Monday, April 28, 2003

So many things to contemplate so little time:

First of all, I wonder what will be worse for world economies in the long term future: Wars, or infectious diseases like SARS? I would say that disease will perhaps prove much more dangerous to marketshare. Diseases like SARS shut down not one city, or one country but every major city due to air travel, while a war only makes one or parts of the world impassable.

Secondly I wanted to respond to Niki's post about these dangerous women. Do you think that it was as widespread as it sounds, or do you think that it more of an urban legend gone wild, like the stories that were popular in the eighties an nineties following the AIDS epidemic. It seemed that everyone had known of some woman who would seduce men in one night stands and leave horrible messages scrawled on the mirror in red lipstick, "WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF AIDS," [insert evil laugh here]. These Russian women sound more like Succubi than Amazons, demonic and venomous.

I can't blame Bush's lack of interest in books on lack of libraries and bookstores: the man married a librarian. I do think that the people living around Williamsburg are sorely deprived of one of the best forms of mental exercise: sitting in a bookstore, sipping a caffenated beverage and reading a book they will probably not buy.

Sister Andrea, I blegg of you.. eh, just had to put that in someplace. :)))

Now for a little story about my vacation. As I said before, I traveled to Williamsburg, and spent more off the time visiting the surrounding plantations on the James river. Since it was Garden week, certain plantation homes were open that would not normally be. Homes such as as Shirley Plantation are open all year, while the entire properties of grand homes like Westover are available to the few who show up on the two days its open during Garden Week. Both of these beautiful houses are still used as residences, Shirley by relatives of the original owners. Both are politically active families. Westover's current owner was a distinguished diplomat, and the Carter family at one time dominated Richmond and Viginia with it. But neither can boast of Presidential connections (The Carter family is not that Carter family). Sherwood Forest can however. Just down the road from both plantations, this elegant little plantation was bought by the Tyler family. Tyler, famous for being a crummy president after William Henry Harrison departed this world. Cue harp music and fade out as I tell the story...

Harrison and Tyler ran in 1840 under the campaign slogan, "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," perhaps one of the dumbest campaign slogans of all time, right up there with McKinley's "Full-Dinner Pail." Well, Harrison's son Benjamin had a lame one too, " Trade, trade, no free trade!" Wow, ya got me there Ben. Tarriffs really turn me on. But I digress.. (If you want more digression, go here)

Tippecanoe was a famous battle against the Indians of Indiana. Not famous enough for us to remember it, it was perhaps like the US occupation of Kosovo; a blip of military history that has perhaps already been forgotten by most of the population. The slogan was meant to imply "flagwaving nationalism plus a dash of southern sectionalism," and apparently it succeeded in rallying the voters.. either that or they all really disliked Andrew Jackson.

Upon winning, Harrison, a hearty soul, gave a long winded presidential speech in extremely cold weather without a jacket and caught pneumonia. After thirty days in office he died, leaving Tyler in charge. Tyler is best known for alienating even his own party, the Whigs, and getting married while in office to a woman thirty years his junior who was cute and vivacious. She redecorated the Whitehouse with fifty dollars connived from congress, and her own spending money. Some of these historical peices still stand in the Tyler house, though one sideboard was quite damaged when a Union soldier stuffed burning straw into it.

Tyler's household wasn't as smart as the Carter family, whose matron at the time cared for union soldiers and let them use the house and grounds as a hospital, thus saving the house and grounds from destruction. Looting, Iraqi style was quite common on the plantations, where union soldiers were hoping for expensive momentos and treasure troves. Most of the places the family visited had some sort of damage done by the union troops proudly pointed out by the Garden tour ladies.

Fascinating stuff.


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