Thursday, August 31, 2006

Heritage: NY1.Com For Resources

Always a good source for more upbeat news of communities in New York City, canbe a good literacy source as well. Their short video news' segments are archived and many of them have the accompanying transcripts. If you have a screen capturing video tool you can archive the streamed file. I've acumulated a library of them on various topics. Here's a recent video (appropriate for the upcoming Hispanic Heritage month theme) on the Dominican parade this summer.
The transcript to accompany:
The sounds of the Caribbean took over Midtown Sunday, as the Dominican Day Parade made its way up Sixth Avenue.
More than a half million people were expected to attend the festivities, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The parade celebrates the anniversary of the restoration of Dominican Independence on August 16th, 1863.
New York is home to the largest Dominican community outside the Dominican Republic

Heritage: Bellel Name Derivation

From the History of Ioannina as mentioned in the previous post. The author is Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos: "While the indigenous Jews of Greece were all Romaniotes, from the 14th century on other Jews would start to enter Greece soil. Jews would come from German lands, primarily Hungary, fleeing persecutions. Other Jews would come from the south of France and Italy, also fleeing persecutions. They would establish their own synagogues and separate communities. In 1492, with the massive influx of Spanish speaking Sephardic Jews into lands of the Ottoman Empire, of which Greece was then a part, the composition of Greek Jewry would change. Where, in most communities, due both to their large numbers and more sophisticated culture, the Sephardim, within a few generations, would absorb other Jews, Romaniote, Italian, French and Ashkenazi into their culture, this did not take place in the Jewish Community of Ioannina. In fact, the reverse happened: the Sephardim were absorbed into the Romaniote culture and the only signs we have of their presence is in certain surnames that are of definite Spanish origin.........Names of obvious Italian origin survive to today: Vita (Italian equivalent of Haim-life), Vidas (a variation on Vita), Dostis [original meaning unknown], Pitsirilo and Kantos [song from the Italian “cantare”], a name given to someone who was a hazan. An interesting change that took place in Greece was with the name “Bellelis” from the Italian “Bella” for beautiful. Since the letter that looks like the Latin “B”, in Greek, the “beta” is actually pronounced like the letter “v”, the name became “Velleli” but those Jews who immigrated to Israel or the United States kept the Italian pronunciation of Belleli."

Romaniote Heritage

I might as well show off half of my heritage (which is somewhat Spanish influenced). The folks at Kehila Kedosha Janina just devoted their last newsletter to my late Uncle Hy. Included are archival family photos and numerous testimonials plus the touching eulogies given by my cousin Lois and her daughter (and gifted first grade teacher) Melissa. I added a recently refound picture of my father (glasses and mustache) and converted the pdf file to make a slide show. My dad is to the right of Uncle Hy (the picture's left) who is kneeling in the middle of the first row in front of the groom. the famous Talie is to my father's right. My father and uncle are probably the only two Romaniote Jews there, the rest are Spanish Jews of Turkish ancestry and maybe a few Yids. Here's the beginning of an article on Romaniote history: "While the terms “Ashkenazim” and “Sephardim” are geographical terms designating Jews whose ancestry originated in “German Lands” or Spain, the term “Romaniote” is an historical term, denoting Jews who date their ancestry back to the Roman Empire. When, in the early 4th century, Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to a city on the Bosphorus, named Byzantion, renaming it after himself [Constantinopolis, the City of Constantine], Jews were citizens of the Roman Empire and, in their dialect, denoted themselves as such: Romaniotes-citizens of Roman. The term has come to mean “Hellenized” Jews, Greek-speaking Jews, who like Jews throughout history, living in most circumstances as small minorities surrounded by non-Jewish majorities, have absorbed many of the attributes, customs, traditions and, certainly, language of the surrounding non-Jewish majority, in this case, the Greek world of their time, whether it be pagan or Christian." For those interested, you can download the rest here.

Heritage: Puerto Rican History In New york

This slide show was created using archival images from one of the books from the "Images of America" series.
The publisher of those books basically made books by scanning pictures from family collections. I'd love to do a project with kids where we would just travel the neighborhood with scanners on a truck like those old time knife sharpeners and call out,
"Bring us your old family pictures to scan."

Hispanic Heritage Month Resources and Thomson-Gale have good resources. Not much else out there. Here is some of the bounty of images (in slide show form) found on stray hard drives that I have been exploring lately. The pictures in mini poster form come from They won't give you a better image. An idea is to assign the people pictured as a possible report subject. The soundtrack is the Puerto Rican anthem, La Borinquén. Here are the lyrics in Spanish, followed by the translation:
La tierra de Borinquén donde he nacido yo, es un jardín florido de mágico fulgor.
Un cielo siempre nítido le sirve de dosel y dan arrullos plácidos las olas a sus pies.
Cuando a sus playas llegó Colón; Exclamó lleno de admiración;
"Oh!, oh!, oh!, esta es la linda tierra que busco yo".
Es Borinquén la hija, la hija del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol, del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol, del mar y el sol.

The land of Borinquen where I have been born. It is a florid garden of magical brilliance.
A sky always clean serves as a canopy. And placid lullabies are given
by the waves at her feet.
When at her beaches Columbus arrived, he exclaimed full of admiration:
Oh! Oh! Oh! This is the beautiful land, that I seek.
It is Borinquen the daughter, the daughter of the sea and the sun.
of the sea and the sun, of the sea and the sun,
of the sea and the sun, of the sea and the sun!

Project Based Learning: Modeling Land Forms

At the Battle of Brooklyn ceremony at Green-Wood on Sunday this terrific model of the battle was on display. It was made by 4th grade students at PS230K. I found these two links on landform model building
from the Baltimore Public Schools

This from the Berkeley School System

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Summer Of 2005

Summer of 42 was a really good summer
Relinked blog entries from last year about Latin beisbol

From 9/05, this is from a kid's book about baseball in Venezuela

From 10/05, this is about a Dominican youth baseball hopeful who shuttled back and forth last summer from Washington Heights to the D.R.

The Latin Boys Of Summer

September 15th-October 15th is Hispanic American Heritage Month. There was an excellent article in the Times' City Section this past Sunday on Dominican hopefuls playing for the Staten Island Yankees. Here it is: "Los Muchachos del Verano," By SAKI KNAFO, ON a clear June evening at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island, a young pitcher named Francisco Castillo jogged in from the bullpen, his boyish features set in a businesslike expression. It was the second game of the season, and his team, the Staten Island Yankees, was down two runs in the fourth inning. Mr. Castillo, a 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic who had arrived just four days before, had been summoned to prevent further damage. Watched by a crowd of about 6,500 — the largest he had ever pitched for — Mr. Castillo approached a ball lying on the mound, reached for it with his glove, missed and had to try again. If the fumble was the result of nerves, that would have been entirely understandable. Mr. Castillo, a Spanish-speaking kid wearing braces on his teeth, was making his debut on the team, which is an entry-level club in the New York Yankees’ system. An excellent season here would bolster his chances of climbing to a higher rung on the minor-league ladder — and maybe, someday, even to Yankee Stadium, the shrine to baseball in the Bronx. A lackluster season, an injury or an unfavorable assessment from a coach could land him back on the sandlots of Baní, the dirt-poor city in the Dominican Republic where he was born and raised.
Behind him as he pitched in that game in June, the Manhattan skyline, visible across New York Harbor, shimmered in the fading sunlight beyond the outfield fence. The potential distractions were limitless.
But at this moment on the mound in Staten Island, Mr. Castillo had a job that commanded his full attention. The first batter for his team’s opponents, the Brooklyn Cyclones, popped out. Mr. Castillo struck out the second on three pitches. The next man up blasted a fastball off the left-field wall for a double. Mr. Castillo took a deep breath and, on the second pitch of the next at-bat, coaxed a fly ball to center for the final out.
Trotting back to the dugout as the crowd showered him with applause, the young man crossed himself and glanced heavenward.
“It’s like walking in the desert,” Mr. Castillo, speaking through an interpreter, said later of the experience of playing before thousands of fans. “You can barely walk. But if there are others with you, urging you on, ‘Walk! Walk!’ well, you’re going to try to walk faster.”
Mr. Castillo was among four Dominican players assigned to the roster of the Staten Island Yankees at the beginning of the season. Another was his friend Toni Lara, a lithe, fine-featured 22-year-old who had known the man he called “hermanito” — “little brother” — back in Baní. The two met five years earlier at a baseball academy; as with most major-league prospects in the Dominican Republic, baseball was a substitute for high school.
Of the thousands of aspiring young ballplayers in their impoverished country, they were among the few who stood out enough in the Yankee training complex in the Dominican Republic to be flown to New York, put up in student apartments and paid about $1,000 a month to play the game they adore.
Over the last generation or two, the business of baseball has been transformed by the emergence of Latin America, and especially the Dominican Republic, as a source of plentiful, cheap and talented labor. Dominican players often command perhaps $30,000 in signing bonuses, about half as much as Americans, and many sign when they are 16, a few years earlier than most of their American counterparts. This year, the Yankees supplied their Staten Island affiliate with five Venezuelan players in addition to the four Dominicans, roughly twice the average Latin American contingent of seasons past.
Wherever players were born, their chances of success remain dauntingly slim. At least 95 percent of minor-leaguers never advance to the majors.
‘The Ballpark Is Our Date’
On June 17, Mr. Castillo and his fellow Dominicans landed at Newark Liberty International Airport, a world away from the dusty fields of their hometown. Mr. Castillo clutched a teddy bear, a gift from his mother, as the team bus shuttled the group through the industrial wasteland of northern New Jersey.
Their first stop was the Staten Island stadium, in the St. George neighborhood. Although it was 10 p.m. and the players hadn’t yet unpacked, they were led out onto the darkened field. Across the water, the Empire State Building blinked its welcome.
At first, none of the players seemed to notice the skyline; standing near the dugout, they marveled instead at the size of the stands, capacity 7,171.
Then Mr. Castillo, wearing one of his new team’s gray caps, wandered away from the pack and stepped onto the infield grass. “Is that New York?” he asked in English, gazing wide-eyed at the distant lights, with the air of someone who had happened upon a pretty flower. Then he pulled out his new camera and snapped a couple of pictures.
The athletes, particularly the Latin American players, worked even harder than their hectic schedule demanded. On their rare days off, the players seldom strayed from Grymes Hill, a leafy neighborhood in Staten Island where they had unadorned Wagner College apartments, sleeping two to a room like students or, for that matter, migrant laborers.
On days when the team was not on the road, the players were up at 11 a.m., to shower and dress and check in at the stadium by 1:30. Lunch for the Dominicans was typically rice and beans, maybe chicken and plantains, at El Famoso Comida Latina, a nearby restaurant. Then they would head back to the stadium for exercise, drills and finally the game. After showering, changing, grabbing a meal and fielding questions from the local press, it was back to the apartment, and maybe some ESPN on television before bed a little past midnight.
Some of the Americans on the team socialized in local bars and wandered around Canal Street or Times Square on their off days. But Mr. Castillo and the other Dominicans, who all roomed together in a sparsely furnished apartment lacking even a stand for the television set, focused on their work even during downtime.
“The ballpark,” Mr. Castillo said in the stadium parking lot after a game, “is our date.”
Still, the players did not live in isolation. Rather, they immersed themselves in an alien environment, and they adapted to life in America in divergent ways.
While Mr. Lara, for example, did not know enough English to feel comfortable bantering with his American teammates, Mr. Castillo practiced his English whenever possible, tossing off phrases like “chillin’ like a villain.” He spent his spare time poring over Christian self-help books in both English and Spanish, and he diligently recorded his private thoughts in a diary in which the entries were written in the form of letters to God.
Those differences were on display the afternoon that the Latino players headed off to buy lunch at a nearby deli. Mr. Castillo breezed into the store and zeroed in on a package of corn muffins, a close cousin of the popular Dominican dish pan de maiz. Mr. Lara, meanwhile, shied away from asking a clerk to recommend what kind of phone card to buy, turning instead to a teammate for help — though the teammate’s command of English didn’t go much beyond knowing the choruses of a few hip-hop songs.
The Tribulations of Toni Lara
At 22, Mr. Lara was almost too old to be a member of the Staten Island Yankees. Most of his contemporaries had already climbed higher on the minor-league ladder, or tumbled off it. This was Mr. Lara’s second season pitching on Staten Island; last year, he switched from starting games in the regular rotation to pitching in relief whenever needed.
“I won’t lie to you,” he said after his first game this summer. “I was throwing too many balls. So I thought I was going to have a bad year. But then I asked to be a reliever, and I had a great season.”
This season, however, he was struggling. In the eighth inning of Mr. Castillo’s first game, Mr. Lara came on in relief while his friend watched from the dugout. On only his second pitch of the season, Mr. Lara surrendered a shot over the right-field wall for a three-run home run. Mr. Castillo hammered his fist in frustration.
After that miserable outing, Mr. Lara sat crouched outside the clubhouse beneath a sign emblazoned with the words “Assume nothing.” “Great welcome,” he said ruefully, his grim expression easing into a smile. “But, hey, press on. That’s what happens to pitchers.”
His second appearance didn’t go much better: he gave up two runs and walked three batters in two and a third innings. In his third game, against Hudson Valley, Mr. Lara seemed to find his groove, going the same distance without allowing a hit. Still, nine games passed before he got another opportunity to pitch.
While Mr. Lara languished on the sidelines, his friend, Mr. Castillo, was pitching well, winning a spot in the rotation. On July 9, Mr. Castillo turned in one of his finest performances of the season, with five scoreless innings against the Vermont Lake Monsters.
The next afternoon, while the players were changing in the clubhouse, Mr. Lara was summoned to the front office. When he returned a half-hour later, he was crying. After four years in the Yankee organization, he had been released. Under the terms of his work visa he was required to leave the United States immediately. The Yankees would send a cab to his apartment in Grymes Hill the next day to drive him to the airport so he could catch a flight back to the Dominican Republic.
The Lesson of the iPod
As the community relations director for the Staten Island Yankees, Polo Burgos spends lots of time speaking at local events and racing around the field with local kids. As the only Dominican in the front office, he also serves as what he describes as a nanny for the Latino players, helping them shop and cash their paychecks, and occasionally haranguing them about the importance of learning English and saving money.
On the afternoon Mr. Lara was released, Mr. Burgos and several players were wandering through the aisles of a large electronics store in a strip mall off Richmond Avenue on Staten Island. For Mr. Castillo, the shopping trip was the first time he had traveled around town beyond the immediate vicinity of the stadium. In keeping with the Yankees dress code, he wore a neat gray shirt with a collar, his sunglasses hanging from his neck. A glittering Movado watch on his strong wrist seemed to announce his aspirations.
Addressing a saleswoman as “corazon” (“sweetheart”), Mr. Castillo pointed to the latest iPod model and asked her the price in Spanish. Mr. Burgos quickly took over the exchange in English. “If they buy three, what kind of deal are they going to give them?” he asked.
Mr. Burgos haggled with the saleswoman for a good five minutes, his demeanor shifting from flirtatious to pleading to demanding. Then he turned back to his players and said in Spanish, “I’m not going to let you buy them here when you can go somewhere else and buy them for at least $15 off.”
Later, in the parking lot, Mr. Burgos launched into a lecture on fiscal responsibility.
“You! You!” he shouted over a flurry of snickers as the players made their way back to the car. “Hold onto your money. Don’t throw it away like that. These gadgets cost $300. You can buy a normal radio, you can buy a CD player for $15 each.
“Listen,” he went on. “Look at what happened with Lara.”
It was the first time all afternoon that anyone had mentioned Mr. Lara’s name. The laughter stopped abruptly.
As it turned out, Mr. Lara was not to complete the journey that had been marked out for him. The next day, when the cab came to take him to the airport, he and his belongings were nowhere to be found.
A week later, Mr. Castillo spoke about his friend’s disappearance, which had occurred the evening before his scheduled departure. “We didn’t have food for the night,” Mr. Castillo said. “So we went out to get some, and he stayed back watching TV. When we returned, he was gone.”
Mr. Castillo, along with the other players and Yankee officials, said that they had heard nothing from Mr. Lara, and no family members were located.
But such disappearances are far from rare. “Nobody wants to go back,” Mr. Burgos said. “Nobody. I got my citizenship years ago, because if someone told me I had to go back, I don’t know what I‘d do.”
To the Shrine in the Bronx
As of Friday, the Staten Island Yankees were in first place in their division. Mr. Castillo ranked 14th in the league in strikeouts, with 51. It looks as if he may spend next summer in Charleston, S.C., playing for the RiverDogs, a team on the next higher level of the Yankee organization.
In his time in New York, Mr. Castillo has not seen much of the city beyond the Spanish restaurant in St. George, the Staten Island Mall and some grocery stores. But one Monday in July he did get to visit that stadium in the Bronx.
Accompanied by a chaperon, team members took the ferry to Manhattan, then the No. 4 train to the Bronx. Emerging at 161st Street, they walked to Yankee Stadium, where they were met by a team official and spirited away on a guided tour of the field, the dugout, the team’s hallowed Monument Park beyond the outfield and, most amazing to them, the clubhouse.
The walls were lined with spacious wooden cubbies brimming with uniforms and bats, and boasting an array of awe-inspiring nameplates: Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera. A crowd-control barrier confined the minor-league players to the front of the room (major-league rules, the guide said), but it didn’t stop them from gazing around in hushed wonder.
Mr. Castillo’s first words were in English. “Oh, my God!” he said quietly. Then he pulled out his camera and took pictures.

Here's a slide show I created with images from the article's photo essay and images that espn had done on baseball in the Dominican Republic

The Battle Of New York (comic version)

I also rediscovered in "my archives" a scanned comic version of the Battle of New york from Patrick Reynold's terrific Big Apple Almanac series. Maybe someday I'll find the multiple copies of the books I have around the house.
Here are several slide shows I had done from a series Reynold's had done in the topic.

The first is all about the retreat from Brooklyn. I was ambitious at the time and I supplied a narration.

The next is about the Battle at Kips Bay.

The next is about retreat from lower Manhattan to Washington Heights.

The Battle Of Brooklyn (and New York)

A rationalization for the benefits of having your hard drive crash is looking for all the data you've saved (all over the place!) and finding stuff you had forgotten about or missplaced. I found some old images of the Battle of Brooklyn, many of which are the same that are included in McCullough's 1776. Here I combined them in a slide show that attempts to place the events in chronological order

The Infamous Of Green-Wood Cemetery

I host my images at photobucket. Clicking on the image will enlarge it, but not enough to view the details, since photobucket trims large images (as this scanned one was originally). Suffice to say (that's some mean pseudo language) getting the free map from Green-Wood will show you many of its famous "interns."
Some interns are infamous, like Bill, the Butcher, Poole. From"Requiem for Bill"The Butcher" Poole by Carola Mandelbaum April 2003 A tall Marine with a face of Ireland played "Taps," but the freezing winds from the East River blew the music away. It was a somber ceremony. Yet after 150 years of anonymity, Bill "The Butcher" Poole had finally gotten some recognition. In mid-February a six-foot three gray tombstone was unveiled in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, on the previously unmarked gravesite of one of the meanest villains in New York’s history. There’s nothing like an Oscar-nominated blockbuster to revive a dead man’s reputation.The film, of course, is Martin Scorsese’s epic Gangs of New York, in which Daniel Day-Lewis’ interpretation of Poole figures prominently. Never mind that Poole died nearly a decade before the events of the film transpired— Hollywood has the power to create heroes that never were. For more than a century, "The Butcher" was an obscure character of a best-forgotten period of New York’s antebellum history, but these days he has been reborn as a hottest spot in the $12 walking tour of Greenwood Cemetery. Richard Moylan, president of the cemetery, poignantly unveiled the tombstone that reads the rogue’s alleged last words, "Goodbye Boys, I die a true American." According to a New York Times article from 1855, the year of his death, Poole in his last breath was heard to add "what grieves me most is thinking that I’ve been murdered by a set of Irish." Yet for officials at Greenwood Cemetery the installation of the tombstone marked "a special day in which we do a service to history, we mark this spot as a space of history. The final honoring of heroes," says Jeff Richman, the cemetery’s historian.In fact, "The Butcher" was the head of a gang of native-born Americans with decidedly anti-immigrant sentiments. Poole was known as "The Butcher" not so much for his occupation and meat shop, which he inherited from his father, but for the bloodiness of his actions. Always ready for a fight, he was ruthless with both strangers and friends. The murdering scoundrel, who died from severe bullet wounds on March of 1855, was feared in The Five Points area of Lower Manhattan and beyond. Like other notorious criminals who gained celluloid popularity many years after their demise— Butch Cassidy, comes to mind— Poole was buried in ignominy and obscurity. Gangs of New York introduced historical inaccuracies to support the creation of the character of Poole. To begin with, his artistic name is appropriately Bill Cutting— as in cutting pork chops and human limbs— and in the movie, his life has been charitably prolonged for eight additional years to keep him alive for the Draft Riots. But Tyler Anbinder, author of the 2000 book Five Points, notes that even if some historical details portrayed in the movie are not accurate, they are in fact inspired by history. "Poole is not the first person I would have honored but anything that gets people interested in history is a good thing," says Anbinder. "Seeing your work brought to life is always an exciting thing." And a popular draw for spectators, apparently. "We expect people who come to visit the museum to be enthusiastic about visiting his grave site," says Richman. Addressing the controversy of honoring Poole, Richman explains, "He shouldn’t be treated like a hero; he is, though, a historical figure." It’s a fair bet that Poole would be pleased that his renown has grown at another bloody time in New York City history, one in which immigrant groups are again being targeted. The presence at his funeral of the bugler from the Emerald Isle, of course, would be another matter entirely.

Here's a slide show of some of the infamous of Green-Wood

And BTW, here at last is Laura Nyro's "And When I Die"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Wedding Bell Blues 2

Here's Marilyn and Billy Davis in 2001. Hey, what do you expect they're probably about 70.
Here's the 5th Dimension version:

Wedding Bell Blues

Now I can't get Laura Nyro out of my head. Gee, I wonder what became of Marilyn McCoo of the 5th Dimension
video removed
Bill, I love you so, I always will. I look at you and you see the passion eyes of May.
Oh, but am I ever gonna see my wedding day? (Wedding day)
Oh, I was on your side, Bill, when you were losing.
I'd never scheme or lie, Bill, there's been no fooling.
But kisses and love won't carry me till you marry me, Bill.
I love you so, I always will, and in your voice I hear a choir of carousels.
Oh, but am I ever gonna hear my wedding bells? (Wedding bells)
I was the one came running when you were lonely. I haven't lived one day not loving you only
But kisses and love won't carry me till you marry me, Bill, I love you so, I always will.
And though devotion rules my heart, I take no bows,
Oh but, Bill, you're never gonna take my wedding vows. (Wedding vows)
Come on, Bill (come on, Bill) so come on, Bill (come on, Bill).
Come on and marry me, Bill, I love you so, I always will.
Come on, I got the wedding blues, yeah, the wedding bell blues.
Come on and marry me, Bill, I love you so, I always will. I wanna marry you, Bill

Save The Country, Laura Nyro

Boy, did I used to love Laura Nyro
Come on, people! Come on, children! Come on down to the glory river.
Gonna wash you up, and wash you down, gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down.
I got fury in my soul,fury's gonna take me to the glory goal. In my mind I can't study war no more.
Save the people! Save the children! Save the country now!
Come on, people! come on, children! Come on down to the glory river.
Gonna wash you up and wash you down. Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down.
Come on people! Sons and mothers! Keep the dream of the two young brothers. Gonna take that dream and ride that dove.
We could build the dream with love, I know, We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build a dream with love, children, We could build the dream with love, oh people,
We could build the dream with love, I know, We could build the dream with love.
2nd verse:
Come on, people! Come on, children! There's a king at the glory river.
And the precious king, he loved the people to sing; Babes in the blinkin' sun sang "We Shall Overcome".

Erin Go Bragh: Green-Wood Cemetery Tour 2

Love that Irish lilt, of course it sounds much better coming from Noelle O'Reilly. Here's audio I recorded of the ceremonies commemorating The Battle Of Brooklyn at Green-Wood yesterday combined with pics I took. It's a bigger file than usual (6.2MB) because I inserted explanatory text with the slides. Charles Higgins was a County Letrim man as mentioned by Timothy O'Connor. The picture with the post is the site, still there on 9th Street (the blue house), of where his original Higgins' Ink Company was located in the late 1800's early 1900's. I'm not very proud of my Orthodox Jewish "Landsmen" who is the owner of the property threatening the view to the Statue Of Liberty from Minerva.

And When I Die: Green-Wood Cemetery Tour 1

I was at the Battle Of Brooklyn commemoration at Green-Wood Cemetery yesterday. The "link" from "Save The Country", Save The Vista to "And When I Die" is Laura Nyro. Unfortunately I don't have her recording to back this slide show made up of images of some of the famous folks in Green-Wood Cemetery. Info comes from that great resource Here's part of the audio I recorded of Barnet Schecter's tour. Also heard is Jeffrey Richman, Green-Wood historian. Jeff informed the group that Green-Wood has a hyphen because there was a hyphen craze in the mid to late 1800's. For more on Jeff go here

More on Barnet Schecter, for his great online, do it yourself walking tour of the Battle Of New York go here

Save The Country, Save The Vista

from "This most significant historic Vista was dedicated on August 27, 1920, by the gift of the Irish-American businessman, Charles M. Higgins. Among those present at the dedication ceremony were New York Governor Alfred E. Smith and then Asst. Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt (elected Governor of the State of New York in 1928 and President of the United States in November 1932). The plaque at the base of the Minerva Monument reads as follows:“The Place Whereon Thou Standest is Holy Ground” Glory to the Memory of Our First National Heroes Who Fought and Fell on this Battle Ground to Win Our Liberty and Independence! Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, Glory and Patriotism, Here Salutes The Goddess of Liberty and Enwreathes This Altar in Tribute to the Heroes of American Liberty and to the Wisdom of American Institutions. The Minerva Monument has stood atop Battle Hill, arm raised, saluting the Statue of Liberty across the harbor for 85 years. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty has grown to stand for freedom and democracy as well as international friendship. It was the recognition of this friendship between France and the United States established during the American Revolution that was the basis of this gift by the people of France to the United States. This noble Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World is placed centrally in New York Harbor with its face turned toward Brooklyn where, at the other end of this historic Vista, the sanctifying Minerva Monument is strategically placed on Battle Hill in Green-Wood Cemetery. The Minerva Monument stands at the Altar to Liberty located on the highest hilltop of our first National battle-ground where our first National Heroes fought and fell for American Liberty and Independence. In our famous national shrine of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, on July 4, 1776, fifty-five of our leading patriots signed, in ink, the great Document which declared us to be a free and independent Nation, with sublime principles of Liberty and Humanity for all. The Minerva Monument is the memorial to the Battle of Brooklyn where hundreds of our young heroes signed this Declaration in their blood and were the first to lay down their lives for the New Nation.

I invite you to sign the petition to preserve this vista at this link

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Different Kind Of Test

The picture is from a book "Brooklyn's Park Slope, A Photographic Retrospective," by Merlis and Rosenzweig.'s quizmaker allows you to create a test that allows for a written essay and a prompt to follow up with an email submission. Here's such a quiz with archival images of Park Slope

Equal Time For American Revolution Women Quiz

Here's a test (with external links) about Revolutionary War Heroine, Deborah Sampson I've subsequently learned that the correct spelling of her name is Samson

A Paul Revere Quiz

The Sox may be dead and buried, but as long as A-Rod continues with his hitting funk we may never make it past round 1 of the playoffs. Here's another kind of quiz that Discovery.Com's quiz center allows. You can insert your own graphics and an external link as the basis for answering questions, In that way, unlike Joe Torre with A-Rod, you can control your environment.Here's the second test in my American Revolution series that's all about Paul Revere

Showing The Way With Slide Shows

I got started using slide shows as a way to introduce content in a condensed and appetizing ("forsphayze") and kid friendly way. It can also be an inspirationt for kids to do further research. Another way it could be used is as content matched with an all important assessment piece. This can be done by using the various interactive test making tools available
now online. Hot Potatoes is a free tool with lots of possibilities (from half-baked software), except I haven't quite figured out how to use it. What is easy and also free are the quiz making tools at Here I took a slide show about the American Revolution that I cribbed from kidsdiscover material and matched it to a multiple choice test. I constructed the test first. This test encompasses material from the first from the first 6 0r 7 slides as a word document template so I could copy and paste it into the online forms.
Postscript: I've noticed the test isn't numbered properly in Safari, but it is in Explorer.

The Times They Are A Changin

The picture is from The Nation. 230 years and a big difference in the concept of what fighting for freedom is all about. I got very ambitious and took the audio from part of McCullough's book and matched it up with the matching text (available online as the "free first chapter excerpt option" on many sites). The text was converted into an image via a screenshot and then I went harvesting for images that the text suggested. Such a task could be given as a student assignment. Finding the matching images reinforces the meaning of new vocabulary.

I Got The Horse Right Here

In doing research on Paul Revere's ride I came across this article from a Fredercksburg, Va.newspaper: "One of the real heroes of the Revolutionary War getting shortchanged at Mount Vernon's new $100 million museum and cultural center set to open in October? Hint: He was one of Gen. Washington's biggest supporters What about brave Old Nelson, who unflinchingly carried the future first president through British fire during the Revolutionary War?A horse is a horse, of course, of course. But when a horse is a hero, shouldn't the horse get credit?This fall, George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens opens a $100 million addition--including an orientation center, museum and education center--that will employ advanced forensic science to change our first president's image from the dour, toothless old man on the dollar bill to what James C. Rees, executive director at Mount Vernon, is calling Washington "America's first action hero."In the process, Mount Vernon officials have chosen to put the sexier Washington astride a sexy horse. A First in War Gallery will show the Revolutionary War general mounted on Blueskin, a white stallion that artists over history have generally regarded a more studly horse than Nelson. But it was Nelson whom Washington himself credited with carrying him through most of the British fire he encountered during the Revolutionary War.Good guys ride brilliant white horses. Sidekicks ride horses that look like Nelson. The Lone Ranger rode Silver and Roy Rogers rode Trigger. Tonto's and Dale Evans' rides? Scout and Buttermilk were horses of a different color.There's some debate over which horse Washington rode at Valley Forge, the moment in time portrayed in the gallery. There's no debate, however, that Nelson was the more noteworthy steed, even if his coat was dull.
A question of proof
Mount Vernon researchers say they have no choice but to go with the flashier but apparently faint-hearted Blueskin--who supposedly cowered before musket and cannon fire--because they can't prove Nelson was at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777. But Shannon Leva, of the International Museum of the the Horse in Lexington, Ky., sided with the boring-looking-but-brave Nelson. Leva cited the "The Book of Famous Horses" by Caroline Ticknor, which says Washington had Nelson as early as 1775--two years prior to Valley Forge. Emily Coleman Dibella, a spokeswoman for Mount Vernon, said Ticknor's nearly 80-year-old account, written in the style of a novel, can't be confirmed as a scholarly work.The IMH Web site goes out of its way to defend Nelson's honor."Nelson survived the rigors of near-starvation at Valley Forge and relentless marches from Boston to the Carolinas," and remained Washington's favorite through his first term as president, the Web site says."He, too, remained 'first in war, first in peace'--if not first in the memory of history," the horse museum Web site says, taking a swipe at 18th- and 19th-century artists for emphasizing aesthetics over true heroism.Mount Vernon commissioned advanced technology to produce true-to-life images of Washington as a 19-year-old surveyor, 45-year-old Revolutionary War general and 57-year-old president. Those figures are expected to be the focal points of the new Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center set to open Oct. 27 at Mount Vernon. A recent sneak media preview of the project indicated Rees probably will succeed with a project that depended on the latest in high-tech forensic science. But in the process of making Washington look heroic, has an injustice been done to one of the true heroes of the war? Leva says that over the century following the Revolutionary War, painters tended to portray Washington astride Blueskin because "a white horse appears more regal than a chestnut and has a certain connotation" of the American "good guy" on the white horse."

All of this inspired me to create a slide show of famous war horses.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Como Nomo

I forgot-this is why so much of the 50's was a musical wasteland. There was a message, albeit a simple one in "catch a falling star"-but this is pretty schlocky. Como was capable of better and you can see he was uncomfortable. (but check out the moves on Peggy Lee-I'll bet she was something)

The Real Rickie

Jo-ey's In Love

In The Battle of Brooklyn (230 years ago this week) the British decoyed the Continental Army into thinking there would be a frontal assault in Gowanus. Instead they used a flanking maneuver along the unprotected Jamaica Pass. I think Cup of Joe's Joey used a similar ploy of a few weeks ago to disguise the real reason we've been without his Sunday column. The real reason, Joey's in love and has no time for us: "How come he don't come and p.l.p. with me. Down at the meter no more? How come he turned off the TV. And he hung that sign on the door? We call and we call "How come?" we say. Hey,what could make a boy behave this way? He learned all of the lines, and every time he don't stutter when he talks. And it's true! It's true! He sure is acquired a cool and inspired sorta jazz when he walks. Where's his jacket and his old blue jeans? If this ain't healthy is it some kinda clean? I think that Chuck E's in love Chuck E's in love. I don't believe what you're saying to me. This is something I gotta see. Is he here? Look in the poolhall. Is he here? Look in the drugstore. Is he here? No, he don't come here no more. I'll tell you what I saw him. He was sittin' behind us down at the Pantages. And whatever it is that he's got up his sleeve. I hope it isn't contagious. What's her name? Is that her there? Christ, I think he's even combed his hair! Is that her? What's her name? Oh, it's never going to be same. But that's not her I know what's wrong--
Chuck E's in love with the little girl who's singing this song. Chuck E's in love Chuck E's in love with me.
Post script: I wonder whether Joey is combing his hair. For your listening pleasure, here's Joey's favorite song these days

Thinking About The Fifties

Another one of my mother's favorites. And what was so wrong with mindless songs like these?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Ma

Today's my mother's birthday (8/24/19). She lived in this apartment, the ground floor of 516 E. 11th Street, between Avenues A and B. I believe she and my grandmother ("Bobbi") and my Aunt Lilly moved here in the mid to late thirties. My mother moved out in 1944 when she married my father. They moved into an apartment at 76 Suffolk Street. Aunt Lilly stayed there I think until she married Uncle Hy and then they moved, with my grandmother, into the newly built Jacob Riis Projects. In the 30's my mother got her first job working as a library assistant at the Mary Help of Christians School, which was right across 11th Street. She told me she was proud of that job, that the sisters at the school were very particular about who they hired. I picked up a Bobby Darin CD today (at Academy Records). It had some different songs than the usual Darin compilation. One stuck out at me, Rodgers' and Hammerstein's "Love Look Away." I distinctly remember my mother asking me to play Tony Bennett's 45 version of the song over and over on our big Zenith console. It was unusual for my mother to make any request of me. The lyrics must have gotten to her in regard to her pretty loveless marriage: "I have wished before, I will wish no more. Love, look away! Love, look away from me. Fly, when you pass my door, Fly and get lost at sea. Call it a day. Love, let us say we're through. No good are you for me, No good am I for you. Wanting you so, I try too much. After you go, I cry too much. Love, look away. Lonely though I may be, Leave me and set me free, Look away, look away, look away... from... me.
Here's the Darin version, which is a lot less maudlin than Bennett's BTW I read the Darin biography, "Roman Candle." Poorly written. I was hoping to find the exact LES location where Darin lived. The only mention is the fact that he was embarassed to have his Bronx High School of Science friends come to Baruch Place. I imagine he might have lived in the Baruch Houses which had been built around the time (early 50's) when Darin was at high school age. At this moment Randy Johnson is getting pounded by the Mariners-not a nice birthday present for my mother.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mets 1 Yankees 1

The Mets evened the score with the Yanks (Melky) in the Jewish ballplayer competition by acquiring Shawn Green, the forner "King" of the current Jewish players. Shawn is past his prime but should bolster the weakened outfield corps. He's also an old pal and teammate of my favorite politically progressive ballplayer, Carlos Delgado. There's no talk in the media about Shawn's heritage, which I'm sure the astute Met GM took into account. Yet there was talk on a Mets' listserve "Green is batting .287 with 10 HR and 48 RBI spanning 106 starts for Arizona. He will earn $8 million this season and $9.5 million next season, with a $2 million buyout on his $10 mutual option for 2008……pass…again…Reply: Matt--its SHAWN Green I say go get him so maybe us Jews can feel some of the constant marketing love that the Mets send the way of the Latinos. Reply: Ha, that's classic. Reply: mazel tov...and zei gesund...I 'll gladly have him over to break bread at my Shabbos table anytime,, he can stay for the High Holy days here in Brooklyn, and I'll even put on Tefilin with him everday if he hits...please a Jew on the Mets would be a pleasure no words could express...Reply: Aaron Heilman isn't Jewish?
Reply: A Jewish Notre Dame grad? Was he there the same years that Reyes played SS for The Yeshiva?

Life Imitates Art

Or something similar to that metaphor. So I'm in the waiting room of Long Island College Ambulatory Surgery on Monday along with a family who are waiting for their appointment. The conversation is about the trials and tribulations of a disputed NYCDOE decision to have a student left back (a very delightful and intelligent sounding 12 year old awaiting a hand procedure) "The principal said she didn't have test scores for advancement...blah, blah. The LIS (Local Instructional Superintendent concurred yada, yada." I chimed in with some pseudo intellectual babble about being a retired teacher and knowing something about how the system works. "Make sure every proper procedure was followed in regard to evaluating her years' work was taken into consideration. If everything wasn't followed correctly you have a winning case. Don 't show that you will be intimidated. They only want to chalk one up to how they are following no child left behind nonsense. The principals are trained to be vicious by some of these LIS'." I felt awkward about intervening at first, but they were appreciative. They said they only wanted to win the case because they were going to put their daughter in private school (without being left back). They thought their kid might suffer some retribution in the future.
As I'm leaving the hospital later that day with my wife and daughter (my daughter had her second in a series of operations to correct an ear condition called a cholesteatoma) I get a call from the principal of a school where I was to be working part time this year. "I'm very sorry to tell you that I was told to take your name out of the budget by my LIS because she feels I need to hire a librarian instead due the requirements of grant...and there has ben a ruling according to memo #...dated August 9th is principal's weekly by the chancellor..."
The truth is, and it would be hard to prove, is that I'm being blacklisted by some regional bigwig who I once challenged and embarassed.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dressed To Kill: Revolutionary War Uniforms

I won't mention synchronicity any more, but remember Policewoman and Angie Dickinson just a few posts ago? Well, the 1980 movie "Dressed To Kill" has a memorable scene with Angie. A good site for Revolutionar War uniforms is "Notice the difference and variety of uniforms. These are just a few examples of the many regiments that fought on both sides. The majority of the regiments listed as 1780 fought in the Southern campaign in South Carolina. These paintings are courtesy of renowned military artist Don Troiani." I combined those images along with images from a manufacturer of historical era fashions (being an historical recreator entails big bucks) to make a slide show. The music comes from an excellent colonial midi source, ( Dig this blurb from the site:".. a collection of fiddle tunes from the American Revolution period in MIDI music format. This collection features minuets, country dances, marches and airs, and song tunes from the personal notebook of a certain Captain George Bush, an officer in George Washington's army. There are 54 individual MIDI file renditions of these fiddle tunes for your listening pleasure. This collection of Colonial music comes from an actual book entitled "Fiddle Tunes From The American Revolution" which contains the actual sheet music of which these songs were transcribed from."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

American Revolution From YouTube #2

Some of the current thought on Technology Integration Instruction is so dated. Graduate courses and traditional in house staff development trumpet webquests, differentiated roles and tasks for committee members, dreaded rubrics, trackstar, filamentality, blah, blah. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, except the turnaround time from teaching process to product is painfully slow and kids and teachers with attention deficit problems (that makes about 90% of us) get lost. Just give kids a digital still and video camera and turn them loose on a topic that interests them. Youtube is chock full of very imaginative student created stuff. When a kid wants to learn a skill to produce a certain effect in a project, that's the opportunity to do the instruction. Or, we as teachers should anticipate what the kids might want to create in such an undertaking and teach those skills. Is that backwards planning or learning by design? I don't know, but I'd rather not label it as such, because then the imaginatively challenged will find some boring way to make a living selling it.

American Revolution From YouTube

Here are some Revolutionary War Reenactors. BTW doing a google search for reenactors along with particular time period (e.g. Revolutionary War reenactors) will uncover many valuable resources, e.g. uniforms, weapons, food of the time.

The Battle Of Brooklyn Part 2: The Prison Ship Martyrs Of Fort Greene

Once upon a time the word martyrs had a more positive connotation. From, a history of the event: "The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument that stands today in the center of Fort Greene Park is a 1908 memorial to the 11,000 men, women and children who died in horrid conditions on the British Prison Ships during the Revolutionary War. The Monument, which is sometimes referred to as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, is actually the third incarnation of this sacred shrine. The story of the horrid Prison Ships – and the ghastly conditions suffered by the men, women & children imprisoned on them during the Revolutionary War – is one of the most disturbing chapters in American history. During the American Revolutionary War, which began in 1775, the British arrested scores of soldiers, sailors, and private citizens on both land and sea. Many were imprisoned simply because they would not swear allegiance to the Crown of England. Besides American civilians and resistance fighters, the British captured the crews of foreign ships on the high seas, especially Spanish vessels. The apprehended soldiers, sailors and civilians were deemed by the British to be prisoners of war and were incarcerated. When the British ran out of jail space to house their POWs they began using decommissioned ships that were anchored in Wallabout Bay as floating prisons. Life was unbearable on the prison ships – the most notorious being the Old Jersey – which was called "Hell" by the inhabitants. Disease was rampant, the food and water were scarce or nonexistent, and the living conditions were crowded and wretched. If one had money they could purchase food from the many entrepreneurs who rowed up to the boat to sell their wares. Otherwise, rations would consist of sawdust laden bread or watery soup. A great number of the captives died from disease and malnutrition. Their emaciated bodies were simply thrown overboard or buried in shallow graves in the sandy marshes of Wallabout Bay. The surving prisoners were not freed until 1783, when the British abandoned New York City . (A footnote: after the war, the British Commander in charge of the Prison Ships was brought up on war crimes charges and was hanged.) In the years following the British surrender, the bones of the patriots would regularly wash up along the shores of Brooklyn and Long Island. These remains were collected by Brooklynites with the hopes of creating a permanent resting place for the remains of the brave Prison Ship Martyrs. The first monument was erected in the early 1800s by the Tammany Society of New York. It was located on a triangular plot of land near the Brooklyn Navy Yard waterfront in what is now called Vinegar Hill. By the 1840s, the original monument was in a state of disrepair and neglect. By 1873 a large stone crypt was constructed in the heart of what is now Fort Greene Park (then called Washington Park), and the bones were re-interred in the crypt. A small monument was erected on the hill above the crypt. By the close of the 19th century, funds were finally raised for a grander more fitting monument for the Prison Ship Martyrs. The prestigious architectural firm of McKim. Meade and White was commissioned to design the large 148 ft. tower which stands today in the park. It was unveiled in 1908 with a grand ribbon-cutting ceremony presided over by President Taft. The monument originally housed a staircase and elevator to the top observation deck, which featured a lighted urn and beacon of light which could be seen for miles. The elevator was operational until the 1930s when it, and the monument, fell into disrepair due to a shortage of public funds, neglect and lack of community interest. The elevator was eventually removed by the city in the early 1970s."

Here's a slide show about the history of the monument dedicated to the Prison Ship Martyrs
The first slide alludes to the dedication of the memorial in the early 1800's. I used the song Katy Cruel as the sound track
Here's info on the song: This song is said to date back to colonial times and was supposedly sung by American troops during the Revolutionary war. It was sung to several tempos. Troops marched to the tune, children skipped to it and women sang it as a lullaby and lament.
When I first came to town, They called me the roving jewel;
Now they've changed their tune, They call me Katy Cruel,
Oh, diddle, lully day, Oh, de little lioday.
Oh that I was where I would be, Then I would be where I am not,
Here I am where I must be, Go where I would, I can not,
Oh, diddle, lully day, Oh, de little lioday.
When I first came to town, They brought me the bottles plenty;
Now they've changed their tune, They bring me the bottles empty,
Oh, diddle, lully day, Oh, de little lioday.
I know who I love, And I know who does love me;
I know where I'm going, And I know whose going with me,
Oh, diddle, lully day, Oh, de little lioday.
Through the woods I go, And through the bogs and mire,
Straightway down the road, And to my heart's desire,
Oh, diddle, lully day, Oh, de little lioday.
Eyes as bright as coal, Lips as bright as cherry,
and 'tis her delight To make the young girls merry,
Oh, diddle, lully day, Oh, de little lioday.
When I first came to town They called me the roving jewel
Now they've changed their tune They call me Katy Cruel
Oh, diddle, lully day, Oh, de little lioday.

African American Police Pioneers

An online exhibit at the NYPD Police Museumfeatures a short history on African Americans in the Police Department. I created a slide show by splicing segments of the exhibit (using snapz pro) into images. Note the interesting article and editorial about Wiley Overton in the Brooklyn Eagle. Note also Overton only worked 10 months before leaving the department. One can imagine the pressures that were on him.

Comic Relief

I checked out Josh's blog "A Pennysworth" (on my links' list on the sidebar) for some cute pics of Lanie and found he linked two comical youtube shorts. this one in keeping with the recent police theme and this one with no connecting theme, but just an amazing bit of choreography Above are screen shots of the two clips. PS, remind me not to discuss foreign policy with Josh, but check out his site for the special discount he is offering on his sister's kids' clothing business called cute threads

Cagney And Lacey On Sherman Street

In doing research for my Windsor Terrace history site "Bell Of Confusion" I came across this fascinating story from the 1918 Brooklyn Standard Union: TO INSTRUCT WOMEN OF POLICE RESERVES More than 400 recruits of the Women's Police Training Corps met in the gymnasium of Police Headquarters last night and were addressed by Special Deputy Commissioner Rodman WANNAMAKER and Inspector John F. DWYER, commander of the Police Reserves.Classes are to be established in convenient centres, where the women will be instructed two nights a week in civics, history, geography, and other civil service subjects. They also will be made physically efficient by means of gymnasium work. The ferreting out of German spies and the counteracting of German propaganda are among the duties the women will be asked to perform. There are at present 600 vacancies in the Police Department. Women applicants must be from 18 to 35 years old. Announcements will be made when the schools of instruction will be opened. The women members of the Police Reserves in Brooklyn are:
78th precinct
Julia A. ALLEN, 425 36th st
Mrs. Alvino P. BENNETT, 62 Sherman st.
Mrs. Nettie BLOOM, 427 16th st.
Mrs. Teresa DENHAM, 423 16th st.
Mrs. Antoinette B. FICKEN, 270 9th st.
Mrs. Jay FERRALL, 276 20th st.
Miss Elizabeth GRIFFING, 293 18th st.
Mrs. Sarah GRIFFING, 293 18th st.
Mrs Johanna GOLLUBER, 48 Fulton pl.
Mrs. Jeannette HARING, 457 15th st.
Mrs. Agnes I. HURLEY, 235 15th st.
Mrs. Florence Doodell HOAGLUND, 56 Sherman st.
Mrs. Mary HURLEY, 360 14th st.
Mrs. Florence Grace HIGGINS, 47 Fuller pl.
Mrs. Margaret JOHNSON, 229 15th st.
Miss Mary M. KEOGH, 666 6th av.
Mrs. Anna M. KATHMEYER, 60 Sherman st.
Mrs. Josephine I. LARKIN, 210 22nd st
Mrs. Jeannette LEIPMAN, 46 Sherman st.
Mrs. Solly LYONS, 1014 11th av.
Mrs. MAE LYMAN, 65 Sherman st.
Mrs. Anna M. MONAHAN, 210 22nd st.
Miss Anna T. O'MELIA, 284 18th st.
Miss Frances V. PATERNO, 248 18th st.
Mrs Lena J. RUNSDORF, 70 Sherman st.
Mrs. Albert RASOFT, 330 12th st.
Miss Ottillie F. SEROCKE, 197 17th st.
Mrs. Katherine F. SIMMONS, 304 10th st.
Miss Elizabeth TURNER, 233 23d st.
Mrs. Elizabeth TURNER, 233 23d st.
Mrs. Elizabeth VAN ALST, 181 Prospect Park West
A further search for info on the Women Police Reserve came up empty, but I did run across some interesting stuff on police history from the NYPD Police Museum. I put together a slide show with some of the images there with the theme music from "Policewoman" (Angie Dickinson was hot!) and the well done "Cagney and Lacey" (great music by Bill Conti too)

Isn't That Special

Here's a really special site for learning about the American Revolution ( It consists of VR movies: "This ongoing project will show Panospins™ (360-degree panoramic photographs) of American Revolution event and battle locations. Please check back here often to see the new panoramas as we photograph and upload throughout 2006. Our intention is to bring early American history alive for those who are unable to visit these locations in person. Here's a vr movie of the stone house in Brooklyn where the Maryland 400 made a last ditch stand

Friday, August 18, 2006

NY Freedom Trail

Here's the main map from the site. A good companion to the McCullough book

The Battle Of Brooklyn

This comes from Henry P. Johnston of the New York Public Library
Note that north is toward the lower right. There are many maps available online of this battle. This is a junior version of the best, from, because it has clickable hot spots to enlarge and view details.


I listened to this driving back and forth to Boston. It even caught the attention of the family. McCullough tells a great story, weaving in accounts from letters and diaries. Here's a portion of an NPR interview with him last July. A great source of revolutionary stuff comes from the NY Historical Society sponsored site made a slide show by combining some images from the site along with images of recreations of the Battle of Brooklyn, which occured in late August of 1776. The soundtrack is "The Dying Redcoat.":This tune was a broadside ballad during the Revolutionary War. The author is unknown. It is said to have been written by a British sergeant mortally wounded during the battle surrounding the British landing on Manhattan on September 16, 1776. It relates his experiences from his leaving England in 1773 to his death. Given the sentiments toward the colonial soldiers and that the end of the song promotes the right of the American cause, it is no wonder the song was popular with Americans.
'Twas on December's fifteenth day, When we set sail for America;
'Twas on that dark and dismal day, When we set sail for America.
'Twas on that dark and dismal time, When we set sail for the Northern clime,
Where drums to beat and trumpets sound, And unto Boston we were bound.
And when to Boston we did come, We thought by the aid of our British guns,
To drive the rebels from that place,To fill their hearts with sore disgrace.
But to our sorrow and surprise, We saw men like grasshoppers rise;
They fought like heroes much enraged, Which did affright old General Gage.
Like lions roaring of their prey, They feared no danger or dismay;
Bold British blood runs through their veins, And sill with courage they sustain.
We saw those bold Columbia's sons Spread death and slaughter from their guns:
Freedom or death! these heroes cry, They did not seem afraid to die.
We said to York, as you've been told, With the loss of many a Briton bold,
For to make those rebels own our King, And daily tribute to him bring.
They said it was a garden place, And that our armies could, with ease,
Pull down their town, lay waste their lands, In spite of all their boasted bands.
A garden place it was indeed, And in it grew many a bitter weed,
Which will pull down our highest hopes And sorely wound our British troops.
'Tis now September the seventeenth day, I wish I'd never come to America;
Full fifteen thousand has been slain,Bold British heroes every one.
Now I've received my mortal wound, I bid farewell to Old England's ground;
My wife and children will mourn for me, Whilst I lie cold in America.
Fight on America's noble sons, Fear not Britannia's thundering guns;
Maintain your cause from year to year, God's on your side, you need not fear.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blogging On The Outside, Crying On The Inside

My hard drive crashed without warning. Since my firewire port had not been functioning I hadn't backed up all my data. The data I did back up, I have no clear idea as to where it is. Self loathing, normally on elevated alert, is now severe. Apple Care will take care of the hard drive and a logic board (that is probably the cause of the malfunctioning port), but I'm out about $1200 for revovery and other non-warrantied incidentals. Kudos however to Matt at Tekserve for being a sympathetic and understanding soul. I'm trying hard to take it in stride since, like in Albert Brooks' "Lost In America", the nameless have no concept of the nest egg and it is being cracked to bits anyway-so why not enjoy the scrambled eggs. Eventually all will be totally jokeless and yokeless.Here's the theme of the day as sung by Dinah Shore (without the love for me or you)
The lyrics:
The crowd sees me out dancing, carefree and romancing. Happy with my someone new
I'm laughing on the outside, crying on the inside 'cause I'm still in love with you
The see me night and daytime, having such a great time. They don't know what I go through
I'm laughing on the outside, crying on the inside 'cause I'm still in love with you
No one knows it's just a pose. Pretending I'm glad we're apart
But when I cry my eyes are dry. The tears are in my heart
Darling, can't we make up? Ever since our breakup Make believe is all I do
I'm laughing aon the outside, crying on the inside 'cause I'm still in love with you

Podcasting For Teachers

I believe the greatest honor for a blogger and podcaster is to be considered for a Sandy Koufax award-even if you aren't Jewish and even if you are a Yankee fan. Somewhere down the line, yet still worthy of merit, is to be mentioned by these good folks at Fordham University. Here's a blurb from the site: "Live from the Bronx ! Fordham University 's Regional Educational Technology Center (RETC) in New York City provides lively conversations about technology and education with leaders in the field. Ed tech expert, Mark Gura and RETC Director, Dr. Kathy King, bring the latest resources, updates, interviews and commentary on technology innovations’ meaning for our teachers, students and communities. From software applications, to intimate conversations with notable and experienced educators, ed techies, and authors, this is not your typical podcast!"
I've included the site in the hallowed ground of my sidebar favorite links.

Boston's Freedom Trail

Here's a slide show of images from Boston's freedom trail set to the tune of Free America

The lyrics
That seat of science Athens, And earth's proud mistress, Rome,
Where now are all their glories. We scarce can find a tomb.
Then guard your rights, Americans, Nor stoop to lawless sway,
Oppose, oppose, oppose, oppose For North America.
Proud Albion bow'd to Caesar, And numerous lords before,
To Picts, to Danes, to Normans, And many masters more;
But we can boast Americans Have never fall'n a prey,
Huzza, huzza, huzza, huzza For Free America.
We led fair Freedom hither, And lo, the desert smiled,
A paradise of pleasure New opened in the wild;
Your harvest, bold Americans, No power shall snatch away,
Preserve, preserve, preserve your rights In Free America.
Torn from a world of tyrants Beneath this western sky
We formed a new dominion, A land of liberty;
The world shall own we're freemen here, And such will ever be,
Huzza, huzza, huzza, huzza For love and liberty.
God bless this maiden climate, And through her vast domain
May hosts of heroes cluster That scorn to wear a chain.
And blast the venal sycophants Who dare our rights betray;
Assert yourselves, yourselves, yourselves For brave America,
Lift up your hearts, my heroes, And swear with proud disdain,
The wretch that would ensnare you Shall spread his net in vain;
Should Europe empty all her force, We'd meet them in array,
And shout huzza, huzza, huzza For brave America.
The land where freedom reigns shall still Be masters of the main,
In giving laws and freedom To subject France and Spain;
And all the isles o'er ocean spread Shall tremble and obey,
The prince who rules by Freedom's laws In North America.

The origin of the song:These words are by Dr. Joseph Warren, of Boston. Warren was one of the original Minute Men. Warren was Chairman of the Committee of Safety in Boston in 1775 and the man who sent Paul Revere to Lexington to warn John Adams and John Hancock of the British advance, setting Revere off on his famous ride. Warren was commissioned a Major General by the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

A great source for historical midis is

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

1902 Inman Square

No landsmen of Ma Edelstein (the original owner of S And S) in 1902 Inman Square, except maybe Louis Rubin at 24 Oak Street (click to enlarge photo). It's pretty much Irish with Peter Foley owning the current site of the historic delicatessen on Cambridge Street. More on S and S history: The trolley from North Station to Harvard rumbles through Inman Square, in Cambridge, in the 1890's. Behind it another car heads for Union Square, in Somerville. This is a classic American neighborhood commercial center, formed, like so many others, at an X-shaped intersection - in this case, that of Cambridge and Hampshire streets. The tower at right belongs to a fire station built in 1875; firefighters used it to hang their hoses out to dry. Things don't change very fast in Inman Square. The fire station is gone, but there's another one on the same site. The same family has operated the same Inman Square business for three-quarters of a century. Rebecca (Ma) Edelstein opened a small deli here in 1919, urging her customers to "es and es," Yiddish for "eat and eat." Today's S&S Delicatessen cooks up an average of 1,800 meals a day. It claims to have served 19 million bagels over the years (but who was counting?). The "S," as neighbors call it, is mostly hidden behind the prow-shaped building at center, a 19th-century hotel now used for stores and offices and owned, like much of Inman Square, by the restaurant.

My LES Of Cambridge

If I had my choice of condemned man last meals it would be a toss up between spinach pie and a reuben sandwich. Cambridge's S and S Restaurant (named after "Ess and Ess mein kinder") serves up a mean reuben, along with just about everything else on their menu. The Inman Square neighborhood of Cambridge is my choice of LES of Cambridge. Here's some history of the reuben from the Boston Globe: "Not every sandwich is so perfectly conceived that a fight erupts over who invented it. Such a trophy is the Reuben, that tantalizing tower of tender corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, melted Swiss, and Russian dressing squished between buttered grilled rye. For years credit went to New York deli owner Arnold Reuben. Word was he stacked the first in 1914 for Chaplin film starlet Annette Seelos. Then, in the '80s, the earth shook. Nebraskans claimed Reuben Kulakofsky devised it in 1925 at an Omaha poker game. Other Nebraskans place the seminal Reuben at Lincoln's Cornhusker Hotel, circa 1922 (have they nothing else to do?).The more pressing question here: Where to find a super Reuben? The answer: S&S deli in Cambridge. Its grilled Reuben with chips, slaw, and a half-sour sits on caraway-seeded marble rye. Lightly salted, juicy homemade corned beef, just enough buttery sauerkraut, thin gooey layers of mild Swiss, and a nice shmeer of dressing pay glorious homage to Arnold, or Reuben, or whomever." Some Wikipedia Inman Square history: "After transportation brought people and commerce to the region, a new era of stability overtook Inman Square. From 1910 up until the early 1950s, streetcar, automobile, and foot traffic shuffled people to and from the square where architectural instead of transportation construction was taking place. During this period commercial dwellings popped up to service the local community: drugstores, taverns, markets, bakeries, delis, and an insurance company were among the many stores that called Inman Square home. After the streetcars left Cambridge Street around 1950 the square became "just a little bit out of the way" yet remained "around the corner from Harvard, Central, Kendall and Lechmere." Even though there is not direct rapid transit, three MBTA bus lines (69, 83, 91) stop in the square, making it accessible by mass transit. Post-streetcar visitors still regularly frequent the area's restaurant and entertainment attractions. Today, Inman Square is a culturally diverse neighborhood, home to professionals and working people alike. Students and professors from neighboring MIT and Harvard find their home there as well. Inman Square also has strong Brazilian and Portuguese influences, as can be seen in the storefronts lining Cambridge Street, especially to the East of Prospect Street.

Mountain Motorbiking Vietnamese Style

Another Joel and Deanna clip. I could have sworn I saw Carmen Farina.

Curious Joel

Not to be confused with the controversial Kiryas Joel group. Dancing Feet newlyweds Joel and Deanna are back from honeymooning in Vietnam. No encounters with the beautiful people of the Hampton's sect, but here's a cute scene of Joel teaching some kids about monkeys and bananas.

Blogging Beantown

Highlights of a short trip to Boston/Cambridge/Cape Ann included the freedom trail sights and the culinary delights of S and S Restaurant. Whereas Colonel Shaw helped get recognition for black soldiers in the Civil War, Ma Edelstein got employment for black workers at her restaurant. PS The Flogging of the Beantown Sox has come courtesy of the Detroit Tigers. Thank you to the sons of Hank Greenberg. Here's a slide show composed a images of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment and some sound clips from Glory, a pretty good film despite Matthew Broderick's inept performance as Colonel Shaw.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Joe In Revolt

Joe's back from Missouri and he's pissed, with talk of leaving us cup of joeless. I'm not quite sure what his beef is about, but rest assured I will do all in my power to retain his sage wisdom here on pseudo-intellectualism. Being here in the cradle of liberty (Boston) has rejuvenated my democractic spirit and I will reprint uncensored his somewhat over caffeinated complaints to me (along with his usual help for helpless musings). Joe appears to have an Anglo fixation this week, perhaps the fluctuations in his mood might be due to the brand of Kool Aid that Tony Blair has been spiking Joe's coffee with.
Dave -
I don’t know how you feel about about airing the seamy side of the Pseudo goings-ons in public at the behest of propriety I have attempted to contain the issues and incidents but as it seems you wished to hem and haw and in quite a few other ways set yourself up as a target for my admonishments it has come to the unfortunate point at which I am forced to speak the Truth and let the chips fall where they may. My point being simply this. Excuse me for one second, I’ve got an itch. Ah there that’s better. Now where was I? Oh yes. At the point of admonishments I believe. You crafty devil. You almost escaped without hearing the whole piece of it but that ‘s not to be. So. As I was saying. The time has come for a reckoning and since the time that I enlisted to provide my pseudo services for you, your blog site and your esteemed reading clientele. Which is not to say that I wish to decline the provision of services to any who may have difficulties reading the entries. I had approached you on numerous occasions about the feasilbility of providing word-free, image-rich, text that would accommodate all of the so-called readers who visit the site without being able to actually read the words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, etc. contained therein. You at the time said that you liked the idea but that for reasons having to do with shortness of staff that the appropriate preparations would be unwieldy and in the long run, impossible. I accepted that because I’ve found, in this life - as opposed to the one just before my previous incarnation - you’ve got to choose your battles and choose them carefully I might add. So what I was saying is that I had approached you on numerous occasions abut the pheasibility of providing word-free, image-rich text that would accommodate all of the so-called readers who visit the site without being able to actually read the words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, etc. contained therein. And as I had said elsewhere (pronounced as if it were, ‘el-swear, I’m requesting that you give this word, ‘elsewhere’ a colloquial reading herein) that regardless of whether I misspelled the word as ‘pheasibility’ or ‘feasibility’ which takes its origin from the Latin ‘fees’ which comes from the root ‘fee’ as in ‘fee fee fi fi fo fo fum the point remains the same that you staunchly refused citing shortness of staff. And I felt that your readers were all being made to suffer as a result of your hiring practices. If you feel you want or need tall staff, go head and hire tall staff but don’t use staff height as an excuse to disenfranchise a very important segment of your dedicated blogdom. Follow my point here? So . . . what I’m saying is that because you have attempted to stalemate the natural progress through which I have been attempting to reach out to our viewers with ‘word-free’ text needs and been forced to provide word-based text as a stand-alone, as a result of that situation I am going to have to - and again it feels a little peculiar for me to air this issue publicly - insist on an immediate 36% increase in all revenues associated with the syndication of my irregular contribution to the pseudo cause. I will be taking a short hiatus in any case as I review mathematical resources in search of a quantitative solution to the problem of multiplying .36 by the concept and/or numeral that originated in the Arabic but now is commonly accepted in the occident as ‘zero’ which in both English and French is the common sum of bubkis (pronounce as ‘bubb’ - ‘kiss’). Upon return I am sure to be pleased to continue delivering the service for which I have been deriving the larger part of my imagined income over these past years. I trust that nothing I have said in this communique has disturbed our on-going relationship. I consider utmost honesty in matters of finance to be utterly inconceivable and, in many respects, an impediment to any and all negotiations and therefore have consistently eschewed the use of any honest statements. I trust that you in turn will do the same and in the future we will continue, as we have in the past, to negotiate fruitfully and vegetably. In some respects, I believe we will work our way up to being able to negotiate using fish and poultry but that’s for another day’s conversation if you will.
I include my assigned contribution below. Vince, too modest to come out with this himself was the original intended audience for the now wildly successful ‘Dummies’ series and later was called in to model as the average reader for the ‘Idiot” series as well. In these respects I found him to be an unusually, more than I would have expected, stupidfied, individual. In any case he writes to me as follows:

Dear Joe,
I’ve got to say that in my recent travels I have found the stereotype of the typical Brit as far from my experience as imaginable. First of all I want to comment on the usual reputation for stand-offishness. I found that the people I met in my travels were open friendly and genuinely interested in conversing and communicating. Also, much to my surprise and delight, generous and forthcoming. And the expressions they have there! They throw that term ‘brilliant’ around so freely that upon returning to the states I’ve decided to apply to Mensa just to see if maybe they were right in continuously referring to me as a “brilliant wanker.” I never figured out what the second half of the phrase signified but felt bathed in the luxurious first half. They say that we all rise to our highest potential based on the expectations we experience others have of us. In this respect I feel that I have risen to the level of praise and have found that, again upon returning, I have been impressed with my own thinking myself. This is an experience that I am enjoying not only because it’s pleasant but because it’s also new and surprising for me. I guess the only question I have is why and how the Brits ever developed that reputation they seem to have for having a cool or dry temperament. Have you any insight you can share with me on this?
From an Anglophile,

I hate to burst your bubble Vince. As a potential Mensa member you should have enough faith in your judgment to evaluate any people - Brits being no exception - on their own terms and on the basis of your actual experience with them. Stereotypical expectations - since you brought up the power of expectation - lead to impoverished relations between groups, peoples, nations . . . Vince, I congradulate you on feeling good about yourself and believe that, if your missive is any true measure of the man, you more than deserve that colorful moniker you brought back with you from the continent.
Joe B. aka Joey B.

Brooklyn History Class

The new pseudo mini obsession is stocking Bell Of Confusion with Brooklyn history sources. An idea came to me (while driving on Route 1A near Essex, Mass) -Bell of Confusion, with Brooklyn Genealogy resources, could be a model of a local history site for some Brooklyn schools-combining primary documents, images and school histories. Here's a slide show with old penny postcards of Brooklyn. I combined with music from that terrific sit-com show called Brooklyn Bridge which I'm anxiously awaiting someone to reissue on DVD or at the very least broadcast reruns.
Art Garfunkel's lyrics for the theme song:
A world of its own,
The streets where we played,
The friends on every corner were the best we ever made.
The backyards, and the school yards
And the trees that watched us grow,
The days of love when dinner time was all you had to know.
Whenever I think of yesterday,
I close my eyes and see,
That place Just Over The Brooklyn Bridge
That will always be home to me.
It'll always be home to me.