Above is a picture I took in Houston a few weeks ago that felt to me what a prehistoric landscape where dinosaurs lived would look like.
You never know what you will find when you drive around and look at the world.
You can see dinosaur tracks in Texas at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas.
The new paleontology hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is very good.
Prehistoric Life by DK Publishing is a great resource to learn about the history of life on Earth.
I’ve got a 47 hour stretch with no work and with nobody else at home.
Here is how I have spent the first six hours of this time alone.
First—I got a can of clam chowder for dinner at Walgreens as I drove home from work.
Below you see the food aisle from where I got the chowder at a local Walgreens. They got everything you need in that aisle so long as you don’t need very much.
I also stopped at Memorial Park here in Houston on the way home and took a 3 mile walk on the jogging trail.
While walking I read Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. I’ve been walking and reading on the Memorial Park trail for 14 years so far and have not bumped into anything yet.
There certainly is wickedness at the core of our national history when you read how we double-dealt the native population at every turn in the 17th century.
I’m reading Mayflower to study up for Thanksgiving.
I’m sure that Thanksgiving is not all about food and then rushing out to buy stuff as soon as your meal is over.
Once home I fell asleep for 2 hours and had a dream that I was walking along the ocean in Corpus Christi, TX, and that I saw a seal.
I suppose I had the dream about Corpus Christi because I was recently looking at some pictures of a trip I took to Corpus in 2008.
Visit Corpus Christi for a good time. All the Texas coast has interesting things to see.
Below is the picture I took four years ago that formed the central image of my dream.
There was once a Caribbean Monk Seal that had a range just south of Texas. But people killed them all. There are no seals in the Gulf of Mexico.
Click here to read about this seal and where it lived before they were all killed.
After waking up from my dreamy nap, I busted open the clam chowder for a fine dinner and have now moved on to writing a blog post.
With six hours down and 41 hours to go, who knows what more will happen with my excellent time alone.
Above is a picture I took two days ago out on a jetty in Galveston, Texas.
This picture reminded me of a line from Moby Dick about people who wish to be out at sea or at least near the water.
The line from the book is—
“Nothing will content them but the extremist limit of the land.”
This jetty is as far out as you can go without a boat.
I would like to take a long trip at sea.
Maybe there are others who also wish I would take such a trip.
Here is a review of Moby Dick from a modern reader. People still read this book.
An informative book I’ve read about whaling is–Leviathan–A History of Whaling in Americaby Eric Jay Dolan.
Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers working for a better Texas.
Every Texan and every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and to run for public office.
(Above–Cover from the 1987 James Michener historical novel Texas. Here is a review and some reader opinions of this book.)
I run these words each week in this space. This is because there is nothing more important that I can tell you.
The work of freedom and justice is up to each of us.
Here is the round-up—
BossKitty at TruthHugger is amazed how blind America’s elected leaders are to the reality of climate changes. Headlines have described catastrophic climate and weather events, one after another for the past decade. Each year seems to break another record, at least in terms of human recorded history. So 2012 gives Americans a chance to elect responsive and responsible leaders. On Fire, Out of Food, Out of Water, Out of Power shows the reality Americans are facing. Who can we elect that will step up to save our future?
The great equalizer in any society is education, that’s why the regressives hate it so much. WCNews at Eye on Williamson points out that the GOP attack on public education will continue next session.
This evening I enjoyed a milkshake at a local diner while reading Malcolm X–A Life Of Reinvention by Manning Marable.
What could more All-American than Malcolm X and a milkshake?
This book was a finalist for the most recent Pulitzer Prize for biography or autobiography.
From the Times review—
“As the book reveals, the F.B.I. struggled with how to deal with Malcolm — i.e., how to discredit him — because he was so disciplined, so law-abiding and too smart to actually create the violence that would allow him to be arrested. Marable shows us Malcolm in Africa, watched by the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., and points out “the David-versus-Goliath dimension”: “Malcolm had few resources and was traveling without bodyguards, yet the attorney general and the F.B.I. director were so fearful of what he alone might accomplish that they searched for any plausible grounds to arrest and prosecute him upon his return.” Of course, they found nothing. Similarly, an exhaustive biographer combing through Malcolm’s days pulls away the curtain to show us the entirety of his life, and the emperor remains clothed. He has some failings, but Malcolm is still the empowering figure his autobiography showed us he was.”
Here is my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. It is the best such resource on the web.
Everyday is a great day to learn something new about what may seem to be a familiar subject.
And everyday is a great day for a milkshake.
Though I would suggest the daily reading much more than I would suggest the daily milkshake.
I’ve been reading The Age of Homespun–Objects And Stories In The Creation Of An American Myth by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.
It is about the role of women, and importance of the crafts and creations these women made in Colonial and post-Revolutionary America.
The author notes the role of women working together to spin clothes and needed textiles that could not be taxed by the British. The author says–“While New England’s Sons of Liberty indulged in rum, rhetoric and roast pig, her daughters worked from sunup to sundown to prove their commitment to “the cause of liberty and industry.”
The book discusses both the role of women in the time and the many limits to the lives that women could lead in early America.
“The American pastoral, with its central signifier of clothmaking, is the subject of a remarkable new book by the Harvard historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Ulrich is a supremely gifted scholar and writer. And with ”The Age of Homespun” she has truly outdone herself. Venturing off in a new and highly original direction, she has put physical objects — mainly but not entirely textiles — at the center of her inquiry. The result is, among other things, an exemplary response to a longstanding historians’ challenge — to treat objects, no less than writings, as documents that speak to us from and about the past.
”The Age of Homespun” is loosely but effectively organized around 14 specific objects, including two baskets, two spinning wheels, a yarn winder, a rug, a tablecloth and ”an unfinished stocking.” If this list seems unprepossessing on its face, the point is all that Ulrich makes of it through a deeply creative process of analysis and contextualizing. In fact, her objects become meaningful only when they are joined to the experience of the people who produced, owned, used and preserved them. It is, finally, the connections that make her investigation so unusual and rewarding.”
Much of what we need to understand the world can be found in everyday objects and everyday life. These objects can be studied and interpreted in ways that are both precise and creative.
We can can look at everyday things and see the connections that exist between the people who made these things, the purposes these objects serve, the materials used, and the metaphoric value that objects hold when we consider possible ways they could be perceived by people.
There is a whole big world right out in front of us each and every day. This world is founded on both fact and imagination.
There is nothing in everyday life that the average person cannot understand and think about on a deeper level.
2012 Fourth Of July Events For Houston, Galveston, Fort Bend & College Station—Fourth Of July Reading List
There are many events planned to mark Independence Day for 2012 in the Houston area. The Fourth falls on a Wednesday this year.
(Above—Fireworks over Houston.)
In addition to the events listed in this post, there ways you can observe the Fourth in a patriotic fashion on your own. We don’t have to wait for somebody to put on a fireworks show.
We can express patriotism by treating each other kindly, by treating our fellow working people well, by being accepting of all people, and by learning our shared history instead of being ignorant.
At the end of this post is my Fourth of July Reading and Reference list which has some good resources to learn about our nation’s history.
Patriotism is an everyday affair and is well-expressed by being a good fellow citizen to the everyday people who make our nation–for better and for worse–what it is.
A worthwhile thing to do before the fireworks is to attend the Bayou Bend Fourth of July celebration.
Here are some details about the Fourth at Bayou Bend—
“Celebrate Independence Day at Houston’s home for American decorative arts and paintings. The annual 4th of July blowout at Bayou Bend offers up an extravaganza of Americana: performers, crafts, activities, refreshments, and more. Don’t forget to sign the giant Declaration of Independence before you leave!”
Bayou Bend, run by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts is a great year round place to learn about early American history.
The big fireworks show in the Houston area is the Freedom over Texas festival that is held on the Fourth. This event will take place in Eleanor Tinsley Park. There will be a lot of people at this festival and it will be very hot.
Please note this reminder from the City of Houston on the Freedom Over Texas webpage—
“The Houston Parks & Recreation Department regulations prohibit dogs, amphibians, reptiles and snakes that are considered dangerous. Therefore, we require the ban of all such animals…”
I’m not certain which amphibians and reptiles are viewed as dangerous and which are not.
Another big event is the Houston Symphony’s Star Spangled Salute which is held on the Fourth at the Miller Theater in Hermann Park beginning at 8:30 PM.
Red, Hot & Blue is the fireworks event to be held in The Woodlands on the evening of the Fourth. Fireworks is a fine way for The Woodlands to note the Fourth. Getting it right for the Fourth is a sharp contrast to the inappropriately celebratory manner in which The Woodlands noted Memorial Day 2012. You’ll have to decide for yourself if a place that sees Memorial Day as just another time to shop is the right place for an expression of loyalty to our nation.
In Galveston there will be fireworks at 37th and Seawall at 9:15 PM. I bet the fireworks are nice along the ocean.
The Galveston County Daily News usually does a good job listing holiday events in Galveston County.
Sugar Land promises “an 18-minute spectacular fireworks show that will color the sky with magic and majesty.” Here are the details.
Rosenberg in Fort Bend County has an event planned for the Fourth.
The George H.W. Bush Library in College Station has the “I Love America“ celebration all day on the Fourth. There will be fireworks at the end of the night.
I’m not being sarcastic when I tell you that I would go to the Bush Library for the Fourth if my schedule allowed. The Bush Library event would be my first pick.
I’m certain I’ve left off many events on this list, If you have something you’d like me to add to this list, please leave a comment and I will add your event.
Here is my Fourth of July Reading & Reference list—-
(Above–Black Americans observing the Fourth in 1939 in St. Helena Island, South Carolina.)
What books and resources would be helpful to learn more about the American Revolution and about America?
June 18, 1940 is the day that General Charles De Gaulle made the speech on the BBC from London that began French resistance to Nazi occupation.
It was a great speech that is still recalled in France and in all places where the great events of World War II are remembered.
(Above–De Gaulle speaking on the BBC during World War II.)
De Gaulle left France in 1940 as an exile and came back four years later to lead France.
France and De Gaulle appeared to have been defeated in 1940. But they were not defeated.
A great two-volume of De Gaulle was written by Jean Lacouture. The first volume is called De Gaulle–The Rebel, 1890-1944. Here is a review of that book. The second volume is De Gaulle–The Ruler, 1945-1970.
De Gaulle’s war memoirs are justly well-regarded.
(Below–Some of De Gaulle’s words in French. Photo by Semnoz.)
De Gaulle was neither a figure of the political left or right. His loyalty was to France and, sometimes, to the idea of putting on a grand performance on the world stage. He was often serious and absurd at the same time
What could have been more absurd than the notion of one lone general banished to London after the Nazi overrun of France coming back within a few years as the political master of France?
Charles De Gaulle is a subject that merits your further study. In studying the life of De Gaulle you will learn about French history, World War II, European and Cold War politics of the 1950’s and 60’s, and the bloody battle for Algerian Independence.
You’ll also learn about fighting and winning a fight that seemed at first to be hopeless.
Here is the great speech I referenced above. It is also called the Appeal of June 18—
The leaders who, for many years, were at the head of French armies, have formed a government. This government, alleging our armies to be undone, agreed with the enemy to stop fighting. Of course, we were subdued by the mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their number, it was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans which made us retreat. It was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans that surprised our leaders to the point to bring them there where they are today.
But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!
Believe me, I speak to you with full knowledge of the facts and tell you that nothing is lost for France. The same means that overcame us can bring us to a day of victory. For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not alone! She has a vast Empire behind her. She can align with the British Empire that holds the sea and continues the fight. She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of United States.
This war is not limited to the unfortunate territory of our country. This war is not finished by the battle of France. This war is a world-wide war. All the faults, all the delays, all the suffering, do not prevent there to be, in the world, all the necessary means to one day crush our enemies. Vanquished today by mechanical force, we will be able to overcome in the future by a superior mechanical force.
The destiny of the world is here. I, General of Gaulle, currently in London, invite the officers and the French soldiers who are located in British territory or who would come there, with their weapons or without their weapons, I invite the engineers and the special workers of armament industries who are located in British territory or who would come there, to put themselves in contact with me.
Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance not must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished. Tomorrow, as today, I will speak on Radio London.
New Paleontology Hall To Open In Houston On June 2—Pictures Of The New Hall And Picture Of Girl With Dinosaur At Creation Museum In Kentucky
The new paleontology hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science will open to the general public on Saturday, June 2.
The hall has been open to museum members for the past few days. I’m a member of the museum and I took the opportunity to visit the new wing.
Above you see a picture I took at the hall. That creature was an Eryops.
I thought the place was pretty good. It was full of fossils and big skeletons of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts.
There also seemed decent enough information posted about each exhibit for folks who wanted to learn more and who wanted to make sure that kids had some understanding of what they were seeing.
It seems inadequate to take a child anywhere and not to make an effort to explain what is taking place.
Though it happens all the time that parents take kids out into the world, and make no effort to explain to the kids what they are seeing.
This may help explain why so many people are ignorant.
The creature shown above was a Placerias. It ate plants.
A great book to learn the history of life on Earth is Life–A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth by Richard Fortey.
Another very helpful title to learn the history of life on Earth is Prehistoric Life–The Definitive Visual Guide to Life on Earth by DK Publishing.
Prehistoric Life is a colorful, informative and energetic book that is good for both kids and adults.
At the bottom of this post is a picture I took last summer of a girl with a dinosaur at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Petersburg is not far from Cincinnati.
The Creation Museum is a very well done museum that wants to convince you that the Earth is 7,000 years old or something like that.
Plenty of people believe in God and evolution at the same time. I bet most religious people know that dinosaurs and other various kinds of life were around hundreds of millions of years ago and even longer ago.
I bet that a number of people who would tell a pollster that the Earth was created 7,000 years ago, don’t in fact fully believe what they are saying.
If they do and if this is what they teach their kids—So be it.
That will be less competition for jobs in the sciences for kids who are taught real science.
In any case, the new paleontology hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science will be open to all on June 2.
May 4 is Rhode Island Independence Day.
On May 4, 1776 Rhode Island declared independence from Great Britain. It was the first of the soon-to-be former colonies to take this step.
If you were a school kid in Rhode Island in 1976, you got the day off as a holiday as part of Bicentennial observances that year.
I recall that as a good day. I lived in Rhode Island between 1968 and 1980.
(Below—The Rose Island lighthouse in Narragansett Bay)
Here is some history on Rhode Island ( Click here for the full link) —
Rhode Island was a leader in the American Revolutionary movement. Having the greatest degree of self-rule, it had the most to lose from the efforts of England after 1763 to increase her supervision and control over her American colonies. In addition, Rhode Island had a long tradition of evading the poorly enforced navigation acts, and smuggling was commonplace.
Beginning with strong opposition in Newport to the Sugar Act (1764), with its restrictions on the molasses trade, the colony engaged in repeated measures of open defiance, such as the scuttling and torching of the British customs sloop Liberty in Newport harbor in July 1769, the burning of British revenue schooner Gaspee on Warwick’s Namquit Point in 1772, and Providence’s own “Tea Party” in March 1775. Gradually the factions of Ward and Hopkins put aside their local differences and united by endorsing a series of political responses to alleged British injustices. On May 17, 1774, after parliamentary passage of the Coercive Acts (Americans called them “Intolerable”), the Providence Town Meeting became the first governmental assemblage to issue a call for a general congress of colonies to resist British policy. On June 15 the General Assembly made the colony the first to appoint delegates (Ward and Hopkins) to the anticipated Continental Congress.
In April 1775, a week after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, the colonial legislature authorized raising a 1,500-man ”army of observation” with Nathanael Greene as its commander. Finally, on May 4, 1776, Rhode Island became the first colony to renounce allegiance to King George III. Ten weeks later, on July 18, the Assembly ratified the Declaration of Independence.
(Below–The flag of Rhode Island along with a Revolutionary-era U.S. flag. This is a picture I took last summer in Newport, Rhode Island.)
Below is a picture I took in 2008 of the famous Independent Man statue found on the top of the Rhode Island State Capitol.
Below is a fellow citizen who agreed to model for me the shirt he was wearing in Downtown Houston this past Saturday.
To his credit, this gentleman did not ask me if I agreed or did not agree with the views he was expressing on his shirt.
If only President Obama were a socialist, a radical, and a subversive.
Tomorrow, March 15, is the Ides of March.
(Above–The Death of Caesar. This work was painted in 1798 by Vincenzo Camuccini.)
Here are two accessible book to learn about the events surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of Julius Caesar.
Rubicon–The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland.
A quality biography is Caesar–Life Of A Colossus by Adam Goldsworthy.
Though these events took place a long time ago, the impact of the rise of Caesar and the history of Rome is still recalled today.
Due to an unsual set of circumstances, I was out and about this morning around 4:30 AM.
It sure is nice and quiet at 4:30 AM. I think I’d enjoy being out at that hour more often.
I decided to stop at a 59 Diner along the 1-10 east feeder road for breakfast. I ordered what was termed the “Texas Sampler.”
You see the Texas Sampler above. It was a very fine breakfast.
Here is a history of breakfast from the Breakfast Panel. The Breakfast Panel appears to be a lobbying group advocating the consumption of breakfast. It is currently funded by the Association of Cereal Food Manufacturers.
With my breakfast this morning you will see that I also had a book to read.
I was reading Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser. This book argues that city living is best in a variety of respects including access to economic prosperity, and an environmental impact less than that of suburbs.
I’ve included above a link to a review of the book and to the author’s website if you want to know more. A strength of the book is that it is not ideological, and offers critiques of policies that might be associated with both the right and left.
The waiter today at the 59 was very good even at such an early hour. He was a pro.
Commanded by the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt on this President’s Day, I left a good tip for my fellow working person on the job on a holiday at 5 AM.
Below is a picture of the 59 at 5 AM this morning. I think I was there just before the morning breakfast traffic.
Blogger’s Note—This is–with a few minor changes –the President’s Day post I run each year. I very much enjoy sharing with the blog reading public the illustration you see above of Lincoln and Washington hugging. It is indeed a great work of art. Please have a safe holiday. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.
President’s Day 2012 is Monday, February 20.
Where can you learn more about the Presidents?
I have four suggestions. Two of these resources are books and two can be found online.
Edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, American Presidency is a collection of essays about each President up until George W. Bush.
The book offers up a small measure of biography and a larger portion of analysis. With the essays running between 10 and 20 pages, this book is a good path to a reasonably complex understanding of the Presidents in a manageable amount of time.
A great deal of information about the Presidents can be found in The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents by William Degregoiro.
I’m not sure that any book has more facts about our Presidents than Complete Book. Here you’ll learn not just about the Presidents and their terms of office, but also about their cabinets, spouses and children, and various love affairs. It is one of the most enjoyable books I know.
The best online resource I’m aware of about the Presidents can be found at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. There you’ll find biographical information, essays and a multimedia gallery. It is very well done.
Finally, C-Span offers the excellent American Presidents website. There are broadcasts you can watch showing where the Presidents lived, as well as programs where experts talk about the Presidents and take phone calls from viewers.
It is fine entertainment.
Make use of these top-notch resources, and you’ll know plenty about our Presidents and the impact each had on American history.
Even better, you can make use of these resources as a springboard to additional studies of American history.
The decision to learn more and understand more is up to you.