Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Good news, bad news, boring news, sensational news- it’s all in thousands of newspapers published in print and online daily, weekly, and monthly.  But since you can’t read them all, whatever should the aspiring mind do?  Are there some guidelines that might guide you through the avalanche of news available at the local newsstand and on the information superhighway.

Furthermore, there is more to reading and learning than newspapers right?  Of course.  There are journals, websites, blogs, etc.  So allow me to introduce you to rule #1 of the 10 Weeks to an Intellectual Transformation program and how it applies to a broad range of sources- mostly by introducing you to a broad range of sources.

Rule #1. If you aren’t reading things that might get you on an FBI list you probably aren’t reading enough. (more…)

Hmmm...D-O-N-U-T-S...

Brain Goals

1. Read 30 – 45 minutes a day of Spanish.

2. Work on grammar books.

3. Read 30 books for reading list and class.

So you want one of those sexy well folded and crinkled brains?  You know that ladies find the gray matter between your ears irresistible?  And ladies, you know there is nothing hotter than a woman with a well developed cerebellum.  As I used to say, when it comes to an intellectual woman I medulla oblon-GOTTA get to know her!

Well since I am no longer single that kind of reasoning doesn’t have much effect on me.  But that is fine since I was long ago convinced of the need for a well-developed brain.  Sadly that realization came after I wasted my freshman and sophomore years of college far more interested in learning how to meet women (something I was quite successful at) than in the general acquisition of knowledge.  However, thanks to a wonderful public speaking professor and the threat of academic suspension (not to mention the loss of financial aid) I got my act together and went from a less than sterling 2.3 g.p.a. to a 3.7 g.p.a. in one semester.

Aside: If only there were as big a market for brain growth pills as for erection enhancers- both would be equally useless, but at least I wouldn’t be so pessimistic about humanity. (more…)

Well here is the first (and quite incomplete) version of our introduction book. Tell me what you think. Anything we should take out? Add in? Anything you particularly like or dislike? Drop a comment and let me know. And since I can’t resize this, just click on the link to see the whole 14 or so slide presentation.

My Scrapblog

For those of you stuffy types that like to read book reviews, this post is for you.

book-review-of-american-traditions-final.doc

The best line in this particular review follows below:

The result is a history of American politics that stresses political commonalities, often at the cost of historical figures respectability—bespotting the memory of the great men of American history in much the same way pigeons alter public monuments.”

Catch the remainder below to see the full paper.

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We lost power last night and I still had 250 pages left to read in The Fabulous History of the Dismal Swamp Company: A Story of George Washington’s Times.  Let me be the first to say that there was nothing fabulous about it.  Well I take it back, the information contained there in was voluminous, but its presentation was the equivalent of listening to NPR for two weeks straight.

I will spend today (Saturday) writing a two page response paper to the above book, reading another 400 page book, and preparing questions on said book- as I am tasked with presenting it to the class.   Beyond that I have an annotated bibliography and draft abstract due this coming Wednesday.  Furthermore I have to prepare lectures for at least the next week of my western civilization class.

See you all on Monday.  I plan on posting my plans for next week on Sunday night.  It won’t be an easy week.

Take a chance. Who would have thought 15 years ago that J.K. Rowling would be so fabulously famous and rich? Not even J.K. Rowling I bet.

I got to thinking about this when I went through some old boxes last month. In one box I found one complete opera and one half way finished opera I wrote when I was 17 (maybe 18). I no longer have the compilation disk of classical music I used- since I can’t compose music worth a darn. But the characters and their words came back to life in my mind the moment I opened the somewhat yellowed pages of the old notebook where I recorded these little experiments in lyrics.

In another box I found a series 17 sonnets I wrote when I was in my freshman year of college. Sadly, the middle sonnets [7, 8, and 9] were missing. But reading through them I was amazed at how optimistic, idealistic, and verbose I was back then.

In yet another box I found my handwritten notes about operas I wanted to put together, with story lines and characters. I found my notes on books I wanted to write back when I was 19. One book was about a major revolution in the U.S. led by a Cuban-American Senator and a young idealist- whose death at the gallows inspired an apathetic populace. Another was a Swiftian satire about a young scholar who travels through different nations recording their history and his experiences with the local government. I remember writing one about his experiences in a socialist state, but sadly, I can’t find it anywhere.

The last was a book based on an old Spanish folk tale about a beautiful young woman who lived in a large glass enclosure inside an old bar. Two rich young men come to court her, and pay the barkeep large sums of money in order to visit with her. Can you guess what happens next? Well go ahead and guess before you click on the page break.

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Today I will be working on some unfinished work. I am polishing up a short article for submission to the New Bern Historical Journal about the events as Street’s Bridge in 1821. For anyone interested, a larger discussion of the events at Street’s Bridge can be found in the first chapter of my thesis.

Beyond that I need to begin work on a new article I hope to submit to the North Carolina Historical Review. My new article will discuss the condition of the North Carolina Militia between the war of 1812 and the Mexican-American war of 1846.

Beyond the above topics I am looking into possible papers on

  1. “Amazing Grace:” A Look into the Religious Outlook of Southern Slaves. Reading through slave narratives, the amount of faith in Christ (and their own personal redemption from slavery) is amazing considering their unique circumstances. (I’ll post an example later)
  2. North Carolina Slave Patrols on the Eve of the Civil War.  Very few have researched North Carolina’s slave patrol system.  With the exception of Sally Hadden’s work (not to mention my own thesis; and that of another grad student) the study of North Carolina’s slave patrol has been largely neglected.
  3. Wards of the State: The Orphans of War.  The story of how the children of one officer who served in the war of 1812 received significant compensation directly from the state- including financing an education at West Point (books, uniforms, etc.).