210 years ago, President Thomas Jefferson made a deal with the French to buy out all of their ‘ownership’ in North America after Napoleon reclaimed the property just three years prior. It was quite a deal even in those days. The US bought it for around three cents per acre. This purchase wasn’t just for the rights to New Orleans (the mouth of the Mississippi River), but also…
…all or part of 15 present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The land purchased contained all of present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; parts of Minnesota that were west of the Mississippi River; most of North Dakota; most of South Dakota; northeastern New Mexico; northern Texas; the portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, including the city of New Orleans; and small portions of land that would eventually become part of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
This purchase doubled the land mass of the current USA and provided areas for immigration from the East to occur.
Just like there are degrees of deafness, there are degrees of blindness as well. Do you know what is considered legally blind in the US?
You’ll recognize the eye chart above, right? Notice beside the big “E” it says ’20/200′. What those numbers mean is that a person with normal vision can read that “E” from 200 feet away but if one can’t read it until only 20 feet away, then that person is deemed legally blind.
In other words, when you’re at the doc’s office or standing 20 feet away from an official eye chart and all you can read is the top line of “E”, then you’re legally blind.
If you’d like to get some great insight on the life of a blind person, you should watch the YouTube Channel by Tommy Edison. This is a blind guy that honestly answers submitted questions to him — and his sense of humor is great! Questions like: “how do blind people dream”, “how can one describe colors to blind people”, and “how do blind people use paper money”. Fascinating and entertaining stuff.
To whet your appetite, here’s Tommy sharing some of his favorite benefits of being blind.
It’s probably a safe bet that 99% of the people reading this post have no idea who Robert Smalls is.
It’s time to fix that.
Mr. Smalls was born in 1839 as an enslaved African American in Beaufort, South Carolina, who became an entrusted ship’s pilot whom freed himself, his crew and their/his families from slavery in none other than Charleston, SC.
When Mr. Smalls was 23, he took advantage of an unbelievable opportunity to freedom. The white owners and ship-mates of the Southern CSS Planter went to shore for a ‘night on the town’, Smalls and the rest of the enslaved crew commandeered the ship and sailed for the Union fleets.
Considered a traitor to the South and a hero to the North, Smalls later became an elected official as the SC House of Representatives in 1865 where he helped convince Pres. Lincoln to accept Blacks into the Union Army and them became a SC Senator in 1871.
Wham! was a group from the early 1980s by a couple of Brits by the names of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. They are probably best known for their hit song “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” released in May of 1984. That was on the second album, “Make It Big”. But on their first album was a little ditty called “Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)” which was released in June of 1982. Here’s the video:
Okay, hold up. Let’s talk about the genre of ‘rapping‘:
Rapping can be traced back to its African roots. Centuries before hip hop music existed, the griots of West Africa were delivering stories rhythmically, over drums and sparse instrumentation. Such connections have been acknowledged by many modern artists, modern day “griots”, spoken word artists, mainstream news sources, and academics.
Creation of the term hip hop is often credited to Keith Cowboy, rapper with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five…It is believed that Cowboy created the term while teasing a friend who had just joined the U.S. Army, by scat singing the words “hip/hop/hip/hop” in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of soldiers marching. Cowboy later worked the “hip hop” cadence into a part of his stage performance, which was quickly used by other artists such as The Sugarhill Gang in “Rapper’s Delight”.
This style of music didn’t go mainstream here in the U.S. until the early 1980′s…
As best as I can tell, here’s the timeline for mainstream rap…
late 1970′s – Percussion beats from late-70′s funk/disco/soul music were highlighted as a musical genre as introduced by DJ Kool Herc in the Bronx, NYC.
So as far as I can tell, rap/hip-hop has its underground roots in the late 70′s and early 80′s. It’s just so crazy to see a group like Wham! appearing early in the underground development of this genre with the likes of Grandmaster Flash, The Sugerhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J, and Run-D.M.C.
I can’t get over a new dance meme. I can’t help but laugh every time I watch one.
What’s the Harlem Shake? This sucker has exploded on You-Tube within days!
Well, it took a lot of research into both music and dance to figure out where it all came from.
The original Harlem Shake was in 1981. It was inspired by a dance in Ethiopia:
The dance requires a lot of shoulder movement (and dancing as if you were a mummy):
Despite its recent surge in popularity, the Harlem Shake, characterized by lots o’ shoulder movement and shaking the upper torso around, is not a new dance craze. The dance was in fact invented over 30 years ago in 1981 by an alcoholic nicknamed “Al B.” The Shake was originally called the Albee after its inventor.
(I wish I could find a copy of the ’81 Albee but so far no luck, but I did find this…)