It’s better with Butter

Down South, even our vegetables have some pig hidden somewhere in it.
A vegetable isn’t a vegetable without a little ham hock.

American celebrity chef and cooking show television host, Paula Deen, was born on this day in 1947.

Deen lives in Savannah, Georgia where she owns and operates The Lady & Sons restaurant and Paula Deen’s Creek House with her sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen. She has published fifteen cookbooks.

Here’s Paula’s recipe for Moist and Easy Cornbread

6 tablespoons melted, plus butter for baking dish unsalted butter
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large lightly beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425º. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.


The Paris Peace Conference

Johannes Bell of Germany is portrayed signing the peace treaties on 28 June 1919 in The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors by Sir William Orpen.

The Paris Peace Conference, also known as Versailles Peace Conference, opened on this day in 1919.

The Conference was the meeting of the victorious Allied Powers following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers. The Conference was led by the five major powers, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, and the United States).

The senior statesmen concluded their personal work on the conference in June 1919 and the conference officially came to an end on January 21, 1920. But the formal peace process did not officially end until July 1923 with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne.

The conference also led to the establishment of The League of Nations.

Work on my script Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy, based on my grandfather’s WWI diary, continues.

Born on this Day, Benjamin Franklin

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, was born on this day in 1706 (died Aril 17, 1790).

Because of his untirable advocacy for colonial unity, Frankling was called “The First American.” He also served as the first United States Ambassador to France. He also served as the first president of the Academy and College of Philadelphia which later became the University of Pennsylvania.

In June 1776, Franklin was appointed a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Although he was temporarily disabled by gout and unable to attend most meetings of the Committee, Franklin made several “small but important” changes to the draft sent to him by Thomas Jefferson.

Join, or Die: This political cartoon by Franklin urged the colonies to join together during the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War).

Source: Wikipedia

Cover Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Well, Hello Dolly!

On this day in 1964, Hello, Dolly! premiered on Broadway with Carol Channing in the lead role.

The play was based originally on an 1835 English play, A Day Well Spent, by John Oxenford. Johhann Nestroy adapted that into a farce called Einen Jux will er sich machen (He Will Go on a Spree or He’ll Have Himself a Good Time). In 1938, Thornton Wilder adapted the Nestroy play into The Merchant of Yonkers, which was a flop. He later revised it into The Matchmaker in 1955 in which he expanded the role of Dolly, played by Ruth Gordon.

Orignially the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi was written for Ethel Merman who turned it down. Mary Martin also turned it down. Both later played the role.

The role eventually went to Carol Channing who made it her signature role. The show become one of the most iconic Broadway shows. Pearl Baily starred in an all black version of the show in 1967.

The orignial production won a record-tying 10 Tony Wards (tied with South Pacific). That record held until 2001 when Mel Brooks’ The Producers won 12.

Carol Channing won the Tony Award for Best Actress. Also Tony nominated that year was Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl. Streisand would later play Dolly in the film version of the movie and in 1969 won an Oscar for the lead in Funny Girl.

Hello Dolly was revived on Broadway in 2017 with Bette Midler playing the lead. The Revival won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. Middler won for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, and Gavin Creel won for best actor.

Summary from Wikipedia.

A better way

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, was dedicated in 2011.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

American Baptist minister and activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day in 1929.

Dr. King was best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights. His Christian beliefs and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi influenced his advocacy of nonviolence and civil disobedience.

Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1964.

On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assasinated by James Earl Ray, in Memphis, Tennessee. Many U.S. cities saw riots when the news of Dr. King’s death reached them.

Lee-Jackson Day

From “Lee and Jackson Last Meeting” by Everett B.D. Fabrino Julio (1843 – 1879)

Over the last year, there has been a great deal said, a great deal of controversy, and sadly, a great deal of violence over the issue of Confederate monuments and the history of the Civil War.

Richmond, Virginia has long been known as the Capitol of the Confederacy, and the city with its large African American population still struggles with that.

Some say tear the monuments down. Some say they must stay.

There’s a lot to be said about the tourism dollars that come to the city and the state because of the history.

There’s no easy answer.

That’s why, in part, back in the 1990s, a compromise was born.

For years, Virginia celebrated Lee-Jackson Day on the third Monday of January.

When that day became the federal day honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., for a while, Virginia celebrated Lee-Jackson-King Day.

Then Governor Jim Gilmore signed legislation designating the preceding Friday as Lee-Jackson Day while maintaining the third Monday as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

State employees got a four-day weekend, just two weeks after the New Year’s Holiday.

History is complicated. Sometimes it isn’t pretty.

But, it’s always fascinating.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

On this day in 1927, Louis B. Mayer, head of the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) film studio, announced the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at a banquet at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles for the purposes of acknowledging cinematic excellence. The group was officially formed on May 11 of the same year.

The Academy’s awards for the the motion picture industry would come to be known as The Oscars. Some 6,000 motion picture professionals are not members of the Academy, but the membership list is considered a “closely guarded secret.”

Over the years, the Oscars have not been without controvery. Some of the most notable incidents include:

In 1936, in just the fifth year of the awards, screenwriter Dudley Nichols turned down the awards for The Informer. The Screen Writers Guild and the Writers Guild asked members to boycott the ceremony because studios were trying to prevent unionization.

In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American actress to win an award for her portrayal of Mammy in Gone With the Wind. Because of segregation, McDaniels had to sit in the back of the auditorium and not with the rest of the cast.

In 1970, George C. Scott refused his the Oscar for his leading role in Patton. Scott said “The ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.”

Three years later in 1973, Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Brando refused the award and sent Native American Sacheen Littlefeather to decline saying “He very regretfully cannot accept this very generious award, and the reasons for this are being the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.”

In 1974, as David Niven was abou to introduce Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Opel streaked across the stage, leading Niven to quip, “Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings.”

In 2014, John Travolta stumbled over his lines when introducing singer Idina Menzel to sing the theme song from Frozen. Travolta came out with “Please welcome the wickedly talented, one and only Adele Dazeem.” Twitter and meme-makers everwhere rejoiced.

In 2017, actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were handed the wrong envelope and announced La La Land to be the winner. Backstage the stage manager realized that they should have been announcing Moonlight.

The 90th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on March 4, 2018.