Thursday, June 28, 2012

Historic Bipartisan Congressional Mandate: Holder in Criminal Contempt

In a HISTORIC return to a BIPARTISAN MANDATE for the Rule of Law, the ELECTED US House of Representatives today held Obama-appointee Attorney General Eric Holder in CRIMINAL CONTEMPT for his UNPRECEDENTED insubordinate refusal to obey or enforce the law of the United States of America. Holder has spent over a year lying to his bosses (the Congress) and refusing to obey their orders. He ignored requests, refused to allow his staff to talk to investigators, hid facts, covered up events, fired people who told the truth under oath, refused to enforce laws and in many other ways was neglegent of his duty.

Seventeen rational Democrats voted with all but 3 Republicans in favor of the HISTORIC contempt vote, courageously displaying their MULTI-ETHNIC AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP, their LIBERTY, and showing a truly BIPARTISAN commitment to TRUTH, EQUALITY, and JUSTICE by upholding the ACTUAL LAW of the land.

Conservatives, there are a few decent, old-time patriotic Democrats left, or the kind my granparents and great-grandparents were. These people stood up for the country and voted on their principles instead of at Pelosi's bidding:
Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa.
Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.
Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla.
Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa
Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky.
Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa.
Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y.
Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis.
Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C.
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah
Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.
Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y.
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.
Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark.
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn.

 Rep Dan Lipinski D-IL voted  the President's own fave, "Present", which starts with "P" which comes after "N O" which sounds like "No" and that spells "No" no matter how you spin it. That's a shame. He should have taken a stand.

Ohio and Virginia, you have a couple of RINOs you need to send packing ASAP:
Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio and Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Virginia are both "Republicans" in name only who voted against holding Holder in contempt.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Barbarian Days: A Family Doctor's Home in the 1920s & 1930s (the Home of Author Robert E Howard)

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Cross Plains, Texas, and toured the Robert E Howard home as part of their "Barbarian Days Festival".  Howard's father was Dr. Isaac M. Howard. This simple frame house served as the family home, and, also, sometimes, doubled as Dr Howard's office where patients were seen. The home was continually in use as a place to live for various families from the time Dr Howard sold it until Cross Plains' Operation Pride recovered it for preservation in 1989.

 Since that time, they have worked to furnish it with period furnishings and house those artifacts they can obtain (such as the camel inkwell that stood on Howard's desk - a gift from Cecil Lotief, local Cross Plains  dry goods merchant - and first Texas legislator who had been born in Lebanon. He was first elected in 1932). Other furnishings are close copies of items either known to have been there, or true to the period.  Below is a photo of Bob Howard in front of this house, circa 1925.

My main interest was that I enjoy touring simple historical homes: the kind of house in which ordinary citizens lived a hundred years ago. In this case, the home of an ordinary small-town family physician. During that epoch in American history, there were similarities among all Americans of frugality, economy of space and furnishings, and natural closeness of proximity to household members and neighbors, that is readily apparent when we walk through such a home and consider how life would be lived in it.

 By today's standards, the author's cell-like bedroom/study (below) is tiny, cramped, and simple. But by the standards of the day (continuing even up into the 1970s in most of the country), it was probably much like the rooms of Howard's own unmarried peers. The room offered simple comfort, privacy, a bright and airy place in which to write and attend to the voluminous correspondence an author would keep up in that era when postcards and letters would be mailed daily for the same purposes email and messaging would serve today. 

The bare bulb was a common feature of most homes until new homes built in the prosperous 1950s and 60s popularized inexpensive, built-in light fixtures. My grandmother's house had several while I was growing up.  Our current house still had bare bulbs in the mid-1940s during WWII, when Rita's family first moved here, and it was the first time they had electricity. This house at that time had 4 rooms - and her family rented one of them out to a soldier and his wife, who kept all their household goods in that one small bedroom, brought pots out to cook and went back into their room to eat their meals! This gives an idea of how economically indoor space was used during these earlier eras.

 Porches were converted into bedrooms more often than not - and existing windows and doors were just left intact. During pre-electric times, such windows and doors still had use for ventilation and light, just like the transoms found above interior doors in so many old homes. If not needed to carry daylight and breezes, these unused windows and doors were often covered permanently with a heavy curtain or drape to block light and drafts, and furniture would be placed in front of it as though it were a solid wall.

My mother's house, of similar or slightly earlier vintage as this one, has two such converted porches: one very similar to this one resulted in her kitchen having a window-to-nowhere (well, technically, a window-into-the-next-room). Her kitchen also has another window that faces into the remaining screened "sleeping porch" that could have been, if needed, similarly converted. The other converted porch left a door-to-nowhere behind the sofa in her living room (but alas, there is no "door into summer"!).

Not only were bedrooms added to accommodate growing families, but also young adults tended to live at home until they married, and were given their own space by adding a room or converting a porch. Our house has a converted porch that we now use as the laundry room. but which once turned a crowded 4-room house into a three-bedroom home  and housed a family's sons, who had previously slept in the living room.

From the back, it is each to see the flat roof of the addition - also very common for what is known as "lean-to" add-ons. Our house has a similar flat roof over the portion added in the 1970s.

 I was particularly interested to see the plate block for Dr. Howard's original bookplate (or Ex Libris as some call them). It is a linoleum cut and bears the doctor's own signature. A corresponding print from it is framed with it, but I couldn't tell whether the plate was designed to make prints onto gummed paper for application, or to print directly onto a book's fore-leaf.

 The docents at the museum, all members of Cross Plains' Project Pride, were wonderful, and I appreciated their friendly guidance through the tour. Here is one of these nice ladies with the Cross Plains Centennial Quilt, displayed in Mr and Mrs Howard's bedroom of the home, to which she had contributed a square. Each block was made by local women to celebrate the town's history, and its recovery from the devastating wild fires that burned 130 homes and killed two people in 2005.

 We wrapped up the day with the Barbarian Festival in a lovely, oak-shaded park, complete with live music, free watermelon (courtesy of AMA-Techtel), Conan the Barbarian artwork, and fabulous food. There was even a car show. This is an annual event and it was a lot of fun. I hope we will be able to go again from time to time!

Much more about Howard, his writing, his family, and life can be found at various places, including REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, REHupa (the Robert E Howard United Press Association), and the Robert E Howard Foundation.

7/4/12 Update: Thanks to for the link! :-)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Computer Failure and Summer Pleasantries

My trusty Dell Inspiron lies comatose, due to hard drive failure. It is 6 years old, so unlikely that we'll have it repaired. I'm going to ask Devin to look at it, and if it is costly to fix, he can have it for parts. There go all my bookmarks, photos, blog notes. C'est la vie. We won't replace it soon, there are more important priorities. For the time being, Paul is letting me share his computer - which is also our tv source.

So blogging will be lighter, but will not disappear. This blog has done well as an outlet for me and I enjoy my readers and the friends I've made through it.  I'll simply be posting once a week instead of 2 to 3 times. Maybe the quality will improve! Ha! :-)  Anyway, thanks for reading and for continuing to follow along. In the meantime, feel free to visit our sponsors.   :-)

It's actually been pleasant to be without a laptop.  At Paul's urging, I've resumed an old hobby, making costume jewelry and stringing beads - and making beads. When we met, I sold my jewelry in a couple of shops and did shows, but had let the hobby fall to the wayside long ago. Expect to see some pieces here at some point.

I've also been working on a big project that has been sitting and waiting for a couple of years: a tiny Cardinal travel trailer, vintage late 1960s. It had been gutted and I guess used as a food cart or something so it was a real mess! We aren't "restoring" it as such, but making it liveable as a secure place to sleep. Whereever we camp will certainly have "facilities" with showers and clean toilets, thank you very much! I am a big fan of hot water and indoor plumbing even when roughing it.  Paul shored up the inside and got the tags on and will take care of the electrics. My brother in law is going to paint the outside of it for us when we get to that point. Yesterday I finished the second coat of paint on the interior and now I'm searching for curtain material. It needs to have a touch of the avocado green of the naugahyde cushions, have a little blue, either  beachy, tropical or mid-century modern pattern. I lost the "before" pics on my computer, but I'll put up some "in progress" ones soon.

Yesterday morning after I got off work, we went to Cross Plains Texas to Robert E. Howard Days (aka Barbarian Days). I've been wanting to go to that since I first heard about it but something always interfered. We toured the author's house, bought various bits of Conan the Barbarian comic art, took pictures (I'll add them in a later post), and went to the Barbarian Festival. Cross Plains has a great, oak-shaded park for this kind of event. It was cool and comfortable. Live music, great Fair food, free watermelon and neat tshotshkes. One book I bought was "Lone Scout of Letters", the collected correspondence of Herbert C. Klatt, who died at 21 on 1928. Not only for those interested in Boy Scouts history, the Lone Scout organization, or the history of amateur journalism, the book also gives a glimpse into the life of a teenaged boy in rural Texas in the early part of the last century. 

We'll pick up the grandkids today to come spend a week or two. They are older, and they come each summer to help with the community Vacation Bible School. They always have a lot of fun, and we are so happy to have them. 

Now, off to church. Dinner on the ground and baptisms this afternoon, as more people answer Jesus' call to "Come, follow me."   

God bless you this Sunday, and through your week!


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