History Monday #84

Mexico gave up land by the border, and the United States paid for it

¿Cuánto cuesta la parte sur de Arizona y Nuevo Mexico? A question that was easily answered and approved through a treaty acknowledging the new Southern border between Mexico and the United States in today’s #HistoryMonday.

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The Gadsden Purchase highlighted in yellow

On this day in 1853, James Gadsden the special minister to Mexico met with General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the president of Mexico to sign the Gadsden Purchase in Mexico City. Gadsden had been appointed as minister by the Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to negotiate the treaty with Mexico. The parties initially agreed to the price of $15 million, but eventually settled on $10 million for approximately 30,000 square miles of land in what is now New Mexico and Arizona. For Gadsden’s efforts, the treaty and the region became known as the Gadsden Purchase in the United State.

Mexico agreed to the treaty and the sale of land after racking up debt in the Mexican-American War as well as seeing Americans settling in disputed lands without penalty. Agreeing to a new border and settling territorial disputes made much more sense.

From the American perspective, this allowed for more land to be used in a Southern railroad route as well as expand Texan interests. Chief among these interests were the expansion of slave territory. Abolitionists resisted efforts by the U.S. to push for a deeper Southern push into Mexico that would have reached the Yucatan Peninsula.

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The Gadsden Purchase was quickly settled by American from the nearby Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico Territories. Central Pacific Railroad authorities established a Southern Pacific branch of their company and began building a railway through the newly purchased region.

Much of the settlement in this region of the Southwestern United States are cities like Yuma and Tucson. With the settlement of these cities and the construction of the railroad, Southern settlers expanded the influence of slavery since the areas were below the 36°30′ N line of longitude that defined the Northern limit of slave states.

After the Civil War, the region became known for much of what we know of Western culture in film. One of the more infamous cities in the Gadsden Purchase is Tombstone, AZ. While Texas beef ranchers drove their herds through the region, outlaws called “cowboys” would rustle the cattle and pick fights with the ranchers. Eventually, a group of these cowboys became embroiled in a battle with the Earp family, a set of deputized gunfighters in the town.

This region also has become strategic in the current Mexican-American border dispute, but even the borders agreed to by the two nations in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo are still dealing with issues such as the City of El Paso.

Mining of precious stones and other minerals in the Gadsden Purchase could provide more funds for the United States, but much of the area of mineral deposits is occupied by Native American territory, so any mining profits are provided to the tribal communities.

Have you traveled to any of the cities in the Gadsden Purchase?

Current Event Friday #88

A Cat-astrophic reception for a recently released movie

Christmas vacation affords families the opportunities to watch feature films playing in theaters, but one of those meow playing is on hardly anyone’s list. In a surprise to Hollywood studio executives, both critics and moviegoers are avoiding the movie. Today’s #CurrentEventFriday looks at some of the problems with the film and its icy reception.

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While a new Star Wars movie is in theaters, a critically-acclaimed Broadway show should achieve respectable numbers, but Cats hasn’t lived up to the expectations. Based on the original play written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats details the lives of alley cats and an abandoned kitten named Victoria,

The film is directed by Tom Hooper, who adapted Les Misérables to film in 2012 to much acclaim. Somehow, that magic didn’t translate to this film. Even top stars like Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Jenifer Hudson, and Taylor Swift don’t seem to help either.

Released last Friday, the film has already been re-edited with CGI effects as some panned the film for its portrayal of the feline singers and dancers. Jason Derulo’s natural ‘human anatomy’ has been a target of much maligning and was edited by the studio to be removed in the re-released format. Meow that it’s been re-edited since theatrical release drew even more negative attention.

Meow, the subject material is too adult for kids, so you’ll expect that they aren’t coming. They likely are watching Frozen II or Jumanji: The Next Level. The male demographic is likely watching Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker or Richard Jewell. Women might be watching Little Women. Plus, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is still in many theaters drawing families, Knives Out is offered for the horror fans. So, Cats was going to have an uphill battle anyways.

I’ve never seen the Broadway show, but I’ve heard several people who loved seeing it. I saw a preview for Cats recently when I watched A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and could tell it was probably going to be a dud. Even James Corden who stars in the film, is rumored to have avoided watching it in theaters. Of course, a movie about cats is probably not a film worth watching, since dogs are the superior pet anyways.

Have you seen the Broadway version of Cats?  

Current Event Friday #87

A food company has egg on its face

Some may be hard-boiled when they realize they are at risk of being infected by dishes using ingredients contaminated by Listeria. The recall and what it means for the public is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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Eggs-actly what caused this outbreak is still unknow, but the FDA & CDC are warning customers to throw away store-bought egg salad and other prepackaged products with hard-boiled eggs. This comes after the FDA & CDC discovered that hard-boiled eggs packaged by Almark Foods of Georgia. The eggs have already infected a handful of people and has been blamed for one death in Texas.

This recall and warning seems to affect restaurants and stores using hard-boiled eggs packaged in plastic pails. Some of the hard-boiled eggs in plastic bags may be affected and if in doubt, throw them out to be safe. It’s more likely that stores and restaurants bought these hard-boiled eggs in bulk for preparation of other dishes and products. Be sure to ask the grocery store or restaurants if dishes containing hard-boiled eggs if they used Almark as their egg purveyor so you can avoid the risk.

I would hope most would avoid this by making their own dishes with hard-boiled eggs at home. With Instant-Pots, microwave egg cookers, or a saucepan making hard-boiled eggs is fairly easy. I’ve discovered the egg setting on my Instant-Pot and will use it to make hard-boiled eggs for my own egg salad. Many will plan on deviled eggs being part of their Christmas meals and home boiled eggs should be fine.

Surprisingly, as noted by the more sarcastic, food recalls only seem to affect healthier foods like lettuce, green onions, and eggs; yet unhealthy foods like Oatmeal Crème Pies and frozen pizzas don’t seem to be recalled. This point has been turned into memes that argue that eating the ‘bad’ foods are actually safer than the ‘good’ foods. While it’s an over-simplifying and a convenient reading of news, it is humorous in the midst of unwelcome news being shared all over social media.

What’s your favorite dish with hard-boiled eggs?

History Monday #83

It’s a party, and the British will cry if they want to

The best part of waking up…is rebelling against unfair taxes. Well, maybe not for everybody, but at least for some citizens who inevitably switched America’s drink of choice from tea to coffee that would be their wakeup call to others. It’s also today’s #HistoryMonday.

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On this day, in 1773 a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians and boarded British tea ships and proceeded to destroy or jettison the entirety of the ships’ cargo—342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor.

This rebellious act soon became known as the “Boston Tea Party” and continues to be referred to as such even today. Colonists were led to this act of civil disobedience thanks to the Tea Act of 1773 enacted by the Parliament earlier that year. The bill was written as a way to protect British trade particularly tea.

Parliament was charged with assessing and collecting taxes for all manner of goods and services from their citizens, including tea. But the Tea Act of 1773 helped the East India Company reducing its tax burden substantially, thus empowering a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. Parliament’s efforts with adjusting the taxes paid by the East India Company allowed the company to undercut tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders. This proved colonists’ concerns that Parliament was unfairly using its taxation powers.

Chief opponent of the Tea tax and other Parliamentary efforts was Sam Adams. He and other distressed colonists in the Sons of Liberty, a secret resistance group decided something demonstrative was needed to prevent Parliament’s efforts. When Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to dispense with three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, sending the ships back to England, these rebels organized the “tea party” in response. Some 60 or so partygoers took part and destroyed tea that was valued at some $18,000.

The Boston Tea Party was the only open rebellious act by Americans against the Tea Act. Ships arriving in the other colonies had been successfully discouraged from unloading their tea in the respective harbors and instead returned to England. Gov. Hutchinson chose not to permit legal rebellion by colonists, since two of his sons were tea merchants in the Massachusetts colony and they would benefit from selling the tea.

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For their efforts, the colonists were rewarded with The Coercive Acts by Parliament. These acts were labeled the Intolerable Acts by colonists since they closed Boston’s harbor for shipping by private merchants, gave British officials immunity for criminal prosecution in America, enacted British military occupation in Massachusetts, and required colonists to quarter the troops who now occupied the colony.

Sam Adams’ cousin John Adams propagated the efforts of the Sons of Liberty for their civil disobedience and encouraged other colonists that the Parliament was acting beyond its scope with the Tea Act and was being heavy-handed with the Intolerable Acts.

The occupation of Boston by military troops would eventually lead to the Boston Massacre and even more resentment towards these troops by colonists. As the British soldiers were cleared in the trial, the several acts by Parliament for that last decade eventually led to calls for a Constitutional Convention, the Declaration of Independence, and the American Revolution.

Of lesser consequence, colonists also followed advice from John Adams to refuse tea and find another suitable beverage, which ended up being coffee. While some Americans still drink tea and refuse coffee, the switch from tea as the unofficial beverage happened shortly after the Boston Tea Party.

Admittedly, I will drink both tea and coffee now which has seemingly become more normalized as American in the last few decades. I will have a cup of coffee with breakfast and drink iced tea throughout the day and lately I’ll have a cup of decaf coffee sometime before bed.

Do you drink hot tea or hot coffee?

Current Event Friday #86

Lights! Cameras! Christmas Activities!

Less than two weeks until Christmas is upon us, and that means lots of traditions and happenings over the next few weeks along with those same traditions and happenings that have already been going on for possibly a month or better. Part of those traditions is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Last year around this time, I covered the tradition of Christmas Movies on my watchlist, while today’s post is about Christmas lights. Decorating houses and businesses with Christmas lights is a fitting Current Event during this holiday season.

I can remember growing up going with my parents to see Christmas lights in town. We all have our opinions of what makes a well-decorated house. For us, the motto ‘less is more’ seems to be the guiding principle. The more colors of lights and decorative objects make a house or business confusing and as if the decorators are trying too hard.

Surely some might object to this opinion, and that’s perfectly fine since everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I can appreciate that people want to add several objects or colors to their display because that’s their style. There are ways certainly with a larger house and property to spread out the objects, so they don’t clutter the overall look.

As for my own decorating I usually wait until after Dec. 1 to add lights and decorations to the house. I also keep the decorations simple and clean, using a spotlight shining on a wooden silhouette of the Holy Family in the manger with a star above. One of the benefits about being relocated to a parsonage last year means that my house is close enough to neighbors for them to see the decorations. Prior to that, I lived in a house at the end of a dean end road so only mailmen and family saw the decorations.

I shared a post on Facebook that wished for a date to travel around and look at Christmas decorations while drinking hot cocoa and eating Christmas cookies and candy. Obviously, if I had the S.O. we could go to the Lights Under Louisville and around the neighborhood while enjoying Christmas treats. While I’m tempted to be flip about how to go about that, I guess I could ask Santa for a girlfriend. Not exactly sure if that’ll happen though.

Do you drive around looking at Christmas lights?