On May 22, 1906, the city of Fairbanks  — in the District of Alaska since it was not yet a Territory — appeared doomed. A massive fire was threatening to burn down the entire city and all that stood between the roaring flames and extinction were the fire hoses. But there were too many fire mains opened and the pressure was dropping critically low. When word was sent to the power station for more pressure but the man operating the boilers had no more wood. Had that man not been Volney Richmond, Fairbanks manager of the Northern Commercial Company, the city of Fairbanks would have been, quite literally, wiped off the face of the earth. Resourcefully, Richmond ordered the larder of the Northern Commercial Company opened and 2,000 pounds of bacon removed. Slab by slab the bacon was tossed into the city’s boilers and the pressure of the fire hoses went up. Fairbanks was saved and the Northern Commercial Company was in the odd position of saving its own bacon by consuming it. www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi

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From June 6th to 9th, 1912, the most spectacular eruption in recorded history and the Twentieth Century’s largest measured volcanic eruption occurred in Katmai, Alaska.  For over 60 hours the volcano sent 3.5 cubic miles of ash into the atmosphere, 30 times the volume of the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption. Then the volcano imploded. That is, it collapsed into itself. The volcano is still active and the smoke which still emanates has made the area the “Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.” Today the area is better known for its bears which wait in Katmai River for migrating salmon – but beneath the land there are 14 active volcanoes making Katmai one of the world’s most active volcanic areas. www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi

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Just a pile of rubble, eh? It’s the aftermath of the LARGEST terrorist attack in American history. TWO MEGATONS.  The blast in New York harbor was so great it was felt in Philadelphia. And it happened 104 years ago, on July 30, 1916. This is what is left of Black Tom Island, named either for an early African-American resident or because the island’s profile vaguely resembled a black cat with an arched back, was a small mound of earth jutting out of New York Harbor, a stone’s throw from Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  The perpetrating groups were identified and their prosecution was the longest and most expensive trial in American history up to 1917, and is known as the Annie Larson Affair. And talk about truth being stranger than fiction, the bomb was set off by a fake cigar and there were three perpetrating groups were India’s Ghadar Party, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the German Foreign office.

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Not a lot of social distancing here but, then again, this was 1890. Historically, the easiest thing to say is ‘we’ were different ‘then’ and now we have to ‘make up’ for the ‘mistakes of the past.’ No, that is a fool’s errand. The point of pictures like this is to remember there has been slow but steady improvement over the years but the journey is not over. Life, history and social progress is not like a baseball game where you go from First Base to Second to Third to Home Plate. Life, history and social progress is the process of a glance back over our shoulders and saying, ‘Hey! We sure didn’t know what we were doing then!’ as we march forward to a better tomorrow.  www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi

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History is not the story of the past; it is the study of the future. None of these children in 1950 EVER expected to be wearing masks like these a generation later!www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi

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Yeah, I know. “Photoshop.”  Actually, no. It is a double-exposure from 100 years ago. During the Spanish Flu influenza, 1918 to 1920.  That pandemic came in three waves. One in the Spring of 1918, a second wave in the Fall of 1918 and a third a year later. It killed about 650,000 Americans.  Three waves of a pandemic. Humm, where have I heard that before? History is not the story of the past; it is the study of the future. We get pandemics just about every 50 years.  50 years ago?  I’m glad you asked. It was the Hong Kong Flu, 1968, and it killed 100,000 Americans.  And with each pandemic the rules are the same: social distancing, testing, vaccine – and face masks. www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi

 

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This is not Photoshop; it’s a real home. It’s also a metaphor for the turmoil of today’s political, ethnic, legal, (fake, real, made up and conspiratorial) journalistic climate. When all is said and done, this era may appear to be ‘upside down,’ but, like this house, ‘we are still the same country and the same people.’ All ‘problems’ in America get resolved, usually with great sacrifice by a few for the many. Whine and complain all you want; we are the only country where you don’t have to be born to privilege to become rich.  Want proof?  Immigrants choose to come here instead of Mexico or Albania or Russia. Upside down or not, we are still the best possible place on earth for those not of privilege to ‘make it big.’ www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi

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The great power of art is to transcend its components. Anyone can splash paint on canvas or collect loose pieces of wire. But it is what the artist DOES with the paint and wire that changes the world.  Art is also a metaphor for life.  In these troubled times we are all loose wires. The components of the next age are available for us to reshape America. It is now up to the legal, political, elected artists to pull the disparate strands of our dissatisfaction into a cohesive actuality for the next year, decade, score and century. www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi

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It’s easy to say how BAD things are right now: COVID19, race riots, high unemployment, an unpopular president, overseas wars that never end.  This is just the cycle of history in America. Every 50 years, almost to the year, we have the same problems.  Don’t believe me?  50 years ago was 1968. We were in the middle of the Vietnam War, there were race riots in many major cities, unemployment was high, two of the leading political lights of the era were shot dead (Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy) and we had a very unpopular president. Then and now, “we have never been more divided.” What solved the problem of the era: a technological boom. Today we call it the ‘Rise of the Computer.’  History is not the story of the past; it is the study of the future. The historical lesson?  America does not have racial problems. America does not have labor problems. America does not have social problems. America has economic problems. There is not enough money ‘running around’ in the middle and working classes.  Until everyone is paid a live-able wage and every company and every corporation pays its fair share of taxes we will continue to have the same problems we have now, had 50 years ago, had 100 years ago, had 150 years ago. Don’t believe me?  Read your history. www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi

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