April 7, 2012

Prior to our recent trip to Panama preparation involved reading  David  McCullough’s “The Path Between the Seas:  The creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914”.  What riveted my attention was McCullough’s description of a vast and unprecedented feat of engineering.  My imagination was stimulated to view and understand the working of the “largest (engineering) effort ever before mounted anywhere on earth”.  My imagination was stimulated with particular focus on the Canal’s Culebra Cut.Continue reading “PANAMA CANAL – THE CULEBRA CUT”


April 2, 2012

My imagination was stimulated by standing where Balboa, hearing that Panama had another coast, crossed the narrow isthmus  of Panama and became the first European to gaze upon the Pacific Ocean.  This is the place where several centuries later the engineering masterpiece of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a canal was cut through the natural land bridge connecting  the Americas and became the economic oceanic crossroad of the world.  Where  Balboa stood today rises  majestic Panama City, my sharpest surprise,   a city in the midst of an economic boom with 100 skyscrapers  and 150 in process of building. The skyscraper view from oceanside rivals and in some respects overshadows  in expanse that of Manhattan or any American city skyline.  Visions of jungle and palm trees, visible enough, pale when considering  Panama City which alone has 80 banks and a Panamanian economy generating cash payment for canal transit of an economic stimulus of  some six billion dollars yearly.

The canal itself and its lock system is certainly one of the engineering feats of all time.  Ships are lifted from the Caribbean from sea level up 85 feet  to Gatum Lake created by a damned river providing  for ship passage and then again by lock system lowered back to sea level on the Pacific side.  process reversed carries ships from the Pacific to the Caribbean.  An extraordinary achievement is that a century after opening the lock system remains in near perfect operating  condition.  It is this canal lock system  that opens Panama to transit charges from world commerce  and supports  skyscraper Panama City and Panama’s economic boom.

Panama City and the canal itself  soon lead the visitor to reshape stereotypes  viewing Panama as a third world country of palm tress and jungle that just happens to have a canal.   Perhaps more regarding Panama another day.

Scholarship Nearing Goal

Welcome friends!  Welcome to the Barting Scholarship website. It has been a rich and rewarding year of reconnecting with old friends and colleagues as the Bartling Scholarship kicked off last fall. The goal is to reach $50,000 by the end of this school year.  Thanks to the contributions of those so far, we are at $28,500 which is OH SO CLOSE to reaching our first celebration level of $30,000!

At the $30,000 level, the Bartling Scholarship will be activated and the reality of  awarding  a scholarship in the fall of 2012 is possible.  Will you help by contributing today?  It’s easy and any amount will be impactful.

1. Click on the link 

Enter the giving  amount in “Other”  box  and type “Bartling” in the comments box.


March 12, 2012

The spring issue of the Washington State Magazine features:  “Lessons From The Forest –  The anthropology of childhood”,  an article discussing anthropological research of Barry Hewlett,  professor at Washington State University – Vancouver.  The article’s focus portrays  paternal infant and child care among one of the last hunter-gatherer populations, the Aka  Pygmies of the Central African Republic and Congo.Continue reading “THE AKA PYGMY: LESSONS FROM THE FOREST”


Morning ritual involves coffee and a thorough reading of the Star Tribune front page and related articles with  special attention to the opinion page. Scanning the sports pages  follows with small expectation of finding engaging material. Just keeping tabs on my favored teams.  Recently a sports article caught my attention: “POINT TAKEN:  we’re blessed with four of the best point guards in the country at any level.  Here’s what makes them tick.” Continue reading “POINT TAKEN: SKILL AND INTELLIGENCE”


February 22, 2012

Becketwood Cooperative’s resident art curator announced the fortieth consecutive monthly art exhibition for March.  Submitted art is to be accompanied with a descriptive statement of 75 words or less.





Fred was not one to get into Valentine Day but he married a woman who was.  So when the children were young and all under our roof Valentine Day was a day to celebrate.  This was the evening we ate in the dining room using a white tablecloth and red candles.  And I believe I splurged and bought fresh flowers, not from a florist because it would have been too expensive but at the grocery store. Continue reading “VALENTINE DAY – WHEN THE LOVEBUG BIT THE BARTLINGS”

BLACK HISTORY MONTH – Blacks in the Civil War

Historians in assessing the role of black soldiers in the Civil War until World War II and the Civil Rights Era rather consistently minimized or ignored the role of black soldiers in the Union army. Interpretations of the Civil War usually ignored the institution of slavery as a  primary cause of the conflict.  Since the Civil Rights Era there has been a fundamental shift in interpretive stance.  Slavery as institution and the moral issue involved cannot be ignored when interpreting the coming and waging of the Civil War.

In my youth and high school years the role of the black soldier was ignored. Continue reading “BLACK HISTORY MONTH – Blacks in the Civil War”

Grandma Schmidt’s Apple Kuchen Recipe

February 6, 2013

(See blog January 26, 2012 of which the following is a response by Grandma Schmidt’s relative. “‘Grandma Schmidt’s Apple Kuchen’ Disappears”.

Hi Folks!  After Prof. Bartling’s blog was published about the missing Apple Kuchen, people began requesting the recipe.  We believe the secret to be the mixing with the hands and the specifics about the pan size.  So, here it is for all to enjoy! We’d love to hear if yours is worth stealing as well.


1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 Cup Sugar, 1/2 tsp.salt, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 Cup cold butter, cut into small pieces, 2 egg yolks, 2 tsp. milk, 1/4 tsp. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT, 4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced.


3/4 Cup sugar, 2 TB flour, 1/4 -1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 TB butter, cut into small pieces.Continue reading “Grandma Schmidt’s Apple Kuchen Recipe”


January 30, 2012

Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s last leader and first constitutional president, on the twentieth anniversary of the collapse of Soviet Russia, argues (The Nation, 1/15/2012, p.10-12)  that “a secure and just world order was missed.”

Western commentators, Gorbachev observes, tend to celebrate the collapse of the USSR of Stalin and Brezhnev as having occurred in December 1991. This is viewed in the West as the ending of the Cold War.  This view, Gorbachev’s suggests, is not historically accurate.  Continue reading “GORBACHEV – THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION : Twentieth Anniversary”