BenTha'er-Horizons

Easter

Jesus rises today and give us his blessing as God’s children. It is Easter, a holy day for Christians. I say this as one can still say it in the United States as of now. I am concerned what the future holds for Christians here. It is a beautiful day and at least hope Springs eternal as they say.

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Wonder Weekend

It is a beautiful spring weekend and this morning came with no clouds in the sky. A little mist to hug the valley and cling to the hills. It is sad to have a cold and be under the weather when such a day comes about. It should get up to 75 degrees today and what a day that will be. Here is a photo of what spring is like!

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Banality of Evil

Throughout history, people with evil intentions to others have arisen. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Eichmann, Qaddafi are all of that ilk. Yet, later on in life, some of these people are found in small walks of life living simply and not like the power players they think are.

Great evil never rises to the occasion. We have expectations of it that are never met. The philosopher Hannah Arendt gave us that singular lesson in her extraordinary Eichmann in Jerusalem, first published in 1963. The crimes had been monumental, but the man she glimpsed in a glass booth was a disappointment: “medium-sized, slender, middle-aged, with receding hair, ill-fitting teeth, and nearsighted eyes, who throughout the trial keeps craning his scraggy neck toward the bench.” The very ordinary—“banal”—man, and the extraordinary crimes.

A further discussion is found here.

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Alexander Hamilton

Ron Chernow has written an outstanding biography of Alexander Hamilton, one of our Founding Fathers. Hamilton helped stabilize the early nation’s economy and manage our early war debt from the Revolution. He was a strong Federalist and government management of the money supply and finance.

But Hamilton had established the first political precedent of national involvement in money and finance. That history and its supposed success would be continually asserted to pave the way, at least in part, for the Federal Reserve System in the early twentieth century.

More about this can be read here.

Alexander Hamilton
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Dogs and Tractors

I found in one of my computer photos this picture of Black Adder riding in the John Deere riding mower trailer following along behind Bob. One of this dog’s favorite things to do in this world and one of the fun things in life to watch.

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Grandma Love

One other photo from the baby shower is one of Sandee, Renee’s Mom, reading from a book on God’s love and instructions for a new grandchild. Great grandma Kay is sitting next to her.

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Aunts

Part of what made the recent baby shower special (in addition to what it means to David, Renee and Nicolas to have Ryan coming) was seeing my Aunt Doris present with cousin Bob’s wife, Nancy present. We do not get enough opportunity to see each other or at least take the opportunity to do so. We are going out for dinner together this Friday evening and it should be a good time to reminisce about family and older times here in Berlin.

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Uncle Raymond and Aunt Doris

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Aunt Doris and Nancy
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Eyes on the Prize

Nathan, David’s nephew, is always a fun subject to photograph. The John Deere decorated cake was a huge attraction for a little boy. At one spot, I thought he would plant a finger or hand on the cake to check it out before we all got a chance to get a piece. So it was fun getting him peeking over the edge of the table to have his “eyes on the prize”.
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Welcome Cousin Ryan from Nathan

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Family Time

The Lewis Family had a nice baby shower at their home for Renee and David. The guys went off to walk around Cheadle Lake while the ladies stayed behind and viewed gifts and ate cake. It was great to have a large part of the families together. Lots of cute clothes and coverings for a little boy. Renee looked very nice with her pigtails and the polka dot black and white dress top she had on.

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Renee

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Renee and Melisa

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A Warrior and Hero

They wake up every day wondering what the enemy or the rest of the world will throw at them that day. They stand on guard to protect us and their fellow comrades and warriors each day. Along with our American spirit, they allow us to practice our freedoms every day and be as stupid and silly as we need to be. They do what our country and government asks of them repeatedly. The epitome of such a warrior and a hero was Chris Kyle. If you object to war and killing, you might not like him at a distance. I am not one of those individuals. I respect the service of our military and the terrific sacrifices they make in our lives. He was a man who stood strongly behind his beliefs and lived his values. He supported his friends and comrades in arms with all he had. One can only deeply admire such a person. It is our loss to have him gone so early. May God let him rest in peace and bless his family. To know more about Chris Kyle, please read his story here.

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De-Extinction

Is Jurassic Park right around the corner? Will they be able to bring back the Passenger Pigeon? Maybe we won’t have to angst over the loss of the Snail Darter after all? Scientists feel that they are on the verge of using DNA to revive old species who have become extinct. Check out more details here. As they say, bringing back the saber-toothed tiger might not be a good idea……..getting too close to a Sci Fi saturday night movie then.

“Genomic technology and techniques are advancing rapidly. It is becoming feasible to reconstitute the genomes of vanished species in living form, using genetic material from preserved specimens and archaeological artifacts. Some extinct species may be revivable. Ecological enrichment through species revival. …”

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Hi Ho

As the Seven Dwarfs of Disney once sang, “Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work I Go” today in Eugene. It is due to be a very rainy, breezy drive home. Working with cats. Shall I wonder which is a Pisces and which is a Capricorn like me?
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A Lion at Heart?

Are some of our cat’s behaviors much like their cousins in the wild? Could that rubbing along your leg applying a scent marking or lurking high above you on their cat perch be some of what we are speaking of? Read about it here.

Have you ever wondered why your pet cat rubs up against your legs, kneads your thighs with its forepaws or sleeps on top of a wardrobe? These, and many other behaviours, can be attributed to the tiger lurking within your pet tigger.

A recent report conducted by feline experts Whiskas has established close links between domestic cat behaviour and behaviours exhibited by their wild big cat cousins.
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Zodiac Cats

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, yet I am featuring Zodiac cats. Someone has taken a photo of cats in different funky costumes to match the sign of the Zodiac. No little leprechaun cats here. They are quite adorable as cats can only be.
Check out your cat sign here.
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No Sweet Tooth for Cats

Cats lack a sweet tooth. Boy, they don’t know what they are missing. They have a broken gene that makes them unable to detect sweet tastes. So in spite of thinking they want your ice cream, they really are just beggars. Here is the article about how this happened. I wonder what grumpy cat, Tardar Sauce, thinks about that.

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Cats on a Map

Someone has developed an interactive map to put “Cats on a Map”. One can see a little cat face icon especially over the European continent. Check out the story and links to the map here.

A Cat Map pinpointing the exact locations of all of the world’s housecats is now live courtesy of the Zoological Society of London.

Well, actually, it doesn’t include all of the world’s cats…yet. There are just over 3,000 on the map now, but that number will surely grow. While the Zoological Society initially put out a call for Londoners to add their cats to the map, kitty lovers from around the globe are also welcome to submit photos and a few bits of info about their felines for inclusion.

The new map is searchable, so if, say, you are interested in checking out adult male tabbies, you can simply input that request into the search engine, and up pops a map full of adorable cat faces indicating the whereabouts of known tabbies, and some quick-hit info about them.
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Cats as Train Masters

Tama, the calico cat became the train master for the Wakayama Railroad in Japan. The railroad was about to fail until they found that Tama made a great mascot for the railroad. Cats are a popular symbol and they seem to have been able to recoup due to Tama’s popularity. Check out the calico cat.

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Lock Pickers in Olden Days

“Ripper Street” is a crime drama found on BBC America Saturday nights. It has the feel of “Copper” which is set in New York City among the Irish in 5 Corners as a drama. There was an interesting story that brought these two dramas to mind and that is one on lock pickers. One American traveled to England to open a supposed impossible to open safe. He had gained a reputation in the United States of being able to open supposed difficult locks. It is a fascinating history of this trade, crime, and people in that day and age of England. Check it out here in this article in Slate online.

They were drawn by a curious invitation: “To witness an attempt to open a lock throwing three bolts, and having six tumblers, affixed to the iron door of a strong room.” The men gathered around the door to a vault, once the repository of records for the South-Eastern Railway. At their center was an unassuming figure, an American named Alfred C. Hobbs, clad in waistcoat and collar. At 11:35 a.m., Hobbs produced a few small tools from his pocket—“a description of which, for obvious reasons, we fear to give” a correspondent for the Times wrote—and turned his attention to the vault’s lock. His heavy brows knitted, Hobbs’ hands flitted about the lock with a faint metallic scratching. Twenty-five minutes later, it opened with a sharp click. Amid the excited murmur, the witnesses asked Hobbs to repeat the task. Having relocked the vault, he once again set upon it with deft economy. The vault opened “in the short space of seven minutes,” as the witnesses would testify, “without the slightest injury to the lock or the door.”
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Knights in Car Parks

One never knows that you can dig up when you go removing old car parks in parts of Great Britain. First there was Richard III of England who was located under a car park. Now they have found a 13th century knight buried under a car park removed to make way for a new building in Edinburgh. You wonder what story he could tell about life in those times. The location had been the place of a Blackfriars Monastery at one time. An article describing the discovery is found here.

Along with the knight or nobleman's grave and skeleton, the excavation has revealed the exact location of the monastery, which was founded in 1230 by Alexander II (King of Scotland 1214-49) and destroyed during the Protestant Reformation in 1558.



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Stonehenge

Having been to Stonehenge, or at least looking in from the perimeter, there are reports from researchers that Stonehenge was possibly a graveyard to start. To learn more, please read this article about this new theory. An excerpt…….

British researchers have proposed a new theory for the origins of Stonehenge: It may have started as a giant burial ground for elite families around 3,000 B.C.
New studies of cremated human remains excavated from the site suggest that about 500 years before the Stonehenge we know today was built, a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a community graveyard, researchers said Saturday.
"These were men, women, children, so presumably family groups," University College London professor Mike Parker Pearson, who led the team, said. "We'd thought that maybe it was a place where a dynasty of kings was buried, but this seemed to be much more of a community, a different kind of power structure."
Parker Pearson said archeologists studied the cremated bones of 63 individuals, and believed that they were buried around 3,000 B.C. The location of many of the cremated bodies was originally marked by bluestones, he said. That earlier circular enclosure, which measured around 300 feet (91 meters) across, could have been the burial ground for about 200 more people, Parker Pearson said.

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Showers for Baby

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day. So many people were walking and jogging along country roads. It was as if you could breathe in the sunshine. The day was also one for Renee to have a baby shower held for her and Ryan over in Albany. It was a pleasant experience and Renee was looking lovely. Ryan got a haul of lots of fun onesies and socks and toys.

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The Searchers

Considered one of the best and most classic Westerns in movie genre is The Searchers with John Wayne. The story behind the John Ford directed movie is the capture of Cynthia Parker as a young girl by Comanche raiders and her life as a Native American captive until rescued. One of her offspring was Quanah Parker, a legend in Comanche lore, and Texas history. He became a large landowner in Texas after living and fighting as a Comanche. A recent book describes the making of the movie and our struggle as we tamed the West with settlers with the Native American peoples. For another take on this topic and book, the Wall Street Journal has this article

John Wayne, searchersJohn Wayne in The Searchers

Two more articles on this topic can be found here and here.
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Vikings

What with the new Vikings television show on the History Channel, it brings back the visits to Norway and the Viking museum outside Oslo. The long ships are impressive and it is amazing that the Vikings traveled across the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The TV series is set in 739 A.D. when the Vikings were setting out to raid Britain and Ireland. This was a turning time in history, the Vikings brought a lot of murder and mayhem along with many things that are part of our English history such as towns and markets. An interesting article on the find of a possible “Viking Sunstone” that may have been used to find the sun and navigate across the large open waters. An allusion to such a crystal or sunstone was made in the TV series.

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Boys and Tractors

John Deere is part of this family since we have a John Deere tractor and a John Deere lawn tractor/mower with trailer. Grandpa Bob is showing Nicolas how to drive the big tractor and you can see it is a lot of fun. Nicolas has his own battery powered riding tractor and I imagine Ryan is going to use it someday. It is stored on the Thayer Family Farm.

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Hitler and Stalin

An author who knows this historical period and its significance has written a piece in the New York Times comparing the quantity versus quality of deaths under Hitler versus Stalin. Who was worse? It would be no lesser of two evils if faced with either.What a truly terrible time in our history and to occur in a civilized 20th Century. Timothy Snyder is the author and I have his one book, Bloodlands. To understand the time, the article in the Times is found here.

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The Great Escape

Steve McQueen was a movie star playing in The Great Escape. He could go home to a more glamorous lifestyle. Unfortunately, the story was based on a real life escape from a Stalag in Poland not far from the Baltic. Many escaped and were recaptured. 50 of those were killed in retaliation to the escape on Hitler’s orders. The men who carried out the executions were found by great detective work and put on trial. An interesting story about what is a horrible episode from World War II.
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Holocaust News

Researchers have found that the number of concentration camps and ghettos used by the Nazis was higher than originally thought. The work indicates there were close to 42,500 of such named places during the war. More details can be found here in this article.
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A Blood Feud

History has made much of the Hatfield and McCoy feud along the Kentucky-West Virginia border. More broadly damaging yet less spoken of is the blood feud or hatred between Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Bill O’Reilly covered it in his recent book, Killing Kennedy.
Robert Caro has written the fourth volume of a 5 volume history of Johnson. A lot of the book covers this feud and its impact on the people around them and also American history. A description of this feud is covered in the New York Times Book Review of Caro’s book here.
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Hey Abbott 2

It is another day, another dollar. At least to Lou Costello as he tries to have Bud Abbott explain what Lou is getting paid. I am sure we all feel this way in this day and age when taxes are going up and paychecks are getting smaller. Enjoy the funniest pair around. Pre-Seinfeld days.
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