Rising To Power In A Democratic Country

How did Hitler successfully take over a Democratic Country?  It seems impossible even when one considers the times. But that is a part of it, when the citizens are unhappy, and promises are being made, we make deals. This brief, but clear TED-Ed shows us how fragile democracy can be in the face of difficult economic times, unemployment and fear among its nations people.

Native American Heritage Month

The tensions continue in North Dakota as the conflict over the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline moved into more dangerous territory.  Native Americans, environmental activists and others have said the pipeline, which would carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois, threatens the local water supply and would also harm sacred Native American grounds.

Dave Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said that while protesters have been asked to “remain prayerful and peaceful,” it was “hard to resist reacting” given the dual pressures coming from Energy Transfer Partners and law enforcement. Charles Abourezk, Chief Justice of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, South Dakota recently posted an interesting factoid about Sunoco Logistics, the future operator of the oil pipeline, “spills more crude oil, more often than any of its competitors with more than 200 leaks since 2010.

It is a scary situation, with tensions escalating. If you want to read more on this, and educate yourself please click here. Let us know where you stand!!!

French Toast, The National Holiday

An entire day of French toast, why not?? That is correct, there is actually a National French Toast Day, I’ve heard some strange ones, but this one proves interesting. Here’s 31 Life-Changing Ways to Eat French Toast, really, 31. Who would have known. And then for flavors, how does Orange Creamsicle French toast sound, life changing?  There is also a Nutella & Bacon stuffed French toast, who doesn’t love bacon!!  I know I do, and I am excited to try out some of these recipe’s!!!

The First Day of Advent

The first day of Advent – Could also be 24 days of Christmas travel. You can ditch the shopping frenzy and hit the road, slopes or the beach.  I found an awesome website that takes you all over the world for fun in November and December.  Bobsledding in Norway, the beach in Australia, penguin watching in Chile, a hot smoke sauna in Estonia, or even a Siberian Tiger tour in Russia and so much more.

I deserved a big grin after all the Thanksgiving festivities and commercials.  Thought you might too.  This is not your typical travel site.

Small Business Saturday

This will be the last “shopping” post I’m going to make this year.  And the only reason to post this one is because of who sponsored this relatively new trend.

Small Business Saturday was first observed in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts on November 27, 2010 in response to the “big box” events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  The event encourages shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.  The first event was sponsored by American Express, in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino , and, of course, Roslindale Village Main Street. Since the first one more than 95 million people are now coming out to shop, spending more than $14 billion, as noted on the American Express Small Business page.

According to Small Business Saturday on Wiki, the UK saw the success of Small Business Saturday and decided to pick it up and run with it. So great that small businesses all over the world are prospering because of this day. I will be out there supporting my local community, I hope you will consider doing the same.

Black Friday & It’s History

Black Friday is called that because it is the day retailers go “in the black” in the profit column, right?  Well, actually the first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied to a financial crisis on September 24, 1869.  The crash of the U.S. gold market caused by two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, who worked together to buy up as much gold as they could hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits.  On that Friday, the conspiracy unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.

While there are many rumored stories of Black Friday, the one that took root in retail and evolved into a more positive event involves the city of Philadelphia and the big Army-Navy football game.  You can read all about this game, and how it came to be here.

Happy Thanksgiving

A day to gather, celebrate gratefulness, and maybe eat some good food.  I could regal you with the history, the Macy’s Day parade, the world record turkey (86 lbs), the fastest time carving a turkey (3 min 19 seconds) or the largest pumpkin pie (3,669 lbs).

Instead I’m thinking of the 10 Best Thanksgiving Movies –  Charlie Brown makes it to #1.  Can you guess the rest?

Co-Conspirator of Turkey

What else would today be if not the Co-conspirator of turkey everywhere?  That is right, it is Cranberry Day!  We once again ask why, especially when it comes to that wiggly, jiggly, ridged cranberry sauce from the can.

I don’t know how I knew that the cranberry is actually native to North America, but I did and it is.  As a wild perennial, we know Native Americans used cranberries as both food and medicine.  Cranberries are well-suited to the chilly climate and acidic soil of the Northern hemisphere, and are grown in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey and in parts of Washington and Oregon. Wisconsin is currently producing more than half of the world’s total crop.  Cranberries, Concord grapes, and blueberries often get lumped together as the only fruits native to North America – but that’s only partially correct.  They are the only native North American fruits which are commercially grown.  And of those three, cranberries were the first to flourish as a commercial crop thanks to innovative growing practices, including the introduction of wet harvesting and the formation of a cooperative of growers we know today as Ocean Spray.


In the 1930’s cranberry farming shifted from dry harvesting to wet.  Dry harvesting is a labor-intensive affair.  Wet harvesting cuts the labor to a handful of people but comes with a caveat.  The berries are often too imperfect to sell as fresh product, leaving companies like Ocean Spray to meet this challenge with a solution they had waiting on the bench the whole time: Can ‘em.

You can read more here about cranberries, their harvest and history. And if you are really interested please click here for a short video on how to create the “jellied cranberry rose”.

The Sunday Drive

Many of the cases I handle involve automobile accidents, both personal and commercial.  I started out researching the actual statistics of the number of auto accidents on weekends versus mid-week, but as so often happens, I was diverted on the Internet highway to the history of the “Sunday Drive”.


The Sunday drive tradition has it’s roots in the U.S. and New Zealand and actually began long before automobiles.  Back in the horse and buggy days when families took Sunday’s off to attend church and then took their time heading home or would take advantage of the light work day to “sight see”.  This tradition became even more entrenched during the beginning of the automobile era in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  The idea was that automobile’s were not used for commuting or errands, but for pleasure.  So much so that eventually “Parkways” were constructed for “recreational” driving and excluded trucks and other heavy vehicles, many were strictly roads that went through the scenic route to a destination.

How many movie plots in the past center around driving for pleasure, too many to count. The movies go back decades, and I found hundreds of sites on the web with the “Top Driving Movies”. I found this one to be pretty cool for its’ diversity, The 29 Greatest Car Movies Ever. At this time, the only thing that seems to have an effect on driving for pleasure is the price of gas. Gas rationing in the 70’s definitely had an effect as did the incredibly fast rising gas price of the mid 2000’s, when the average price rose as high as $4.85 a gallon. We tend to park our fun little gas guzzlers when the prices get so high.


On the eve of this “driving holiday” known as Thanksgiving, I pray you’ll be safe and have some fun with your family. I am really glad the cost of a gallon of gas is not $4.85 a gallon.  Maybe you can take advantage of gas prices and consider taking the “scenic route” home. Here is a list of America’s Most Scenic Roads.

A History Of Gingerbread

Gingerbread Day – Nothing says the holidays are have arrived quite like gingerbread.  There are gingerbread houses, men, cookies and loaves among other things!  Since I tend to always be a tad inquisitive (kind of goes with the legal profession) I decided to learn a little about where gingerbread came from and why those little houses.

“Run, run, fast as you can,

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”

~ The Gingerbread Man, a fairy tale


Gingerbread has been around a long time, and in fact, the first known recipe for gingerbread came from Greece in 2400 B.C. The Chinese have recipes recorded in the 10th century, and in Medieval England, the term gingerbread simply meant “preserved ginger” and wasn’t applied to the desserts we are familiar with until the 15th century.  Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century.  The decorating of the houses became popular when the well known tale of “Hansel and Gretel” by The Brothers Grimm became popular. It was at that time that the houses migrated to the US, coming here with German settlers. And now, according to the Wilton Blog, over 2,000,000 houses were made in 2011, how far we have come!!

PBS writer Tori Avey has done a great job of getting to the bottom of gingerbread fact and fiction. She even has the world record gingerbread house specs from 2013, spanning more than 40,000 square feet. Now that, gingerbread men and women, is quite the place!! If you are interested in reading more on this fascinating history, that has become a tradition please click here.