Posted on February 2nd, 2016 No comments
President John Tyler’s Grandson, Harrison Tyler, on Still Being Alive
A few days ago, the website Mental Floss posted an amazing, seemingly impossible piece of American trivia, which then quickly spread around the web, to Yahoo, the Huffington Post, ABC News, Fox News, Politico, Kottke, the Daily Mail, and others: Two grandsons of President John Tyler — who was born in 1790 and served as tenth president of the United States — are still alive today. “Thank goodness,” says Harrison Ruffin Tyler, one of those grandsons, who spoke to us earlier this morning from Sherwood Forest Plantation, the historical Tyler family home in Virginia in which he resides. Harrison Tyler is not an immortal vampire, or a 160-year-old freak of nature, but a mentally sharp octogenarian with a soothing Southern drawl and a more favorable opinion of his grandfather’s legacy than the ones held by most presidential historians.
It’s a really interesting story that you’re still, you know, around. Could you just explain how this happened? How someone born in 1790 still has living grandchildren?
Well, he was a good man! [laughs] Both my grandfather — the president — and my father, were married twice. And they had children by their first wives. And their first wives died, and they married again and had more children. And my father was 75 when I was born, his father was 63 when he was born. John Tyler had fifteen children — eight by his first wife, seven by his second wife — so it does get very confusing. I really do not know — it’s amazing how families drift apart. When I was a child, I did know most of the descendents, but as you get more generations down the line, it’s hard to keep track of everybody.
I know you have a brother in Tennessee, too.
Yes, he’s not doing good.
I’m sorry to hear that. I hear that you’re still playing tennis twice a week though.
Oh, yes. But I wish I could play better. I still hit the ball well, but my legs don’t work as good.
That’s still pretty good though. How old are you now?
84. Well, 83, I’m in my 84th year.
So, when you tell people that you’re the grandson of President Tyler, what kind of response do you get? Do they always believe you? Or do people sometimes think you’re making it up?
I don’t know, I don’t bring it up.
Never comes up?
See, I don’t bring it up, so, that question doesn’t come up.
When people come and take tours of the house, you don’t ever come out and say, “Hey! I’m John Tyler’s grandkid!”?
[Laughs] Not that way, no.
We do give tours … We have a friend who manages the place; he gives tours as required. But I tell him, if there’s groups of ten or more people, particularly if there are lovely ladies involved, then I’ll give the tour. [Laughs]
So they believe that you’re the grandson. Nobody questions that.
Nobody’s ever questioned that. I am sometimes called the great-grandson – we have to correct that.
What do you think of your grandfather’s presidency? Where would you rank him among the other presidents?
That’s very difficult. He’s been maligned in some ways, because he was elected to the Confederate Congress, so people say he’s a traitor. But actually, he should be known for his efforts as the organizer of the Peace Conference in Washington in 1861. He tried to get the uncommitted states to all agree on a program, and then get the other states to join in, and get everybody back together. That’s not generally recognized. That’s the thing that he really should be known for. And he did not serve in the Confederate Congress. He was elected, he went to Richmond, where the Confederate Congress moved in January of 1862. He went to take his seat, but he unfortunately had a stroke and died a week later. So, see, I have to argue with people — “No, he didn’t serve.”
Do you follow politics today? Do you have a favorite candidate in the presidential election?
Oh, my family’s conservative, I served as the chairman of the Republican Party here, but I’m sorry, I’ve sort of lost interest. They’re killing each other, on both sides. The campaigns are just horrible. It has nothing to do with what we really need.
Was it like that in John Tyler’s time?
Oh, yes. Politics has always been like that. Nothing new.
Posted on January 26th, 2016 No comments
The first video is a famous one which I haven’t posted before and the second are out takes from scenes in Seller’s movies
There is a small island with a reef and several islets called Palmyra Atoll. It is one of the most remote places in the world. One of the islets is owned or administered by the Nature Conservancy, the rest is administered by the United States government. Palmyra Atoll is located almost due south of the Hawaiian Islands, roughly one-third of the way between Hawaii and American Samoa. The nearest continent is almost 3350 miles to the northeast.
The issue of the governing of Palmyra is generally a moot point, since there is no permanent population remaining there, nor any reason to think that there will be in the future. Palmyra is the only unorganized incorporated territory of the United States.
If you think it is an remote island paradise consider that Palmyra Atoll’s location in the Pacific Ocean, where the southern and northern currents meet, means that its beaches are littered with trash and debris. Plastic mooring buoys and plastic bottles are plentiful on the beaches of Palmyra.
All of the above is the result of my interest in ham radio. A team of operators went to Palmyra to set up a remote station and give hams worldwide a chance to add a country to their list of operating accomplishments. I think there are about 360 countries which are considered independant and far enough separated from nearby locations to qualify.
Now if I haven’t lost the reader’s atention stay tuned as there is another expedition to the South Sandwich Islands near Antartica going on right now.
Julia Margaret Cameron was a British photographer.
Born: June 11, 1815, Kolkata, India
Died: January 26, 1879, Kalutara, Sri Lanka
There was an exhibit of some of her photographs recently, most were taken in the 1860s. When you look at pictures from that time you imagine what those peoples lives were like and how all are forgotten except for some extraordinary photographs.
There is a Dunkin Donuts down at the end of Clove Valley Road at Route 55 which I frequent. It seems to be the busiest place in Dutchess County, particularly at the beginning of the day when people line up their cars at the takeout window. I prefer parking and waiting inside, which I did one day last week. I ordered the usual and while I generally say “I don’t need the receipt” the young guy said “you know you can get a free donut.”
I took the receipt which you will see below which requires you to get on a website to get a validation code. What they don’t tell you is that you have to answer a questionaire that takes about ten minutes and you can’t cheat. You have to answer all the questions, e.g. No I don’t order the dark roast.
Well it worked- I had to fill out the form within three days and present it at the store for the free donut (oh you have to order a medium coffee also and you cant ask for the doughnut- spelled correctly) but it was well worth it. As usual I took three or four extra Sweet and Lows as a free bonus.
I have not posted political opinions in the past but saw the below quote from the Washington Post and thought it was well worth repeating.
“If, in future years, Republicans and conservatives are called to explain how Trump happened, they might recall this: Good people could have stopped him, but they didn’t.”
Trump was described by a editorial writer in the same issue of the Washington Post as ” a bombastic, bellicose, self-aggrandizing, mean-streaked, golf-cheating, bullying narcissist without plans or policies beyond his own, no doubt fickle, fantasies.”
Should we put her down as doubtful?
Posted on January 14th, 2016 No comments
I’m posting this before the big drawing, so that if I win, you will see that hey anything is possible. On the other hand I read a great analysis about the chances of winning a Powerball lottery. You have a better chance of being struck by a asteroid than winning the lottery.
I will put on a helmet before the drawing later tonight.
Posted on January 11th, 2016 No comments
“Readers actively responded to the last post about the stupid Supreme Court decision following upon the stupid federal court decisions below concerning the stupid prosecutor who wanted to send the stupid commercial fisherman to prison for thirty years because he caught some fish an inch below the stupid minimum set by the stupid National Marine Fishing Service.”
I have reluctantly posted below his blog address which no doubt will quadruple his readership.
Posted on January 11th, 2016 No comments