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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

During the weekly chin-wag with the Mothe yesterday, the subject of President James A. Garfield came up.  (If readers have paid the slightest attention to the butterfly-like trajectory of this blog over the years, they should not be the least surprised.  Where d’ye suppose I get it from?)

I mentioned the fact that Garfield had seen combat in the Civil War and that, in fact, most of the immediate post-war presidents had done so, but because I was caught cold and was otherwise distracted, could not recall with certainty my little store of trivial knowledge on the subject.  Herein, then, because this is my blog (which is mine), some highlights of interest:

Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) – Johnson was too old to go soldiering when the War broke out, but served as Military Governor of Tennessee with the nominal rank of Brigadier General.  His headquarters at Nashville was raided from time to time by Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Grant

Grant

U.S. Grant (1869-1877) – No need to recap his service here, I think.

Hayes

Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) – Hayes was the Colonel of an Ohio infantry regiment.  Wounded in the arm leading a charge against an entrenched position at the Battle of South Mountain during the Antietam Campaign.  Later served in the Army of the Shenandoah, first under “Black Dave” Hunter and then Sheridan.  Fought in various battles of the Valley Campaign of 1864, where he received several minor wounds.  During that campaign, he was promoted to Brigadier General and breveted Major General.

Garfield

Garfield

James A. Garfield (1881) – Was the Colonel of an Ohio infantry regiment.  He became a Brigadier General under General Buell and fought in the Shiloh Campaign.  Later, he became  Chief of Staff to Gen. Rosencrans  in the Army of the Cumberland and was present at the near-disastrous Battle of Chickamauga.  He was promoted to Major General, but later resigned his commission and returned to Congress after Rosencrans was removed from command by Washington.

Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885) – A lawyer, Arthur was appointed Brigadier General on the military staff of the Governor of New York, where he served in teh Quartermaster Department.  He never saw combat but instead remained behind organizing and supplying troops, at which he was apparently quite gifted.  (He was elected Colonel of a New York infantry regiment, but declined the position at the request of the Governor.)

Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897) – The only genuine weasel in the bunch, in terms of military service.  Another New York lawyer, Cleveland took advantage of the terms of the Conscription Act to pay off another man to go serve in the military in his place.

Harrison

Harrison

Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893) – Became Colonel of an Indiana infantry regiment.  He served in the Atlanta Campaign under Sherman and also participated in the Battle of Nashville.  Finished the War a Brigadier General.

McKinley

McKinley

William McKinley (1897-1901) –  He was a Sergeant in the same Ohio regiment commanded by Hayes (with whom he remained life-long friends) and served in the same campaigns.  McKinley was also in the thick of the fighting at Antietam (which Hayes missed due to his wound at South Mountain).  During teh Valley Campaign, he was promoted to officer rank, finishing the War as a Brevet Major.

Teddy Roosevelt, who succeeded McKinley, was the first of the next generation of presidents who were born too late to participate in the War.  (T.R. was born in 1858.  Taft was born in 1857 and Wilson in 1856.  And so on.)

So there you are.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I mentioned in the post below that the youngest gel had tried to bake some cookies with mashed-up hard candies in them yesterday, resulting in a fine mess for ol’ Robbo to deal with.   This was the price I paid for allowing her to attempt making the dough all by herself while my back was turned taking down Christmas decorations.

We had another go at it late this afternoon, this time with pre-made tubes of Pillsbury dough.  Alas, we wound up with more or less the same results.  However, I was able finally to ram into her head the root of failure.  You see, whoever it was from whom the gel got the idea made mention of a “stained glass” effect.  This sank in on the gel for some reason or other and became the focal point of her designs, nay, almost an object of obsession.

Herein lay the problem.  You see, to me, “stained glass cookies” look something like this:

stained glass cookies

The trouble was that the gel was thinking more along the lines of this:

Rose Window

Despite my insistence that it would never work, her vision was of one giant cookie-dough cake, bedecked with intricately woven patterns and streams of candied color, which she would proudly slice apart to the admiring plaudits of her little classmates at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method.  (Her eleventh birthday is tomorrow, hence the celebratory  refreshments  for her fellow scholars.)

What she actually got was an amorphous lump, roughly akin to that flying wash-cloth thing that stung Spock in the back in that Star Trek episode, only burned all round the edges and hermetically sealed to the baking sheet.

The gel was good enough to admit that yes, she had perhaps made a miscalculation in terms of the practical and achievable.   But the fact that she immediately turned round and blamed me for not stopping her sooner somewhat undercut the sense that a lesson had been learned.  Sometimes, ol’ Dad just can’t win.

However, having fanned twice in succession, the gel is now at least willing to listen to me.  This evening I explained the cold truth to her:  We are going to give it one more shot.  We are going to do it my way this time.   We are, to shift metaphors, going to box to our weight.  And she is going to be pleased with the results whether she likes it or not.

Sometimes Father does know best.

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