I was at the grocery store the other day and ran across Bill O’Reilly’s Legends & Lies: The Real West, the companion volume to the ten-part TV series. O’Reilly’s name is in the title, but the cover lists David Fisher as writer, so I’m assuming Fisher did the heavy lifting. Anyway, it’s selling like crazy.
Nobody in their right mind should expect a glossy, heavily illustrated TV companion book to be a model of scholarly rigor. But it looks like O’Reilly/Fisher really phoned this one in, even by the lackadaisical standards of pop history.
Check this out (sorry about the pic quality; snapped this on my phone in the store):
Yep, that’s Wikipedia on a list of “especially trustworthy” websites. Wikipedia, for crying out loud.
Now you can all rest easier, knowing that your kids’ middle school research papers meet the same benchmarks as bestselling history books.
Raptors running around and mass pandemonium and ankylosaurs bashing things with their tail clubs and a mosasaur chomping and carnivores grabbing people left and right and explosions and machine guns and pterosaurs snatching tourists right off the ground and whole herds of sauropods and stegosaurs and I think that was the T. rex munching on a goat and HOLY COW I FEEL LIKE I’M TWELVE AGAIN AND IT’S JUST FANTASTIC AND I CAN’T WAIT!
Okay, here are two quick things I’d like everybody reading this blog to do.
First, as you may recall, we’re doing a special fundraising drive on behalf of Marble Springs State Historic Site this year in commemoration of the bicentennial of Gov. John Sevier’s death. We’ve just set up a new, super-easy way to contribute to this campaign at GoFundMe, so if you haven’t made a donation yet, please take a minute to do so.
Of course, you can still contribute via PayPal at the Marble Springs website or by sending a check in the mail. If you can’t afford $200, feel free to contribute whatever you can. We’ll gladly accept donations of any size. When it comes to small historic sites, every contribution makes a big difference.
It’s a tough economic climate for smaller historic sites and museums, and some of the funding sources we regularly depend on are shrinking, so I strongly encourage everybody who loves Tennessee history, the American Revolution, and preservation to pitch in.
Second, there’s a historic home here in Knoxville in danger of being lost to development. You can show your opposition to demolishing this historic property by adding your signature to the petition at Change.org.
Cross-posted to the blog of the Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy
To mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, here’s Steven Wilson of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum with one of the most special artifacts in the LMU collection.
Way to end this sesquicentennial on a high note, dude:
A Charlestown man is facing vandalism charges after he allegedly pried a sword from the historic Shaw Memorial across the street from the State House on Friday, according to the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office.
Delvin Dixon, 40, was released on his own recognizance in Boston Municipal Court that afternoon and ordered to stay away from Boston Common, authorities said.
The memorial—which displays the all-black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry who fought in the Civil War and its commander, Col. Robert Gould Shaw—was first unveiled by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1897.
I get miffed whenever something like this happens, but the fact that it was the Shaw Memorial really ticks me off.
For now, anyway. Depends on whether the paleontological community gets behind this new study.
Personally, I hope the new classification sticks. It always seemed like a shame to let an awesome name like “thunder lizard” go to waste.
To be honest with you, I’m just burned out on this Civil War Sesquicentennial thing, so let’s set aside the obligatory Appomattox post, unwind a little, and take a look at this listicle of twenty historic houses to visit in Tennessee. Here are my observations, for whatever they’re worth:
- The Carter Mansion is right there near the top. Well done. (I’m quite fond of the Carter Mansion, you know.)
- Blount Mansion made the list. Good.
- No Marble Springs on the list. Home of Tennessee’s first governor. Put it on the list, already.
- Tipton-Haynes made the list, and it has a Sevier association. This mitigates some of my vexation over the omission of Marble Springs. Not all of it, but a little. Actually, Sevier would probably be totally miffed to see Tipton’s home and Jackson’s home on the list when his own home is omitted.
- More eighteenth-century homes on the list than I expected, which is nice.
- No Andrew Johnson home on the list. Homes of two other Tennessee presidents listed, but no Johnson. What gives?
- Not one, not two, but three houses associated with the Battle of Franklin on the list. That’s more than the number of John Bell Hood’s functional limbs. Pick either the Carter House or Carnton, for crying out loud.
- Technically, I suppose Graceland is a historic home, but I think we all know it’s not a real historic home, right? Judging by the supermarket tabloids, we can’t even be sure the guy who lived there is dead.
- The Lincoln quote at the top of the site is a worthy sentiment, but I doubt he actually said it.
- You know what could’ve replaced one of those Battle of Franklin houses? Sgt. York’s home. That would’ve been cool.
This is a legitimately big deal:
A plan years in the making for a new Tennessee State Museum next to Nashville’s Bicentennial Mall may finally get funding for construction.
Gov. Bill Haslam has proposed allocating $120 million for a new state museum as part of an amendment to his 2015-16 budget that includes nearly $300 million in additional non-recurring investments. To become a reality, the new museum would also require $40 million in private funds from the museum’s ongoing fundraising efforts.
The governor’s office says it is moving forward on the museum and other new capital projects because franchise and excise tax collections exceeded estimates last month as a result of “an unusual one-time event” on top of other revenue collections and program savings.
“I think all of the plans have been pretty well agreed to, and this could move along pretty quickly now that we have the funding in place,” Tennessee Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin said of the museum.
It’s pretty exciting. I just hope the new galleries will be as jam-packed with artifacts as the current exhibits in the Polk building. The best thing about the current facility is the fact that you get to come face to face with so much awesome stuff. It’s that encounter with so many incredible objects that makes a visit to the state museum so special: personal effects from the Donelson party’s harrowing flatboat voyage to Middle Tennessee, the Peale portrait of Sevier, and (of course) that exhibit case full of King’s Mountain treasures.
If the new galleries keep the collections at the forefront in the same manner as the current exhibits, while employing the latest techniques to interpret them, then we’re going to be in for a great show.