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Kate Stone’s Civil War: Astonish the natives

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone demonstrates how she can love the region but still look down on its residents.

Aug. 26, 1865

Tyler, Texas

None of us can muster the energy to go to hear Mr. Seaton’s dry-as-dust discourse this burning August day, and so we will wear the day away at home. We are looking for My Brother daily. Johnny is out at the Bachelor Ranch. … But tomorrow Johnny and the boys return, bringing all noise and nonsense in their train.

Mr. Pierson returned bringing quite a number of new books to us and Mollie Moore, but to our disgust most of them are by Yankee authors and are unreadable trash. … He brought a long letter to Mamma from Lt. Dupre, who says he is the happiest of happy men to be again with his family. …

Mollie Moore, Sally Grissman, and I are busy making ourselves palmetto caps and black bodices. The caps will soon be done and the bodices next week, and we expect to astonish the natives with our brave attire next Sunday. Mrs. Tooke is to give a small party on September 5, and we are all as much excited over it as though it were the grand hall of a season. Mrs. Tooke has spent several days with us lately and notes come every two or three days. We all like her very much. We are particular of the party and invite whom we please. …

Google’s Project Sunroof Tells You How Well Solar Would Work On Your Roof

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Fernando Ortiz Jr.:

Hahaha … well, it has potential.
“Sadly, this currently only works in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno (which Google helpfully tells us is in central California) and Boston (a major city on the East Coast, as far as we are aware).”

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Google now lets you see if your house is a good candidate for installing solar panels. Project Sunroof, a 20 percent project by Google engineering lead Carl Elkin, shows you how much solar power your roof could generate using Google Maps and the data it has about the surroundings of your home. This means it can take into account local weather, your roof’s orientation and how much shade falls on it from nearby trees and buildings.

Sadly, this currently only works in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno (which Google helpfully tells us is in central California) and Boston (a major city on the East Coast, as far as we are aware).

Project_Sunroof-listingTo get started, you simply plug in your address and some data about your monthly electricity bill, and the tool will tell you what the recommended solar installation size is and how much it would cost to buy…

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Kate Stone’s Civil War: No disorder

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone makes a casual but chilling reference to enduring racial violence, a hint of what is to come in subsequent years.

Aug. 14, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Mamma is out in the backyard directing the making of a barrel of wine from the native grapes which have ripened in the greatest profusion, hanging in great purple clusters over the blackjack oaks. They are brought into town by the wagonload. Both the boys and Sister are at the writing school where they stay all day, and I, being too lazy to sew … must scribble for amusement.

Mollie Moore sent us over a number of newspapers with full accounts of the imprisonment of our beloved President Jefferson Davis. He pines in his captivity like a caged eagle. Heard directly from My Brother through Hutch Bowman, who stayed with us several days on his way to Kaufman County. We may expect him about the last of the month. … There is a great rush for the river lands. All are anxious to secure a place above overflow. …

Jimmy and Willy Carson spent a pleasant week with us lately, and we gave them much good advice on the subject of flirting, which I hope they will lay to heart. Jimmy is an exceedingly handsome, attractive boy. Jimmy had made a pair of gloves of soft white buckskin and got me to embroider the gauntlets for him in gay colored silks. They were really pretty if not fashionable, a word the meaning of which we have almost forgotten. …

These grey August days we have little to do and little company. Mollie Moore and her two brothers will be over this evening to play cards. …

Our melon patch is exhausted but melons in town are selling for ten cents a dozen. None should go unfed at that rate. Mrs. Tooke kindly furnishes us with plenty of peaches.

Quite a number of Negroes are flocking into town, but there is no disorder. Occasionally we hear of a Negro shot down and lying unburied in the woods.

The Funniest Place on Earth: Massachusetts and the Modern Comedy Scene

Originally posted on Southern Historian:

worcester WELCOME TO WUSTAH! WHO WANTS TO LAUGH!!

Massachusetts doesn’t get enough credit for comedy. For some reason, southerners think they have a distinct sense of humor. I can’t remember who said it (maybe Roy Blount), but as one southerner put it, “It’s hard to be funny when it’s cold out.”

Well, maybe not when you’re walking through a blizzard with a -20 windchill factor. But the Bay State ranges from bitter cold to oppressive heat. August days can get to 100 degrees. Bipolar weather can make for bipolar people. And comedy is often born of mental illness. The result is, for its size, Massachusetts has produced some of the best comics and comedians ever.

WORCESTER, BOSTON (AND GREENFIELD?)

Many of those who have made it in the late 20th century comedy scene were born in Massachusetts. Doug Stanhope and Denis Leary were born in Worcester. If you lived in central Mass…

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Illustrating the heart in a million different ways

Some friends have told me how much they love the photos that accompany most of my posts. Their compliments honor me.

I don’t consider myself a photographer, just someone who loves interesting patterns — the more abstract and colorful and contrasted the better. I tend to find beauty in everything I see.

My simple Tumblr blog collects and displays the best of the art I’ve used on Stillness of Heart, along with a variety of other odd photos, gifs, and videos.

Follow me on Tumblr, and enjoy.

The Best Biographies of Ulysses S. Grant

Originally posted on My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies:

USGrantStampDespite the pivotal role he played in the Civil War and the importance of his administration to Reconstruction, I don’t recall spending any meaningful time studying Ulysses S. Grant in school.

My only brush with his presidency involved memorizing his name as one of the then-forty presidents during a high school trip to the Texas State History Fair. During that drive to Austin we had to do something.…so those of us on the trip decided to learn the presidents’ names in order. Sad, really.

When I finished reading a dozen biographies of Lincoln a couple months ago I assumed I would be in for a slow spell until my encounter with Teddy Roosevelt sometime early in 2015. Fortunately, Grant and his biographers proved me very wrong!

Ulysses Grant’s life story is astonishingly fascinating. There are certainly stretches of his life which proved dull and uneventful – and sometimes spectacularly unsuccessful. But…

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Confessions of a (Former?) Book Hoarder

Originally posted on Southern Historian:

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“What is this obsession people have with books? They put them in their houses like they’re trophies. What do you need it for after you read it?”

–Jerry to George on Seinfeld

If you are a historian, you probably have lots of books. The same goes for all academics, historians or otherwise. You might have so many books, in fact, that they have become a problem. A problem to store, a problem to move, a problem to get read. Let’s face it, some of us are book hoarders.

I am a recovering one. Or at least, committed to change. It was easy to buy books when I was in graduate school. Much of my time was spent reading. In my first year at LSU, most of my waking hours were spent reading. And that is not an exaggeration. Grad school is intellectual boot camp and not all enlistees…

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