Sunday, October 28, 2012

Joe's Street

Hi Kids,
You may notice my picture looks a little different -- that's because I'm NOT Tiger!  I'm his big brother Bubba.  Miss Elaine let me come on this trip to St. Louis because the Cardinals were still in the play-offs when we arrived and I have a Cardinals uniform!  On the street where we stayed, there are stars of the sidewalks honoring famous people from St. Louis.  That's me sitting by Stan Musial's star.  "Stan the Man" is one of the best baseball players who ever lived.  During his career he hit 3630 base hits and 475 home runs.  Three times he was named National League Most Valuable Player.  He helped the Cardinals win three world championships.  He was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.  He is 92 years old now.  In addition to being a great baseball player, he is known as a kind and honorable gentleman.

We stayed on a part of Delmar Street known as the Delmar Loop.  This street was really run-down until a man named Joe Edwards began investing in the area.  First he opened a restaurant he calls Blueberry Hill.  He refurbished several old buildings on the street and built a brand-new hotel which he calls Moonrise. 

Joe has a lot of interests but two of his big ones are music and space.  He loves Chuck Berry who is a rock and roll legend -- Chuck had his 86th birthday while we were here.  This is a statue of Chuck Berry.  In his restaurant, Joe has lots of music memorabilia including one of Chuck's guitars.  Miss Elaine, Mr. Jack and I had dinner at Blueberry Hill and we can tell you that Joe's restaurant makes super-good hamburgers!

Now for Joe's other big interest -- space.  He wants everybody to learn more about it, so he's put signs on the street to help walkers to get an idea about our solar system.  In front of the Moonrise is a sign about the sun -- the center of our solar system.  As you walk west on the sidewalk, you will come to other signs about the planets and their distance from the sun.  Each sign offers more information about the planets.

On display in the hotel are artifacts from Joe's collection of space-related items including a cloth crew patch which was carried to the moon on July 20, 1969 -- when man first stepped onto the moon's surface.  The patch is autographed by all three of the Apollo 11 astronauts -- Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

This is me with a funny space robot in the hotel -- and the other picture is the hotel.  Do you love the moon on the roof?

P.S.  News Flash -- Tiger and I are getting another brother!  Or maybe sister.  We don't know yet.  Mrs. Beasley's second grade at Ida Freeman is adopting and naming him or her.  I'll let you know when I know more. 


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ancient History

Hi Kids,
I've been in Rome, Italy, one of the world's greatest cities.  Our guide said the city was like lasagna -- layers and layers.  There's been a city on this site for almost 3000 years!  Of course, it started small -- probably just a collection of little huts -- but it grew into the greatest and most important city in the world around the time of Jesus.  In those years, Rome ruled most of the known world.  (This was long before North and South America and Australia were discovered!)

The building in these two pictures is the Pantheon.  The original structure was built between 25 and 27 A.D.  (Ask Miss Kysar what A.D. and B.C. mean!) but the building we see today was built between 118 and 125 A.D.  It was originally a temple to all the gods the Romans worshiped but later became a Christian church and now is a memorial to the kings of Italy.  There are no windows -- only a hole in the dome called an oculus (from Latin, the language the Romans spoke, meaning "eye."  The Pantheon is the oldest complete building in Rome -- but not the oldest structure.  There are ruins that are older.  What's cool is the old buildings are right next to newer ones.

The most famous old building -- and it's sort of a ruin -- is the Colosseum.    It was completed in 79 A.D. The beautiful marble stone that used to cover the building was ripped off centuries ago and used to build other buildings.  And war and earthquakes knocked some of it down.

The Colosseum was the early equivalent of a football stadium -- only they didn't play football.  They had public executions there and fights between gladiators and they also put prisoners there and turned wild animals loose on them.  It was pretty awful.  The Colosseum was so big that they could flood it and stage naval battles inside. 

This is me inside the Colosseum.  The floor is gone so all those walls you can see in the middle were under the florr where they kept the prisoners and the animals.  I'm glad they don't do that any more.

Italians don't speak Latin anymore -- they speak Italian.  Italian, French and Spanish all developed from Latin and they are called Romance languages -- not because they're in love but because they came from the Romans.  I'll bet you can speak some Italian, too!  Don't believe me?  How about saying "pizza," "spaghetti," or "macaroni?"  Those are all Italian words.  And here's another one I know - "ciao" (pronounced "chow"), that means "Good-bye"