On the Great Turtle: Mackinac Island 2021

While I have a couple of hours respite and sister spends the day and afternoon with Mom, I thought I’d quickly throw together—ladies and gentlemen, I do mean in reckless haste—many of our best images with a sampling of cell-phone videos I managed during our Family Getaway this past June to Mackinac Island, Michigan. A teaser, if you will.

As you read on, please play this musical accompaniment to better set-the-ambiance of this magnificent island stuck in a most charming bygone time…

Why did I wait six-months to share these pictures and videos? It wasn’t intentional, I assure you. There are some days and nights on Mackinac which in my amateur production expertise (which is none) deserve a brief backstory and context. Along with my perfectionistic cinematic ideas, I have wanted to make this feature presentation as delightful, humorous, eye-popping, and as memorable, for Mom especially, as was possible and even accompanied by Victorian-Edwardian time-period music in the background. It deserves in my mind nothing less. Furthermore, since my high school days I have dreamt onto my Bucket List a trip to the Grand Hotel ever since one of my favorite 1980 romantic films, Somewhere In Time was released. I am and always have been a huge sucker for time-travel stories!

Obviously, six-months later this dramatic award-winning aspiration has proven more problematic for me than I first thought. I imagined I’d have significantly more free-time upon our return to create this Oscar- and Emmy-nominated short motion picture. It hasn’t happened. Grrrrrr, Murphy’s Law-firm: 6, Dwain: fat donut-hole. 😒

Without further ado, here is a quick Teaser of what I hope will arrive here sooner rather than much later…

Day 1 — on the grand veranda at The Grand Hotel after finally checking-in about 3:00am in the morning due to my brain-fart at the Detroit Metropolitan International Airport. More on that in the final production.

Day 3a — exploring the island after relocating to our second accommodations at Harbor View Inn. Our two nights at the Grand Hotel when all said and done ran a measly $1,799.82. Harbor View Inn was a welcomed relief on the pocket-book, hah!

Day 3b — horse-carriage ride into town to Main Street to grab a visitors map, then Astor St. for lunch at the Yankee Rebel Tavern. I had a remarkably good Summer Orchard Salad with Bell’s Amber Ale on draft, a combination I couldn’t get enough of over our stay, followed by a walk on Market St.’s shops and parlors.

Click on image for expansive 2-page map

More themed music for your reading, listening enjoyment…

Day 5 — the family splits up! What? Say it isn’t so Nellie! I want to visit the military fort and museum, Fort Mackinac, and for some unfathomable reason, the ladies had no desire whatsoever to steeply climb the walkway up to the harbor-side gate, watch a celebratory 6-pounder cannon fire over the town, and witness a 19th-century soldier reenactment firing his M1873 .45-70 Springfield rifle. Seriously? What could possibly be more fun than hearing a barrage of Springfield rifles firing in unison? Here is what they did, pffft…

Here’s what I did, furthering my vast historical, military, and cultural knowledge of northern Michigan and the old U.S. frontier:

Please excuse my labored breathing in these two videos

I promised a few of you birding, butterfly, and insect enthusiasts a video of Mackinac Island’s Butterfly House & Insect World and I am delivering! Now, granted I am not a professional videographer, not even with my own Motorola moto e5 Go. In fact, I was sternly criticized by a dear female friend for two production-and-editing screwups: 1) what’s my malfunction with recording horses-asses all the time, and 2)hold the damn phone sideways Steven Spielberg wannabe!” Case and point:

I will have to stop here. I know, I know… many of you are crushed by this. My sincere apologies, but I have run out of free-time. Sister has returned with Mom and she must dart off to her mandatory house-meeting before the Xmas weekend and holidays officially start tomorrow. Until next time when I finagle a bit of solo time, I will endeavor to work hard on the entire final, award-winning feature with full Victorian-Edwardian music accompaniment. It should be something Mom will cherish—at least that’s my hope.

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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The A-C of Steampunk

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Tesla's 1893 Worlds Fair

1893 World’s Fair Chicago

The time was spring 1893 and the civilized western world was eagerly awaiting the start of the Chicago World’s Fair.  For months everyone had heard of a new technology that could light up entire cities without a drop of kerosene, the flicker of flame, or choking smoke.  No, it was not Thomas Edison’s light-bulbs, but Nikola Tesla’s waves of alternating currents that would illuminate the Fair’s entire neo-classical city, as if to bring back the great minds of Greece into the Victorian-era of technology.  President Grover Cleveland pushed a button and thousands of incandescent lamps lit-up the fairgrounds like little full moons.  The world would never be the same again.  Imagine yourself in that place, at that time, and all you had known at night was the bleak shimmering glow of yellow-orange hue around you.  Now you see everything under bright white beams that evaporate darkness.

What that night must have felt like — hearing all the on-looking gasps — I can only dream and sigh.

The Victorian-era was a thriving age of science, history, literature, exquisite fashion and art.  And although it had its inhumanity in such things as child labor and women’s suffrage, to name two, it is the origins of remarkable discoveries in medical vaccines, anatomy, chemistry, and physics (including the first ceramic toilet) that soon made the world a little easier to bear.  Today’s Steampunk is a tribute to those virtues.

The slide show below is for your modern-historical enlightenment of a few Neo-Victorian contraptions you might find at Steampunk shoppes or conventions.

Due to caption limitations of the slide viewer, I will expand a bit more here on some of the images.  The Time Travel Marker is worn like a wrist watch and tracks your present locale in the time-space continuum.  The Storytelling Machine is quite fascinating.  You choose a marble, roll it down a shoot, and when it hits the bottom a story plays out the gramophone.  It is also capable of detecting trolls.  The Zoopraxiscope is an early version of blending a sewing machine, lantern, and images to produce the first prototype film projector.  The Gravity Reduction Instrument reduces an object’s gravity field rendering it weightless.  Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron sculpture stands 50-ft high and 120-ft wide, and transports you into any timeframe your heart desires.  The Edison Bi-polar Electric Fan will convert your present neurological condition into its reciprocal by 3-minutes of inhalation…or perspiration!  And the Steampunk Smartphone is the ancestor to the iPhones and Smartphones of today.

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I hope this brief post conveys to you the allure of Steampunk.  I am in love with it because of my passion for history, ingenuity, science, and the brilliance of an applied mind for the greater social good.  I’m an addict for its zaniness; oh what I would give to go back for a day!  Every year the fashion of Steampunk blows my mind – the women’s side is pure romance – a hypnotic side for me I did not delve into this time to my heart’s disappointment.  Ah, but I will soon!

Think where we might be (or not be) today had the telegraph, telephone, or AC electricity not been discovered, utilized, and perfected.  You wouldn’t be reading this now.  Think what we might not be listening to or dancing to had the gramophone or record player not been dabbled with and perfected.  Modern America and Europe owe much of their better, healthier, educated lifestyles to the genius of Victorian doctors and scientists.  Imagine if Bohr, Newton, Tesla, Einstein or Edison had not asked why over and over, or dreamt what could be and not asked why not.  Imagine that we still lived in an age where we are told what to think rather than taught how to think.  Steampunk is an artistic expression of that unrestraint with homage to its ancestors.

Imagination is everything.  It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

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Living Steampunk

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If you have about $1.6 million lying around and a hankering for the classically quirky innovation of the Victorian era,  then this New York City apartment situated in Chelsea is your chrono-plasmatic cup of tea.  The flat is 1,800+ square feet of zany Steampunk delight.  The large kitchen rests under a LED glowing Zeppelin, a hidden bathroom behind cogs and pulleys, a bedroom underneath a silk greenhouse-frame, and a spacious 500 square foot terrace surrounded by green bamboo.  The front door is an oxidized submarine hatch with a locking porthole from the inside as if it came right off Captain Nemo’s Nautilus.  Feast your eyes on a literal living museum of a wondrous age gone by.

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