things have disappeared with the new template. I've gotta work on getting my comments back, among other things. Anyway, here 'tis.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Repost from Monthly Marathon: A River Walk 2006

This is a repost from the now-defunct blog Monthly Marathon. I first posted this in March 2006.

A River Walk

3.5 miles around downtown last night and 5.6 miles today down the levee (above) to the confluence then up First Ave to the Silver Creek trail. 58.1 miles for the month. Here are a few more pics I took along the way:

Our courthouse reflected in the Oostanaula

The confluence of the Oostanaula (left) and Etowah (right) rivers to form the Coosa River. The bridge at the right is the Robert Redden Footbridge, a former railroad bridge that rotated on the center column so steamboats could continue up the Oostanaula. The bridge at the right takes Broad Street across the Etowah to the foot of Myrtle Hill.

The Silver Creek Trail crosses the Etowah on another railroad bridge turned footbridge (above) then follows little Silver Creek for three-quarters of a mile as it cascades down to the river.

I've lived in Rome since 1962, but I was completely ignorant of these picturesque downtown views until last week!

Notice the nearly vertical sandstone and shale layers, evidence of the crumpling of the former sea floor here in the Ridge and Valley province between the Blue Ridge and the Cumberland Plateau. At our school I can take my kids out to the driveway cut and pull shell fossils and crinoid stems from the crumbly sandstone.

The creek flattens a little as it nears the river.

The 1913 postcard (above) shows a mill on Silver Creek. I suspect the foreground is a bridge over the Etowah and the mill was at the mouth of Silver Creek. Or else it is high water on some other section of the creek. If anyone knows where this picture was taken, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Iowa Caucuses

My take on the crazy Iowa Caucus effect on the horse race:

•Biggest Losers: Michelle, Rick P., Newt. Rick's out and Michelle and Newt are back in their "waiting for someone else to crash and burn" mode.

• Big Losers: Ron Paul, Mitt Romney
Paul did not live up to expectations and Romney after running for years lived up to his exact expectations, a 25% ceiling -- he could not improve on the %age or the actual number of votes from Iowa.

• Big Winner: Rick Santorum
The Tea Party started coalescing around him, as the last ultra-right guy standing, at exactly the right time. Santorum, who royally failed my "Comfort Test" during the debates, seemed to loosen up and get real in his victory speech tonight. If he can keep that level of sincerity and comfort -- horribly mistaken and misguided but sincere -- he may surprise us further.

• Bigger Winner: President Obama
Republicans were unable to increase the caucus participation over their 2008 numbers - a hint that Iowa may stay in the President's column in the fall. Newt gave him wonderful sound bites to use in his ads against Romney in the Gen'l Election, and surely there's a way to juxtapose the truth of the President's kept promises from Iowa four years ago with Romney's silly rants about the President being "in over his head". Should Romney falter in NH the radical difficult-to-elect Santorum would be most likely to replace him. The GOP candidate with the best shot, IMO, at defeating the President, Huntsman, gets his last shot in NH but as a relatively reasonable conservative doesn't seem to be catching on with the current radical GOP.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Were the Founders Libertarians?

I can't believe I am linking to David Frum, but here goes. He does a good job, in this 2010 essay, of debunking the claims of Ron Paul acolytes that 20th/21st Century libertarianism is a return to founding American principles.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

"Eat poor on New Year's, and eat fat the rest of the year"

There was nothing poor about this meal!

I, of course, am an educated man. I have degrees from accredited and respected institutes of learning. I am a science teacher. I am not superstitious.

But why tempt fate?

Above you will find photographic evidence of my wonderful New Year's Day lunch, prepared expertly by my beautiful and brilliant bride.

My storytelling friend, Tersi Bendiberg, has reminded me via Facebook, of some of the delicious traditions for the first day of the year in several posts including a link to the (gasp) New York Times -- I guess Damn Yankees also have some concern about fate. Tersi also reminded us of wonderful storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham, who left us during the past year. Tersi tried to excuse her superstitious cooking as a tribute to Kathryn, but we're not fooled, Tersi.

Well here's our menu --

  • Cornbread muffins. Cornbread is a mandatory accompaniment to the other dishes. It would be the height of folly to face the New Year without this quintessential American bread. Sheila used very little oil substituting apple sauce for some of it. They were great. No apple taste though. (The girl is trying to spare my ticker.)
  • Turnip greens with carmelized onions. The greens represent the folding money you can expect for the next 365.25 days. Ours was crisp and fresh when it was chopped, and, I believe, in high denominations. What a great way to enjoy fresh greens. Just a little olive oil to grease up the onions. And of course I added a bit of hot sauce at the table.
  • Hoppin' John with turkey sausage served over brown rice. The black-eyed peas represent the coinage available for the coming year. I choose to believe the rice kernels represent correctly cast votes this election year. (You know I couldn't avoid that!)
  • Plain cold water to drink. The water represents our wonderful planet and reninds us of our need to be good stewards.
 I led a grace and we sat at the table, for a change. We are bad about gathering around the evening news to eat, which cannot be good for digestion. We all enjoyed it, though Lil is not fond of the slightly sweet aspect given to the greens by the onions. I loved the bitter/sweet combo of greens and onions.

An absolutely delicious meal. I had extra helpings of everything, just to be safe. I'm expecting those riches this year, but even if it doesn't work in that fashion, it was a yummy All-American way to get 2012 underway.

 "Eat poor on New Year's, and eat fat the rest of the year?" Nope. I ate rich today.