Showing posts from 2012

I Got the Music in Me

My grandfather was the Music Director for Miami radio station WIOD from 1929 until 1952. He attended Yale's music conservatory and claimed to have graduated in 1924 although Yale seems to have forgotten about all but his first two years. He was a concert pianist, composer and crooner and evidently relatively famous as newspapers from his hometown of New Haven to Miami carried the locations of his daily whereabouts from where he played, to what he ate for dinner. Earle Barr Hanson was a Star. I met Earle about 3 years ago through Google's digital newspaper archives. It's a shame that they've cancelled the project because I still have so many questions. What happened to Earl's manuscripts? Did he publish? Did he record? According to the Miami Daily News, his career began with an Italian orchestra which somehow translated into spaghetti cravings, yet the photo from this article would lead me to believe that he'd still not mastered the fork. Maybe he was really h


Today wasn't one of my better days; it wasn't one of my worst either, but as is the tradition in the Hanson-Hunnicutt household I thought we'd play a little round of internet high-low. "High-low" refers to an end-of-day round robin with whomever happens to be at the dinner table. The object is to recount the best part of your day: your "high," and the lowest part of your day: your "low." Walt adds another dimension in that he asks himself who he was at his best and who he was at his worst and then strives to do better the next day. Walt has better Karma. It's 5:28pm CST as I write this and so my day isn't over but I'm not reading anymore email tonight, I have a nice cold glass of white wine within reach and there's a new episode of Gray's Anatomy on at 8pm, so the evening's likely to end on a high note. Both of my high-lows came from something I read on the internet today. Silly, I know, but I spend quite a bit o


"It's such an insult, thay dunt bauthr." David was born in north central England, but over the course of the past ten years working in Australia, his accent has morphed. He and Walt are stacking wood on the lower deck most likely chipping away at the presidential candidates, tomorrow's election and the electoral process as a whole as they work. I can usually count on David to have an opinion: an opinion about Formula One racing, about the best hot sauce on the market, and about world affairs. He's fairly knowledgeable about current events and passionate about his position. I try to listen but often find the hairs on my arms tingle as I fight the urge to balance the equation with an alternate point of view, the success of which is doomed to failure. And so I shut up (which I might add is not the same thing as being silent). The general election is tomorrow, but we voted early today and were delighted to find an hour and a half of our fellow constituents in line

Old Dogs -- New Tricks

My current contract requires that I edit a technical manual using Adobe's flagship desktop publication application, InDesign. I'm a fairly good technical writer and over the years have become proficient in several text editors. InDesign is not a text editor. In the last three hours, I've watched two how-to videos on, read three chapters in "Adobe InDesign CS6 Digital Classroom" and written one paragraph. The paragraph's content is artfully written but the format stinks because the previous author used 10,206 layers for each object in the document and so I'm having a mental margarita at 11:26 am, letting my thoughts flow effortlessly into the simple text editor provided by Google's Blogger application. Hurrah for simplicity. I graduated from high school in 1971. Although Benjamin Franklin's kite and key experiment in 1752 set the stage for electrically-powered devices to become rampant across the planet, electric typewriters hadn'


Dia de los Muertos (Barrie/Howard) This morning I launched Facebook to find that my cousin Lee had posted a photo of a "Dia de los Muertos ofrenda" honoring our deceased relatives. I thought it a beautiful tribute and wondered if he had gone all out with the drums and 3-day costume-laden party that typically accompanies the celebration. Since the shrine was in his dining room, I rather doubt it. Although we don't have Hispanic roots that I've been able to locate, I wondered if the Celt's day-of-the-dead celebration paralleled "Dia do los Muertos," All Saints Eve and our current version of Halloween. I found a jackpot written by Jack Santino which can be found through the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center ( The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows -- Jack Santino (1982) "Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who w

Tall Ships

HMS Bounty Saturday afternoon, the nation watched as the east coast prepared for hurricane Sandy's impending arrival by stocking up on bottled water, flashlight batteries and gas for their generators. Saturday afternoon, the captain of HMS Bounty and his crew were already battling 40 knot winds and 18 foot seas in an attempt to sail her offshore and out of harm's way. William G. T. Shedd is often quoted as saying "A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." While inspirational, it's not entirely true. In good weather, harbors are relative safe zones for ships. When facing a storm, the best bet is to either have her hauled out and put in dry dock inland of the storm until the threat of danger has passed (not very practical or cost effective), or take her out to sea. August 7, 2002, my friend Kirk Scott and I were ferrying a Beneteau 38' sailboat across the Gulf of Mexico when the weather turned. Kirk is a professional sea captain;

Calling all Artisans

About four years ago, I asked my brother Don to take the Y-DNA (Y-33) genetic matching test. At the time, I thought the mysteries of the universe would unfold and I'd meet a distant cousin who could introduce me to Ellen. The fact is that I found Ellen by sifting through census records, but that has a weak story line and I really want you all to continue reading my blog, so let's just say that rather than mysteries unfolding, mysteries were confirmed. The Y-33 DNA test matched genetic markers with other members who'd been tested. I didn't consider at the time that, as an early adopter, I would end up with a relatively small pool of cousin data. The test did tell me that our fraternal line (Dad's) was part of Haplogroup R1B, a group called "The Artisans" who first arrived in Europe from west Asia about 35,000 - 40,100 years ago at the dawn of the Aurignacian culture. Considering that I'm only tracing ancestors back to the 16t


Last night, as we were sharing our "so what did you do today" round robin over dinner, Walt mentioned that they'd been discussing personality profiles at the office and how understanding someone's profile helped to understand the person. I like data, so I dug through my old work files and found my results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Dimensions of Behavior Personal Profile System (DiSC) assessments as a comparison. Before I continue, let me say that between 1994 and 2004 I was profiled not once, but at least five times: the MBTI three times, the DiSC twice, the Keirsey Temperment Sorter II once and two other tools that profiled me in a rainbow of colors and flavors. Seriously. As a matter of fact, the rainbow assessment was required by my manager at JPMorgan Chase for everyone in the team. Upon completion of the assessment, we were to post the results outside of our cube so that upon entering, visitors would be reminded of our communicatio

Cousin Charlemagne

I'll never forget the thrill of discovering my great-grandparents' names. Three generations of the Hanson family: names, birth dates, marriage dates, children and when they died. But discovering a new ancestor is much like only eating half of the Hershey bar. Simply not possible to stop after the first bite, and so began a (now) twelve-year-long habit. Three years ago, shortly after we moved from Cincinnati to NW Arkansas, I stopped by the local Family History Center and fell in love with the volumes of books and the quiet hum of the microfilm readers and before too long was asked if I'd like to volunteer. I will say that the only thing I like better than researching my own ancestors is helping someone discover theirs.  Not everyone that visits a Family History Center is Mormon. In fact, most visitors are not. Having said that, church members are strongly encouraged to research their ancestors and so oddly enough, I assumed that I'd bumped into a whole community

Sins of the Fathers

I spent the better part of this past week digging through boxes of old photographs of my father and his family, then categorizing them by date and location before arranging them neatly in a scrapbook. My husband jokes that my obsession with genealogy stems from fact that dead people don't mind being alphabetized, and tend to stay where you put them. I will admit that it's easier for me to understand someone when I can lay their life  out in sequence like a decision tree. Why didn't he go to Yale? Did he have a good relationship with his brothers? Did his half-brothers ever meet one another? Did he think that his parents were proud of him? Were his parents proud of him? At fifty-eight and a half, I can ask myself these same questions. Although I claim to have graduated from high school in Dallas with the classmates I'd known since the third grade, the truth is that I graduated from Los Altos High School with kids I'd only known for six months. The second semest