Literature and History

Hello Weekend!

I’ve been taking a series of classes at Grayson Community College through their Center for Workplace Learning. The program is called T.E.A.M.S – Texoma’s Educationally Active Mature Seniors. I qualify on one count because I’m over 60, but some people might question my maturity. LOL

Anyway, the first classes have been on literature, movies and theatre. We read books, discussed them, then watched movies or attended stage-plays based on the stories that included, Rebecca, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Human Stain

A history class on another day is covering the Civil War and here are a few facts that I’d forgotten from my HS and college history classes:

The Civil War started after the southern states seceded from the Union, partially because of slavery, but also because they didn’t think the Federal government should be able to impose limits on states’ rights. The primary “right” in question was the right to have slaves, but the southern states railed against the increasing power of the Federal Government.

Not too far removed from today, is it.

This war led to the most casualties to be lost in a war – foreign or domestic – 620,000, and it was the Vietnam war that brought the number of lives lost in a foreign war higher than the number for the Civil War casualties. The total number of soldiers on both sides: 2 million from the North and 750,000 from the South. The Battle of Antietam in September 1862 was the bloodies in U.S. history, with a loss of 22,717 lives. It ended with General Robert E. Lee pulling back his forces and had the Union General, George McClellan, pursued the Rebels and destroyed Lee’s army the war might have ended there. That McClellan didn’t, was seen as a massive failure.

The story-line of The Red Badge of Courage shows what a young soldier might have experienced in that awful, bloody war, especially early on in his tour of duty.

The Homestead Act of 1862 that gave people 160 acres of land if they improved on it in some way, as well as lived on the property, was very instrumental in the growth of the western states, including Texas. Ex-slaves could not take advantage of the Homestead Act. They were considered property, and as such had no rights. Never mind that some of them joined the armies on both sides. Just like after WWI and WWII, African-Americans struggled for basic rights as human beings back in the 1800s.

Sadly, they are still struggling for equal justice.

Moving on to some useless, or useful – depending on your need for a bit of trivia. In case you’re ever asked about when clay litter was invented for cat litter boxes, I have the answer, thanks to Litter Robot

“In 1947, Michigan businessman Edward Lowe was trying to market granulated clay as a nesting material for chickens. One cold January day, Lowe’s neighbor Kay Draper stopped by to ask if he had any sand available to use as cat litter—she was tired of her cat tracking ashes all over the house. Instead, Lowe handed her a bag of granulated clay and promptly forgot about the exchange.

“Two weeks later, Mrs. Draper showed up asking for more clay—and eventually, so did her friends. The clay minerals were capable of absorbing their weight in water, working far better than sand or ashes. Lowe decided to package and sell the product as Kitty Litter.”

So now you know.

Also from Litter Robot is an interesting article How Smart Are Cats? 

You can click over to read all the scientific stuff about the cortex and cerebral whatevers, but here is the wrap-up that won’t strain a non-scientific mind:

“Just as distinct personality traits run in cats, certain breeds are more recognized for their intelligence. It’s no coincidence that these breeds also tend to be more sociable and interactive with their humans. In no particular order, here are some of the most intelligent cat breeds:

Cornish Rex
Turkish Angora/Van

“Of course, that’s not to say your domestic shorthair isn’t as smart as one of these breeds. Every cat is wonderfully unique, and must be appreciated for their distinct qualities. Although there aren’t enough studies to qualify general feline intelligence, one undeniable truth points toward how smart cats are: They’ve managed to completely manipulate us humans!”

So true. I am well and truly manipulated. How about you? That’s all for me folks. Have a wonderful weekend. Be safe. Be happy.

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