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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bill at the Moose

Just because I didn't have time to share it with you yesterday does not mean I didn't celebrate myself. Yesterday was the anniversary of the birth of the dashing William F. Cody. Be still my heart!

I am headed to the Moose Club to hear Borderline (featuring Gary on keyboards). Sometime during the evening, I will propose a toast to the man who probably chugged some whiskey in North Topeka on the very spot the Moose Club sets today.

To Bill!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Title Match: George Vs. Abe


That great and most famous Virginian, George Washington, was born on this day in 1732.

About a year ago, CSPAN released the results of its Historians Presidential Leadership Survey. I was dismayed that Washington beat out Abraham Lincoln for the number one spot, but at least Washington was up from a shocking number 3 in the 2000 survey. I would have expected as much from the public, but not from a body of learned historians. (I was among those historians, and I did not rank Lincoln at the top. I put Washington first. Just for the record.)

Washington tied with Lincoln on moral authority, which is understandable in the context of history. Where Washington fell woefully behind is commitment to equality for all. That is understandable in the context of history, but I'm not sure it is a fair comparison in the context of their times. Each man carried out his duties with vision and with an understanding of human nature that is rare.

I asked the esteemed historian Allen Guelzo, who also participated in the SPAN poll, how he felt about the Washington/Lincoln rivalry:

Deb: It all depends on who you ask, and when. In 1865, people imagined Lincoln and Washington as co-equals, the one the Father of the country, the other the Savior of the country. I don't mind seeing Washington and Lincoln jockeying for the top-spot today, so long as people remember that, coming after them, there's a long, long gap before we hit No. 3.

Ha! Well put, Allen. I would like to see our students learning more about each president and the context of the time in which he served so that the public can intelligently evaluate their service and intelligently select the next one. Ah....pipe dreams....

Read the results of CSPAN's poll for yourself and see if your opinions match those of the historians: http://www.c-span.org/PresidentialSurvey/presidential-leadership-survey.aspx

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Boys Back When

I'll bet you good money that George and Abe tied Junebugs on strings as boys. This photo comes from my friend and fellow hillbilly, Byron Chesney. Growing up in the mountains of Tennessee, Byron was fortunate enough to participate in many timeless forms of entertainment. Click on the link to his blog, "The Life of Tug," on this very page. Tell him Deb sent you. You may also find the origins of that famous saying, "What does a redneck say right before he dies?" Answer: "Watch this!" There were many such episodes in Byron's life, but I have to admit, I think it's a guy thing no matter where they're from!

Thursday, February 11, 2010



Mail call: Received instructions for judging History Day competition on February 27. We have a thank-you dinner the night before at Greg Fox's Row House Restaurant. Gary & I are treating our friends who worked tirelessly to help us move after our fire. I have to report bright and early to Washburn University that Saturday. . .hope I'm thinking clearly after Friday's festivities! Saturday night, Borderline plays the Moose Club. I love watching those people dance!!!! The members of the Moose are a generation of people that learned to REALLY dance.

Now, back to History Day. I have been a judge and a coach in the past. History Day produces some incredible results and Topeka kids always do well in the national competition. The theme this year is "Innovation in History: Impact and Change." I can't wait to see what the results of the students' creativity and research.


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Cowboys and Indians

Picked up the latest copy of Cowboys and Indians which is absolutely the most beautiful publication on the stands. This is the "Photographing the West" issue and the images are riveting. Fred Chiaventone has an article on Ridgway Glover, an ill-fated photographer who died during Red Cloud's War. It's an incredible story.

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Santa Fe Trail


Gary had never seen this movie so we corrected that a couple of nights ago. Bless his heart, he still hasn't seen it because I kept interrupting with either history lessons or commentary. I'll play it again one night and tape my mouth shut so he can actually enjoy it.

It was funny; when the movers/cleaning crew were packing up the house after the fire, they missed Santa Fe Trail. I found underneath the TV. It was a sign. This is the movie that changed my life, pathetic history that it is. It was strange that it was the DVD that slid out of strangers' hands and waited for me to pick it up and bring it home.


Yeah, I need new meds.


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Photo of the Day


Okay, I don't care who you are. This is funny.