Monday, December 22, 2008


Big and Sad Changes for UPMAA

I am just in total shock over this! I am not only sad for my friends and former coworkers but I am SHOCKED that they are closing MASCA or making it totally grant reliant!! It is an unique and internationally renowned research effort that if anything should be recieving more support and better facilities then its hidey hole in the museum basement! It has even been featured in a novel that I read. I whole heartedly agree that the exhibitions need to be updated and made more attractive to a modern audience. However if you cut off the very research that makes the info on the objects available..... pluss one of the particular strengths of any good museum but particcualrly of the UPMAA is that it has a deep collection of objects that most people would never want to see on display but which hold vast potential for research and greater understanding of the past and the human story. I do get the money issues but it seems like a sad and slightly short sighted solution to me. A bit like a three legged table having one sawed off it seems to me.

Monday, September 29, 2008


5 degrees of seperation/Paul Newman's Passing

Paul Newman died this weekend. I have watched and enjoyed many of his movies from Cool Hand Luke to Butch and Sundance to Cars. But it touched me a bit more then the average fan because I had bumped up against him in person (though I never really met him) and because we shared the experience of having spent 4 years (though years apart) living and learning on top the hill that Philander climbed and prayed atop. You see Mr. Newman and I are both graduates of a special little place called Kenyon College in Gambier Ohio.
My freshman year at Kenyon they were opening and dedicating a new theater and Paul Newman returned to campus for a semester to direct his wife Joanne Woodward and a cast of student actors in a new play written just for the occasion. While he didn't strut about or dominate the life on campus he was there and campus is small. My first encounter was at a concert for campus singing group. He was there just sitting with the masses a few rows behind where my friends and I were sitting. I don't remember much but the sheer intensity of his blue eyes when I glance at him over my shoulder as my friend and I walked down the isle. My other memory was of shopping in the tiny Village Market for something and coming around the end of an isle and crashing my cart into another cart. I looked up to see Mr. Newman, he was very polite I was very flustered.
The Kenyon Website has a nice tribute to him.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Why You Should Always Sort Your Papers Before Thowing Them Away

When I lived in Center City Philadelphia and walked to work in Univeristy City I walked every day down Pine Street and past the Civil War and Underground Railway Museum located in a row house there. Amazingly I never went in, partly because my hours working at a musuem made it hard for me to visit other museums. Well, I have missed my chance because they are in the process of relocating to another location closer to the historic district of the city.

Anyway, in the process of sorting and packing to move they made an amazing discovery. The have found one of the three original copies of surrender papers from the end of the Civil War. How cool is that!! I can't wait till they reopen in the new site to go and see it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Here we go again, Archaeology and Faith

I stumbled upon this archaeological find, The "Gabreil's Revelation" while on line. It is the latest in a number of recent finds in the Holy Land/Near East to purportedly challenge the veracity of Christian Doctrine and Faith. As both a Christian and an Archaeologist it is trying to watch how such finds are handled by both sides of the issue. Things so often get stated in overblown or over sure ways that don't help appreciate or advance how the two can often work together rather then at odds with each other. I found an article on the find itself, and another the interface of faith and archaeology from a Christian site more useful then many on navigating the center ground of the issue.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Ben marries Besty, Only in Philly!

Last night on the evening news I caught the marriage of Ben Franklin to Betsy Ross. OK, not the real ones but two historic interpreters who fell in love and just happen to portray Ben and Betsy. They got married by the mayor in character in front of Independence Hall on July 3rd. Only here in Philly does that work with out being totally weird, I actually think its kinda cool. Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Of Post-It's and Polka

OK these are light and fluffy articles and topics but they touched me as a former (and always in my heart) Minnesotan. Post-It notes were invented in Minnesota at 3M (not far from the current Mall of America which used to be the site of the sports stadium where I went to ball games and watched the 4th of July Fireworks growing up). But in all my years of using post-it notes and being proud of their place of origin I never knew there was a right or wrong way to apply them. Apparently there is!! In this little piece on a Post-It note flag being made at the Betsy Ross house here in Philadelphia for Flag Day, I learned:
1) to minimize curl you peel them off the pack side ways, not bottom up.
2) to apply best put both thumbs in the center and press out to the edges.
(There is even a training video!)

I also enjoyed this piece on the demise of polka in northern Minnesota where it has been a big thing but is not being embraced by younger generations. I can remember traveling to central and northern Minnesota with my dad (an Episcopal Pastor) to attend to just the kind of Polka fests and Polka Masses described here. It was fun and kitchy all at the same time. The polka training a got a start on then became necessary to survival at the many wedding receptions I attended during my Grad School days in Milwaukee Wisconsin. It made me want to grab a partner and roll out the barrel!!!


What it means to be a Boy Scout

I was both pleased and surprised to hear such a touching and positive commentary on NPR about the Boy Scout Tragedy in Iowa. I was never involved in Scouts my selve but know many who were and respect the organization. This commentary touched me, reminded me of what kids are capable up when "challenged up" and made me cry. So you may want to grab some tissues before listening

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Informal Political Poll

Both the weather and the politics seem to be heating up here in Philadelphia, with just a week to go till the primary elections. We, well at least the democtates, will get to have more of an impact then usual for Philadelphia. Today, while walking our 5 block circut to the thrift store and back, my son counted 11 lawn or window signs for Obama and only 2 for Clinton. So while the state as a whole my be closing the gap our corner of West Philadelphia, our at least those who are willing to show thier preferences via a lawn sign, are favoring Obama. The same seems to be true over in sacradoctrina's corner of the burbs too!

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