Tag Archives: Society

Historical Marker Ahead

by Melanie and Jim

We recently completed a 3000 mile road trip. Along the way, we saw signs several times a day which denoted an Historical Marker by the roadside. We usually drove on by and wondered what it said. Sometimes we got a glimpse of a few words in the title but nothing else. If we did stop to read, it was when we changed drivers.

We started a paper list of things to look up at a later time. The list included some of those historical sites that seemed interesting. The list also included word origins, reminders, funny things to remember, ideas for a blog post, etc.

When we got home from the trip, we checked off the items on the list, including some of the historical markers we passed. We checked to see if there was a database available online. It seemed like there should be one since these things are so prevalent.

Well, guess what. There is such a database. It is called the Historical Marker Database. Clever title. It is full of information for the traveler and the curious student of history.

When you enter the database, you are welcomed by a page loaded with several types of information such as the marker of the week, recently added markers, a tour of the site, most viewed this week, email signup, and much more. The About Us link describes the criteria for markers included or excluded, the names of those volunteering to keep the database up to date, and helpful notes for users who want to submit their own marker finds and information. The whole thing is a volunteer-run operation, which started in 2006.

Menus choices across the top look like this. The blue Near You button is very useful. It will give you several options to find markers in your vicinity. They are presented on a Google Map for you to click. Clicks on the red markers in the map yield links to more specific information and location. The Geographic Lists is also very helpful. It lists markers in the U.S. and in many countries.

Here is an example of what can be seen using the Near You button. The Amana Colonies are a few miles from our home. Detailed information and an image of the actual marker is included.

Take a look a the site. What historical markers are near you? Have you seen them in person?

Peace | Can’t We Act Better?

by Jim and Melanie

We stepped out the front door into the sunshine for a walk. Nearby were two young doves. They sat very still so we would not see them. Adult doves fly away in an explosion of sound. These sat there until our return.

How nice if they carried a message of peace and harmony between people of Earth. Such terrible things we humans do to each other. Our thoughts and prayers are with our French brothers and sisters today.

Dove1

Dove2

Tools of Engagement

by Jim and Melanie

Before internet, talk radio, and social media platforms, it was not so easy to express your opinion in public. Your choices included speaking to the person(s) face-to-face, calling them, public demonstration, and writing a letter to the editor. Today, we have access to multiple tools that allow us to express our opinions and engage with those with whom we agree and disagree.

Is this a good thing? It can be argued both ways. I am like most people. I like having the tools to socialize with others. I enjoy discussion both in person and online. We are social beings. We band together with others who share our viewpoints. People have always been that way.

People have also always disagreed with others and their viewpoints. This aspect of human nature combines with our ubiquitous tools for engagement to cause some of the problems we are seeing today. The tools of social engagement have sharpened the differences between people.

One can express a multitude of reactions to a Facebook post by simply clicking a button. Nothing more is expected. One can give thumbs up or thumbs down on some online posts. One can call talk radio shows on a wide range of topics and express your good, bad, or ugly viewpoint. One can write the most vile of remarks in the comments sections of stories that don’t deserve that kind of treatment. Why?

In my opinion, it is not that people are any worse than ever before. I think they have too many easy tools to put their negative feelings out there at all times of day and on nearly everything online. These tools work too fast. In the past, we had to think over something we didn’t like. We had to go see the person(s). We had to organize a protest. We had to write a letter and wait for it to be published. Not today. It happens in seconds.

Recently, I read a reminder on Facebook of something I posted six years ago.

It’s time to stop viewing the other as always wrong, with nothing positive to offer. In our families, towns and communities, we accept differences of opinion and decide to work with
the things we agree on. It solves problems we face. Why make more trouble by being obstinate, unyielding and inflexible? Nothing gets done.

Things don’t seem any better than they were then. In fact, they seem worse.

Nutmobile | Mr. Peanut’s Wheels

by Jim and Melanie

We had our first Nutmobile sighting in January while driving from Iowa to Maryland. It was a brief glimpse since we were going opposite directions on I-70. We’ve seen the Wienermobile more than once.

© Planters

 

The Nutmobile is decked out with the latest in high-tech gear. It has solar panels on top, a wind turbine, burns bio-fuels, and more. The font is quite small. Click to embiggen for the specifics.

Nutmobile

© Planters

My Youngest Brother is Gay

How I See It

I was raised in a large family on this farm in the mid-west. It was a great place to grow up with two older brothers, four older sisters, and two younger brothers. There is a twenty year spread in our ages. Dad worked the farm. Mom worked the house and us kids. We were raised to be true to the Catholic church. Eat no meat on Friday, regular confession, fast before church, take regular communion, receive all the sacraments at the proper time. Those were the rules we followed without question. We were smart and happy most of the time. We did well in school and never gave our parents undue grief. Almost never.

We lived a variety of life experiences. Some of us completed college. Some never went. Eight are legally married. Seven have children. Seven are politically conservative. Six are practicing Catholics. One is a fundamentalist christian and…

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