Monday, January 18, 2010

Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Home and George Rogers Clark National Park

Dan and Colette invited us to visit the Lincoln Boyhood Home in Lincoln City, IN and the George Rogers Clark National Park in Vincennes, IN. We gladly accepted their invitation and left yesterday morning around 6:30 a.m. Approximately 3 hours later, we made it to the Lincoln Boyhood Home. Nice enough museum. We saw the movie about Lincoln which wasn't too bad -- a little too superficial but not so bad really. The nicest part of the visit was getting out and walking around outside. Fresh air, cool temps, overcast day, and muddy trails. In my book, that's a decent day, especially given the weather that we've had. On the grounds you can see where Lincoln's mom is buried, replicas of his Dad's farm, and a small little village that, during the summer, is teeming with period actors showing visitors how life was like back in Lincoln's teen years. After we left there, we made a pit stop at Denny's for a quick bit to eat and then it was back on the road to Vincennes - the home of the George Rogers Clark National Park. There was less to see here -- the Revolutionary battle site of Ft. Sackville -- but the Ranger was so much more interesting and very excited about what she does for a living. So much energy! So, Sackville.... ever heard of it? I'm not sure if too many people have. During the American Revolution, the Brits controlled Ft Detroit which was a target of the Americans. George Rogers Clark, a wild & crazy Indian killer (and big bro to William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame), who was stationed/fighting in this area came up with a bold plan to take Ft Detroit by first gaining control of Ft. Sackville (Vincennes) along the Wabash River and a few other strategic locations along various important nearby rivers (the towns of Kaskaskia and Cahokia to be exact). While Clark did gain control of Sackville, Kaskaskia, and Cahokia he was unable to take Ft Detroit. Obviously, the Americans eventually won the war, but had Clark, or the Americans, lost the bid for Sackville when it was fought, we might have certainly lost this portion of the US to Canada (the Brits at the time) leaving no opportunity open for the Louisiana Purchase, Manifest Destiny, and all that good stuff that happens down the road. The story here is interesting enough but the real appeal to me is the story of good ol' Clark himself. Clark was not a nice guy any way you look at it. But, the guy knew how to soldier. How he managed to inspire his men, face some major Mother Nature, and take Ft Sackville is a truly amazing feat.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Magical Music of Disney

For a number of years, Bill and I used to hold season tickets to both the St Louis Symphony Orchestra and the St Louis Repertory Theatre. Oh, how I loved going! Some of the best memories that I have of this last decade involve nights spent out at the Symphony or the Rep. Then, after we had our daughter, these bi-monthly date nights exceeded my greatest expectations. They were, as my principal would say, magical. At the very least they were an entertaining respite from the hustle bustle of our new life as parents. But, eventually, it just started feeling like we always had too much stuff going on all the time. So, au revoir to the season tickets! Tissue please. Now, my theatre-going is limited to the productions (although very good productions) of the high school and middle school where Bill and I teach and to the annual Christmas musical put on by our daughter's school. Our symphony-going has fared a bit better as we've continued to, on occasion, attend their special concert events. For example, tonight, courtesy of my Mom, were we treated to the SLSO Magical Music of Disney concert. While I hope to never set a foot, even a toe, into the compounds of Disney World or Disneyland, I do very much appreciate the music of many of the Disney movies that I have seen. And, it goes without saying how much I appreciate the music of our local symphony orchestra. So, tonight, a good time was had by all. In fact, the evening was, Mr. Principal, magical.

Here was tonight's line up:
David Robertson, conductor
Gene Dobbs Bradford, narrator

Disney Classics Overture
Disney’s Tarzan Orchestral Suite
Disney’s The Little Mermaid Orchestral Suite
Disney’s Hercules Orchestral Suite
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Orchestral Suite
Disney’s The Rescuers Down Under Theme
Disney’s Aladdin Orchestral Suite
Suite from Disney’s Mulan
Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame Orchestral Suite
Disney’s The Lion King Orchestral Suite
Encore - Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles Orchestral Suite

Surprisingly, I've actually only seen The Little Mermaid and the Hunchback of Notre Dame but it was still very enjoyable listening to the rest of the suites.