The Top Ten

While at one of my favorite places, a book store, I discovered a book of lists just for men compiled by Russell Ash. There are lists on just about everything. In fact, Ash has a website dedicated to top ten lists.

Of course, what interests me most are the historical ones, such as the oldest buildings in the United States and its longest-running newspapers.

The White Horse Tavern in Rhode Island, built sometime prior to 1673, is one of America’s oldest buildings still standing. The Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts is another site with a storied past. The Moravian Book Shop in Pennsylvania started in 1745 and it’s still operating. Among the oldest newspapers in the United States are the New Hampshire Gazette and the Hartford Courant.

I have all sorts of scribbled notes from this book, so I’ll be adding more tidbits as I have time.


Tweed Caps & Ireland

For the past couple of days I have been wearing a tweed cap straight from Ireland, the type often worn in the United States while golfing. Made by Hanna Hats Ltd. in Donegal, it’s one of the vintage models, similar to this one. Previously I’d been almost exclusively wearing baseball caps. But now I am branching out and love these traditional caps.

I had a bright, gleaming white one years ago, which I nearly lost in the Pacific Ocean after getting knocked down by a wave while walking on the beach with a cousin from Iowa. I thought it was gone forever, but my cousin found it a few minutes later after it washed ashore again.

My Boal and Shannon relatives started out in County Donegal, before moving to Derry, a ‘border’ town in Northern Ireland, and eventually Pennsylvania. I try to keep up with the news via BBC News and other sites.

According to the Boal Museum website, in the genealogy section, my ancestor James Boal emigrated to the United States in the spring of 1790, and, being a linen and carpet weaver, brought his loom along with him. He was born March 17, 1764 in Ireland and married Elizabeth Welch in 1787. He died June 22, 1836 in Centre County, Pennsylvania.


Bloody Sunday

With ancestors originating in Northern Ireland I thought it fitting to report on the recent apology by the British Prime Minister for what’s called Bloody Sunday. The tragic killings of 13 by Brit soldiers was made even more famous in a song by the popular group U2.

It happened in the town of Derry, labeled Londonderry by the English and Unionists.


The World Cup

A few days back, The New York Times had a nice story on the history and background of the World Cup and the players, but I am having a heck of a time finding it online. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of news on the opening games.

The England-US matchup is highly anticipated by many. There’s a nice chart with historical tidbits, Soccer World Cup Miscellany, and a great interactive feature on ‘The Evolution of the World Cup Ball‘.


NFL Classics

Hulu now has a NFL section, featuring a bunch of classic programs. For example, there’s highlight shows on the Seattle Seahawks 1987 and 1988 seasons with Steve Largent and Dave Krieg, a most frustrating quarterback at times. More current video includes the 2006 Superbowl, something I’d much rather not revisit. There is just tons of content, so be sure to take a look football fans. has a history section as well. Also, here is an odd bit of trivia. Did you know that the National Football League is a nonprofit?


Sarah Palin’s Grandpa

Did you know that Sarah Palin’s Grandpa played football at the University of Portland?

I was on my way back to the library at Chemeketa when I saw a copy of Portland Magazine. It is published by the university. On the back was a photo of a man crouching in a football position. The man is Sarah Palin’s grandfather. Unfortunately the Portland site does not appear to have it available.

‘A hobby that becomes an obsession’

The rest of us regret not asking our grandmothers,” a volunteer says.

At the end of May the Statesman Journal reported on the Oregon State Library and its varied genealogical resources. I didn’t discover the story until finding an old copy of the paper this morning.

Not only does the library collect historical materials and documents for one of its main missions, serving state government, but it also has a huge trove of books, periodicals and computer databases for researching one’s roots, thanks to a partnership with the Willamette Valley Genealogical Society.”

After a new arrangement with, the site now provides visitors with “free access to 29,000 databases, more than four times the previous number.”

The deal was a complicated three-way trade that helped the library, which lacked funds or staff to digitize its old periodical index; the genealogy society, which struggled to pay for the basic online subscription to; and the online service, which is hungry to access new databases.” now has a full-time employee at the library “who works deep in the library’s stacks, photographing much of the contents of a card catalog. The cards are an essential tool to locating biographical information in the Oregon Statesman, Capitol Journal, Statesman Journal, Pacific Christian Advocate, The Oregonian and some other sources at the library.

“There are 191 drawers, each containing 950 to 1,450 cards with entries from the late 1800s to the 1980s.” About 2,000 are scanned each day.

The next project will be “photographing certain motor vehicle and military records. Eventually, people all over the world will be able to use the database to request information from the library.”

“With genealogy, you are solving mysteries constantly,” one researcher said.

Volunteer Cliff Butler “loves his stints at the state library, where he has donated more than 1,000 hours.”

But for him, the best part comes in getting beyond the names and dates, to understand the world that those ancestors lived in.

You can really rationalize why you have to travel to Ireland and Oklahoma. You also include the history. Nothing is more dull than looking at family pedigree charts without the history.”


Helen Thomas, Reporter?

I just had to say something about Helen Thomas and her recent comments about the current state of Israel. Anti-semitism is nothing new, especially among reporters, but today one expects more, particularly from such a lionized figure. The video provided by has become a viral sensation. 

Get the hell out of Palestine!” 

Where just should the Jews go? 

“Poland. Germany. America.” 

Talk about historical and cultural insensitivity. Of course she has been an idol to many on the Left for years. And this latest incident should vault her into icon status. 

Here is a partial verbatim transcript of the video: 

Helen Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied. And it’s their land. It’s not German, it’s not Poland.

Rabbi David Nessenoff: So where should they go? What should they do?

Thomas: They should go home.

Nessenoff: Where’s home?

Thomas: Poland, Germany.

Here’s some more of her quotes, and here’s an interview with her by a leftist blogger


The Failure of General Haig

Here’s the best one line summation of one general’s record during the Great War. It comes from William Manchester in his book American Caesar about American general Douglas MacArthur. 
In World War I Douglas Haig butchered the flower of British youth in the Somme and Flanders without winning a single victory.” 
Instead of being properly castigated and denigrated, Haig was given the title Earl and “awarded with £100,000 by a grateful Parliament.”
Sadly, most of the political and military leadership of the era, including American commander Pershing, were beyond irresponsible in conducting the war. They sacrificed the lives of so many men, mostly the young and naive.
MacArthur himself was beyond reproach, often fighting alongside his subordinates and repeatedly risking his own life.