Category Archives: Random Enjoyment

The Tragic 1909 Typhoid Fever Epidemic

By Sara Love

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In was 1909; Athens Female College entered its sixty-sixth scholastic year on the 15th day of September. The previous five years had been the most successful years in the entire history of the Institution. In addition to local students, there were 151 boarding students enrolled from across Alabama and adjoining states. The faculty was made up of 23 excellent administrators and teachers. The health of the entire College community seemed perfect. College records indicate that only two deaths had occurred during its history and those occurred before the Civil War. On October 14, 1909, there was not a sick person on the campus.

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Jules Verne and the Steampunk RV

By Ron Fritze

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Most people have read something by Jules Verne whether it be Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea or Around the World in Eighty Days. A lot of his novels have been made into movies, some more than once. Verne was an early contributor to the genre of science fiction when it was first blooming. He wrote during the late nineteenth century and shared its faith that Western Civilization had entered into a permanent age of progress. His fiction predicted various technological innovations such as the submarine (Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea and Mysterious Island), the helicopter (Robur the Conqueror alt. title The Clipper of the Clouds), or a combination, submarine/airplane/automobile (The Master of the World). Little remarked upon is that Verne also envisioned the recreational vehicle.

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Horsehoe Bend 200th Countdown

By Ron Fritze

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200th anniversaries don’t come along all that often but we have one coming up in Alabama in a few weeks. On the 27th of March, 2014, it will be the bicentennial of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

If you, like me, grew up with“The Wonderful World of Disney” appearing on the TV on Sunday night, you’ll remember the Davy Crockett (aka Fess Parker) episodes. I remember as a little kid the opening episode in which Davy and his friend George Russel (aka Buddy Ebson, aka Jed Clampett) were scouting for hostile Indians in a swampy region. Along the way, Davy has to fight a bear and kills it using just his knife. He also fights an Indian chief to save Russel’s life. My memory is that at the end Davy’s boss Andrew Jackson arrives with the army and captures all the hostile Indians in what I now know was a highly sanitized version of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Of course, if you are younger and grew up on the Disney Channel and Nickelodean, than you grew up with the same TV shows that I watched, it is just that for you they were retro while for me they were cutting edge.

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On the Joys of Browsing: Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

By Ron Fritze

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These days, people tend to go on the internet to get answers to their questions. I know that I do. That said, I still have and use a big collection of reference books. One reason is that a standard reference book will be more reliable than some of the internet sites (although I think Wikipedia is generally quite reliable). Another reason is that for some purposes, a reference book can be just as easy to use, or even easier than an online source. That is certainly the case for dictionaries. But there is another reason for checking out many ink and paper works of reference—they are fun to browse. Well, maybe not for everyone, but they are fun for me and I am not alone.

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Mike the Protector

By Guy McClure

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This may or may not have actually happened, but it happened in my head and it is happening on the paper on which I’m writing so that’s good enough for me.   The following is a story about fear, trust and an unspoken friendship that I have encountered along a wooded path.  It begins with a first step and I’d like to take you with me.  Believe it if you need to.

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A Victorian Life: Read the Book, Don’t Wait for Masterpiece Theater

By Ron Fritze

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Lucie Duff Gordon: A Passage to Egypt by Katherine Frank is the next book on the literary itinerary of the day-time book discussion group.  Who is Lucie Duff Gordon, you ask?  In a nutshell, she was a woman author and translator who lived (1821-1869) during the first half of the Victorian era in London.  I am sure most people have never heard of her.  Certainly I hadn’t until I started doing research on Victorian travelers in Egypt.  But once I started reading about her life, I found out what a truly fascinating person she was, as was her family.

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Rod Stewart

By Jessica Williamson

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My Momma and Granny used to ride the dirt roads in search of some flowers to dig up or a forgotten old juke joint. Every weekend, they would ride with me and my sister in the back seat and play music. I can remember the first time that I ever heard his voice. I was a little girl sitting in the back seat of the car when my momma put the tape in. That unforgettable voice came pouring out of the speakers, and I was hooked. They listened to mostly country music, but sometimes they would throw something else into the mix. That day it was Rod Stewart’s greatest hits. Rod has been making women fall in love with his voice since he started singing in the mid-sixty’s, and I was no exception. At five years old, I was in love.

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Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

By Tony Ricks

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At home, my children are learning to blog on a private, password-protected website and with parental supervision. They are doing things I never did. They are composing with words, images, even video: it’s easy once you learn the basic blogging tools available. And I wonder: how will these experiences impact their educational or lifelong goals? I really have no idea. But the fact that they are composing blogs and using tools that didn’t exist when I was a child are perhaps omens of what the future holds in regards to new media and its possibilities.

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Heart of a Champion

By Rita Kaye Nearor

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This time of the year the sports section of most any newspaper circulated throughout the United States is blanketed with heroic stories of football. Words like “pounded”, “defeated”, and “win” are prominent in headlines in this grid-iron glorified country. In the South, you are guaranteed to strike up a conversation with a total stranger if the topic is football. As important as football is in any Southern home, winning is just as important. Sure we say, “It’s not who wins or loses, but how you play the game.” Well, we all know that’s a lie. If winning wasn’t important, why keep score? I’ve also heard, “We stand behind our team win, lose, or draw.” Again, that’s another lie. The research would back me up, but I prefer personal observation. I have witnessed ticket sales and booster support drop during and after a losing season.

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Book Club

By Brady Liles

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It all started a little over two years ago. I had no idea that this would be one of the most influential facets in my life. It was called Book Club. The Tuesday night trend started years before my invitation, consisted of a solid group of about seven men from various backgrounds, occupations, and phases of life.

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