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2012 in review for Brush of the Dust! History now!

Thanks, everyone, for your support and interest!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 32,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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New posts coming!

I was on an adventure this Christmas–a long prolonged adventure in Germany.  Now that I’m back, I plan on bringing some fresh content soon!  Don’t run away!  I promise I have the goods.  🙂

Happy New Year to you all!

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Technical Difficulties, it seems with the RSS feed

I have had some comments about problems with the RSS feed.  I am not sure what the issue is, but I will look into it!  If you are looking for ways to follow the blog, I am also on Twitter and do e-mail posts.  In the meantime, thank you for your support!

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My Favorite Posts that don’t make the Top Ten

Below are my personal top ten favorite posts that didn’t make yesterday’s top ten most popular posts–in no particular order.  Click on the post title to view it in its entirety.

And for the World Cup . . . QATAR???

Clearly one of my funnier posts, I enjoy it because it makes me laugh.  You may want to take that as a cue, since it is not one of my more popular posts and I am essentially laughing at my own cleverness, but in truth there is good information and wit . . . it practically wrote itself!

Visiting the Civil War in Frederick, MD

This was one of my first genuine and earnest ventures into travel literature, and while I might always nitpick what I write, I was really proud of this piece.

Harry Potter and a Look at Hogwarts in History

This should really be self-evident, right?  I consider the information provided by Professor Binns in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and place Hogwarts in the historical world from which it was founded.

Remembering MLK, A review and reflection on the new memorial

I really like this piece because it represents the sort of thing I should do well: reflecting on how we remember the past.  In this case, it is a challenging memorial to consider an important life in American history.

Dehumanizing words and writing the “other”

This post considers work of two scholars on the impact of words in creating toleration for intolerable acts by a society against a particular group of people.  These reflections on [mostly] historical atrocities highlight those instances in which words instigate and justify society’s use of sticks and stones.

How it all began: My love affair with History

A personal account of my journey to loving history, this was an essay recounts history’s long patience wooing of me.  Complete with embarrassing pictures!

A paper vs. digital rant

One of my favorites, not least because of the awesome pictures I included from the artwork of Brian Dettmer and Book Autopsies series–art that highlights the beauty of books through their aesthetics.  As much as I love technology, the dismissal of printed and bound books appalls me on more than one level–despite the obvious convenience of the e-book.

Holy Relics: highlighting sacred objects left by holy lives

This post grew out of two disassociated but coinciding events:  1) a Walter’s Gallery exhibit on holy relics and 2) a National Geographic documentary on the scientific examination of two sacred relics in Italy.  The post is intended both to define and contextualize relics.

The Northwest Passage: It’s On!  (Again…)

This is one of those perfect intersections between the past and present.  Due to climate change, the Northwest Passage, long ago sought after by the Northern European countries following the financial success of Spain and Portugal, has finally opened.  Just as then, competing claims for shipping rights have erupted, but unlike last time there is actually a lane to ship through!

Word of the Week, 7/25-7/30: ballad

Only the second post in my Word of the Week series, this one was a lot of fun–well, actually they’ve all been a lot of fun!–but, this one got into some pretty cool music history, including some of the best modern reworkings.  Music included!  If you like it, check out other words in this series by searching the category.

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Top Ten Most Popular Posts – Korea, Baseball, Beowulf, Soccer, DC and MORE!

Click on the post title to read it.

1. Korea–a really brief look at how we got here

Surprisingly, my most popular post by over 4000 hits!!  This post is a brief summary of the events that brought us to the point last fall when Korea fired its missiles.

2. Opening Day thoughts about baseball and history

A short post written during the Opening Day week of the current MLB season, this has been a surprisingly popular post, for what is essentially a missive supporting the inclusion of sports–specifically baseball–in our understanding of history.  It is also a panegyric for baseball’s history, the only American sport with such old roots.

3. Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon experience

One of my favorite posts!  In this post, I explored the Anglo-Saxon experience through literature, both modern and Anglo-Saxon.  By following the link, down the page, to the Norton Anthology you can listen to Seanus Heaney read excerpts from his edition of Beowulf; before you start the recording, cue up the video of the fire to recreate the Anglo-Saxon experience.

4. Cover the Earth — Early Modern Red!

Another of my favorite posts, this was written up as a review of a Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin.  It is literally a history of the color red and it’s development in the days when one paid extra for dye–sometimes quite a bit extra!  The history hinges on the discovery of a South American species of insect that produces the color scarlet red.  It is fascinating!

5. Soccer and World History?

In reading The Ball is Round, A global history of Soccer, I stopped to ask whether the author’s claim that soccer, or football, belonged on the modern world history stage was really a necessity.  In the end, while I found different points in his argument compelling, I am not sure that it is quite the requisite he claims it to be.  Still, demonstrating a point by using real events in sports can often make it more memorable and accessible to students.  I think it certainly bears consideration and one should at least take the investigation under advisement and explore the argument and its evidence.

6.  I. Introduction: Spaces and Places | Washington DC, the Place and Space, Series

This was the opening post in a series I wrote up about Washington DC based on the Washington Historical Society’s 2010 conference.  The workshops I attended set up a nice program considering some different themes surrounding the capital city.  In this first post, I introduce that program for the week of blogs that follow, including Washington DC’s spaces and places.

7.  Lessons for History Teachers: How to tell a story through photos

I was stimulated to write by an article for photojournalists and others who establish article and photo-editing.  (Good advice for a blogger, too.)  It spurned me to think of a number of ideas about how to adopt pictures into a more coherent and deliberate teaching strategy.  This post is the result.

8.  It’s Constitution Day!!!

A timely post that picks up traffic in an anticipation of the Robert C. Byrd-created day of Constitution-learning.  It is mandatory that educators spend time on the Constitution every September.

9.  Visualizing Early Washington: A Digital Reconstruction of the Capital ca. 1814

This post really took off in one day when it was StumbledUpon.  Highlighting a brilliant enterprise of collaboration: IT geniuses came together to recreated a historical 3-D representation of Washington DC throughout its eras.  Watch the flick and read about the creation process.

10.  IV. The Capital’s Space | Washington DC, the Place and Space Series

The fourth piece in this series featured a look at the National Mall.  This is a short piece, but popular because of the provided images.

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Photographic account of 9/11 via Time’s James Nachtwey

James Nachtwey’s 9/11 Photographs – LightBox.

Most of the enduring images from 9/11 are not our own.  Though living in Washington DC, I stared in vain, trying to see the Pentagon’s smoke from campus, trying to see the fighter jets I could only hear, trying to directly connect with what was happening elsewhere.  It is in the photographs, witness footage and news footage that provided my strongest visual impressions.  In this we have to acknowledge the photographers and journalists that risked their lives to tell the world what was happening at ground zero.

Some of our most poignant sources from 9/11 is the photographic evidence that the shiny Twin Towers in New York had been reduced to rubble.  As Nachtwey describes it, 9/11  cast the city’s great skyscrapers as a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic horror scene that seemed to come out of a movie set, not the real New York.

To see sixteen of his previously unpublished pictures of 9/11, and read Nachtwey’s impressions, click on the link at the top of the page.

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Irene creates theological problems, but is no Katrina

There has been some pretty bad flooding and wind damage in the Carolinas and Virginia, but Irene blew through the Mid-Atlantic last night doing far less damage than feared.  Many Marylanders will be without power for a day or two and flooding remains a concern in some areas, but businesses are opening their doors today, the state has a 311 call center open and is taking calls reporting power outages and downed trees or large branches, and Governor O’Malley tweeted recently that Ocean City, evacuated for the storm, will reopen by noon.  All good news.

Down in Washington DC, the Old Guard continued its sacred watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, through the storm (just as they did during the last hurricane to sweep through).

My family did get the message that church was closed due to lack of power, however the original message coming through featured a rather odd autocorrect: “No church.  No Trinity.”  Alas, Irene seems to have truly disrupted the Christian faith!


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