I finished up a book about Virginia by Webb Garrison, A Treasury of Virginia Tales. I wonder about the level of scholarship. One photo, of the Virginia monument in Gettysburg, is captioned that it's the Lee monument in Richmond. Another image, of a clearly prewar Robert E. Lee, is captioned as being from 1865. But that's a minor fault, right, getting captions wrong for Robert E. Lee? It's not like he's especially important in Virginia history...
(The all time winner for bad Civil War scholarship, however, goes to Peter Darman, who lifted a satirical article by my friend Don Tracey about "parrot guns" and put it into his Civil War trivia book. Sheesh!)
There was one intriguing story in Garrison's book, however, about Christ Church in Weems, VA - an odd-looking cruciform building built in the 1730s. According to one researcher, the walls and a window are structured so that on Easter (that is, 14 days after the vernal equinox), the sunlight strikes the center of a cross in front of a stone carved with the Ten Commandments thereupon. "Virginia's Stonehenge," the place is called. The people at the church are not interested in entertaining any speculations about the building containing any astronomical alignments, however. I suppose they don't want to attract THAT sort of crowd. And looking at videos of "druids" and other weirdos gathering at Stonehenge every year, who can blame them?
It is now April, 2012, which means that I discovered I really liked classical music 40 years ago (April, 1972), via my father's purchase of a Rimsky-Korsakov Lp for me. The whole story is here. It has been one of the happier discoveries in my life; I'm at the point now where I can't imagine how dull life would have been without it.
Last night I watched an entertaining documentary about Sesame Street's Elmo, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011). It's about Kevin Clash, Elmo's alter ego, and how he got his start in Baltimore television and worked his way into the Jim Henson organization. Elmo, of course, is a internationally recognized superstar to the two year-old set. Why he is, is due to the sweet nature of Kevin Clash, the puppeteer. Clash is reportedly the highest paid Muppeteer, ever, due to licensing deals. (Remember the Tickle Me, Elmo mania one Christmas?)
I also watched some episodes of the old Parker Lewis Can't Lose TV show. Remember it? My kids and I used to watch it on Sunday nights. Clever show, still holds up. For the life of me, I don't know why stations don't rerun these on Saturday mornings, which used to be a kid's programming paradise but is now a wasteland. Wikipedia factoid: "Parker Lewis was one of the first shows with fan support on the Internet. It was done through a mailing list called The Flamingo Digest."
Finally, I watched a rather dull film noir, The Lady Gambles (1949), starring Barbara Stanwyck as a compulsive gambler. You can't trust her with a wad of cash and a craps table nearby. "Meh," as they now say.