Monday, December 6, 2010

A Fishy Love Story, Part 2

Aircraft Charter Service flight from Oregon to Alaska in 1937: $50

Making your boyfriend’s day: Priceless

This continues the story from Part 1 about the Great Depression Era lovebirds R.W.M. (most likely Ralph Marlyn), working in Southeast Alaska, and Marjorie “Midge” Miller, vacationing Hood River, Oregon. Unlike Ralph’s first letter that has four handwritten sides of paper, his second has two one-sided typed pages on new business stationary. It was dated July 18, 1937, stamped by the Ketchikan post office at 2 PM the following day, and mailed to Route 3, Hood River, Oregon. Ralph’s greeting might have been a private joke, another mystery needing to be solved:

Dearest, darling Midge, & G.O.T. Jury

After updating her on his father (a nail two inches into his foot!) and the weather (raining and windy), Ralph apologizes for not carrying out her orders regarding cherries she sent for friends in a timely manner. He talks about being lonesome for her, continuing with the kind of teasing sentiment found in the first letter, but it’s possible that he was just plain bored, feeling trapped on the island.

A week before, Ralph had expressed remorse about not being able to explore and go mountain climbing as friends had done, but he finally got a break from the cannery. This letter mentions fishing on “Ward’s Lake creek” (most likely Wards Lake, Ketchikan) with someone named Dick Borch, during which he successfully caught “at least a dozen steelheads [rainbow trout] and had the thrill of my fishing career.”

There are two little hints about the economic climate before the storm: The purpose of Ralph’s typed letter on business paper was to show off his logo designs for “The Marlyn Fish Company, Inc.” and the “Berg Packing Company.” J.E. Berg was manager of Ralph’s father’s company, which had branches in Tacoma, Washington and Petersburg, Juneau, and Sitka, Alaska. As the United States heads into the 1937 Recession, Ralph believes that his father is optimistic about future business, evident by him printing enough stationary “to last us a dozen years.”

Sensing a lost opportunity to make money, Ralph regrets not purchasing a boat that spring:

[M]y share of the boats [sic] earnings would by now have been about half the cost of the boat, and the chances of earning a lot through the cannery season are considerable.

As we shall see later from Ralph’s letters, making such a purchase in expectation of a good salmon season would’ve been disastrous. These love letters hold a bit of cultural and economic information that I hope may prove to be valuable to historical researchers someday.

A Picture’s Worth

Awhile back, I visited The Annenberg Space for Photography. Its current exhibit, Extreme Exposure, had just opened, and I’d driven a little out of my way to take a look at five photographers’ work captured during their routine, but wild, adventures.

Although born out of pain, I found Clyde Butcher’s work to be romantic, probably because black-and-white prints and bulky equipment will always raise a touch of nostalgia. His pictures were absolutely breathtaking, especially when viewed in the large-screened theater. There’s a stillness that almost seems out of place since nature is supposed to be active. The effect was like that of a landscape oil or watercolor painting and a bit eerie.

Michael Nichols and Paul Nicklen are two National Geographic photographers who capture a lot of wildlife in action. The outcomes of their daring adventures were amazing and even humorous at times, but also extremely preachy. Reading one caption after another about endangered animal populations or climate change, I sensed that these photographers, including Butcher to a lesser extent, felt an apparent need to justify doing what they loved. They weren’t artists for art’s sake but activists who’d found a successful medium for advertisement. It’s sad because this tended to cheapen their prints, making them appear no different from any random lower-quality animal shot combined with the same automated conservation message.

Finally, there were volcanic eruptions captured by the globe-trotting couple Stephen and Donna O’Meara, founders of Volcano Watch International. Their portion of the exhibit included photographs of the recent Eyjafjallajökull eruption and volcano-exploring equipment. The color palates captured in many of their shots were beautiful. Who knew that smoke, molten lava, and ash could come in such a variety of colors?

The common theme uniting these photographers was their willingness to “push the limits,” so to speak, to get amazing shots. Learning the stories behind their work made me realize how accustomed I am to seeing “extreme” photography. Having seen the Space’s exhibit, I hope the next time I view such pictures I’ll appreciate the hard work and risk taking that went behind the camera lens.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Parmesan-Bacon-Spinach Salad

Yesterday, my littlest sister and I conducted an archaeological excavation of the darkest depths of my parents’ pantry and discovered a long-forgotten bottle of Greek Mama’s Parmesan Dipping Oil. Although I’m thinking it would work really well for pasta, it looked like a good way to quickly spruce up a simple salad. So, for lunch today, I divided a bag of organic spinach leaves and crumbed some cooked bacon on top before drizzling the oil as a dressing on top. Since the cheese really wasn’t visible, the taste was a bit surprising for a few family members, but it worked pretty well overall.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Elizabeth Esther's December Saturday Evening Blog Post

This evening I decided to participate in fellow Californian Elizabeth Esther’s blog list for The Saturday Evening Blog Post. Please take a moment to check out the others.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I decided to commemorate 4:59 AM on Thursday, December 2, 2010 with the story of my life. But how to organize it? Guess dictatorial regimes will work.

The Royal House of Carter
Location: Los Angeles County. This was not even two months of my life. Even I can’t remember it.

The Royal House of Reagan
Location: Los Angeles County and Orange County. Life was easy – except for learning how to read. And dealing with bullying racist – black, white, and Hispanic – kids. But most of the time I was popular, smart, and pretty. Life was good. As long as I wasn’t caught with Mom’s nail polish. I was going to be a mommy. I have no clue what happened to my preschool crush J.J.

The Royal House of Bush I
Location: Orange County. I broke my arm and had all the pre-teen girl experiences, like slumber parties and going bra shopping. Cooking without Mom’s chaperoning became the norm. I was going to be an author, singer, actress, teacher, princess, and world-famous adventurer. Boys were out of the equation. I wasn’t sure why God even made them. They can’t even get pregnant.

The Royal House of Clinton
Location: Orange County. I was twelve. I’m glad I’ll never be that age again. I also learned how to drive, and my parents have lived to tell about it. I mastered anti-social-ness like a true homeschooler. Reading was pretty much the only thing I ever did. Schoolwork was easy. Piano was easy. So I complained about being bored constantly. I was going to be an astronomer or interior designer. Boys were immature…especially those in my college classes.

The Royal House of Bush II
Location: Orange County, Riverside County, and Los Angeles County. I took up a second instrument. I got two masters degrees. I got my second case of the chicken pox. I lost my second grandparent. I had two beachside summer jobs. And I had two experiences with out-of-state snow (Minnesota and Washington, DC). I didn’t want to be anything when I grew up. I was using graduate school to avoid the real world. I fell in love twice, and had my heart broken twice. Men were jerks.

The Royal House of Obama
Location: Orange County. I advanced to candidacy. I hope to graduate…eventually. When I grow up, I want to be a blogger. My most recent date talked about retirement. No, I’m not seeing him again.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christian Carnival II – December 1, 2010

Time for the Christian Carnival II Blog Carnival again. Thanks to everyone who contributed and waited patiently for my Pacific Time Zone posting. Here is this week’s blog list in a not-so-randomly generated order:

“There's No God? How Boring!”
Atheists might think the Intelligent Design movement is a big snore, but conversantlife argues the opposite.

“Guitar Playing as Guitar Praying”
String Love Guitar Lessons gives a lesson on making learning the guitar a religious experience.

“Do You Prefer Wealth or Appearances?”
Free Money Finance talks about flaunting money you don’t have.

“The Worries of This World: A Call to Prayer”
Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength encourages us to give our concerns to God.

“Jesus the Bread of Life”
INSPIKS discusses God’s provision through manna from heaven and Jesus from heaven.

“God Wrestles with Our Strengths”
The Disciple’s Journal talks about relying on our own strength versus surrendering to God. Interesting post, although I’m not sure what sort of example Jacob is since he won.

“No Strings Attached”
W2W Soul discusses how easy it is to be suspicious of others’ intentions rather than gratefully receive from them.

“On This Day in Christian History”
Beyond Belief reviews Robert J. Morgan’s On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs and Heroes.

Ridge’s Blog talks about pursuing our goals, even the big ones.

“Surviving Rough Relationship Issues”
The Art of Creative Relationship encourages readers to work through problems. I really liked this statement: “Human beings are complex, and when you put two human beings together, you get exponential complexity.”

“Worried About Money? The Bible Says…”
Christian Personal Finance discusses the negative side of stress.

“Men and Temptations”
Who Me Be A Leader? talks about the responsibility to be self-disciplined.

“Who Else Wants a Comfortable Place of Worship for their Family and Special Needs Child?”
Help! S-O-S for Parents lists resource links to help families have a better worship experience.

“Will We Have Blood on Our Hands?”
Other Food: Daily Devos reminds us of our responsibility to unbelievers around us.

“Basic Knowledge for the Educated”
The Chisholm Source talks about the problems explaining evolutionary processes through genetic mutations. I’m puzzled as to the point of the title and final sentence since they would incorrectly imply that the “educated” are all on one side of the debate over Darwinism.

“Nothing but the truth...”
Angela talks about... our relationship with God through prose and pictures.

“No Child Left Behind?”
Thinking in Christ compares state-mandated drugging of children with “sorcery” discussed in the Bible.

“Do You Know How To Receive Gifts?”
Personal Finance By The Book discusses being willing to accept from God and others. Reading it brought to mind Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages since receiving gifts isn’t really one of mine.

“To Treat One Another As Humans”
Thinking Christian responds to critics over gay rights.

“Moral Difficulties in the Bible: The Concessionary Morality Response”Lastly, head over to mike austin’s blog to read more on the discussion about genocide in the Old Testament.

Hwyl fawr.