Water Doesn’t Naturally Flow in a Straight Line

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I had to use Google Maps in order to calculate the distance between my house and a school that I will be visiting this summer. Like I always do while using Google Maps, I decided to see if the satellite image of my house had been updated. Not sure why, but I decided to trace the creek that runs behind my house and started tracing the line of the creek. I noticed how it meandered and twisted its way through the landscape. I kept noticing that it never went in a straight line for any extended period. Why is it that this creek, nor any other body of water, naturally traveling on a straight line?

The answer lies in the ground beneath our feet. The variations in morphology and makeup of the landscape of where the water is flowing and the direction of the least slope guide the path. Gravity causes the water to choose the path based on the slope; but since the landscape is composed of so many different elements that erode in different manners, the capability for the body of water to flow in a straight line is impossible. As the water flows, the landscape that it encounters erodes differently. As it moves the landscape underneath it; and as the water deepens, each side erodes differently due to the makeup of the land. Whatever kind of material is there, it will erode at a different speed; and thusly will cause one side to erode more than the other. This causes a deviation from what would be a straight line.

As the body of water flows, it carries sediments with it that are deposited when the water slows down due to decreased slope. Larger running water bodies like rivers and creeks expand differently and due to the large quantity of water flowing in the event of rapid rainfall or in the case of Pages Lake which is fed by Mines Creek outside of Fayetteville, NC. Much like the creek, so named Island Creek, which flows behind my house; Mines Creek is fed by and is connected to a much larger body of water. Mines Creek is connected by the Cape Fear River while my creek is fed by an offshoot of that same river; the Northeast Cape Fear River.

Most creeks are formed by water flowing from a larger body of water (ie a river) and either never reaching another body of water. Sometimes these small creeks flow downhill until they merge to form larger streams and rivers; but sometimes when enough water is flowing, due to the land eroding in different areas, the water expands its banks irregularly and braided channels are formed. You see this a lot when lakes rivers and creeks run dry; as is the case with Pages Lake that lies behind Camp Dixie. The Lake was formed by the low lying water eroding away at the banks over many years but the creek still continued out the other side. The water will come back whenever they open the dam that is located down the road; but for now all we see is the braided channels and stagnant water that is left behind.

The journey of a body of water is much like the journey of a human life. We all start at the same place: a newborn baby; but due to a myriad of factors, we all go down different paths. If we are ever guilty of not trying to move forward. If we ever stop trying, then we will become stagnant and lifeless just like the lake that has no movement. So keep moving my friends. God bless.

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The Sin Eater: History’s Worst Profession

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In the Ghost Rider comic issue #74, Marvel Comics introduces us to Centurious, who in a Faust-esque manner, sold his soul to Mephisto to fight the demon Zarathos and save the woman he loved. Unknowing to him, the punishment for losing his soul was that he would roam the world and became a soulless immortal. While studying the mystic arts many centuries ago, he acquired the Crystal of Souls. In issues #80 and 81 of the same series, Centurious uses a sin obsessed pastor, Ethan Domblue, who longed for his congregation to be sinless. After being approached by the devilish Centurious, Domblue was given the power to ‘eat’ his congregation’s sins; which left them in a ‘sinless’ but passive state. The parishioners of the town of Holly were trapped inside the Crystal of Souls. The zombie-like slaves were then loyal to Centurious. The Ghost Rider showed up and defeated Centurious and freed the townspeople from the Crystal. As a last act to redeem his own soul, Pastor Domblue helped removed Zarathos from Johnny Blaze and placed the demon inside the Crystal of Souls, which therefore freed Johnny from the curse of the Ghost Rider. This may have been one of the first times that a sin eater had been introduced in comic book culture; but the real life occupation had been around for a long (and I do mean long) time.

The sin-eater is someone who eats a ritual meal in order to take on the sins of that person or persons. The food is believed to have been the vessel to carry the sins of the deceased person and therefore the sin-eater ‘eating’ the sins of this deceased person would absolve them of their sins. Allowing that person’s soul to be clean in the afterlife and based on the religious beliefs of the believer, would be allowed into Heaven/afterlife/wherever. In most mythologies, the sin-eater lives a slightly morbid life, isolated from the rest of the community because of his ‘unclean’ life. The sin-eater in the Ghost Rider comic, is not the only mention of the occupation in popular culture as it has appeared in movies, books, and other comic books. Despite its mention in certain venues; it is a relatively unknown thing.

I had never heard of the sin-eaters until my mom insisted that I watch this 2007 movie entitled The Last of the Sin Eater. The Last of the Sin Eater takes place in 1850s Appalachia and centers around a young girl who while grieves for the loss of her beloved grandmother, who is the only person in her family that loves her because the rest of her family thinks that she is responsible for the death of her sister. During her grandmother’s funeral, the young girl looks onto the face of the village’s sin-eater (because according to lore, the sin-eater became a worse and worse with every ceremony he attended). The girl, who is distraught by the litany of deaths and pain that she feels finds comforts in the teachings and Bible of the preacher that is camping on the outskirts of the village. Since I thought that this was just a Christian tale, my mother insisted that it was a real thing. So of course I had to investigate.

360px-British_Museum_Huaxtec_1-2The sin-eaters and the interactions of the sin-eater to the people of the villages has remained a relatively unstudied part of our human history and remains as folklore for the most part. In mythology, the Aztec goddess of earth, motherhood and fertility, Tlazolteotl, had a role in the Huastec religion of the pre-Columbian Meso-American civilization. In Aztec culture, the individual who was close to death, would confess his/her sins (specifically sexual misdeeds) to the deity, and she would cleanse his/her soul by ‘eating their filth’.

We find sin-eaters in not only the Aztec culture but the occupation has been found in many other regions of the world. A letter by renowned English antiquarian, writer, and collector John Bagford (circa 1650-1716) where he wrote about the sin-eating ritual:

Notice was given to an old sire before the door of the house, when some of the family came out and furnished him with a cricket (a low stool), on which he sat down facing the door; then they gave him a groat which he put in his pocket, a crust of bread which he ate, and a bowl of ale which he drank off at a draught. After this he got up from the cricket and pronounced the case and the rest of the soul departed, for which he would pawn his own soul.

The practice was prevalent in the Marches (which is the land around the England-Wales border) and in northern Wales but mostly died out by the early 19th century. The last known sin-eater in England was Richard Munslow, who died in Ratlinghope in 1906. The English tradition finds that most sin-eaters were generally poor people and earned a small wage (normally a half-shilling) from ‘eating the sins’. This practice was frowned upon by the Christian church despite having origins based in early Christian customs where the early Israelites’ transferred their sins to a ‘scapegoat’ (found in Leviticus 16). This custom was never widely practiced but starting dying out completely in the 19th century. The gravestone of Richard Munslow is found in the small Shropshire churchyard of the St Margarets’s Church in the Ratlinghope village (of only about 100 residents) in England. The inscription is minimal but while most sin-eaters were poor, Munslow was a prominent farmer in the area. His time as the village’s sin-eater would find him ceremoniously partaking in the meal and recanting the phrase:

“I give easement and rest now to thee, dear man. Come not down the lanes or in our meadows. And for thy peace I pawn my own soul. Amen.”

The now-defunct practice which supposedly died out with men like Richard Munslow did move to America with the influx of Irish, Welch, and British immigrants to the Appalachian mountains during the 18th and 19th centuries. The author of “The Last Sin Eater” book and subsequently the movie; was intrigued by the idea of sin-eaters because of the movie The Incredible Journey of Dr. Meg Laurel starring Lindsay Wagner and James Woods which also centered around a sin-eater. Her message for all of her novels is that, “God is there waiting when you ask forgiveness;” much like the way the Aztecs worshipped the Goddess Tlazolteotl. Am I thankful that I can just go to God and ask forgiveness instead of finding someone to eat crusty bread from the chest of a dead person before drinking cheap wine just to absolve someone who they hardly know of their sins? Most definitely because I think that I’d rather starve to death than to do that job. I’d go back to digging ditches….which I actually only did for a day and a half.

 


Images:

Cover Image:  Scanned Cover of the pulp magazine Weird Tales (December 1938, vol. 32, no. 6) featuring The Sin-Eater by G.G. Pendarves. Cover art by Ray Quigley. Accredited to Weird Tales, Inc. – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8376605

Ghost Rider (1st Series) cover photo, Issue #80, May 1983 accredited to Marvel Comics.

British Museum Huaxtec 1 accredited to Gryffindorderivative: Ophelia.summers (talk) – British_Museum_Huaxtec_1.jpg, fair use, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15254577

Richard Munslow Gravestone images courtesy of https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/58880934/richard-munslow

May the Fourth be with you

98px-Bdna_croppedA couple of years ago, my mom purchased me the DNA analysis kit for ancestry.com. The ethnicity results somewhat amazed us. We were met with a huge tide of emotions because it was different than what I had been taught for my entire life. My DNA analysis said that my ethnicity was estimated to be made up of 42% Western Europe, 28% Great Britain, 18% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 8% Scandanavia, and 4% from other places. It was within these 4 percent that I found a 1% for four specific regions and it was within these areas that we pondered on the most.

The first 2 percentages were said to be from either Finland, Northwest Russia and the Caucasus region. The thought of me being from the Caucasus region which consists of 220px-Tunisia_in_its_region.svgArmenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey was surprising. The next 1% from the Iberian Peninsula surprised me even more because the Iberian Peninsula consists of Spain, Portugal, Southern France, the Western Italian Islands, Northern Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. The last 1% comes from Northern Africa which primarily consists of the Western Sahara, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The three popping up consistently were the ones that were the most surprising but after some research into my family tree many months later; I found my missing African link.

220px-Star_wars_1977_us.svgTurns out that my 12th paternal great-grandmother was from Tunisia. Now you probably suspected by the title of this blog that this was a Star Wars Day blog; well in that you would be correct. The reason why is because while reading up on the information I couldn’t get over why the name Tunisia sounded so familiar. The reason why this North African country that borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert sounded so familiar was not my great-grandmother’s ghost whispering information about her homeland; no, it was because I had just re-watched a documentary about the filming of the original Star Wars movie last summer. Part of the Tattoine locations, including Luke’s Tatooine home, were filmed in Tunisia. Guess there could be a little Jedi in me after all.

 

Happy Star Wars Day!

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Images:

B DNA gif by Spiffistanderivative work: Jahobr (talk) – Bdna.gif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17436581

Geographical Location of Tunisia by TUBS – Own work, This vector graphics image was created with Adobe Illustrator. This file was uploaded with Commonist. This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  World location map (W3).svg (by TUBS)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15302417

Star Wars Logo 1977 by Lucas Arts – http://www.starwars.com/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40435409

1977 Cinema Advertising Star Wars by Michael Dorausch from Venice, USA – CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51237185

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Castles in the United States

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I immediately think of that cur Skeletor trying to break into Castle Grayskull when I hear someone talk about a castle; while most people’s thoughts would turn to a large fortified stone structure from long, long ago which housed nobility. We think about the Royal families who were entrusted with these buildings. We think of the fortified castles surrounded by a mote sitting on huge expanses of land in England, on the rolling countryside in Scotland, or even in Colorado? So America isn’t exactly on the location list when you imagine a ‘castle’ huh? Well you would be surprised at the number of castles there are here in America. So you know what I do…I make a list. So I have put together Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Castles in the United States.


 

Honorable mention: Bannerman Castle, Pollepel Island, NY –

Construction stopped on Bannerman Castle after the death of its owner, military goods supplier Francis Bannerman; but it was the explosion, a fire, and having been left to the elements for many decades that has led to the castle being labeled as unsafe due to the decaying walls and ‘buried hazards’. The castle is only located 50 miles north of New York City, but it’s up to you whether its worth the trouble of kayaking over.

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10. Belvedere Castle, New York, New York – 

Originally designed in 1865, the castle was built to be nothing more than a folly inside of an already beautiful location. The castle was built inside New York’s scenic historic Central Park. The architectural hybrid of Gothic and Romanesque styles serves many purposes since it has served as a weather tower for the National Weather Service, as well as the interior housing a nature observatory.

9. Gillette Castle, East Haddam, Connecticut – 

Known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on the theatrical stage and in a 1916 silent film (that was famously thought to be lost but was recently found in 2014); but it is my guess that he is best known for his Castle. Known as Gillette Castle, the stone castle sits on a bluff overlooking the Connecticut River. The off-beat actor designed the outside to appear to be a medieval castle, while the castle’s interior is more modern and riddled with strange features; like a surveillance mirrors and 60 paintings that pay tribute to his cats…all 17 of them.

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8. Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, Pennsvylvania – 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972; the concrete, 44 room castle was completed in 1912. The castle was the home of archeologist and tile maker Henry Chapman Mercer. The castle, as well as other facilities owned by Mercer, are now opened to the public to showcase his collection of pottery and art.

7. Gresham’s Castle (aka The Bishop’s Place), Galveston, Texas – 

The elaborately built Victorian-style 19,082 square feet house was finished in 1893 by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton for lawyer and politician Walter Gresham and his family. After the death of Clayton, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston purchased the house and it was the residence of Bishop Christopher Byrne until the diocese office moved to Houston. After that the diocese opened the castle to the public in 1963 and gave the proceeds from the tours to help fund Catholic students at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

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6. Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga, California – 

From a distance, you would think that you had been transported to 12th or 13th century Tuscany but in all actuality you are in the Napa Valley. Construction actually began in 1995 on this 107 room structure and everything from the hand chiseled stones to the hand made nails to the hand-painted frescoes that are sprawled throughout this 121,000 square-foot castle. The historically accurate castle is the perfect place to feel like royalty; as you sample the best wine that Napa Valley has to offer.

5. Bishop Castle, Beulah, Colorado –

When Jim Bishop started building a cabin out of locally sourced stone in 1969; he had no intentions of building a castle. It was only after a friend told him that it looked like he was building a castle; so he did just that. Bishop hand built the 3 story, 160-foot-tall castle by himself. And because no medieval style castle would be complete without a dragon; Bishop built a metallic dragon that juts out from the roof and on special occasions shoots real fire and smoke through its nose.

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4. Boldt Castle, Heart Island, New York – 

Before being purchased by the Thousand Island Bridge Authority in 1977, George Boldt (owner of the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel) purchased one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River and started constructing a castle. The six-story castle was built in honor of his wife, Louise. Louise suddenly died in 1904 before the castle was completed. Boldt was broken hearted over his wife’s death and never returned to the island. Until the Thousand Island Bridge Authority purchased the castle, restored it, and opened it to the public; the castle sat abandoned.

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3. Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii – 

There is only one castle in the United States that can claim to house royalty. That United States royal palace was built for King Kalakua and Queen Kapi’olani. Finished in 1882, this luxurious and elaborately decorated with koa wood, ebony furniture and even was complete with a throne room. Kalakaua was influenced to build the elaborate castle to immolate the majestic palaces that he had seen on his journeys. The Iolani palace had the most modern amenities at that time. The gas chandeliers were replaced with electric lighting five years; which was only seven years after Edison invented the first practical incandescent bulb. The palace also had the newly invented telephone installed. Sadly when the US government overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, Queen Lili’uokalani was dethroned. She was actually imprisoned in the beautiful, amenity advanced palace for many months. The Iolani Palace was renovated in the 1970s and was opened to the public in 1978 after being restored to its original glory.

2. Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

Before Hearst Castle and the estate “La Cuesta Encantada (“The Enchanted Hill”) became a California State Park in 1954, owner of the largest newspaper chain and media company Hearst Communications; American businessman, politician, and flamboyant newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst built himself a residence that matched his larger than life personality. In its heyday, the castle was the location for socialites, Hollywood stars and the political elite to party. The likes of Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Jimmy Stewart, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and many other high profile guests would drive in, use the estate’s personal airfield to fly in or would use the private Hearst-owned train car in from Los Angeles. The Hearst Corporation donated the estate to the California State Parks but made sure that the stipulation would be that the family would be able to use the facility whenever they wanted. And who could blame them?

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1. Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina – 

Known to be the largest privately owned home in the United States, the Bitlmore Estate was the home of one of America’s most prominent families: the Vanderbilts. The Vanderbilts amassed a huge fortune and George Washinton Vanderbilt II was the favorite of his father. The Chateauesque-style mansion is a prominent example of the Gilded Age and still stands today as a beautiful piece of history. The house took 7 years to complete and the final brick was cured in the facilities kiln in 1896. The 135,280 square feet of living area inside the Biltmore House are waiting for you to come and tour.


Images:

Featured Image – Bannerman’s Castle on Pollepel Island from the left bank of the Hudson River by User:Leonard G. – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2417637

Castle Grayskull credit to Mattel and Filmation – Fair use.

Belvedere Castle in Central Park, New York City by Captain-tucker – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5553491

Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, PA by Andrearamirez – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21552746

Castello di Amorosa front by Oleg Alexandrov – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36814168

Heart Island, Fair Use – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=242469

Iolani Palace By Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA – `Iolani Palace, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56821183

The Bitlmore House on the Biltmore Estate by and attributed to Ken Thomas – KenThomas.us (personal website of photographer), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10314274

Barbers – “In you we trust”

360px-Barber_Pole_in_Jersey_Shore,_PA_(3873481587)I have known my barber for most of my life; (even before he became a full time barber) so I feel more comfortable with him than most of you would feel with yours. Many people find themselves extremely uncomfortable in social interactions and sitting in a chair making small talk while someone uses sharp objects above and near their face is quite nerve racking. A student of mine recently did his 12th grade job-shadowing at a barber shop near our school and it got me to thinking about the history of barbering and hair stylists. Before the ‘shave and a haircut – two bits’ time, barbers served a much darker purpose. Barbers performed surgery, did bloodletting and leeching, performed fire cupping, gave enemas, and even extracted teeth! They were known as barber surgeons and the barber pole that hangs outside of your local barber shop references the time when barbers performed the medical procedures. The red symbolized the blood while the white symbolized the bandages.

Archivo_General_de_la_Nación_Argentina_1890_aprox_barbero_ruralAs early as 6,000 years ago, barbers were part of society. The nobles of Egyptian society had ‘barbers’ shave their heads with sharpened stones. In the middle ages, barbers performed shaving, gave hair cuts (most of the time checking for and treating lice), dressed wounds and performed small surgical operations. Which leads us to today where the American barbershop is a respect place where communication is passed through reversed glances in a mirror. You can picture Andy Griffith sitting in Floyd’s barber chair discussing town issues with Barney. The barber shop has also been vastly important in the African American community. Kentucky State University professor David Shabazz  said that, “African American barbershops are discursive spaces, where identity is shaped as young men are initiated into manhood and African American culture,”  in his Journal of Black Studies article. But in our current cultural climate, even the barbershop has lost a lot of its social significance. Some people have lost the desire to interact with others due to the convenience of the $5 impersonal cut.

640px-Xela,_Guatemala_PeluqueriaSo you’ve been used to getting your hair cut at the clip-and-go shopping mall location (and there is nothing wrong with that if you do!) and you want to try something new. The first time you’re sitting down in the leather armed chair of a real barber shop…what do you say while you breathing the same air? Let’s just say that until you get to know the person, it might not be the best time to throw your hat into the ring with the most controversial of topics. To forgo the awkward arguments from fellow patrons or from the barber himself, sit aside your yearning to discuss religious and politically themed topics until you have gotten to know your barber and the environment better. Honestly some people look to their barber as if they were their own personal therapist; or even a mirrored confessional where the falling hair symbolizes another penance with a pile of Hail Mary’s here and 2 Our Fathers still holding tight to the black cape pinned tightly around your neck. Maybe even ask the barber about his life. Point your conversation to them. Ask how their day is going. Ask them if they have any interesting stories because you can only imagine the interesting stories that have happened been shared while standing behind that <a href="http://Authentic“>authentic barber chair.


Images:

Barber Pole in Jersey Shore, PA by and attributed to Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States – 083009 495Uploaded by GrapedApe, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25151791

Featured Image – Rural Barber attributed to the Archivo General de la Nación Argentina, circa 1890, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33842286

Xela, Guatemala Peluqueria Barbershop in Quetzaltenango by Gamdrup – Guatemala, Fair use, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27379073

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: The Ford Mustang

1964_Ford_Mustang_Convertible_(14175159527)So, I forgot to post yesterday in honor of National Mustang Day. April 17th might seem like a very odd day to memorialize such a famous American automobile; so why that day? On March the 9th, 1964 the first Mustang; a Wimbledon White convertible with a 260-cubic inch V-8 engine; rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan. A little more than a month later, on April 17th, 1964 the Ford Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. It was on that stage that a legacy was born. The introduction of the Mustang started a new class of cars commonly known as: the pony car. The Mustang’s styling caught the world’s eye and grew in popularity. It also inspired a lot of the competition which are known now as the Significant 7 (The Ford Mustang, The Chevrolet Camaro, The Pontiac Trams Am, The Plymouth ‘Cuda, The Mercury Cougar, Dodge Challenger, The AMC AMX). The Mustang was originally sold as just a hardtop and convertible option; but in August of 1964, customers could also get a fastback version.

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The first-generation Mustang was relatively unchanged from 1964 through 1973. Lee Iacocca, who was one of the original creators behind the original Mustang, had became President of Ford Motor Company by the time 1974 rolled around and in response to the oil crisis; he ordered the design team to create a smaller, more fuel-efficient Mustang. Dubbed the Mustang II, it didn’t really have anything in common with the preceding model. it was ultimately based on the Ford Pinto subcompact car and made its debut on September 21, 1973 (two months before the oil crisis). The reduced size allowed the car to be competitive against the newly imported Japanese Toyota Celica and the European Ford built compact car, the Mercury Capri. The 1975 saw the inclusion of a V8 option after the 1974 models were only available in the 2.3 liter inline four cylinder from the Ford Pinto or the 2.8 liter Cologne V6 found in the Mercury Capri. The 302 cubic inch (4.9 L) Windsor V8 was only available with a C-4 automatic transmission. It continued to be this way until the end of the Mustang II which was in 1978.

The third generation of the Mustang saw a complete change. The new Mustang was based on the larger Fox body platform (other Fox body cars include the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr). With the larger body, the Mustang had an increased wheelbase which yielded more space. The larger engine bay, back seat and trunk capacity was a big hit with buyers. Ford now offered a coupe (aka the notchback), hatchback, and convertible and with each variation offered a variety of packages and engine options.

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In November of 1993, a car code-named the “SN-95” was debuted. The Mustang saw its first redesign in 15 years and incorporated styling cues from earlier Mustangs but was very different at the same time. For the first time since 1964; the Mustang was not available in a coupe (aka notchback) model. The Mustang came as either a 3.8 OHV V6 or a V8. The Mustang also, after nearly 30 years of use retired the 302 cid pushrod small-block V8 and was replaced with a modular 4.6 L 281 cid SOHC V8 for the 1996 model year. In 1999 was again reskinned  The interior, proportions and chassis were remained the same but the 1999-2004 Mustang had Ford’s new styling with sharper contours and creases in its bodywork.

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Code-named the “S-197” (I guess they use a lot of code names in the car business) was introduced at the 2004 North American Auto Show. The newly re-designed 2005 model year Mustang was reminiscent of the fastback Mustang from the late-1960s. The car not only saw a newly designed exterior with a reduced drag coefficient while the engine was unchanged, the interior saw a few upgrades.

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The sixth generation brings us to present day. Back in 2015, Ford debuted yet another rendition of the famous Mustang. The current Mustang is as popular as ever and whether we’re referring to the Ford direct cars or the many variations modified by companies (ie Shelby, Saleen, Roush) throughout the years; Mustangs are the American muscle car. I’m sure that any Camaro fan would disagree with me in emphasizing the cultural significance of this car but since my first car was a Fox-body Mustang; I am slightly partial.


 

Images:

1964 Ford Mustang Convertible by Sicnag – 1964 Ford Mustang Convertible, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40645649

1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra by Sicnag – 1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40645475

1980 Ford Mustang Ghia Hatchback by Sicnag – 1980 Ford Mustang Ghia Hatchback, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40645609

Featured Image – 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Hatchback by Sicnag – 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Hatchback, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40645591

1995 Ford Mustang GT by Kieran White from Manchester, England – 1995 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38606091

Mustang by Ben – Mustang, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66494677

Geneva Motor Show 2014 (photo taken on first press day) by Norbert Aepli, Switzerland, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31448683

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Words that Differ in American English

We have lots of (what would be considered by some to be arguments) discussions about a variety of topics at my house. One all too common discussion is the proper pronunciation of words. As an English teacher, my patience is depleted all too frequently when we argue about words and their meaning. Now after saying that I sound very pompous and I must admit that I do make mistakes. I’m not the end-all authority on the English Language despite my ‘vast knowledge’ (inside joke). One of my college English professors told us that the written English language is the most difficult language to learn. To English as a second language learners, the every day grammar and word usage that we find so easy to comprehend are the things that confuse our foreign friends. When watching TV or talking to someone from another English speaking country, the things we hear our foreign brethren say sometimes make us laugh because the word’s definitions are sometimes different from country to country. The most noticeable difference between American English and that of our foreign friends (specifically British English) is the vocabulary. There are countless words that are different in American English that are vastly different from those of our British cohorts. For example Americans open the hood of their car to access the engine while the British would ask you to open the bonnet to look at the engine.

It doesn’t even have to be a word difference though. It would be spelling differences; like the word that caused our family discussion/argument the other night: flavor/flavour. There are hundreds of minor spelling differences between British and American English. Thanks to American lexicographer Noah Webster. You probably recognize his name from what he is famous for; his dictionary. The author, teacher and politician started to reform the English spelling in the latter pat of the 1700s. As an intelligent man, he grew weary of the inconsistent spelling differences between the American and British spelling of different words. As a way to better show America’s independence from England, he would do simple spelling changes like taking the u out of colour. Other changes that he proposed would thankfully fail to be approved. Like his proposal of changing the spelling of women to wimmen.

Its not just nouns that differ across the pond. Americans tend to end their past tense verbs with the ending -ed; while the British tend to use the -t. (Example: They dreamed of a beautiful sunset vs They dreamt of a beautiful sunset.)

So now that we’ve established that there is a difference but I know that you want to know more. Whether you’re traveling abroad and won’t have some magic genie to help interpret the language in a new country or if you’re just as nosey as I am; don’t fret. Everyone knows how I love to make a list; so I have put together a word list to show how meanings and words differ in America vs other English speaking countries (specifically in our case Britain). So here is the – Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Words that differ in American English.


634px-Cyanocitta_cristata_blue_jay

10. Bird

British: A colloquial term for a woman.

American: A winged mammal.

9. Shag

British: Colloquial term for a sexual act

American: A type of carpet

8. A jumper

British: A wool pullover jacket worn during the winter

American: Someone who commits suicide by jumping from a building or bridge

7. A geezer

British: A tough guy or gang member

American: An old man

The_Rawleigh_Man

6. Solicitor

British: A legal representative

American: A door-to-door salesman

5. Pants

British: Underwear

American: Trousers

4. A rubber

British – A pencil eraser

American – A slang term for a male contraceptive

3. Trainer(s)

British: Athletic shoes

American: Person who trains you to work out at the gym

640px-Marsh

2. Bog

British: Toilet/Bathroom

American: Marsh/swamp/quagmire

 

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1. Chips

British: French fries or thinly sliced fried potatoes

American: Thinly sliced, deep fried, baked and/or kettle-cooked crunchy potatoes (which are called crisps in the UK)


 

Images:

Featured Image – Blue Jay Cyanocitta Cristata Welland by and accredited to Rob Hanson from Welland, Ontario, Canada – Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3201406

The Rawleigh Man accredited to the Stephenson County Historical Society “This is a postcard depicting The Rawleigh Man. A door-to-door salesman of medicine and other products. 1909 – Stephenson County Historical Society, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46933270

Wavy French Fries sold in Canadian Supermarket by and accredited to Gab kiwi32 – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16105222

Marsh in Bird Sanctuary by and accredited to Liam M. Higgins – Own work. Taken with Kodak Z740 Zoom Digital Camera, Copyrighted free use, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=876501