Iron Bottom Bay – A Poem for #MemorialDay2016

Many gave and some gave all. Remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice and thank those who came back safe and those that serve today.

“Iron Bottom Bay” by Walter A. Mahler, chaplain, USS Astoria (World War 2)

Memorial to USS ASTORIA_CA-34_Crew_BJ_4x3_1200x

Crew of the USS Astoria

 

I stood on a wide and desolate shore

And the night was dismal and cold.

I watched the weary rise, –

And the moon was a riband of gold.

~

Far off I heard the trumpet sound,

Calling the quick and the dead,

The long and rumbling roll of drums,

And the moon was a riband of red.

~

Dead sailors rose from out of the deep,

Nor looked not left or right,

But shoreward marched upon the sea,

And the moon was a riband of white.

 ~

A hundred ghosts stood on the shore

At the turn of the midnight flood,

They beckoned me with spectral hands,

And the moon was a riband of blood.

 ~

Slowly I walked to the waters edge,

And never once looked back

Till the waters swirled about my feet,

And the moon was a riband of black.

 ~

I woke alone on a desolate shore

From a dream not sound or sweet,

For there in the sands in the moonlight

Were the marks of phantom feet.

Top Ten Costumed Characters Seen at a Renaissance Faire

The Floral Headdress and the Proverbial Turkey Leg

The Floral Headdress and the Proverbial Turkey Leg

Since it is the opening weekend of the New Jersey Renaissance Faire, I thought I’d repost something that I wrote a few years ago.  Please enjoy.

 

When I first decided to write a guest blog for The Top Ten of Anything and Everything, I didn’t know how difficult it would be to narrow it down to just ten photographs.  Having recently experienced how enthusiastic the people involved with Renaissance Faires are (my daughter was a supporting cast member for the New Jersey Renaissance Faire), I should have known that there would be a wide variety of photographs from all over the country at my disposal.  A Digital Renaissance Feast.  Somehow I managed to select ten.  If you enjoy these, I recommend visiting the websites and facebook pages of these photographs as well as any other Renaissance Faire in the country.  There is so much more to see.  If you have never been to a Renaissance Faire, check out the next faire in your area.  It will be a day well spent.

Dog in Chainmail PA

10 – The Chainmail Pooch

Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151470404167377&set=pb.75141067376.-2207520000.1373833517.&type=3&theater

I originally titled the post “Top Ten Costumed People Seen at a Renaissance Faire” but then I found this little fellow on the facebook page of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.  Chainmail is often seen in the costuming for Renaissance Faires and there is normally at least one vendor selling chainmail products and clothing.  The photographs that would depict the more common use of chainmail in clothing would remove the G rating of this post, so I will just leave that to your imagination.

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9 – Arrgh!  There be Pirates

Source:  http://www.pbase.com/kramerkrause/escondido_renaissance_faire_spring_2009

Pirates could always be seen at the Renaissance Faire and many faires have pirate themed weekends.  Ever since the series of movies that I don’t think I need to name, Jack Sparrow is a common visitor to the faires.  I bet this guy gets a lot of Johnny Depp groupies hanging around him.  Marc Krause who has several galleries at the source link, shared this photograph taken at the Escondido California Renaissance Faire in 2009.

Childs First Turkey Leg 2012 PA

8 – The Floral Headdress and the Proverbial Turkey Leg

Source:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150997876487377&set=a.10150997876387377.412427.75141067376&type=3&theater

This photograph from the 2012 Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire , Carrington’s First Turkey Leg, was the winner of the Food Picture Contest. (picture taken by Courtney Henry).  Families are a big part of the atmosphere at the Renaissance Faire.  You can see many young 21st century girls transformed into maidens of the realm by putting a ring of flowers around their head.  Little boys just want a wooden sword.  There is nothing that says Renaissance Faire more than walking around eating a smoked turkey leg.  It is both lunch and part of the costume.

Group Shot of Gypsies7 – The Gypsies

Source:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/72213316@N00/5315933415/

The Gypsies always add color to any Renaissance Faire and their dancing is thoroughly entertaining.  This photograph of the Gypsy Dance Theatre was taken at the Texas Renaissance Festival in 2010 by photographer Frank Kovalchek.  Whether it is gypsies dancing on stage or patrons dressed as gypsies, they could never sneak up on you because their costumes often have belts, bracelets or anklets with little bells which are used to keep away evil spirits.  Jingle Jingle.

mongers

6 – The Peasants

Source:  http://www.norcalrenfaire.com/entertainment/guilds.html

Not everyone can be the Queen or even part of her court because after all she needs subjects to rule or step on:).  The peasants serve a purpose and most of the characters seen at a Renaissance Faire are of the peasant class.  This photograph is the Mongers of Saint Swithin from the Northern California Renaissance Faire.  According to the website, the Mongers Guild brings to life peasant class street vendors. These relentless and determined street merchants will attempt to sell anything. Whether it’s Pig’s ears, Chicken feet, or month old cabbage, these villagers of modest means will convince you that you need to buy it. They also perform each afternoon in the hilarious and bawdy faire classic, Pye Powder Court.

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5 – Proper Ladies Must Wear Their Layers

Source:  http://www.pbase.com/kramerkrause/escondido_renaissance_faire_2008_fall

Among the throngs of patrons visiting a Renaissance Faire, the well dressed ladies wearing all their layers is a site to behold.  This is often in temperatures above 90 degrees.  Marc Krause who has several galleries at the source link, shared this photograph taken at the Escondido California Renaissance Faire in 2008.  The photograph was too cute to pass up.

Royalty

4 – Royalty

Source:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=258087587663538&set=pb.150086671796964.-2207520000.1373836188.&type=3&theater

Every Renaissance Faire has some type of royalty and often it is Queen Elizabeth of England (Reign 1558-1603).  This photograph is Queen Margaret and King Edward Longshanks of England.  Each year in the magical land of Crossford, notable characters from history come forth through the forest which is filled with fairy magic to arrive at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire.  These royals were among this year’s arrivals.

Tree Guy Arick d'Entremont_Bristol

3 – Animal, Vegetable or Mineral.

Source:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151832686900285&set=a.10151832686215285.860838.136459570284&type=3&theater

Now that is performance art.  This was a photograph of Arick d’Entremont from the facebook page of the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Talk about going green.  I wonder how long he had to stay in that position.  That is working hard for your craft.

Knight Rider

2 – Knight Rider

Source:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152451051600285&set=pb.136459570284.-2207520000.1373938732.&type=3&theater

I knew when I started writing this post that knights would be included and be near number one.  I looked at so many wonderful jousting photographs and couldn’t decide between them.  When I found this unique take on a knight on the facebook page of the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisconsin, I decided this would be the one.  The Joust is an important event at a Renaissance Faire.  What’s better than a ancient battle of heros in heavy metal on horseback.  The crowd always goes wild.

Red Knight

1 – Uh! What Else Would He Wear

Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151468057206024&set=o.150086671796964&type=3&theater

This is not a cardboard cutout that you get your picture taken with.  He is real and he wasn’t the only extreme costuming I’ve seen at a Renaissance Faire.

Bowman Employees Spend the Day with Habitat for Humanity

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a community service project as part of a team from my firm.  I wrote an article about the experience for my company’s blog which you can read from the link below.

Bowman Employees Spend the Day with Habitat for Humanity

Employees from Bowman & Company LLP volunteered their day to build a home for Habitat for Humanity

Employees from Bowman & Company LLP volunteered their day to build a home for Habitat for Humanity

Daily Prompt: Chaos

Submitted for the Daily Prompt: Chaos

For today’s daily prompt, we are to write something based on the word chaos. Please enjoy my diamante poem.

 

Chaos

Disorder, Confusion

Rioting, Fighting, Distracting

Looting in the street, Calm city again

Reconciling, Unify, Harmonize

Order, Friendship

What Happened on May 9th – Captain Blood and the Crown Jewels

The Wonderful Story of Britain: Stealing the Crown Jewels. The robbers gag the old keeper and then Captain Blood picks up the crown as the second man grabs the orb, while the third begins to file the sceptre in two, so that it can be easily hidden. Original artwork from Treasure no. 128 (26 June 1965).

The Wonderful Story of Britain: Stealing the Crown Jewels. The robbers gag the old keeper and then Captain Blood picks up the crown as the second man grabs the orb, while the third begins to file the sceptre in two, so that it can be easily hidden. Original artwork from Treasure no. 128 (26 June 1965).

In London on May 9, 1671, Thomas Blood, an Irish adventurer better known as “Captain Blood,” is captured attempting to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.  Was he executed for his efforts?  Let’s see.

Thomas Blood

Thomas Blood

First a little background leading up to his run in with the Crown Jewels.  He was a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War and as a result of the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, he was deprived of his estate in Ireland.  So began his efforts to even the score.

  • In 1663, he put himself at the head of a plot to seize Dublin Castle from supporters of King Charles II, but the plot was discovered and his accomplices executed while he escaped capture.
  • In 1671, he hatched a bizarre plan to steal the new Crown Jewels, which had been refashioned by Charles II because most of the original jewels were melted down after Charles I’s execution in 1649.

5_9_Crown-jewels-and-Thomas-Blood-Image-Ireland-Calling

With his latest plan in place, on May 9, 1671, Blood, disguised as a priest, managed to convince the Jewel House keeper to hand over his pistols. Blood’s three accomplices then emerged from the shadows, and together they forced their way into the Jewel House. Unexpectedly, the keeper’s son showed up.  Blood and his cronies were caught in the act.  An alarm went out to the Tower guard but before one man shoved the Royal Orb down his breeches while Blood flattened the Crown with a mallet and tried to run off with it. The Tower guards apprehended and arrested all four of the perpetrators, and Blood was brought before the king. Charles was so impressed with Blood’s audacity that, far from punishing him, he restored his estates in Ireland and made him a member of his court with an annual pension.

Captain Blood became a colorful celebrity all across the kingdom, and when he died in 1680 his body had to be exhumed in order to persuade the public that he was actually dead.

Here is a bit of humor.

 

 

#sundayphotofiction Gardens of Stone and Glass

Submitted for Sunday Photo Fiction

spf

Today I am participating in the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. You can find out about this weekly blogging challenge as well as read the stories of other participants at the link above.  We are provided with the photograph below as a prompt for our stories. Please enjoy the Garden of Stone and Glass.

Credit: Al Forbes

Credit: Al Forbes

The Garden of Stone and Glass

“Mom. Why did Grandma have such strange things in her garden?”

Meredith dreaded this day. Since her mom’s passing, she had been able to keep Jeremy away from the bizarre things that had been so prevalent during her childhood but now they were forced to move into her childhood home.

“Mom did you hear me?”

“I did sweetheart but I don’t know what you mean.” Better to keep to just what he notices and not volunteer more than necessary.

Pointing at the large piece of slate enclosed in the glass showcase, Jeremy shouted, “That mommy.”

Before Meredith could decide how to respond, Jeremy let go of her hand and ran toward the object of his inquiry.  She shouted, “Don’t touch it Jeremy, ” but it was too late.

His little hand penetrated the glass as if it was made of water and in a flash of light he was gone. Meredith fell to her knees and cried out his name but she knew her son had just joined the gardens of stone and glass. Soon a new exhibit would appear somewhere in the garden.

A #MothersDay Tribute -Songs for My Mom

2016 is the second year I am without my mom for Mother’s Day. This is a tribute to her with Irish songs about mothers that she would have enjoyed.

MaryRyanPortrait_Cropped

Mary Josephine Ryan

Bing Crosby & King’s Men performing Did Your Mother Come From Ireland (1940) written by Irving Berlin.  Bing Crosby was a favorite of my mom’s.

 

Did Your Mother Come From Ireland performed by Bing Crosby and written by Irving Berlin.  Bing Crosby was one of her favorites.

John McCormack – Mother Machree 1911.  Recorded before my mom’s life but I remember that she had albums by John McCormack.

Bridie Gallagher – A Mother’s Love’s A Blessing. 

This Week in #WW2 – US Surrender in the Philippines

 

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THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II

US Surrender in the Philippines

On May 6, 1942, U.S. Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright surrenders all U.S. troops in the Philippines to the Japanese.

The island of Corregidor remained the last Allied stronghold in the Philippines after the Japanese victory at Bataan (from which General Wainwright had managed to flee, to Corregidor). Constant artillery shelling and aerial bombardment attacks ate away at the American and Filipino defenders. Although still managing to sink many Japanese barges as they approached the northern shores of the island, the Allied troops could hold the invader off no longer.
General Wainwright, only recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and commander of the U.S. armed forces in the Philippines, offered to surrender Corregidor to Japanese General Homma, but Homma wanted the complete, unconditional capitulation of all American forces throughout the Philippines. Wainwright had little choice given the odds against him and the poor physical condition of his troops (he had already lost 800 men). He surrendered at midnight. All 11,500 surviving Allied troops were evacuated to a prison stockade in Manila.General Wainwright remained a POW until 1945. As a sort of consolation for the massive defeat he suffered, he was present on the USS Missouri for the formal Japanese surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945.

JONATHAN M. WAINWRIGHT (1883-1953). Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright. American army officer. President Harry Truman decorating General Wainwright with the Congressional Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony, 10 September 1945.

JONATHAN M. WAINWRIGHT (1883-1953). Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright. American army officer. President Harry Truman decorating General Wainwright with the Congressional Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony, 10 September 1945.

He would also be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman. Wainwright died in 1953-exactly eight years to the day of the Japanese surrender ceremony.

 

What Happened on May 4th – Riot in Haymarket Square

The Haymarket Riot

The Haymarket Riot

Throughout history, struggles over labor have often ignited into violence.  Such was the case on May 4, 1886.  In Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois, the police came to break up a labor demonstration and someone threw a bomb at the policemen.  The police responded with gunfire, killing several people in the crowd and injuring many more.

More than 1,500 Chicago workers came to the rally which was organized by German-born labor radicals.  They were protesting the killing of a striker by the Chicago police the day before. Due to rain, the crowd was thinning and a force of nearly 200 policemen arrived to disperse the workers. As the police advanced toward the 300 remaining protesters, an individual who was never positively identified threw a bomb at them. After the explosion and subsequent police gunfire, more than a dozen people lay dead or dying, and close to 100 were injured.

wo page spread from Frank Leslie’s illustrated Newspaper showing police charging rioters in Chicago’s Haymarket Square and bust portraits of seven policemen

wo page spread from Frank Leslie’s illustrated Newspaper showing police charging rioters in Chicago’s Haymarket Square and bust portraits of seven policemen

National xenophobia was the result.  The fear of anything foreign and hundreds of foreign-born radicals and labor leaders were rounded up in Chicago and elsewhere. A grand jury eventually indicted 31 suspected labor radicals in connection with the bombing, and eight men were convicted in a sensational and controversial trial. Judge Joseph E. Gary imposed the death sentence on seven of the men, and the eighth was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On November 11, 1887, Samuel Fielden, Adolph Fischer, August Spies, and Albert Parson were executed.

Of the three others sentenced to death, one committed suicide on the eve of his execution and the other two had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment by Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby. Governor Oglesby was reacting to widespread public questioning of their guilt, which later led his successor, Governor John P. Altgeld, to pardon fully the three activists still living in 1893.

What Happened on May 3rd – MADD @MADDOnline

MADD

What must it be like to lose your child to a drunk driver.  So many have.  On May 3, 1980, 13-year-old Cari Lightner was walking along the road to attend a church carnival when a car swerved out of control, struck and killed her.  Cari’s tragic death compelled her mother, Candy Lightner, to found the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which would grow into one of the country’s most influential non-profit organizations.

 

Candy Lightner, president of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, holds a picture of her late daughter inside her office in Sacramento, Calif., on Feb. 26, 1981. Lightner's daughter was killed by a drunk driver. (AP Photo)

Candy Lightner, president of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, holds a picture of her late daughter inside her office in Sacramento, Calif., on Feb. 26, 1981. Lightner’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver. (AP Photo)

When police arrested Clarence Busch, the driver who hit Cari, they found that he had a record of arrests for intoxication, and had in fact been arrested on another hit-and-run drunk-driving charge less than a week earlier. Candy Lightner learned from a policeman that drunk driving was rarely prosecuted harshly, and that Busch was unlikely to spend significant time behind bars. Furious, Lightner decided to take action against what she later called “the only socially accepted form of homicide.” MADD was the result. (Charged with vehicular homicide, Busch did eventually serve 21 months in jail.)

  • In 1980 some 27,000 alcohol-related traffic fatalities occurred in the United States, including 2,500 in California alone.
  • Lightner began lobbying California’s governor, Jerry Brown, to set up a state task force to investigate drunk driving.
  • Brown eventually agreed, making her the task force’s first member.
  • In 1981, California passed a law imposing minimum fines of $375 for drunk drivers and mandatory imprisonment of up to four years for repeat offenders.
  • President Ronald Reagan soon asked Lightner to serve on the National Commission on Drunk Driving, which recommended raising the minimum drinking age to 21 and revoking the licenses of those arrested for drunk driving.
  • In July 1984, she stood next to Reagan as he signed a law reducing federal highway grants to any state that failed to raise its drinking age to 21.
Since that time, the 21 minimum drinking age law has saved about 900 lives per year as estimated by the National Traffic Highway Administration (NHTSA).

Since that time, the 21 minimum drinking age law has saved about 900 lives per year as estimated by the National Traffic Highway Administration (NHTSA).

  • The following year, all 50 states had tightened their drunk-driving laws.
  • By 1985, MADD had expanded to some 320 chapters and 600,000 volunteers and donors nationwide
  • MADD went on to wage a campaign to lower the nation’s legal blood alcohol content from 0.1 percent to 0.08.
  • The group won a major victory in 2000, when the Clinton administration passed a law tying federal highway funds to states’ adoption of the 0.08 standard.
US President Bill Clinton applauds Millie Webb (L), National President of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), 23 October 2000 at the White House

US President Bill Clinton applauds Millie Webb (L), National President of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), 23 October 2000 at the White House

  • By that year–the 20th anniversary of MADD’s founding–alcohol-related fatalities had dropped some 40 percent over two decades, and states with the toughest drunk-driving laws were beginning to treat alcohol-related fatalities as murder.