Books & Current Events: Columbus Day is Dead, Long Live Indigenous Peoples’ Day & Italian Heritage Month

Thank you Howard Zinn

Thanks to the great Howard Zinn (and no thanks to my grade school teachers) I was disillusioned of Christopher Columbus before I left my twenties.HZ

And now an increasing number of cities and states are changing the second Monday in October from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Seattle, WA & Minneapolis, MN); to Native American Day in South Dakota; and Discoverers’ Day in Hawaii.

According to the Pew Research Center, “only 23 states give their employees Columbus Day as paid holiday.”

Indigenous Peoples’ Day & Italian Heritage Month

Though some people are upset about the dwindling number of people who are interested in celebrating Christopher Columbus, and that more cities and states are adopting an alternative celebration for the day, there is no reason that Americans can accept the awful truth about Christopher Columbus and cease having a day of celebration in his name and celebrate the day instead for indigenous people. The month of October is already celebrated for Italian Heritage, and American Italians have numerous of other reasons to celebrate and be proud of their heritage than having the specter of Christopher Columbus hang over this month. With renouncing the second Monday in October as Christopher Columbus Day and renaming it officially to Indigenous Peoples’ Day during Italian Heritage month would show recognition and solidarity.



In Memoriam Gabriel García Márquez

I recently listened to Gabriel García Márquez’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech for
100 Hundred Years of Solitude from 1982. His words were eloquent and his description of this spectacular work seemed to, not only provide insight into its essence, but also, into our individual lives. I felt like sharing a transcription of a paragraph from his acceptance speech and two videos of Gabo to celebrate him as a gift to humanity.

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: [translated] “The country that could be formed of all the exiles and forced emigrants of Latin America would have a population larger than that of Norway. I dare to think that it is this outsized reality, and not just its literary expression, that has deserved the attention of the Swedish Academy of Letters. A reality not of paper, but one that lives within us and determines each instant of our countless daily deaths, and that nourishes a source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this roving and nostalgic Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune. Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable. This, my friends, is the crux of our solitude.” From Gabriel García Márquez’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1982

September 15, 2013: Fifth Anniversary of the Current Economic Disaster

As Thomas Frank, a columnist at Harper’s Magazine, stated in the September 2013 issue of Harper’s, “September 15 will mark five years since the beginning of the economic slump that defines the world we live in.”

While Wall Street (including the large banking institutions and the Fed?) has proved that QuotesforSept15the current presidential administration and congress are unwilling to hold any financial institution accountable for the current economic calamity (course how could we expect them to when the bankers are key campaign donors despite a weak regulatory bill passed in 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act), citizens are under pressure once again, awaiting to see if the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex will push the country into another military conflict.

A Man’s Life and Death: Martin Manley

Martin Manley: Life & Death
Since the media outlets in Kansas City started reporting this website from Martin Manley, a resident of the KC area, there have been attempts to censor this man’s website, which begs the question: why?
If the immediate knee jerk reaction(s) to bring down the site were due to Martin’s choice to end his life when he saw fit, then why does our society (or even Western Civilization?) find this offensive? Or, rather, if it was the website’s hosting provider that attempted to stop the site, then how far do corporations (especially corporations involved with social media) have the right to censor users?
Regardless, Mr. Manley’s site is very interesting and thought provoking. I wish Martin well on his next journey and comfort to his family and friends who knew him.

Surreal Sites II: Roller and Gristmill Archaeological Sites on the Mark Twain National Forest

Grain mills are a significant part of Missouri’s history and the remains of some of these mills are found on the Mark Twain National Forest (MTNF). There was a time in the Turner Millnot-too-distant past when farming families gathered at a mill near their community to have their harvested grain milled and to socialize with other people in the area. Many gristmills and roller mills operated near the spring branches in Missouri and were once important social hubs for communities.

Cultural Resource Management on the MT includes managing the remains of some of these mills. Since I started working on the MT, I’ve had the opportunity to monitor these fantastic sites that are open to the public. Here are a couple of mill archaeological sites near the Irish Wilderness in the MTNF.

Greer Mill is located near Alton, Missouri off of Highway 19 in the Ozark Highlands. Greer Mill was built in partnership by Samuel Greer and George Mainprize, and was in operation from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The mill is a two and a half story roller mill that stands above Greer Spring. A system of pulleys and steel cables once transferred the power to operate the mill on top of the ridge.

The remains of Turner Mill are located down a remote gravel road deep in the forest. On the day that I shot this photograph, it was a rare cool day in July and steam was hugging the forest floor along the stream. I’ve seen the remains of Turner Mill before, but I’m amazed every time that I round the trail and gaze upon the immense size of the mill’s overshot wheel.
The wheel stands about twenty-five feet (7.5 meters) and sits in the stream along with drive shafts and a stone burr. The wheel and drive shafts look like parts that a giant being had dropped and have long since forgotten.
From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, Turner Mill undergone modifications (and owners) but at its operational peak, Turner Mill was about four stories in height.

In the Spirit of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary

Promotional dementia, n. A mental disorder occurring when an individual within a company, corporation, or organization receives a promotion—an award that generally increases the person’s responsibility and possibly salary—and causes the individual to develop one or more of the following symptoms: increasing irrationality; mood swings; delusions of grandeur; decreasing use of common sense; memory loss; and alienation from his or her subordinates.
Bob may have promotional dementia because ever since he received that promotion he has ignored his friends at work, yells at anyone who goes into his office after inviting them in, and has forgot about the raise that I asked for.
Note: Promotional dementia may increase exponentially with each promotion.Ambrose Bierce