They Told Me To Try It

Part one of recommendations

I had some pretty good recommendations on my blog and in person. Thanks for reading and responding! I have added links to Goodreads, IMDB and Youtube videos if any of the following media interests you. There will be more coming soon.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (book)

Src: Goodreads

This was recommended to me when I told one of my historian friends that I had started A Young People’s History of the United States (Zinn, adapted by Stefoff). I am having some trouble getting through it because there is little cheer in highlighting every group’s battle with oppression. Assassinated presidents sounds like another jolly topic, but from all the reviews I’ve read the writer presents it with some wry humor and it sounds organized like a travel journal. I’m a voyeur and how can you blame me since I have kept a private journal for nearly 12 years.

Banks of the Ohio (song)
I listened to several versions of this to get a feel for this creepy, creepy song that was first recorded in 1927 (Wikipedia). Bill Monroe and Doc Watson was the first that I listened to. It has all the charm of an Uncle picking on the back porch with a couple of the other older farmers. Feet dangling off the back porch and smoke curling up through the battling heat and humidity. This is a song that falls under the sub genre of murder ballads of which there were at least enough for Nick Cave to fill an album of them. The second one I listened to was by Dolly Parton, which I had hoped was a tweaked female version. It takes a very Dolly spin in the way it sounds and although some lyrics are different the main change is found in the first few lines: “I went into his prison cell/To write his story, if he’d tell/He spoke as tears fell from his eyes/And he told me when and how and why/And he said…” before moving onto the story. Olivia Newton-John changes to a female perspective and has the same “knife to breast” murdering that Dolly sings about. I prefer Bill’s straight off pushing and drowning murder. Seems simplest. Johnny Cash has the best of both worlds as he stabs and then pushes his love into the Ohio River. Moral of the story, if the man’s name is “Willie”, don’t turn him down by any sizable body of water.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (TV series)

This is a TV show that got recommended to me and then I got to watch several episodes. First off, if you are a Bruce Campbell fan and haven’t seen this, then you might need to look to fixing your life. This is a wild west TV show in which a man comes to town to avenge his father’s death (Brisco County Senior). It’s your typical wild west TV show (27 episodes), if your norm involves the Chin himself, snorting with laughter at Julius Carry (who played Sho-Nuff in The Last Dragon), and a little bit of weird that can most easily be categorized to 1890s steampunk. Watch it.

Gary: Tank Commander (TV series)
I have already started watching this on Netflix and as I have gotten into it, I dinnae ken who can avoid watching it! Okay, it’s not going to change your life, but this is a funny Scottish military TV show. Gary barely scrapes by without keeping out of trouble and the many duties that the armed forces take on while at home. I still have to have subtitles on and near the beginning of the series the actors poke fun at Americans who can’t understand their slang and accent so there is plenty of cheek. There are a few jokes that are culture specific, but I haven’t had to look up anything that I didn’t understand by context. It kinda reminds me of the pranks and scrapes of the characters in MASH except there aren’t any episodes that include folks getting dead. Around the time of posting, Netflix has 3 seasons available.

Vegan Bourbon Hazelnut Pancakes (recipe)
This is not actually a recipe I made, but one that I ate. The recipe that my vegetarian friend was one that she got from a vegan recipe book. I’m not certain, but this one seems damned similar. Let me clearly state, I don’t like pancakes. I’m also a lover of cheese, milk, butter, and eggs, so vegan recipes are hard for me to get behind. However, I’ve got a friend who is brave enough to try it and forces me -nicely- to try stuff. These were THE BOMBDINGO. We ate them with plain maple syrup, but you could have eaten them plain as well. I ate huge helpings and was waddling around after dinner. If I had any complaint, the ‘butter’ didn’t quite melt like butter. None of that mattered since it tasted ah-mazing. Get outta here with your banana pancakes, Jack Johnson.

Did this short list remind you of other awesome things you’d like to share? Please post below.

Have you already tried some of the above things listed? What did you think?

The More You Nerd: Deckle Edge

Image Source

Definition via Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Deckle edge, date: circa 1874: 
the rough untrimmed edge of paper left by a deckle or produced artificially.
Or check out the definition of Deckle.

The deckle is he frame in which paper is made. The pulp oozes toward the edges of the frame and some seeps through creating a rough, uncut edge.

A while on later they created a continuous style paper making frame, but the top and bottle would still have the rough edges.

Today, the deckle edged paper is cut by machines to purposefully copycat this early method of paper making.
Some people hate it (Good lord, who!?), but if you’re like me you love it. One of my favorite things about the Lemony Snicket books were the edges of the paper-yes, it was nice in other ways.
Image source
Why should I care?
You know just a little bit more about the world and history.

Why did I research it? During cave tours, I compare the layered limestone rocks in the cave to the the deckle edge of books, but no matter how the edges are trimmed the pages will be flat when you open the book. People always ask why the ceiling is so flat. It is sedimentary rock, and I figured this was a decent answer.

Further Nerding:
I remember making paper when I was a kid for summer reading program. I was maybe 8 or 9 and I remember it being quite fun.

I read this article on The Economist and found it to be quite interesting. There is even a bit of snarkiness at the end.

Day 207: Floyd’s Resting Place


Floyd Collins was a caver who was shot into the spotlight when he got trapped in Sand Cave. Wedged in a nasty crevice with a football shaped rock on his leg.

Maybe less well known was his career after this event. His family sold the tourist cave to a Dr. Thomas who had Floyd working for him down in that Crystal Cave 24 hours a day.

Visitors came from all over the place to see Floyd and see his cave.
After working for Dr. Thomas for a while Floyd’s adventures continued. He was kidnapped!

Thankfully he was found shortly after nearly waterlogged, tied up in a sack along the Green River.

He returned to his post working for Dr. Thomas in the cave for many years on.

Floyd Collins was trapped alive in that Sand Cave but he didn’t leave it alive. The tragedy was after 17 days he passed on from exposure.

Now you know the rest of the story…

(An attempted retelling of Paul Harvey’s radio talk on Floyd Collins. I would love a written transcript of that recording).

Above is pictured the resting place where Dr. Thomas put Floyd on display for paying visitors to see.

Day 130: 1812 Exhibit


This was one of the display cases at the state fair. It was a little confusing because (to me) it seemed like they squeaked a bunch of civil war exhibits right next to the 1812 info. Two totally different wars, at different times, about different things.

Also, in the noisy hall I found it difficult to focus on the flat, dry information. I did however enjoy the guns and rifles in cases and I liked the living history gents that were discussing their weaponry.

Yeah, call me a dork but I would much rather hear someone in uniform reenact their daily life at war. He explained one tidbit I did enjoy. In movies a flint lock gun is over dramatized. You hear a distinct click, bang, fuse fizz and boooom! He said all those noises do occur but all at the same time.


I forget which side of the war this occurred but they killed the drummer in a battle and then used the drum for their own soldiers. Sounds like something we probably did was use and English drum.

Excuse me while I mount my soapbox. Why is history not made fun? There has got to be a way. We memorize dates, names of monarchs, and battles we know little about. Does any teach history where it is enjoyable for all? If you haven’t guessed history is not my favorite subject but I also know I am not the only one with eyes glazed over.

I feel that history is being mistaight similarly to math. Those who pass math classes and memorize all the formulas have no clue which situation to utilize these tools. Life doesn’t give you a worksheet and a time limit. Life hands you a screaming baby at the cash register as you pull bills from your wallet. It gives you numerous bills and one pay check. It gives you hammer, nails, and boards while your child looks to you for a tree house.

How we ought to teach history is still a mystery to me. It is my goal however to learn it and share it in such a fashion that you have people excited about it. The same excitement you might experience when watching the ending of a suspenceful film.


Day Seventy-Three: Boss Farmer

old lady henderson--can kick your ass

I’m also learning some cultural history of the various places that I visit during this semester.

Yes, this is a crappy picture of a newspaper article picture. I had to record this woman somehow though.

This lady, at 86 years old, would carry buckets of water up from the stream at the bottom of the bluff for herself and her cattle farm. Not sure how many trips per day she had to make to keep everything stocked, but just completing this feat once is amazing to me.

She must have had a lot of drive. By the time this picture was taken her husband had passed away and the farm was all hers. She refused to sell the farm to the feds (for Buffalo National River area). Finally, her son bought her a house and moved her into it (and moved her cows for her). Sadly, the woman took ill and only stayed in the new house a very short time.

I believe this woman had a much stronger bond to the land and the Buffalo river than many people will ever be able to understand.