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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Youngstown, Ohio.


On my way back to New York, I had reason to stop in Youngstown, another place I had long wanted to see.  I knew it only from the Bruce Springsteen song (a live version here; it is different from the studio version, which is far more desolate; I would link to the album version but […]



Of the same brand as Mormonism: the Birthers.  The fact that the name is appropriate just shows how much this is an identity issue.  “Ask in your heart if it’s true” that Obama has no birth certificate would mean here, “ask yourself whether you feel he’s one of us.”  If you feel he is, then […]

Good and Evil, terribly deeply interfused.


A book review which goes out of its way to dish the dirt on Gandhi, of which there is apparently plenty.  Orwell apparently didn’t know the half of it.  This is no surprise to those who have lived long enough.  You can find really truly good people, but probably not if they have great achievements […]

Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois.


I’ve been fascinated by the Mormons for a fair amount of time, for reasons both personal and temperamental: personal, because of the Mormons I’ve known, and temperamental because of my interest in all God’s supposed communications with men.  On my cross-country bike trip in 1999 I biked across the Burnt-Over District of New York, so-called […]

The Humor and Relevance of Twain.


Of the odd things which George Orwell says about Mark Twain, to me the most remarkable is this: Mark Twain aimed at being something more than a chronicler of the Mississippi and the Gold Rush. In his own day he was famous all over the world as a humorist and comic lecturer. In New York, […]



“If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati.  Everything comes ten years later there.” – Mark Twain

Hannibal Without Mark Twain.


From Cuivre River State Park I drove on up to Hannibal, Missouri.  Mark Twain was born just outside town, and he spent his boyhood just up the block from the main intersection, where the road from the river landing crosses Main Street.  The town is well-preserved, and Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn turn out to […]

Cairo, Illinois.


Old Maytag repair shop, Commercial Avenue, Cairo.

At Cairo.


I remember as a kid reading about Cairo, Illinois, the town that sits at the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi, and even then I wanted to go there, fascinated by the idea of such a meeting of waters.  The town is mentioned in Huck Finn – it should have been the place where Huck […]

Random New Orleans Car…


… with a shellacked alligator as a hood ornament.  A small metal hook, which had been welded onto the hood, kept it in place.  There’s nothing difficult about installing such an ornament on one’s car: it’s just that you never ever see it done. When I told a friend about this, he said, “Everyone knows […]