Monday, May 30, 2016

The Great War

The United States declared war on the German Empire on April 6, 1917. By the summer of 1917 American soldiers under John J. Pershing arrived along the Western Front.

There was nothing "Great" about this war which featured innovative ways to kill people, including light machine guns, high explosive shells, poison gas, rifled artillery, tanks,aircraft and flamethrowers. Although there was initial sentiment for neutrality, that changed .

Historians such as Ernest R. May have approached the process of American entry into the war as a study in how public opinion changed radically in three years' time. In 1914 most Americans called for neutrality, seeing the war a dreadful mistake and were determined to stay out. By 1917 the same public felt just as strongly that going to war was both necessary and wise. Military leaders had little to say during this debate, and military considerations were seldom raised. The decisive questions dealt with morality and visions of the future. The prevailing attitude was that America possessed a superior moral position as the only great nation devoted to the principles of freedom and democracy. By staying aloof from the squabbles of reactionary empires, it could preserve those ideals—sooner or later the rest of the world would come to appreciate and adopt them. In 1917 this very long-run program faced the severe danger that in the short run powerful forces adverse to democracy and freedom would triumph. Strong support for moralism came from religious leaders, women (led byJane Addams), and from public figures like long-time Democratic leader William Jennings Bryan, the Secretary of State from 1913 to 1916. The most important moralist of all was President Woodrow Wilson—the man who dominated decision making so totally that the war has been labelled, from an American perspective, "Wilson's War".[88]
In 1917 Wilson won the support of most of the moralists by proclaiming "a war to make the world safe for democracy." If they truly believed in their ideals, he explained, now was the time to fight. The question then became whether Americans would fight for what they deeply believed in, and the answer turned out to be a resounding "Yes".[89]
Antiwar activists at the time and in the 1930s, alleged that beneath the veneer of moralism and idealism there must have been ulterior motives. Some suggested a conspiracy on the part of New York City bankers holding $3 billion of war loans to the Allies, or steel and chemical firms selling munitions to the Allies.[90] The interpretation was popular among left-wing Progressives (led by Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin) and among the "agrarian" wing of the Democratic party—including the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee of the House. He strenuously opposed war, and when it came he rewrote the tax laws to make sure the rich paid the most. (In the 1930s neutrality laws were passed to prevent financial entanglements from dragging the nation into a war.) In 1915, Bryan thought that Wilson's pro-British sentiments had distorted his policies, so he became the first Secretary of State ever to resign in protest.[91]
 (Source Wikipedia)

National Geographic Magazine advertisement
August 1917

Nach Gasangriff 1917
British emplacement after unreckoned german gas attack (probably phosgene) at Fromelles.Postcard, sent Jule 1916; Herman Rex: Der Weltkrieg in seiner rauhen Wirklichkeit. Das Frontkämpferwerk. Oberammergau 1926. S. 85.

National Geographic Magazine
August 1917

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ten Years ago in the Outback of New Ipswich

Happy Throwback Thursday!

I went through the archives and picked a photo taken ten years ago on May 26, 2006. After some heavy rains the water level was quite high at the flood control dam site 35 in New Ipswich, NH. On our morning walk I spied a Didgeridoo near the water's edge. I can only assume the flood waters carried it from Australia.

I don't remember the fate of that instrument, but it is gone. My friend and I tried constructing our own using PVC pipe but I never could master the circular breathing that is required to play it.

May 26, 2006
Where did it come from and where did it go?

The photo below is a shot of the REAL outback

Fitzgerald River National Park DSC04436.JPG
By Yewenyi at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monadnock Drum Caravan Performance

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The Monadnock Drum Caravan performed a free concert at Depot Park in Peterborough. The performance was directed by Abou Sylla an accomplished musician. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Monandnock Drum Caravan

Abou Sylla and drummers

Aboui trades rythms with a young man


It was impressive how quickly this girl picked up the rythms

Memorial Day

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New Ipswich celebrates Memorial Day a week before the official holiday. They do this to ensure that they can schedule a band and color guard for the afternoon parade. In the morning a smaller parade and ceremony are held in Smithville. This year we had a nice turnout of Veterans.

Pete and Bonny Jo provided coffee and Nisu before the morning parade as they have for many years
A  chance to meet up with the other vets
A salute
Morning service at the Smithville Cemetery


Sea Cadets
Decorating the Waters while the Navy Hymn was played

Verse 1: Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea! 
Verse 2: O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Verse 3: Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea! 
Verse 4: O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Dave Rust and his son Eric usually play echo taps  at the morning and afternoon programs, however this year Eric is deployed in the Middle East.

Don Poirier and his family

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dick Martin Memorial

Dick Martin died on December 10, 2015. Friends and Family gathered at the Windblown Ski Lodge to celebrate his birthday with music.
Martin was the only botanist I ever heard of who took a saxophone in the field. By Day he and Tim would collect furiously, then by night Dick would disappear into the bars and whorehouses of jungle settlements and blow sax till dawn. Sometimes when they were upriver, Martin would wander off and for most of the night Tim would hear soft plaintive music mingling with the haunting sounds of the rain forest. Schultes always referred to Martin as a genius. He often told of an indignant phone call he once received from a colleague complaining that one of his graduate students was doodling through every lecture of an advanced taxonomy class. Schultes looked into the matter and discovered that Martin was taking notes in Japanese.  
Wade Davis, One River
Dick blowing sax at the Mason Homecoming Festival
Photo taken August 29, 2010

Doing field work in the Amazon

Dick Martin

The Easy Over Band

Friends and Family at Windblown Lodge in New Ipswich.NH

Joe on Fiddle

Chet playing drums

Jon on Guitar

Set list for the Easy Over Band

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ice Cream Social at the New Ipswich Library

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream at the New Ipswich Library. Photos taken at the Ice Cream Social held on May 19th, 2016.

Ice Cream Social

Serious Business

Ice Cream Social

A chance for conversation

Steve being serious

Ice Cream Social


This is fun

Sitting with mom


Checking out the sprinkles