Marilyn Christian Gearing

February 14, 2008

A personal note: My cousin, Marilyn Christian Smith Gearing, died last night after fighting lymphoma. She was about 74.

Marilyn was the daughter of my father’s sister, Marion. Her father, Roland Christian, was a minister in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, who traveled a lot. We saw him and my father’s sister about once a year, when they’d pass through our town. Other than that, we had little contact with my father’s family, and my cousins. (Isn’t that a great name for a preacher, by the way?)

So when I got to know Marilyn when I was an adult (and she about 20 years older than I), she was a constant bundle of surprises. We knew she was a nurse. Found out she was dean of nursing at Loma Linda University. Learned in one visit that she was a pilot once, the better to carry out public health missions for the State of Virginia.

Marilyn retired, and traveled. Taking up where her father left off, she’d drop in on my parents, unexpectedly, every year or so. In my father’s last two years, he was greatly pleased when she and her husband would drop in to sing at his bedside.

No, I didn’t take my own advice and debrief her fully on her life. Our history sources are leaving us. Call one of yours, today: Thank them for their contributions, and write down what you learn.

Some of Marilyn’s exploits were picked up in Loma Linda Nursing in 2003 — it’s in .pdf form, starting on page 16, with the cover photo.

Her husband, Walt, said there is a memorial service scheduled for February 16, 3:00 pm. at the University Church Chapel at 11125 Campus Street in Loma Linda, California.


America by Air, the promise of on-line history education

February 14, 2008

Looking for something else I found the Smithsonian Institution’s on-line history of air passenger travel in the U.S., America by Air.

I can easily see a time when a student with a computer terminal gets an assignment to look at some of the activities available at a site like America by Air, with on-line quizzes as the student progresses through the exhibits.

banner from Smithsonian exhibit, America by Air

How far away are we? Two questions: Does your school provide an internet-linked computer for each student? Do you have the software or technical support to give an on-line assignment and track results?

Teaching stays stuck in the 19th century, learning opportunities fly through the 21st.

Kia: Millard Fillmore down the drain

February 14, 2008

Millard Fillmore sent Commodore Matthew C. Perry to open trade with Japan, but his overtures and imprecations to trade proved less attractive to nearby Korea in 2008.

Kia Motors Co. appears to have sacked two executives responsible for the use of Millard Fillmore and Millard Fillmore soap-on-a-rope in the current Kia advertising campaign.

The 13th U.S. president was central to Kia’s upcoming “Unheard of President’s Day Sale,” honoring, in tongue-in-cheek fashion, the first commander in chief to have running water in the White House. The punchline of new TV ads promoting the sale is a soap-on-a-rope bust of President Fillmore; the automaker handed out the same soaps to reporters at its media dinner last week during the Chicago Auto Show.

New chairman not amused
But Byung Mo Ahn was not amused. The South Korea-born executive, who returned to Kia’s Irvine, Calif., headquarters nine days ago in the newly created position of chairman and group CEO of Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (the automotive plant currently under construction in West Point, Ga.), doesn’t like the current brand of humor in Kia’s ads, according to executives close to the matter. One of those executives said Mr. Ahn prefers to show the cars and trucks as serious contenders with good quality.

The offending ad:

Personally, I thought the offense of repeating the historical error about Fillmore and White House bathtubs was excusable for the courage to use Fillmore to advertise anything. You have to tip your back scrubbing brush to a company who thinks Americans have enough smarts to recognize historical humor, and who is brave enough to act on it.

(I wouldn’t exactly kill for one, but it sure would be nice to have one of those Millard Fillmore Soap-on-a-Rope thingies, for the Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub National Archives, of course. With my teacher’s salary, I ain’t paying the big bucks on eBay for one, either.  I’m sure the Smithsonian Institution, and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society would love to have examples, too.)

Tip of the old scrub brush to Questioning Reality.

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