I originally intended to post a RAVE review of Ken Burns' new mini-series "The Roosevelts" which is airing for two hours every night this week on your local PBS channel. He is the genius who brought us "The Civil War", "Jazz", and "Baseball" to name a few of his previous series for PBS.
But then I also wanted to talk about my own identity search...
So first, The Roosevelts.
I watched the first episode last night. As you may have guessed, I'm a history buff, always have been and always will be. Most of my fiction is historical (or is that hysterical? - Naaaaahhhh, don't digress.)
ANYWAY, "The Roosevelts" lives up to the hype. I've seen many of the reviews claiming it's Burns' best one yet. I concur. It is an excellent series, well researched and presented in an unvarnished manner - i.e. showing these three people as they really were, warts and all.
The series follows Teddy Roosevelt, his niece Eleanor Roosevelt, and her distant cousin whom she eventually married, Franklin Roosevelt. Their individual stories are the stuff of legends, but taken altogether, they become an amazing American saga of an incredible family.
Of course Teddy Roosevelt died decades before I was born. Franklin Roosevelt died several years before I was born. But I had the privilege to come to know Eleanor Roosevelt from afar. She died when I was thirteen. I was so taken with her work for the poor and the disenfranchised she inspired me into my adult life. Also, she was an amazing woman who faced great adversity and used it as impetus to make her stronger.
This is a common trait among all three of these people. They each knew tragedy and sadness enough to break them. But it never did. Instead they became stronger, reaching goals many would have said were impossible for them to meet.
I may be prejudiced, but I think FDR was our greatest 20th century American president. I hate to think how the country would have survived the Great Depression, much less World War II without his leadership. That this man who could not walk worked a schedule that would have killed a lesser being and ran the country through its greatest economic disaster to date, and served as commander-in-chief until the last four months of WWII was a miracle in itself.
These three people were larger than life, sometimes with hubris that large as well. They were fascinating and are realistically seen in Burns' new work.
Watch it...you won't be sorry. We need inspiration in our current world situation. You just might find it in these three remarkable people.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (Sorry, Monty Python.)
I've had a bug in my ear for several months. I've been wanting to get my ancestral DNA researched. Like most of us, I only know my heritage back for three or four generations. Admittedly, I am a mutt (a mixture of several nationalities) - but that's the norm for Americans these days.
Besides as an amateur historian, I know there's a strong possibility that some of my ancient forebears went to some interesting places - I am Italian and those Romans got around...
I've been teasing my dad that we might have Mongol blood. I told a friend I might even be related to Genghis Khan (or maybe Khan Noonian Singh)...so she asked me what would I call myself, Genghivita? (among others) I chose Genghalia...
Anyhow, I ordered the kit and yesterday did the deed.
First you have to spit into a tube...now that may sound easy, but it took me five times to get enough spit into that little tube...you have to fill it to a black wavy line. I hate to think what anybody would have said to walk in on me spitting into the tube, checking the level, and swearing before I spat again. (oooooohhhh, I get to use spat - good word!) The only witnesses were my Shi Tzus who after an initial head cocking went back to sleep, supremely disinterested in the whole process. Honestly they're that way about most events unless food is involved.
When you have reached the desired level of spittal, you unscrew the funnel from the tube and screw on a new tube to the existing one. Once they are screwed together tightly enough, the new tube releases a liquid into the tube with your DNA. You have to shake it five times (I do believe in spooks - I do believe in spooks - I do believe in spooks...) Then you place the whole connected tube into a plastic bag provided in the kit, seal it shut with it's own adhesive band, put it in the postage paid, preaddressed box and drop it in the mail. Then you get to sit and wait for the results.
So now it's out of my hands...I will sit and wait to receive the email telling me my countries or origin...while I yearn for something exotic, it will probably come out English, Italian, German, with just a hint of Native American...which means my ancestors fought each other a LOT.
Oh well, at least I'll know. But if it turns out I'm part Norwegian, I flatly refuse to eat ludafisk...tried it once and put it on the same level as poi (sorry Hawaii)...I'm Italian enough not to eat either of those concoctions again...
I'll let you know the reveal ...
Take care and enjoy our rich and varied Pop Culture - made so by the many nationalities who came to our wonderful country and blended together.