Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mission No. 2: Downtown Charlie Brown, Episode 1

There is still a more spiritual, sacred journal that I keep although not very often. Here I can share my general observations and experiences.

This borders on the weirdly spiritual, but my group of nine in orientation this morning gave me that feeling that I knew them already. I don't even think that I'll be with them that long as we will likely be assigned different duties. It gave me memories of my LTM District, a few of them have been a part of my life for many years. All of them are in my thoughts. This new group may become something similar. We were about equally divided between men and women. Most had lost their spouse. Mine is still teaching school and not ready to retire.

Monday, September 2, 2019

A Challenge to our Circumstantial Origins

We have been researching to break through the brick wall of a 1789 illegitimate birth in  Hay, Breconshire. That is our direct surname origin (although the numerous Vaughans in the Middle Wye and Usk Valleys all claim descent from Sir Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine, legitimately or not - and we connect with a few other of those lines).

This weekend, I had some correspondence on Ancestry.com with another user who took some umbrage with us naming her direct ancestor as the putative father of John Vaughan (1789-1851). She gave me permission to share it with her Ancestry user name. Here is the correspondence:

Friday, August 30, 2019

The World Is On Fire!

It seems that way when you step out your front door and see this:


It is fire season in Utah. This "Gun Range Fire" completely destroyed three homes up by Cheese Park (Twin Hollows) and damaged several others in the night. We were three blocks West of the evacuation zone but two blocks into the "soft" zone where they wanted no one but residents.

The fire started in the middle of the night. No cause has yet been announced. There were weather warnings about dry thunderstorms and winds last night that could have started fires.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

My Declaration of Retirement

There is a tradition in retiring from our office of federal employees for the U.S. Department of the Interior (National Parks, Indian Affairs, Fish & Wildlife, Public Land Management, Reclamation (western water dams and management), Geological Survey, etc.) to send of a farewell email to All-Employees. They are usually friendly little good-byes with the occasional long diatribe of political sentiment pent-up in the "non-political" civil service until that day of release.

Mine was this:



That was a last-minute and appropriate replacement for my diatribe. I thought it best to save that for this blog. My post-departure comments are in [ ],  i.e., brackets. Here goes:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

"The Ancient Yew" or "Otzi, We Barely Yew Thee"

My photo of one of the yews at St. Mary's Cusop, Herefordshire on the border with Wales.
Many people come to the yew tree with preconceived notions. Modern-day Druids want to believe the yews in British churchyards are from pre-Christian origins as they "return" to the ancient practices that were mostly made up by the Romans in their anti-Celt cultural wars. The author of the yew book* before last tried to convince the reader and perhaps himself that the British yews were all planted in churchyards by the Normans, or maybe the Saxons at a stretch.

My latest dive into yew lore is The Ancient Yew: A History of Taxus Baccata, by Robert Bevan-Jones (Oxbow Books, Oxford 2017). The author is amazing in his comprehensive assembly of the evidence. I think it is all there as well as can be gathered. There are extensive, footnoted sources. However, the writing style is a bit jumpy as is the presentation of the evidence. Bevan-Jones is strongest in his theme that the churchyard yews are "at least" 1500 years old which places them right at the time of the establishment of Christianity in Britain by the Celtic Saints. He first discusses the botanical challenges of the strange growth patterns of the tree and then presents the best estimates by charts and graphs to support his Celtic-Saint-planting theory.

But then came the Iceman. In the final chapter, "Yew: an Archaeological Perspective" (which perhaps should have come earlier at least in a chronological sense):

Sunday, April 14, 2019

I Can't Fix America

Very few people read me. Fewer are convinced by me. That doesn't change the facts that America is corrupt at the top with the trump criminal conspiracy, down through the greedy hordes who want more by denying others, and the hypocrisy of the religious right that deals with the devil to promote its agenda.

Politics may have to do with out me for a while as I concentrate on other things. The fires of progressive rebellion still smolder in me. But with apathy, hypocrisy, and corruption all around, I will shrug off the latest tweets and news of the day and go with my new GIF: