A glazed plate that had sat in a make-shift frame hidden behind a door in an English cottage for years was recently discovered to be worth far more than its owner knew.
The 16.5 inch Italian maiolica plate was ”uncovered” by an auctioneer who been asked to assess some items in the unidentified woman’s home in Dorset, England.
Only about two inches of it were visible when appraiser Richard Bromell caught a glimpse of the plate behind a door.
“It had been on the wall for a number of years and you couldn’t really see it but it was hugely exciting …” he told the BBC.
When put up for sale by Charterhouse Auctioneers on Feb. 14, the plate brought $880,000, despite having a small chip.
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and with it a handful of articles asserting that what ultimately saved the Plymouth Colony from failure was its willingness to embrace private-property rights.
The Café Hayek blog, however, is one of the few that actually makes an effort to identify the source behind that idea.
George Mason University professor Don Boudreaux uses as his source information taken from the Massachusetts Historical Society’s 1912 edition of William Bradford’s History of Plymouth Plantation:
To finance their voyage, the Pilgrims formed a joint stock company with London investors. At the investors’ insistence, the settlers agreed to pool output, land, capital, and profits during their first seven years abroad. From this “common stock,” residents of the colony were to receive food and other necessities, and at the end of the seven-year period, the land and other assets were to be “equally divided betwixt” the investors and the settlers. The colonists initially complied with the spirit of this contract. Although they planted household gardens almost from the start, they collectivized initial field and livestock operations. The setters had some agricultural successes, but they were unable to grow corn in their common field. Within six months of reaching Plymouth, almost one-half of the population had perished from disease.
The colony was founded in late 1620, but by 1624 the Plymouth colonists had deviated from investors’ plans and assigned each family from one to 10 acres, depending on the number of family members, according to Boudreaux.
Few scenes capture the spirit of the South more clearly than fields of ripening cotton, so thick with fluffy bolls that the whiteness dazzles the eye.
Farm Press understands the charm of cotton and is again asking readers to grab their cameras and capture the picturesque crop in all its splendor.
For the second straight year, Farm Press, which publishes Southeast Farm Press among other publications, is looking for photos that “recognize the beauty of cotton and the people who grow it.”
“Cotton is a huge part of Southern farm culture … snow-white fields ready for harvest hold promise of a good return for hard work and perseverance,” writes Slate Canon on the Farm Press Blog. “And from the time the first seedling pushes through the soil, to first bloom, to boll fill and finally to the massive pickers marching through fields leaving brown swaths in the white landscape, a cotton crop is a work of art.”
Farm Press is asking readers to send in their best cotton photos – kids in cotton fields, blooms, sunsets, pickers and strippers, anything that captures the uniqueness of cotton – to email@example.com by Nov. 1.
At some point in the past week, this blog rather inexplicably went over the half-million-view mark.
It took a little less than four years to reach that point, but lest I get too big for my britches I need only remind myself that the Huffington Post racks up the same amount of traffic in just six hours.
On the other hand, the Cotton Boll Conspiracy is absolutely crushing both the Build Your Own Fire-Ant Farm blog and the Musings on Neo-Pelagianism blog in terms of unique visits.
So what I have I learned over these past four years? Judging from the semi-literate scribblings, the obvious contempt for copyright laws in regard to the use of images, and the willy-nilly selection of topics, one might suspect very little.
And one would be right.
One of the great crimes of higher education is that many entry-level economics courses have been stripped of anything remotely interesting and instead boiled down into a bewildering array of baffling concepts such as demand curves, GDP and elasticity.
Having sat through both macroeconomics and microeconomics during my college years, I can recount with vivid detail the monotonous confusion that accompanied both classes.
In retrospect, personal experience has led me to understand that economics is actually a fascinating subject, despite the best efforts of many professors and teaching assistants to have their undergraduates believe differently.
That’s because, in my own view, at least, economics represents at its simplest the study of human action and reaction. It considers why people do what they do in order to get what they want.
Fortunately for today’s generation of college students, it appears an increasing number of economists understand that the field entails more than droning on about the marginal propensity to save and the paradox of thrift are gaining popularity.
One of the most enlightening pieces I’ve ever come across was written recently by economics professor Deirdre McCloskey writing at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.
The War Between the States ended nearly 150 years ago, yet primary-source documents connected to the conflict continue to surface, often under the most unusual of circumstances.
Recently, an employee of the Richland County Public Library in Columbia, S.C., was in a storage area of the institution and came across what may well be a one-of-a-kind record: a large ledger detailing muster rolls for hundreds of companies that served as part of South Carolina Civil War regiments.
“I spoke with the state Archives Department and they’ve never seen or heard of anything like this, where all this information is in paginated and typed form,” said Debbie Bloom, who manages the library’s local history room.
Bloom, who highlighted the find on her The Dead Librarian blog, said she came across the index, called the Confederate Rolls of South Carolina, earlier this year when she saw a large box, approximately 18 inches by 30 inches, lying in a storage area.
Inside was a battered ledger about two inches thick consisting of hundreds of company rolls for South Carolina infantry, cavalry and artillery units that served during the 1861-65 war.
“I have absolutely no idea how long it had been there or where it came from,” she said. “But wherever it came from, it’s a wonderful resource.”
The Richland County Public Library contacted the University of South Carolina and, using USC’s large scanning machines, put the entire resource online. It can be found here.
Along those lines, South Carolina blogger Charlie
Speicht Speight, writing at The Garnet Spy, breaks out a host of shopworn bromides which he claims highlights just how far our nation has fallen. The unstated assumption is that this has occurred under the watch of President Barack Obama. Speicht Speight puts forth a series of amorphous questions which may have few quantifiable answers but serve a larger purpose of getting red meat Republicans worked into a lather as the 2012 presidential election looms.
Consider some excerpts from
Speicht’s Speight’s piece, titled “Do You Remember America?“
Do you recall that magnificent, unapologetic juggernaut of democracy and freedom?
Do you remember the America that made herself into a mighty power that she used to protect the oppressed elsewhere in the world, asking for little in return?
Do you remember how America created, built, manufactured, invented, assembled, hammered, welded, bought, sold, sailed, flew, plowed, sowed, harvested and shared?
A hat tip to the delightfully named Hookers and Booze blog for the above masterpiece. As for the blog’s name, you gotta respect an entity that’s upfront about what it’s about.
I guess “Hookers, Booze and Bacon” was too long a title. Perhaps it was already taken.
Or maybe it did exist at one time, until a cease-and-desist order from attorneys representing the cured meats industry put a stop to it. (Damn you, Big Bacon!)
Whichever way you slice it, we all lose in the long run.
Disclaimer: No hookers and/or booze was harmed in the making of this flow chart, though a prodigious portion of bacon was endangered.
A trip to Memorial Park in Columbia, SC, Monday found a smattering of people inspecting around the various monuments to those who gave their lives while in military service.
Were it not for an extended family from Pascagoula, Miss., passing through, there would have been barely a dozen individuals on hand on this Memorial Day, most of them Vietnam-era veterans.
It was a paltry showing given that the park is dedicated to those who lost their lives in Vietnam, Korea, World War II, World War I and, specifically, the Holocaust.
But, then again, Americans have always tended to be a forward-looking group. This isn’t always a bad thing, but there’s a certain sadness that comes with the recognition that our society as a whole has limited interest in showing its appreciation to so many of its young men and women who died in service to their country.
Politicians will roll out the platitudes at the proper times, families who have lost loved ones will grieve in their own private way and a small percentage will genuinely make an effort to recall those who gave their lives for the US.
Except for the latter two groups, most Americans see Memorial Day as little more than just another holiday, a chance to cook out, swim at the local neighborhood association pool and knock back a few beers.
It may not be the America that those that gave their lives would have wanted to die for. Read the rest of this entry »