Going Postal Over Thanksgiving

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In doing some research concerning the history and traditions of our celebration of “Thanksgiving” here in the US, I came across something that really peaked my curiosity. What I found was that a dozen or so countries around the world have issued one or more postage stamps depicting either the “Mayflower” (the ship which the first wave of pilgrims journeyed) and/or honoring those pilgrims in general or individual passengers that landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusettes on November 21, 1620. (November 11 to those of you using the Julian calendar, as did the pilgrims themselves).

Among those countries, I found stamps issued by: the United States, Bangladesh, Chartonia, Great Britain, Guinea, Isle of Man, Oman, GrenadaUganda, Burkina Faso, Canada, Antigua, Liberia, and more. The question I was not able to find an answer to, is “Why?” Why would any country, other than the US, have any connection to or interest in honoring the Mayflower or those pilgrims?

While the ship did depart from an area of London, England known at the time as “Plymouth”, the pilgrims were fleeing that country due to oppressive (deadly) means of dealing with those who defied the rules of the Catholic Church. They were not government-sponsored explorers or emissaries that Britain could claim bragging rights in the more traditional manner. So had their issuance of such stamps been with the attitude “Thank G-d, we got rid of them buggers! They’re your problem now.”? Or was it simply a matter of commerce in that they saw the US as a great marketplace that they sought to exploit by appealing to our vanity? Me thinks that is the most likely explanation, not only for Britain, for all of the other countries as well. What do you think? And while you’re at it, anyone ever heard of Burkina Faso before? Or am I the only one so ignorant?

Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

The Welcoming Committee

Mayflower Landing at Plymouth RockMayflower Landing at Plymouth Rock (2)

Turkey Feast

Mayflower Landing (3)

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A Summer of Hummingbirds

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First things first. Over this last weekend, I created a new page for this Blog, titled “Hot Links” where I have gathered some of my favorite websites, blogs, and resources on the Internet. While I’ve still kept links already in the right-hand sidebar of my pages, I just had so many more that I wanted to share with my readers – and hope you’ll add to it, too. I’ve kept the links there as text-only to cut down on the loading time. Hop on over there when you get a chance and let me know what you think.

As for the title of this morning’s post, “A Summer of Hummingbirds”, this is the title of a fascinating book I’ve read by author, Christopher Benfey. Published in 2008, it has the intriguing sub-title of “Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily DIckinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, & Martin Johnson Heade”. Anyone who is a history, sociology, or biography buff will enjoy this easy to read treatise that interweave glimpses of pre and post Civil War American society through the eyes of these famed authors, artists. Their lives not only touch each other in unexpected ways but Benfey has managed to reveal insight into these personalities, the influences upon them and the imprint they left for future generations without resorting to heavy-handed background detail or moralistic commentary that historians and biographers often fall prey to. The central theme of hummingbirds not only runs through the lives of the central characters, it is a theme which those characters and this book’s author view[ed] as an allegory for the entire era that saw the social fabric of America (and much of the world, as well) brought into question and literally torn apart. Suddenly, the “younger generation” growing up in the 1840’s began to question and discard the old traditions and attitudes of their parents regarding the concepts of nature, religion, sexuality, family, time, eroticism, and beauty. Not being familiar in the least with anything to do with Hummingbirds, despite having enjoyed Dickinson, Twain, Stowe and Heade for years, I had never picked up on this common thread between them much less recognized that every one of them had been drawn to this species and beheld it as a symbol in their works where the bird was never just a bird.

So whether you’re into history, sociology, biography, birding, the US, or Brazil (which was not only a newly sovereign nation back then but it’s Amazon River and Rainforest serves as home to the world’s largest population of Hummingbirds), this is a book I’m sure you’ll take pleasure in. You can buy it here.

Of course, how can I not offer with this review a selection of Hummingbird art? Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

Hummingbird 3

Hummingbird & Flower 2

Hummingbird 4Hummingbird

Hummingbird & Flower

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Off With Their Heads!

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Have you been watching the Showtime® series “The Tudors” at all? Our son, Robby, got us hooked on it, so every night Hubby and I flip on the “On Demand” channel and watch another episode right after dinner. We’re both history buffs but had never really concentrated on this period at all (early to mid-1500’s). I had actually stayed away from it intentionally, convinced that it was just too gruesome and barbaric for me to handle, wimp that I am when it comes to violence. (or more politely put, “pacifist” that I am…). Well, as you all may already know, the reign of King Henry VIII was indeed both gruesome and barbaric. At the same time, the writers, actors, director, producers, etc. that put together this series have succeeded in so fully developing each of the characters in such depth that it transcends the initial revulsion and in turn becomes an incredibly character study of these historic figures.

The Tudor’s television series has stirred up my pre-existing fascination with people who on one hand can give the appearance of great tenderness and caring and passionate beliefs and loyalties yet are in fact, completely self-centered, manipulative, amoral shells who will stop at nothing to get their way no matter how petty the basis for their desires may be and no matter who may be harmed or destroyed as a result. It is bad enough having to deal with one who is a Malignant Narcissist when that person is just a so-called “ordinary” person in your life – but to have such people in charge of your country and your church where they are free to exert such complete, unrestrained power over everyone’s life without any clear earthly consequence (for them), is terrifying. I have a hard time imagining what it feels like inside to be such a person. I could not live with myself if I were to do such cruel and arbitrary things to another human being no matter how much I may dislike a person, but my psychologist tells me that people such as Henry VIII, generally sleep just fine at night because they are convinced that they have done nothing wrong. I’ll take his word for it but it’s just so difficult to truly fathom.

Well, despite all of horrors of King Henry VIII’s reign, which this series portrays just as much of the gore as is necessary without glorifying it or making it a focal point, I do highly recommend watching “The Tudor’s”. On top of the depth of the production, the actors are all well cast and excellent, the costumes are incredible, the lighting and set-design very authentic, and I just love the theme music.

As for this early morning’s offering of images for use as icons or clip art, there is no Tudor tie-in (sorry, maybe I'll do that sometime in the future). What I do have for you though is an updated version of one of my older icon series (created in 2004), that was entitled “Melamine”. The original is still available through a link on my Scrapblog. This updated version, “Neue Melamine” is not only larger (512×512 px vs 128×128) but has a few other enhancements to the images as well. For those who think that anything with the look of plastic or 3D-gloss is out-dated and undesirable – you probably won’t be happy with this set. Personally, I still like the look as it is very easy for my old chemo-ravaged eyes to decipher at a quick glance. So for those of you who appreciate this aspect, Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

NM_TB-Finder

NM_TrashNM_Trash-Full

NM_TB-Home

NM_TB-BurnNM_TB-Delete

NM_TB-Computer

NM_TB-infoNM_TB-Connect

“NEUE MELAMINE” —- TO BE CONTINUED… —-