Say What???? The NFL considers banning the N-word but not the R-word?

“The NFL is endorsing a laudable principle — one that says racial slurs should have no place in any business, much less a $9-billion-a-year sports conglomerate. But in simultaneously saying nothing about one of its own teams’ continued promotion of a racial slur, the NFL is also acknowledging that it is willing to tolerate the very bigotry it claims to oppose.That team, of course, is the Washington football franchise.”

History News: Two New Portraits of Shakespeare

Originally posted on You're History!:

Discovery News writer Rosella Lorenzi has posted an exciting article about the two portraits shown above. According to Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel, a professor of English at Mainz University, Germany, the one on the left shows Shakespeare as he was experiencing his first successes on the London stage, around 1594. The one on the right depicts him around the age of 50,  relaxing at home in Stratford. These two newly authenticated discoveries increase the number of known likenesses of the Bard to six. For more information, see the original article here, where you can also find images of the other known portraits.


View original

The People’s Olympics

soap“The YOLO1440 Grip”

These Olympics really are a little silly in some ways. Are those lugers really the best lugers in the world or just the only lugers in the world? After all who really has a luge course in their backyard (well, at this point I almost actually do). I’d like to propose the creation of the PEOPLE’S OLYMPICS, featuring events we all practice on a daily basis. The following are some events I think we could start with.  They also happen to be particular strengths of mine.

Event 1: Catching things you’ve accidentally dropped. Admittedly this would be a difficult event to stage but if the logistics were figured out, I’d be a sure thing. I have literally caught things on my foot before they hit the floor. I have also been known  to complete the “YOLO 1440 Grip” in the shower. A feat requiring both cat-like reflexes with the gentle grace of a butterfly. In catching accidentally dropped circles, the “YOLO 1440 Grip” is so named because I let the soap flip a total of 8 full rotations before making the grab just below the knee, which is the height that judges like to see a catch made.

Event 2:Pretending to be asleep. What I like about this sport is that it is more of an art than an science. It is key keep your mind focused on your goal. I usually focus on how warm and comfy I am on the couch or bed and how I don’t want to get up to let the dog out. I think that is where my success comes from. I also look up toward my eye brows so a keen observer can’t see my eyeballs moving around. I learned that one the hard way. I must confess, both my daughters are better than me at this by now, but, of course, they are in their prime.

Event 3: Building fires- Many times throughout my life many people have actually thought I was too good at this. At this point in time, I would not like to expand upon my greatest hits in fire building. Since I am now officially retired from fire building, I am willing to divulge a cherished morsel from yesteryear: the trick to turning iron to steel is a sudden blast of cold are at the base of the inferno. Had I actually won a gold medal at this event, I would have melted it down and recast it as a fully functionalOlympic torch.

At what sport would you win gold? Please share your suggestions by commenting!

Is there anything more to being a man than plunging a toilet?

At age 36 my conceptions of manhood are still evolving. What does it mean to “be a man”? At one time, as an athlete, it meant playing injured. In college it means not letting other people insult you. In the days of Camelot, it meant taking off your jacket and laying it down over a puddle for a woman to walk over. I am not sure how a woman would feel about that today. As a homeowner, “being a man” means knowing how, and having a willingness to, plunge a toilet (just ask my wife).


  “Plunger with Homeowner” Norman Rockwell, 1938

Most recently I have stumbled upon my most accurate rite of passage to manhood: the umbrella. For the longest time, whenever it was raining, I would get out of my car and let the rain pour down on my head and shoulders. As I arrived in school with my hair wet and pants soaked, I would shake off like drenched dog in the doorway. I refused to use an umbrella because in my world:


However at the age of 36 my thinking has changed. Perhaps I could spare myself the indignity of the canine shake if I were a little more prepared. “Prepared”, it’s hardly the most sexy male attribute but it’s certainly better than “drenched”. So I began to wield my umbrella like it was the sword of the knights of old, and behold, MANHOOD!!!

Now, I know carrying an umbrella does not work for every age. An umbrella-bearing 16 year old? No way. An umbrella-toting 25 year old? Pretentious. But sometime between 25 and 35 a male goes from toting, to wielding, an umbrella and “becomes a man”.

So, viewer (yes, I think there is only one), what event marks the entrance to man-dom in your eyes? Remember, whichever way you vote automatically wins.

You decide: Who is my celebrity look alike? Mr. Bean or Sheldon Cooper?

It may sound egotistical for me to say that I frequently get mentioned with not one but two celebrity look alikes. However, before you roll your eyes, just know that the inglorious celebrities I always remind people of are Mr. Bean and Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper. If that doesn’t burst my bubble each time I hear it, I don’t know what does.

Examine the following mugs closely before casting your vote. Please remember, I am feeling very vulnerable right now.

Your’s Truly                                   Mr. Bean                        Sheldon Cooper

Photo on 2014-01-28 at 17.42

big bean


Ughhh…cast your vote using the following poll:

Why the ‘Skins should keep their name no matter what anyone says!

skinsidiotHere in America we need to make sure the following things are clear:

6. The Redskins are private property.  That’s what separates us from the ‘Skins in the first place. No one can tell us what to do!

5. New Englanders aren’t offended by the name Patriots, so why should the ‘Skins be offended by the name ‘Redskins’?

4. Not every Native American is offended by the name anyway, so therefore the concerns of those that are, are not legitimate. When they all agree, maybe we’ll listen.

3. How can Native American groups be offended, when we already told them not to take it offensively?

2. Because in the United States and NFL, it is dollars before dignity.

1. After 25 years without a Superbowl title any offense the ‘Skins can generate is a welcome addition to the team.

The Declaration of Independence through the eyes of my students-it makes so much more sense!


As part of my history class, I frequently have my students paraphrase the Declaration of Independence.  Although not as eloquently written, it sure does make a lot more sense! I hope you like it!

 Statement of Separation

 In history it is sometimes necessary for people to separate from others and go out on their own. When this happens, they should state why they are separating out of respect for humanity.

 We think following things are obvious, that all men are created equal and they all have rights that can’t be taken away including a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To protect these rights we have government that gets its power to rule from the permission of the people. But whenever any government fails to protect these rights, it is the right of the people to change or get rid of the government and create a new one that will insure the peoples safety and happiness. Caution should be used however to make sure that old governments should not be changed for insignificant or temporary reasons. But history has also shown that people are more inclined to suffer than to fix their government. When there is a long line of power seizures and abuses all pursuing the same goal, it is the right of, in fact the duty of, the people to throw off that government and create new guards for their safety. This has been our situation for a long time and now we must change our former government. The history of King George III is a history of abuses all with the goal of creating a tyranny over us. To prove this, let the facts be judged by an objective world.

5 Confessions of a High School History Teacher to his students

Seeing as it is the first day of summer vacation, I have decided to purge myself of some misgivings I harbor deep within my soul. This is the first installment of many.

5. Rubrics, Venn diagrams and other teacher lingo all sound like names of STDs to me.

4. When it seems like I am randomly pulling names out of a hat to choose groups, I am not really reading the names at all.  I pick the groups.

3. I know final exams are awful and unfair.  I know they don’t teach you anything.  I still require them, I don’t know why.

2. When you are laughing and I am not sure why, I casually sit down to check and see if my zipper is down.

1. That gum on the bottom of your desk….it’s mine.

Native American Fishing Weir Update

For you long time followers, here is a bit of an update on my first blog post (from this time last year) on the Native American fishing weir found at Meig’s Point in Madison (scroll to the bottom for the original awesome story).  The following is an image of it from Google Earth taken during a tide that was too high to reveal the rocks above water.  Nevertheless, I am looking for other subtle patterns like this along the shore to find others.  Give it a shot!

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 10.05.53 PM

Catch my interview on Fieldstone Common Podcast

Fieldstone Common

Catch my podcast interview here:

Fieldstone Common is a live one‐hour talk show focusing on New England/Northeastern history and genealogy with host, Marian Pierre‐Louis.  Broad ranging topics include related fields such as archaeology, anthropology, architecture, folklore and all others under the history umbrella.

The Fieldstone Common audience is national in scope despite the show being regionally focused on New England and the Northeast. The audience is strongly interested in history and/or genealogy and love reading books.