Gaslight mystery in old New York City: Murder On Astor Place

I read a review of the latest addition to the Gaslight series (a mystery in old New York City). It was a favorable review but I have no idea where I saw it. The series involves several murder investigations in old New York City. Yes back in the 1890s when Teddy Roosevelt was a New York City Police Commissioner.

I like some historical fiction and a good mystery so I thought I would give it a try but Murder in Murray Hill which was the new one was 16th in the Gaslight series. So it seemed to me that it was better to start at the beginning.

I did a bit of looking around and learned Continue reading

Stupid liquor law and schools

Because I live in Pennsylvania, I sometimes write about some of the state laws here. More often than not, it turns out that I think the state law is wrong. And more often than not, I also think those laws are also stupid.

Today’s rant is about a stupid law and an additional stupid law that just adds additional stupidity onto the consequences of the first. But let me explain before you are overwhelmed with the word stupid. In case you are interested, here are my comments on Pennyslvania. And not all are about stupid laws. Continue reading

Outlander or Sassenach: book and Starz TV series

In 1945 Inverness the Scots Gaelic word Sassenach is defined as Englishman or Outlander at worst. I suspect in the Scotland of the early 1700s, a Scot who knew both English and Scots might have considered that Englishman was the worst of those 2 possible meanings.

I mention those 2 periods as the action in Outlander Continue reading

Hangman by Stephan Talty

Last year I reviewed a first novel by established non-fiction writer Stephan Talty. I liked it very much and thought it was a great introduction to a new series about Detective Absalom Kearney.

The second book in the series came out a few months ago and just read it. I thought Hangman by Stephan Talty was a great followup and if anything I found it even more compelling than the first.

The book starts with what seems a very unlikely escape of a serial murderer known as the Hangman. He had recently terrified the residents of Buffalo, NY with a series of murders of teenage girls (involving hanging). The manhunt begins and soon after the murders and the terror begins again.

Homicide Detective Absalom (Abbie) Kearney, who Continue reading

Washington’s Crossing and north along the Delaware

Last spring my wife and I had a pleasant day riding north along the Delaware River. I meant to write then but didn’t get around to it and figure I should do so now before the memories get even fuzzier. The trip was partly based on a trip in National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways: The 300 Best Drives in the U.S., a book we have often used to find scenic drives.

The drive in the book starts in Trenton, NJ but we thought Continue reading

Frances Greer marries Horace Johnston in 1892 NYC

I’ve been looking for additional children of Matthew Greer and Ruth Allingham of Glencar, Leitrim and Sligo Town. Yesterday I stumbled across a marriage record on familysearch.org while looking for information on Matthew Greer’s son of the same name.

Frances Greer married Horace Johnston on 24 Dec 1892 in New York City, NY. The parents of both were listed and hers may be those listed above.

I guess I am about 95% sure I have the right family but I need more. Thought I would mention it now in case anyone out the is looking at the same record or thinks they are related. Hope to hear from you soon!

American Civil Liberties Union and Stand

I’ve been a member for the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU for quite a while now. I’m not sure exactly how long but I’d guess it is somewhere around 20 or 25 years. I joined because I thought it important to support the ACLU’s fight to defend our rights and liberties.

The ACLU sends members a series of letter and newsletters at intervals which I find educational and informative. But this year they improved on that by launching a new glossy magazine called “Stand”.

The cover story in current issue of “Stand” is an interview with Edward Snowden and the ACLU Executive Director. A related story is by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner(R-Wi) on the PATRIOT Act. Then there are several other articles related to various issues in which the ACLU is involved.

I find “Stand” interesting and attractive and a great benefit of membership.

Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York by Ted Steinberg

The full title is Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York by Ted Steinberg. It is the subtitle that tells what this book is about.

I had written about this book while I was reading it and thought I would review it when finshed.

It is a bit unusual. It is a different perspective on history Continue reading

Hobby Lobby: Missing the forest for the trees

The recent Supreme Court decision on in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties seeking an exemption from the contraception mandate of in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a step in the wrong direction. I think although the justices applied the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to reach a narrow conclusion, it was wrong and that wrongness will cause greater harm than the narrow ruling suggests. Continue reading

Emma Cash McKenzie

I’m trying to find out more about Emma Cash who we think was born in Allegheny, PA about 1867. I believe that is now part of Pittsburgh. Her mother was Ellen Gow (probably from Ireland) and her father was Charles Cash (probably from Germany). She and Ellen Cash are listed in the Federal census for 1860 and 1870 in Westmoreland Co PA.

Emma Cash later married Malcolm McKenzie or Mackenzie, probably in the 1880s. We think they may have married and had their first child in the Boston, MA area and later moved to the Greater New York City area (New Jersey and New York).

A Natural History of Greater New York

I am reading a wonderful book right now. Since I am still reading, it would not be fair to write a review at this point. So this is more of a Progress Report. Or maybe a note about What I am Reading Now.

A great Introduction got my interest in the opening paragraph where the author takes us on a nature adventure to a “veritable Garden of Eden” Continue reading

The Nature Conservancy and Nature Conservancy

A rather odd title but I wanted to mention The Nature Conservancy (website – nature.org). I’ve been a member for many years now and I’ve been glad to contribute a little to their work in preserving nature’s wild places. What made me think about it Continue reading