The Dragons of Christmas

Perhaps I’d still be a Christian had there been more dragons. Many elements of the traditional Nativity scene — in particular, any animals whatsoever — aren’t Biblically canonical. They all derive from apocryphal scriptures, essentially early Church fanfic, such as this passage from Pseudo Matthew about the infant Jesus and the dragons during the flight … Continue reading The Dragons of Christmas

A New Viking Discovery in Canada

The potential discovery of another Viking settlement in Newfoundland is thrilling, especially because the site was found from space. It also doesn’t surprise me. The Vinland Sagas end around the year 1000. However, from other sources, such as the writings of Adam of Bremen, we know the Vikings’ activities in Vinland continued into the 13th-century … Continue reading A New Viking Discovery in Canada

Remembering Grover’s Mill

Today’s episode of Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac begins thusly: “It was on this day in 1938 that a cylindrical Martian spaceship landed in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, and began incinerating onlookers with an alien heat ray, an event that was covered by the Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations, and that caused widespread … Continue reading Remembering Grover’s Mill

The Death of Christopher Marlowe

Yesterday at work, when writing catalog copy and assembling order forms and organizing name badges for the Retailer Summit, I listened to a several hours’ worth of BBC Radio dramas. Besides the first two episodes of “A Place of Greater Safety,” an adaptation of the novel about the French Revolution by Wolf Hall‘s Hilary Mantel, … Continue reading The Death of Christopher Marlowe

The Confederacy and Maryland’s State Flag

In the wake of the Charleston shootings, the Baltimore Sun has an article today about removing Confederate symbols from Maryland’s license plates (which is now possible thanks to a Supreme Court ruling last week that allowed Texas to ban it) and renaming Robert E. Lee Park in Baltimore. The article doesn’t address the most prominent … Continue reading The Confederacy and Maryland’s State Flag

Uncovering the Story of a Lost Church

There’s a website (and Twitter feed) that I like to follow called Ghosts of DC. It posts articles and pictures of Washington, DC as it was decades ago, from the wood etchings era of the early 1800s to the dawn of photography a few decades later to color photography in the 1950s. It’s fascinating to … Continue reading Uncovering the Story of a Lost Church

Gallipoli, an Historical Blunder

This afternoon I listened to a BBC World Service podcast, part of their “War that Changed the World” series on World War I, about the Australian experience at Gallipoli. Gallipoli, for those who don’t know a great deal about World War I, was Britain’s attempt to open a second front by capturing the Dardanelles, the … Continue reading Gallipoli, an Historical Blunder