The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack



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Today in History: Studebaker

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 16, 2018 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (February 16) in 1852 the Studebaker Brothers Wagon Company was founded. Studebaker is especially fascinating because it successfully transitioned from building horse powered wagons to automobiles. (They even experimented with electric cars.) The company got its start building wagons for westward migration, then expanded mightily by providing the Union with wagons during the Civil War. In 1902 they began to sell electric cars but switched to gasoline powered cars in 1904. They remained a family company throughout their existence and that sometimes led to problems finding proper leadership. Financial problems resulted in the closing of the company in 1967.

New Review: Fatemarked by David Estes

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 15, 2018 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Check out my review of David Estes' novel, Fatemarked

Today in History: Sled Dogs Save Nome

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 15, 2018 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (February 15) in 1925 the residents in and around Nome, Alaska were saved from a diphtheria epidemic by the heroic efforts of 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs who transported the serum 674 miles in 5 1/2 days in temperatures ranging from negative-twenty to negative-seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Several mushers suffered severe frostbite and several of the sled dogs died, but the serum arrived in time to prevent the diphtheria from spreading. As it is, it is estimated that more than 100 people died.

Ash Wednesday

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 14, 2018 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (February 14, 2018) Roman Catholics commemorate the beginning of the Season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. It falls 46 days (40 days plus 6 Sundays) before Easter and can be as early as February 4 and as late as March 10. Lent commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.

On Ash Wednesday, Roman Catholics are marked with ashes smeared onto their foreheads in the shape of a cross. Ashes are a symbol of grief and repentance so receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday is an outward sign of Catholics’ desire to reform and improve their lives.

Today in History: Valentine's Day

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 14, 2018 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (February 14) we celebrate love thanks to the memory of St. Valentine of Rome who was imprisoned and eventually executed for the crimes of performing marriage ceremonies for Roman soldiers (who didn’t have the right to marry) and ministering to Christians. Legend says that while in jail Valentine miraculously healed the sick daughter of his jailer and then sent the first valentine when he wrote her a letter before his execution signing it, “Your Valentine”.

In Victorian England the practiced developed of sending a sweet to your sweet, together with a little note called a “valentine” in honor of the saint.

A lot of people get frustrated today that Hallmark and a lot of others companies have commercialized the feast day, but you don’t have to buy a card. Just take the time to write a note to Your Valentine.

This “on this day” post is dedicated to my sweetheart, my lovely wife, Michelle Makoe Stack.

Today in History: The Coso Artifact

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 13, 2018 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (February 13) in 1961 the Coso Artifact was found. The artifact purports to be spark plug encased in 500,000 year old rock. If the spark plug could in fact be shown to be 500,000 years old, this would be one of the most important discoveries of all time. Critics argue that the evidence does not support the ancient date and that the spark plug is not actually in the geode but in the concretion (hard mass formed by the local accumulation of matter) attached to it. Others postulate that the spark plug (which appears to have been manufactured in the1920s) is proof of the existence of time travel. The current whereabouts of the Coso Artifact are unknown.

Tonight in History: Ely Cathedral Collapsed

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 12, 2018 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

On this night (February 12-13) in 1322 the central tower of Ely Cathedral collapsed. The Gothic cathedrals are the great architectural achievements of the Middle Ages. Some are so large that a sixteen story building could be set inside the central space. But building that high was often an experience of trial and error with vaults, arches and flying buttresses and this time the architect guessed wrong. They were very fortunate that the tower came down during the night and not during services.

Today in History: The Thirteenth Colony

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 12, 2018 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (February 12) in 1733 James Oglethorpe founded the English Colony of Georgia. It was the thirteenth of the colonies that would eventually rebel against England and form the United States. He hoped to use the colony to resettle England’s “worthy poor” in the New World.

Today in History: Robots Enter Television

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 11, 2018 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (February 11) in 1938 the first science fiction television program was produced by the BBC. It was adapted from the play R.U.R. which coined the term “robot”.

Today in History: The St. Scholastica Day Riot

Posted by Gilbert Stack on February 10, 2018 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (February 10) in 1355 the St. Scholastica Day Riot broke out when rude words were exchanged between a tavern owner and two students of Oxford University over the weak drinks he was selling. The students threw the drinks in his face and then assaulted him. The Mayor of Oxford demanded the University arrest the students and was driven off by 200 students. This led to large numbers of people coming in from the countryside to attack the students. 63 scholars and 30 locals were dead before the university supporters were routed. Eventually the king decided that the town, and not the university, was at fault. Each year thereafter on St. Scholastica Day the mayor and town counselors had to march bare-headed through town, attend Mass, and pay a fine to Oxford of one pence per scholar killed. This practice continued until 1825 (470 years) when the Mayor of Oxford flat out refused to participate anymore.