Category Archives: Memories & History

Memories & History

The Myth of the Golden Years – The Atlantic

Whether economic times are good or bad, the lament for the old days of factories and mills never changes.

By Tom Nichols, August 4, 2021

Getty; The Atlantic

“You’ll want to read this,” my wife said, handing me the Sunday Boston Globe.

The cover story that week in late September 2020 was about a 62-year-old woman who had colon cancer that had metastasized. She died in a local hospital; her husband was also in poor health and could not take care of her at home. After she died, he moved into an area facility.

Reading of someone so close to my own age succumbing to a highly preventable disease was a bit unsettling. The dateline, however, was the reason my wife had given me the paper.

The story was from my hometown in Massachusetts, and the facility where the husband now lived was down the street from my childhood home. When I was a boy, we joked, far too easily, about “putting” people there when they got old. In later years, the joking ended when my father had to stay there briefly as his health began to fail. My brother then passed through its doors on his way to the final stop in a VA hospital.

The couple in the story had struggled for survival in the neighborhood where I grew up, and one of them, as the Globe put it, had experienced “the kind of death all too typical for people who work hard jobs for modest pay,” dying “too young … and too hard.”

Central to these criticisms is a nostalgia for an idealized past that always makes the present seem terrible. Some of this is manipulation by political charlatans. But sincere concerns come from some political and economic elites, especially those who are products of a class transition and advancement through education and relocation. They are concerned about the anger of the “forgotten places” where they grew up.

–from article

Source: The Myth of the Golden Years – The Atlantic

On the Film Registry: “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978): An Interview with Tim Matheson | Now See Hear! | library of congress

August 2, 2021 by Stacie Seifrit-Griffin

 Animal House still, courtesy of Tim Matheson

It was 20 years ago that the Library of Congress added “National Lampoon’s Animal House” to the National Film Registry.

Originally released in 1978 and inducted in 2001, “Animal House” remains one of the most quoted and iconic comedy films in history.

In his book, “America’s Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide To The Landmark Movies In The National Film Registry,” author Daniel Eagan says “National Lampoon’s Animal House” has become one of the most influential comedies of the 1970’s.

Embraced by younger viewers, it has been used as a blueprint by a succeeding generation of comedy filmmakers.”

Source: On the Film Registry: “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978): An Interview with Tim Matheson | Now See Hear!

Virtual Tours – Smithsonian Gardens | The Scout report

Saucer magnolia in the Enid A. Haupt Garden
Smithsonian Gardens Virtual ToursSocial studies
The Smithsonian’s lush and diverse 180-acre educational gardens, which the institution calls a “museum without walls,” are now accessible to all via an array of virtual tours. Casual flower fans and horticulture buffs alike can simply scroll the page linked above to appreciate the Smithsonian’s magnolia collection (“Magnolia Madness”) or see the best and brightest fall colors at any time of the year (“Fall Foliage Walking Tour”), among other offerings. For a deeper dive, readers can click “Be A Plant Explorer” to access a searchable guide to the Smithsonian Gardens collection, including high-resolution images, scientific information, and fun facts about each specimen (note that the tool works best on a computer or tablet). Garden geeks can show off with verdant digital backgrounds for computer desktop or Zoom, found in the Featured section at the bottom of the page. Readers can also follow the gardens on Facebook, Instagram (@SmithsonianGardens on both services), and Twitter (@SIGardens). The best part about the virtual gardens? They’re always in full bloom. The only downside is trying to smell the flowers through your screen! [HCL]
From newsletter…


Review: Amtrak reinvents ‘traditional’ dining car meals | trains

Ride with ‘Southwest Chief’ kitchen staff reveals upgraded quality and presentation

By Bob Johnston | July 26, 2021

First of two parts

Chef Frank Villasenor grills a flatiron steak. He has observed improving food quality and freshness with the new menu selections. (Bob Johnston)

ABOARD THE SOUTHWEST CHIEF — A month after Amtrak revamped dining-car menus on the five long-distance trains that serve the West Coast — replacing pre-packaged meals in a bowl with freshly-prepared breakfasts, lunches, and dinners — it’s clear the company is aiming for a higher standard than what it previously offered.

“I was really surprised,” observes Chef Frank Villasenor, who, with Food Specialist Brian Garrigues, is manning the Southwest Chief’s kitchen, on the lower level of the Superliner dining car, out of Chicago on July 22.

“This is a step above where I thought we would go, especially with the direction we were going.”

Source: Review: Amtrak reinvents ‘traditional’ dining car meals – Trains

Telescopes checked out from the library will let you explore the starry skies | The salt lake tribune

The Salt Lake County Library system has several items available to borrow for free in its Library of Things.

By Kolbie Peterson  | July 24, 2021, 5:00 a.m.

Zach Schierl | National Park Service) In 2017, the night sky is filled with thousands of stars, as seen from Utah’s Cedar Breaks National Monument, an officially designated dark sky park. Telescopes are available to check out from the Salt Lake County Library system for free.

Stars may be very, very far from Earth, but obtaining a telescope to get a good look at them only takes a trip to your local public library — and a library card.

And with the Delta Aquariids hitting their meteor-viewing peak later this week, it’s a perfect time to go stargazing here in Utah.

The Salt Lake County Library system has 48 telescopes available for adult patrons to check out. These sturdy, beginner-friendly models are part of the county library’s growing collection of equipment called the Library of Things, which also includes internet hot spots, Chromebooks, tablets and a variety of other items, all free to borrow.

Spearheaded by Joan Carman with the Salt Lake Astronomical Society, the library system’s telescope program provides access to an instrument that usually costs at least $100 and up to $1,000 or more.

Source: Telescopes checked out from the library will let you explore the starry skies