Weekend roundup: Oh, for dog's sake! edition

Here, boy!

Here, boy!

It’s sunny and warm here on the Colorado Trail this weekend, so here are a few items to keep you busy while I’m out hikin’, bikin’, fishin’, eatin’, drinkin’, and otherwise droppin’ my Gs!

A sad goodbye


Excerpt from the Rocky, 1861, from Coloradopols.com

The Rocky Mountain News is no more–it ceased publication after this morning’s edition, just 55 days short of it’s 150th anniversary.  The Rocky Mountain News was also the oldest continually operated business in Colorado, and many considered its political desk in this decade the best in the state.  (The Rocky offered a nice rundown of its history here.)

I never subscribed to the Rocky–it was a tabloid, which has never been my style, and at the time I moved to Colorado it had more knucle- knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers on their editorial page, so I went with the Denver Post.  (Among conservatives, the Post has a reputation for being “leftist,” which is just completely nutty.)  But on Saturdays I read the Rocky, because according to the agreement by which the Post and the Rocky  shared their presses, the Rocky put out the only newspaper on Saturdays, and the Post published the only Sunday edition in Denver. 

Some of the star reporters and columnists are migrating to the Post, but hundreds of people are out of work, as of today, with only 60 days of severance pay.  Nothing personal–it’s just business.

Two more days left in Black History Month…

Slave cabins, The Hermitage, Nashville, TN

Slave cabins, The Hermitage, Nashville, TN

…so perhaps this idea won’t reach you until it’s too late!

(Kidding.  I assume most readers of this blog who are American historians do African American history ever month of the year, at least in months that you teach.)

Commenter Sharon recently wired me an idea that’s absolutely brilliant: 

Your blog entry about slave sites had me thinking.  Over the last few years, I have tried to incorporate slave-related sites into my travels so I can photograph them for a course I teach called Homescapes: the material culture of everyday life in America, 1600-1860.  Some historic sites do better at interpretation than others, but I’ve yet to see one that is truly admirable. (Of course, I tend to be disappointed about the interpretation of pretty much everything at historic sites–don’t get me started about women’s history.)

In this context, I just went into Picasa (the Google photosharing app) and searched on “slave quarters.”   The results are very interesting.  Clearly, tourists make a point of photographing slave sites, and the images are pretty amazing.

I wish more tourists labeled exactly where they took the photos they post to Picasa.  I might never have to leave home again.

I thought this was such a great idea that I’d pass it along to all of my readers.  My guess is that many of you are always on the lookout for great images to show your students, something that’s more difficult for those of us who teach in earlier periods, and it’s also harder for those of us who want to show our students examples of anything other than high style architecture or material culture.  (And, by the way, doesn’t Sharon’s Homescapes course sound fascinating?  Lucky students!)  Have some others of you found Picasa already?  How is it working out for you?

Sharon’s dispatch makes me think that museum studies people and other public historians might consider surveilling Picasa and other photo sharing sites like it (yes, even the dreaded Facebook and MySpace b^ll$h!t social networking sites!) to see what aspects of house museums and historic sites people photograph.  What Sharon has found at Picasa indicates that there is significant public interest in the history of slavery, and perhaps museums and local history organizations will be inspired to offer more of it.

More news from the Department of the Bloody Obvious

Maybe people named Peter shouldn't call someone else "Vagina?"

Maybe people named Peter shouldn't call someone else "Vagina?"

Newsflashes everywhere these days!

That is all.

Taking your cues from Steve Doocy?

Who do you trust as an authority on American history?  The Journal of American History, or Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy?

Man, it’s sad what some people will say to sell a book.  (Fox & Friends!  Come on, Larry–you’re a better media “get” than that.  I saw you interviewed by Pat Robertson a few years ago on CBN, and he was much more intelligent than Doocy.  Although that, admittedly, is not a very high bar to clear.)

Well, thanks for the free laugh of the day!

Burn this after reading


Steal This "Book"

Are you ready for another cranky, technophobic rant?

Good.  Kindle.  What exactly are the advantages to a “delicate piece of electronics” that

can be lost, dropped or fried in the tub[?] You’d have to buy an awful lot of $10 best sellers to recoup the purchase price. If Amazon goes under or abandons the Kindle, you lose your entire library. And you can’t pass on or sell an e-book after you’ve read it.

For the absurd price of $359, this too can be yours!  This does not include the $60 wireless bill each Kindle runs up per month, since Amazon is footing  the bill (for now.)  Now, I’ve always been a skeptic of these enthusiasms for replacing paper and ink, especially for replacing them with “delicate” electronics.  (I used to have this argument all the time with Fratguy, who back in the 1990s was for the Palm Pilot as Creflo Dollar is for Jesus.  My answer?  I’d throw my FiloFax calendar and address book on the floor, open it up, and exclaim, “Looky!  It still works!  Praise the Lord.”)

Are the people who invented these things readers of books themselves?  Continue reading