April Fool’s Day History

April Fool’s Day goes back to the 1500s.  Most scholars believe it started when the calendar changed from Julian to Gregorian, due to the Council of Trent.

Some people were slow in receiving the news, so they celebrated New Year’s the last week of March until April 1.  They were teased and became the victims of various hoaxes.

The popularity of April Fool’s Day soared in England in the 1700s.  Pranksters would play practical jokes on each other.

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source:  www.history.com/this-day-in-history/april-fools-tradition-popularized

Homicide House

Reposted from 25 February 2017

Twenty years ago, there was a quadruple homicide in this house.  The victims were teenagers and they were killed for accusing a young man of stealing a cell phone.

The guilty individual, as well as his two accomplices, were convicted and the house was eventually abandoned.

I drive by this house all the time and this week I was compelled to look inside of it.  It’s hard to describe how I felt entering the house.

There was a mixture of sadness and grief, due to the senseless murders that happened here.  I can’t even imagine how those poor teenagers felt as they realized their lives were coming to an end.  Also, I felt angry.  How can someone be so evil and callused?

I didn’t know the teenagers, but I feel for them and their families.  I wonder what they would have accomplished if their lives were not taken from them.

I left the house with a heavy heart and a lot of questions.

Update:  The house has been torn down since this was originally posted.

 

Parking Meter History

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Several years ago, I decided to read about the history of parking meters.  I know, it doesn’t exactly sound like a thriller.  However, it was interesting.

What really surprised me was the location of the first parking meter.  I would have guessed an extremely large city like New York or Chicago.  I was wrong.  The first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Go figure….

 

 

Battle for Decatur, Alabama

Decatur is located on the banks of the Tennessee River.  During the Civil War, it was a key transportation point, because both the Memphis and Charleston railroads crossed the Tennessee River in Decatur.  Decatur also had a national road (US Highway 31) that went through the city.

The Confederates were determined to stop the Union Army from taking the city.  They knew without Decatur it would be extremely difficult for the Union to get supplies, artillery, and reinforcements to their troops.

The Confederate Army fought fiercely for four days with General Hood in command.  General Hood was confident that Decatur would not fall to the Union Army.  He said, Decatur was a “hard nut to crack.”  General Hood employed the use of mounted troops, gunboats, and a vast number of infantrymen.

General Robert Granger was in command of the Union troops, which included the 14th United States Colored Troops (USCT) led by Colonel Thomas Morgan.  The USCT was able to drive back the Confederate troops and take control of the city.

Most of Decatur was destroyed during the war and only five buildings remained.  Four of those buildings are still standing today:  the Old State Bank, the Dancy-Polk House, the Todd House, and the McEntire Home.

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Source:  Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

Chocolate God

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The Aztecs and the Mayans were the first people groups to cultivate the cocoa bean and make chocolate.  They would grind up the cocoa seeds and mix it with water to create a drink.  They also used the beans it to make a porridge, and mixed it with various spices.

The Aztecs considered chocolate “food for the gods” and it was served to royal families in golden goblets.  However, the Mayans believed chocolate was a gift from the cocoa god.

In the 1500’s, Cortez exported the cocoa bean to Europe.  The Europeans began mixing it with sugar and the popularity of chocolate spread like wild fire.

I recommend you take a moment today and enjoy a heavily snack of chocolate.  Don’t forget to truly savor the flavor and enjoy each moment.

 

(sources:  www.chocolate-history.co.uk and http://www.exhibits.mannlib.cornell.edu)

 

1984 by George Orwell

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I’ve read “1984” by George Orwell several times.  There is a lot of material in the book that would make for an excellent topic of discussion.  However, in this blog post I want to talk about education.

The book describes how children are taught in the school system.  They are placed in scout type groups and taught the party doctrine.  They also learn the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, so they will be able to perform basic tasks in the workforce.  They are never taught historical facts, critical thinking skills, or anything that does not line up with party doctrine.  The children blindly accept that Big Brother is always right and one should never question Big Brother.

The entire education system is designed to allow the government to control the population.  Since the children have no access to information that contradicts what they are taught in the school system, they remain ignorant throughout their lives.

An ignorant population is easier to control.

Whatever you do in life, don’t allow yourself to be ignorant.  Spend your time reading and studying a wide variety of subjects, to include ideas that are different from what you currently believe.  It is also important to learn basic principles of logic and critical thinking skill.

We live in the information age.  We have access to a wide variety of information on the internet, at the local library, various bookstores, and  a host of other places.

There is no reason to allow yourself to remain ignorant in today’s world.

 

Redneck History

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I was wondering about redneck history, so I did a little research.

Redneck is often used as a derogatory term for rural white Americans that are seen as low class, poor, and uneducated.

The term was originally used to characterize farmers, because they often had sunburns on the back of their necks from spending hours working in the fields.

In the early 1900s, the word “redneck” was used to designate a political faction within the democratic party.  Supporters of this faction wore red bandanas to rallies and other events.

Today, the word isn’t always used in a negative way.  It can be used to describe anyone that lives in a rural area, enjoys being outdoors, or drives a truck.

 Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redneck