Category: Uncategorized

Our Thanksgiving Turkey: How A Bird Native to Central America Came to be Named After a Country Located in Western Asia

    A lot of people probably don’t know that the bird at the center of our traditional Thanksgiving feast originated in Central America and southern Mexico. The Aztecs called the bird huehxolotl (pronounced way-sho-lotl) and it was originally domesticated from a now extinct wild species native to that area of the world. * A thank-you to my friend Charlie Wolff, Inca and Aztec … Read More Our Thanksgiving Turkey: How A Bird Native to Central America Came to be Named After a Country Located in Western Asia

11th Pennsylvania Infantry, the Gettysburg Battlefield, and An Amazing Dog Named Sallie

  Of the nearly 2,000 plaques, statues, and other memorials at the Gettysburg battleground, there are only two dogs portrayed. Of these two dogs, only one, Sallie, was actually at the battle. She can be found on the back side of the 11th Pennsylvania’s Monument on Oak Ridge. Very few people know she’s there because even though the monument sits right next to the … Read More 11th Pennsylvania Infantry, the Gettysburg Battlefield, and An Amazing Dog Named Sallie

A Native American Hero: The Humble Muskrat

  “Where the great had failed, the small succeeded . . .  Muskrat teaches us about ethical conduct, the action necessary to ensure that Creation continues.  Muskrat informs us about our relationships with each other and with the natural world, including teachings about cooperation, respect, honour, humility, bravery, love and sacrifice.”–Professor Deborah McGregor. www.muskratmagazine.com/teachings-from-the-muskrat/   Recently, while on a six day road trip through Wisconsin … Read More A Native American Hero: The Humble Muskrat

YET ANOTHER TALE OF HUMAN AVARICE: THE TRAGIC LIFE—AND DEATH—OF LONESOME GEORGE

droz.jpg  Embalmed and now on display at the Biological Field Station on Santa Cruz Island, Lonesome George will forever look out at us and to the multitudes of generations yet unborn with his innocent — but dead, dead, dead — dark eyes and ask that most damning and eternal of questions: “WHY!!! Why did you let this happen?” Readers of this humble column know, that … Read More YET ANOTHER TALE OF HUMAN AVARICE: THE TRAGIC LIFE—AND DEATH—OF LONESOME GEORGE

Camino de Santiago and the Miracle of the Chickens

Sitting directly on the Camino de Santiago in the heart of Spain’s famous Rioja wine district, the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada was founded in the year 1090 by its namesake, St. Domingo de la Calzada. This former hermit turned engineer dedicated his life to the safety and welfare of the pilgrims of his day by building them roads and bridges and … Read More Camino de Santiago and the Miracle of the Chickens

Saint Quitera, A Bridge In The Pyrenees Mountains, And Rabies

***Ad infinitum: (From Wikipedia) a Latin phrase meaning “to infinity” “a never-ending, repeating process” “a set of commands to be repeated on and on forever.” For example, Doc Orzeck’s mercilessly interminable rants on and on and on about the life or death importance of getting their pets vaccinated against rabies. ***Ad nauseam: a Latin term used to describe something that has been continuing nonstop … Read More Saint Quitera, A Bridge In The Pyrenees Mountains, And Rabies

Alfalfa and the Turkish Van Cat

Last September, Theresa and I made an amazing trip to eastern Turkey where we went on an expedition to climb Mt. Ararat. In answer to the question we most receive when we tell others about our climb: Nope, we didn’t see any remnants of Noah’s Ark. My personal opinion—after having to endure three nights of freezing cold temperature and high winds on Ararat’s treeless, … Read More Alfalfa and the Turkish Van Cat

A Story of a Cat, A Rooster, and the San Damiano Cross

In the early years of thirteenth-century Italy, Francis Bernardone, then still a young penitent, was walking alone in the valley below his former hilltop home of Assisi when he happened upon the ruins of an old country church. As this future Saint Francis of Assisi stood in front of the collapsed building, an internal voice told him to go inside and pray. Obediently, he … Read More A Story of a Cat, A Rooster, and the San Damiano Cross

A QUICK TRIP TO NYC: OF ST. BERNARDS, THE MOUNTAINS, AND A FEW OF THE BLESSED SAINTS

Two Sundays ago, I made a quick trip down to The Big Apple (NewYork City) so that I could attend the Park Avenue Armory Rare Book Show and Sale. The event draws rare book and manuscript sellers from all over the world. And even though I cannot even begin to afford the prices of these collector volumes, I do get a chance to meet … Read More A QUICK TRIP TO NYC: OF ST. BERNARDS, THE MOUNTAINS, AND A FEW OF THE BLESSED SAINTS

OUR LATEST TRIP: DIFFERENT BREEDS OF SHEEP AND BRANDS OF BEER, AND A SHORT STORY ABOUT A WEE DOGGIE.

On our last trip overseas, Theresa and I hiked the 197 miles of the famous Coast to Coast Trail across England, from the Irish Sea in the west, to the North Sea in the east. Our trip took us over the Western mountains and through the Lake District, home of the lake poet and mystic, William Woodsworth. It also took us over the moors, … Read More OUR LATEST TRIP: DIFFERENT BREEDS OF SHEEP AND BRANDS OF BEER, AND A SHORT STORY ABOUT A WEE DOGGIE.