Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Plus One : Arkansas, The Natural State

I haven't done a Plus One in a while and for that I apologize. I was going over the list of states that have visited our little neck of the internet woods recently and noticed that we are blessed to have a few new readers in Arkansas. Therefore, I concluded that The Natural State would make a fine Plus One subject today. Something I learned today is the origin of the state's name. Here's Wikipedia : "The name "Arkansas" derives from the same root as the name for the state of Kansas. The Kansas tribe of Native Americans are closely associated with the Sioux tribes of the Great Plains. The word "Arkansas" itself is a French pronunciation ("Arcansas") of a Quapaw (a related "Kaw" tribe) word "akakaze" meaning "land of downriver people" or the Sioux word "Akakaze" meaning "people of the south wind"." Arkansas, formerly part of the Louisiana Purchase, was the 25th state to join the Union (June 15, 1836) and did so just as neighboring Texas a few weeks earlier gained its independence from Mexico. Arkansas has produced some of the most famous people in recent American history - in sports, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Lou Brock and Jerry Jones; entertainment, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell and Floyd Cramer and in politics, William Jefferson Clinton. Arkansas is not called The Natural State for nothing. It's one of the most scenic states in the country. Need proof? How 'bout this? Or this. There's a slideshow right here that I offer as further evidence. Now that there is plum purty and 2.8 million Arkansans are very proud people..."people of the south wind".

Colorado Chronicles : Byron "Whizzer" White

Byron "Whizzer" White
One of the most prestigious and most respected men to come from Colorado (other than John Elway) in the last 100 years is Byron Raymond White. Born in Fort Collins June 8, 1917, Byron White's life journe would see him become a great athlete and, more importantly, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, appointed by John Kennedy in 1962. White was a star halfback for the University of Colorado football team in the 1930's, where he was given the nickname "Whizzer" (a name that would stick with him for the rest of his life) for his on-field exploits. He also excelled in basketball and baseball while at CU. Beyond being a an exceptional athlete, White was an outstanding student, was elected Phi Beta Kappa and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, later returning to the USA "to make some money" playing pro football for the Detroit Lions. BookRags.com has more on Justice White. In 1993, after 31 on the Highest Court in the Land, White retired and returned to his beloved Colorado, going on to his Final Reward on April 15, 2002. Byron Raymond White - athlete, scholar, jurist, American and Son of Colorado.

Maine Minutiae : Jackman (Dang! Is This Place Beautiful!)

I was sitting here gathering information for this post and came across the photo to the left. I said to her, "Damn Maine is a purty place." There's so much I haven't seen in the four years I've been here, but since I am in the "process of retiring", I figure I might have a little time on my hands. Debuting in the Top 5 Places in Maine I Gotta Go Decimate the Fish Population is Jackman. I mean look at that picture! Does it not just scream, "Please come decimate my fish population!"? I have only been ice fishing once and that was in Colorado. In a few months, I'll double (and more!) that number in Jackman. Visitmaine.com (where you can order a free travel guide) tells us this : "Jackman is situated along the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway just before the U.S./Quebec border. This road is also known as the Arnold Trail because it traces Benedict Arnold’s route into Quebec during the American Revolution. The Attean View Rest Area, just south of Jackman, is a great place to stop for a picnic. From this vantage point, you have a clear view of Attean Lake and the network of ponds connected by the Moose River, with the western mountains as the backdrop." Fishin' not your cup of tea? How 'bout the exhilaration of white water rafting on the Kennebec, Penobscot or Dead River? Perhaps you'd like to experience Jackman in the winter time. You won't get cabin fever as you can still enjoy the wilderness of northwest Maine by snowshoeing, snowmobiling or even behind a team of sled dogs. Texas is home, make no mistake about it, but I can easily think of a lot worse places to be than The Pine Tree State. You know, this place is growing me. And I like it.

Texas Tidbits : Arlington

Home of Champions
Texas is chock full of cities that as little as forty years ago were big towns on the verge of becoming major cities - Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Arlington. Arlington? That sleepy little town that in the 1950's had just 8000 residents? That Arlington? Yup. That Arlington. That Arlington is now home to over 365,000 people and some of the most famous entertainment venues in the world - the new $1.2 billion sports palace that is Cowboys Stadium, the beautiful Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Six Flags Over Texas (extra credit if you can those six flags) and more. There is also the University of Texas at Arlington in the city. Go Mavs! The Official City of Arlington web site sums up nicely the history of tis little big city halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth : "Arlington’s history is complex, its identity evolving over more than 150 years. It has been a frontier outpost, an agricultural center, a site of Indian battles and a mecca for horse racing and gambling." Include on that list auto manufacturer. Government General Motors has a large assembly plant in Arlington (which was named for Arlington, VA, the hometown of Robert E. Lee). The history of the Big A (I just made that part up...Big A...hahahahaha) is really pretty cool, so you might give it a read. Oh! I can not end this post about Arlington without mentioning one of the most important figures in the annals of the city - Judge Tom Vandergriff, who was instrumental in bringing both Six Flags and Major League Baseball to Arlington. I'll do a separate post on the Judge one day. He's a great man responsible for much of the growth and prosperity we see in Arlington today. The only thing half-way about Arlington is its central location in the Metroplex, for truly it is a Major League city.

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