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Taking Stock in your Hammock

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Hey, Hammock Enthusiasts!

If you’re attracted to the soft, swaying world suspended inside a cozy hammock, then you’ll be delighted to learn the origin of this awesome invention. Today, we’re doing a deep dive into the history of the hammock. While long outlived by crude beds, hammocks have still been around for a number of centuries, reaching slightly over a thousand years back. So, there’s a good amount of history to lay out…

Archeologists seem positive that hammocks saw their beginning in Central America, likely from the advanced Mayan civilization in the Yucatan Peninsula in modern-day Mexico which looks out on the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Caribbean Sea.The Mayans must have been living the good life, with hammocks set up looking out on the Caribbean Sea!

In its earliest days, the hammock was typically woven and fashioned out of tree bark. The tree with the best suited bark was referred to as the Hamack Tree in the Taino language—spoken by the indigenous people of the Yucatan Peninsula. They called these hanging beds ‘hamacas’.

While the Mayan’s may have invented hammocks, they weren’t the only ones to enjoy them. It’s surprising to discover that—even back in those days—trade routes among native tribes were so far-reaching as Central America to Brazil. Hammocks quickly became, not just a popular trading item, but THE thing to sleep on.

A suspended bed made good practical sense too. It prevented contact with the dirty ground and offered protection from snakes, rodents, and other dangerous or annoying animals. In those days, you wouldn’t dream of not owning a hammock. What else would you sleep on?!

Their popularity only increased and the name was solidified across the world when a certain Italian explorer Chris Columbus overheard this hanging bed referred to as a ‘hamaca’. He brought it back to show the Old World and kept the name (though it’s been modified over time).

Nowadays, we typically sleep through the night on our beds. Even so, hammocks haven’t gone away. You’ll see them randomly set up between two trees in a yard or even in the bedroom of a really cool kid.

Hammocks are magical. So, if your yard is blessed with one—go appreciate it! If not, go make friends with someone who owns one or get one for yourself! And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

More About Martin

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Hey, Freedom Lovers!

Not in line with the philosophy of Napoleon Bonaparte, I certainly think that freedom is for everybody. Martin Luther King Jr. believed it too and had to confront a country that had taken freedom away from its own citizens. We all know how he worked through nonviolence to combat racist and segregating laws. Learn a few more facts about Martin Luther King Jr. in celebration of his birthday!

MICHAEL Luther King?!Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with us today!

Yeah, not a lot of people know that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t named after his father’s original name. King Senior was born Michael King and changed his name after the death of his father-in-law (a pastor) to a historical religious leader from Germany named Martin Luther and followed in the ministry for his career. He then passed his new name to his firstborn son: Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin in the Middle

Born after his older sister and followed by his younger brother, Martin Luther King Jr. was the middle child in his family. Unlike either of his siblings, however, Martin’s birthday is the only one to be celebrated as a national holiday—in fact, he’s the only other American whose birthday is a national holiday aside from our founding father, George Washington.

Bad Boy Junior

Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested 30 times in his day. You have to understand, kids—he wasn’t arrested for being a criminal. He was arrested for nonviolently fighting against the laws of segregation that were racist and unreasonable. The words of St. Augustine put it best: “An unjust law is no law at all.”

A renowned speaker and an incredible influence to raise awareness to the injustice of the world we were living in just a little over 55 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. helped us so we can all appreciate our birthright of equality. Enjoy your birthright today and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Make the Most with French Toast!

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Hey, French Toast Fanatics!

You don’t have to be French in order to love this genius invention of sweet breakfast options. This eggy bread is celebrated across the country today as it’s National French Toast Day! Whip up some batter and heat up the fry pan! I’m sure you all know how delicious and exciting French Toast is, but here are some things you may not have known about this soppy, sweet creation.  

Has this Bread Gone Bad?French Toast is a fantastic sweet dish for breakfast, brunch, even lunch or dinner!

Yes. In France, this bread is known as ‘pain perdu’ which translates to ‘lost bread’. Traditionally made from stale bread, French Toast was originally made as a means of making stale bread palatable so it didn’t go to waste. Soaking it in a milky, eggy batter, frying it up, and serving it drenched in syrup with assorted berries and nuts has always done the trick!

Not French?

Yes, like so many things, the title does not necessarily indicate the origin. French toast was actually around for even longer than France was a country. We’re not sure exactly where French Toast was first made, but we do know that before the recipe we know as French Toast was called Spanish Toast as well as German Toast before it got its French name.

Old Toast!

It’s true that no one knows exactly who invented French Toast or just quite where it came from, but mention of this recipe has been traced back all the way to the 4th Century,  more than 1700 years ago in ancient Roman records!

Pour syrup over it. Douse it in powdered sugar. Melt butter on top. Sprinkle berries and walnut pieces over it. However you best like to eat your French Toast, do it up right on a day that’s made just for the celebration of this awesome bread-saving dish! Happy French Toast Day to everyone and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John  

A Day for Giving Thanks....and FEASTING!

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Hey, all you Gratified Feasters!

Thanksgiving is here again—a fantastic day we all enjoy in the modern day. Filled with televised parades, traditional football games, and a dinner that’s so good, people fast all day to make sure they have enough room when they finally sit down to eat! But these traditions have been nearly 400 years in the making! Things were quite different back then. Check out some of the things that came before the first Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy today's holiday and enjoy the feast that you'll have in front of you this afternoon!

East! No—West!

Pilgrims first traveled east when they were leaving their home for religious freedom. Many traveled to Sweden in the first decade of the 17th Century. By the 1620’s, however, they were looking elsewhere to settle and decided on traversing the huge Atlantic Ocean.

Good Eats

It’s no wonder that the Pilgrims feasted when they finally succeeded in yielding crops from the land as the Natives had taught them! After all, it had been a long trip to the New World with not much variety in their diet. They mostly ate a hard biscuit called hardtack, salt pork, dried meats (such as cow tongue), pickled food, and oatmeal. That’s about it.

Pop? Corn?

Contrary to common belief, the Natives never did introduce the Pilgrims to popcorn. The Natives were responsible for showing the newcomers how to yield crops of corn, but not the popcorn variety. Not to mention, it wasn’t even known as corn when the Pilgrims first arrived. The word ‘corn’ refers to a particular region’s highest yielding crop. In England, ‘corn’ refers to barley. It took a while before we dubbed this cobbed vegetable corn.

Enjoy the foods you’ve come to know and love when you sit down to the spread at your Thanksgiving table and ring in the holiday season like they have for hundreds of years! Happy Thanksgiving to all of our camp families out there and, as always, I am thankful for my readers!


- John

Just Joking…

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Hey, Jokers!

All joking aside, today is National Tell a Joke Day. It’s a day for laughter, levity, and wit. Unfortunately, I already took my serious pills this morning, so this post isn’t likely to make you laugh much. Instead, we’ll be taking a good, hard, and serious look at the origins of The Joke.

How did the first joke go? Who told it? And was it a good one? Well, I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I’ll share with you as much as I’ve learned…

The Knock-Knock
The Knock-Knock Joke is thought to have its origins around the year 1900 in which a journalist of the ‘Oakland Tribune’ wrote of a jokester in the streets who was approaching random strangers and asking if they knew Arthur. And when they expectantly replied, “Arthur who?” he would call out “Arthur-mometer!” and then run away laughing.

The humorous spirit of this street jokester caught on and over the years his antics developed the Knock-Knock format that we all know today. By 1935, everybody had heard of Knock-Knock Jokes. Strangers engaged one another in the street with a “Knock-Knock.” Knock-Knock Contests were held by businesses. You couldn’t even turn on the radio without hearing a Knock-Knock gag.

Poultry X-ingWhy do you think the chicken crossed the road?
More than 50 years earlier than Knock-Knock Jokes, a question was posed concerning the reason for a flightless fowl to cross a thoroughfare. This was first asked in an 1847 issue of a New York magazine called ‘The Knickerbocker’. It read:

Question: ‘Why does a chicken cross the street?’ Answer: ‘Because it wants to get on the other side!’

This was the first popular example of a non-joke in which the punchline isn’t clever or funny in any way—the humor lies in subverting the expected, knee-slapping reason that the listener is waiting for. The joke is that there is no joke. Love it or hate it, it’s led to a million alternative and ridiculous answers as to why exactly a chicken might cross a road.

Timeless Toilet Humor
But jokes go back even further than that. In fact, jokes are so old that there likely aren’t any new ones really—just twists on age-old observations. Did you know that toilet humor has been traced back to our ancient ancestors because—let’s face it—farting is funny no matter what generation you’re from.

An unearthed Sumerian tablet that dates back nearly 4500 years yields the oldest recorded joke ever. When translated, it reads:

“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s embrace.”

The joke being that women are so discrete about passing gas that they won’t do it in front of their husbands. A modern retelling of this joke might look more like this: Question: ‘What’s something that’s never happened in all of history?’ Answer: ‘A wife farting while she hugs her husband.’

…Funny stuff…

Okay, well, nobody said the ancients were hilarious. Our humor has evolved as time goes on and things that we found funny years ago may not be so entertaining in this day and age. But the essence of what makes us laugh will always remain. Have some good laughs today and share some of your favorite jokes with your friends and family. Happy Joke Day, All! And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John