45 years

Jun. 17th, 2017 03:50 am
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (Buffy quote - bored)
 Forty-five years ago this week (it was Flag Day, that's the only reason I remember the exact date still) I had heart surgery to fix a heart murmur I was born with. I was 12. I saw that it was Flag Day this week and I did the math and came up with that rather staggering number - 45 - and so I also noticed it tonight on MSNBC when they said that the Watergate break-in was 45 years ago this week. I didn't remember that, but then it wasn't big news at the time, either. It only became big news later on. But that means that happened while I was in the hospital recovering - I was really bored sitting in the hospital for a whole week, at least after a couple of days when I started feeling better. I remember that well. I don't specifically remember watching the news, but everybody watched the evening news back then (usually referred to as "watching Walter Cronkite" the way I remember it) and it's possible I did. I do think I knew about that break-in pretty early on.

But that might just be in my head. I do know I remember being mad about the Watergate hearings being all that was on on the TV - this was during the summer, I'm assuming that was in 1974. And I remember Nixon resigning and I know I knew the basics about it at the time, at least, but it's hard to be sure how much of all the stuff that happened in that two-year time period I really remember from the time it was happening and how much I learned later, from All the President's Men (both the movie and the book) and so forth. I do think now that all of that may be a lot of the reason I'm so interested in politics today, though.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (cat - yuck)
So the song representing 1974 ended up being the Doobie Brothers:


I was thinking of "Sweet Home Alabama" just because I remember it so vividly from that year, but the whole Neil Young business sticks in my craw and I couldn't bear to use it. (Wikipedia has a whole page on the song including a section on the controversy in case you don't know what I'm talking about.) The members of Lynyrd Skynyrd have apparently claimed at various times that they didn't mean to say they supported George Wallace, but if that's true they should've made that clearer. I do buy that they may well have meant the lyrics generally as a sort of "not all Southerners" thing, in a way, but still, it's not much of an excuse. So as a general representative of that kind of music, I give you the Doobie Brothers instead. They're a California band, as I understand it, but it's about the South, at least! And I loved this song at the time, although I'm not sure I really knew who sang it back when I was 14. The Doobie Brothers were not as famous then as they'd become later on.

(Plus if I was still waffling about SHA, there's the Confederate flag on the cover of the single. Ugh.)

This was also the year of "Hooked on a Feeling" - people went around going "oohga-oohga-oohga-chaka" all the time - but that's gotten so much airplay from Guardians of the Galaxy that I didn't feel like that would be that interesting a choice. (I do still love that song, though.) (Incidentally, I watched GotG the other night on iTunes - it's still awesome. I don't know why I love it so much, but I do. Also the HD picture AND the sound were surprisingly awesome on my 20" computer screen and dinky little Dell speakers.)

Wikipedia lists the #1 song of the year as "Kung Fu Fighting" which I find a bit surprising, though I do know that when people weren't going "oohga-chaka" they were doing fake kung fu chops, that year. (But actually kung fu & karate had been sort of a craze for several years, as I remember it.)

Of course this was also the year that Nixon resigned. I remember that the Watergate hearings were on the TV endlessly in the summer, and we were mad because by then we were in the habit of watching soap operas when we were home, and they weren't on, most of the time, because they were pre-empted by the news. ("All My Children" was the one we especially watched, at that time.)

Added: One thing about Guardians of the Galaxy that I apparently failed to take in the two times I saw it in the theater, and I'm sure many or most of you are ahead of me on this - I didn't really snap to the big gap between the time Peter Quill was abducted by aliens (1988, the movie says) and the time the songs on the Awesome Mix were from, in the 70s. In other words, they were not the songs that he would have chosen at the time, they were the songs his mother liked when she was his age, maybe. Meaning that his mother was probably somewhere in my general age range, maybe a little younger, if anything. (I was 28 in 1988, plenty old to have a kid.) I only figured this out because I was looking up the songs of 1973 the same night I was watching the movie - although actually I think it was the date of his abduction that I was a bit unclear on.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (dragon)
Another nugget of medical history from my anatomy textbook:

Plato believed that the womb (uterus), if unused for a long period, became "indignant." This indignant womb then wandered around the body, inhibiting the body's spirit and causing disease. According to the male thinkers of the day, a woman was so controlled by her wandering womb that she was considered irrational and prone to emotional outbursts and fits of hysteria. This belief was the reason that the womb was named the hystera. The term has persisted in medical terminology...

I knew about the relationship between "hysterectomy" and "hysterics" - if I hadn't, it was pointed out in my Medical Terminology book as well - but what I hadn't heard before was the part about the indignant wandering womb. (However, the Greeks also believed that the arteries carried air, so it's not that their medical knowledge was otherwise all that sophisticated, in any case.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Dr Who - blink)
Remember back when I posted the word cryptorchidism and I was all interested in why "orchid" was a root word for testes? Well, apparently I am not the only one interested in that - there's actually a whole "fun facts" box about it in the anatomy book, including exactly who's responsible. Here it is, verbatim:

Do You Know . . .
Why Aristotle called the testicle the
orchis?
The root of the orchid plant is olive shaped; in Greek the shape is called an orchis. Noticing the similarity between the shape of the orchid root and the testicles. Aristotle dubbed the testicle orchis. The word orchis is still used in medical terms. For example, orchitis refers to inflammation of the testicles, and orchiectomy refers to the surgical removal of the testicles. The word testis comes from the Latin and means to bear witness to. The word testes shares the same Latin root as the word testify. In ancient Rome, only men could bear witness, or testify. To show the importance of their testimony, the held their testicles as they spoke.

Huh. Well, that's interesting.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (breathe)
Before the storm

This picture makes me a bit sad. I found it on my extra memory card yesterday; I had forgotten all about it. We took this on Thursday before the storm, when we were on the way out. I was driving and I remembered that I had been meaning to take a picture of this wreath, so I pulled over and Rob rolled down the window (only partway, as you can see!) and took this. This is a marker showing the location of the Galveston orphans' home in 1900. The home was actually across the Seawall from here - it was where Wal-Mart is now. The anniversary of the 1900 storm is September 8th-9th, and this was taken on the 11th, so the wreath was still relatively fresh. When we came back after the storm, just the pole was there - the sign itself, and the wreath, of course, was gone.

I've talked about the story of the orphans here before, I think. Here's a piece that talks about it, from the Galveston paper. (Here's the Wikipedia article on the 1900 storm itself.) It's a very sad story. The nuns tied the children to them with clothesline, hoping to keep them together, and some stories say that that itself caused so many of them to get killed, because the lines snagged on the debris. But knowing what I know now about what the storm this year did to that area - and bear in mind that I lived about a block from here, until September - I can't imagine that many of them would have survived no matter what, with no Seawall to protect them. The Seawall was the only thing that kept that area from being completely underwater in Ike, and of course some water came over anyway. And Ike was a smaller storm.


Note that Ike came in on the night of September 12th-13th. It was three months ago today.

Jitters

Sep. 10th, 2008 03:55 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
It's hard to relax with a hurricane breathing down your neck, as it were. We have been reading up on various storms this morning - this article (which also talks about my place of employment) mentions the 1900 storm, which a lot of people know about. Less well-known nowadays is Hurricane Carla in 1961, a very large category 4/5 which came in at Matagorda Bay and did a lot of damage in Galveston. I knew a lot about Carla, but I didn't understand until now how very big it was. I don't actually remember it - I was a toddler - but it's part of the family lore. I may have told that story before, but if not I'll have to explain later, I don't have time now. I still have to work.


Later: the new tracks seem to be shifting our way. Damn. My boss is gone to a meeting about it so we may hear something new when she gets back.

Plans

Aug. 16th, 2007 09:53 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
Inspired by that scary-looking track for Dean that came out this afternoon, we went and spent a godawful amount on groceries - we were going anyway, but we bought extra canned stuff and so forth - and we came up with a tentative plan for what we'll do if we have to evacuate. There's no question of staying here if it really comes right at us - it wouldn't take much of a hurricane to flood this place - but we do have Mom's place, which is also in a flood zone, if it came to anything major, but which is 25 miles or so inland, at least. So that would be the first stage, going there. Yeah, it's half empty, but it does have a bed and some furniture, and electricity and water. No cable, no phone, so it's not exactly a long-term plan, but it'd do for somewhere to sleep. And we might repair further inland, to my aunt's, if it becomes anything big. (Also, as I said to Rob, if we end up getting several days off, we might want to go there just for something to do. It will get boring fast with no internet and no cable.)

Yeah, I know this is early. Dean is still a long way off, but it never hurts to have a plan.

Come to think of it, not everybody knows where I live, so let me explain exactly why it's so much of a concern. After the 1900 hurricane (aka Isaac's Storm, if you've read that), they built a seawall in Galveston, right? It's 12 feet high, and they basically jacked up the whole town to match - and I mean that literally. They put everything up on stilts, and filled in underneath it. All of the east half of Galveston starts out 12 feet above sea level on the Gulf side and then slopes back towards the bay. However, where we live wasn't in town at that time, it was out in the country, and the Seawall didn't come down this far, originally. And later, when they did extend it down here, they didn't do the filling-in part, it just slopes right back down on the back side. And that's where we live, right behind the Seawall, a couple of hundred feet from the Gulf. And I don't know how far we are above sea-level, exactly, but it's not far. Five feet, maybe, at a guess. (Maybe. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out it was two or three.) And we live in a first-floor apartment. Galveston doesn't normally flood in any major way, because of that sloping-back-to-the bay business, but there's still storm surge. So this is not somewhere you want to be in anything but the tiniest hurricane.

(We were discussing something today that I'd practically forgotten, though. We came to a hurricane party at these very apartments, long before we lived here. Well, it was more of a tropical-storm party, really. We sat in somebody's third-floor apartment till about 4am and got drunk and played Jeopardy! as I recall. And I remember looking down at the pool, and they had taken all the poolside furniture and sunk it in the pool. Wonder if they still do that. Seems like getting it out would be a bitch.)

In 1960...

Jan. 18th, 2007 10:45 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (baa)
In 1960 (the year you were born)

Dwight Eisenhower is president of the US

Sit-ins being after 4 black college students in North Carolina refuse to move from a deli counter when denied service

A U-2 reconnaissance plane belonging to the US is shot down in the Soviet Union

Hurricane "Donna" strikes the East Coast causing over 100 deaths in the US and the Antilles

John F. Kennedy defeats Vice President Richard Nixon in the presidential race

Cassius Clay (who later took the name Muhammad Ali) wins his first professional fight

Michael Stipe, Tony Robbins, Bono, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Jeffrey Dahmer are born

Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series

Philadelphia Eagles win the NFL championship

Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is the top grossing film

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is published

The Beatles make their debut in Hamburg, Germany

The Flintstones debut
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (breathe)
Somebody on my friendslist wrote a "where I was" entry, and it reminded me that I've sort of been meaning to talk about this all day. I've talked about it before, but I think that entry is gone.

The thing is, I practically missed 9/11. (Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.)

I had called in sick, because I woke up with my usual sinus crap, headache & dizziness & all that stuff, and I slept late and then I read the rest of the morning. Nobody knew I was home (well, except my co-workers) because I didn't realize how bad I was feeling until after Rob had already left, so nobody called me to tell me, they just assumed I was at work & I would already know. I don't remember what I was reading, but I must've been really engrossed in it, because it was 2:00 before I got up. (It's possible that some napping went on somewhere in there, too.) When I did get up, I turned on the computer, not the TV - but I had AOL in those days (yeah, yeah, I know) and the picture of the burning towers was on the welcome screen. Some welcome. So then I turned on the TV, and I saw.

I remember that my first reaction was disbelief. And it's funny, I watched the CNN replay of the original coverage today, and it seemed like that was everybody else's first reaction, too. Not really surprising, but I missed all that at the time, see. Even after the 2nd plane flew into the towers, the commentators were still discussing whether it could possibly have been a mistake - some kind of terrible error  with navigational equipment. Yeah, right. Even though it was a perfectly clear day. And it was also very clear that when the first tower collapsed, nobody was wanting to believe what they were seeing. Even after the dust cleared enough that you could clearly see that there was no tower there, nobody would say it. Finally they started saying that part of the tower might have collapsed, that was as far as they went in the coverage I saw. And I mean, I'm not saying that that was an unnatural reaction to a huge event like this one - I'm just saying that I really didn't even know until today that that was the reaction at all. Even after all the years and all the press coverage, there are still big gaps in my knowledge about that day.

They also kept talking today about how beautiful the weather was that day, and I don't remember them saying that at the time. - They probably didn't, actually. It's the kind of thing you think about afterwards. It was beautiful here too. The only reason I went outside at all was because I had a 4:00 psych appointment. (This was during my Psycho Depressed Woman period.) I remember that the sky was very blue and that the dragonflies were swarming - something they do this time of year, but I've never seen as many as I saw that day. Now whenever I see a lot of dragonflies I always think about that day.

I've always thought that having missed all the early coverage of that day made it just the slightest bit easier to get through. Or maybe it was just partly the depressed state I was already in - my emotions were pretty much encased in cotton-wool already, at the time. I mean, I was still somewhat traumatized, definitely, but not to the degree that a lot of other people seemed to be. And at least by the time I found out what was happening, the worst of the uncertainty was over. I do think that was a help.

You know, though, there was another thing going on there. Maybe I'm just a more skeptical person by nature, because I always believed that there would be a terrorist attack in the US eventually. Do you remember people saying things like, "Oh, that'll never happen here"? I do. And I never believed them. I certainly didn't imagine the horror and the magnitude of that attack, but it didn't surprise me a bit that there was one. (I mean, hell, there had already been one. 1993, wasn't it?)

(This is sort of rambly but I'm sleepy and I don't have the patience to edit it any more. I hope this makes some sense.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (nautilus)
I was talking to Col about a month ago about some research he's doing, and in the course of that conversation he said that he was hopeless with dates. It's funny, because I am good with dates sometimes (as I am about to attempt to demonstrate) and hopeless other times (when was the Hundred Years War again?), and I think the difference is context. I had been talking over on Diary-X before the big crash - maybe someday you'll be able to read that again - about how I used to read about the Civil War all the time, and I can still pretty much tell you approximate dates for all the major battles, and the reason why is because I have read so much that I'm pretty damn familiar with the context in which a battle was fought, so I'm not operating in a vacuum. With the example of the Hundred Years War, even though we're talking about a war that went on for a good chunk of a century, I can't remember for sure which century that was, because I can't ever remember anything specific like who was king at the time, things like that that would give me a clue about the dates. With the Civil War, if I forget when an event was - a battle or anything else - well, I probably know it happened right around the same time as something else, so I can usually figure it out. And so to prove it, the brain-dump. The weekend of the marathon I was sitting around the hotel with nothing to do and I started writing a short "summary" of the Civil War. (I did it without looking anything up whatsoever, so it's possible there are errors. Hopefully nothing major.) And here's part 1, which covers approximately the first year of the war. I make no promises about when or if the rest will get done, although the next couple of major battles - the Seven Days and 2nd Manassas - are already written. Also, it's occurred to me that if I can just get through 1863, the rest ought to go pretty fast. (Because how much do you really need to say about a siege? 1864 was fairly boring, comparatively speaking.)

(This was the entry that I started typing up once before, and the power went out and it got lost. So cross your fingers. Although I do have the text saved as a back-up this time.)

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