Insatiable Lust

Who knew I’d learn far more than I wanted to about bestiality at the dentist today? While the dentist lectured one of my kids on her inadequate brushing, I flipped through an old copy of New York Magazine and came upon the WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DATE A HORSE story. As the prig I am…

Taken Prisoner

A Confederate officer stood alone at a crossroad goading his horse to move on in the aftermath of the Union retreat at BULL RUN. Sensing danger he glanced over his shoulder. A Yankee raced over the field tramping the freshly cut hay. As the Yankee drew closer he struggled to pull something from behind his…

No Trophies for Effort!

What if a shadowy stranger in New York offered you $200,000 (about what $10,000 was worth in the 1890’s) to walk across America in weird clothes and with only what you could carry. Would you go? Now imagine it’s before an electric grid and fast food. The newly built railroad tracks will be your only…

Books I’ve Known and Loved

EVIL: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty by Roy F. Baumeister, Ph. D. Do you want to get inside the mind of a serial killer or an executioner? You need go no further than your own mind. Well, you have to go a little further, but not much. Turns out people who do evil things are…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

When Harriet Hanson Robinson explained to her busy (and presumably happy) single friend that she felt sorry for her  because she wasn’t married and could not  be a complete woman there was no hint of bitchiness. Harriet was a contented creature of her time. In my early feminist days I would have found this hard…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

WARNING: This is not about gay marriage. It’s not about gender politics or more aptly put: gender war. This about history. Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 For much of recorded history most people looked…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

“The patriotism of the people who worked in the powder mills during the war was only exceeded by the front line soldiers.” On the day of the final explosion  Helen remembered her mother at the sink. The tree-lined village with its substantial homes and churches lit by new stained glass sat chilled by a March…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

Of two minds. It’s how we live without crumbling into tears of frustration, terror and despair. We play mental games, don’t we? When I say “we” I mean slave owners and slave traders (past and present), black and white, vegetarians and trophy hunters. Abraham Lincoln was just like the rest of us until he was…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

Men and women of integrity, listen up! The popular opinion that most Americans during the Gilded Age were stealing land and involved in corrupt schemes has some holes in it. Maybe not too many–but some. Enter Washington and Emily Roebling. I’ve introduced them to you before from The Great Bridge, but damn they’re good. It’s…

Books I’ve Known and Loved

I sat across from a handsome and earnest white college classmate in an artsy cafe near NYU after our Minorities in the Media class listening to him struggle with his “white guilt” for if he didn’t struggle with this and express how terribly sorry he was for happenings hundreds of years ago or last year…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

“One surviving letter suggests that the men engaged in seizing black civilians may have had no uniform attitude toward the kidnapping.” And here lies a great truth: people are complex. As much as we would like to think otherwise there are no super heroes–and villains while evil may only be slightly more blind to their…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

Many heard the city’s siren call: freedom, freedom, freedom.  In the wake of crumbling farm communities and great and small depressions, many American-born young women (and men) moved to the burgeoning city of New York for work and a fresh start, freed from a “patriarchal”, rural society in the second quarter of the 1800’s. The…