Tuesday, March 10, 2015
This past weekend we finally got around to watching the Disney musical movie "Newsies." We regret that we never saw the Broadway Musical which was based on it, though we heard a lot of good things from other people who saw it.
For those who are even more behind the times than I, "Newsies" is based upon the real Newsboy Strike of 1899 in New York City. There were some changes made to the story, of course. And my love of history led me to look for them.
In those days before the Internet, newspapers were how everyone kept up with what was going on. Newsboys (and some girls) hawked the news at all hours of the day and night. They bought their papers from the publishers at the rate of 50 cents per one hundred copies. If it was a slow news day and the Newsies couldn't sell all their copies, they had to eat the difference, which was heavily felt as the kids who sold these papers were often street kids on their own.
Anyway, two publishers, Pulitzer and Hearst decided to raise the price of their papers to 60 cents per hundred copies. And the Newsies decided to strike. The publishers were every bit as nasty as the movie portrayed, calling out thugs to beat up the boys. But the boys refused to give in.
Disney decided to make Jack Sullivan the leader of the union movement. I guess because they wanted to insert a bit of romance and they decided he made more sense as a romantic lead. But though Jack seems to have existed and was mentioned in one news article, he wasn't the real leader of the strike. Louis "Kid Blink" Ballatt was. He appeared in the Disney movie as well, but as a sidekick with an eye patch, not as the main leader. It was actually Blink who was well quoted in the papers. And except for the romantic side-interest that Disney gave Jack Sullivan, Blink pretty much went the same way, including his suspected turning as a "scab."
One thing from the real strike I think they should have left in the Disney movie was the Newsies taking over the Brooklyn Bridge for several days, bringing traffic to a standstill. I guess the price of closing the bridge to film was too expensive. But the bridge would have made a great backdrop for the energetic Newsie dancers.
I did some digging online as to what happened to the real Blink and Jack Sullivan. I don't know for sure if what I dug up is correct or not, but it seems both young men ended up being tied to branches of the mob. Which isn't too surprising considering their closeness to the street and their lack of other choices. Blink seems to have died of TB around 1913. And Jack went on longer, involved in various nefarious doings, including suspicions of murder.
The Newsies didn't get their Disney ending in real life. But they still did something brave and noble in the Newsboy Strike of 1899. Pulitzer and Hearst didn't lower their rate of 60 cents per 100 papers. But they did agree to buy back all unsold papers, so slow a news days no longer meant no dinner.
So in my book, they are still heroes.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!
We had a busy weekend with lots of chores and errands. But we took time out to visit a craft fair and see some local fireworks. At the fair we saw a couple of people we've been seeing for years on the craft fair circuit. We didn't know they would be at that venue, so it was a nice surprise. Working a craft fair is a very hard job. You have to set up and pull down, sometimes every day. But this couple thrives on it. I think it would be way too big a grind for me.
The fireworks were fun too. A lot of families were present, and a few extended families. I envied the fun they were having. But I had my camera to play with and I tried my hand for the first time at taking pictures of fireworks like the one above. I got more good shots than I thought I would. Still, I obviously need to study up on it.
Meanwhile, the summer moves along. The daylilies are starting to bloom, taking over from the roses. And the phoebe birds that have been nesting on our porch for the last few years are starting into their second brood of eggs. They had a very crowded nest there last month. I can't believe they're starting into the whole process again! We've got some repair work to do out that way, but we're going to hold off till they've finished raising their family.
I hope everyone is having a great summer!
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The tiny frogs called "peepers," have begun their loud singles' parties down at the marsh. That means it's officially Spring in our corner of the Adirondacks. If you're curious to learn more about these tiny frogs, check out this link on National Geographic's website. They even have an audio file in case you've never heard one of these little guys sing.
The pussy willow in my yard is also in serious bloom, as per the picture above. They start out with furry catkins and then move on to pollen later. This is actually a male pussy willow in full bloom. They have two separate sexes in this plant the way holly do. The male is preferred in this case and the female holly is preferred because of its berries. I wonder if I should try looking for a female friend for this guy?
Yard work has also begun over at our house. I have mostly what you might call "cottage gardens." In my case that means I grow whatever can survive the infertile acidic sandy soil that can stand long cold winters. Invasive plants are welcome!
I welcome native wildflowers like milkweed, mountain mint, goldenrod, and asters. And I added in a simplistic type of bee balm, sunflowers, and tough bushes. During the winter some of the plants die to the ground with the intention of starting fresh in the Spring. I clip down any stalks that are still remaining upright, leaving them to go back to the soil as the daffodils start pushing up. I also have meadow sweet, which is something of a bush. It's a tough native plant that only seems to grow flowers on new wood. Left to itself it stops flowering and looks leggy. So I clip them down every year too. It doesn't seem to slow them down and brings in a flush of flowers later in the season.
My goal is to make the plants so thick the weeds don't have a chance. As a ground cover I have what may possibly be a native raspberry that I don't find good to eat, but the birds seem to like. It grows like a weed, but I've found during drought years that it helps out the other plants by providing shade over their roots.
I also need to do some branch and tree seedling sawing so the yard doesn't become a forest. The main tree around here is the giant white pine. They're beautiful, but once they get started, they're hard to slow down.
I hope everyone has a good Spring!
Monday, April 7, 2014
Gina was the friend of a friend for the most part. Probably because she was around 20 years older than I was and we mostly saw each other only fleetingly during the holidays.
Still, when she passed a few years back, I knew the world had become a much more boring place.
In her mid-to-late 50's Gina began doing something she'd always wanted to do ... taking ballet lessons. She didn't care if it was something women her age usually did or not. She wanted to dance. And, so, that's what she did.
She did it well enough to teach eventually. And she especially enjoyed teaching seniors like herself. She also got to take to the stage a few times in dramatic parts with a local ballet company, usually in the role of queen. She made a great queen!
Despite a lot of physical pain, she continued teaching almost till the end. Of course, she taught more than ballet. She set an example for everyone who knew her that you should always keep on living and doing what you feel called to do. Age Be Damned!
I'm just at the age now where she started taking ballet classes. I'm ashamed to admit I've been catching myself lately thinking that I'm getting old and that it's too late for me to do certain things. Shame on me! What would Gina say?
Monday, March 17, 2014
Long Ago and Far Away ...
That's how they sometimes begin stories. But it's also the way they continue them as well.
Starlight Blog was the name of my very first blog. Unfortunately, I had to start it over twice because of technical changes made first by Google in FTP and then by Yahoo in MySql. So, thinking it might be a bad luck name, I switched to two others. Starlight Wishes came next, but changes in Google Friend Connect left my followers once again with no way to follow me. And Starlight Rose got interrupted long term by preparations for a move and health issues.
So, I'm back with Starlight Blog again. I'm still hoping to release a fantasy ebook this year, the first in a series called "The Starlight Council." Yeah, I know. Everything seems to be starlight with me.
There's also a chance that I might follow in the footsteps of some indie writers who release "seasons" of a story in smaller episodes so they can publish more often. It used to be that authors would publish one book a year, but that's old hat now. Everything else moves fast, so the world expects authors to write faster too. It's easier when you're an indie author, but still it requires a different mindset.
Since I started writing fanfiction as a weekly series, this might be easier for me than for some ... at least if I can get my schedule under control. Starlight Rose will become my indie publisher's site, which is only fair because that's my business name. The other niche blogs that I started way back will go on serving their old niches. I'll be mentioning them from time to time here.
Beginning again is never easy. But as they say ... The Show Must Go On!