About Corazon

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trip to a Mine...a REAL Mine

This weekend our family took a trip up to Cripple Creek, Co. to pay a visit to the Mollie Kathleen Mine. Cripple Creek is a fascinating little town for anyone interested in western/mining history, and the Mollie Kathleen Mine is one of many gold mines that dot the region. Here are a few pictures (and a brief video) of our getaway:

The beautiful mountain valley where Cripple Creek rests.
This is the "elevator" system that drops you 1,000 ft. under the earth.
Some of the old mining equipment from the latter part of the 19th century/early 20th century.
One of the old mines that exist around the Cripple Creek area.
And off we go!
Heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey (they actually misspelled his name on this plaque), who grew up in Victor, Co. (just outside of Cripple Creek) worked this mine for two weeks and quit, stating that the work was too hard. This coming from a man who many consider to be one of the finest boxers in history.
One of the many drills in the mine.
Our heavy duty miners!
Mom and her miners
The aftermath of a busy day.

And here is a brief video of our "train ride" inside the mine. Sorry that there wasn't better lighting. It's a mine...go figure:

Back To School

Here are a few pics (a couple weeks late) of Jaxson's first day back to school:

As you can tell, he doesn't look terribly thrilled.

And, as always, a short video:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Crazy (but Worthwhile) Challenge

Read the "Good Book" in 90 Days
That's Right, I Said 90 Days

I've been sort of M.I.A. from my blog the past week. I apologize (not that I have a ton of readers so maybe I don't need to apologize). It's been a busy week and I haven't found much drive to blog. Plus, I have struggled to find something worth writing about. American politics suck so forget that. History is always fun but I am a little tired of always writing about it. I guess I have just been looking for something unique. Well, I think I found it.

Just the other day I saw a very interesting challenge that an Evangelical minister did with his congregation. He dared them to read the entire Bible in only 90 days. That's right, all 1590 pages (give or take depending upon which translation of the Good Book we're talking about). I've done similar challenges in the past. I remember reading the Bible in a year's time (really not that hard to do, BTW) as the result of a challenge issued to me by a religious leader. Heck, I even remember reading the entire Book of Mormon in one 24 hour period. Now, I say this not to brag but to illustrate the fact that it is possible to accomplish such goals. With that said, I recognize that reading the ENTIRE BIBLE in 90 days is quite daunting.

But not that daunting.

The average person can read a normal page of text in roughly 3-4 minutes. In order to read the entire Bible in 90 days, a person needs to average about 18 pages per day. In other words, you'd need to devote roughly an hour (or maybe a bit more when reading Isaiah) every day. Yeah, it's a lot but what else are you going to do with your time? Watch politics on television? Or America's Got Talent? Or spend it Facebooking (is that word officially a verb yet?).

I guess my point is this: yes, life is busy. As a father of two wild boys I recognize it. HOWEVER, I also recognize that most people have at least an hour (if not more) every day that they could devote to something really cool...at least this is the case with me. In addition, I want to make it clear that I am no Bible thumper. Those who know me would tell you as much. But that doesn't mean that I hate the Good Book. Quite the contrary. Whether you believe in it or not is irrelevant. The Bible's importance in western civilization is unmistakable. As a result, everyone should care about it.

So, if you are brave (or crazy) enough I invite you to join me. I will be beginning this challenge tomorrow (Sunday, August 22). That's right, I got the Bible on my iPod, on my computer and in my car. Oh yeah, and I also have one of those strange hard copies on standby as well. If all goes well I should be done sometime before Thanksgiving. So will you join me? It should be fun!

Any takers?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

George Washington's Navy

In late 1775, as the fires of revolution and war were becoming hotter with each passing day, General George Washington commissioned two small schooners (named "Lynch" and "Franklin"), to patrol in and around Boston Harbor. Their mission: to harass the British whenever possible. Obviously this was no small task, being that the British had sent over 200 fully equipped warships to America. Obviously 2 small boats weren't going to present any major threat to the mighty British navy!

Yet despite this obvious disadvantage, Washington insisted on creating and maintaining this puny armada. The small "fleet" of ships, which eventually grew to include four additional boats, were officially commissioned by General Washington as the first "armed Vessels" of the "United Colonies of North America." In essence, this small fleet of ships became America's first Navy.

Washington himself financed the six-ship fleet out of his own pocket. Knowing that this small rabble of a navy could never stand up to the mighty arm of the British, Washington requested that a unique banner be flown by each of these six ships. At the General's request, his navy adopted a "white flag, with a green pine tree, and the inscription, 'An Appeal to Heaven.'" In addition, Washington ordered that all crewmen of these ships be dressed in a green and white uniform.

Interestingly enough, this fleet lasted throughout the duration of the Revolutionary War, carrying out a diverse number of assignments and playing a number of different roles in the process. In addition, the "Washington Navy" became a symbol of pride for those who favored the revolution. The "Appeal To Heaven" served as a powerful rallying cry that embodied the sentiments of many who supported the "cause of liberty." In a very real sense, "An Appeal to Heaven" was every bit as important to the rhetoric of the American Revolution as was, "No taxation without representation" or "Don't Tread on Me." No wonder why Washington chose to use it for his navy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Most Religious State in America is...

Historian Paul Harvey of the Religion in American History blog (and my former grad school professor) has posted the results of a very interesting Gallup Survey on the importance that each state's citizens place on religion in their daily lives. The survey was actually very simple. Respondents were asked one fundamental question: "Is Religion an important part of your daily life?" The results are quite interesting. Here are the top 10 states that responded favorably to the question:
Mississippi: 85%
Alabama: 82%
South Carolina: 80%
Tennessee: 79%
Louisiana: 78%
Arkansas: 78%
Georgia: 76%
North Carolina: 76%
Oklahoma: 75%
Kentucky: 74%
Texas: 74%
What's fascinating about this study, as Dr. Harvey points out, is that the median score is quite high: at 65%. From the Gallup Poll:
And, although there is a wide range in the self-reported importance of religion, from a high of 85% for residents of Mississippi to a low of 42% for residents of Vermont, the distribution of religiosity by state takes the shape of a bell-shaped curve, clustered around the overall nationwide mean of 65%. Twenty-three of the 50 states and District of Columbia are in the range of 60% to 70% saying religion is important.
In addition, it's important to note how geography comes into play. Obviously the majority of the high ranking states lie in the south, as is illustrated in the following map from this same Gallup poll:

And here is a more detailed map (from a much earlier study not related to this Gallup poll) that breaks down where certain denominations are strongest:

One can't help but wonder how important of a role the social and cultural factors of a particular region play in determining the religion of a particular geographic area. Take for example this map of the United States prior to the Civil War:

And it doesn't look like a whole lot has changed. Even our voting trends are dramatically impacted by geography. This 2008 electoral map provides at least some insight into how geography can shape our views:

So what are we to make of this? That probably depends on who you ask. In my opinion, this Gallup poll (and the other studies/maps mentioned) prove that religion is still a very intimate, localized, and highly influential factor for most Americans. It can (and does) define our politics, our biases and our future. But most of all, I believe it shows just how diverse we are, and perhaps that is our greatest strength of all.

Or our greatest weakness as well?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trip to the Denver Aquarium

Today our family decided to take a drive up to downtown Denver to visit the famous Denver Aquarium. Take a look:

Outside the entrance to the Denver Aquarium are several really neat attractions. It's almost as fun as the aquarium itself.
This tunnel is about 50 feet long and has a large assortment of different aquatic life, including sea turtles and sharks. VERY impressive!
There are quite a few of these little "cubby holes" for kids to play with. Zakary said it was "like being a fish."
Stingray with a bunch of fish:
For a price (a substantial price) you can go scuba dive with all of the fish, turtles, sharks, etc. at the aquarium.
Yeah, they actually have a tiger at this place. Sadly, the tiger wasn't interested in playing in the water. The last time we visited the aquarium (3 years ago) he was all over the place. I guess they can't all be winners.
A very rare and expensive Asian fish. That's all I know. I bet it tastes good with tarter sauce!
The world famous piranha.
The beautiful entrance to the "Rainforest Room."
And here are a couple of videos of our trip. The first one is of the "Rainforest Room" and the sharks. The second is of Jaxson and Zakary trying to pet the stingrays. Jaxson even tries to feed them.

And here are Jaxson and Zakary attempting to pet the stingrays. Hysterical stuff.