Interesting People Archives

March 5, 2007

Interesting person of the day

Tonight I read about Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, an heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune. She married into the family, had a daughter who died as a result of a childhood illness and lost her husband to tuberculosis. She inherited a substantial amount of money plus daily royalties and promptly went crazy. The real crazy part is that she believed there to be a curse and a medium told her the only way to fight the curse was to build a house and continually add onto it. The result turned into a 160 room mansion with staircases going to nowhere, fireplaces with no chimneys, lots of incorporations of the number 13, and other such oddities. You can read a lot of details here or take a virtual tour of the house here.

March 6, 2007

Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn said:

"People have this idea that they'll work really hard in high school to get into a good college. Then you'll work hard in college to get into a good grad school. Then you'll work hard in grad school to get the best internship possiblities. And you'll just keep working and working and climbing the ladder until one day, when you're 45, you wake up in a tastefully decorated room and ask yourself, 'What the hell happened to my life?'"

That is along my line of thinking so he's my interesting person of the day. He's also against the idea that children should have to be in an academic setting all day then bring home even more academic work in the form of homework. I am going to read more about him later.

March 7, 2007

Doris Barrilleaux

Doris Barrilleaux is often referred to as the first lady of body building as she was one of the first, if not the first, serious woman body builder. She pushed the sport into the limelight as a sport for both men and women and helped shape the world of body building for women as it is today. In her 60s now, she no longer competes but instead takes photos of body builders. I think she is also the same Doris in this article about people who invested in life insurance policies of terminally ill people.

March 14, 2007

Seed corn

Today I was thinking a lot about my aunt. You will see her in the comments as "Aunt Rose". When I think about her, I always think about Garst Seed because her family worked in that organization. The town they live in was so saturated with Garst that it was impossible to visit without noticing that the company and it's various offerings were mostly responsible for keeping food on everyone's table.

I don't remember much about Roswell Garst as I was young when he passed away but he was a fascinating man. He developed a hybrid seed corn and later went on to sell seed corn to Russia at a time when we weren't friendly with Russia. He hosted Nikita Khrushchev, then leader of Russia, at his Iowa farm and helped open communications with the Soviet Union. That's pretty cool for a guy who was really just a smart and opinionated farmer.

There is a family story involving me, a snake and Roswell's son, Steve Garst. I barely remember it but every time it is told I think "Wow, I've pretty much always been unafraid to approach anyone for any reason." No guts, no glory I guess.

Another neat thing about the Garst family is how they give some of their wealth back to conservation effots. You can read more about that here if you are interested. Every summer I want to take the kids for a weekend trip up to the area now known as the Whiterock Conservancy. Maybe this summer we can finally do that. I spent a lot of time roaming around there when I was a kid and wouldn't trade those times for all the money in the world.

March 19, 2007

Teens can be interesting, too

Jay Souweine, a 13 year old from Teaticket, Massachusetts is trying to get "Taps" played simultaneously throughout the world on May 19 to honor veterans on Armed Forces Day.

March 22, 2007

Allen "Hot Pastrami" Bellows

Allen Bellows is an author and illustrator and the genius behind You can learn all kinds of things at such as a trip down memory lane when a Max Headroom imposter hijacked TVs in Chicago. Good site to waste your free time.

April 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, Todd

Today has been a very bad day for me which unfortunately has spilled over into and ruined Todd's birthday. I cannot make up for that but I can tell you what makes him interesting enough to be tagged in my Interesting People category.

His mother was 45 when she had him. His siblings had all grown and started families of their own so he was not really raised as an only child but rather a child who grew up with his nieces and nephew as if they were his sisters and brother.

He's been in law enforcement almost his entire adult life and has a serious looking frown on his face most times. He doesn't say much because he thinks it's better to shut up unless you have something important to add and only then if you know what you are talking about. These traits combined make people think he doesn't like them. This is not really true as he is just listening and determining if you are full of shit or worth getting to know. Sometimes he just doesn't have anything he feels like saying so he doesn't. This drives me nuts since I am a people person and could sit down and discuss any subject matter for hours.

He is very proud and will not ask for or willingly accept help of any kind. He will be the first to give help though. He is constantly looking up something based on a few words uttered by a coworker who needs a part for a car or something. When the ice storm hit northern Iowa, one of his friends needed a generator and Todd would not quit until he found one in stock somewhere for the guy.

He is very quiet and soft spoken with the kids, raising his voice only when absolutely, positively necessary. When he does, they scatter to the corners of the earth and don't come back for days. It's so rare to hear that roar and very scary to hear it. I am quite vocal and don't hesitate to exercise my loudness. He stays calm to the point of insanity. I just want to shake him sometimes but he is the smart one and knows that shouting over each other would never solve a thing.

He likes to spring surprises on the kids and I. You know one is coming when you hear "Now I know it's not much, but..." and out comes a sack with some little doodad in it. He will undoubtedly do that to me for my birthday on Friday despite the fact we aren't supposed to get each other gifts.

Right now he is driving me crazy on this vacation I keep talking about and trying to plan. His excitability level is really not measurable. He's just that damn calm and oh it's so infuriating sometimes. Makes him hard to read but you know, I wouldn't give him away. He balances out my quick temper and my big mouth and my impulsiveness. He's really worth taking the time to get to know and lemme tell ya, it can take a looong time to peel away the layers to the awesome man he is. That just makes him even more special.

April 18, 2007

Love this quote

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great. - Mark Twain

May 23, 2007

Throw away your limitations

Art Tatum was totally blind in one eye and partially blind in the other yet taught himself to play jazz piano. His method was based on the stylings of Fats Waller. Since he was blind, he didn't know he was learning to play two parts. A sighted person most likely would not have even considered trying to learn two parts at once. We truly can do anything if we don't get in our own way.

To read more about Art and listen to some beautiful piano, watch this video.

June 17, 2007

Duane Shinn - Piano Guru!

I used to think I was a big shot because I could play piano by ear. By age eight I realized my grandma was my only fan and there were more songs than the dozen or so I knew. Without any formal training, I just gave up. Emily also dabbled in piano but hated the lessons so she quit also.

Duane Shinn has given the world over 500 books, cds and dvds on playing the piano so it's safe to say he's qualified to teach it. His website is chock full of links to explanations on how to *really* play the piano, not just read the notes. He publishes a free newsletter on Chords & Progressions Piano Tips with information on how to improvise and really jazz up a musical piece. His teaching technique is described and fun and full of laughter. Maybe that is what we need to get Emily back into music.

About Interesting People

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to JustLisa in the Interesting People category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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