Posts Tagged With: Research

Did you look?

I’m still reading and rereading from Thursday’s great deluge of Hobbit goodies. There was one part of the Collider interview with Richard Armitage that I couldn’t help delving into a little bit more. I know I’m not alone as a few friends were…ahem…engaged in this important research right along with me. Have you figured out which aspect of the interview I’m talking about?

Okay, here it is, Richard Armitage’s bar suggestions: “There’s a few good bars I can tell you about. Mighty Mighty is a good bar. Matterhorn’s a good bar.”

I’m not all that interested in Matterhorn. Although I do think there menu looks killer.

Mighty Mighty is a completely different story. The website sucked me in from the start. Perhaps it was the in your face design:

Header for the Mighty Mighty website–I particularly love the usage of “general shit.”

Then there is this description of what to expect:

On any given night you may come across…hula hoopin, burlesque ladies,rollerskating ukelele orchestras, indie rock bands, limbo experiments, 12 teams a quizzin’, Mighty Markets, some rap wrestling, well bent comedy, messy eating competitions, dance comps,space disco djs, rockabilly bands, folk nights – where do we stop?

It sounds like a place with something for everyone! If I didn’t have enough reasons to think the place looked like a blast, the numerous pictures on Flickr sealed the deal. Some of my favorite photo sets include South of the Border, or even Mighty Mighty Turns 4 (look at this link with caution) ;).

What really got me though was trying to picture the man we see in interviews hanging out in this place. I’ve always thought there was so much more to him than the little bits he reveals in those interviews and public appearances. If I just went by the shy, gentleman he so often comes across as, I’d be shocked by the fact he likes this place, especially enough to recommend it to people. But, the glimpses we get from say, humorous messages to fans, leads me to believe that he really likes to cut loose and have a good time.

Ultimately we’ll never know what he’s really like. I’m glad for that as such knowledge would ruin not only the fantasy, but my ability to get lost in his characters. But I’m having a good time picturing him at Mighty Mighty.

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All I never knew I wanted to know about cotton. I blame Mr. Thornton!

Living on the edge of the suburbs, subdivisions are commingled with farmland. Step outside the house and you can hear cows mooing in the field behind our subdivision. Drive to the grocery store and you pass numerous fields. The primary crop where I live–cotton.

This time of year almost every field looks like this:


Having lived most of my life elsewhere, I find the cotton fields beautiful. Every time you end up behind a semi carrying cotton it looks as though it is snowing as loose pieces float past, sometimes even necessitating windshield wipers.




Today I was out running errands and found myself behind a truck headed to the local cotton gin, located 2 miles from my house. As we drove, I looked at the flying cotton and then the truck sized bales of cotton outside the gin, to the haze around the gin itself.



With so much cotton around me, my thoughts naturally turned to North & South, Mr. Thornton and his busy cotton mill. I think I’m going to have to have a rewatch soon.

All of this made me curious though.

I learned about Eli Whitney and his cotton gin as a child, but knew nothing about the modern processing of cotton.

Those bales of cotton, it turns out are actually called, modules. These can weigh up to 10 metric tons (over 22,000 pounds). The compression used to build the modules helps reduce the number of trucks required to transport cotton from the field to the gin. There are module builders that are separate from the picker or picker/module combination equipment.


Once the modules are built they are transported to the gin. The view outside our local cotton gin looks something like the picture to the right.


Now we get to the processing of the cotton:

The modules are loaded into the  module feeder of the gin.

“The cotton then enters a dryer, which removes excess moisture. The cylinder cleaner uses six or seven rotating, spiked cylinders to break up large clumps of cotton. Finer foreign material, such as soil and leaves, passes through rods or screens for removal. The stick machine uses centrifugal force to remove larger foreign matter, such as sticks and burrs, while the cotton is held by rapidly rotating saw cylinders. The gin stand uses the teeth of rotating saws to pull the cotton through a series of “ginning ribs”, which pull the fibers from the seeds which are too large to pass through the ribs.”


What is left is the lint. This is once again compressed into bales, weighing about 500 pounds. The value of the bales is tested based on “fiber length (staple), strength, micronaire, color and cleanness.” At this point the cotton is usually sold to a local merchant who in turn sells it to a textile mill.


Were John Thornton around today, this is probably where he and his mill would take possession.

So there you have it. I now know way more than I ever thought I’d want to about the harvesting and ginning of cotton. I blame you Richard Armitage and your character John Thornton! Well, and maybe also the fact that I live in cotton country. 😉

All of my info is courtesy of:

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