Monday, October 27, 2014


"I appreciate all I have.  And I say Thank You!"

If you happen to be alone and lonely this coming Thanksgiving then perhaps it's time to pitch in at your local homeless shelter or other charity that is serving dinner to senior citizens or others who can't cook for themselves or who can't even afford the groceries.

If you happen to be spending Thanksgiving day with friends of family, manage to show your appreciation for the hostess, the cook, and everyone who has gathered there - even if some of them always manage to get on your nerves.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


 pages 137, 139-142 

"The temperature was 112 degrees on May 15, 1905, when Senator William Clark came to establish the new town site for his railroad depot.  He had  bulldozed forty acres clear of desert scrub, laid out the main streets in a grid, and announced an auction to sell numbered lots on a map.  The bidders were speculators from Los Angeles and agents for eastern investors.  Some bidders brought their own tents.  Others stayed in a tent hotel named Hotel Las Vegas.  The auction platform was erected roughly where the Plaza hotel-casino stands today in the old downtown.

The investors were bidding on twelve hundred parcels.  Each lot was 25 feet wide and 140 feet deep....  These lines on paper represented a future town with streets, stores, saloons, housing, churches, schools, electricity, plumbing, and a septic system.  In the spirit of Gilded Age speculation and the town's gambling future, Senator Clark's auction drew the speculators into a f4renzy of bidding for numbered squares on a map at grossly inflated prices...

Senator Clark had a name for being a dishonest businessman.  His unsavory reputation derived from documented accounts that he had bribed Montana state legislators to appoint him senator; the profusion of legal suits brought by former business partners who accused him, with good evidence, of cheating them out of profits; and his marriage to a teenager forty years his junior who had been a ward in his home.  Senator Clark was from Butte, Montana, and had made his first fortune in copper smelters.

Mark Twain, who first came to Nevada in 1861, when his brother was appointed secretary to the governor of Nevada Territory, later wrote about Senator Clark and judged him to be considerably worse than the average Gilded Age robber baron: "He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag; he is a shame to the American nation, and no one has helped send him to the Senate who did not know that his proper place was the penitentiary."  Although Clark County, which includes most of southern Nevada, is named for the dodgy senator, there is no statue of this Las Vegas founding father anywhere to be seen..."

UNREAL CITY is C 2014 by Judith Nies and published by Nation Books (National Institute and Perseus Books Group

Missy here!  I do wonder if Anna's relationship with W.A. was what made W.A. Clark's life really worthwhile and if in it he experienced love, acceptance, and escape from business.  I suspect so.  In this author's case the comment about "marrying a teenager" certainly obscures the possibilities.

Saturday, October 18, 2014



(page 47) 

"W.A.'s eyes fell on Anna, who was fifteen or sixteen.  After she was well into her twenties she would become his second wife and the mother of two daughters, Andree and Huguette.

There are competing stories of how W. A met Anna.  The family version, the official version, has W. A. spotting her of the Fourth of July in a community pageant in which she played a chaste statue of Liberty.  Anna loved to sing and play music, but she was shy and reserved in public.  The teenager stood a shapely five feet four with cascading brown hair, a prominent round chin, and an inviting gap toothed smile.  W. A recognized her talents immediately.

The unofficial version, printed in Anti- Clark newspapers casts Anna as the forward one...  According to this story, Anna called on a banker in Butte, asking him to sponsor her acting career.  That man declined but suggested that she contact another banker who might receive her more generously, W.A. Clark.

The family also put forward another story about Anna, one describing her as the daughter of an honored physician who had died before the wealthy W.A. Clark became her guardian and she his ward, as though she were an orphan and in need of his legal and financial protection.  The facts were quite different, however. Anna's father wasn't quite a doctor, and he was very much alive.

Anna Eugenia LaChapelle was born in the Michigan copper mining town of Red Jacket, now known as Calument, on March 10, 1878.  Her parents were immigrants from Montreal, in French-speaking Quebec, who had arrived in the United States six years earlier as part of a great French Canadian wave of immigration.  The family later moved to Butte, settling in one of the rougher neighborhoods on the Butte hill, right below the smoke-belching smelters...  Anna was the oldest of three children... "

The LaChapelles rented out rooms to miners."


Monday, October 13, 2014


"I shall be true to myself"

What does it mean to be true to yourself?  I think it's about self knowledge and acceptance and being genuine. Let's take Anna LaChapelle Clark as an example. Of course she had tremendous financial resources, but most women in her financial position felt obligated, even aspired to, be very social.  Such women spend most of their time reinforcing their position in society by make calls on other women of their stature. Dressing the part and making these calls took up much of their days. It seems Anna was just not into that lifestyle so she didn't bother. 

There is a peace in not having to be "on" all the time, of not being an actress, or not always trying to sell yourself or something. Anna preferred a more private life and to associate with those she chose, even if they were not as wealthy as she and W.C. Clark. 

Anna also chose to be with a man over 40 years older than she and, though they offered little explanation or apology for it, in a controversial relationship.  She and W.C. chose to keep the relationship and not go out of their way to defend it or explain it other than making a public statement about it when he aspired to political office. It doesn't seem to have held his career back any.

Being true to yourself requires that you also let others be true to themselves and understand it when there are just some things someone else is not interested in or won't do.  You don't spend a lot of energy trying to change them.