Thursday, November 29, 2007

Runestone in Minnesota

While traveling into Minnesota from North Dakota there was a stop at Ashby for a week. Taking in the local sites, birdwatching and museum visiting, I came across this interesting artifact known as the Victor Setterlund Runestone at the Grant County Museum in Elbow Lake, MN.
The rest of the museum was in fact more interesting but this caught my eye as I always look for strange or unexplained artifacts, a physical piece of material more substantial than most legends.
Enclosed in a glass case with a note of explanation on the side of the case explained the following object of interest.

It is really a beautiful piece of work to look at and one could in some way hope to chat with Mr. Setterlund to fill in some blanks of the story.

Although there are several unexplained runestones that exist and can be visited, and more mentioned to exist while their location is kept somewhat of a secret allegedly to preserve them, this one came with an open explanation.

On a note on the side of the glass case this runestone is enclosed in reads:

The Victor Setterlund Runestone

caused considerable excitement when found in 1949. The runic inscription reads "1776 Four Maidens Set Camp On This Hill". A cast of this stone was sent to Dr. Holand, the Kensington Runestone Authority, who misinterpreted the date as being 1376, the same period as the Kensington Runestone which added to the confusion. Mr. Setterlund, who had little formal education, studied runic characters and by this self study was able to correctly inscribe this prank inscription. It is displayed, not only because of the exitement (sic) it caused at the time, but as evidence that such a runestone could be made by a Grant County farmer.
I appreciate the honesty of the museum and this little chunk of history. Later on in my travels I will visit a much larger runestone that is certainly much more historical and seemingly unexplained.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Strange Rock Art

In central New Mexico in the town of Truth Or Consequences there is a very nice museum by the name of The Geronimo Springs Museum. This museum houses memorabilia of the times of the American West and the Apache Nation. Also on display are even earlier instances of inhabitants of the region, the Mimbres. The Mimbres people created beautiful pottery, more to been seen later.
In one of the cases containing rock art examples I couldn't help but be surprised to see what looks like a delta wing fighter on one section of a rock.

The label indicates that it was found in Sierra County and donated to the museum. It appears to have insignias on the wings and barrels protruding from the front of the plane.

Across the country in small to large museums there are fascinating objects to be seen and stories to read and hear. In many instances one cannot be sure if objects are very much real or potentially fabricated at some time in the past. They are, nevertheless, very interesting and available for all to see.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Inflation Changes These Song Lyrics

As I was listening to a song a while back I wondered how monetary inflation would change the lyrics. Lot's of things such as the moon, birds, women, alcohol, and love remain fairly constant throughout time, but relative monetary values change over time.

How might the following song lyrics or sentiments be different here in 2007?

1. Music, Music, Music - Teresa Brewer, 1950

Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon
All I want is loving you and music, music, music!

Now, would it be called a dollarodeon today? What music would a nickel buy in 2007? Not even a one song download purchase I suspect.

2. Hey Good Lookin' - Hank Williams Sr., 1951

I got a hot rod ford, and a two dollar bill;
And I know a spot right over the hill.
There's soda pop and the dancings free
So if you wanna have fun, come along with me.

A two dollar bill !! It's a good thing that the dancing is free. A 1940's or 1950's hot rod ford is a good thing but anyone up for a two dollar date?
How about changing it to "and two hundred dollar bills"?

3. I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night - Faron Young

Well I've been working hard the whole week and now
I'm a gonna have some wine women and song
I gotta workin' each week but that's alright
I've got five dollars and it's Saturday night

Ok, we are headed from a two dollar date to a five dollar date in just several years. Here in 2007 though, should we just add the word "hundred" after the word "five"?

4. Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan, 1965

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?

Well only a dime for the bums. I didn't do the research to see if a dime would buy a beer in 1965 but I know it won't in 2007. Although I've been called a bum during my lifetime I'd figure it would take at least a five dollar bill to get a real bums attention today. Except I don't know how one throws paper.

5. King Of The Road - Roger Miller, 1965

Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let...fifty cents.
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah, but..two hours of pushin' broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I'm a man of means by no means
King of the road.

Where can you stay for 50 cents today? Nowhere. If it only took two hours to earn 4 bits (50 cents) for a room in 1965 for let's say just one night, how many broom pushin' hours would a room take today?
Room's to Let $50.00?

6. Sister Fatima - Don McLean, 1971

I'm a servant of fate in this garden of truth
A humble recruit of the taffeta booth
Where all things are known but few are revealed
Sins are forgotten and sickness is healed
For five dollars the flower is free

A free flower? It might be a good deal even today & maybe one shouldn't look a free flower as hype.

7. Operator - Jim Croce, 1972

Operator, well let's forget about this call
There's no one there I really wanted to talk to.
Thank you for your time, you've been so much more than kind.
And you can keep the dime

There were are are still nice people on the phones that certainly deserve a dime. The question is were they worth more than a bum was since 1965? It's all a question of perspective. The sentiment is good and it's a very neat song but I doubt the operator saw a penny of that dime.
To the phone company..."You can keep the contract." [Editor note...(YES)!]

8. Midnight Moonlight - Old & In The Way, 1973

If you ever feel lonesome
And You're down in San Antone
Beg, steal, or borrow
Two nickels or a dime to call me on the phone
I'll meet you at Alamo Mission
Where we can say our prayers

Another phone call for only a dime, (which is two nickels for the math impaired). That's how folks made calls then, with a public telephone. Today it may very well be to beg, steal, or borrow a cell phone or get a contract for one.
See number 7.

9. This Ol' Cowboy - Marshall Tucker Band, 1974

I gotta get back to Dallas
And tie up a few loose ends
I'm gonna work a week make a hundred dollars
Aw and hit the road again

Getting closer to home now. No, not Dallas, but now we are talking $100.00 a week! That would buy lot's of earlier song-related dates and many nights at a 4-bit room as well (see earlier entries). Lot's of 10 cent pay phone calls or dimes to bums too!
...Aw and hit the road again [to the next gas station]...

Wouldn't get that late 1940's Hot Rod Ford though.