Regular readers of the blog will note that things are looking a little different around here. I’d had the same design template since this I started this gig, and I decided it was getting a little stale. Plus, I’d never been too crazy about the green and beige color scheme, but it was the only one at my disposal with that template. So I’ve switched to a new one, which I think has a more readable font.
Unfortunately, when I changed designs, I also lost my nifty header image from Lloyd Branson’s painting of the overmountain men’s muster at Sycamore Shoals. I couldn’t find another clear, high-res copy of it online. I’ve substituted another King’s Mountain image, this one a depiction of Ferguson’s death by Alonzo Chappel, which is another of my favorite historical images.
- Via Wikimedia Commons
Anyway, all the same features and links are still here, and of course I’ll still be doing my darnedest to bring you the best history-related commentary and news I can scrape together. Let me take this opportunity to thank everybody out there who lets me share my fascination with history on this little corner of the Web.
If you are, then I hope you got up early.
The History Channel ran a Civil War documentary at 7:00 this morning. After that, it’s a solid block of truck driving shows for the rest of the day.
Why don’t they just go ahead and pick up some American Idol reruns?
Steven Anderson is pastor of a small independent church in Arizona. He’s achieved a kind of online celebrity for his advocacy of proper posture while urinating, his explanation of first-century Middle Eastern pants-wearing, and his desire that President Obama would die of brain cancer.
Now Anderson has taken up one of my own pet peeves, the lack of history-related programming on The History Channel. I’d assumed it was just a ratings thing, but evidently there is a far more sinister explanation.
They’re brainwashing us. And Ted Turner, a noted minion of Satan, is somehow mixed up in it.
So I’ve started watching the first season of Ax Men backwards, and sure enough, I distinctly heard a voice telling me to read Origin of Species and then go stomp a puppy to death.
I’ve got a request for Rev. Anderson, on behalf of the rest of us Baptists: Could you either find another denomination or stop posting your sermons to YouTube? Thanks.
We’ve gone from driving trucks on ice roads to driving trucks on really old roads. I guess we’re making progress.
I’m sitting in a hotel room about thirty miles from my favorite place—King’s Mountain National Military Park. I tagged along on a trip to southwestern North Carolina this weekend, dropped off my companions at their destination, and then hit the battlefield. A good historical field trip always rouses up the blog muse, so I’ve got what I hope will be some interesting posts lined up.
In the coming days we’ll look at how the folks at King’s Mountain are using technology to interpret the battlefield. I’m also heading to another historic site tomorrow, one that I’ve never visited before, which means one of my periodic site reviews will be popping up here. I might end up doing some additional posts on the Revolutionary War in the southern backcountry, too.
Until then, I just finished an afternoon of historical sightseeing, I’ve got a full day of it planned for tomorrow, the wireless access here in the hotel is free, and there are two Mediterranean restaurants and a great used bookstore just down the street. It doesn’t get any better than this.
…now include exposure to radioactive material. Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about eyestrain from microfilm readers.
…who are worried about getting their butternut trousers sued off. The Living History Association is now offering a liability insurance program.
‘Cause even if you have insurance, you could always use a little more. Am I right or am I right or am I right? Right? Right? Right?
I just ran across this interview with Victor Davis Hanson, who’s one of my favorite public intellectuals. I had the honor of meeting him when he spoke at UT a few years ago. Most of the interview deals with modern-day foreign policy, but check out Hanson’s remarks about the importance of military history. Here are the highlights:
“Not all history is equal. If people are willing to wage their entire existence in a few brief seconds, those moments are more worthy of commemoration and study than others.…[W]hether we like it or not, strange things happen during wars that don’t transpire as often in peace time.”
When asked about Peace Studies departments’ attitudes about military history, Hanson takes the words right out of my mouth with an analogy that I’ve used myself:
“They think we feel that war brings out the best in people, that war is a ritual that’s necessary for society, or that war is a macabre interest like video games are for some people. It’s like assuming an oncologist must like cancer, because why else would he study cancer?”
Precisely. In fact, the military historian should be less prone to glory in war than anyone but the soldier, since he knows what war is and what it can do. Those who accuse military historians of glorying in war are badly in error. You don’t study war because you like it; you study it because it’s important, instructive, and (by all indications) here to stay.
…that I’ve visited here in western Illinois has taken longer than anticipated. There are some delicate and complicated issues involved with the interpretation at these places, and it’s taken me a while to formulate a response to them. You’ll see what I mean when I get the posts up.
I’m headed home tomorrow, so it looks like I won’t get them done until I’m back. Until then, check out this item I spotted in the paper this morning. It’s pretty interesting.
Starting tomorrow, a longtime friend of mine is heading up to Quincy, Illinois for a week of software training, as required by his employer. I’m not sure why he has to make a ten-hour drive to Quincy to do this. Nor am I sure why it takes five days to learn how to use this software. It’s a little unnerving.
If you ask me, people should steer clear of any software that requires forty hours of training to use. That’s the kind of software that’s too powerful for its own good. It’s the kind that might eventually become self-aware and try to eliminate mankind by triggering an all-out nuclear exchange, hunting down the survivors with an army of ruthless machines, and sending cybernetic assassins back through time to take out the future leaders of the human resistance.
Anyway, since it’s a long drive, he asked me to ride up there and back with him, and being the compassionate sort of chum that I am, I said yes. The problem is that between the riding up and the riding back, I’ve got five days to kill.
Fortunately, there are some nifty things to do in the vicinity, so this will give me the chance to do some historical sightseeing. Quincy’s got quite a slate of museums and historic buildings. The important early Mormon settlement of Nauvoo is less than fifty miles away, and it’s loaded with what look like some really fantastic sites.
Basically, then, we’re looking at any number of possibilities resulting from this software training thing. The best case scenario is that I’ll be able to use the hotel’s Wi-Fi to post a few museum/historic site reviews and explore some interesting aspects of Midwestern history.
The worst case scenario is something like this:
The suspense is killing me. Stick around to see what happens.