Browsing Tag »US history«

Houses of Horror: The Serial Murder Sites of Chicago and Milwaukee

October 27, 2011

A popular trope in horror is the isolated farmhouse, the remote village, where gruesome serial murders take place.  Innocent victims stumble onto the site and are brutally tortured and slain. Shockingly the only thing flawed with this rendition is the setting.  The most notorious serial murders have not taken place in remote, out-of-the-way places, but […]

Of Shrimp and Petroleum: Acadiana One Year After the Oil Spill

October 7, 2011

In the bayous south and west of New Orleans the fallout from the BP oil spill continues to be felt more than a year after the well was capped. Shrimp boats sit idle, not because the fisheries are producing seafood that is unsafe to eat – Gulf Coast seafood was deemed safe for consumption months […]

“Where is Tara?” Atlanta’s Gone with the Wind Legacy

September 23, 2011

Even 70 years later, one of the most common questions asked by tourists visiting Atlanta is “Where is Tara?” Not where is Coca Cola, where is CNN or where is Olympic Park.  They want to see the iconic antebellum home where Scarlett flirted with her beaus and later, having been brought low by the war, […]

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

August 26, 2011

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

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

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 […]

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

June 10, 2011

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.  […]

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

May 6, 2011

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 […]

Learning to Love the Mob: A One Day Vacation in Las Vegas!

March 18, 2011

When Chicago mobster Anthony “the Ant” Spilotro started burglarizing businesses in the Las Vegas area, the federal government and the Las Vegas gaming commission had seen enough.  So had the mob.  Spilotro had been screwing up a good thing, drawing unwanted attention to mob influence in the city.  So they beat him with a baseball […]

Our Broken Asphalt Heart: Reflections on Route 66 (Part 2)

February 4, 2011

A bright, enchanting New Mexico morning.  I pull onto the interstate, old 66 running beside.  The land slides and yaws like water in a bucket, waves of rolling terrain, an ocean of pale grass flecked with sagebrush and streaked with browns and reds.  The mountains heave themselves up, haughty, and then stop abruptly, ending in […]