Friday, May 31, 2013

Carroll's Journal: Summer Fun

Coconut marshmallows. You had me at coconut. 

I saw them at the store today and bought a couple of bags. They are awesome!! I would love to get stranded on a tropical island where all I had to eat was coconuts and coconut milk. (Maybe bananas) Wait! Definitely bananas! 

So Jenny and I took mother out today for Mothers Day. Yes, I called her on Mothers Day but I didn't go see her because I was busy and my two sisters were already taking her out for the day so I sent flowers and promised her that on the 31st, we would celebrate Mothers Day then. We took her out to eat and some more shopping. Bought her some dresses and sweaters. 

Love you mom!!!

Things with Jenny and I are steady at best. We're .... pretty good friends. She's leaving to Missouri at the end of the year. I'm still deciding if I want to go with her. I was invited. But it's a hard decision. Granted I have changed the past year or so, ever since I met Ira, my best friend and blog partner. Everybody around me can see it. With Ira's friendship I have not gotten drunk in over a year. I Nearly stopped smoking after going about a month smokeless. My cursing has decreased also. Thanks to Ira, I have learned to slow down a bit. But I also love my bachelorhood too. 

You have to realize that the few years before I joined Goodreads, I was writing songs, hitting the studio like a madman, working on books, put together my CD, published my books - I mean - I was constantly working all the time. It just caught up to me. I got burnt out. I needed to step back for a while. I also had to step back from the blog a little. I had so much in draft that I decided to schedule it all and take a break. 

But now it is summertime! My batteries are almost recharged, and I have a lot planned this summer. Now that I finally got my own laptop, I am ready to travel the U.S. Go back to my secret place in New Mexico. (No, not Roswell. That's not a secret anymore. LOL) 

I hope this is a summer of fun. For me and for all of you. I know we all could use it, right? But seriously, make this the best summer ever! Go out this summer and chase down a dream. Make something happen! Don't take no for an answer. Don't let the bad people bullies stop you from doing what your heart wants to do. Don't worry if you're nervous. Don't worry if you fail. Just do it! Don't look back with any regrets. You only get this one life, so get what you want to get done, done. 

I know my besty Ira is going to probably get married soon. This will be both a happy and sad occasion for me. I'll miss our friendship. But on the bright side, I will gain some more nieces and nephews perhaps? But I owe so much to her. She has taught me so much about Islam and what it takes to be Muslim in today's world. She also got me over my shyness where Skype is concerned. Now I Skype all the time! LOL She's just the most amazing person I ever had the honor to know. She is also the one responsible for me blogging. She had to push me to it. LOL She's stubborn that way. But hey, look at me now. Coming up on 1 and a half years and almost at 500,000 page views. Amazing! 

June should be a good month for us here on the blog. There are some very interesting posts coming up, but wait until July! Have I got a treat for you guys. An interview with two girls (Lor and Miz) of the amazing "HoiTahPoiSha" duo on Youtube. In fact, the whole month of July is "HoiTahPoiSha" month here on the Carroll Bryant blog. You're going to love these girls, trust me! And we kick it all off on July 3rd with a preview to the July 5th interview. Check it out! 

But there will be a lot of exciting things happening here this summer and I hope you enjoy it. So let's just get ready for the best time of our lives this summer and remember, make this your summer of dreams come true. 

Have fun and please, be safe everyone. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013


TRUST - Written by Carroll Bryant

I’m watching the clouds
Passing by in the sky
From the corner of my eye
I can see you watch my every move

I’m shaking my head
You’re rolling both your eyes
Why do we even try?
All we need is just a little proof

It’s rusting in the yard
It’s breaking both our hearts
It’s lying there and wasting on the floor

It’s dying to be heard
It’s crying from the hurt
It’s trying to bust down the door

I keep checking your emails
Nothing but an internet hell
Looking for a clue
You’re checking mine too

We claim to know the facts
Talking behind each other’s back
The questioning never ends
We even question friends

It’s rusting in the yard
It’s breaking both our hearts
It’s lying there and wasting on the floor

It’s dying to be heard
It’s crying from the hurt
It’s trying to bust down the door

And we hold the key to everything
We could be
But instead we look away
From what we’re losing
And we
We hold it all in the palm of our hands
We can’t begin again
We can only end this foolish game

This charade

I’m watching the clouds
Passing by in the sky
From the corner of my eye
I can see you watch my every move

It’s rusting in the yard
It’s breaking both our hearts
It’s lying there and wasting on the floor

It’s dying to be heard
It’s crying from the hurt
It’s trying to bust down the door

It just doesn’t live here anymore

Monday, May 27, 2013

Carroll's Vacation Pictures Part Three

This might be the final post of my vacation pictures. There was more, from Vegas, Roswell, and California, but I can't find them. I may have forgotten to upload them to the computer and deleted them by mistake off the camera or I may have uploaded them and deleted them off the laptop. Either way, I can't find them. Not that there was a lot because once I hit Vegas and California, I slacked up a bit on the photo shooting. I really wish the ones from Roswell were still around because I had some good shots from the Extraterrestrial museum. One of me posing with an alien. I also had a few shots of Area 51 in Nevada. I have to admit that was kind of awesome to be so close to the entrance. I could see the unmarked "patrol" car parked up on the hill.  There was no incident so all is okay.

Anyhow, to the pics ..............

Here are some scenic shots - I think from Iowa.


Oh, I found a pic from when I went to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio last year.

I found the FIRST Baptist Church, but saw no sign of the SECOND or THIRD Baptist Church. LOL

City Hall building of Adele, Iowa. Isn't it beautiful?

An out-house in a park. Ha-ha

Some more shots from Iowa.

An old train depot in Iowa.

Super 8 - Had to sleep sometime.

Look ma, I'm in TEXAS! Go Cowboys!

On the way back, I made it to Louisiana. WTF? Made a wrong turn. LOL 

The Silver Lining. (Every cloud has one they say)

Sunset (I think this was in Iowa.)

That's about it. If I stumble across any more in one of my folders, I will post them. I sure hope I find the ones from Roswell. Those were so cool. Most of the ones from California were of bikini babes from on the beach. LOL The ones from Vegas were pretty sweet too.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


SABBATICAL - Written by Carroll Bryant

Here I am once again
Missing yet another friend
All alone and way too soon
Screaming at another moon

Red blood eyes are haunting me
Spirits of the night be free
Moving slow to move so fast
Leaving it in the past

Kidnapped from her piracy
Killing ghosts of jealousy
Fever burns all through the night
Demons left for me to fight

Poison running through my veins
Eruption of volcanic pain
Voices that are telling me
Love is lovers only greed

Chances taken here and there
Shadows follow everywhere
Day or night I can’t break loose
Your grip, I slip, comes the noose

Power trips and fateful lies
Idle talk and compromise
All of it just can’t be true
You to me and me to you

Your sword of words cutting deep
Blades that slice and make me bleed
My revenge, retaliate
Close the door to heaven’s gate

Here I am once again
Missing yet nobody’s friend
Drowning in her sweet monsoon
Screaming at another moon

Here I am and I pretend
What we did start will never end
What broke my heart will never mend
Missing yet another friend

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dean Martin: Legend

Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7th, 1917 and passed away on December 25th, 1995) He was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian.

One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th Century, Martin was nicknamed the "King of Cool" due to his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assuredness. A member of the "Rat Pack," Martin was a major star in four areas of show business: concert stage/nightclubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television. He was the host of the successful television variety program The Dean Martin Show (1965–1974), and subsequently The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts (1974–1985).

Martin's relaxed, warbling crooning voice earned him dozens of hit singles including his signature songs "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You", "Sway", "Volare" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?"

Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to an Italian father, Gaetano, and an Italian-American mother, Angela Crocetti (née Barra). His father was from Montesilvano, Pescara, Abruzzo, Italy, and his mother was of Neapolitan and Sicilian ancestry. Martin had an older brother named Bill. Martin spoke only Italian until he started school. He attended Grant Elementary School in Steubenville, and took up the drums as a hobby as a teenager. He was the target of much ridicule for his broken English and ultimately dropped out of Steubenville High School in the 10th grade because he thought that he was smarter than his teachers. He delivered bootleg liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, was a blackjack dealer, worked in a steel mill and boxed as a welterweight. He grew up a neighbor to Jimmy the Greek.

At the age of 15, he was a boxer who billed himself as "Kid Crochet." His prizefighting years earned him a broken nose (later straightened), a scarred lip, and many sets of broken knuckles, bruised body (a result of not being able to afford the tape used to wrap boxers' hands). Of his twelve bouts, he would later say "I won all but eleven." For a time, he roomed with Sonny King, who, like Martin, was just starting in show business and had little money. It is said that Martin and King held bare-knuckle matches in their apartment, fighting until one of them was knocked out; people paid to watch. Martin knocked out King in the first round of an amateur boxing match.

Eventually, Martin gave up boxing. He worked as a roulette stickman and croupier in an illegal casino behind a tobacco shop, where he had started as a stock boy. At the same time, he sang with local bands, calling himself "Dino Martini" (after the famous Metropolitan Opera tenor, Nino Martini). He got his first break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra. He sang in a crooning style influenced by Harry Mills (of the Mills Brothers), among others. In the early 1940s, he started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, who suggested he change his name to Dean Martin.

In October 1941, Martin married Elizabeth Anne McDonald. During their marriage they had four children. The marriage ended in divorce in 1949. Martin worked for various bands throughout the early 1940s, mostly on looks and personality until he developed his own singing style. Martin famously flopped at the Riobamba, a high class nightclub in New York, when he followed Frank Sinatra in 1943, but it was the setting for their meeting.

Martin was drafted into the United States Army in 1944 during World War II, serving a year stationed in Akron, Ohio. He was then reclassified as 4-F and was discharged (possibly because of a double hernia; Jerry Lewis referred to the surgery Martin needed for this in his autobiography).
By 1946, Martin was doing relatively well, but was still little more than an East Coast nightclub singer with a common style, similar to that of Bing Crosby. He drew audiences to the clubs where he played, but he inspired none of the fanatical popularity enjoyed by Sinatra.

A biography of Martin titled Dean Martin: King of the Road, by Michael Freedland, alleged that he had links to the Mafia early in his career. According to this book, Martin received help with his singing career from members of the Chicago Outfit, who owned saloons in the city, and later performed in shows hosted by these bosses when he was a star. The mob bosses were Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana. Freedland suggests that Martin felt little sympathy for the Mafia and did small favors for them only if it was not inconvenient for him. Another book, The Animal in Hollywood by John L. Smith, depicted Martin's longtime friendship with Mafia mobsters John Roselli, Luca Cosentino, and Anthony Fiato. Smith suggested that Fiato did many favors for Martin, such as recovering money from two swindlers who had cheated his ex-wife Betty out of thousands of dollars of her alimony.

 Martin attracted the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, but a Hollywood contract was not forthcoming. He met comic Jerry Lewis at the Glass Hat Club in New York, where both men were performing. Martin and Lewis formed a fast friendship which led to their participation in each other's acts and the ultimate formation of a music-comedy team.

Martin and Lewis's official debut together occurred at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 24th, 1946, and they were not well received. The owner, Skinny D'Amato, warned them that if they did not come up with a better act for their second show later that night, they would be fired. Huddling together in the alley behind the club, Lewis and Martin agreed to "go for broke", to throw out the pre-scripted gags and to improvise. Martin sang and Lewis came out dressed as a busboy, dropping plates and making a shambles of both Martin's performance and the club's sense of decorum until Lewis was chased from the room as Martin pelted him with breadrolls. They did slapstick, reeled off old vaudeville jokes, and did whatever else popped into their heads at the moment. This time, the audience doubled over in laughter. This success led to a series of well-paying engagements on the Eastern seaboard, culminating in a triumphant run at New York's Copacabana. Patrons were convulsed by the act, which consisted primarily of Lewis interrupting and heckling Martin while he was trying to sing, and ultimately the two of them chasing each other around the stage and having as much fun as possible. The secret, both said, is that they essentially ignored the audience and played to each other.

The team made its TV debut on the very first broadcast of CBS-TV network's Toast of the Town (later called The Ed Sullivan Show) with Ed Sullivan and Rodgers and Hammerstein appearing on this same inaugural telecast on June 20, 1948. A radio series commenced in 1949, the same year Martin and Lewis were signed by Paramount producer Hal B. Wallis as comedy relief for the movie My Friend Irma.

Their agent, Abby Greshler, negotiated for them one of Hollywood's best deals: although they received only a modest $75,000 between them for their films with Wallis, Martin and Lewis were free to do one outside film a year, which they would co-produce through their own York Productions. They also had complete control of their club, record, radio and television appearances, and it was through these endeavors that they earned millions of dollars.

In Dean & Me, Lewis calls Martin one of the great comic geniuses of all time. But the harsh comments from the critics, as well as frustration with the formulaic similarity of Martin and Lewis movies, which producer Hal Wallis stubbornly refused to change, led to Martin's dissatisfaction. He put less enthusiasm into the work, leading to escalating arguments with Lewis. They finally could not work together, especially after Martin told his partner he was "nothing to me but a dollar sign". The act broke up in 1956, 10 years to the day from the first official teaming.
Martin's first solo film, Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957), was a box office failure. He was still popular as a singer, but with rock and roll surging to the fore, the era of the pop crooner was waning.

Never being totally comfortable in films, Martin wanted to be known as a real actor. Though offered a fraction of his former salary to co-star in a war drama, The Young Lions (1957), he was ecstatic to receive the part because it would be a dramatic showcase with the two most intriguing young actors of the period and he could learn from Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. Tony Randall already had the part, but talent agency MCA realized that with this movie, Martin would become a triple threat: they could make money from his work in night clubs, movies, and records. Martin replaced Randall and the film turned out to be the beginning of Martin's spectacular comeback. Success would continue as Martin starred alongside Frank Sinatra for the first time in a highly acclaimed Vincente Minnelli drama, Some Came Running (1958). By the mid '60s, Martin was a top movie, recording, television, and nightclub star, while Lewis' film career declined. Martin was acclaimed for his performance as Dude in Rio Bravo (1959), directed by Howard Hawks and also starring John Wayne and singer Ricky Nelson. He teamed up again with Wayne in The Sons of Katie Elder (1965), somewhat unconvincingly cast as brothers.

In 1960, Martin was cast in the motion picture version of the Judy Holliday hit stage play Bells Are Ringing. Martin played a satyric variation of his own womanizing persona as Vegas singer "Dino" in Billy Wilder's comedy Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) with Kim Novak, and he was not above poking fun at his image in films such as the Matt Helm spy spoofs of the 1960s, in which he was a co-producer. Indeed, in the third Matt Helm film The Ambushers (film) (1967), Helm, about to be executed, receives a last cigarette, and tells the provider, "I'll remember you from the great beyond," continuing sotto voce, "somewhere around Steubenville, I hope."

As a singer, Martin copied the styles of Harry Mills (of the Mills Brothers), Bing Crosby, and Perry Como until he developed his own and could hold his own in duets with Sinatra and Crosby. Like Sinatra, he could not read music, but he recorded more than 100 albums and 600 songs. His signature tune, "Everybody Loves Somebody", knocked The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" out of the number-one spot in the United States in 1964. This was followed by the similarly styled "The Door is Still Open to My Heart", which reached number six later that year. Elvis Presley was said to have been influenced by Martin, and patterned "Love Me Tender" after his style. Martin, like Elvis, was influenced by country music. By 1965, some of Martin's albums, such as Dean "Tex" Martin, The Hit Sound of Dean Martin, Welcome to My World and Gentle On My Mind, were composed of country and western songs made famous by artists such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens. Martin hosted country performers on his TV show and was named "Man Of the Year" by the Country Music Association in 1966. "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?", a song Martin performed in Ocean's 11 that never became a hit at the time, has enjoyed a spectacular revival in the media and pop culture.

For three decades, Martin was among the most popular acts in Las Vegas. Martin sang and was one of the smoothest comics in the business, benefiting from the decade of raucous comedy with Lewis. Martin's daughter, Gail, also sang in Vegas and on his TV show, co-hosting his summer replacement series on NBC. Though often thought of as a ladies' man, Martin spent a lot of time with his family; as second wife Jeanne put it, prior to the couple's divorce, "He was home every night for dinner."

 As Martin's solo career grew, he and Frank Sinatra became close friends. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Martin and Sinatra, along with friends Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr. formed the legendary Rat Pack, so called by the public after an earlier group of social friends, the Holmby Hills Rat Pack centered on Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, of which Sinatra had been a member.

The Martin-Sinatra-Davis-Lawford-Bishop group referred to themselves as "The Summit" or "The Clan" and never as "The Rat Pack", although this has remained their identity in the popular imagination. The men made films together, formed an important part of the Hollywood social scene in those years, and were politically influential (through Lawford's marriage to Patricia Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy).

The Rat Pack were legendary for their Las Vegas Strip performances. For example, the marquee at the Sands Hotel might read DEAN MARTIN---MAYBE FRANK---MAYBE SAMMY. Las Vegas rooms were at a premium when the Rat Pack would appear, with many visitors sleeping in hotel lobbies or cars to get a chance to see the three men together. Their appearances were unprecedentedly valuable because the city would always become flooded with high rollers, wealthy gamblers who would routinely leave substantial fortunes in the casinos' coffers. Their act (always in tuxedo) consisted of each singing individual numbers, duets and trios, along with much seemingly improvised slapstick and chatter. In the socially charged 1960s, their jokes revolved around adult themes, such as Sinatra's infamous womanizing and Martin's legendary drinking, as well as many at the expense of Davis's race and religion. The Rat Pack was largely responsible for the integration of Las Vegas. Sinatra and Martin were active supporters of the Civil Rights Movement and refused to perform in clubs that would not allow African-American or Jewish performers.

Posthumously, the Rat Pack has experienced a popular revival, inspiring the George Clooney/Brad Pitt "Ocean's" trilogy.

Martin was married three times. Subsequent to the divorce of his first wife, Elizabeth Anne "Betty" McDonald, Martin gained custody of their children; Betty lived out her life in quiet obscurity in San Francisco. Their children were Stephen Craig Martin (born 1942), Claudia Dean Martin (born March 16, 1944, died 2001 of breast cancer), Barbara Gail Martin (born 1945) and Deana Martin (born 1948).

Martin's second wife was Jeanne Biegger. A stunning blonde, Jeanne could sometimes be spotted in Martin's audience while he was still married to Betty. Their marriage lasted 24 years (1949–1973) and produced three children. Their children were Dean Paul (November 17th, 1951 – March 21st, 1987; plane crash), Ricci James (born 1953) and Gina Caroline (born 1956), whose marriage made Martin the father-in-law of The Beach Boys' Carl Wilson.

Martin's third marriage, to Catherine Hawn, lasted three years; Martin would initiate divorce proceedings. One of Martin's managers spotted her at the reception desk of a hair salon on Rodeo Drive, then arranged a meeting. Martin adopted Hawn's daughter Sasha. Martin's uncle was Leonard Barr, who appeared in several of his shows.

 On December 1st, 1983 while gambling at the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City, Martin and Sinatra intimidated the dealer and several employees into breaking New Jersey law by making the dealer deal the cards by hand instead of from a shoe. Although Sinatra and Martin were implicated as the cause of the violation, neither was fined by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. The Golden Nugget received a $25,000 fine (which Sinatra paid, stating that it was his responsibility as he and Martin were the cause of the fine) and four employees including the dealer, a supervisor and pit boss were suspended from their jobs without pay.

Martin returned to films briefly with appearances in the two star-laden, yet critically panned, The Cannonball Run movies. He also had a minor hit single with "Since I Met You Baby" and made his first music video, which appeared on MTV. The video was created by Martin's youngest son, Ricci.

On March 21st, 1987, Martin's son, Dean Paul (formerly Dino of the '60s "teeny-bopper" rock group Dino, Desi & Billy), was killed when his F-4 Phantom II jet fighter crashed while flying with the California Air National Guard. A much-touted tour with Davis and Sinatra in 1988 sputtered. On one occasion, he infuriated Sinatra when he turned to him and muttered, "Frank, what the hell are we doing up here?" Martin, who always responded best to a club audience, felt lost in the huge stadiums they were performing in (at Sinatra's insistence), and he was not interested in drinking until dawn after performances. His final Vegas shows were at Bally's Hotel in 1990. There he had his final reunion with Jerry Lewis on his 72nd birthday. Martin's last two TV appearances involved tributes to his former Rat Pack members. On December 8th, 1989, he joined many stars of the entertainment industry in Sammy Davis, Jr's 60th anniversary celebration, which aired only a few weeks before Davis died from throat cancer. In December 1990, he congratulated Frank Sinatra on his 75th birthday special.

Martin was diagnosed with lung cancer at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in September 1993, and in early 1995 retired from public life. He died of acute respiratory failure resulting from emphysema at his Beverly Hills home on Christmas morning 1995, at age 78. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor. His tombstone features the epitaph "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime", the name of his signature song.

Martin is buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

In 1996, Ohio Rte. 7, through Steubenville, was rededicated as Dean Martin Boulevard. Road signs bearing an Al Hirschfeld caricature of Martin's likeness officially designate the stretch, along with a state historical marker bearing a small picture and brief biography of Martin, in the Gazebo Park at Route 7 and North Fourth Street.

An annual Dean Martin Festival celebration is held in Steubenville. Impersonators, friends and family of Martin, and various entertainers, many of Italian ancestry, appear.

Source: Wikipedia

This work is released under CC 3.0 by-SA - Creative Commons

Sunday, May 19, 2013

UFO Files: Erich von Däniken

Erich Anton Paul von Däniken, German pronunciation: [ˈeːʁɪç fɔn ˈdɛːnɪkən born 14 April 1935) is a Swiss author best known for his controversial claims about extraterrestrial influences on early human culture, in books such as Chariots of the Gods?, published in 1968. Von Däniken is one of the main figures responsible for popularizing the "paleo-contact" and ancient astronauts hypotheses.

Von Däniken's first book, Chariots of the Gods?, was an immediate best seller in the United States and Europe, and subsequent books, "according to von Däniken, have been translated into 32 languages and together have sold more than 63 million copies." The ideas put forth in these books are largely rejected by scientists and academics, who categorize his work as pseudohistory and pseudoarchaeology.

Von Däniken wrote his first book while working as manager of the Hotel Rosenhügel in Davos, Switzerland. He was convicted of several financial crimes, including fraud, shortly after publication of his first book.[5] The revenue from the sales of his book allowed him to repay his debts and leave the hotel business. Von Däniken wrote his second book, Gods from Outer Space, while in prison.
Von Däniken later became a co-founder of the Archaeology, Astronautics and SETI Research Association (AAS RA). He designed Mystery Park (now known as Jungfrau Park), a theme park located in Interlaken, Switzerland, that opened on 23 May 2003.

Von Däniken was born in Zofingen, Aargau. Brought up a strict Catholic, he attended the international Catholic school Saint-Michel in Fribourg, Switzerland. During his time at the school he rejected the church's interpretations of the Bible, and developed an interest in astronomy and the phenomenon of flying saucers.

At the age of 19, von Däniken was given a four-month suspended sentence for theft. Von Däniken withdrew from school, and became apprenticed to a Swiss hotelier. After moving to Egypt, he was convicted for fraud and embezzlement.

He then became manager of the Hotel Rosenhügel in Davos, Switzerland, during which time he wrote Chariots of the Gods?, working on the manuscript late at night after the hotel's guests had retired. In December 1964, von Däniken wrote Hatten unsere Vorfahren Besuch aus dem Weltraum? ("Did our Ancestors have a Visit from Space?") for the German-Canadian periodical Der Nordwesten. Chariots of the Gods? was accepted by a publisher in early 1967, and printed in March 1968.

In November 1968 von Däniken was arrested for fraud, after falsifying hotel records and credit references in order to take out loans for $130,000 over a period of twelve years. He used the money for foreign travel to research his book. Two years later, von Däniken was convicted for "repeated and sustained" embezzlement, fraud and forgery, with the court ruling that the writer had been living a "playboy" lifestyle. Von Däniken entered a plea for nullity on the grounds that his intentions were not malicious and the credit institutions were at fault for failing to adequately research his references. Von Däniken was sentenced on 13 February 1970 to three and a half years imprisonment and fined 3,000 francs. He served one year of this sentence before being released.

His first book, Chariots of the Gods?, had been published by the time of his trial, and its sales allowed him to repay his debts and leave the hotel business. Von Däniken wrote his second book, Gods from Outer Space, while in prison.

In 1966, when von Däniken was writing his first book, scientists Carl Sagan and I. S. Shklovskii wrote about the possibility of paleocontact and extraterrestrial visitation claims in one chapter of their book Intelligent Life in the Universe, giving some scientific legitimacy to the idea. Many ideas from this book appeared in different form in von Däniken's books. Sagan has been very critical of von Däniken.

Previous to von Däniken's work, other authors had presented ideas of extraterrestrial contacts. Von Däniken failed to credit properly or at all, these authors, even when making the same claims using similar or identical evidence.

 In Chariots of the Gods?, von Däniken wrote that a non-rusting iron pillar in Delhi, India, was evidence of extraterrestrial influence. In a later Playboy interview, when told that the column showed some signs of rust and its method of construction was well understood, von Däniken said that since writing the book he had learned of investigations reaching other conclusions, and no longer considered the pillar to be a mystery.

 In The Gold of the Gods von Däniken wrote of being guided through artificial tunnels in a cave under Ecuador, Cueva de los Tayos, containing gold, strange statues and a library with metal tablets, which he considered to be evidence of ancient space visitors. The man whom he said showed him these tunnels, Juan Moricz, told Der Spiegel that von Däniken's descriptions came from a long conversation and that the photos in the book had been "fiddled". Von Däniken told Playboy that although he had seen the library and other places he had described, he had fabricated some of the events to add interest to his book. Later in 1978 he said that he had never been in the cave pictured in his book but in a "side entrance", and that he had fabricated the whole descent into the cave. A geologist examined the area and found no cave systems. Von Däniken also wrote about a collection of gold objects held by local priest Father Crespi, who had special permission from the Vatican to do archeological research. But an archeologist reported to Der Spiegel that, while there were some gold pieces, many were just local imitations for tourists, and that Crespi has difficulty distinguishing brass from gold.

Dr. Samuel Rosenberg said that the Book of Dzyan, referred to by von Däniken, was "a fabrication superimposed on a gigantic hoax concocted by Madame Blavatsky." He also says that the "Tulli Papyrus", cited by von Däniken in one of his books, is likely cribbed from the Book of Ezekiel, and quoted Dr. Nolli (through Dr. Walter Ramberg, Scientific Attache at the U.S. embassy in Rome), then current Director of the Egyptian Section of the Vatican Museum, as "suspect[ing] that Tulli was taken in and that the papyrus is a fake." According to NYT's Richard R. Lingerman, it is likely that von Däniken obtained these references from UFO books that mentioned them as real documents.

Von Däniken brought the Nazca Lines to public prominence with his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods?, attracting so many tourists that researcher Maria Reiche had to spend much of her own time and money preserving them. Von Däniken said that the lines were built following instructions from extraterrestrial beings, to be used as airfields for their spaceships. In his 1998 book Arrival of The Gods, he added that some of the pictures depicted extraterrestrials. Archeologists are sure that they were made by pre-columbian civilizations for cultural purposes, and they have not bothered refuting this sort of speculation. Silverman and Proulx say this silence from archaeologists has harmed the profession and the Peruvian nation. The idea was not original of von Däniken, it started as a joke made by people who first saw the lines from the air, and had already been published by other people. One of the cropped photos in Chariots of the Gods?, claimed by von Däniken to be similar to the markings of a modern airport, was only the knee joint of one of the bird figures and was quite small in size; von Däniken says that it was an error in the first edition, and that he wasn't the one who wrote that claim in the book, but the error has not been corrected in later editions.

Von Däniken wrote in Chariots of the Gods? that a version of the Piri Reis map that the map depicted some Antarctic mountains that were and still are buried into ice, and could only be mapped with modern equipment. His theory relies on the book of Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings by Charles Hapgood. A. D. Crown in Some Trust in Chariots explains how this is simply wrong. The map in von Däniken's book only extends 5 degrees south of the equator, ending in Cape São Roque, which means that it doesn't extend to the Antarctica. Von Däniken also said that the map showed some distortions that would only happen if its was an aerial view taken from a spaceship flying above El Cairo, but in fact it doesn't extend enough to the South to cause visible distortions in an aerial view. Von Däniken also asserts the existence of a legend saying that a god gave the map to a priest, the god being an extraterrestrial being. But Piri Reis said that he had drawn that map himself using old maps, and the map is consistent with the cartographic knowledge at that time. Also, the map is not "absolutely accurate" as claimed by von Däniken, since it contains many errors and omissions; a fact that von Däniken did not correct when he covered the map again his 1998 book Odyssey of the Gods. Other authors had already published this same idea, a fact that von Däniken did not recognize until 1974 in an interview to Playboy magazine.

The Nova documentary The Case of the Ancient Astronauts shows that all the claims made by von Däniken about the Pyramid of Cheops were wrong in all accounts. The technique of construction is well understood, scholars know perfectly what tools they used, the marks of those tools in the quarries are still visible, and there are many tools preserved in museums. Von Däniken claims that it would have taken them too long to cut all the blocks necessary and drag them to the construction site in time to build the Great Pyramid in only 20 years, but Nova shows how easy and fast it is to cut a block of stone, and shows the rollers used in transportation. He also claims that Egyptians suddenly started making pyramids out of nowhere, but there are several pyramids that show the progress made by Egyptian architects while they were perfecting the technique from simple mastabas to later pyramids. Von Däniken claims that the height of the pyramid multiplied by one million was the distance to the Sun, but the number falls too short. He also claims that Egyptians could not align the edges so perfectly to true North without advanced technology that only aliens could give them, but Egyptians knew of very simple methods to find North via star observation, and it is trivial to make straight edges.

 Von Däniken claimed that the Sarcophagus of Palenque depicted a spaceman sitting on a rocket-powered spaceship, wearing a spacesuit. However, archaeologists see nothing special with the figure, a dead Mayan monarch who is wearing traditional Mayan hairdo and jewelry, surrounded by Mayan symbols that can be observed in other Mayan drawings. The right hand is not handling any rocket controls, but simply making a traditional Mayan gesture, that other figures in the sides of the lid also make, and is not holding anything. The rocket shape is actually two serpents joining their heads at the bottom, with the rocket flames being the beards of the serpents. The rocket motor under the figure is the face of a monster, symbol of the underworld.

 Von Däniken put forward photographs of ancient stones in Peru, with carvings of men using telescopes, detailed world maps, and advanced medical operations, all beyond the knowledge of ancient Peruvians. But the PBS television series Nova determined that the stones were modern, and located the potter who made them. This potter makes stones daily and sells them to tourists. Von Däniken had visited the potter and examined the stones himself, but he didn't mention this in his book. He says that he didn't believe the potter when he said that he had made the stones. Von Däniken says that he asked Doctor Cabrera, a local surgeon who owns the museum, and Cabrera had told him that the potter's claims were a lie and that the stones were ancient. But the potter had proof that Cabrera had thanked him for providing the stones for the museum. Von Däniken claimed that the stones at the museum were very different from those made by the potter, but the Nova reporters oversaw the manufacturing of one stone and confirmed that it was very similar to those in the museum.

Kenneth Feder accused von Däniken of European ethnocentrism, while John Flenley and Paul Bahn suggested that views such as his interpretation of the Easter Island statues "ignore the real achievements of our ancestors and constitute the ultimate in racism: they belittle the abilities and ingenuity of the human species as a whole."
Ronald Story published The Space Gods Revealed: A Close Look At The Theories of Erich Von Däniken in 1976, written in response to the evidence presented in von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods?. It was reviewed as "a coherent and much-needed refutation of Von Däniken's theories"

A 2004 article in Skeptic Magazine states that von Däniken took many of the book's concepts from The Morning of the Magicians, that this book in turn was heavily influenced by the Cthulhu Mythos, and that the core of the ancient astronaut theory originates in H. P. Lovecraft's short stories "The Call of Cthulhu" written in 1926, and "At the Mountains of Madness" written in 1931.

Speaking in a 2001 documentary, von Däniken said that although he could not conclusively prove to the scientific community that any of the items in his archive were of alien origin, he felt that "today's science" would not accept such evidence, as "the time is simply not right". It is also mentioned that he jumped from Hotel Manager to "expert on the ancient world." He argued that it was first necessary to "prepare" mankind for a "wonderful new world"

Jungfrau Park located near Interlaken, Switzerland was opened as the Mystery Park in 2003. Designed by von Däniken, it explored several great "mysteries" of the world.

Ridley Scott said that his film Prometheus is related to some of von Däniken's ideas regarding early human civilization.

Reviewing the two-disc DVD release of Roland Emmerich's film Stargate, Dean Devlin referred to the "Is There a Stargate?" feature where "author Erich von Däniken discusses evidence he has found of alien visitations to Earth."

Source: Wikipedia

This work is released under CC 3.0 by SA - Creative Commons

Friday, May 17, 2013

Carroll's Vacation Pictures Part Two (Oklahoma)

Welcome to Oklahoma.


"Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play ....."


Will post more later.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

James K. Polk: The Presidents

James Knox Polk, the first of ten children, was born on November 2nd, 1795 in a farmhouse (possibly a "log" cabin) in what is now Pineville, North Carolina in Mecklenburg County, just outside Charlotte. His father, Samuel Polk, was a slaveholder, successful farmer and surveyor of Scots-Irish descent. His mother, Jane Polk, was a descendant of a brother of the Scottish religious reformer John Knox. She named her firstborn after her father James Knox. Like most early Scots-Irish settlers in the North Carolina mountains, the Knox and Polk families were Presbyterian. While Jane remained a devout Presbyterian her entire life, Samuel (whose father, Ezekiel Polk, was a deist) rejected dogmatic Presbyterianism. When the parents took James to church to be baptized, the father Samuel refused to declare his belief in Christianity, and the minister refused to baptize the child. In 1803, most of Polk's relatives moved to the Duck River area in what is now Maury County, Middle Tennessee; Polk's family waited until 1806 to follow. The family grew prosperous, with Samuel Polk turning to land speculation and becoming a county judge.

Polk was home schooled. His health was problematic and in 1812 his pain became so unbearable that he was taken to Dr. Ephraim McDowell of Danville, Kentucky, who operated to remove urinary stones. Polk was awake during the operation with nothing but brandy available for anesthetic, but it was successful. The surgery may have left Polk sterile, as he did not sire any children.

When Polk recovered, his father offered to bring him into the mercantile business, but Polk refused. In July 1813, Polk enrolled at the Zion Church near his home. A year later he attended an academy in Murfreesboro, where he may have met his future wife, Sarah Childress. At Murfreesboro, Polk proved a promising student. In January 1816, he transferred and was admitted into the University of North Carolina as a second-semester sophomore. The Polks had connections with the university, then a small school of about 80 students: Sam Polk was their land agent for Tennessee, and his cousin, William Polk, was a trustee. While there, Polk joined the Dialectic Society where he regularly took part in debates and learned the art of oratory. His roommate William Dunn Moseley later became the first governor of Florida. Polk graduated with honors in May 1818. The University later named the lower quad on its main campus, Polk Place.

After graduation, Polk traveled to Nashville to study law under renowned Nashville trial attorney Felix Grundy. Grundy became Polk's first mentor. On September 20th, 1819, Polk, with Grundy's endorsement, was elected clerk for the Tennessee State Senate. Polk was reelected as clerk in 1821 without opposition, and would continue to serve until 1822. Polk was admitted to the bar in June 1820 and his first case was to defend his father against a public fighting charge, and secure his release for a one dollar fine. Polk's practice was successful as there were many cases arising from debts after the Panic of 1819.

 In 1822 Polk joined the local militia and rose to the rank of captain, and was soon promoted to colonel. Polk's oratory became popular, earning him the nickname "Napoleon of the Stump." In 1822 Polk resigned his position as clerk to run his successful campaign for the Tennessee state legislature in 1823, in which he defeated incumbent William Yancey, becoming the new representative of Maury County. In October 1823 Polk voted for Andrew Jackson to become the next United States Senator from Tennessee. Jackson won and from then on Polk was a firm supporter of Jackson.

Polk courted Sarah Childress, and they married on January 1st, 1824. Polk was then 28, and Sarah was 20 years old. They had no children. During Polk's political career, Sarah assisted her husband with his speeches, gave him advice on policy matters and played an active role in his campaigns. An old story told that Andrew Jackson had encouraged their romance when they began to court.

 In 1824, Jackson ran for President but was defeated. Though Jackson had won the popular vote, neither he nor any of the other candidates (John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and William H. Crawford) had won a majority of the electoral vote. The House of Representatives then had to select the verdict; Clay, who had received the least amount of electoral votes and dropped from the ballot, supported Adams. Clay's support proved to be the deciding factor in the House and Adams was elected President. Adams then offered Clay a position in the Cabinet as Secretary of State

In 1825, Polk ran for the United States House of Representatives for the Tennessee's 6th congressional district. Polk vigorously campaigned in the district. Polk was so active that Sarah began to worry about his health. During the campaign, Polk's opponents said that at the age of 29 Polk was too young for a spot in the House, but he won the election and took his seat in Congress. When Polk arrived in Washington, D.C. he roomed in Benjamin Burch's boarding house with some other Tennessee representatives, including Samuel Houston. Polk made his first major speech on March 13th, 1826, in which he said that the Electoral College should be abolished and that the President should be elected by the popular vote. After Congress went into recess in the summer of 1826, Polk returned to Tennessee to see Sarah, and when Congress met again in the autumn, Polk returned to Washington with Sarah. In 1827 Polk was reelected to Congress. In 1828, Jackson ran for President again and during the campaign Polk and Jackson corresponded, with Polk giving Jackson advice on his campaign. With Jackson's victory in the election Polk began to support the administration's position in Congress. During this time, Polk continued to be reelected in the House. In August 1833, after being elected to this fifth term, Polk became the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

In June 1834, Speaker of the House Andrew Stevenson resigned, leaving the spot for speaker open. Polk ran against fellow Tennessean John Bell for Speaker, and, after ten ballots, Bell won. However, in 1835, Polk ran against Bell for Speaker again and won.

Polk worked for Jackson's policies as speaker, and Van Buren's when he succeeded Jackson in 1837; he appointed committees with Democratic chairs and majorities, including the New York radical C. C. Cambreleng as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, although he maintained the facade of traditional bipartisanship. The two major issues during Polk's speakership were slavery and the economy, after the Panic of 1837. Van Buren and Polk faced pressure to rescind the Specie Circular, an act that had been signed by Jackson to boost the economy. The act required that payment for government lands be in gold and silver. However, with support from Polk and his cabinet, Van Buren chose to stick with the Specie Circular.

Polk attempted to make a more orderly house. He never challenged anyone to a duel no matter how much they insulted his honor as was customary then. Polk also issued the gag rule on petitions from abolitionists.

Polk remains the only president who served as Speaker of the House.

In 1838, the political situation in Tennessee - where, in 1835, Democrats had lost the governorship for the first time in their party's history - persuaded Polk to return to help the party at home. Leaving Congress in 1839, Polk became a candidate in the Tennessee gubernatorial election, defeating the incumbent Whig, Newton Cannon by about 2,500 votes, out of about 105,000.

Polk's three major programs during his governorship; regulating state banks, implementing state internal improvements, and improving education all did not get approval by the legislature. In the presidential election of 1840, Van Buren was overwhelmingly defeated by a popular Whig, William Henry Harrison. Polk received one electoral vote from Tennessee for Vice President in the election. Polk lost his own reelection to James C. Jones, in 1841, by 3,243 votes. He challenged Jones in 1843, campaigning across the state and publicly debating against Jones, but was defeated again, this time by a slightly greater margin of 3,833 votes.

 Polk initially hoped to be nominated for vice president at the Democratic convention, which began on May 27, 1844. The leading contender for the presidential nomination was former President Martin Van Buren, who wanted to stop the expansion of slavery. Other candidates included James Buchanan, General Lewis Cass, Cave Johnson, John C. Calhoun, and Levi Woodbury. The primary point of political contention involved the Republic of Texas, which, after declaring independence from Mexico in 1836, had asked to join the United States, but was refused by Washington. Van Buren opposed the annexation but in doing so lost the support of many Democrats, including former President Andrew Jackson, who still had much influence. Van Buren won a simple majority on the convention's first ballot but did not attain the two-thirds supermajority required for nomination. When it became clear after another six ballots that Van Buren would not win the required majority, Polk emerged as a "dark horse" candidate. After an indecisive eighth ballot, the convention unanimously nominated Polk.

Before the convention, Jackson told Polk that he was his favorite for the nomination of the Democratic Party. Even with this support, Polk instructed his managers at the convention to support Van Buren if he could win the nomination. This assured that if a deadlocked convention occurred, initial supporters of Van Buren would pick Polk as a compromise candidate for the Democrats. In the end, this is exactly what happened as a result of Polk's support of westward expansion.

When advised of his nomination, Polk replied: "It has been well observed that the office of President of the United States should neither be sought nor declined. I have never sought it, nor should I feel at liberty to decline it, if conferred upon me by the voluntary suffrages of my fellow citizens." Because the Democratic Party was splintered into bitter factions, Polk promised to serve only one term if elected, hoping that his disappointed rival Democrats would unite behind him with the knowledge that another candidate would be chosen in four years.

Polk's Whig opponent in the 1844 presidential election was Henry Clay of Kentucky. (Incumbent Whig President John Tyler - a former Democrat - had become estranged from the Whigs and was not nominated for a second term.) The annexation of Texas, which was at the forefront during the Democratic Convention, again dominated the campaign. Polk was a strong proponent of immediate annexation, while Clay seemed more equivocal and vacillating.

In the election, Polk and his running mate, George M. Dallas, won in the South and West, while Clay drew support in the Northeast. Polk lost both his home state, North Carolina, and his state of residence, Tennessee, the most recent successful presidential candidate to do so. but won New York, where Clay lost votes to the antislavery Liberty Party candidate James G. Birney. Also contributing to Polk's victory was the support of new immigrant voters, who opposed the Whigs' policies. Polk won the popular vote by a margin of about 39,000 out of 2.6 million, and took the Electoral College with 170 votes to Clay's 105. Polk won 15 states, while Clay won 11.

 When he took office on March 4, 1845, Polk, at 49, became the youngest man at the time to assume the presidency.

Pledged to serve only one term, he accomplished all these objectives in just four years. By linking acquisition of new lands in Oregon (with no slavery) and Texas (with slavery), he hoped to satisfy both North and South.
During his presidency James K. Polk was known as "Young Hickory", an allusion to his mentor Andrew Jackson, and "Napoleon of the Stump" for his speaking skills.

 During his presidency, many abolitionists harshly criticized him as an instrument of the "Slave Power", and claimed that spreading slavery was the reason he supported annexing Texas and later war with Mexico. Polk stated in his diary that he believed slavery could not exist in the territories won from Mexico, but refused to endorse the Wilmot Proviso that would forbid it there. Polk argued instead for extending the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean, which would prohibit the expansion of slavery above 36° 30' west of Missouri, but allow it below that line if approved by eligible voters in the territory. William Dusinberre has argued that Polk's diary, which he kept during his presidency, was written for later publication, and does not represent Polk's policy.

Polk was a slaveholder for his entire life. His father, Samuel Polk, had left Polk more than 8,000 acres of land, and divided about 53 slaves to his widow and children after he died. James inherited twenty of his father's slaves, either directly or from deceased brothers. In 1831, he became an absentee cotton planter, sending slaves to clear plantation land that his father had left him near Somerville, Tennessee. Four years later Polk sold his Somerville plantation and, together with his brother-in-law, bought 920 acres (3.7 km²) of land, a cotton plantation near Coffeeville, Mississippi. He ran this plantation for the rest of his life, eventually taking it over completely from his brother-in-law. Polk rarely sold slaves, although once he became President and could better afford it, he bought more. Polk's will stipulated that their slaves were to be freed after his wife Sarah had died. However, the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution freed all remaining slaves in rebel states long before the death of his wife in 1891.

 Polk strongly supported expansion. Democrats believed that opening up more land for yeoman farmers was critical for the success of republican virtue. Like most Southerners, he supported the annexation of Texas. To balance the interests of North and South, he wanted to acquire the Oregon Country (present-day Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia) as well. He sought to purchase California, which Mexico had neglected.

 After the Texas annexation, Polk turned his attention to California, hoping to acquire the territory from Mexico before any European nation did so. The main interest was San Francisco Bay as an access point for trade with Asia. In 1845, he sent diplomat John Slidell to Mexico to purchase California and New Mexico for $24 - 30 million. Slidell's arrival caused political turmoil in Mexico after word leaked out that he was there to purchase additional territory and not to offer compensation for the loss of Texas. The Mexicans refused to receive Slidell, citing a technical problem with his credentials. In January 1846, to increase pressure on Mexico to negotiate, Polk sent troops under General Zachary Taylor into the area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande - territory that was claimed by both the U.S. and Mexico.

 Slidell returned to Washington in May 1846, having been rebuffed by the Mexican government. Polk regarded this treatment of his diplomat as an insult and an "ample cause of war", and he prepared to ask Congress for a declaration of war. Meanwhile Taylor crossed the Rio Grande River and briefly occupied Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Taylor continued to blockade ships from entering the port of Matamoros. Mere days before Polk intended to make his request to Congress, he received word that Mexican forces had crossed the Rio Grande area and killed eleven American soldiers. Polk then made this the casus belli, and in a message to Congress on May 11thy, 1846, he stated that Mexico had "invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil."

Some Whigs, such as Abraham Lincoln, challenged Polk's version of events, but Congress overwhelmingly approved the declaration of war. Many Whigs feared that opposition would cost them politically by casting themselves as unpatriotic for not supporting the war effort.

In the House, antislavery Whigs led by John Quincy Adams voted against the war; among Democrats, Senator John C. Calhoun was the most notable opponent of the declaration.

Polk selected the top generals and set the military strategy of the war. By the summer of 1846, American forces under General Stephen W. Kearny had captured New Mexico. Meanwhile, Army captain John C. Frémont led settlers in northern California to overthrow the Mexican garrison in Sonoma (in the Bear Flag Revolt). General Zachary Taylor, at the same time, was having success on the Rio Grande, although Polk did not reinforce his troops there. The United States also negotiated a secret arrangement with Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican general and dictator who had been overthrown in 1844. Santa Anna agreed that, if given safe passage into Mexico, he would attempt to persuade those in power to sell California and New Mexico to the United States. Once he reached Mexico, however, he reneged on his agreement, declared himself President, and tried to drive the American invaders back. Santa Anna's efforts, however, were in vain, as Generals Taylor and Winfield Scott destroyed all resistance. Scott captured Mexico City in September 1847, and Taylor won a series of victories in northern Mexico. Even after these battles, Mexico did not surrender until 1848, when it agreed to peace terms set out by Polk.

Polk sent diplomat Nicholas Trist to negotiate with the Mexicans. Lack of progress prompted the President to order Trist to return to the United States, but the diplomat ignored the instructions and stayed in Mexico to continue bargaining. Trist successfully negotiated the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which Polk agreed to ratify, ignoring calls from Democrats who demanded that all Mexico be annexed. The treaty added 1.2 million square miles of territory to the United States; Mexico's size was halved, while that of the United States increased by a third. California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming were all included in the Mexican Cession. The treaty also recognized the annexation of Texas and acknowledged American control over the disputed territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Mexico, in turn, received $15 million. The war claimed fewer than 20,000 American lives but over 50,000 Mexican ones. It may have cost the United States $100 million. Finally, the Wilmot Proviso injected the issue of slavery in the new territories, even though Polk had insisted to Congress and in his diary that this had never been a war goal.

The treaty, however, needed ratification by the Senate. In March 1848, the Whigs, who had been so opposed to Polk's policy, suddenly changed position. Two-thirds of the Whigs voted for Polk's treaty. This ended the war and legalized the acquisition of the territories.

 The war had serious consequences for Polk and the Democrats. It gave the Whig Party a unifying message of denouncing the war as an immoral act of aggression carried out through abuse of power by the president. In the 1848 election, however, the Whigs nominated General Zachary Taylor, a war hero, and celebrated his victories. Taylor refused to criticize Polk. As a result of the strain of managing the war effort directly and in close detail, Polk's health markedly declined toward the end of his presidency.

Polk's time in the White House took its toll on his health. Full of enthusiasm and vigor when he entered office, Polk left on March 4, 1849, exhausted by his years of public service. He lost weight and had deep lines on his face and dark circles under his eyes. He is believed to have contracted cholera in New Orleans, Louisiana, on a goodwill tour of the South. He died at his new home, Polk Place, in Nashville, Tennessee, at 3:15 pm on June 15, 1849, three months after leaving office. He was buried on the grounds of Polk Place. Polk's last words illustrate his devotion to his wife: "I love you, Sarah. For all eternity, I love you." She lived at Polk Place for over forty years after his death. She died on August 14, 1891. Polk was also survived by his mother, Jane Knox Polk, who died on January 11th, 1852.

Polk had the shortest retirement of all Presidents at 103 days. He was the youngest former president to die in retirement at the age of 53. He and his wife are buried in a tomb on the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee. The tomb was moved to this location in 1893 after his home at Polk Place was demolished.

Source: Wikipedia

This work is released under CC 3.0 by SA - Creative Commons