Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Tale of Two Towers

A Dickens of a Tale - by J and L - that's J there in Sacramento
 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness . . .

When Charles Dickens penned that immortal opening for his work A Tale of Two Cities - which by the way is still the number two best seller in fiction of all time only overtaken by Don Quixote - he was writing about Paris and London during and after the French Revolution.
London's Tower Bridge
But we're blogging about the two cities of London and Sacramento.

We just like Dickens and when we get the chance we mention his name. Besides, what he wrote 159 years ago could be taken to the be the world as it is in 2017.

Sacramento's Tower Bridge
That's it for judging present society. We're not political. 

What do both these cities have in common besides being capital cities? They both boast a tower bridge. Seriously, they are referred to as Tower Bridge both in England and California.
Coincidence? We think not!

Sacramento's bridge moving skyward supported by the two towers
London's would open at an 86 degree list supported by the two towers
The tower  at the Tower Bridge - Sacramento
London's bridge opened in June of 1894 and Sacramento's not until December of 1935. The similarities are both span a busy river - the Thames and the Sacrament River. They each rise when large ships need to pass beneath by means of engines hoisting sections of the bridge - London's by two equal bascules or leaves which move up at an 86 degree arc and Sacramento 's by using a vertical lift actually moving a larger section of roadway straight up and out of the way of boat traffic. Boat traffic has the right of way over foot or vehicle traffic on both he bridges. Both contain two large towers which act as anchors for the sections being lifted. And they each are and still are marvel of engineering.

Sunset in Sacramento by the Tower Bridge
The differences are many but here are just a few. We hate to admit it but London's bridge is much larger and has more people and vehicle traffic moving across the bridge than Sacramento's annually. London's is more iconic since it has been seen in thousands of films, television shows and photographs and Sacramento's can't even come close to the number. It took an act of Parliament to decide to build London's where it only took an act of a few county government employees in Sacramento to decide to replace the existing bridge at M Street,
London's is not falling down but . . .
then Sacramento would be the number one spot to go!
Just seems so cool to have an Act of Parliament in lieu of a bunch of city planners. There are other differences but the point is made.

Both capitals have great bridges spanning rivers where a bunch of people cross daily to go here and there.

One thing Sacramento doesn't have to worry about though is no one confuses the name of the Tower Bridge with any other bridge. In London, frustration reigns when tourists point to the Tower Bridge and say, "Lookiee there - it's the London Bridge!"

We can only imagine Londoners dropping their cup of tea and smashing scones on their foreheads when they hear that statement.

Our hearts go out to our English cousins. 

And then there' this  - - - 

Not only does Sacramento have a Tower Bridge but an artist who likes to hang out on a major highway during the night. !
We wouldn't recommend dating him - just saying.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Easter Eggs

Easter is one of the most recognized Holy Days or Holidays throughout the world - be that if a person is religious or not. And with Easter comes the idea of hiding colored eggs for little children to search for before screaming in delight at the discovery of one of those elusive little treasures.

Hiding eggs or just sort of CREEPY?
An Easter egg is something to marvel about.when looked closely at with an artists eye. The decorative talent, the colors of paints but the question why would someone spend so much time illuminating an egg is always there.  It's that very thing - the why, the how, the when questions which are constantly driving a researcher.

Questions abound within the minds of explorers and thus J and L did a little of their own research on this subject.

Colored ostrich eggs of at least 60,000 years have been found in Africa. For what purpose is still being debated.

Talent from 60,000 years ago - okay recently but . . . 
Early Mesopotamia and Egyptian people looked upon eggs as being associated with birth and death. Five thousand years ago the Sumerians and Egyptians placed golden eggs within tombs as a reminder of the rebirth after death.

Okay - not an egg but a nice watch - it is gold though

Sumerian death golden egg - not a Rolex but cool anyway 
The idea for Christians to use painted or colored eggs during Easter came from a story - some say a myth at the time of the death of Jesus Christ. As Jesus was dying on the cross Mary, his mother supposedly brought a basket of eggs and laid them at the foot of the cross where her son was crucified. Drops of his blood spilled down staining the eggs red. The early Christians celebrated coloring eggs red after that as a memory of his sacrifice for humankind.

Red - the color of blood
Around 1610, and some researchers believe earlier, the Christian Church officially recognized the painted eggs as the sign of resurrection of Jesus Christ. From there the eggs became more and more decorated through the ages.

During Lent (the forty days prior to the resurrection of Jesus) many people fast as a show of penance. The idea is simple - if Jesus gave his life for all of us surely I can give up something meaningful to show my respect. But the forty days of giving up something can weigh on a person and many can not make it resurrection Sunday.

The term Mardi Gras actually refers to the last day before giving up rich and fatty foods. And what does one usually have related to rich and fatty foods (like cakes, sweets and every desert our doctors complain about us eating) - eggs. Chickens unfortunately do not fast from producing eggs. At the end of the forty days there are a lot of eggs laying around and should not be wasted.

I  like  Fat Tuesday - not saying I'm fat but you gotta love the beads
So, there is a great idea - color them, hide them, hunt them, and eat them. No sense in wasting eggs but they do have to be eaten quickly!

But there are still current traditions.

Even today in the country of Romania the practice of keeping gaily painted eggs within a household still stands. They, the eggs, will deter evil spirits from invading the abode and provide assurance of good luck.
We hate eggs - you're safe . . .  unless you have some good Salsa!
In the town of Haux in France on Easter Monday a huge omelet is served in the town square which feeds up to 1,000 people. Over forty-five hundred eggs are used - that's a lot of eggs!

They want hash browns too - you've gotta be kidding!
And of course in the good old U.S.A. there is the Easter egg roll on the south lawn of the White House. Rolling hard boiled eggs with a wooden spoon doesn't sound like fun but it is for the folks, mainly little ones, who partake in this annual tradition.

Drop the spoon and just run!!! There's a big bunny after you!
So the Easter Egg has been around a very long time in many traditions but the point is that it is an important aspect of a day respected world wide.

No matter the reason you and your family decorate the little creation from a chicken just enjoy the thought behind it - no matter what that thought would be.

Happy Easter from J and L.