Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Anybody hungry?!

Here's an interesting twist I heard today. A little bit of Daoism mixed with Christianity, if you will.

Emotions need to be nourished. Either feed into them so they can grow, or they will starve and die.

And, the only emotions worth feeding are faith, hope, and love.


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Monday, July 30, 2007

A quote from Robert E. Lee

I found this excerpted from a letter between the great general and Charles Marshall, dated 1866, and thought it was appropriate for contemporary situation(s):

"The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing ways, and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope."

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Character Makes a Difference

That's the title of Mike Huckabee's awesome book. [ISBN 978-0-8054-4677-7] (Shameless plug: It's only slightly less-awesome than my own recent book.)

You may remember Mike not only for winning my ringing endorsement is several prior posts, but also for being the best governor Arkansas ever had. Bar none.

Anyway, I tossed-aside all the negative energy the financial markets have been trying to burden me with lately, and actually spent some of my hard-earned money to buy a copy.

And, I have not been disappointed.

I'm more than half way done with it already, page 135. And, the more I read his words, the more I'm convinced THIS MAN NEEDS TO BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT!

This was reaffirmed during his appearance on Fox News this afternoon, and I'm sure will be again tomorrow afternoon when he appears on CNN's "Situation Room."

Go, Mike, go!

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Okay, I'll get specific

After yesterday's post, some of you socks emailed me with requests for clarification.

I guess I have a nasty habit of dancing around issues. So, let me just spell it out as clearly as Steve Forbes did this morning:

If you believe in the theory of "buy low and sell high," don't bother investing in real estate, construction, or financial services. Not in the short term, anyway.

Now, Steve-o did make one good caveat:

Once the fraidy-cats have done the stupid thing they always do (selling low after buying high), there will be plenty of opportunities for cooler heads.

So, if you were smart enough to get out of these sectors already, sit on your cash for a few months at least.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

All we have to fear is fear itself.

I'm not much one for quoting Democrats, but just had to dig that old one out from my FDR file.

And, quite frankly, I have to tell you he was just as wrong about that as he was about so much else. Perhaps, more so. At the very least, we have more to fear than fear in this day and age. And, I'm not just talking about the Islamofascists, Kim Jung-Il, or any of the other yo-yo's on the world stage.

No, I'm talking about the economy and the yo-yo's we have right here in the good old USofA.

There's a lot of fear out there as I type these words, and it's a growing fear. But, besides just the fear itself, we need to fear what the fraidy-cats are going to do.

Fear is a good thing when it's rational. I mean, you SHOULD be afraid if you are confronted by a rabid pit bull in a dark alley when you have a raw leg of lamb tied around your waist.

But, what you should ask yourself is, "Why did I put myself in this situation in the first place?!"

The answer is, "There's no good reason. But, you're there. Deal with it. Quickly!"

Okay, now I'm just ranting.

Suffice it to say that fears about certain sectors of the economy are not only growing, but they are spilling into and stifling other sectors' potential.

As in the 1930s, it is time for some cooler heads to prevail BEFORE some socialist gets into the White House and does something even more frightening than the free market ever thought about doing.


I need a weekend to get over myself . . .

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Norton notes

There has been a flurry of activity around here lately, lots of emails flying back and forth between a bunch of "long lost" Norton cousins.

Some great stories have been coming my way, in addition to the photos I posted earlier this week. (Too many, in fact, to post here.)

Anyway, to keep it all straight, and to make sharing easier, I am working on creating an online "presence" for all this great stuff.

Very preliminary. But, check it out, do some clicking and surfing, and let me know if you can make additions, corrections, etc.:



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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Christmas in July

Imagine my surprise when I was driving to work this morning and the local country music station was playing Brooks and Dunn's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town!"

Apparently, it shocked a lot of people.

I mean, we ARE dealing with near-100-degree temperatures down here. And, we won't even talk about the humidity and tourists.

So, what's with the Christmas music?!

It seems like every year "they" start the marketing blitz earlier and earlier.

But . . . JULY?!

The DJ came on the air after the song was over, apparently in response to a lot of phone calls. (I'm sure that was the reason for the stunt in the first place, right?!)

Anyway, he explained that it is the 25th today. "Christmas in July." We now have "only" 5 months left to buy the perfect gift(s). That's just 20 weeks, folks! Hurry before supplies run out!

Bah, humbug!

And, crank the AC.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Superheroes and villains

OK, this is a little immature, but I'll share it anyway.

If you've ever wondered what kind of superhero you would be, try taking the quiz at this site:


Turns out yours truly is somewhere between Robin and Spiderman.

Then again, if you're more on the dark side of personality, you may prefer to find out what kind of super villain you would be at:


I found out I'm a lot like Lex Luther.

Scary, huh?!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Connecting with some long-lost cousins

I was thrilled to receive email today from two long-lost cousins on the Norton side of the family: Maureen Kelly and Mary Jo Solomon.

We've been swapping info on our different branches of the family.

And, Mary Jo was kind enough to send me these old family photos. Thomas Norton (1885-1943) was my great-grandfather. The two other fellows are his brothers Jim and Harry. And, the lady is their only sister "Birdie."

Pretty cool, huh?

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Two movie reviews

"Fly Boys" is a big thumbs-up. Wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not, and have to confess it's been sitting by the DVD player for weeks. Literally.

The lack of interest was probably due to the setting: WWI in France.

But, don't let that hold you back. The Frenchiness is kept to a minimum, and the lead character is a Texan.

Some great aerial combat scenes with old-timey bi-wings and tri-wings. Just wish they'd invente the parachute sooner for some of those poor airmen . . .

"Pan's Labyrinth," another movie that I've been delaying, mostly because it's in Spanish with subtitles.

Let me warn you, definitely not a kid movie.

The digital animation is amazing, but a very, very dark story line with some gruesome scenes. But, what else can you expect from a film set in the middle of the Spanish Civil War, right?!

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fun with HTML

In an effort to make my genealogy pages a little more visually appealing, I have been practicing my html (hyper text mark-up language).

I like the ahnentafel format at http://www.wargs.com/, and am trying to duplicate it with my own family tree information:


Pretty basic as yet, but I'm hoping to expand on it later.

Hey, what else do you expect me to do on a rainy day?!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Huckabee on Cavuto

Well, Huckabee on Fox news anyway. Neil Cavuto was mysteriously absent this afternoon. But, his fill-in had a pretty good interview with my favorite presidential candidate.

They started off talking about why the Republican congress got fired last year: over-spending, corruption, and failure to adequately handle Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. But, the worst of the three, they agreed, was over-spending. The Huckster says one way the GOP can regain credibility is to get back to its roots and advocate much-needed spending cuts.

Pseudo-Cavuto (don't you like how that rhymes?!) tried to place some of the spending blame on President Bush, noting how Gerald Ford (of all presidential examples) managed to veto 7 GOP spending bills during his short term. And, he had a point. W hasn't vetoed any to date. But, Mike assured him El Presidente will indeed be "spilling some ink" on future bills, if the Democrats follow-thru on their much crazier spending projections.

Then, the fill-in tried to grill Huckabee for the "D" rating he received from the conservative Cato Institute for over-spending during his term as Governor of Arkansas. Mike came right back with an "F" for Cato's grading process. He says they try to apply a rigid template to all 50 states without taking into account that each government has its own spending procedures, especially as relate to federal mandates. If you go back and look at how Huckabee spent money over which he had actual power to exercise discretion, he deserved an "A."

Finally, the former governor made a pitch for the Fair Tax. Although he claimed a 7-year old running a lemonade stand could understand it, I'm still not sure about it myself. He says it will save $250 billion in current compliance costs, not to mention bringing back an estimated $10 trillion (yes, trillion with a "T") from offshore accounts. And, he's looking forward to the day when he (as president, of course!) will have the pleasure of hanging a "Going Out of Business" sign at the IRS.

All in all, a good appearance.

But, I would've preferred to see a tete-a-giant-tete between Mike and Neil . . .

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shout Outs to . . .

1. Patty B - best wishes on the big move to Illinois. I expect pictures soon!

2. Lisa T - praying y'all get that house sold soon and that the car problems get resolved.

3. My sister - hope Morgan's staph infection clears-up quickly. Sounds gross.

4. Amigo's - so glad you're in business. But, I don't understand how you can sell enchiladas so cheaply . . .

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Belated Birthday Blessings

Feliz cumpleanos a Sarah Taylor.

Actually, her birthday was yesterday, but we celebrated it tonight with a spaghetti dinner.

And, the birthday girl brought ME presents!

She brought a box full of old books that had belonged to her late husband Van, and I am having a field day going thru them all.

Turns out we are distantly related thru the old Ivey/Mizell pioneers.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Family Dynamics

I'm in the middle of reading an interesting article in the latest edition of the Scientific American, but I thought I'd take a break to share it with you socks.

It seems some Finnish anthropoligist finally decided to do what we genealogy addicts have been doing for decades, and is now "data mining" in some old church records to see what she can learn about family dynamics.

Among her findings:

- female twins of a mixed gender set (girl/boy instead of girl/girl or boy/boy) are less likely to marry and have children than single births or same gender set.

- mothers of sons have, on average, shorter lifespans than mothers of daughters.

- children are more likely to survive to adulthood if they have a grandmother living, even if not in the same household.

All this has me a little interested in doing some "data mining" in my own family records to see if these Finnish findings hold true . . .

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Huck's bucks

Well, midnight was the cut-off for candidates to file their 2nd Quarter reports with the FEC.

Some of this stuff is pretty interesting.

Some of it's just plain boring, unless you're a numbers person.

But, check it out for yourself:


You can search by contributor name, candidate name, state, etc.

Anyway, I checked out my favorite candidate Mike Huckabee, and found his campaign is on a lot more solid footing than it was at the beginning of the year. So, apparently, his message is finally getting out there to the rest of America.

I was somewhat bemused to find he only had one contributor from Orlando last quarter (mine didn't make it in there until July . . . ) and that was our former DEMOCRATIC mayor Bill Frederick.

Looks like the Huckster is appealing to people on both sides of the aisle . . . at least down here in the Sunshine State!

Go, Mike, go!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Gilmore's departure good for Huckabee

I heard late last night that former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore has withdrawn from the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates.

This is a good thing for Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas who I believe should be our next president.

I have told a lot of you socks in one-on-one conversations that the best formula for success (for either party) involves nominating someone from a southern state with executive branch experience.

True, Virginia is only on the fringe of the Sun Belt. But, given that criteria, Gilmore was the only other GOP hopeful besides Huckabee who could meet it.

Now, would anyone care to speculate when John McCain will withdraw?

Oh, and before I forget to mention it, the Huckabee campaign has added The Sock in the Dryer to their list of blog links:


Go, Mike, go!

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Downtown Disappointment

A trip to the downtown library was at the top of the agenda today.

Local history writer Joy Wallace Dickinson was supposed to be there to sign copies of her new book, but we never did find her. Someone told us she didn't show up. But, I can hardly blame her.

The atmosphere in the library was just awful. For some reason, they weren't running the air conditioning. Or, at least it felt that way. The air was simply oppressive, and it brought out the myriad of wonderful aromas one tends to find downtown since the illustrious Mayor Buddy drove all the homeless out of Eola Park and into the public buildings.

I thought the trip might be redeemable by a visit to the Friends of the Library shop on the 3rd floor. But, it was just as muggy up there as it was everywhere else. And, the very limited quantity of genealogy-related books STARTED at $40. The periodicals were a bargain at 25-cents, but they only had two copies of the same issue of Orlando Magazine.

So, I left pretty much disgusted with the whole trip.

If not for the digipics captured in the parking garage as we left, the whole morning would have been a waste of time.

Hey, maybe Mayor Buddy could use some of the billions he wants for the vaunted cultural corridor to clean-up the library and adjust the thermostat . . .

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Is Michael Moore a covert agent for the GOP?!

You know who Michael Moore is, right? He's the mockumentarian who has come to personify the liberal elite. He essentially blamed President Bush for 9/11 in his last piece of tripe. And, his current masterpiece portrays Fidel Castro's communist regime down in Cuba as home to the world's best health care system.

Isn't this an extreme example of cognitive dissonance?! I mean, this bloated #)*(%#* wants the same federal government that he believes cannot successfully defend our homeland against terrorists to now be put in complete control of our $2 trillion health care system? Somehow, I doubt he sees the irony in his eagerness to socialize 17% of our domestic economy.

Fortunately, Mike Huckabee continues to be the voice of reason. He called Moore on the mat on this issue, pointing out that people from around the world come knocking on America's door when they need specialized medical care. You NEVER hear of anyone from anywhere rushing down to Havana when they're having a major health problem, do you?!

The former Arkansas governor conceded the US health care system does need some significant reform. For example, he cited the staggering statistic that 75% of our current expenditures are on TREATING disease, and suggested perhaps a greater slice of the pie should go to PREVENTING ailments in the first place. Of course, being proactive about our well-being would involve things Moore apparently finds abhorrent like excercise and sensible diet.

I can only hope that Huckabee's debate with Moore will achieve similar results as Fred Thompson enjoyed earlier this year, pushing him into "top tier candidate" status. We need to be hearing more of his sensible approaches to our country's myriad problems. And, if nothing else, the buffoonery of the leftists only gives common-sense people excellent opportunities to highlight their ignorance.

Go, Mike, go! (Mike H, that is . . .)

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Update on "The Last Confederate"

Some socks may recall my posting from early this year about Julian Adams' new film "The Last Confederate."

He's the guy who outdid me when it comes to paying tribute to our families' personal Civil War histories. I wrote a book about my people, and this guy went out and made a feature-length motion picture about his.

Hey, Julian, nobody likes an overachiever!

Just kidding. He's done a great job, and that is reflected in ten (that's right, TEN) recent film festival awards.

Like my book, Julian's film is based on a true story. Of course, his isn't about the Morgans, its about the Adams family. (That's Adams with one "d," not two. The "two d" family had their story told in a cheezy sitcom several decades ago. But, I digress.)

"The Last Confederate" centers on the tumultuous love story of Robert Adams and Eveline McCord, a guy from the South and a gal from the North. It was produced, written, and portrayed by their descendants with the help of someone most socks will recognize: Mickey Rooney.

To find out more about this incredible film, visit http://www.strongbowpictures.com/

And, pass the popcorn!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Go, Mike, go!

I don't know how many of you socks were able to catch Gov. Mike Huckabee on Hannity & Colmes this Monday, but the more I hear from him the more I like him. Here are a few of the things he had to say:

1. On the war in Iraq - He disagrees both with the "shock and awe" theory of the hawks and the "cut and run" cries from the left. Instead, he advocates a new policy of "snatch and grab."

2. On leadership - True leaders don't make decisions based on public opinion polls. Those that do, are just "thermometers," gauging the heat of a given issue. What America needs is more "thermostats," people who won't just tell you how hot it is but will actually try to do something to change the temperature.

3. On tax reform - Our federal tax system is broken and won't be fixed with the tap of a hammer, twist of a screw driver, or a little duct tape. It needs a complete overhaul.

Now, some critics will say Huckabee is a little glib with his remarks. And, I suppose they may be perceived as a little jingoistic. But, keep in mind that he has a proven record of putting his philosophies into action as Governor of Arkansas.

With Giuliani's liberalism, McCain's age, and Romney's questionable credentials, I find Huckabee to be a beacon of light in this otherwise muddled field of GOP candidates.

If you'd like to find out more about Mike, check out his campaign website at: http://www.mikehuckabee.com/

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pei Wei - first time dining experience

Yesterday I was forced out of my "comfort zone." And, that's not altogether a bad thing, as it turned out.

Anyway, yet another corner store near my office has been gobbled up by one of those cancerous paycheck advance places. So, I couldn't get a quick sandwich for lunch. Instead, I was left to drive aimlessly along the streets of Orlando until I found the first dining establishment.

As luck would have it, that place was Pei Wei on Colonial Drive.

Now, I had passed this restaurant a hundred times, and heard my friends in Dallas rave about it many more times than that. For some reason, though, I'd never had the inclination to go myself. Until yesterday, that is.

Well, I can report a pleasant surprise. To call Pei Wei a fast food version of PF Chang's does not do it justice. This place is much nicer than the typical fast food place. In fact, I think it's more like a Chipotle. Only, the decor is nicer, and the menu a LOT more diverse.

I ordered the spicy orange chicken and got my own iced tea from the beverage station before grabbing a seat in the welcoming air conditionining of the dining area. Within a few minutes, a server brought my hot meal right to the table.

It was awesome.

A little pricy for a "quick" lunch ($10 with tip).

But, the food was great.

And, I got the chance to expand that whole "comfort zone" I mentioned earlier.

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FSGS convention coming to Orlando

Attention all genealogy geeks.

The Florida State Genealogical Society has announced they will be holding their annual convention at the Sheraton on Ivanhoe Boulevard in downtown Orlando, November 9th & 10th.

This is great news if you're a local like me, and only interested in checking out the vendors.

But, if you're an out-of-towner, you can get a special room rate at the Sheraton that weekend.

For more details, check out the FSGS website at http://www.rootsweb.com/~flsgs

Happy roots-diggin'!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

The DigiCam goes to Ivanhoe Row

So much fun was had yesterday, thought we'd try this again.

Today's little photo-shoot took us to Ivanhoe Row north of downtown Orlando.

You know the place with all the antique stores and boozhie cafes.

Well, if you go on a Sunday, you will find it a deserted ghost town.

Great for snapping pictures, though. No pedestrian interferance!


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Park Avenue DigiPic Montage

So, there was this lonely digital camera laying around the house.

It was pathetic, hadn't seen the light of day in months.

I couldn't stand it any longer.

So, an expedition to Winter Park was arranged.

And, now all you socks can enjoy a snap sample.



In a cemetery after sundown

How creepy does that sound?

Actually, not creepy at all. Especially if the cemetery in question is historic Greenwood in downtown Orlando and you're in the company of fifty other people led by local history guru Steve Rajtar.

I had been on other "history hikes" with Steve before. But, this one was by far the best. Probably the ambiance. The last time I joined him was on a walk around the Lake Adair area, and we were constantly looking over our shoulders to dodge passing cars. Certainly didn't have to worry about them tonight!

The only down-side to the whole evening, and it wasn't much of a down-side, was that there was a film crew operating in Section H.

That's right. A film crew.

I Wonder Films had what we were informed was a "hot set" as they filmed an exhumation scene for their upcoming flick "Dusk." We couldn't get close enough to see anything but a blue truck, a bunch of lights, and a fog-making machine. But, it looked cool from a distance.

Oh, and the casting director came up to us to thank us for our cooperation (which added like a mile to our route as we had to go AROUND them). She invited anyone who wants to be an extra in tomorrow's funeral scene to come back to the cemetery tomorrow afternoon around 5:30. And, anyone over age 65 could also try out for a more "prestigious" role as a ghost. Hmmmm

Anyway, totally exhausted physically, but the little adventure has my mind going a thousand miles an hour. I'll probably be up all night.

At least I won't be spending the rest of it in a cemetery . . .

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

New Revolutionary War research index

Okay, after yesterday's post and subsequent Independence Day inspiration, I was moved to create a new website to organize the material I've collected to-date on my Revolutionary War ancestors:


Email me if you have any additions, corrections, suggestions, etc. But, go easy on me. I just started!

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day!

As we mark the occasion with BBQ's and fireworks, let's also remember the tremendous sacrifices made by so many to win our independence.

Here are some of the patriots I found in my own family tree:

Daniel Andrews (1734-1818) of Connecticut
Asher Applegate (1762-1834) of New Jersey
Henry Applegate (1729-1799) of New Jersey
Capt. Redding Blount (1757-1807) of North Carolina
Capt. Daniel Bonnell (c 1750-1796+) of Georgia
Thomas Bonner (1744-1805) of South Carolina
Rev. Henry Brown (1759-1849) of Virginia, military chaplain
James Cameron (1761-1840) of South Carolina
John Cox (1753-1836) of North Carolina
Richard Gaines (1726-1802) of Virginia, artillery sergeant
Obadiah Higbee (1732-1808) of New Jersey
James Jernigan (1740-1802) of South Carolina
Col. William Jones (1745-1801) of Virginia, killed in action at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse
Job Judd (1757-1846) of Connecticut
Capt. Phineas Judd (1715-1790) of Connecticut
Joshua Peck (1756-1847) of Connecticut
Richard Stith (1727-1802) of Virginia, member of the Committee of Correspondence

Of course, this abbreviated list omits the numerous great-uncles who served, but are not in my direct line (like my namesake William Morgan of Virginia). And, we shouldn't forget the patriot women (like Agnes Walker Jones, who was left a war widow). Or, those who lost property (like Garret Vanderveer, whose home was burned by the British at the Battle of Monmouth).

When I think of the label "greatest generation" that has been bandied-about so much recently during discussions of World War II, I cannot help but think it has been misapplied. Isn't it grossly presumptious to accept that label and deny it to the generation that produced Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, et al?!

Oh, and I guess in the interest of fairness, I also have to mention one Ephraim Mallory in this posting as something of a disclaimer. I found him lurking in my family tree recently, British loyalties, warts, and all. But, one rotten apple doesn't spoil THIS barrel!

OK, nuff of the history lesson diatribe. Back to the celebratin'!

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His Way online

I got my monthly newsletter from Uncle BG and Aunt Diane in the mail today.

You may remember from previous posts that they have a teaching ministry out in Missouri.

Anyway, the newsletters have unfortunately been the bearers of rather distressing health news lately.

But, this month, they announced the launch of their first website:


Check it out and send them an email if you get a chance.

Also, congrats to their granddaughter Megan and her new husband Brian, who got married out in Dallas last month.

And, please pray for their other granddaughter Danica, who left two days after her sister's wedding to go on a mission to India FOR A YEAR!!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

If not for 18th Century formalities, I'd have the day off today!

"The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. . . . It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

Those were the words our second president John Adams used in a letter to his wife Abigail after the Continental Congress adopted a resolution to declare American independence from Great Britain.

That's right, the SECOND of July. NOT the fourth.

Unfortunately, 18th Century society was bogged-down by formalities. And, they had to wait a few days for Thomas Jefferson to submit a "clean copy" for everybody to sign.

You can read the whole story at the National Archives web page devoted to the subject at:


Just think, we could've had a nice long three-day weekend instead of having Independence Day inserted in the middle of the week!

Oh, well, take 'em as you can get 'em, I guess . . .

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Remembering Jack Kerouac

I read with some bemusement how some fellow literary junkies at Naropa University in Boulder Colorado are marking the 50th anniversary of "On the Road," the iconic masterpiece of the Beat Generation.

They kicked-off their "Kerouac Festival" yesterday with a twelve-hour marathon reading.

Can you only imagine?

I mean, it's a great book and all. But, TWELVE STRAIGHT HOURS?!

Anyway, for you local socks, keep in mind that Mr. Kerouac was living right here in Central Florida when his masterpiece went to press.

To be precise, he was living with his mother at 1418-1/2 Clouser Avenue in the now-fashionable College Park section of Orlando, working on another book you may have heard of called "The Dharma Bums."

You can read all about this local connection at http://kerouacproject.org/

Or, you can spend your summertime reading hours devoted to my book about the Civil War.

It's your choice. Choose wisely!

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