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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind


By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 6/20/2024
Page Views: 6639
Various essays on interesting facets of history.

Despite it's not being my best subject in school, after I got out of high school I discovered I actually had an interest in history. Every now and then I learn some interesting fact or about some interesting person, and write about it; and you'll find those essays here.

A Pope I Like

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 9/25/2008
Page Views: 7413
Topics: #AlexanderPope
Like bubbles on the sea of matter born, They rise, they break, and to that sea return.

I just finished Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's novel, The Gripping Hand, a sequel to the science fiction masterpiece they wrote 18 years ago, The Mote In God's Eye. Both books were very good (the first a little better) but today's blog post isn't about either book. It's about a short verse on The Gripping Hand's last page, from poet Alexander Pope's An Essay On Man.

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Beyond the Edges of the Map

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 3/13/2007
Page Views: 8181
Topics: #History #NorthAmerica #SouthAmerica #Pre-ColumbianAmerica #NativeAmericans
North and South America were not big, blank wildernesss when Columbus opened up the New World to the Old. There were already people here…lots of them.

I was in a Catholic school; so there was a vague understanding that, at the beginning of the world, there had first been Adam and Eve and sometime after that, Rome and Jesus (who hadn't gotten along well). But then there was Columbus, with an origin point of Spain, and the world suddenly blossomed into the United States and things really started happening. Yes sir, Americans invented everything worth inventing, and everyone else in the world wanted to be just like us.

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Book Burnings

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 9/10/2010
Page Views: 6507
Topics: #FundamentalistChristians #BookBurnings #History
Let's look at the history of book burnings.

There's been a lot of talk lately about burning books. Specifically, a Christian extremist, Terry Jones, threatens to burn copies of the Qur'an, the Moslem holy book. (He can't spell it correctly, but that's the least of our concerns.) This has come on the heels of an uproar over an Islamic Community Center proposed to be built a few blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center in Manhattan. Both issues are clearly matters of freedom of speech and religion; but have been characterized as something legal to do, but not necessarily wise to do. So I thought it might be interesting to ponder the significance of book burnings in general, and how that significance has changed through the years.

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Bring The Broom Along

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 1/25/2006
Page Views: 6225
Topics: #Biography #ElizabethJaneCochran #NellyBly
A short biography of early 'girl' reporter Nelly Bly.

1882 was far from the world of Lois Lane. It was considered "unseemly" for a woman to use her private name in public. Elizabeth Cochran's editor chose "Nelly Bly" from the Steven Foster song. We don't know if Elizabeth took her cue from her namesake's broom, but she got busy cleaning up Pittsburgh by inventing investigative reporting.

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Cecelia's Memoirs

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 1814
My mother-in-law's recollections of earlier days.

I didn't grow up like most Native American. It was more like the Waltons. Our families followed more to the French. We are French, Ojibwa, Cree, Micmac and Swedish from my dad's side. I even know French card games used in gambling in Canada.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 7/3/2006
Page Views: 7082
Topics: #History #Constitution
What is the 4th of July really about?

Independence Day does not celebrate "God and Country." It celebrates "Independence," specifically, the independence from Great Britain declared by the American colonies in 1776.

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Seeing The Future Through The Eyes Of The Past

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/13/2010
Page Views: 9468
Topics: #Predictions
Let's learn what a prognosticator of 1900 thought the world of the 21st century would be like.

People love to imagine what the future will be like, and some of those people are writers who commit their imaginings to paper. In the year 1900, one of these people was a mystery writer named John Elfreth Watkins, who wrote a piece for the December issue of the Ladies' Home Journal entitled "What May Happen In The Next Hundred Years". As is typical in such articles, he got a lot of things wrong. But he also got a surprising percentage of things right! And, for today's post, I thought it would be interesting to look at his predictions, place them in the context of his times, and compare them to the reality.

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Human Origins

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 3615
Topics: #History #HiddenHistory #HumanOrigins #Origins
A series of essays on mankind's hidden history.

At first glance, it might seem odd that we've been presented with only two accepted theories as to the origin of humankind: Special creation by a deity, or unguided evolution as a natural law. (Is there really so much of a difference?) But…what if…there were a third option?

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Just So: My Ex-Dead-Mother-in-Law's Memoirs

By: Agnes Steinberg Page Views: 7720
Topics: #AgnesSteinberg #Yorkers #NewYork
Memoirs of my dead ex-mother-in-law's childhood in turn-of-the-century Yonkers, New York.

These essays were written several decades years ago by my then-mother-in-law, Agnes E. Steinberg. She asked me to type them for her, and then to try and market them. In spite of the high-quality of writing, it was not an easy market for nostalgia and I was never able to place them. Except for the photo of Agnes, none of the photographs you see here were hers; they are, however, carefully chosen from public domain photos of the period. Agnes, who was a little girl at the turn of the century, had a remarkable ability to observe and to describe what she saw. I'm pleased and proud to be able, finally, to give these writings the exposure they deserve.

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LGBT Rights

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2932
Topics: #History #LGBTRights #GayRights #BisexualRights #TranspersonRights
My essays on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transperson history and rights.

I am a gay man. After spending the first 44 years of my life deeply closeted (and miserable), I finally came out to my friends and family in 1995. And, as a natural-born activist, I then decided to do what I could to help my fellow sexual oddballs to realize that being gay is no sin, and is nothing to be ashamed of. To that end, I began studying gay and lesbian history. And my feelings and conclusions about that history is what you'll find in this section.

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