july 15, 2018

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“Be thankful for what you have. Be fearless for what you want.” ~ Unknown




You’re wondering what this giant ball is, aren’t you? Meteorite; Canon ball; Spoiled cantaloupe? Not even close. This is a hair ball, known as the Immense Hairball, at Transylvania University’s Moosnick Museum. This hairball has its own twitter account @ImmenseHairball. Not every hairball can say it has its own twitter account. The Immense Hairball was donated to Transy by Mary Todd Lincoln’s brother. It came from a cow in the Maysville area, but no one knows how Todd came to have it. A smaller hairball was donated to Transy by one of Henry Clay’s family members. It does not have a twitter account. Back in Lincoln’s day folks used to think hairballs like this, also called a bezoar, had medicinal properties. They were used particularly for poisons; either to absorb it from an external bite or scratch, or internally much like we use charcoal today to absorb ingested poison. Yes, the afflicted person actually swallowed a part of a hairball. Science has come a long way…thank God!


medical models


This is Transylvania University Physics professor and tour guide Jamie Day. He has incredible knowledge of the Moosnick Medical and Science Museum’s holdings as well as the University’s history. He gave us an incredible tour on Friday. For those that don’t know, Transy was a medical school. In fact, being founded in 1780, it’s the oldest University and medical school west of the Alleghenies. Lexington was the Western Frontier when Transy got off the ground. Its population was rather small. There were few residents willing to be dissected after death and grave robbing wasn’t very useful since everybody knew the newly departed. Nevertheless, student surgeons needed practice. Interested parties began to develop medical models. Transy has a lot of the oldest models still in existence. Over time, bad things happened to campus buildings and to the university itself. For a brief period it was even combined with the University of Kentucky before returning to a stand-alone University. A lot of their medical displays were closeted and forgotten during all the upheaval. That turned out to be a good thing because, by the time it was rediscovered, the majority of it was antique, making the collections of the Moosnick one of the most unique in the world. They also hold quite a large collection of stuffed birds like the Kiwi beside the fetus skeletons below (you might remember Kevin by a parrot from Friday’s post). Turns out the birds are full of arsenic. Who knew! In any case, this is the kind of fascinating information Jamie pulled out on Friday’s tour. They do tours by appointment only, but if you ever have the opportunity to go, do. It’s pretty awesome and Jamie is hilarious. 


skeletons and such

july 13, 2018

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“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what’s been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down.The choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to you.” ~ Josh Shipp


birds of a feather


I’ve had an excellent week capped off by a trip to Transylvania University’s Moosnick Museum and Special Collections. My old friend and former housemate Kevin Johnson is Transy Library’s latest hire. He joined us on the tour (“us” as in UK Libraries’ Special Collections crew). You sort of met Kevin way back on January 4, 2012 when the outhouse first sprang to life. Actually, you only met his wrist (watch), so this is the first time you see his face. Kevin probably doesn’t know that his calm demeanor and steady friendship helped hold me together during one of the worst periods of my life at the death of my BFF Jim Brown. You can’t replace friends like that.


I love us


I’ll talk more about Moosnick later because there’s a lot to talk about and it’s very cool, but this post is about three old college friends who somehow, after twenty years, managed to find themselves on a workday in the same place all armed with cameras, on Friday the 13th no less. We shot plenty around Transy, but we shot lots of each other, too. I think our colleagues were entertained by our three ring circus. In case I haven’t told the story: Kevin was in the MFA program at UK as Crys and I were working on our undergrad degrees (all in photography). Kevin took us under his wing, and in many ways, taught us more than we would have ever gotten from our coursework. We forged lasting friendships. Fast forward all these years and Kevin is happier now than I have ever known him to be. He has a son in whom he delights, and now he has landed a job with people who truly appreciate his highly evolved silly photog ways. He even gets big bear hugs from Marie. It makes me so happy to see him well and peaceful. He’s a great man and Transy is fortunate to have him. Me and Crystal are pretty lucky, too.