History of Jack-O-Lanterns

pumpkin-carvingThis post was originally written and published at The Creative Cubby.

Carving pumpkins is a big deal in my house.  Every year, I start looking for or designing the perfect carving template in July.  I invite friends over and feed them dinner for the occasion.  I have even started collecting real tools to build a Carving Tool Box in place of buying a carving set every year.  I take my pumpkin carving very seriously.

As I have gotten older, my pumpkin carving has veered away from the traditional jack-o-lantern.  I tend to carve pop culture or Halloween-themed pumpkins – ridiculously intricate designs that take me most of the night to complete.  (My friends are very patient angels.)

But I couldn’t help but start to wonder why.  Why do we take a simple gourd and feel the urge to carve up its surface?  Why do we stick our hands into its gooey center and pull out its guts?  Disregarding the obvious reason… {to roast the pumpkin seeds – yum!}  Why?  Where did this tradition come from?

pumpkin-guts

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You Look Fat

Even little John Quincy Adams was an unfiltered punk at some time in his life. 
Below is an excerpt from “First Family” by Joseph Ellis, telling of a letter exchange between John and Abigail Adams. During a time of separation, Abigail was pregnant but back then, pregnancies were not openly talked about, especially not shared with the children. The result? Harsh child honesty. 

Tales from the Theatre :: There’s What in the Hatcheck?

During my college years, I worked at a popular Broadway-touring theatre. Working over 60 shows and thousands of hours, I naturally collected a few colorful stories that I documented on an old blog. I recently uncovered this blog and am sharing the stories in all their glory here. Like all college students, I was a bit snarkier and self-righteous in those days so be prepared for a different flavor of Jen. Enjoy!

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Image Source: Kivo.co.uk

Claim Check #459: Baby
February 19, 2009

Last night I acted as House Manager for a symphony show and was presented with a truly unique situation. Read More »

Tales from the Theatre :: Taking a Deuce?

During my college years, I worked at a popular Broadway-touring theatre. Working over 60 shows and thousands of hours, I naturally collected a few colorful stories that I documented on an old blog. I recently uncovered this blog and am sharing the stories in all their glory here. Like all college students, I was a bit snarkier and self-righteous in those days so be prepared for a different flavor of Jen. Enjoy!

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Image Source

Discussing #2 with David Sedaris
October 23, 2008

Yes, it’s midnight. And yes, I’m blogging. And yes, I’m doing it from work… at Gammage.

Tonight, the infamous David Sedaris was scheduled to read pieces of his work on the Gammage stage. In true “star-status” style, he came bursting into the Stagedoor “office” (really more of a closet) less than 20 minutes before show time and I was surprised when he didn’t just trot down the stairs to backstage like 90% of the actors who come here.

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Tales From the Theatre :: The Rent Head and the Camera

During my college years, I worked at a popular Broadway-touring theatre. Working over 60 shows and thousands of hours, I naturally collected a few colorful stories that I documented on an old blog. I recently uncovered this blog and am sharing the stories in all their glory here. Like all college students, I was a bit snarkier and self-righteous in those days so be prepared for a different flavor of Jen. Enjoy!

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Image Source: StageDoorDish.com

“No cameras or recording devices!”
March 23, 2009

When going to the theatre, at what point does it cross your mind that you should bring a camera? And for what purpose? Oh, you’re going to take pictures of you and your girls near the poster in the lobby as a momento? Okay, fair enough. But if you plan on taking a camera for the purpose of sneaking pictures during the production, please think twice. If not for your guilty conscience, knowing you will be ruining the show for those around you, at least for the sake of your own dignity because I will, without remorse, embarrass you.
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What Marriage Equality is Not

Yesterday, in a historic decision, the Supreme Court determined that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, consequently legalizing it throughout the country.

The reactions were… mixed.

This debate is not new to the United States nor is this an issue that will fade quietly into the night.  However, as I scrolled through my social media feeds, I was struck by how misunderstood the concept of marriage equality is.
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The Perception of Age in History (Or History is Full of Lies)

My brother sent me an article yesterday to which he expressed blew his mind.  The moment I saw the title, I had to laugh to myself.

The article Ages of Revolution: How old were they on July 4, 1776? addresses the idea that the majority perceive the Founding Fathers to be…well, that.  Fathers.  Older, wise, patriarchal, philosophical, experienced men.  However, the “united States of America” was actually founded by fairly young men, by today’s standards.  Taking into account the life expectancy of the time, most of them were middle-aged – barring Ben Franklin.  Dude lived forever.

Speaking of good ol’ Ben Franklin, during one of my American Revolution classes in college, my professor did her own mind blowing along the same lines of this article.  Take a look a the picture above.  Chances are you’re familiar with it.  It can be found in almost every American History textbook on the planet.  This is the moment when Ben Franklin, with his son William, took a kite out in a storm and discovered electricity.  So nice to see a younger Ben performing cool science experiments with his young son in tow.  Right?

Wrong.
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