What Would Jefferson do? Time Traveling at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

August 26, 2011

What Would Jefferson do?  Time Traveling at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

So this dweeby-looking guy interrupts us, says he knows exactly what Jefferson would do.  He’s got on big square glasses and red suspenders.  Apparently, he’s an employee of Monticello, or anyway that’s what his name badge says.  It says his name is Clive. I say, “All right, Clive.  You tell us what Jefferson would do.”  […]

Internal Conflict: Two Worrisome Days in Washington DC: Day Two

August 19, 2011

Internal Conflict: Two Worrisome Days in Washington DC: Day Two

In the spring of 1782 Colonel Lewis Nicola wrote to General George Washington complaining that for more than six months the soldiers who had defeated the British and won independence for the United States had gone unpaid.  He was sick and tired of waiting for the dysfunctional federal government to act and suggested Washington declare […]

Internal Conflict: Two Worrisome Days in Washington DC: Day One

August 12, 2011

Internal Conflict: Two Worrisome Days in Washington DC: Day One

Here’s one of those peculiar things that half the people you talk to are already aware of and the other half is surprised to find out.  Did you know that US senators speaking on the floor of the senate chamber speak to no one? Well, technically they speak to the C-Span cameras and a handful […]

Dirty Business: Looking into a Mine Disaster in Beckley, WV

August 4, 2011

Dirty Business: Looking into a Mine Disaster in Beckley, WV

At around 3:25pm on April 5, 2010 Rex Mullins and Nick McCroskey were working 1000 feet underground at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia. Mullins, a 50 year old mining veteran, was working with McCroskey, a 26 year old graduate of Bluefield College, on the shearer of a 100 ton longwall mining […]

The Field of Dreams: A Crack at Redemption in Dyersville, Iowa

July 24, 2011

The Field of Dreams: A Crack at Redemption in Dyersville, Iowa

In the spring of 1988 a film crew rolled into the small town of Dyersville, Iowa to begin making a movie that the Philadelphia Inquirer came to describe as “not so much about baseball as it’s about dreams, magic, life, and what is quintessentially American.”  Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta and James […]

A Devil Among the Apostles: Blood and Betrayal in the Apostle Islands

July 8, 2011

A Devil Among the Apostles: Blood and Betrayal in the Apostle Islands

Kaydan awoke in the middle of the night demanding Deet.  I told him to go back to sleep, told him I was not his nigger, which didn’t faze him, close-cropped Kanye-acting black man though he was.  Kaydan was on a roll.  Had been all night.  Earlier he had been demanding Tom’s pup tent, the tent […]

Digging Detroit: Ambitious Plans to Grow a City in Decline

June 24, 2011

Digging Detroit: Ambitious Plans to Grow a City in Decline

On Jefferson Avenue near downtown Detroit there’s a restaurant called Dr. Dre’s Open Pit and Bait Shop whose name pretty much says it all.  The City of Detroit is populated mostly by African Americans, 82% of the population is black.  Of those, nearly half are between the ages of 25 and 54, a demographic that […]

Running on Empty: A Strange Visit to the Pennsylvania Oil Sites

June 10, 2011

Running on Empty: A Strange Visit to the Pennsylvania Oil Sites

It would make your eyes burn.  It would irritate your throat.  Those who tried to use it as a lamp oil ended up with a thin layer of greasy soot on their skin.  Even those who had used it as a patent medicine reported poor results. It was more than useless.  It was a nuisance.  […]

Photo Finish: A Perfect Spring Weekend in Lexington, KY

May 27, 2011

Photo Finish: A Perfect Spring Weekend in Lexington, KY

A weekend in April is all you need to fully appreciate the gracious 19th century charm of bluegrass country.  Rolling green hills seamed with plank fences, vast blue skies and thoroughbreds.  Warm-hearted people, great food and the world’s best handcrafted bourbons.  A trip to Lexington in springtime is as invigorating as a photo finish. Day […]

The Wickedest Town in the West: Dodge City and the Wages of Progress

May 6, 2011

The Wickedest Town in the West: Dodge City and the Wages of Progress

The Old West was just the briefest snapshot in time.  It’s odd to think that the era we consider the Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West lasted all of about 15 years, existing during that brief period of time between the first settlers and the arrival of effective law and order.  Many television programs about the era […]