Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Goodye Watson Visits Dr. Storniolo

Dr. Storniolo is the genial oncologist who has treated Barbara McNamara for breast cancer. Barbara goes to see her for check ups on a regular basis.

Being interested in Barbara as a person, she made the acquaintance of Barbara's historical character Goodye Watson, friend and traveling companion of Dr. Benjamin Franklin.

When Dr. Storniolo expressed an interest in 18th century clothing and Barbara volunteered a visit by Goodye when her next check up came due! Of course an escort (and photographer) would be needed and I cheerfully volunteered!

 It is no longer a surprise to me that keeping up with Barbara takes me out of the usual hum-a-drum of daily life. Many people assume that because Barbara doesn't say much she is shy.

This is not the case. She is usually quiet but that's either because she is reading or because she is thinking. And the stuff she reads often results in her thinking about something that may take both of us out of our comfort zones.

So here we are, in the examination room and Barbara has removed her dress, showing the blue striped petticoat, the gold colored stays above it, and the white shift showing above that. Note the shoes are 18th Century!

Here we see the 18th Century Woman in as much of an undressed state as we are going to! Shoes, stockings, shift showing above and below the stays, round frame glasses, and topped by a ruffled cap. What you see at her right side is a tie-on pocket. The stays could be made of whale bone, metal, or (today) plastic boning!

The next step left is usually my job, that of being her "Abigail" and unlacing the stays.

Now you might think of stays as a fashion statement, and you would be correct! The 18th Century Woman thought it fashionable to protect her back while doing lots of heavy work!

Here we are with Dr. Storniolo and her team. Hopefully, some of those folks will be inspired to visit a historical re-enactment or even try doing some re-enacting!

In any case it is always a pleasure and an honor to bring enjoyment to people who do so much for the rest of us.

Barbara and I are here by the grace of God and the help of dedicated folks like these. We hope that we made their day a little brighter and their work a little lighter!

Frank Watson & Barbara McNamara

In the Spirit of

Monday, August 26, 2013

Proposal to Establish a Draft for the Indiana National Guard!

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety. - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

The great firearms debates of our times often ignore that the founders had more than one purpose for ensuring our citizens the right to keep and bear arms. 1) we have the right to defend ourselves and our property from other people and 2) as citizens we have the duty to oppose Tyranny.
These are uncomfortable ideas for many citizens of the current time. It is a time that repeatedly chooses comfort over responsibility. Young people take note! As your futures and the future of our country is at stake I propose the following:
1)  Every young person at age 16 shall be required to spend a minimum of 8 weeks in a primitive camp, live in a tent, use an unheated outhouse, learn the manual of arms and how to safely load and fire a muzzle-loading musket, and report for 5 AM roll call daily prepared to perform the days duties. 
2)  Failure to report on time for roll call, or to perform assigned duties, will result in being sent to the stockade for duration of the time period and you will start over with the next class.
3) You will learn armed and unarmed martial arts, and you will receive instruction in and demonstrate the ability to resolve personal disputes without violence.
4)  You will learn to cook, bathe, wash your clothing, and maintain a presentable appearance.
5)  You will pick up all trash you see and put it in a trash container. You will properly empty your trash container and put your trash out according to the rules.
6)  You will maintain your bunk, clothing, and area neatly and cleanly.
7)  You will do physical work or drill for 10 hours daily six days a week.
8)  You will receive instruction in the laws of your State and Nation for 2 hours daily.
9)  On the seventh day you may rest on your bunk, sit quietly outside, or attend religious services.
10) You will learn to march (or ride) in a military formation, attended by flags and martial music.
11. Upon entry into this program you will receive a check book with credits sufficient to pay for your food, clothing, and other expenses each day. You will have beyond that an amount sufficient to pay for your vocational training so that you can learn a means to make a living. Any failure to perform will be accompanied by a fine. If you are sent to the stockade you will be fined an amount sufficient to pay for your stay there. At graduation of the basic training period period you must present a balanced check book with sufficient funds to pay for your vocational training. Failure to do so will result in your being sent back to start the program over.
12. At the end of basic training each person will be required to attend one month of Citizenship Training where you will be required to study the Constitution of the United States of America and be able to pass an oral or written exam regarding the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Balance of Powers and the basic arguments of Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists regarding State and Federal rights and responsibilities. You will be required to understand how these opposing views required compromises to be made for the adoption of our Constitution and how they require compromise today for the function of government.
13. After Basic Training and Citizenship Training you will enter into a two year National Guard Apprenticeship in a trade that is useful to the State in which you reside and by which you will be prepared make a living at the end of your tour of duty. This two year period will replace two years of traditional high school. In addition to learning a trade you will study Driver's Education, History, and Current Affairs so that you are prepared to vote intelligently.
14. After Basic Training, Citizenship Training, and National Guard Apprenticeship Training you will have an understanding of the sacrifices made by the founding generation in the establishment of our country. You will also have a means to earn a living.
15. Upon completion of your National Guard duty you will go through a Re-entry program during which you will secure a job by which you may earn a living and you will be able to pay your fair share of taxes. Before your release from active duty you will apply for your Driver's License, Driver's insurance, Health Insurance, Voter's Registration Card and have a place to live.

Upon release from active duty you will be free to resume your civilian life with the exception of an annual two weeks training with the National Guard until age 32. At that time you will be considered Inactive Reserve.

When you have completed your reentry process you will have a job and a home. You will be issued a gun-safe and a flintlock musket with accoutrements that you are trained in the use of. You will be required to maintain the musket and accoutrements and report to camp with them during your annual reserve training, at which time you will be required to qualify with them.
16. The right to keep and bear the firearms of the 18th Century be considered inviolate and you may do so as long as you maintain your Citizenship and Voter's Registration. You are responsible for doing so until you are released from National Guard duties at age 32. At this time you may keep your musket or sell it.
18. Beyond the firearms of the 18th Century exists a continuum of fire power that begins with the common .22 rifle and extents to thermonuclear weapons. The time and money we spend debating where along that continuum the ordinary Citizen should be allowed to keep and bear arms could be spent on mandatory, all-day kindergarten. 
19. Therefore I propose that all citizens in good standing with the National Guard, active or inactive, be allowed to maintain weapons and ammunition up to 60 caliber conventional firearms. Citizens must demonstrate proficiency in the safe use of such firearms by reporting to their National Guard Center for training and passing any required tests upon completion of training. Such training and tests shall be such that a person of average intelligence and ability can take and pass within two attempts. The Congress may then make such laws as it deems appropriate for munitions larger than that.

20. Cities and urban areas should be able to require the use of appropriate urban carry ammunition for live carry in urban situations, where self-defense may be hazardous to those beyond intended targets. Improper carry of ammunition in an urban area should be considered a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine and retraining.

22. Only those who have known the loss of freedom can appreciate it's true value. Obligatory service in the National Guard thus serves the interest of the State as well as instructs the individual of the precious quality of freedom.
23. B. Franklin: "Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgement, and to pay more respect to the judgement of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that where ever others differ from them it is so far error."

It is with point 23 in mind that I propose the above and beg the State of Indiana, to establish the proposed changes in our system of education and to establish a Draft for the Indiana National Guard!

Frank Watson

In the Spirit of


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dr. Benjamin Franklin's Lightening Safety Test!

Dr. Benjamin Franklin’s Lightning Safety Test!

True or False:
T F    5 minutes after it thunders lightning is close enough to strike you.
T F    When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
T F    Stay in shelter for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder.
T F    It’s OK to use phones, computers and other electrical equipment during a storm.
T F    It’s OK to use sinks, baths and faucets when there is a thunderstorm.
T F    Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
T F    Concrete floors and walls are OK to lie on or lean against.
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:
T F    Climb a tree or go up a hill, mountain ridge or peak.
T F    Lie flat on the ground.
T F    Get under a tree that’s away from other trees.
T F    Use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
T F    Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
T F    Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

Can You Find the Answers to the Lightening Test?

Lightning: What You Need to Know
  • NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!!
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
Indoor Lightning Safety
  • Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.
Last Resort Out Door Risk Reduction Tips
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
  • Never lie flat on the ground
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

#HealthyWealthyWise - Real health nuts: Walnuts may help fight prostate cancer!

Real-world health nuts: Walnuts to fight prostate cancer? If we want to live the best possible life, in duration and quality, we must seek every advantage!

Pharmaceutical companies do a good job of seeking and patenting molecules for medications. That is their business! But it is not their business to care for our health. That is our business!

#Healthy is for what I find worth sharing. In fact you may look for #Healthy, #Wealthy, and #Wise. Remember Poor Richard's admonition "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!"

In portraying Dr. Benjamin Franklin I have found a wonderful role model for creating the best possible life on earth, while also doing those things for others that qualify me for whatever might come after this life ends.

It is my great pleasure to share whatever I find that adds to our health + wealth + wisdom!

You are invited to retain Dr. Benjamin Franklin for the Purpose of Presentations for your Living History Events, Rendezvous, Library Programs, School Programs, Community Events, Parades, Businesses, and other Special Events!

Presentation Rates for 2013 for Indianapolis and adjoining counties are $50 per hour. For the Great State of Indiana we will present for $100 per hour, or as the young people say, One Benjamin!

If your event is outside the State of Indiana we will consider your generous offers! However, we must remember that travel is expensive, and that a penny saved is a penny earned!

Discounts are possible for worthy causes.

Cell: 317-435-1880

In the spirit of

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#Healthy: The Magic Bullet!

I was talking with my friend Denise about green smoothies. Not only does she make them she uses a "Magic Bullet" to do so! 

When Denise discovered I've been using a blender that is tank-like and requires a good deal of work to clean she ordered me one like hers. 

I used my new Magic Bullet today for the first time. The smoothie was smoother, faster, and easier to clean up!

The ease of use and cleaning will increase my consumption of healthy greens and I expect will add to both my longevity and my quality of life.

I am not one to fail to reciprocate! I sent Denise a book from Amazon that I take to heart: "Green For Life" by Victoria Boutenko and A. William Menzin.

Note: "Early to Bed and Early to Rise will Make You Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise". But it will do so only if you eat properly, exercise, and manage your stress levels!

I heartily endorse the blender, the book, and the value of having awesome friends!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Spirit of Vincennes 2013: Value and Values

When we arrived at the parking area we were greeted by this sign. Off in the distance we could see a couple of historic military aircraft. Given that I am interested in history and that I have a step son who is especially interested in WWII history I see a trip for visiting here!
It is not surprising to me that Vincennes would have a military history museum! There seems to be a decent respect for, and interest in, history here.

Daniel Boone of Kentucky, +Steven Young Caudill, sold us the coffe pot pictured here! He has a fairly large store with period items. I like being able to buy a coffee pot from Dan'l!

Daniel Boone was our "Deacon" for Parson John's Sunday service. He is the one who passed the collection hat.

This worked well. Who wants to say "No" to a man renowned for his reputation with the Kentucky Long Rifle? ;)

Daniel Boone and Parson John and others I will be telling you about are part of a community that travels to rendezvous on a regular basis, even more than Barbara and I do.

But our friends generally don't travel to more events than we'd like to! This is a community that cares about the history of our country as well as it's future. We enjoy being part of it!

Barbara came to primitive camping with a love of camping. I didn't. I grew up in the country and never saw much point in camping when I could walk out into the woods and only come home to sleep.

But now I am finding this experience helpful in many ways. At age 70, having long since left the farm, and having grown accustomed to sitting at a computer, or steering wheel, or a desk for much of my time, it's a challenge to set up and tear down a tent, to move boxes of books, and to be out in the elements for days at a time.

No, it's not "Trekking" such as Mad Anne Bailey, John Curry, or Dennis Medly do! But it's sufficient for me. It's a way for an old guy to reconnect with my 1st world, the world of direct experience. And perhaps for many young folks who attend it's a connection to a future that includes life in real life?

It's also a way for young and old to measure the customs of today against those of the past. It seems to me this is something that needs doing. Living in the "now" seems rootless, and somehow pointless, without some sense of a past that helps us place the present in a context that helps us imagine different futures.
I feel gratitude for my fellow re-enactors who go out of their way to include the young folks. Here is where boys can learn about being men and girls can learn about being women in a deep sense.

How can they appreciate how far we've come if they don't know where we've been?

In the spirit of

Your humble servant,

Frank Watson

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spirit of Vincennes 2013: Families, Food, and Fun!

Families enjoying a variety of foods is a great part of the experience of the Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous! The food is very good, and the vendors are usually local groups who are raising money for their charitable causes. Of course I make it a point to have pie. I do like pie!

There are strategically placed picnic tables so that those who want to sit and eat without worrying about balancing a plate or making a spill with their lemonade may do so.

Some folks don't worry too much about that. This young one with an ear of corn seems to only be concerned with chomping corn and drinking his lemonade!
For me it's wonderful seeing the parade of people, but I especially love the sight of young people learning about re-enacting history!

When they read about the 1700's or see a TV show or movie they will be better able to make sense of it. And those who learn to love re-enacting will learn to dig into the realities of history!

Food is not the only fun at this event. Musical groups focusing on older song lists range from hard driving sea shanties and work songs to the mellower Folk sounds of Traveler's Dream. Kentucky folk is represented by Booneslick Strings. Of course Goodye's favorite music is the martial music of the fife and drums. And the bagpipes!

There is more. Much more! There are artillery demonstrations, skirmishes, battles, Dusty Traum storyteller, and the Budabi Brothers! Here is a look here at some serious juggling and joking around!
I think it's important that performers such as the Budabi Brothers, Common Stock Entertainment, and Storyteller Dusty Traum are represented here.

People need to know that there was entertainment before there were radios, TVs, or amplifiers! It is possible to have fun without plugging in to something!

And it is possible to have fun in the sun, and sometimes in the rain. I am pleased that there are movements to include life in the real world! Bicycling, hiking, trekking, and gardening all connect us to the earth that sustains us.

There will be more about this event. For Families, food, fun and history it is a regular stop on the Franklin Road!

In the Spirit of

Your humble servant,

Frank Watson