RSSCategory: History

Experiencing the Beauty and History of Cappadocia, Turkey

June 29, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

My girlfriend Jen and I are back home, but our hearts are still in Turkey.

As I sit at my computer post-processing photos from Cappadocia, I still can’t quite get my head around the magic and immense beauty from that region surrounding the town of Goreme. Not only was there natural beauty, but also signs of ancient history everywhere we looked. On our first morning there, we saw Cappadocia from the air – a glorious early-morning balloon ride.

Share

Read More

How safe is it to have even one nuclear weapon?

April 27, 2017 | By | Reply More
How safe is it to have even one nuclear weapon?

When I was a child, my school would have nuclear attack drills, which involved quickly climbing under a desk of walking quickly to the basement of the school. I think the general strategy was to go somewhere special to essentially kiss your ass goodbye.  That was in the 1960’s where a neighbor in Florissant had actually built a bomb shelter in the front yard, and you can still see the entry to that shelter.  In the decade since the 1960s, I’ve gradually stopped thinking so much about the world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons, even though they are extremely dangerous to possess, even for a country that has them for the supposed purpose of using them against another county.

See time code 1:17 of this excellent documentary by Eric Schlosser, “Command and Control,” where it is revealed that a declassified military report indicates that there have been more than 1,000 U.S. accidents involving nuclear weapons, at least 31 of these posing serious risks of accidental detonation, risking the lives of countless Americans.

It is a miracle that none of these have resulted in nuclear detonations. From the American Experience Website: “Based on the critically-acclaimed book by Eric Schlosser, this chilling documentary exposes the terrifying truth about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal and shows what can happen when the weapons built to protect us threaten to destroy us.”

Share

Read More

A Matter of Legitimacy

January 9, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More
A Matter of Legitimacy

Barack Obama had to be delegitimized. In the brawl over the last eight years, perhaps they succeeded on a level not intended. They did not, I think, manage to delegitimize President Obama. Rather, they fulfilled one of Ronald Reagan’s rhetorical dictums and managed to delegitimize the idea of governance.

Share

Read More

The Focus of Southern Succession was Slavery

July 14, 2015 | By | Reply More

This article by the Daily Beast addresses the main issue driving Southern Succession and leading up to the Civil War. Amazing that we are still debating this:

The Ordinance of Secession and “Declaration of the Immediate Causes” drafted by South Carolina grandees intent not only on justifying their own state’s withdrawal from the Union in December 1860, but on persuading the other slave-holding states to join it, was concerned entirely and exclusively with the question of slavery. It quoted the Constitution. It cited the Declaration of Independence. But it was not about all men being created equal. And it was not about tariffs, as some have argued since. And it was not merely about the general principle of states’ rights. It was specifically about the states’ rights to enshrine slavery, pure and simple—and evil—as that was, and the obligation of the federal government to guarantee the rights of human-property owners. Since the Feds weren’t likely to do that under the new Lincoln administration in Washington, the Carolinians argued, “self-preservation” dictated secession. They were determined, come what may, to make their world safe for slavocracy.

More on the role of slavery in the Civil War here.

Share

Read More

Nazi pre-war oasis on Long Island

April 10, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

I had no idea there was such sympathy to Hitler in the US prior to US involvement in WWII. This article offers narrative along with some disturbing photos from this pro-Nazi community.

Share

Read More

What’s Old in St. Louis?

March 25, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

I own an old house in the Shaw Neighborhood of the City of St. Louis, a gorgeous historic neighborhood. The houses are works of art–unique works of stone and brick. My house is especially old, built in 1894. A few days ago, I wondered what is was like to live in Shaw at about the time my house was first built. I posted my thought on a neighborhood list, and received more than a few suggestions. One of those included this link to a page that shows when every house in the St. Louis area was built. Using this page, I can see that when my house was built it was surrounded by large tracts of undeveloped land.

Other people suggested I take a look at drawings by Dry and Compton. I hadn’t heard of this work before, but it was exactly what I was looking for. In 1875, a company called Dry and Compton sent balloonists sailing into the sky with map experts who somehow divided the city into a big grid and then made precise comprehensive drawings of each of section of this grid. The individual drawings can be found in a large old book. I went to the Mercantile Library (at the University of Missouri) last night to take photos of some of the drawings, focusing on my own neighborhood. I then created the attached composite photos of the Shaw Neighborhood, as best I could given that the grids don’t fit together perfectly. The resulting collection of images gave me a very good idea of what the Shaw neighborhood looked like in 1875.

Dry and Compton - Shaw neighborhood extra lo res

For those familiar with the area, the above image focuses on the Shaw Neighborhood itself, with Tower Grove Park located at the bottom right of the image. To get one’s bearings, note the location of the Compton Heights Reservoir along Grand (with the Water Tower, which would not be built until 1898.

The image below focuses on Tower Grove Park and the area to the south of the park. I love that these resources are available to enable this trip through time. Click on either of these images for much greater detail.

TGP area - Dry and Compton - extra lo res

Share

Read More

On Being Primed For Worse

November 25, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
On Being Primed For Worse

Haven’t we been gearing up for some kind of O.K. Corral showdown pretty much since the announcement that there would be a grand jury? Haven’t we been gearing up for some kind of O.K. Corral showdown pretty much since the announcement that there would be a grand jury? Sure looked like we expected what we got. [More . . . ]

Share

Read More

Early Racism

October 21, 2014 | By | Reply More
Early Racism

They were marched into the classroom, single file, and lined up along the blackboard to face the roomful of white faces. It would be sheerest invention to say I remember everything about that day. The only things I recall had to do with questions about how my own situation was about to change.

Share

Read More

Rogue Historians Invent Ancient Greeks

October 19, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

The Onion reports:

A group of leading historians held a press conference Monday at the National Geographic Society to announce they had “entirely fabricated” ancient Greece, a culture long thought to be the intellectual basis of Western civilization.

Share

Read More