Monthly Archives: April 2019

Let’s Go Crazy

Every family tree has them. Those eccentric kin who march to their own beat. However, there is a point where eccentric becomes something more. For some, this is a temporary condition; for others, it is long-term reality. Either way, for these family members, people euphemistically say that they are not all there, are off their rocker, have a screw loose, are out to lunch, or are just not right in the head.

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Categories: Miscellaneous Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Book Review: Almost Home

In the summer of 1929, industrial production declined, and unemployment rose, leaving stock prices much higher than their actual value. In addition, wages were low and consumer debt as high. Because of drought and falling food prices, farmers were struggling. Finally, banks were unable to liquidate many of their larger loans.

As a result, the American economy entered a mild recession. Consumer spending slowed; unsold goods began to accumulate. Despite this recession, stock prices continued to rise to levels well above expected future earnings. All of this came to a head in October 1929. The time of prosperity, dubbed the Roaring Twenties, was brought to a screeching halt when the U.S. stock market crashed, wiping out fortunes and plunging the United States (and the rest of the world) into an economic depression. For the next ten years, the Great Depression impacted people all over America, leaving many destitute.

Then, starting in 1930, farmers in the Midwest and Southern Great Plains watched as their crops were destroyed by longtime drought. Massive dust storms began about a year later. By 1934, about 35 million acres of formerly cultivated land was rendered useless for farming, while another 125 million acres was slowly being stripped of its nutrient-rich soil. Although regular rainfall returned to the region by the end of 1939, thereby ending the Dust Bowl, the agricultural value of the land did not recover, forcing many farmers to leave their livelihood.

The Great Depression effectively came to an end on 7 December 1941, when the United States entered the Second World War. Almost overnight, production for the war effort began to boom, increasing industrial output by 96 percent. Approximately 17 million new civilian jobs were created.

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Book Review: Lost Roses

1914: Tensions are rising; war is in the air. It is during this uncertain time in history that Lost Roses, written by Martha Hall Kelly, begins. Despite the simmering unrest swirling through Europe, Eliza Ferriday, a New York socialite, travels to St. Petersburg, Russia to visit with her friends, Sofya and Luna Streshnayva, cousins of Tsar Nicholas II. All seems to be going well until, more than 1,500 miles away, something horrible happens, sending shock waves throughout Europe.

On 28 June 1914, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Archduke Franz Ferdinand—heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire—and his wife Sophie are assassinated by a Serbian nationalist desperate to end Austro-Hungarian rule of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Austria-Hungary is incensed and wants to strike back. However, because Russia is an ally of Serbia, Austria-Hungary appeals to Kaiser Wilhelm II, who on 5 July 1914, pledges Germany’s support. After securing this agreement, Austria-Hungary issues an ultimatum to Serbia. In response, Serbia mobilizes its army and asks Russia for assistance. Then, on 28 July 1914, exactly one month after the Archduke’s murder, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s countries collapses. Within a week, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Russia, and Serbia are pitted against Austria-Hungary and Germany. World War I has begun.

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Book Review: The Dry Grass of August

Before I review the book, The Dry Grass of August, written by Anna Jean Mayhew, I would like to provide a quick historical overview of America’s institutional racism from the 1600s through the 1900s. Exactly 400 years ago, the first Africans were brought over to the American Colonies. From that point until the early 1970s, blacks were systematically oppressed and suppressed by those in power through deeds and laws.

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Llywelyn ap Iorwerth

On this day, 11 April 1240, Llywelyn “Fawr” ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great), the longest reigning ruler of Welsh principalities, died in Aberconwy, Gwynedd, Wales. (He was my 23rd and 24th great-grandfather.)

Born circa 1173, Llywelyn ap Iorwerth was the only child of Iorwerth “Drwyndwn” ap Owain and Marared ferch Madog. Llywelyn’s father was the eldest surviving son of Owain Gwynedd, prince of Gwynedd. In 1174, Iorwerth ap Owain died in at the Battle at Pennant Melangell. His mother was the daughter of Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys. Through her, Llywelyn is descended from Rhodri Mawr, king of Wales.

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Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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