Posts tagged with ‘America’

FSotW: Old Disneyland

Flickr set of the week is Old Disneyland by Tom Simpson: “Pictures from its construction and first few years of operation.” Alligator for the Jungle Cruise Small World Sleeping Beauty’s Castle under construction

Monkey Girl and teaching evolution in the US

I’ve just finished Monkey Girl by Edward Humes, an account of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District court case about the constitutionality of teaching Intelligent Design in biology lessons. I was slightly underwhelmed by the book—you can read my review here—but the subject is interesting. How do you manage science education in a country […]

Monkey Girl by Edward Humes

This book is about the Dover, Pennsylvania school board’s decision to put Intelligent Design into the biology curriculum and the ensuing trial that ruled it a breach of the constitutional separation of church and state. It’s interesting enough, but not particularly special. Perhaps they were keen to get to press quickly and the book is […]

FSotW: Polaroids

Flickr set of the week is Polaroids, by anniebee. They’re polaroids (obviously) mainly taken in New York. I really like these – do check out the whole set. Particularly, but not only, the glorious ones of Coney Island.

Soccer in the US

All the coverage about the position of soccer in the US, and whether Beckham moving there will have any impact, had me thinking. If his new home ground is only half-full, he’ll still be playing in front of about 13,000 fans. It’s true, that’s not very many compared to the Bernabéu or Old Trafford, but […]

Tender American sensibilities

Via bookofjoe; the OED and BBC are repeating their exercise of inviting the public to try and find earlier citations for various words. It’s a somewhat interesting idea but, having seen some of the last series: the results don’t make for riveting television. What I found interesting was a couple of things from the Washington […]

FSotW: Katrina Damage

Flickr set of the week this week is Katrina Damage by jsdart. “these images were shot in November 2006 over a year after the hurricane”

I could have told them that.

“A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Treasury Department is violating the law by failing to design and issue currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired people.” Speaking as a fully-sighted person, when I was in Ecuador (where they use US dollars) I found the near-identical designs of different denominations really […]

American oenophilia

Travelling in the Galapagos and Ecuador, obviously a large proportion of my shipmates and lodgemates were from the US. While I’m on the subject of transAtlantic foodiness: when did Americans all become such wine-buffs? I appreciate that the section of American society that turns up on Galapagos cruises and in Ecuadorian ecolodges is a fairly […]

British food

I’m always somewhat irritated when someone from The Land of Industrial Food is rude about British cooking. If it comes from one of the great foody cultures (the Italians, the French, the Indians, the Japanese…) I’m willing to admit they’re talking from a position of strength. But the country of processed cheese, marshmallow fluff, and […]

Militant Atheism

I’ve just finished The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, which I enjoyed more than I expected, since generally I prefer Dawkins when he’s writing about biology. I might blog about the book later, but for now it got me thinking about religion. My own opinions are uncompromising: I don’t believe there is anything beyond the […]

Ten books to explain America

A really interesting question at the cassandra pages: ‘If you were recommending, say, five to ten books you most felt would “explain America” to a foreign person who had never been here in person, what would they be?’ You can read people’s answers there. I’m not about to try and pick ten books about America, […]

You said what now?

I thought I must still be half-asleep when I heard it on the radio, but no, today’s news is Blair signs climate pact with Schwarzenegger. The fact that Arnie is Governor of California is one of those things that still always comes as a bit of a surprise.

Rough Crossings by Simon Schama

During the American War of Independence, the British promised freedom and land to any slaves who left their masters and served with the British. Many thousands did so, and after the war they were taken first to Nova Scotia and then settled in a colony in Sierra Leone. This book tells that story. Among the […]

Big Chief Elizabeth

I just read Big Chief Elizabeth – How England’s Adventurers Gambled and Won the New World, by Giles Milton. As the title suggests, it’s an account of the earliest attempts to set up an English settlement in America. As the title also suggests, the general tone of the thing is ‘rollicking yarn’ rather than ‘nuanced […]

The Plot Against America – Philip Roth

The NY Times ‘sent out a short letter to a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify “the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years”‘. You can see the list of works that got more than one vote here. I’ve read […]

Square America

A post over at On The Flipside pointed me towards Square America.

LOL!

From the IHT, via Londonist: School officials in a Florida county said they were concerned about terrorism when they decided to keep a high school band from marching in a London parade, and now British officials are telling travelers that Fort Myers is no safe haven, either. Local officials fear that the dispute could cost […]

more atheism

I think I’ll move this out of the comments into its own post: From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans […]

It’s a whole different world.

This article about atheists in Texas (via Pharyngula) is just mind-bogglingly odd to me. I grew up in secular, middle-class London where the default position was a casual agnosticism, so the image of atheists as a secretive minority, afraid to give their name in a newspaper interview, seems surreal. The flipside of that is the […]

po-heritage

One of the things that seems odd to me about Ron Silliman’s legendary (post)Avant/SoQ dichotomy is that trying to claim ownership of a country’s cultural heritage, trying to shape a national canon, feels like an essentially conservative impulse. The idea of a national tradition of radical poetics seems self-contradictory, like the Maoist idea of continuous […]

Bob Denver & Americana

Bob Denver, the star of Gilligan’s Island, has died. Gilligan’s Island is one of those bits of Americana which feel familiar but I actually know entirely via hearsay. It’s one of the most frequently used pop culture references in other US pop culture – they mentioned it on House just last night – but I’ve […]

candles

“Sometimes entire animals such as the stormy petrel and the candlefish of the Pacific Northwest were threaded with a wick and burned as candles.” from here.