A 2,000-Year-Old Eggshell

Eggs are very important at Casa McD, so I was tickled to see this amazing discovery from Turkey: a nearly-intact eggshell from about 17 AD. The town of Sardis had been hit by an earthquake, and when residents rebuilt, they buried a pierced egg in a pot to ward off further dangers. The intact egg [Read More...]

What Is Your Middle Schooler Being Taught About the Crusades?

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Update 9/17/14: With the start of a new school year, I’m circulating this post again. It is particularly relevant now since we are witnessing, in real time, the violent nature of a large and fanatical Islamic army. I don’t understand how anyone can criticize the motives for the Crusades now that we see, in ISIS, [Read More...]

Storytelling With Maps

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Here’s a fine site for map lovers. Storytelling With Maps uses annotated maps to explain and teach. I found it through the interactive map of the journey of Odysseus, but there are plenty of other interesting ones as well, such as Santas Around the World and the flight of Wiley Post. They’re not deep, but they’re [Read More...]

Hidden Medieval Manuscripts Uncovered Thanks to New Tech

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This story first appeared while I was sick, when I marked it for later coverage. Even though it’s a few weeks old, it’s just too important to let slide. A palimpsest is a writing surface that has been erased and used again. Since parchment is made of animal skin, it was durable enough to stand [Read More...]

An Astonishing Picture

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This gives me chills: the first pope and the current pope. Pope Francis holds a casket with the pitiful remains of St. Peter. Almost the entire scope of the Church’s history captured in a single image. Astonishing, moving, powerful. What must have Francis been thinking at that moment? [Read more...]

Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale [Review]

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After I put up this post, a reader* was kind enough buy me a six pack (thanks!), so I decided on a new rule: you buy ‘em, I’ll review ‘em. I’d been wanting to try the Ales of the Revolution series from Yards Brewing Company, a local brewer from Philadelphia. They make Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern [Read More...]

That Lincoln Music: The Language of Gettysburg

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Shelby Foote called that almost mystical power Lincoln had with words “the Lincoln music,” and that’s exactly right. There are words of Lincoln I have returned to hundreds of times because their character–poetic, chantlike, entrancing, powerful–is so overwhelming. It has some of the character of Whitman, but with an oratorical mastery, compression, and skill that [Read More...]

Jonestown: 35 Years Ago Today

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In writing about Kennedy assassination nostalgia today, I mentioned my own “loss of innocence” moment at the hands of a national tragedy: the murders and mass suicides of Jonestown. Every person eventually comes to understand the great evil at large in the world from some tragedy that consumes and convulses the nation’s media. Mine was [Read More...]


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