Saturday, April 30, 2011


Mystery Theme for Today:  Should be more famous in California.

Who could I be?  That's the mystery!  Go ahead and take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy 400!

I passed this display in WalMart the other day and the 400th Anniversary sign caught my eye.  Actually it was the display of books that first caught my attention (being an avid reader), but a did a double take when I saw the 400th Anniversary sign.

When I was a kid, just about every church used this version, then there was an explosion in translations.  My favorite modern English version is the Holman Christian version.  I find it the most readable and accurate for me.  You can see the Holman version HERE.  Does anyone out there still read from the King James Version of the Bible?  I do sometimes, but not so much.  Any favorite Bible passages out there?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Battle of Manila

Going through the garage, I came across a group of seven tiny photographs.  They appear to have been taken after the Battle of Manila in World War II.  I wish I knew where they came from or why they were in my garage.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Montgomery Ward Building, Chicago, Illinois, 1906

The Montgomery Ward & Co. Building, Chicago – One of the Largest Commercial Buildings in the World

Postmarked Chicago, Illinois, September 4, 1906, 1:30 PM

Miss Jessie Burrows
1143 University Ave.

Tho I'm no Celestial,
I know what I'd like
To assist in enjoying the view–
A ride in the Tower
And a stroll down the Pike
And a plate of Chop Suey with you


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I really wasn't intending for a mid-week Animal-of-Mystery contest, but now you have me all curious as to just what this creature might be.  My grandfather was born in Neboville, Tennessee, and had both of his parents die within about a week of each other.  He didn't want to be bossed around by his four sisters, so he took off and made his own way in the world.  I know he worked a bunch of odd jobs until making his way to California, but I don't know what they all were.  I seem to recall him saying he worked as a forest ranger in Oklahoma in the fire towers, but this doesn't appear much like Oklahoma.  Perhaps he ended up transferring somewhere with hills.

Monday, April 25, 2011

G'Day Mate

Today is cleaning day.  Things would be going a lot faster if I weren't coming across so much great stuff that I enjoy thumbing through.  Today I'm featuring a photo of my grandpa, Jim Corley, holding what appears to be a kangaroo.  I had never seen this photo before today, so you all are some of the first to see this one.  Where he is and what he's doing with it, I haven't the foggiest idea.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Good morning and happy Easter to all my readers!  Of course this is the day that we remember Jesus rising from the dead.  It still amazes me that he would care so much for us that he would come from Heaven, taking on the likeness of a man, and then humbling himself, was obedient even to the point of a terrible death on the cross, all so that there could exist forgiveness for sin.


+ + + + +

For those of you who are logging in to find out who yesterday's Person-of-Mystery was, it was the Swedish explorer, Sven Hedin.  The last week has been pretty filled with travel and exploration for me.  As a younger man, I read Hedin's book, My Life as an Explorer.  It was novels like this that put a taste for adventure (and history) in me.  I defy someone to read books like Hedin's and not wish to similarly explore the world.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Who could I be?  That's the mystery!  Go ahead and take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Back from the Eastern Sierras

Okay, I'm back.  Our family took a quick trip to the Eastern Sierras here in California.  What a fun trip!  You'll hear more about it soon, but here's a little preview...

(The boys at Convict Lake)

Anonymous was correct, the snapshot from the last post was taken out our window along 395.

By the way, Person-of-Mystery contest should commence as usual tomorrow at 8 am Pacific Time.  I'll be on an all day hike, but I'd like to wish you best of luck ahead of time!  I'll look forward to seeing who won when I get back.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On the Road

Hello all.  Just a quick post to let you know, I'm on the road at the moment.  Look for new posts come Thursday.  Anyone want to guess where I was when I took this snapshot out our window?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Seven Falls, South Cheyenne Canyon, 1906

Seven Falls, South Cheyenne Canon.

Postmarked Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 12, 1906, 7:30 PM

Miss Jessie Burrows
1153 Univ. Ave.

Colo Spgs 9-12-06-
Climbed these steps Monday. Beautiful sight..
Arthur & Irene.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

George Tweed

Okay, it seems no one was able to deduce yesterday's Person-of-Mystery.  Roger started thinking along the right path, namely that where I'm living is not where I came from.  I was born on the island of Guam in the Pacific and we moved here to San Luis Obispo when I was in elementary school.

So, if you had known I was from Guam, it would have been easier to figure out that this is George Tweed, the American naval radioman who was stationed on the island when the Japanese invaded during World War II.  Instead of surrendering, Tweed took to the hills figuring that the Americans would come and retake the island within weeks.  Instead he survived years on the run (as the Japanese were daily looking for him), aided by local Guamanians who sometimes suffered torture and death to conceal his locations.  Five other Americans also hid, but were later found and beheaded by the Japanese.

There was a book written about his time on the island, Robinson Cursoe, USN, and also a 1962 movie titled, "No Man is an Island."  The movie is pretty good, but the studio used Filipino actors instead of Guamanians, so they can be heard speaking Tagalog instead of Chamorro, but it's still a pretty good movie.

Curiously enough, when the Americans retook the island in 1944, several Japanese took to the hills and hid for years, the last one being captured in 1972 when I was there.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Who could I be?  That's the mystery!  Go ahead and take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.

I have to admit, I'm getting a little weary of Roger's (aka RTD) winning streak.  Last week, I was foolish in posting a photo of someone from his neck of the woods.  Today, I'm upping my game a notch, by posting someone famous in my hometown.  Of course, the rest of you are welcome to help me out and foil RTD's goal of Person-of-Mystery domination.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Escape from Auschwitz

You all know I like history.  Today I read a story about Kazimierz Piechowski, one of 144 people to escape from the Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War II.

You can read his story HERE.  I saw it in the UK paper, The Guardian, earlier this week.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Public School Building, Alva, Oklahoma, 1908

This is a repost of my April Fools' Day post with an uncorrected scan of the original post card for the sake of historical correctness.

Public School Building, Alva, Okla.

Postmarked Wichita, Kansas, May 7, 1908, 10 AM

Mr. C.E. Burrows
1153 Univ. Ave.

Dear Daddy:
I am just starting to write a letter to mama, & I thot I'd send you a card.  Are you going to come down and drive thru with me?  How do you feel now, papa, better I hope.  It won't be long now until I'll be home, we are getting almost thru downs(?) here.  I was at Alva yesterday; Well, bye bye.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Camp-o-ree Photos

This week started quick for me, but I figured I'd post a few photos from this last weekend's Boy Scout Camp-o-ree.  Here you go:

(Morning flags, we're on the far left)

(Blindfold Tent Pitch)

(Tons of great fossils in the hills, don't worry we left no trace)

(Tomahawk Throw)

(Constructing a catapult)

(one of the Scouts hamming it up, yes, that's a car horn)

(Lunch with the guys)

(Older Scouts hanging out in their palatial tent)

(Fun with fire.  Actually, it's just a creative camera angle)

(Moon over the oaks above the campfire)

(Evening campfire)

(Performing a skit)

(Order of the Arrow ceremony)

(Who knows what's going on in the older patrol tent)

(Night hike)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Welcome News

Okay, I have to start with the most welcome news.  My brother, Lee, just had his second child today, a boy named Keaton Maas!  6 pounds, 13 ounces.  I'm very happy to be an uncle to five kids now!

(Keaton Maas, born today!)

I noticed that RTD has won once again!  Good work, Roger!  I'll have to up my game for next week.  He was correct in guessing that this week's Person-of-Mystery was none other than Potato Creek Johnny, who found a 7.75 ounce gold nugget near Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1929.  The nugget was famous, but Johnny was rather iconic figure in Deadwood until the 1940s.  He was a bit of a local story teller and a colorful character in his own right and very popular with the kids since he was only four feet three inches tall!  Prospector in his own right.

So, I also got back from Camp-o-ree.  Our Scouts did great.  They won ribbons in the tomahawk throwing and blindfold tent pitch contests.  Everyone had a grand time, but it was like I suspected, no phone service.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  Tomorrow, I'm off to survey a local cemetery with some of my history students.  I'll have to let you know how it goes when I return.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Theme for today:  Colorful Character

Who could I be?  That's the mystery!  Go ahead and take a guess and then go enjoy your day.  Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal the answer.  The first correct post will be declared the winner.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, today I'm in the hills with my Scouts at Camp-o-ree!  I switched phone companies and don't know if I'll have cell service, so go ahead and guess, but I may not be able to log in until tomorrow afternoon.  Happy sleuthing!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Colorful Character of Old SLO

I've been noticing that other people have been posting photos the old times in their hometowns, so I figured I'd do the same with my favorite photo from Old San Luis Obispo (SLO).

This is a photo of the H & H Bar at 862 Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo taken in the early 1900s.  I love the photo for the man in the middle, John Baptista Romo, one of Old SLO Town's more colorful characters.  He was a cowboy on the Hearst Ranch, but liked to dress this way, even when not working. The pistol he sports was used for shooting squirrels on the ranch.  When he was older, he took to wearing medals and decorative items on his chest just for the attention.  Seems like when I was a kid, there were still a few of these colorful holdouts to be found, but not very many any more.  Where did they all go?

The H & H vanished when Prohibition came along, and Romo died in 1963.  Any of you have any memories of Old Coots from your childhood?

(John Romo's Obituary)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

In the Age of the Classic Businessman

Hope you all are well.  As for myself, I've come down with a bad cold, so I slept most of yesterday and today I'm recovering.  Which gave me time to rifle through some of my Uncle Jim's photos and scan a few.  Here is a business picnic with my grandfather in attendance.  There's no information on the photo and nothing to date it, but I would assume based on his age that this is from the late 1950s or early 1960s.  Formal attire for the park!  My, what a different age!  My grandfather, Jim Corley, Sr., is standing sixth from the left.

I'm trying to get enough rest to be able to lead a Boy Scout outing this weekend.  I'll try and pre-post the Person-of-Mystery for Saturday before I depart, but I'm unsure if I'll have mobile reception in the hills, so don't expect replies to your guesses until Sunday. 

Monday, April 04, 2011

Thanks for Visiting

Nearly lost in all the craziness was one last tidbit of information.  Nate's Nonsense has been steadily gaining visitors, but last month was the biggest month on record with over 10,000 page views!

Just wanted to thank you all for stopping by.  I've really enjoyed the ride so far and a particular thanks to my regular posters who seem to me like old friends.

And a special shout out to my international visitors, particularly those whose native tongue is not English (and also to those whose native tongue is English, a language I still manage to regularly butcher).

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Recent Happenings

I'm getting a little behind on my what I want to post about, so I figured I'd just do a general post about some things on my mind.  For starters, I want to congratulate Roger on another fine win.  Not only did Roger correctly identify yesterday's Person-of-Mystery, brining his total wins to five, but he also was the first to notice my little April Fool's Day prank.

If you didn't notice, for my April 1 post, I photoshopped one of my great-grandmother's old post cards and added an Inverted Jenny postage stamp.  This is one of the rarest and most valuable mistakes in postage history, so I thought it would be fun.  Unfortunately, the stamp didn't come out until 1918, so I had to change the postmark as well to make it plausible.  Roger was too sharp and noticed it right off.  I enjoy April Fool's Day though, as it is also a way for me to play gentle jokes on my students.  Fifteen minutes before the end of the period, "Okay class, pop quiz, please number your paper from 1 to 50...  *groan* *moan* mutters the class APRIL FOOLS!"  Oh what fun!

I was clearly not as clever as yesterday's Person-of-Mystery (my Photoshop experience being the reason for my choice), the famous Dutch forger, Han van Meegeren.  Van Meegeren was a painter who, had a reputation in the art community for wonderful execution, but who was also criticized for his lack of originality.  Van Meegeren disliked modern art and was rather put off by critical comments dismissive of his talent, so his plan was to perfect a system for replicating 17th century works, pass off a forgery as one of the great masters and then have his revenge by revealing it was a fake.

(The Supper at Emmaus by van Meegeren)

About five years before World World War II, he pulled it off.  He created a new work that he called, The Supper at Emmaus, and passed it off as a Vermeer.  It sold for about $6 million in today's money.  Seeing how much could be made, van Meegeren's plans changed and he produced at least six additional fakes, earning him about $60 million in today's currency.

(Christ and the Adulteress by van Meegeren)

One of these fake Vermeer's, Christ and the Adulteress, wound up in the private collection of Nazi Reichmarschall Hermann Göring.  After the war, van Meegeren was charged with selling the "national treasure" of Holland, his fake Johannes Vermeer painting to the enemy, and therefore faced lengthy jail time (or worse).  Van Meegeren's dilemma was that if he admitted that Göring's work was his own (thereby sparing his life), he would thereby reveal that his other paintings now accepted as the work of great artists were fraudulent.

(Van Meegeren's Trial)

After several days in jail, van Meegeren declared that the work was his own, but he was disbelieved, so to prove himself guilty of the lesser crime of forgery, he painted a final fake in jail, the ironically named, Jesus Among the Doctors.  Proving himself guilty, and having become a folk hero for swindling the Nazis, he received the minimum sentence of one year.  It was revealed to Göring, right before his death, that his prized Vermeer was in fact a van Meegeren.  Upon the revelation, a contemporary wrote of the Nazi leader that, "he looked as if for the first time he had discovered there was evil in the world."

(Van Meegeren attempting to prove himself guilty)

Mary is right in her comment, there are supposedly several good books on van Meegeren, but I admit I have yet to read any of these.  If you have a favorite, I'd love your personal recommendation.

Now on to a more personal note, here is a wrap-up of my wild weekend.  On Friday night, I drove down to Santa Barbara to visit an old friend of mine who was staying at a hotel.  What he didn't tell me was that The Bacara is a luxury resort, so I felt a little awkward pulling my Toyota Corolla up in a crowd of limos and other fancy cars.  After dinner, my buddy was taking care of his kids and was just wandering the hotel when some people spilled out of a banquet room.  One of them came up to me and started engaging me in conversation, "What do you do?" and the like.  I told him I was a school teacher and he was amused.  He told me he was a screen writer and was currently working for Universal Studios.  I think he must have initially thought I was there for their event.  Before I could excuse myself, more of his friends came over and joined us and he revealed to them that I was a history teacher.  Pretty soon they started talking about history subjects and the like and engaging me in more conversation.  After a few minutes, the first guy called to this fellow walking by, "James, I want you to meet my new friend Nate."  He looked familiar, so I said, "I'm sorry, you look familiar to me, do I know you?"  He said, "I'm James Franco."  I said, I'm sorry, I don't think I recognize that name.  The small crowd around me started laughing and he revealed that he was an actor and started listing for me some of his movies.  None of his movies I recognized as having seen (however, since that time, I googled him and he was in The Great Raid and Flyboys), two movies I did see, so I wasn't way off.

(James Franco)

I stayed in Santa Barbara until late and then drove home, because the next morning, one of my Boy Scouts was doing his Eagle Project, planting a number of trees on one of the hiking trails around our city.  That went well, but I was pretty tired.

(Jonathan during the contest)

Later on Saturday, my wife found out about a craft fair at a local hotel and we went to there.  Our oldest boy and our youngest boy took part in pie eating contests. They both did well and both placed second.  Then we came home and I assembled a dresser that had been delivered by UPS.

(Daniel at one of our local landmarks, Bubblegum Alley)

I don't know if I've told you all, but I'm also mentoring one of my former students who is now enrolled in a National Guard Youth School, the Grizzly Academy.  So after church, I took Daniel for an off base trip into town and we had lunch and saw the sights.  I had to get home quick though because our youngest son Jonathan was having a bunch of friends over for a birthday party.  Now, I'm off to work on finishing preparations for school tomorrow.  It really does seem that I still need a weekend to recover from this one.