Nickel (17)


First “white copper” they thought us across the sea
good thing they didn’t bet their tea

In the land of Germania they called us “mischievous sprite”
blinded as they were by our golden tinge of light

but no “Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!”
we’ve not goose stepped one mile

We’re never no “one ring”
you use us to buy bling

Though you may search high and low
in Russia we caused 30 miles of treeless snow

We’ll fly you to your next meal
and help you eat it with stainless steel

We’re the green in your glass
electric guitar strings en masse

Don’t call us wooden or Joe – we’re fickle
for our five cents we prefer nickel

July 1, 2012
Tressa Lee Breen

Research Notes & Tools:

Silvery white lustrous slight golden tinge
Ferromagnetic around room temperature (iron, cobalt, gadolinium)
Classified 1751 by Azel Fredrik Cronstect
In Use 3500 BC
Corrosion resistant
"White Copper" copper/nickel in China
Named after mischievous sprite of German mythology, Nickel, for besetting copper, Kupfernickel or Kupfer - Nickel alloy- cupronickel
Due to cost US remains one fo few that use metal in coins, five cent, save for exterior plating
Stainless steel, magnets, coinage rechargeable batteries, electric guitar strings, microphone capsules, green tint in glass
Willamette meteorite - iron w/ nickel
Russian nickel works/prison in Siberia, Norilsk, no trees grow w/in 30 miles, 1 of 10 most polluted cities in the world
Nickel-iron super alloys used in jet engines

Platinum Platitudes (16)

Platinum Platitudes

Rarer than an honest man attempting to ford a play to curtain’s close

No nickel and copper deal

Resistance, as it turns out, is not futile

Fit for those with monikers like scrivener Stephen

Plays around a million times

Heavier than thirty pieces

Trendier than the karat rule

Holds your preciouses still and safe

Drives ‘til there’s nothing left to inspect

Reluctant to unite doesn’t mean unwilling to bling

May 3, 2012
Tressa Lee Breen

My Notes & Resource Tools:
Name: Spanish, "platinade pinto", "little silver of the Pinto river"
Dense, malleable, gray-white
One of the rarest elements: 0,005mg/kg
Occurs in nickel and copper deposits as well as native
80% world production in South Africa
Resistant to corrosion, wear, tarnish
Catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts, electrodes, thermometers, dentistry equipment, jewelry
King Louis XV: "The only metal fit for a King"
Album, 1 million copies sold-Platinum
Heavier than silver, trendier than gold
1898, Louis Cartier started the platinum with gems trend
Crude oil to gasoline, spark plugs (last for life of car)
Reluctance to combine chemically with other elements

A review of "The History Channel: In Search Of History: Lincoln: The Untold Stories"

The History Channel: In Search Of History: Lincoln: The Untold Stories (1998)

From Amazon-

“When Lincoln died, his former law partner William Herndon talked to over 250 friends for a now forgotten biography. Using his original papers, Douglas Wilson and Rodney Davis published Herndon's Informants 130 years later. Drawing on this rich new source, we paint an intimate portrait of Lincoln drawn from fact not myth.”

My two Lincolns:

Historian interviews, period photos, and the-should’ve-not-been-done “peer interview” reenactments = a very basic overview than an in-depth portrait. Unless it’s free and you’re bored, skip it.

A review of "A. Lincoln: A Commitment To Honor: A Unique Portrait Of Abraham Lincoln In His Own Words” edited by Gordon Leidner

A. Lincoln: A Commitment To Honor: A Unique Portrait Of Abraham Lincoln In His Own Words edited by Gordon Leidner (2000)

From Amazon-

No U.S. president has espoused and embodied virtues such as honesty, faith, determination, and character to the extent Abraham Lincoln did. In addition to his quotations on subjects such as leadership, honesty, faith, kindness, and liberty, ‘A Commitment To Honor’ includes insights from those who knew him best and photographs of Lincoln.

My two Lincolns:

This is basically the same type of book as the previously micro-reviewed “The Wit And Wisdom Of Abraham Lincoln” (edited by Alex Ayres, 1992) with better packaging. The quotes are separated into Topics but unfortunately, there are no “when/where” descriptives immediately following (notes are in the back of the book). There are quotes about Lincoln pertaining to the topic by contemporary peers. Again, like “The Wit And Wisdom…” it’s the lightest shadow of Lincoln’s whisper but in a prettier book.

Favorite quote about Lincoln:

“His great mission was to accomplish two things: first, to save his country from dismemberment and ruin; and second, to free his country form the great crime of slavery. To do one or the other, or both, he must have the earnest sympathy and the powerful cooperation of his loyal fellow-countrymen. Without this primary and essential condition to success his efforts must have been vain and utterly fruitless. Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.” ~ Frederick Douglass

A review of "The Wit And Wisdom Of Abraham Lincoln" edited by Alex Ayres

The Wit And Wisdom Of Abraham Lincoln edited by Alex Ayres (1992)

From Amazon-

"’Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.’ Rather than the dour soul he sometimes appeared to be, Abraham Lincoln enjoyed a fine, often barbed sense of humor as this lively collection of his salty stories, anecdotes, quotes and speech excerpts proves. Also included in this treasury are his famous addresses, a Lincoln time-line, and sections on Lincoln Lore, Gettysburg Gems and Assassination Secrets.”

My two Lincolns:

The wit and wisdom is separated alphabetically and then by topic. Each quote has a short “when/where” descriptive after it to put it into context (no pictures/illustrations). It tries to capture Lincoln’s voice but only emits the lightest shadow of its whisper. Perfect for those who just want to be able to look cool quoting Lincoln or a youngling just getting interested in Ol’ Abe.

A review of "Time: Abraham Lincoln: His Life And Times: An Illustrated History"

Time: Abraham Lincoln: His Life And Times: An Illustrated History (2009)

From Amazon-

“This richly illustrated volume celebrates Abraham Lincoln by exploring the fascinating life and times of the president who saved the Union. Here, in more than 160 little-seen photos and illustrations, is a great nation still young and rapidly transforming. Here is the growth of the frontier and the Indian and Mexican wars; the advent of the telegram and the railroad; the battle over states` rights that erupted into the Civil War. And here in all its passion, complexity and tragedy, is the life story of the wise, visionary President who summoned America`s founding ideals to keep the nation united.”

My two Lincolns:

There are many excellent essays on different aspects of Lincoln but the joy of this book is indeed the illustrations. They cover a huge amount of territory, not just Lincoln & family & contemporaries but places, maps, newspapers, tools, posters, art, etc. “Vivid” is how I would describe this book.

That being said, this is the first book that I’ve read so far that has brought up a rather large issue that Lincoln had to deal with during his Presidency that was not directly Civil War related: the Sioux uprising of 1862. Ultimately, 38 Sioux warriors were hung (the largest mass execution in US history). This was out of an original 300. Lincoln personally reviewed each case and reduced the number even though it could cost him white settler votes in Minnesota (he said he wouldn’t hang innocent men for votes).

There are also excellent “For Further Reading” and “Historical Sites” sections in the back.

(As I’m in the early stages of my Lincoln exploration I do not know how accurate or inaccurate the details of the Uprising story are; a quick Google found numbers at 38/303 and 39/303, no mention of the Lincoln vote quote and another having it has “I could not afford to hang men for votes”. Just an FYI.)

A review of "The Day Lincoln Was Shot"

The Day Lincoln Was Shot (TV Movie, 1998)

From IMDB-

“The Murder. The Manhunt. The Events That Stunned A Nation.

My two Lincolns micro-review:

Directed by John Gray.

Based on book of same name by Jim Bishop (full disclosure: I haven’t read it).

As the war-weary, fatalistic yet hopeful Abraham Lincoln we have Lance Henriksen: a criminally under-rated, woefully under-used by top directors in Hollywood actor. “Terminator”, “Pumpkinhead”, “Aliens”, “The Horror Show”, “Tales From The Crypt”, “Hard Target”, “The Quick & The Dead”, “Powder”, “Millennium”, “Hellraiser:Hellworld”, “Bone Dry”, “Bring Me The Head Of Lance Henriksen”.

As the egocentric, southern patriot, actor, playboy, assassin John Wilkes Booth we have Rob Morrow from “Northern Exposure” and “Numb3ers”. He’s always solid.

As the jealous, caring, somewhat haughty Mary Lincoln we have Donna Murphy who was Picard’s romantic interest in “Star Trek The Next Generation Insurrection” and Mrs. Doc Oc in “Spiderman 2”.

As the stalwart, much loved (at least in this movie) eldest son Robert Lincoln we have Wil Wheaton who was Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek The Next Generation” and is The Bad Astronomer Phil Plait’s mancrush.

Forget the title: approximately the last eleven days of Lincoln’s life then jumps ahead twelve days to the last moments of Booth’s life with a quick follow-up of the other co=conspirators and supposed co-conspirators fates.

Even though constrained by tv movie time limits this does well with characterization.

Murphy’s Mary Lincoln has the emotionalism and fragility associated with the real woman.

Morrow’s Booth hints at the professional family rivalry (father and older brother also actors), sorrow at South’s loss, anger, arrogant confidence of an actor.

Henriksen, halfway to Lincoln with his craggy lined face and blue eyes, has a subtle, quiet toughness about him, ready to forgive the South and get back to being a United States again. He’s the Lincoln everyone sees in their head.

An almost everything-that-could-go-wrong-does-go-wrong chain of events: General Grant not going with the Lincolns to the theatre, an incompetent, drunken, fill-in for the President’s Guard that evening leads to Lincoln’s shooting as well as the attempted assassination of Secretary of State Seward and the almost attempted assassination of VP Johnson.

Watching the long night of Lincoln’s death is very dark. I recognized people, dialogue, Lincoln’s pocket contents from reports of the evening.

Downside: some bad camera work (one scene in particular is distractingly shaky). When having an actor who’s 5’10”-5’11” (depending on which website you’re reading) playing an historical figure known for his 6’4” height it might be best to never shoot him below the knees (not even in long shot). A 5”-6” height change between camera shots is disconcerting.

Over all, the film is slightly oversentimental but pays good attention to historical detail and is successful in portraying the losses of war, friend, husband, father, President and the birth of an icon.

A review of "Abraham Lincoln: A Life" by Thomas Keneally

From Amazon-

The self-made man from a log cabin, the great orator, the Emancipator, the Savior of the Union, the martyr—Lincoln’s story is at the very heart of American history. But who was he, really? In this outstanding biography, award-winning author Thomas Keneally follows Lincoln from his impoverished birth through his education and presidency. From the development of his political philosophy to his troubled family life and his actions during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is an incisive study of a turning point in our history and a revealing portrait of a pivotal figure.

My two Lincolns:

A concise, quick read; perfect for those who are curious but don’t have a lot of reading time to spare (183 pages, no pictures/illustrations).

On a personal note, I have no memory of reading of Lincoln’s “first love” Ann Rutledge until this book (excluding “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” in which I wasn’t sure the tale was a “vampire conceit” so to speak). I look forward to learning more.

Unfortunately, as I am still in the beginning of my Lincoln exploration I cannot advise on how accurate, or inaccurate, this book is.

A review of "The Transient"

The Transient (Movie Short, 2008)

Description from Youtube-

“The Transient is an 80’s action movie about a homeless vigilante and his caseworker, Steve, as they try and stop Vampire Abraham Lincoln from sucking the blood of four score and seven virgins. This short actually came out before the “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” book was released (and long before the 2012 movie!). At the time there weren’t too many connections between Lincoln and vampires so we thought it was a good premise!”

My two Lincolns:

Oh geez. Such a POE (Piece Of Excrement) that it’s actually kind of enjoyable, in an “Amazon Women Of The Avocado Jungle” sort of way. The zombie with a pacifier is cute. Genre staple of young vampiric chicks harem, or as Lincoln refers to them, “My Cabinet”, included. Almost every line Vampire Abe utters is a slightly modified Lincoln quote, which causes the Transient to angrily shout, “You talk funny!” The height difference between Vampire Lincoln and the Transient is great (Lincoln is 6’4”, the Transient is...not) which leads to a hysterical visual during the showdown. All in all: worth a watch if you’re into tongue-in-cheek film POEs.

(The actor who plays Vampire Lincoln is the same actor who played Abraham Lincoln in the Book trailer for “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter”.)

A review of "Being Lincoln: Men With Hats"

Being Lincoln: Men With Hats (Documentary, 2008)

Description from website-

“Delves into a national subculture of Abraham Lincoln impersonators and explores why the over 180 Lincoln presenters in the country do what they do. Meet a legion of Lincolns at the annual Association of Lincoln Presenters conference as they ham it up, discuss costuming challenges, share trade secrets and participate in photo ops galore.”

My two Lincolns:

It’s an interesting watch but really for those more immersed in the phenomenon.

"Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" movie trailer, book trailer, book review

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (Movie trailer, Book trailer, Book)


Movie Trailer #1 (movie opens June 22. 2012)

From IMDb-

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.

My two Lincolns:

The ticking intro succeeded in capturing my heartbeat. The voice (although not Lincoln accurate according to accounts I’ve since read) was also stirring and visuals were dark and fast for the vampires and iconic for Lincoln. “Wanted” is the only other movie I have seen directed by Timur Bekmanbetov which is the best movie equivalent of a roller coaster ride, taken with excellent actors, that I have ever seen. This film, like the former, will hinge primarily on the actors’ ability to sell the premise, and the director’s frenetic eye-candy style, to the audience.

(Since seeing the trailer I’ve read about some changes and character additions to the movie that make me a bit hesitant. I do still intend to actually go to the theatre and see this one – I usually wait for DVD – but not in 3D, which I think is generally unnecessary.)

Secret Life” Movie Featurette


My two Lincolns:

I almost hate to admit it but this made me want to read the book more than the movie trailer. Its budget is more commensurate to that of a book than of a movie of course but it captures the feel and visuals that a title like “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” could inspire in historical, supernatural and positive senses. The Lincoln voice over (although, like the movie trailer, not Lincoln accurate as I have since found out) is passionate, it’s a nice touch that the vampire resembles Booth, and I like the Lincoln actor’s look and mannerisms (I have since found out that he has done work as a Lincoln impersonator for decades).


Abraham Lincoln VampireHunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (2010)

My two Lincolns:

I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did (I mentioned my thoughts on actual historical figures with mythical creatures in “Bitten By the Hat”). It was actually a surprisingly well-done weaving of factual events (from Lincoln’s childhood to his assassination and just a bit beyond...) with supernatural fantasy monsters: I would dub it “historical horror fiction”. No, it’s not “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter I Am” by Dr. Seuss nor is it Robert Green Ingersoll’s essay “Lincoln’s Axe Proclamation On American Vampire Civil Disobedience”; it’s an entertaining story that is worth an evening’s read, by firelight, alone...

(It also inspired me to read up on the actual man and if it does the same for others I would consider it a successful story.)


Bitten By The Hat: Becoming A Lincolnphile

Bitten By The Hat: Becoming A Lincolnphile

Abrahamic Vampirism + OCD = an eternal obsession...ok, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration.

Yes, I was aware of the “classic story/classic monster” literary mixing going on but wasn’t really that interested. I have loved monsters forever (or at least for my bit of eternity, all 45 years of it so far) but I hadn’t read any of the classics being remixed. I thought “Jane Eyre” and vampires would be a nice potion. Sure enough, “Jane Slayre” came out and I read and enjoyed it.

AbrahamLincoln Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith (who started this craze with “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies”) was in a different vein. This was taking an actual once-living being who also happened to be an important US historical figure, and injecting his life, and times, with supernatural creatures.

I don’t know...Lincoln was one of my favorite yesteryear icons when I was very young, vampires have always been my favorite monster, but the mix just didn’t hypnotize me so I didn’t read the book.

Then Facebook sucked me in.  Someone posted a link to the movie, I don’t remember whom, I don’t remember when (probably after sunset), but I clicked on it.

I’ll save my thoughts on the movie trailer, book trailer, and book for a bit later. Suffice it to say that those three things seem to have begun my turn me into a blood-crazed Lincolnphile...I mean reawakened my interest in Lincoln the man...yes (ahem).

This is going to be my chronicle of that obsession, for as long as it lasts, and as many books/movies it absorbs. I’m going to post about each book/movie as I (hopefully) enjoy it, providing a link, an official description of/from the product and my two Lincolns about it.

And if you should happen to get bitten by the hat as well and find yourself perusing online bookstores for Lincoln in the dead of night...make sure your axe is sharp.