Oh #Portugal, I love you SO MUCH

As anyone who knows me well already knows, I am half Portuguese on my father’s side.  His family came from the Azores, and as it turns out we also have converted Portuguese Sephardic Jews on his mother’s side of the family.  Anyway, I have always loved Portuguese cuisine, and as I have gotten older I have come to appreciate Portuguese culture and history a lot more.  Kelly and I originally planned to visit Portugal and France (my mother’s family is French-Canadian) on our honeymoon, but circumstances and finances prevented it.  Perhaps one day we will get to go.  I hope so.

Anyway, recently the Netherlands released a tourism promotional video that poked a lot of fun at our new President.  It’s easier if you see it rather than me try to explain what they did.  But it is hilarious. See the original below.

Continue reading “Oh #Portugal, I love you SO MUCH”

Today is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor

I haven’t done a lot of posts lately, much less history posts.  But today is an important anniversary, and will probably be the last major anniversary for this event in which there are still a number of people alive who remember it.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was one of those events that defined my grandparents’ generation, and virtually everyone could tell you where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.  And of course, President Roosevelt’s speech  to Congress the following day is one of the most famous in American history.

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A terrible anniversary today – the Freedom Summer Murders

Fifty two years ago tonight, three young men were murdered by a group of white Mississippians in the Ku Klux Klan.  Among the men complicit in this crime were members of the Neshoba County Sheriff’s office and the Philadelphia (Mississippi) Police Department.

This was a mere six years before I was born.  Many people of my generation are familiar with this event through the 1988 film Mississippi Burning, although the film doesn’t even cover everything that happened that awful summer.

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Heading into that time of year

when temperatures have me in a near-constant sweat.

Clearly, when it comes to my ability to withstand temperatures, my French-Canadian side is dominant over the Portuguese side.  I do much better in cooler weather than I do in hot weather.  I start sweating when the temperatures go over 70, more or less.  And today it is going to reach the mid-80s.  Sigh.

Considering that this year is already well on its way to being the hottest year on record, I am not looking forward to whatever blistering temperatures we may get this summer.  Not at all.  At least it won’t be constant, like it used to be when I lived in Alabama.  That’s one big advantage of New England.

– Geoff

“Sir Ernie of Fall River”, or how a Portuguese MIT professor helped bring about the Iran deal

There are so few Americans of Portuguese descent that are seen on the national stage, much less the international stage, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz has managed to do both.  He is one of the few people in politics and policy circles that I would totally go all fanboy over if I ever had the chance to meet him.

Why? you might ask.  After all, this guy is probably more famous for his hair in American culture than for anything else about him.

Well, let me tell you a bit about him.

Continue reading ““Sir Ernie of Fall River”, or how a Portuguese MIT professor helped bring about the Iran deal”

A big story of Massachusetts maritime history is coming to the movies

I don’t know what it is, but something about the sea fascinates me, and has for most of my life.  Maybe it’s because the sea has played various roles in my family history – some big and some small.  Maybe it’s because ships captured my imagination as a little boy the way trucks or cars or airplanes do for most young boys.  For years as a kid, my favorite “souvenir” I would get from my trips to the Cape or Martha’s Vineyard was one of those little wooden ships, usually a fishing boat of some kind, that you find in local shops.  And I have been reading books about New England maritime history for years.

So anyway, it turns out that early next year there is a movie coming out based on the Michael Tougias book The Finest Hours

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Charleston, the Confederate flag, and the Civil War

It has taken a while for me to process everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks. And truthfully, I am still processing it.

Never, in my life, would I have predicted that the discussion to get rid of the Confederate flag once and for all would begin in Charleston, South Carolina.

The same place where the Civil War began, all those years ago.

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