A pleasant walk across the falls

On June 30, 1859, Charles Blondin, a French acrobat and aerialist whose real name was Jean Francois Gravelet walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The crowd was estimated at more than 25,000. He walked across the Falls several other times, once blindfolded, another time carrying a wheelbarrow, once carrying a man on his back and even once on stilts. Blondin was born February 28, 1824 in St. Omer, France.

VERLANDER!! VaVaVoom

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As in no-hitter, no-way were they getting on base, no-way was Ordonez missing that final catch. 12, count 'em, 12 strikeouts for Justin Verlander in the first home game Detroit Tigers no-hitter since Virgil Truck's in 1952 (Truck had 2 no-hitters that season.) Is Verlander a future Hall of Famer? We could go on. Heck, let's go on ...

President Ford Honored

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The United States Post Office has unveiled a new postage stamp honoring President Gerald Ford. The stamp will be issued nationwide on August 31st. and a special stamp dedication ceremony will take place on that date at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids.

Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary

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Join in the Sesquincentennial celebration of the Washtenaw County Historical Society on Saturday, June 16th, 2-4 p.m. at the Museum on Main Street. They’ll be dedicating a 1857 American flag and hosting a garden party so come stroll through the beautiful grounds and take a tour of the Sesquincentennial Exhibit inside the Museum.

It's Not Official

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After much research we are sad to report there is not an official Michigan Pasty Day. Although Governor Romney proclaimed May 24, 1968 as Pasty Day and Governor Milliken declared May 25, 1972 as Pasty Day, these single-year proclamations do not do justice to the importance of the pasty in Michigan’s history and cuisine. Perhaps Governor Granholm can rectify this situation. Best place to get pasties? Jean-Kays Pasties in Marquette, across from the NMU Superior Dome

Theodore Was Here

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100 years ago this week, Teddy Roosevelt, the 2nd greatest president of the 20th century (after his cousin Franklin) addressed the Michigan Legislature. The Michigan Library and Historical Center will commemorate President Roosevelt’s visit with a 2-day tribute that includes an address by H.W. Brands, author of T.R.: The Last Romantic, a reenactment of the speech in the Michigan Senate chambers and a special appearance by the President’s great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt. Other recommended books on Teddy are The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris and River of Doubt by Candace Millard.

Neal Shine Dies

shineshine

One of the greats in Michigan journalism died today. Neal Shine started at the Detroit Free Press "as a copyboy in 1950 and by 1995 had carried the titles of reporter, city editor, managing editor, senior managing editor, columnist and publisher." In his 45 years, Mr. Shine stood up for the common man and stood up to those who would take advantage of the common man. His leadership in covering the Detroit riots of 1967 earned the Freep a Pulitzer. Hail to the Irish poet-scribe.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #57

Portrait of an Unknown Woman* by Vanora Bennett, a British journalist trying her hand at fiction for the first time.

Set in Henry VIII’s England, Meg Giggs, the heroine of this historical, is a budding herbalist and a ward of Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More, the defender of the Catholic faith under threats of the Protestant heretics.

John Clements, a young physician is more than he appears. His courtship and marriage to Meg would be sorely tested by the secrets he keeps. On the other hand, Meg’s loyalty to More will also be called into question when religious and political conflicts roil at court.

“An engrossing, quietly impassioned historical”, no less for the added delicious details of the famous German painter Hans Holbein the Younger, commissioned to paint what will be his famous portraits of More and that of his family. For more information on the paintings and the time period, the author has created a website.

* = Starred Review

Middle Ages History Lectures Worth Listening To

Recently, I listened to two very good lectures series by Thomas F. Madden on the Middle Ages. First I listened to One, Holy, and Apostolic A History of the Church in the Middle Ages. I followed up with "God Wills It!": Understanding the Crusades. One, Holy, and Apostolic provides a very nice overview of the history of the Catholic church during the Middle Ages. You learn about how the church grew and thrived during the time, including various heresies, the Black Death, and the Great Schism. "God Wills It!" expands upon the Crusades, discussing the various crusades in Europe and Middle East, including the most commonly know, Third Crusade. The lectures series can be listed to seperately, but I recommend listening to them in the order I did.

History Bits - Saving People 1945

If your child is old enough to experience world history, and they are ready for Schindler's List, they could be interested in more on the subject. Paper Clips is the true story of a school project in rural Tennesee that was designed to build and understand the concept of 6 million, and crime against humanity. The Children of Chabannes is the story of a village in central France that protected over 400 Jewish children who were sent away from Nazi occupied homes in search of safety. Sugihara is the story of the Japanese consul to Lithuania who defied Tokyo and wrote hundreds of transit visas for Jews to flee through Russia to Japan and other countries.

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