I hope everyone is warm and cozy on this winter day. Winter is good for playing games. I can’t tell you how often my younger sister and I whiled away the hours playing paper dolls, Scrabble, board games and anything that let us use our imaginations.
The game today is easy. All you have to do is unscramble a few selected titles of my books.
I’m giving away two $10 Amazon gift cards!
So let’s get started.
1. OT ELVO A XEAST ARRNGE
2. THNKGI NO HTE AXTSE ASPILN
3. ETH MALI REDOR SRBEID TSRECE
4. EEROFVR SHI AXSET RDBIE
If you’d like to see my book list for clues, click HERE. Also, you can print it off.
In a moment of madness, I decided to join a square-dancing class. I figured it would be good exercise and wouldn’t be that hard to learn. I mean how hard could it be to do-si-do?
Well, I got the first part right. It is good exercise. I clock more than ten thousand steps during class. Dancing is also good for the brain. According to Psychology Today,research shows that dancing reduces incidences of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
As for the easy part: forget that. Square-dancing requires memorizing hundreds of steps and learning a new language. The director told us that if we got lost, to just stand still and look confused. Now That I can do.
In spite of the challenges, the one thing I really enjoy is the courtesy. Call me old-fashioned, but I love the way partners bow and honor each other. Though dress is informal, almost everyone dresses up a bit, which adds to the fun. The best part? There’s no shortage of cowboys. Yee-haw!
The various square dance movements are based on the steps and figures that were used in traditional folk dances from different countries. Folk dances were originally gala occasions where news would be swapped, and courtships formed.
The early colonists brought popular folk dances from France, Italy and Britain with them. However, following the American Revolution, the British dances fell out of favor and the French dancing styles took over. Many French terms like “do-si-do,” “allemande” and “promenade” are still used in square dancing today.
The French were not satisfied with the long double line of an indefinite number of couples, so they concentrated on the square limited to four couples. These squares were known at first as “French contra-dances,” or more simply as “French dances.”
The dances done in early America didn’t have a “caller,” or someone who yells out the moves to dancers. Rather, the expectation, Jamison says, was that dancers went to school, memorized the moves, then went to the ball.
“Square dancing in those early days was done to live music that was almost always played by African-American musicians. It’s believed that many of these musicians became callers due to the gap in literacy and formal training among slaves of the time.”
Jamison says he found evidence of an African American caller dating back as early as 1819 in New Orleans. Other African American dance moves, instruments like the banjo and fiddle, and call and response traditions were also incorporated.
There have been several attempts to have square dancing designated the national dance but, so far, the efforts have been defeated. However, according to The Smithsonian, thirty-one states now claim square dancing as the official state dance.
Square Dancing has changed through the years to fit the needs of the people doing it. All ages can join in the fun and there are many LGBT clubs. There are also groups for the handicapped.
Though square dancing, as we know it today, is now an American dance, it’s popular the world over. S.Foster Damon wrote in his book, The History of Square Dance, “Square-dancing is greater than any one nation: it is democracy itself, in dance form. Can anybody think of a better way to spread the spirit of democracy?”
What new and exciting things do you have planned
for the New Year?
Meet the Haywire Brides
The Outlaw’s Daughter is available for preorder Amazon
Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I’m afraid this month’s blog date sort of snuck up on me – a combination of dealing with my foot in a cast, a looming book deadline and planning an impromptu Disney vacation in a couple of weeks. So I hope you will forgive me if I reprise an older post. And to make it up to you, I’m offering 2 folks who leave a comment here their choice of any book in my backlist.
Did you know that the scientific principles behind 3-D movies had their first practical application as early as 1838? That’s when Charles Wheatstone patented his reflecting stereoscope. I’m sure you’ve all seen stereoscopes before, in pictures if not in actuality. But do you know how they work?
Actually, they work in much the same way human vision works. Because our eyes are spaced about two inches apart we see everything from slightly different angles. Our brains, wonderful creations that they are, then process these into a single image with both dimension and depth. Charles Wheatstone applied this principle to his invention, using drawings that were pairs of reverse images and a series of mirrors to create the illusion of a single three dimensional image.
In 1850, glass images were developed. Though an improvement on the earlier drawings, the quality was low and the price was relatively high.
Queen Victoria took a fancy to the device when she saw one demonstrated at the Crystal Palace Exposition in 1851, and suddenly they were all the rage in Europe. It was somewhat later before the fascination took hold in America.
These early stereoscopes were large, bulky and table mounted, requiring a large commitment of space as well as money. But all of that changed a few short years later. With the advent of photographic improvements, tintypes, daguerreotypes and flat mount paper became available, greatly improving the quality of the images. Early attempts had photographers taking one photograph then slightly shifting the camera and taking a second. The next evolution had photographers utilizing a rig that had two cameras mounted on it to take the twin photos. Eventually an enterprising inventor created a camera with two lenses
Then, in 1862 Oliver Wendell Holmes and Joseph Bates created a compact, handheld viewer named the Holmes stereopticon and the popularity of stereoscopes exploded. In fact, by the end of the century, in spite of their expense, you could find one of these devices in many middle and upper class parlors of the time. The most popular slides were the travelogue type that depicted exotic landmarks such as the pyramids of Egypt and the closer-to-home scenic beauty of Yellowstone. The marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1892 and the St. Louis World Fair also made their way onto stereoscopic slides. As Burke Long put it, “Mass-produced and relatively cheap, the integrated system of mechanical viewer and photographs became fashionable for classroom pedagogy, tourist mementos, and parlor travel to exotic places of the world.” You could say that, as a form of entertainment, the stereopticon was the Victorian era’s equivalent of today’s video players.
By the 1920s movies and the enhanced availability of cameras to the ‘common man’ began to supplant the stereopticon’s hold on people’s interest. But, believe it or not, the stereopticon survives to this day. The child’s toy View-Master, named one of the top 50 toys of the twentieth century, is a direct ‘descendant’ of the stereopticon, utilizing the very same principles.
So, did anything in today’s post surprise you? Do you have firsthand experience with a stereopticon? Did you play with a View-Master as a child?
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for winner’s choice of one book from my backlist!
Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world–a world she’s been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls’ secret home, her older sister especially is frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.
David’s parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. David’s father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?
Hello, Winnie Griggs here, and I’m excited to welcome you to our very first official game day, something we plan to do once a month going forward.
To kick things off, I thought we’d play something fun but relatively simple – a game of Caption This!
Because I’m indecisive, I’m going to give you two choices of photos to play with. Look at the photos below and provide a caption for one or both, indicating which one your caption goes with. They can be witty, funny, poingant – whatever strikes your fancy. That’s it – easy peasy!
I can’t wait to see what all you creative folks can come up with! The prize will be winner’s choice of any 2 books from my back list, along with this fun little magnetic cowboy poet kit.