Mark Twain Proposes a Siberian Republic

“There’s Siberia with just the very finest and choicest material on the globe for a republic, and more coming — more coming all the time, don’t you see! It is being daily, weekly, monthly recruited by the most perfectly devised system that has ever been invented, perhaps. By this system the whole of the hundred millions of Russia are being constantly and patiently sifted, sifted, sifted, by myriads of trained experts, spies appointed by the Emperor personally; and whenever they catch a man, woman or child that has got any brains or education or character, they ship that person straight to Siberia. It is admirable, it is wonderful. It is so searching and so effective that it keeps the general level of Russian intellect and education down to that of the Czar” – from Mark Twain’s The American Claimant Insightful commentary from Mr. Clemmons, especially welcome as I’ve been lately […]

The Road Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of the Leatherman

The Leatherman was a 19th century itinerant who walked a circuit through New York and Connecticut at a precise pace and timing, appearing in the same towns (and at the same porches for supper) on his route every 34 days, year round. Named for his apparently self-made suit of patched leather clothes, the Leatherman was a mysterious figure who rarely spoke and resisted close contact or medical treatment throughout his life of wandering.  The caves where he once bedded down have since become popular for geocaching and a book–The Old Leatherman by Dan DeLuca–written about the various accounts of his travels have made the Leatherman something of a local legend. His grave, though, is a public hazard: The cemetery, owned by the Ossining Historical Society, is within 16 feet of a highway, Route 9. That proximity is already a safety issue, Historical Society President Norm MacDonald said, and potential expansion […]

The Studio Apartment in Brooklyn Where HP Lovecraft Lost His Mind

View Larger Map In the now fashionable area of Brooklyn Heights where dodging oncoming strollers is the sport of pedestrians lies a first floor studio apartment where horror author HP Lovecraft lost his mind. 169 Clinton Street, on the corner of Clinton and State in Brooklyn, New York to be percise. Lovecraft, best known for his “Cthulu Mythos” lived there for several years in the mid 1920’s. What we now call Brooklyn Heights– then part of a larger neighborhood called Red Hook– was the first suburb in the United States and a frequent residential destination for immigrants. Lovecraft, desperate for any work took his frustration out on every race, creed, and color including his own. As what happens with many people who move to New York from elsewhere he felt more alone than ever. Even though he was surrounded by millions of people. Lovecraft would later return to his native […]

1983: The Year the World Almost All Died

Cast your mind back to 1983 when the cold war was heating up. Then President Ronald Reagan carried a cavalier attitude against the Soviet Union, calling them “evil” such as this speech from March 8 1983: In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil. The bold was added by this author. Rather than tact or diplomacy Reagan had taken policy into a fuzzy metaphysical world of good versus evil. A new military policy was introduced of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) on an extreme scale later that year. Just […]