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AMERICAN HISTORY | An Overview of The Journal of American History

The Journal of American History is a quarterly journal that was originally established in 1914 as the Mississippi Valley Historical Review. Under the guidance of its first editor, Clarence Walworth Alvord, founder of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association which headed the journal, the first volumes dealt mainly with the history of the political and territorial… Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW | A History of Horror

Wheeler Winston Dixon’s A History of Horror offers a substantial list of horror films from the silent beginnings to the first decade of the twenty-first century. He takes a studio approach, highlighting the directors, producers, and a few of the actors which thrived under certain eras. Only on rare occasions does he touch upon the… Continue Reading →

POETRY | Arachni’venom (What Waiting Fed’m)

Arachni’venom (What Waiting Fed’m) Spiders spin webbing, an all-consuming threading, Behind his eyes by scores. Stopping paths of thought, catch’em in their pearly knots, He thinks on them no more. Spiders weave pinken gums, clamping teeth, one by one, Jaw cages unseen sores. Voice constricted tight, wrapped within restrains of white, We think on him… Continue Reading →

BOOK LOG | June 2020

What follows is a list of what I read/listened to in the month of June 2020, accompanied by a short publisher’s description and my brief thoughts/reactions. NONFICTION The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus “One of the most influential works of this century, The Myth of Sisyphus–featured here in a stand-alone edition–is a crucial exposition… Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW | Stones from the River

In Stones from the River, set in wartime Germany, in the fictional town of Burgdorf, Ursula Hegi sets the theme of her book early on through the protagonist’s mother. She allows her young daughter, Trudi, to run her fingers across the scars on her thigh, feeling the grains of gravel beneath, telling her, “People die if… Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW | Norman Rockwell

Elizabeth Miles Montgomery’s Norman Rockwell does a fine job of placing the over-sized, vividly colored plates found within this collection in their proper context. As she writes of Rockwell: “His critics have said that he chose to depict only the good side of the American experience. This is not altogether accurate, but in any case, it is… Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW | How I Became Stupid

French author Martin Page’s How I Became Stupid is an amusing story of one man’s quest to remove the shackles of intellect by any means necessary so that he might finally live comfortably among the uninquiring masses. For those who can genuinely relate to this plight and wish to find a fictional kindred spirit, this book will… Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW | The Grand Design

The Grand Design, by famed physicist Stephen Hawking, who sadly passed away in 2018, and Leonard Mlodinow, attempts to answer, or at least to approach, our most important questions: why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why are the laws of nature what they are? Did the universe need a designer… Continue Reading →

ALBUM REVIEW | CARACH ANGREN – Franckensteina Strataemontanus

The Dutch act Carach Angren, often categorized as symphonic black metal, prefers to describe itself as horror metal. The latter description more fittingly describes their latest release, Franckensteina Strataemontanus. The concept album tackles Mary Shelley’s classic story in refreshing ways, mixing black metal sensibilities with emotional strings and choruses, as well as with punching moments… Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW | Common Sense

Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, published in January of 1776, is undoubtedly one the most influential works in the history of mankind. Its first run sold out within two weeks and went on to sell around 500,000 copies in a country with only about 2 million free people. Its message was simple, its language easily understood:… Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW | The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands

Josseline Jamileth Hernandez Quinteros was a fourteen-year-old girl from El Salvador who illegally crossed the U.S. border into Arizona in January 2008. While traveling with her young brother and other compañeros, led by a shifty coyote, she became ill and was left behind to fend for herself in the harsh desert climate. She did not survive…. Continue Reading →

ALBUM REVIEW | NIN – Ghosts I-IV

Since its release in 2008, this album has been my go-to soundtrack for when I am writing. Ghosts I-IV is a four-volume, 36 track, two hour sensory experience of varying instrumentals, aptly described by Trent Reznor as “a soundtrack for daydreams.” Some tracks are beautifully melodic with soft piano or lightly plucking bass or banjo,… Continue Reading →

BOOK REVIEW | 50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know

Ben Dupré’s 50 Philosophy Ideas You Need to Know offers a well-organized primer for those curious about philosophy. Each of the ideas is given four pages, which is mostly adequate to at least introduce the topics although some of the earlier entries, whose concepts are relatively simple, seem further confused and complicated through the effort to fill… Continue Reading →

Thomas Paine, Reappraised

Some years back I was walking through Greenwich Village and came upon an old building plaque which read: Every American school kid grows up learning about Paine’s pamphlet, “Common Sense,” which justified for many Americans the revolutionary cause and argued for the superiority of representational government. (For a closer look, see my review.) John Adams… Continue Reading →

Eating Meat in America

Today, the typical American diet consists of eating meat at least three times a day. It is because of this seemingly insignificant dietary choice that the environment suffers, the rest of the world suffers, and our health suffers. Clearly, it seems, something has to be done, but what should the solution be? Should Americans stop… Continue Reading →

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