Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Native Americans

I recently visited Indian Grinding Rock State Park in Pine Volcano, several miles east of Jackson. The park features a reconstructed (Native American) Miwok village ...
... as well as a ceremonial house:

The park also had some limestone beds that the tribe used as mortars that were then used to grind acorns, hence the name Grinding Rock:

Here's some interesting trivia: the park spells it "Miwok" while the casino owned by the same tribe in nearby Jackson spell it "Miwuk". Another bit of trivia: nearby Jackson is named after Colonel Alden Jackson, no relation to former US President Andrew Jackson.

Speaking of Native Americans and guys named Jackson, I happened to watch The History Channel's episode on Andrew Jackson, who was president during the 1800s. The interesting part of that show was when they discussed Andrew Jackson's relationship with the Native Americans. They're apparently not fans of each other. Jackson forcibly removed them through the Indian Removal Act. The forced migration west came to be known as the Trail of Tears. Many tribes like the Cree and Cherokee view Jackson as a traitor and consider him a war criminal. Many refuse to use the $20 bill and have even considered banning the $20 bill at their casinos because Jackson is on that bill. If you get the chance, try to catch the episode if they air it again on The History Channel.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My Dog Has Fleas

I attended a ukulele workshop by Michelle Kiba in Berkeley recently. There were about ten of us at the workshop and we strummed along as she taught us several songs. I specifically liked the song "Island Style". Since I didn't have time to tune my ukulele because I was late, I tried to tune the ukulele in between songs. I also just tried strumming the chords during the song to see if it sounded in tune. It didn't. So I kept fiddling with the ukulele's strings throughout the workshop. I noticed that the guy in front of me slightly turned his head in my direction every once in a while. He probably knew I was trying to tune my ukulele using the "My dog has fleas" tuning technique one too often. hehe. After several songs of an out-of-tune ukulele close to his ear and with about ten minutes left in the workshop, he finally turned around, handed me his electric ukulele tuner and said, "You wanna tune your ukulele real quick?" hehe

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