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It's 2014!!!!
Another year has come and gone.....

My road has taken another unexpected turn......

My boys and I moved in with another family right before Christmas.  I was in an unhealthy relationship that was taking its toll on me.  So here I go again......only now I am 41, almost 42. I realize the older I get the harder life becomes.


The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare in Disguise?


The Hollow Crown is a story of family, politics and power. The film tells the tale of the rise and fall of three Kings and how their destiny shaped our history. Richard II is a self-indulgent, vain man who rules with little regard for his people’s welfare. Richard II is overthrown by his cousin Bolingbroke who ascends the throne as Henry IV. Henry IV’s reign is scarred by his own guilt over Richard’s death, civil war, and the fear that his son Hal is a total deadbeat. When Hal comes to the throne as Henry V he is left to bury the ghosts of his father’s past while dealing with his own demons.
 The BBC The Hollow Crown adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V concentrates too much on Henry as king and excludes some of the comical moments to maintain focus on the seriousness of war. The production has a high profile cast and wonderful cinematography with beautiful landscapes, however the dedication to Shakespeare is lacking. Henry V is a history play and attention must be on the war.  Still we need to remember what makes Shakespeare so great; he infuses comedy into everything from love to war.  That comedy is what allows us to relax so we are unprepared for the shock Shakespeare has in store for us. 
The final series of the B.B.C’s Hollow Crown season begins at the end showing Henry V with the death of its protagonist. Henry is dead with his loved ones around him as Chorus transports the audience back in time presenting the newly crowned king. Despite his youth Henry has clearly shed his irresponsible ways and matured to cope with his new responsibilities. This adaptation does not focus just on the brave heroics of the king, but rather the demands and necessity of a good leader and war. Unfortunately this message is not delivered well. Hollow Crown Henry V was a disappointment which did not nearly reach the standard of its predecessors. There is not much competition for filmed Richard IIs or Henry IVs, but to follow in the footsteps of not only Laurence Olivier, but also Kenneth Branagh's 1989 film is daunting task.
 It was not the play that was the problem- it has political intrigue, romance, heroism, battle scenes, acts of courage and emotional poignancy to make a first rate Drama, but very little comic relief.  There have been wonderful adaptations of it in the past, most notably Kenneth Branagh's 1989 version. However, the casting, quality of acting and editing of the BBC The Hollow Crown version created a disjointed and rather dry adaptation. Many of the characters seemed to have lacked depth, and simply delivered their lines without sounding like their heart was really in it. There was little feeling or emotion in this version as there is in Branagh's.  A deeper seriousness is felt in the three preceding plays of The Hollow Crown. Although a real disappointment was Falstaff who for the most part simply seemed not funny.  He sounded like an unhinged old man talking to himself when he delivered the soliloquies that were meant to give insights into his character. His mumbled speech lacked definition to give his message the boisterous and comical delivery that Shakespeare intended. Simon Beale as Falstaff was nowhere near as entertaining as Shakespeare portrayed him. Even the famous Crispin's Day speech (`We Few we happy few')  did not feel at all moving or inspiring, and the humorous scenes and interludes failed to deliver any comic relief. The famous speeches are not delivered to the masses Henry goes to France, he is addressing only a few individuals. While this creates sincerity when presenting a king that is not governed by his passions or prone to great shows of theatrics. Instead, Henry remains largely composed throughout the play. Henry does not react to the Dauphin’s tennis ball taunt with rage, but responds in a soft voice, suggesting a king who is in control of his emotions. In contrast, Dauphin’s anger when faced with the English messenger signals his own immaturity. The brutalities of war are shown but glorification or patriotism is downplayed heavily. The adaptation concentrates sharply on Henry as a king avoiding attention on the lower characters and plots not essential to the play. The comic moments are subdued adding to the seriousness and reality of war. The Welsh captain Fluellen taking great pride in the discipline of the army is not mocked he is admired. Henry does not take the opportunity to play a harmless trick after the victory either. Instead he takes it upon himself to present the glove of the solider he quarreled with the previous night.  Despite the scenes of slaughtered bodies strewn across muddy fields once the battle has ended, Henry( although thankful) does not take any glory from the victory. The action moves on swiftly to Henry wooing Katherine in search of a resolution to prolong the peace. While the cruel murder of Falstaff’s boy does not occur he does witness murder up close symbolizing the loss of innocence that war incites. This epitomizes the message of kingship at the heart of this adaptation Henry V’s story is not of the underdog’s victory. It is a journey from rebellious youth to responsible maturity.
The filmmakers cut out a number of scenes and passages: including the Southampton Plot when three nobles were discovered to have planned to kill King Henry before he left for France. This scene was arguably important in its depiction of Henry's character development as it shows he was capable of making tough and even painful decisions to protect his kingdom and the harsh reality for kings as well as showing that there was opposition to him. Henry's two brothers Humphrey Duke of Gloucester and John Duke of Bedford (formerly John of Lancaster in Henry IV) are absent from this version for unknown reasons. Though Bedford's absence can be historically justified because he was not at Agincourt, his brother Gloucester was.
Despite his sibling's absence Henry is still heard to say 'we are in God's hand brother' after treating with the French herald, a line originally delivered in response to Gloucester's stating he hoped that the French would not come upon the English too soon, when his brother is not even there. Instead the Duke of York, a minor character with only a few lines in the original play replaces them in a prominent role, constantly appearing as something like the King's 'right hand man'  and sometimes seemingly being given other characters' lines or roles, undoubtedly to stress the importance of the role of King.  It was the King's uncle the Duke of Exeter that Pistol asked Llewellyn to intercede with to stop Bardolph being hanged in the original play and for some reason in this version York is the one who is responsible for this.  Finally events surrounding the killing of the prisoners at Agincourt (which was cut out of Branagh's version) did not seem to be well portrayed.  It is shown that Henry feared the French would regroup and make a fresh attack so then Henry gives the order to kill the prisoners, but all we see are three French knights riding by not enough to pose a threat. The whole scene is doubtful especially when Henry refers to the French knights still riding over the field when only he and a few English soldiers are visible.
The beginning and final scene of The Hollow Crown  featuring Henry's funeral seemed to  help to round off  the story and give the audience a sense of finality as well as letting them know what happened to Henry. Chorus' closing speech recounting the loss of France and demise of the Lancastrian dynasty gave the ending a poignantly tragic note but not enough make up for the deficiencies of the rest of the play. You search in vain for the fun and fury through a play spoken in Franglais (French and English words) and expect boisterous good humor as the tale of Hal-turned-Harry's rise to king only to be strewn along a king/war focused adaptation that omits the humor and lacks the character delivery of comic relief so valuable to Shakespeare’s plays.

Tough Choices for Farmers Weather in the Strawberry Fields

Tough Choices for Farmers
Weather in the Strawberry Fields
Stacy Tyo
Granite State ECO 512
September 2013

 The weather affects people every day in their daily plans and in safety.  One area that weather plays big a role that is not typically considered is in food supplies.  Consumers go to the store and get what they want so easily.  The prices fluctuate and if some consumers really want a product they purchase it regardless of price.  Other consumers will forgo an item if it reaches a certain price. Thought is generally not given to what a producer must endure before they can supply consumers with a product. Two recent articles touched on the battle strawberry farmers had this past season when the weather conditions were in-line for optimal growth of the fruit.
Perfect weather conditions forced strawberry growers in Queensland Australia to destroy more crops than they harvested.  Instead of a steady growth of strawberries all season long the farmers received their entire crop at one time.  This unwanted occurrence placed the farmers in a difficult position.  Over 200 strawberry farmers with literally millions of strawberry plants producing all at once meant a flood of the market.  Farmers struggled with the decision to plow under a majority of their crop in order to get what was fresh to the market on time.  In addition farmers attempted to plant new strawberries to balance out the rest of the season.  This risky move requires a lot from Mother Nature as far as the remainder of the strawberry season is concerned. Combine this with other variables such as new competition in the market and the fact that farmers could only stand by and watch the prices drop drastically.  Not only can the weather conspire to control the “end price” for the grower but supermarket chains decide the growers’ profits by the price they pay.  This occurrence resulted in the 2013 strawberry season recording a 30 year low for berry prices.
The farmers are producing strawberries which are a product. The farmers are selling their strawberries to supermarkets for money. The supply or quantity producers sell in 2013 varied greatly from last year due a supply shifter in this case: the all at once arrival of the crop.  The supply curve can be seen when comparing each year quantities and timing of the strawberry harvest.  In 2013 the supply schedule was not spread out as evenly as it had been in previous years.  In the past consumers were able to purchase limited fresh berries each week at relatively the same- ( higher than 2013) but steady prices.   Supermarkets accommodated the flood of strawberries.  However with the abundance of potentially rotting fruit the prices went down. PED was apparent by the consumer’s response to the lower prices, again the delicacy of the product made any chance of profit to the farmers small.  The farmers did what they could to supply consumers with a product.  The farmers knew that they could not pay the labor with the money that they would make by selling an over abundance of their product at one time.  Essentially the farmers would pay labor for 5 times as long to harvest 5 times as much fruit and sell the fruit for 5 times less money.  The example of PES did not favor the producers. The farmer’s response to the price change was disappointing to the farmers who supply the produce and a benefit to the consumers who purchased the fruit at a 30 year low. Here is also an example of how the delicacy of a product affects the law of supply. When the fruit was priced higher in previous years the quantity was steady.  Again when the fruit prices were lower the supply was higher, which breaks the law of supply. Perishables must fall into an exception category and possibly have a different set of laws of economics?  In the case of the strawberry farmer producing more at one time means less profit.

Elizabeth Marx, September 16, 2013 Bumper Crop not so Sweet as Growers Destroy Berries
Queensland Ink- The Currier Mail

Sandra Godwin, September 11, 2013 Strawberry Glut Hits Prices

Whitcher Road renovation

If and when this house is torn down by any person now living or anyone yet to be born this little card is to say that I hope you don’t have the fun, trouble expense and experiences I had when I built (it). I bought this land, cleared the woods, dug cellar, erected this little home for my children to live in.  I wonder if they will ever appreciate the fact.
I am not a carpenter, being a painter by trade. Building this by what little I know. So don’t make to much fun of my work.  I have 3 children living now.
       Alice Mae Jennings     Age      12
       Robert Donald                      8
       Richard Arthur                      7
Pearl Jennings                       30 my wife
I wonder what things will come until this card is found, in this country.
This card is left by the builder and owner P. G. “Buster” Jennings 1938

The card was found during a bedroom/bathroom renovation in September 2013

75 years later

Women of The American Revolution

During the revolution women led a very different life than females today.   The role of a women began the day she was born.  Girls were almost always educated at home with the emphasis on being raised to be good wives and mothers. Female literacy was valued for; religious instruction-the Bible, for reading information regarding household affairs, for providing children with basic education, and that was it.  Any property and earnings of a married woman belonged to her husband. A husband was legally entitled to hire out his wife for work and collect all of her wages. A man had the legal right to beat on his wife and children. But not permanently disable or kill them. Women did not have the right to leave their husbands. The husband however could place ads in newspapers if they ran away. Divorce was almost non-existent. When divorces were granted the father almost always got custody of the children. Husbands and wives incapable of living peacefully together sometimes mutually agreed upon separate live sometimes living in different households. It was considered completely inappropriate for a woman to address men publicly, like in a speech or sermon.
The women counted on the men in their lives for survival, whether they were fathers, brothers or husbands. During the war the women were expected to take on roles beyond their means. Thousands of women served in the Continental army during the War for Independence as: nurses, cooks, washer women, ammunition runners and water carriers (see pic above). It is not truly known how many women fired artillery or were even in combat positions. During the revolution women found that they were valuable outside the home and many gained a new perspective on life and more importantly they gained confidence that led to change for all women.


21st Century Agriculture Robots on the Farm

                                                 21st Century Agriculture
 Robots on the Farm

Granite State ECO 512

Farmers are enlisting the help of robots to take the place of human laborers on the farm.Technology is a part of our everyday life.  Most of us have a smart phone that can tell us anything we want to know at a push of a button.  Robots are already in some of our homes, like the Roomba, can vacuum or mop our floors by themselves and are priced within reach. Manufacturing has been utilizing technology to save on production and productivity costs for decades.  Humans have been pushing buttons and guiding large computer programmed machinery for quite some time.   Manufacturing jobs require only a few employees instead of the many that were needed before technology was available.  Now, in the 21st century, technology is taking a big step into farms and onto our kitchen tables. 
Farmers are turning to robots to remedy labor shortages and decrease production costs. With rising productivity costs robots could be the answer. A study of lettuce picking Ag-Bots proved that one robot can do the work of 20 farm workers. The Ag-Bot could potentially,            “ provide relief from recent labour shortages, lessen the unknowns of immigration reform, even reduce costs, increase quality and yield a more consistent product” (Gosia Wozniacka  and Terence Chea, 2013).  This new trend would drastically change the labor productivity in the favor of the farmer’s wallet. Ag-Bots are being offered with a 12-24 month payback period (Sander Olsen and Joe Jones, 2011) which is a productivity cost that has piqued the interest of many farmers. Robots, unlike human farm workers, obviously do not require; paychecks, work breaks or insurances.  However regular maintenance is required and the Ag-Bots are still being tweaked for their inattentiveness to ripeness and the careful selection process of the produce to be harvested. The Ag-Bots may offer an edge to farmers as the farmers are always on a schedule that revolves around timing- ripening and harvesting.  Here production in the short run is constant in farming.  The window for harvest is crucial to the per worker production function, the workers must be efficient and work quickly and accurately or the produce will spoil and the farmers receive no money yet they still must pay the farm workers.  Whereas the robots require no pay and are able to manage the short run demand of the ripening process. Again caution is given to the robots disadvantages, they are: somewhat clumsy and are yet to differentiate ripe produce from unripe or spoiled produce.  Some produce is highly sensitive to bruising which is not ideal for the consumer at the point of purchase.  
While this trend could be beneficial for current farmers, new emerging farmers may not have the training or experience to start the business with robots. This could create a barrier to entry. Robots on the farm could be the edge some big competitive farmers have been waiting for.  Here is their chance to offer fresh produce quickly to the masses.  The labor productivity costs after the initial pay off could mean lower prices and an oligopoly where the farmers with a robotic edge determine the prices of produce. The potential lower prices could put some farmers out of business.
The benefits of Robots on the farm will outweigh the initial disadvantages in profits on paper (Sander Olsen and Joe Jones, 2011). However the ethical debate looms regarding job loss and the effect on the economy.  From a business standpoint all the arrows seem to point to an increased profit for the farm owner. It is probably inevitable, the 21st century may see robots in more unlikely places than the farm field.

Gosia Wozniacka  and Terence Chea, 2013, Agricultural robots could revolutionize fresh market fruit, veggie production, ease labour woes

Sander Olsen and Joe Jones, 2011, A discussion: Robots could transform agricultural industry Retrieved from:

Carved In Stone Book Review

Carved in Stone
The Artistry of Early New England Gravestones

There is something eerily stimulating about thumbing through, Carved in Stone (Gilson, T.E. & Gilson, W., 2012, University Press of New England) the book of photos of New England gravestones by Thomas E. Gilson, with an essay on their history and style by William Gilson. The Gilson brothers were born and raised in Connecticut.  Thomas Gilson taught photography in Vermont for 17 years.   What started as a curious hobby of T. Gilson turned out to be a compilation of early colonial American history in photographs.  In his book Gilson shows us colonial American sculpture in its earliest form.  The stories the pictures tell share not only the hardships and fears of colonial times but also hope and accomplishments. The essay written by William Gilson shares a common desire to understand not only the messages and symbols carved into the stones but also pay tribute to the artwork of the carvers.
As a society we are squeamish when discussing death, yet we sentimentalize death with depictions of angels, soft light and our idea of heaven.  The men and women of 17th and 18th century New England viewed death with a fear that is seen on their gravestones.  Skeletons, teeth-baring devils and skulls with eerie eye sockets tell of uncertainty and dread about what really lies beyond this mortal soil. Interestingly they did not waste any space on their gravestones with such euphemisms as “passed away” or “gone” as we see on later and present day stones.
The early settlers of New England lived in a place and time where death was always present.  Disease and violence were present on a daily basis.  They feared hell and the eternal damnation of their souls. It is no wonder that so many of their gravestones reflected the anxiety of living in a harsh, unpredictable world. “O! [Relentless] Death” is an inscription on one gravestone shown in the book (Gilson, 2012 pp110), and it reads like a cry of despair. Still not all the gravestones are so gloomy or the depictions on them as grim.  Although the Puritans’ held stern ideas against human weakness and sin there was hope that a more glorious and generous world that awaited them after death. Many Puritan gravestones show a “Death Head” or a carved face or skull with wings on either side of the head.  This symbol states the soul is ascending to heaven, and the occupant was a believer in heaven.
 Eventually, as Puritanism waned in the early 18th century, the Death's Head imagery faded and new carvings of cherubs (symbolizing a child) and then later to urns with weeping willows over them, representing the mourning of the loss of life. Some of the headstones show rising suns(Gilson, 2012 pp 22,81), their light presumably shining on the dead; angel faces that are neither male nor female but still sweet and childlike (Gilson, 2012 pp 34,35) and crude faces that look like the stone heads of Easter Island(Gilson, 2012 pp112).  In one remarkable carving(Gilson, 2012 pp 44), a young woman wearing her hair down on her shoulders, not pinned up or hidden behind a cap, holds a flower. Even carved in stone she radiates with life.  In a period of; crude medical treatments, chronic wasting diseases, short life expectancies and a high mortality rate the promise of an after-life without pain or suffering must have seemed like true salvation. Some of the carvings are not as sophisticated, they have had a rough life different from the modern, polished headstones.  These were tough and judgmental people who fought for survival and their gravestones reflect their unbending spirit.

Thomas Gilson’s black and white photographs are elegant and show unexpected and humorous details in the carvings and the texts written on the gravestones. William Gilson’s text is nostalgic and thoughtful.  Thomas’ photography and William’s essay about gravestones offers an unexpected journey into the spiritual and mental state of colonial American people. While both pay tribute to the craftsman who created these story-telling sculptures by compiling this book they also feed a curiosity for death that is as timeless as death itself.  

Puritans: A Time of Change

A Time of Change
                               HIST 602 Midterm
Stacy Tyo
Oct 2013

 The Puritan beliefs were one of many religious based prompts of the American Revolution and a turning point for the change in Puritan ideals. The Puritans firm old fashioned beliefs in hard work and self denial (Goodbeer, 2005) made them unapproachable to many as the turmoil of the times weighed on the colonists.  The Puritan belief was dwindling by the mid 1600s.  Many things contributed to this: a life filled with strict by-the-bible living, and constant sessions of self doubt of their worthiness to their God.  The deaths of Puritan leaders, political isolation from other members of their church in England, and the rise of business were also factors.  This put a strain on the community as a whole and finally led to the end of Puritan beliefs in New England. Many colonists maintained a longing for a fuller sense of freedom from and the Puritans passiveness for retaliation against England and their handling of the witch trials did not appeal to the colonists over time.  The Puritans added fuel to a fire that was already burning.  The American Revolution was grouped in a series of events that led to a significant break in the Puritan heritage.
            Puritans were people determined to change the church. To do this the Puritans believed they must eliminate long standing church practices such as bowing at the name of Jesus and making the sign of the cross at a baptism. They did away with celebrating Christmas and Easter (Carp, Defiance of the Patriots). They also believed that clergy should have an extensive education and be able to marry (Gaustad, 2005).  Puritans felt that Bishops were not Pastors and extradition from the church should be based on spiritual grounds not politics (Gaustad, 2005). Puritans were also Calvinists (believed in predestination) and especially attracted England’s economically depressed people.
The Puritans left England seeking to make changes freely and recruit followers. After many hardships during their first few years in the colonies the Puritan survivors finally became successful. Starting in 1630 John Winthrop led thirty thousand Puritans to settle in the Massachusetts Bay Colony which later became Boston (Gaustad, 2005).  Winthrop and most of the other Puritans had experienced a religious conversion. With their conversion they were able to become church members, vote, and own property. Their form of government had elected leaders such as Winthrop who made decisions with the advice of magistrates and the clergy. The Puritan system of congregational church government did lead way to democracy in political government.  Although among the Puritans it was understood that the entire purpose of government was to enforce God’s lawsPeople who disobeyed the authority of the Puritan clergy in Massachusetts Bay were subject to punishments such as; fines, floggings, banishment and death. 
By 1660 Puritans were seeing a continuing decline of commitment within the congregations. Many of the people emigrating from England were not joining churches.  Boston and many other communities were becoming more secular and the people were more materialistic.  Puritan leaders were able to hold the reigns of peace steady until the English crown was no longer worn by a Puritan. One of the biggest blows to long standing church members was the decision to revoke the Massachusetts Bay Charter which put all land being held by the colonists under the control of the King (  In 1686 the King appointed a royal governor of Massachusetts. This angered the Puritans because the newly appointed governor authorized religious toleration for all Protestant churches, including the hated Quakers, not just the Puritan congregational churches (Carp, 2010).  The governor brought with him Anglican clergy and many members of the Church of England.  The loss of the Charter and the arrival of a new governor, they had not elected, brought Puritan control of the region to an end. In 1689 when news arrived of a new King of England, the Puritan leaders arrested the governor and sent him to England where he was released.  For a short time it appeared that the leadership was again in the hands of the Puritans. Although it was not long before another royal governor would arrive in New England and the Puritans were again weakening in strength and numbers.
There was yet another episode in the downfall of the Puritan way and that was the witchcraft trials and executions in the summer of 1692 (Goodbeer, 2005).  Throughout the history of the colony there had regularly been accusations of witchcraft but these cases were usually handled quietly and effectively. Life for the Puritans was a struggle between God and Satan. This belief made Puritans conscious of supernatural forces in their everyday lives. If a thunderbolt struck a church it was interpreted as a sign from the devil. If diseases killed the Indians this was seen as the will of God (Goodbeer, 2005). The Puritan clergy did not discourage this belief in the presence of Satan and evil spirits because they were influenced by the supernatural.  Satan was believed to function by taking possession of individuals. Once that had happened they were called witches. Witches supposedly tormented and weakened the good intentions of the faithful. Puritan leaders attempted get rid of witchcraft at its very first signs but were not always successful. The Salem witchcraft trials were put in place to properly punish people for using witchcraft (Goodbeer, 2005).    These trials were the result of unsettled social and religious conditions in Massachusetts as the colony was rapidly evolving.  During the Salem witchcraft trials most of those accused as witches were property owning women ( The Salem “witch hunt” in 1692 was opposed by the more responsible members of the clergy.  Even with some opposition if they failed to drive Satan out of an alleged witch the witch was hanged.  The clergy would conduct an investigation and then usually send the accused to be examined by another minister in another parish. During this time the accusers often reconsidered their accusations that often came from personal or financial conflicts. With a small number of exceptions charges were usually dropped. In the case witchcraft in Salem the conflicts among neighbors and families, economic and political disputes, anxiety among the young people, gender conflicts, and a growing class division with the clergy and leading figures on one side and the poor on the other all fed into the drama. The many problems of the previous two decades made for an uneasy atmosphere that generated fear and paranoia. During the Salem witch trials magistrates had excluded the clergy who had always handled witchcraft charges from participating in the investigation. In the three years that followed families of the victims sued officials and won their cases and nearly all soon recognized what a catastrophe had occurred (Goodbeer, 2005). Several public officials made public apologies. But by 1695, there was little left of the Puritan society.
The American Revolution was a pot readying to boil over.  There were many factors in the break from the Puritan heritage in addition to the American Revolution.  The Puritans left England only to find more hardships in the New World.  While they had their glory days they were short lived. The many events the Puritans endured; changing of rule in England, opposition to their core beliefs, the witch trials and finally the power of the ever changing New World overtook the Puritans. Although they were ready to fight they were forced to abandon much of their heritage.


(n.d.). Retrieved from
(n.d.). Retrieved from
Carp, B. (2010). Defiance of the Patriots. Yale University Press.
Gaustad, E. (2005). Roger Williams. New York: Oxford Press.
Goodbeer, R. (2005). Escaping Salem. New York: Oxford University Press.


....almost September

Here it is...Labor Day weekened starts in a matter of hours.  I find myself preparing to send off my two young sons (ages 8-12) to school. My four college courses start in 11days, I am working only Wednesdays and feeling like I am not going to be busy enough.....

Not busy enough??  Why does that sound so silly? So why am I panicking?


No poet here

hear the mountains cry
longing for days gone by
regret and sorrow
for what is missed
change and progress have replaced
the quiet calm of the highland space
hate for change is the pain
future is the only gain
longing for days gone by
respect is lost...

Join With Me!!

Summer on the back porch

Summer on the back porch