Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Me and Con-tact Paper are having a battle royale today...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My favorite president is Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant was born on April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio, and raised in the village of Georgetown in Brown County, Ohio. He entered the U.S. Army military academy at West Point, graduating in 1843. He served in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), and later on the West Coast. But he was unhappy being separated from his family, and he resigned his commission in 1854. With the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, Grant joined the Illinois Volunteers and was later re-commissioned in the regular Army. He was elected President in 1868, and served two terms. Grant was a weak administrator, however, and tended to reward loyalty rather than merit. Many of his appointees were corrupt, and Grant left office personally popular but politically a laughingstock.

The Grants had no home after leaving the White House. So Grant and his family stayed with friends in New York, Ohio, and Philadelphia for two months. Presidents did not receive a pension at the time, and Grant had little in the way of savings and no job prospects. His friends convinced Grant to embark on a world speaking tour -- even though it would take most of Grant's funds. The trip lasted two years, and began in Liverpool in May 1877. The Grants traveled to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Palestine, Greece, Spain, Ireland, India, Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, and Japan.

Grant's reputation, savaged during his administration, soared after his tour ended. In 1876, Republicans sought to draft Grant to run again for President, and Grant privately admitted he wanted the job. At the Republican National Convention, Grant had 304 out of the 370 delegates needed to win the nomination in 1876, but James G. Blaine had 284. After 36 ballots, Blaine's delegates nominated a compromise candidate, Representative James A. Garfield, who then won the nomination by acclamation.

Grant's friends, George William Childs and Anthony Joseph Drexel, bought the former president a home on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Grant invested his little remaining funds in 1881 with railroad baron Jay Gould, who formed the Mexican Southern Railroad to build a railroad from Oaxaca to Mexico City. The railroad went bankrupt in 1884.

Grant's son, Ulysses Jr. ("Buck"), had in the meantime opened a Wall Street brokerage house with Ferdinand Ward. In 1883, Grant invested $100,000 of his own money in the firm. Ward, however, was corrupt and used the firm's assets over and over as collateral for multiple loans. The firm neared bankruptcy. Grant asked railroad businessman William Henry Vanderbilt for a personal loan of $150,000. Vanderbilt gave him the money, but it did not save the firm. To repay the Vanderbilt loan, Grant sold his Civil War memorabilia and all his remaining assets. (It hardly covered the debt, but Vanderbilt considered it paid.)

To generate income for his family, Grant wrote several articles about the Civil War for "The Century Magazine" at $500 each. Magazine editor Robert Underwood Johnson suggested Grant write his memoirs.

And then, in the summer of 1884, Grant learned he had throat cancer.

Grant's friend, Mark Twain, made an offer for Grant's memoirs and proposed a 75 percent royalty. Grant worked diligently on his memoirs at his home in New York City, and then at a cottage on the slopes of Mount McGregor in Saratoga County, New York.

Grant underwent several surgeries to try to stop the cancer, but they were not successful. He was in severe pain, and in the final three months of his life he could not swallow. A tracheotomy was performed to allow him to breathe, but he was starving to death.

Grant forfeited his military pension when he was elected president. But his friends convinced Congress to restore him to the rank of General of the Army with full retirement pay on March 4, 1885.

Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23, 1885 -- having finished his memoirs just weeks earlier. He was 63 years old.

His book, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, was a huge success. Julia Grant received about $450,000 from the sales (a royalty of about 30 percent). The memoir remains highly regarded by the public, military historians, and literary critics. Twain called the Memoirs a "literary masterpiece".

When Grant died, President Grover Cleveland ordered a 30-day nationwide period of mourning. A private funeral for Grant was held at his Mount McGregor cottage. A special funeral train then transported the body to West Point and then New York City. A quarter of a million people viewed it over the next two days. Tens of thousands of men accompanied Grant's casket to Riverside Park. His pallbearers included Union generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Phil Sheridan, Confederate generals Simon Bolivar Buckner and Joseph E. Johnston, Admiral David Dixon Porter, and General John A. Logan. Attendance at the New York funeral topped 1.5 million. Grant's body was laid to rest in Riverside Park in a temporary tomb.

On April 27, 1897, a new mausoleum to house Grant's remains was opened in Manhattan. It was Grant's 75th birthday. Architect John Hemenway Duncan designed the structure. Grant's remains were laid to rest in a sarcophagus in a circular atrium at the General Grant National Memorial ("Grant's Tomb"). The tomb remains the largest mausoleum in North America to this day.

Julia Dent Grant, Grant's wife of nearly 40 years, died five years later in 1902 and was laid to rest in a matching sarcophagus beside her husband.

Of all the Presidents of the United States, only one -- Woodrow Wilson -- stayed in the District of Columbia after he left office. Wilson was crippled by a stroke while in office, and never recovered. He could barely walk, his left arm was paralyzed, and he was blind in his left eye. Like many stroke victims, he was prone to sudden fits of violent temper and deep episodes of depression. Wilson also had little ability to concentrate, and could only focus on writing for five to ten minutes at a time.

Wilson hadn't had a personal home since 1902, but his finances were in solid shape as his term as President came to an end. The Wilsons considered living in Baltimore, Boston, New York City, and Richmond in addition to the District. Although D.C. came in last in terms of friends, climate, opportunities, and amusements, they chose the city because First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson considered it home.

northeast corner - 2d floor study - Woodrow Wilson House - Washington DC - 2013-09-15Wilson initially wanted to build a house in Georgetown, but that proved impractical. So his wife went house-hunting with her brother, a realtor. She settled on a house at 2340 S Street NW in Washington. Friends of the Wilsons raised $100,000 toward the $150,000 asking price, and raised another $100,000 to provide Wilson with a $10,000 annuity (presidents at that time did not receive a pension).

The house had been built by Henry Fairbanks, owner of the Bigelow Carpet Co., in 1915. Prominent Washington architect Waddy Wood designed the structure. The basement occupied the front of the house, and consisted of a boiler room, coal bin, coal receiving room, elevator machinery, and small wine cellar. The first floor was a reception floor. In the front, there was a small office (used by Wilson's personal secretary), a foyer, and a small receiving room. On the left was a trunk room (for accepting guests' luggage) and a servants' hall; on the right was the kitchen and pantry. A center hall contained the main staircase to the second floor.

The second floor was the main floor. In the front was a huge drawing room, with balcony. It was on this balcony on November 11, 1923, that Wilson last appeared in public. To the right of the drawing room, extending to the rear of the house, was a serving kitchen, butler's pantry, and (at the rear) dining room. On the left side of the house was a small staircase to the personal quarters on the third floor, and Wilson's library -- where he stored his vast collection of books, exhibited memorabilia, and screened motion pictures. A solarium in the rear of the house provided a balcony and access to the porch and patio atop the garage.

The third floor contained the personal quarters of the Wilsons. In the front of the house were two guest bedrooms, each with a private bath. On the left side of the house was Wilson's bedroom, which had a private bath and walk-in closet. On the right side of the house was Edith Wilson's bedroom, walk-in closet, dressing room, and private bath. Connecting the two bedrooms in the rear of the house was a small nurse's bedroom and an enclosed porch. The center hall acted as a recreation room, and often Wilson sat at a desk here and played board games, wrote, or talked with his secretary.

The Wilsons were attended by six servants, which included a man and wife acting as butler and housekeeper. The staff also included two parlor maids, a cook, and a gardener/chauffeur. The fourth floor was only half the size of the other floors, and centered at the top of the house. There was a large bedroom for the married couple to the left, and four tiny bedrooms for the rest of the staff extended to the right from that bedroom. A huge laundry occupied the front of this floor.

The Wilsons moved into the home on Inauguration Day -- March 4, 1921. Over the next two years, Wilson turned the servants' hall into a billiard room, added shelving in the library for his 8,000 books, and built a one-story brick garage to house his Pierce Arrow limousine.

After Wilson's death in 1924, Edith Wilson lived there until her death on December 28, 1961. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was one of the last guests in the house, when she attended a brunch in the dining room.

Edith Wilson bequeathed the property and all of its original furnishings to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Woodrow Wilson House - exterior front 02 - 2011-12-04
This is just goddamn funny!

What has changed since the fall? Nothing.

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery existed in its original form for just 18 months (from on May 15, 1920, to November 11, 1921) until it was radically altered by the construction of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

Monday, February 16, 2015

I set up a Google-plus Community about Cleveland!!

There were two existing groups, but neither seemed well-moderated. Both were full of ads, and mostly by the same businesses over and over. There wasn't much posting, and each had only about 40 or so members. There wasn't much good content.

So I modeled my group after the successful Washington, D.C., group which I had moderated. I'm populating it daily with news, articles, photos, and the like.

Hopefully, it will take off.
Don't we all...

BriteWinter -- Cleveland's festival of music, craft beer, food, and fun -- is coming on February 21, 2015! The event will be held from 4 PM to 11 PM in the Market District in Ohio City.

And to think: At this time last year in Washington, D.C., I was being socked in by the Valentine's Day Storm that dumped two feet on the city in 24 hours...

US Capitol snow - 2014-02-13
I often talk about African and African American men in what might be thought of as objectifying terms: Body. Muscle. Nipples. Pubes. Huge cock. Lots of foreskin. Veiny, textured shaft. Big knob. Thick shaft. Huge balls. Tree-trunk legs. Brutal top.

But remember: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS keep in mind that these are human beings. Men with feelings, dreams, hopes, loves, fears, sadnesses.

As much as one might want the body, one has to also want the man inside.

We have a record!! The official Cleveland temperature reached a record low of 12 degrees below zero at 5:32 AM on Sunday, February 15, 2015.

It was the sixth day of below-zero temperatures in Cleveland this year. That's twice the average number of sub-zero days for an entire year! As climate change hits North America, more severe weather like this can be expected. Last year, there were 10 below-zero days in Cleveland -- including two days when the temperature was 11 below.

Sunday was the coldest day in Cleveland since it was 13 degrees below zero on January 16, 2009. Just a dozen days in the last half century were colder than February 15, including the record of 20 degrees below zero set on January 19, 1994.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

On 15 February 1988, the first episode of Red Dwarf aired.

February 15, 1898 -- The battleship USS Maine exploded and sank in the harbor at Havana, Cuba, killing more than 260 people and precipitating the Spanish-American War.

The explosion -- which to this day is undetermined -- was so powerful that it obliterated the first third of the ship. This is where most of the men were sleeping.

The upper deck of the bow flew into the air, turned over, and landed on the middle third of the ship. This middle section was severely damaged by the blast, its sides almost blowing out and its interior a mass of twisted metal.

The final third of the ship was almost completely intact.

The main mast of the Maine continued to stand upright on the wreck. Today, it is incorporated into a shrine to the dead at the USS Maine Mast Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Fifty Shades of Patrick

We had heavy snow in Cleveland yesterday. It began overnight, and by 9 AM we had an inch. It kept snowing all day, and by the time it ended (around 5 PM), we'd gotten three more inches. At times, the wind blew very heavily -- and we had whiteout conditions, like this, where I couldn't even see past the end of my front yard, much less across the street.

It'll be bitterly cold today, with a high of 0F and a wind chill of -23 at times!

Heavy snow in Cleveland

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

Love at last... Happy Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day

Two men have found their Valentines....

Poor Godzilla!

Eros has been busy this Valentine's Day, making men fall in love...

I wish I even knew this guy, much less had him as a Valentine...

Godzilla love!

Go go Godzilla!

Be my Valentine???

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 9, 2015

my new car

I'm moving to Cleveland tomorrow. As part of my move, I had to buy a car. I purchased a 2015 Toyota Camry XLE hybrid. It's a sweet ride: Very quiet, very smooth, excellent acceleration, superb turning.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

my house in the snow

I closed on my new house on February 2, and took possession on February 4. This shot out the front door (showing the planter and the front yard) was the first time I'd gone out the front door as a home-owner.

Below you can see my bare living room and dining room. Time for some furniture!

snow in my front yard

my living room

my dining room
I got to stir the rigatoni! I got to help with dinner!!

I got to stir the rigatoni

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sunrise at stately Howe Manor in Cleveland on February 6...

sunrise at stately Howe Manor
WHEW!!! It was snowy and cold in Cleveland this past week!

cold in cleveland

snowy night