bookmark_borderWhen was history?

Delegates in a convention hold up signs for Oklahoma, Mississippi and West Virginia.  Black and white photo
Republican convention, 1952. Fifty year rule: 2002.   Sixty year rule: 2012


39-year-old History teacher Josh Hoeska had a great idea.  His sixteen-year-old students were to hold a tournament to find out who was the greatest examples of courage in American “history.”  The two finalists involved events that happened in 2001 and 2005.

In other words, their “history” was the Presidency of George Bush Jr.  Most people over thirty might think that these kids were learning current events, and not history.

Besides making you feel old, there might be other objections to using events so recent.  Continue reading “When was history?”

bookmark_borderAbraham Lincoln Impression

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky. But that was over 200 years ago. Accents change over time, so there’s no attempt in the video to emulate a Kentucky accent.

Lincoln’s best known speech was the Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago, our four fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Continue reading “Abraham Lincoln Impression”

bookmark_borderWhen the athlete was anonymous and there were no sports pages

two congressmen fighting with sticks, one kicking the other in the knee.  Meanwhile others look on, including one man in a comfortable seat and another who looks to be cheering.  An old sketch
“Congressional Pugilists” 1798

While Prince William, and most of the media, followed the European cup, Kate Middleton went to the theatre instead.  Sports are big news today, and almost every top athlete is a household name.  Things weren’t always that way.

In June of 1812, a man from the county of Somerset came up with a challenge.  He bet 500 guineaus that he could walk 1000 miles in as many hours. Continue reading “When the athlete was anonymous and there were no sports pages”

bookmark_borderA suggestion to the unemployment problem, from 200 years ago.

Napoleon and a British soldier carving up a glove as if it were the plumb pudding
Like Napoleon, you too could carve a place for yourself in a competitive economy

In 1812, changes in technology, bank failures, and an economic recession (partly brought about because the European market was cut off by war) were putting people in Britain out of work.  But one man saw a solution. Continue reading “A suggestion to the unemployment problem, from 200 years ago.”

bookmark_border“Land of Laughter”: British and American views of Burma, 1812-2012

When we read about Burma in history books, we read about war.  However, the first representatives of the English speaking nations to that part of the world were Baptist missionaries who saw Burma as “the land of laughter.” Continue reading ““Land of Laughter”: British and American views of Burma, 1812-2012″

bookmark_borderWill history be kind to Bush (Jr)?

George Washington Bush shouting at a bald manOn CNN, Timothy Stanely compared Bush Junior to Harry Truman. Both Presidents left office with low approval ratings, both supposedly fought what seemed like unpopular wars (Truman in Korea, Bush in Iraq), yet both had “a gentle, honest personality that voters looked back on with fondness.”

Really?  Gentle and honest? Really? Continue reading “Will history be kind to Bush (Jr)?”

bookmark_borderHistory ‘is boring’, says bestselling historical novelist

A man yawning on a bench as an old lady tries to interest him in a game of table tennis
A Dismal Outlook by Ehrhart

The Times asked historical novelist Philippa Gregory why British school children stop studying history the moment they have that choice.

Like one third of all British 13-year-olds, Ms. Gregory chose to stop studying history at GCSE level.   It was as if her teachers ‘sat down and said “What’s the most boring thing you can possibly study to put people off studying history forever.”‘ Continue reading “History ‘is boring’, says bestselling historical novelist”

bookmark_borderFive insults that went out with the eighties

Woman helping soldiers load cannons
A Soldier’s Wife at Fort Niagra (during the War of 1812) by T. Walker


Some people will point to “progress” and show how technology (or legislation) has made certain jobs obsolete.

Me, I prefer to have a positive outlook, and see how the number of insults people throw at each other has diminished since the Reagan/Thatcher/Gorbechev era.  So, here’s a list of five insults that were prevalent during the 1980’s, but no longer seem to mean anything.

Keep your day job.
The other day I read the words “choose another profession” on a writing networking group.  In the same context, I think that writer would have once said “Keep your day job.”  Continue reading “Five insults that went out with the eighties”