History Monday #76

The city that never sleeps needs a nightlight

In a New York minute everything can change. Admittedly, today’s event took longer than a New York minute, however long of a measure that time is. So, start spreading the news, an important structure demonstrated that its construction brought light to inspire so many including this #HistoryMonday post.

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On this day in 1886, The Statue of Liberty is completed, and dedicated by Pres. Grover Cleveland. Originally a gift of friendship from the people of France in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and Franco-American relations during the American Revolution, the statue is erected in the New York Harbor just over a decade later.

The official name of the statue is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” and was conceived by French historian Edouard de Laboulaye during the American Civil War in 1865. Following this conception, French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, designed the 151-foot statue depicting Columbia personified as a woman with an uplifted arm holding a torch. The steel supports for the structure of the statue were designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The exterior covering of the statue was made of copper. The tablet in Liberty’s hand is inscribed with July IV MDCCLXXVI which denotes the Fourth of July in Roman numerals.

Congress had approved a site for the statue in February 1877 Bedloe’s Island, upon a suggestion by Bartholdi. Harper’s Weekly and other enterprising individuals helped to encourage fundraising efforts to build the statue.

By May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. Nearly a year later, the Statue of Liberty arrived with building instructions for the Americans.

As the copper sheets were attached to the statue and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, Pres. Cleveland along with numerous French and American dignitaries celebrated the accomplishment.

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Eventually the pedestal was inscribed with a sonnet “The New Colossus,” by American poet Emma Lazarus with aspirational verses for incoming émigrés in 1892. This was done thanks to nearby Ellis Island, which served as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, for the next 32 years. Lady Liberty as the statue has been euphemized, was one of the first sights for new immigrants to the U.S. before being processed at Ellis Island.

By the 20th Century, the copper had begun to oxidize, and the statue took on its now iconic green hue. The torch in the right arm didn’t suffer this fate as it was coated with a golden covering over the copper-plating.

Ralph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World began a campaign in 1916 to illuminate the area and celebrate its importance in New York. Eventually in 1924, Pres. Coolidge designated the statue as a National Monument. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island would eventually become a single entity as a National Monument. By 1956, Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island.

The statue underwent major restorations in the 1980s, the early 2000s, and even the last decade. A new standalone Statue of Liberty Museum began construction in 2016 that would offer access to many more visitors beyond those that visit the museum located in the pedestal. This new museum opened in May of this year.

Among similar notable statues, the Statue of Liberty is ranked by height somewhere around the 3rd spot depending on the list. Ahead of the Statue of Liberty are a statue dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi’s deputy Prime Minister and the Spring Temple Buddha. The Statue of Liberty is thus taller than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Italy. Nicknamed the New Colossus in Emma Lazarus’s poem, the Statue of Liberty is also twice as large as the original Colossus at Rhodes. The Statue of Liberty is able to accomplish this thanks to its pedestal being nearly as tall as the statue itself. Among American statues, the Statue of Liberty is second in height, being beaten by Birth of the New World/Estatua de Colón located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico commemorating the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World.

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New York’s iconic skyline is easily recognizable with the inclusion of the Statue of Liberty. Even post-apocalyptic works of television and film feature pieces of the statue as a clue to the location of the characters in the work, chief among these is 1968’s Planet of the Apes. Likenesses of the statue are also included as part of political and athletic logos, including the New York Rangers, the New York Liberty, and the Libertarian Party. References and likenesses of the Statue of Liberty are often paired with Uncle Sam as the female counterpart to America personified.

Have you visited the Statue of Liberty?



Current Event Friday #79

Here comes the bride costume???

It’s the most woke time of the year, with the kids costumes at department stores drawing attention from outraged shoppers. Every Halloween season a new costume is forced to be removed from shelves thanks to complaints. So, we’ll marry the outrage to Current Events for today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

This year’s costume being questioned is a kids’ bridal costume at Kmart. Critics argued that by promoting a bridal costume to kids it encourages the practice of child brides. More woke critics also argue that it promotes antiquated stereotypes of marriage and gender roles.

Liberal criticisms of traditional attitudes about marriage and gender are not exactly surprising. Seemingly, liberals find many costumes offensive that would normally seem harmless. In my honest opinion, the child bride argument is a bit of a reach. Child marriage as a practice internationally is certainly to be decried but the costume doesn’t exactly rise to that level. Little girls like to dress as brides and princesses at Halloween and other times, but it’s usually seen as harmless play. Boys also like to pretend to be husbands, police officers, and firefighters but it’s harmless play for them too.

Kmart pulled the costume from stores in Australia thanks to a Change.org petition that gathered a couple hundred signatures. Some responded to the originator of the petition as being out of touch and excessive for a harmless costume.

Since it’s Kmart that offered the costume, it makes at least some sense to pull the costume. Already an artifact like Circuit City, Blockbuster, and Toys ‘R’ Us in the U.S., the department store can ill afford lost income Down Under.

I’ll admit that I don’t remember hearing much of the outrage about Halloween costumes growing up, it seems to be a phenomenon in the last two decades. It’s possible that as a kid I wasn’t completely aware of outrage, but I’ve seen the same outrage and wokeness as the Internet exploded and millennials came to adulthood.

Girls’ costumes are usually more revealing and even children’s versions of these costumes is no exception. The bride costume is seemingly modest compared to other offerings. Requesting the less modest costumes be pulled would likely be a better choice than the bridal costume.

Should Kmart sell the kids’ bride costume?

Oh Bologna!

A day to be tickled pink about

This day could be sponsored by the first name O-S-C-A-R and a second name M-E-Y-E-R, but it’s not. Regardless, it is National Bologna Day and that is an occasion to celebrate for many. So of course, I sandwiched this post about an obscure holiday between Poetry Wednesday and #CurrentEventFriday.

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Mortadella from Bologna, Italy

Bolognas can sometimes be spelled baloney which makes more sense given that is the pronunciation of this lunchmeat. The more common spelling Bologna is attributed to the city of its origin —Bologna, Italy. Related to the Italian sausage mortadella, Bologna is usually finely ground pork, beef, or a combination of both. After being formed into a thick loaf, bologna is then smoked and cured.  Interestingly, U.S. regulations require American-style bologna to be finely ground and without visible pieces of fat. American-style bologna many times is also made from chicken, turkey, venison or soy protein.

Full disclosure, I’m not the biggest fan of bologna. During my childhood I was opposed to bologna because of its slimy texture and the odd red casing encircling it. Might be somewhat odd since I liked eating old-fashioned franks with a similar red casing. Now in adulthood I still don’t eat bologna that often, except when it has been cooked. I do like fried bologna and smoked bologna which change the flavor and texture of bologna that I actually like.

Some brothers at lodge were interestingly discussing bologna habits over dinner. One mentioned his mother preparing bologna roast when he was a kid. Using bologna in place of a roast during leaner economic times, she would brown a whole bologna loaf and then add it to a roasting pan with potatoes and ketchup and preparing it like a roast. This actually sounded like a preparation I would like. Another preparation included frying a slice of bologna that would curl up the slice turning it into a serving cup for potato salad, slaw, or other fillings.

What are your favorite preparations for bologna?

Poetry Wednesday 74

Who is “On the Way” into our lives?

“On the Way”

Left alone so many women, looking for a returned smile; so many lips left unkissed

Right to the top goes your name on my list

Wished upon so many fading, falling, and shooting stars

Held back from finding you, like I’m behind prison bars


My mind is dancing; drinking my sorrows, my pleasures, and overthinking away

Somehow after every move made against me, it’s made me who I am today

Like an adventurer seeking hidden treasure; my labor for love will not be lost

Needing directions, the path is steep; it’s the mountains and not wires that should be crossed


On my way to you now, the time has come tonight even after all the twists and turns I’ve had to see

Driving down the road in worn-out jeans, playing my favorite songs, adoring their rhymes

Maybe I’ve been a fool; couldn’t help thinking this is how it ought to be the whole time

Don’t close your eyes; can’t you, won’t you realize you should be on your way to me?

Wonder what might could happen next, I’ll be thanking God if I find the way to your heart

Finish the run that too long has kept us apart, we have something we can start


© Ryan Stroud 2019

History Monday #75

The US Navy decides they’d ship it

We the people in order to defend ourselves from foreign naval attacks do hereby commission several ships including one named for the blueprint of our government. The ship bearing that name launches today’s #HistoryMonday.

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On this day in 1797, the USS Constitution is launched. Originally part of an order for construction of six frigates in the Naval Act of 1794, the ship was constructed along with USS United States and the USS Constellation at roughly the same timeframe. The other three ships were delayed in construction thanks to treaties with Algiers. These treaties would nullify the need for construction as provided in the Naval Act.  The USS Constitution and her sister ships were wooden, three-masted heavy frigates of the United States Navy.

Owing her name to Constitution of the United States of America at the suggestion of President George Washington she was built in Boston, Massachusetts, at Edmund Hartt’s shipyard beginning in 1794, to replenish the US Navy after the Revolutionary War. Seeking to pay off debts, the United States had sold off many ships to bring in income. As pirates and other nations began to attack US ships who no longer had British protection, it became obvious that the U.S. needed to establish a standing navy to protect itself during ocean voyages.

USS Constitution saw action in the Quasi-War with France and the First Barbary War but her fame was established in the War of 1812, when she captued numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane and Levant. The HMS Guerriere and the USS Constitution’s skirmish and the eventual surrender of HMS Guerriere earned USS Constitution the nickname “Old Ironsides” and helped keep her in service well beyond other ships built at the same time.

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As her fame gained her recognition, specifically with the poem “Old Ironsides” she was refurbished by the US Navy and served as a flagship for the fleet and eventually would become a receiving ship during the Civil War and beyond to help train new sailors.

During the Civil War, the USS Monitor, an ironclad warship was given the name of “New Ironsides” as an homage to USS Constitution and the nickname she earned during the War of 1812. Since USS Constitution was still active during this time, both the nickname and the official name was unavailable for the ironclad warship.

She was eventually retired from active service in 1881, until being designated as a museum ship in 1907. USS Constitution has since sailed on two bicentennial occasions in the Boston Harbor, once in 1997 on the anniversary of her launch and again in August 2012, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over HMS Guerriere.

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USS Constitution demonstrating her functions on 4 July, 2014

USS Constitution continues to serve as a museum for the public in Charleston Navy Yard in the Boston Harbor. This museum status allows her to be listed as part of the Freedom Trail in Boston recognizing much of the Revolutionary War and post-Revolution sites in the city. The USS Constitution is tasked as a museum to promote understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through historic demonstrations and other museum-related functions.

Current Event Friday #78

It’s the most allergic time of the year…

Ah-choo! It’s that time of year again. Time for stuffy noses & scratchy throats. Suffering through the Autumn allergy season is today’s #CurrentEventFriday topic for discussion. This choice is meant to stay above the fray of the more politically charged current events playing out lately.

Rhinitis as viewed under a microscope

I seem to suffer season allergies in the Spring and Fall when the plants are changing for the seasons. Of course, living in the Ohio River Valley complicates the sinusitis and allergic rhinitis for sufferers every year. Other sufferers of allergies in our area are well aware of the Ohio Valley Crud that keeps us so congested.

While I’d like to avoid this, I’ve yet to find a particular allergy medication that prevents my suffering. As the weather has already dropped the high temperatures below 70o  in the last week, my nasal passage is already congested. As this congestion is already at play, I wake up most mornings with a sore throat that I try to treat with hot coffee or tea to melt the phlegm draining from the nasal passages into my throat.

Treating the effects of my allergies has led me to treating the symptoms with nasal decongestant and antihistamine in the form of Mucinex® daytime and nighttime formulas. By the way, I’m not particular, I will also take NyQuil/Dayquil® as well. I usually alternate between the two to prevent my allergies from learning how to build a tolerance to the medicine.

Possibly the only advantage to the allergies this time of year is that it serves as a reminder to get my flu shot for Cold & Flu season. Of course, the signs at all the local pharmacies and e-mail reminders from my insurance provider probably wouldn’t let me forget anyways.

Admittedly, given my profession as a pastor my allergies and the sore throat associated with them do present a challenge. Thankfully with the nasal decongestant and hot tea on Sunday mornings along with prayer I can usually make it through services unaffected before the symptoms hit me like a train when service is over. In the words of Carl Spackler, “I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

Do you also suffer from seasonal allergies?

Poetry Wednesday 73

Maybe not being “Like Other Guys” is okay.

“Like Other Guys”

Probably girls think I’m like other guys when I show them affection

Sadly, trying to use digital means still doesn’t make a connection

Heard it so often that there’s plenty of fish in the sea

Guess I haven’t hit the right fishing spot, nobody’s hooked on me


Women say they want a nice guy who’s smart and funny

Too bad, I’m the joke itself; got nobody to call me honey

Well-meaning loved ones tell me I’m better off being on my own

At least, I can get where I’m going quickly, since he who travels fastest goes alone


Being unwanted and uninteresting; granted, it’s not a complete surprise

Not a secret to anyone, girls think I’m too short, it’s at the top of the list

I’m not ruggedly handsome, I’m too overbearing, I’m too scruffy,  you get the gist

Girls seem to like everybody but me, they only like other guys

Better to be unloved for who I am, than be liked for who I’m not

Like other guys find their own niche, and find the girl who likes that and shoot my shot

© Ryan Stroud 2019

History Monday #74

A crisis 90 miles from the U.S. makes history today

Russia is affecting the election; we need to take action against them. No, this isn’t sentiments ripped from today’s headlines, it’s sentiments from Cold War actors. Today we look at the origins of a pivotal few weeks in American v. Communist relations in today’s #HistoryMonday.

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Pres. John F. Kennedy & Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara discussing the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba

On this day in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis begins. The crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to what many thoughts would be the climax of Cold War aggression. Reconnaissance photos taken by a U-2 spy plane showed Soviet-made medium-range missiles in Cuba. These missiles were now placed 90 miles from the American coastline, and if equipped with nuclear warheads, could reach many major American cities.

Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union over Cuba first came to the fore during the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Those tensions grew in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. Cuban refugees with U.S. training attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro and the Communist forces but were unsuccessful in these efforts. Castro fearing a reprisal from the United States, sought to augment the military assistance from the Soviet Union. Cuba received over 20,000 Soviet advisors in the next year. Additionally, Russia placed missiles and strategic bombers on the island to threaten U.S. forces. Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev decided that ratcheting up the threat to the U.S. was necessary to appease his hardliners and deter further intervention by the United States. Khrushchev was already worried about his ability to be elected and remain in power in the USSR.  American missiles with nuclear capabilities of their own were already placed in Turkey and Italy which led to resentment from Khrushchev and the Soviets. Placing the missiles in Cuba was seen by the Soviets as being a reciprocal effort towards America.

Not surprisingly, Americans were angered by the missile sites in Cuba. Hawkish factions in the legislature and the press demanded Pres. Kennedy take swift action against Cuba and the USSR for this bellicose action so near America.

Pres. Kennedy was unsure which option to choose and started EXCOMM (Executive Committee of the National Security Council) to give him some options: Do nothing, Attack, Diplomatic overtures, or Blockade. Each had strengths and weaknesses which Pres. Kennedy weighed out before deciding to blockade the Caribbean Island and prevent more Soviet shipments from arriving.

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Eventually, the blockade proved effective in backing down the Soviets. Communications between the two nations eventually arrived at a compromise that allowed each to save some face. Soviets removed the missiles from Cuba while the U.S. would remove the missiles in Turkey. This agreement by the United States was only agreed on with the stipulation that the removal remain covertly. Pres. Kennedy was worried that removing these deterrents to the Soviets would impact the U.S. Election and his administration.

Cuban-American relations were relaxed in the final portions of Pres. Obama’s tenure, including much of the Cuban embargo. Travel to the Caribbean nation has been more permissible in the last several years but there are still challenges. The shift of power from Fidel Castro to his brother, Raúl began much a thawing of the Cold War tensions between the countries. Fidel’s subsequent death also led to further lessening of tensions between the countries.

Of course, tensions between Russia, Turkey, and the United States are currently in a state of concern for all parties involved. Rather than worrying about Cuba, Syria is the proxy nation being torn apart by the tug-of-war between the more powerful nations. Time will tell whether diplomatic efforts come to bear, and everyone settles down.

Should the U.S. take more provocative actions towards Cuba and the Soviet Union when photos of missiles were discovered?


Current Event Friday #77

Move over Felix & Oscar, there’s a new Odd Couple,

Why can’t we be friends? While the band War asked this question in 1974 to great acclaim in the song titled with that question, it’s become relevant this week thanks to an NFL game last week. The attention for two famed spectators at the game is the basis of today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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Ellen DeGeneres & Pres. George W. Bush at a Cowboys v. Packers game

While at the Cowboys and Packers game, viewers noticed Ellen DeGeneres and Pres. George W. Bush watching the game. Ellen addressed the odd pairing of politically opposed acquaintances on her show earlier in the week. Acknowledging that it might seem strange that a Hollywood Liberal lesbian might seem a strange friend for a Conservative Texan President, she defended friendships that transverse political lines.

Ellen argued that she desires friendships with many people, those that agree with her politically and those that disagree as well. Rising above partisan bickering allows her to remain friendly and civil with many more people than just those who align with her worldview.

Viewers of The Ellen Show and many others reshared the video of Ellen defending the civil friendship with Pres. George W. Bush. Following the example in the clip, several were on different sides of the political aisle proving it is possible to rise above partisanship.

Not everyone was pleased, however. Many on the Left chided Ellen for supporting Pres. George W. Bush. In particular, Mark Ruffalo cited Pres. Bush’s involvement with the War on Terror as reasons to dissociate with Pres. Bush. Joy Behar also pointed out that being friendly to Republicans means being friendly with Pres. Trump, an unimaginable prospect for The View contributor. This seems at least somewhat strange since Behar is at least civil to fellow panelist Meghan McCain, a Republican who has no love lost for Pres. Trump either. Not to be outdone, conservatives also rejected Ellen’s encouragement because of their disagreement with her lifestyle and her previous promise to refuse Pres. Trump from appearing on her show. So at least unintentionally, some on both sides of the political aisle were opposed to two citizens acting civil to one another.

I know that since Pres. Trump ran for and won election, the partisan fault lines have grown larger each day, but I’d like to think there could be some mending. Admittedly, I have many more on my Facebook and Twitter with whom I disagree politically but align with thanks to institutional affinity I attempt to remain above the fray and stay out of arguments with them. Some who share humorous memes about Pres. Trump are legitimately funny and I will laugh or play along with the joke. I agree with challenging hypocrisy on both sides while I may maintain my political preferences.

Can people get along like Ellen DeGeneres and Pres. George W. Bush?