Saturday musings

IMG_0335IMG_0334Yesterday, my DIL posted photos of some of their family visits to the US National Parks on her Facebook site. My youngest grandson Sean, age 10, wants to visit all the parks (he can buy a patch in each park) and is well on his way. Every summer his family visits another magnificent place.  I visited a number of these parks in years past, and I think Grand Teton is probably my favorite.  What a magnificent piece of real estate.

Jacob, Richard and Sean

Jacob, Richard and Sean

According to Ken Burns series on the national parks, old man Rockefeller had much to do with the acquisition of Grand Teton.  The next time you feel like trashing one of the so-called ‘robber barons’ of the imaginary Gilded Age, remember Rockefeller.

Yes, revisionist historians have determined that no one can identify either beginning or end of the Gilded Age, although my reading for a class on the topic convinced me it begins with the US Civil War and the buildup of the railroads.  It probably ends with TR.  During the Civil War, the railroads took off along with the strong central government and the rest is history.  But that’s enough history for today.


Of course not all extremely wealthy people are benevolent, but neither are all of them trying to influence national, state and local elections.  The Koch brothers and George Soros are on opposite sides, canceling each other and boosting local economies during election cycles.  Which goes to show that extreme wealth is not necessarily correlated with any particular politics.

Back in the 1980s, when I was working for Bell, the VP of my department (Finance) tasked me to determine which political party would rule in Virginia in an upcoming election, and how long would it be before ‘Northern’ Virginia became the tail that wagged the dog.

Later on, I discovered via a research paper at one of my professional meetings that the PACs associated with corporations and companies tended to throw their support behind established politicians, no matter what side.

I haven’t done this type of analysis in years, although I do keep a close eye on Virginia, and a half closed eye on nearby states. Oh heck, what am I saying, most years I watch all the state elections and have done ever since I gave a talk at the National Governors Association back in the 1980s.  I am no sports fan, politics is more entertaining.


 Meanwhile, back at the ranch (my kitchen) I have been baking cupcakes to celebrate David’s birthday.  He will be 85 next Wednesday, and wants yellow cake with coconut frosting.  Cakes are my specialty.

Mount Zion National Park (?)

Mount Zion National Park (?)

9 thoughts on “Saturday musings

  1. Good for your grandson (and his parents). We hope to visit all the NPs too (but we got a later start!). He will need to go to Alaska!

    It was interesting to know (in your comment on my most recent post) that there are bison in your State — and that your gd works on a farm. I guess I thought they were a lot rarer than they are.

    Your iris header shot is beautiful by the way.


  2. I believe that bit of history about Rockefeller donating very valuable land to the Grand Teton National Park is correct. Wouldn’t it be great if Soros and the Koch Brothers would do something as useful to our society with their vast resources?


  3. I wrote a history paper once that declared the Civil War a railroad war. George teases me about this, but I think there’s a certain nugget of truth to that. So how are those gluten free cupcakes coming. 🙂


  4. Grand Teton is also my all time favorite park. We love to stay at the Lake Jackson Lodge, and it is spectacular to wake up to a view of the mountains every morning. My one surreal moment was getting up around 5.00 a.m., sitting out on the veranda and listening to the sound of the wolves howling in the distance. Magical! Lovely photos of your family.


  5. I have always voted in every election, but can’t say I like politics. Can’t imagine myself running for anything — though in 7th grade in public school, somebody nominated me for secretary. I remember giving a campaign speech in the school cafeteria. I lost the election. Boo hoo. End of story.


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