Category Archives: history

Unity: Advent Word 7

Today we commemorate a day that has lived in infamy for 78 years–a day that also united our country as has no other event in history. I was not born for another 12 years, but as if from instant mutation … Continue reading

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Misinterpreting Emerson: A Meditation on Consistency, the Constitution, and American Exceptionalism

When I first started working as a disability examiner for Social Security, we had no desktop computers, just Wang terminals; nor could we communicate via email, just intraoffice messaging whose default was “reply all.” Hence, I established a wide reputation … Continue reading

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Fruition: 2018

As I began to ponder the year soon coming to a close, it seemed necessary and fitting that I end the longest hiatus of my blog-writing career with a brief narration of the project–now complete–that has consumed my life for … Continue reading

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The Mother of Beauty: World War I in Word, Image, and Song

Published below is the text of a talk I will give tomorrow to commemorate the Armistice centenary as part of a series of events entitled “FTCC Remembers World War I: 1914-1918.” “Death is the mother of beauty,” wrote Wallace Stevens, … Continue reading

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One Doomed Youth–and 17 Million More

From July to November 1917, Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was a shell-shocked second lieutenant in the Manchester Regiment, under the care of W. H. R. Rivers at Craiglockhart War Hospital. There, he became close friends with Siegfried Sassoon, who became … Continue reading

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Grammar, Meet God

Although I care deeply about language and am passionately interested in its origins and characteristics, I have no claims as a linguist. Therefore, what follows comes more from my heart than my head–mostly emotion tempered with a bit of knowledge … Continue reading

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My Brief Encounter with Erney Krongard

Despite the apparent obscurity of this World War I-era postcard, the charm of its rough sketch of doughboys at the front and the accompanying doggerel prompted me to buy it from eBay along with others more charming still–and of much … Continue reading

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Nothing’s Fair

For more than two years, I have been immersed in a project designed to commemorate the centenary of World War I in my freshman composition classes and–this November–across the campus of the community college where I teach. I have already … Continue reading

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The English Major and Ford Madox Ford: A Tale of Passion

                  The Chemistry Major At this late date, newly minted Medicare card tucked safely in my wallet, I suppose it’s time to admit, mostly to myself, that I have always been what … Continue reading

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Bearing Witness: Reading and Telling the Great War

Midway through the World War I centenary, I decided that I would use that largely unacknowledged anniversary as the theme for my freshman composition class on writing across the curriculum. The students write a literature review about shell shock for … Continue reading

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