Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Chicago By Air

Nov
28

Fortunately, the Chicago Tribune did the work for me. The paper ran an article on aerial footage of Chicago from 1914.

The eight-minute film was preserved by the National Archives. The Trib gussied it up with compare and contrast …

The Sportsball Song

Oct
17

Being neither a patriot nor a sports fan, I’ve always wondered why people sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a game. As it turns out, they just like it.

The story has it that the melody for “The Star-Spangled Banner” came …

The Apache Dance

Oct
10

Picture a choreographed West Side Story Jets vs. Sharks rumble in late Belle Époque Paris and you have the Apache Dance.

Les Apaches were violent young gangsters with a sense of panache. Think of them in cap, neckerchief and a …

Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk

Aug
29

The real world is full of fascination and wonder, so I’m not a huge fiction reader. There’s always more to discover. At the same time, there’s a visceral appeal to the neo-Victorian aesthetic of cogs, gears and tubes. Brandy Schillace’s …

2017 Steampunk Invasion of the Bristol Renaissance Faire

Jul
18

The Victorian Era and Renaissance collide at the Bristol Steampunk Invasion weekend. Anachronauts should synchronize their calendars for August 5 & 6, 2017, 10am – 7pm.

The Bristol Renaissance Faire sports 30 acres of pure fun, 20 stages of variety …

The Tunguska Event

Jun
27

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If eighty million trees fall in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? In the case of the Tunguska Event, the answer is “Yes.” On June 30, 1908, an explosion in eastern Siberia flattened …

The Grand Guignol

May
02

Who knows how much stage blood the Grand Guignol spilled over the years? It came in varieties. The darker, more viscous blood showed older, coagulated wounds; the lighter stuff was used for fresh slashes. This attention to detail developed from …

A Pox on Tom Dooley

Mar
28

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley

Hang down your head and cry

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley

Poor boy, you’re bound to die

In the American murder ballad “Tom Dooley,” Tom’s hanging head takes on a different connotation when …

Wilde Accusations

Feb
21

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“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” –Oscar Wilde

On February 18, 1895, Lord John Douglas the Marquis of Queensbury left his business card at the Albemarle Club for Oscar Wilde, who was his son’s lover. A note …

How to Be Bad

Jan
31

Jack_Black

Where can you go for immoral instruction? You can find plenty of pontification about Victorian morals, but the street-smart facts about amorality rarely come through book learning. Fortunately, we have The Right Way to Do Wrong, “Yellow Kid” Weil: