Sunday, January 9, 2011

On January 9, 1861, cadets from The Citadel were manning a shore battery at Cummings Point on the main shipping channel entering Charleston harbor. At daybreak, a ship, the Star of the West, appeared on the horizon steaming for Fort Sumter.

Since the end of December, the Fort’s commander, Major Robert Anderson had moved troops from areas around Charleston into Ft. Sumter. With supplies running low, Buchanan secretly dispatched the Star of the West to deliver much needed troops and supplies for the garrison.  

Cadets immediately fired on the ship and after about 10 minutes, the Star of the West turned about and headed back to its starting point. This action was the first in which State troops fired upon ships of the United States. The failed relief of the Fort would set up the final push by South Carolina to rid the State of Federal troops in April 1861.

The news of the event was captured in Harper's Weekly on January 19, 1861 and January 26, 1861.

So what was the second great thing that happened? Glad you asked. Because 48 years later my Grandmother was born in Charleston, SC. January 9, 1909on a street that is now covered by the Gaillard Auditorium. Somewhere on Anson Street between Calhoun and St. George Streets. Today she is celebrating her 102 year young birthday. I can’t imagine a world without her in it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

No Bucks, No Buck Rogers

Happy Birthday to Buck Rogers and Tarzan.  On this date, the first comic strips, "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and "Tarzan"appeared. The adventures of Buck Rogers in comic strips, movies, radio and television became an important part of American popular culture.

For Buck Rogers, the beginning of his stiry is vastly different for what must know. Buck was a Army Air Corps World War I vet who was trapped in a mine cave-in. Put to sleep by radioactive gas, Buck awakens to find his self accused as a criminal. After rescuing Wilma Deering, Buck helps fight the evil that is the 'Mongol Reds' who had emerged from the Gobi desert to conquer Asia and Europe and then attacked America.

As for Tarzan, well his story hasn't really changed over the years. An orphaned English boy raised by apes.Looking around the country today, you can still see this story being played out in reality.

It is hard to believe that 82 years ago today, these two staples of popular American culture started their place in history.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Random Musing...

 So earlier in the day, I was talking to a friend of mine about life. What it all boils down to was the difference between wants and needs. I have been thinking about the difference between an individual’s understand of wants and needs.

I’m not pointing the finger at everyone but myself, because I’m guilty as well. I mean, I want ten million dollars, but I only need a certain amount to pay bills and have fun. It seems like in today’s world, there is no line to separate any individual’s wants from needs. 

As a former 7th and 8th grade school teacher, many of my former students confuse their wants with their needs. They want a video game, they don’t need it. They don’t want to do homework, they need to. They need to understand how our government works, but they don’t want to.  I use to have a class that they would tell me an item they wanted and its price. We would then work out what they needed to do to achieve their goal. The purchase of a $250 item took them much longer than they expected. Working a job making $10 per hour, then having taxes taken out gave them a view of the true cost of the item. Now, they are 13 and 14 years old, but the lesson did take hold for some of them.

They were confusing wanting something with needing it. Typed another way, they are confusing pleasure with happiness. One can find pleasure anywhere and is a short term want. Happiness is a long term need that pays off later. Some pleasures are good like reading a good book or talking with friends and can bring happiness. But many times, the search for pleasure leads to problems in the long term. Achieving short term pleasure at the expense of long term happiness is a major problem.  

Today, people in this country are demanding more “pleasure” than “happiness.”  It is interesting that our Declaration of Independence states that we have a right to the "pursuit of happiness." The DoI and the US Constitution protect the people’s happiness and not their pleasure. There is a difference between the "pursuit of pleasure" and the "pursuit of happiness."  I put forward that the "pursuit of happiness" is a group effort while the "pursuit of pleasure" is an individual effort. Our founders created our form of government to give us our needs (the pursuit of happiness) not our wants (the pursuit of pleasure). 

The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were created using the word “we.”  The search for happiness is always a road to be traveled on with others. Our government should therefore focus on allowing us the opportunity to pursue happiness in our lives and in the country as a whole. It should not restrict us to give pleasure to a select few groups, States or individuals. The 10th Amendment protects our right to the pursuit of happiness not of pleasure.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunshine Joins the Fold

 Ever since the late unpleasantness occurred in my life, I have been continuously amazed by my friends. This Christmas season proved no exception. It is true that friends are the family that you get to choose.
One case in particular, was provided by "Excels at Nothing" and family. After much discussion, I was interested in getting Sunshine involved in shooting. Impressed as I was by Excels' Sweet Daughter taking target practice. I was mentioning that I would like to get Sunshine involved with target practice as well. So guess what she received for Christmas... that's right her very own pellet gun. Joy of all joy's, it was pink. She was a little scared at first because it was something new to try.  But I knew that if she saw Sweet daughter doing it, Sunshine would be interested too.

Her worried first thoughts soon gave way to a wish to do well to show Sweet Daughter, she could do it too. For her first time shooting, she did well. In fact after a brief opportunity to run around and burn off some energy, she came back to shoot again. I even shot the pellet rifle as well. I actually did good considering I haven't shot much in my life. It was great to share this with her. In fact she couldn't wait to get back to school to tell her friends what she did that day. I can't wait to do this again.

My thanks go out to "Excels" (including family) and "Doin' the Time Warp," for helping to make this day a success and one that Sunshine will remember for some time to come.