Browsing Tag »US history«

Groundbreaking Attractions: Over and Under in the New Las Vegas

May 2, 2014

Grinning, I worked the levers and lowered my bucket.  Drawing the teeth down and back, I chewed my first hole in the soil of Las Vegas, one of several I would dig over the next 90 minutes.  Operating the 315CL Caterpillar Hydraulic Excavator at the Heavy Equipment Playground set me to thinking about all the […]

Good Medicine: A Spiritual Journey Through Monument Valley

April 18, 2014

As a child he witnessed magic.  Among the spires of orange and russet rock, in the shadows of parapets ribboned with plum colored bands left by long receded seas, he watched as the Hopi medicine man placed the tip of an eagle feather against his mother’s neck and sang. His mother had insisted on the […]

Wild Man: Down to Earth and Out on the Edge with the Mayor of Telluride

April 4, 2014

My brother Curt and I were sitting in the dining room of the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, AZ after our ski trip to Telluride when I said, “Look something up on your phone, will you?   See if you can find out the steepest pitch a person can ski without losing contact with the earth […]

Way, Way Out There: The Art and Artlessness of Marfa, Texas

March 21, 2014

Southwest Texas is vast, and mostly empty.  From San Antonio to El Paso, a distance of 550 miles, no town larger than 9,000 people exists.  In the entire region, an area about the size of California, the population does not exceed that of Rhode Island. In the 1880s the region was even more uninhabited.  Yet […]

Bad Blood: Tracing the Family Blood Lines Through the Hatfields & McCoys

November 29, 2013

I suspect my daughter is a hillbilly.  That is, I think she may have hillbilly blood running in her veins.  How much hillbilly blood, you might ask? Well, check this out.  Her mother’s name is Marie Hatfield.  Her grandfather’s name is Clarence.  His father’s name was Floyd, and he was the son of a man […]

Harsh and Bitter: The Tea Party and the Whiskey Rebellion in Bedford, PA

November 1, 2013

See if you know this story. After enthusiastically supporting a hugely expensive war, an angry, combative segment of the American public became outraged at the idea of paying taxes. Complaining of government overreach and darkly warning of the nation’s doom, these self-proclaimed patriots insisted that the government must live within its means, denounced the debt, […]

The Long, Hard Walk: Tramping Westward on the Oregon Trail in Nebraska

July 26, 2013

It was perfectly logical to believe.  After all, the Rhine connected with the Danube via the Main and a short portage, tying together the entire European continent.  The Nile ran for an astonishing 4,000 miles deep into central Africa.  So why wouldn’t the Missouri flow from the Mississippi all the way to the Pacific Ocean? […]

Maniacs Run Amok: Touring the Mass Shooting Sites of Denver, CO

July 12, 2013

On April 20th, 1999 two students entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and started shooting.  One of the students, 18-year-old Eric Harris, had a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and a 9mm carbine with thirteen 10-round magazines.  The other student, 17-year-old Dylan Klebold, had a 9mm handgun with one 52-, one 32-, and one 28-round magazine, […]

Message in a Black Box: Alien Encounters at Area 51

May 31, 2013

The black mailbox was white.  Or more precisely it was a black mailbox locked inside a white wooden outer box, a mystery locked inside an enigma, a fitting symbol.  Amongst all the graffiti, stenciled in large black letters, was the name Medlin.  He still lived here.  He still collected his mail there at the end […]

Naval Gazing: Pondering the Cost of Defense on the USS Midway in San Diego

April 5, 2013

Believe it or not, the Right and the Left are bickering.  But this time around it’s a good thing because they’re not arguing about whether or not to cut the US federal budget but where to cut it.  Which means most Americans have woken up and smelled the coffee.  We’ve got a problem and it’s […]