Monthly Archives: December 2012

My Kingdom for an Asprin

(animated stereo) Bismarck, Dakota Territory (...

Bismarck, Dakota Territory (9/3/1883) (Photo credit: Thiophene_Guy)

Have you ever heard someone say, “I wish I had been born back in the Old West!”? Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of this statement.

Let’s go back 150 years. For my part, this notion could begin and end with two words: Air conditioning. But we will delve deeper.

We’ll start with something as simple as a scratch. Today, this could be cured with an antiseptic ointment and a band-aid. In 1862 however, this could potentially become a life-threatening ailment. This simple scratch could become infected and lead to death. Of course, there was always the option of amputation. But thanks to unsanitary surgical equipment, additional suffering was a nice little side-dish on your heaping plate of death.

Skipping to the world of dentistry, a simple tooth extraction in today’s world would require no more that a needle full of a local anesthetic. The tooth would be painlessly removed and the patient would be ushered out of the office, no more the worse off.

The same procedure 150 years earlier would require one bottle of “anesthesia” (re: liquor), “restraints” (re: four large men), and a dirty pair of pliers wielded by the same man that would cut your hair.

A headache. What to do, what to do? I’ll let you figure that one out.

Today, a trip to the grocery store supplies the household with a week’s worth of groceries. Back then, a trip into the woods may or may not yield food for that evening’s dinner.

Here is another no-brainer. The average lifespan in the 1860s was 45 years.

I’ll have to give you one thing: Riding around on a horse wearing cool clothes and holstered six-shooters would certainly have been cool. But that’s about as far as I can take it.

To finish this post, imagine having to write using an 1860s typewriter, as opposed to the computers we are blessed with today.

‘Nuff said.

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Check it Out! Part 2

The second part of my guest blog on Kaitlin Michelle’s site can be read here. Thanks again to Kaitlin for featuring me and I hope you enjoy it!

Remember to read the rest of Kaitlin’s content here: http://www.kaitlinmichelle.com

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

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Ho Ho Ho!

English: Thomas Nast's most famous drawing, &q...

Thomas Nast’s most famous drawing, “Merry Old Santa Claus”, 1881

I’d like to start by saying happy birthday to Jesus, merry Christmas, and may we all have a happy new year. Secondly, I thought that since we’re in the midst of the holidays, we could illuminate a few Christmas traditions.

Let’s begin with Santa. The physical appearance of the modern day Santa was created by artist Thomas Nast in 1881, based on the famous poem “Twas The Night Before Christmas.” The image of Santa is said to have also been influenced by the Norse God Odin, a large, bearded man who rode Sleipner, an eight-legged horse. The historical Santa, on the other hand,  is actually based on Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Greek saint who was known for distributing small gifts to the people he encountered.

The reindeer don’t appear in any historical texts until the aforementioned poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Many people don’t know (actually, only I do) that the back-up reindeer are named Marvin, Bob, Zippy, Dave and Ajax. True story.

Next we’ll discuss the Christmas Tree. Evergreen trees have been important to many cultures, including the Chinese and the Hebrews. The tree as we know it today originated in Northern Germany. The tree was decorated with fruits and other foods, including dates and pretzels. Many times, these trees would be erected in the town square in order to provide the frigid folk something to dance around.

Finally, there’s the stocking. This originated when children filled their boots with straw and sugar and placed them near the chimney for Sleipner to eat (Remember Odin’s ride?). To reward their kindness, Odin would replace the contents of the boot with gifts. Soon, this tradition merged with that of Saint Nicholas.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this excursion through a few our most familiar Christmas traditions. I can hardly wait for Christmas Day. This year, Santa’s gonna bring me some new ideas to replace my worn-out old ones.

Merry Christmas!

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Check It Out!

Hello All,

An interview I did is being featured on Kaitlin Michelle’s Soliloquy blog! You can find it here. It also contains information on my book, “Rising Tide,” including a chapter excerpt and the book’s official trailer. Please take time to visit the site and more importantly, pass it on to others.

Thank you for your continued interest and support, and a special thanks to Kaitlin for featuring my work! You can find her site here: http://www.kaitlinmichelle.com

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Yank, Rattle and Roll

Wake, Rattle, and Roll

Wake, Rattle, and Roll (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As the title may imply, this post is about interesting day-to-day sayings that we all use but never give a second though as to their beginnings. The origins of these phrases are never etched in stone and sometimes are disputed. What we’ll be examining are the most widely accepted explanations.

 

Take the phrase “Don’t yank my chain.” Old miners would carry a length of chain with them when in the mine. When they had to use the bathroom (a wheeled cart on rails) they would chock one of the wheels with a piece of chain to keep the other miners from pushing the cart as a joke.

 

But not all phrases have a unique story behind them. Some are just self-explanatory.  But being the multi-tasking 21st century folk that we are, we don’t take the time to consider even these simple idioms. “Rattle his cage” is one such phrase. As one would expect, this comes from the juvenile act of disturbing caged animals.

 

As I sought to explain the cliché “a rolling stone gathers no moss,” I realized that it became obsolete before it was created. My objective was to use the word “roll,” but alas, I found this a daunting task hardly worth pursuing.

 

For hours I sat in my writer’s room and conjured up my very own expression. First, the stone had to go. I lovingly replaced it with boulder. I then asked myself “who would want to gather moss anyway?”

 

I finally decided upon a saying that would scratch my every verbal itch and supply dinner at the same time. Hence, “A rolling boulder gathers a lot of organic matter.” Unfortunately, this phrase means absolutely nothing.

 

But I just happen to like the image of a large rock covered in squished woodland creatures. Maybe I’ll fill the freezer.

 

I was once told that while writing the bible, if a scribe made a mistake, he would have to start over in order to maintain perfection. I don’t know if this is true or not (I tend to lean towards not) however, it does give me a way to get out of this blog.

 

I’ll be the first to admit that this post got away from me. But it’s my name at the top of this page. I say embrace the lunacy. And who knows? Maybe next week’s post will make a little more sense.

 

Maybe.

 

And if anyone stumbles upon the meaning of this diatribe, make sure to contact me right away. I can be reached via text message, phone and smoke signal.

 

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