Archive | History

Old News is Good News

If you have hours and hours to kill, then check out Chronicling America, a site dedicated to old newspapers and the stories they print. At the moment, you can view papers from 1880 to 1922 (from California, DC, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Utah, and Virginia). Search, print, save, zoom in […]

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R.I.P. Tom Paine

Tom Paine believed in Liberty, and he fought tyranny his whole life. His writings helped spark a revolution, the effects of which are still felt to this day, exactly 200 years after his death. He also believed in God, but not in the Bible, which got him in some hot water here and there. And […]

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Small Slip for Man

I remember reading a while back that maybe Astronaut Armstrong really said: “A small step for a man…” instead of what it sounded like: “A small step for man….” (link) Obviously, that would make a little more sense, and the idea was that maybe the “a” got lost somewhere in the miles between the moon […]

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Flu, 2009-style

Not long ago, I posted about the 1918 flu pandemic. Whole cities enacted laws about wearing surgical masks. Schools and courts shut down. Large areas of daily life changed radically. Some interesting facts: 1. It seemed to strike the young and healthy (that is, not just really old and really young people). 2. It seemed […]

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The Next Generation

When I was a kid, the powers that be were always drilling us with anti-smoking and anti-pollution. The idea being that our parents were lost, but the next generation could be trained to be better, healthier citizens. [The commercial with the Crying Indian (or, crying Italian-American guy pretending to be Indian) apparently came out somewhere […]

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The Flu, 1918-style

Sort of recently, I’ve read two accounts of the 1918 flu. The first was a short story that had the flu as a sort of backdrop to the real story. (That was the excellent and sad “L. DeBard and Aliette” by Lauren Groff.) And the second is “Flu : The Story Of The Great Influenza […]

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They didn’t call it Thanksgiving yet, but when fall came and the harvest (corn, squash, beans, barley, and peas) was brought in, the men went hunting. They brought back lots of ducks and geese, and governor William Bradford called for a celebration. From Mayflower: “…the first Thanksgiving soon became an overwhelmingly Native celebration when Massasoit […]

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Don't Ruin Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, right? The Indians and the settlers, in the 1600s, sharing food and hopes for the future. And according to lots of sources (like Mayflower, by Nathaniel Philbrick), most of the people at that celebration did actually live harmoniously together for the rest of their lives. Things did start to break down, of course, as […]

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A New World to Explore!

I’m reading The Forsaken, by Tim Tzouliadis. I never knew anything about this before. At the height of the Great Depression, thousands of Americans headed to Soviet Russia looking for a better life. The American system seemed broken and corrupt, and the Soviets were promising a heaven for the working man. Once there, these expats […]

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Welcome to Oz

I’m reading The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes, about the settling of Australia. It’s very good, and much more interesting than the blurbs make it sound. Hughes writes with humor and doesn’t leave out the juicy bits. I didn’t know much about the convicts in Australia, but I was completely wrong about how it all […]

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