Saturday Morning Links

1. Via New Yorker’s Hilton Als, this article is about so much, but these two sentences on what racism is and how it intends on hurting the intended recipient.

The truth is that nothing is impersonal when it comes to racism, or the will to subjugate. Every act of racism is a deeply personal act with an end result: the unmooring diminishment of the person who is its target. If you have suffered that kind of erasure, you are less likely to know who you are or where you live.

2. Via The Guardian, this is somewhat insane, huge neolithic shafts were found about 2 miles away from Stonehenge, these shafts were are in a circle and go around the Durrington Walls. This was all built 4,500 years ago. Sometimes when you think that every square inch of this world has been kicked or viewed and then you discover 15′ shafts around Stonehenge that were dug with stone and bone. As an aside, did you know that the word “henge” is a thing? A henge is a prehistoric monument consisting of a circle of stone or wooden uprights.

3. Via the Bitter Southerner, two residents of Richmond and history professors, one African-American and one white, opine on the removal of confederate statues.

The proposed removal of Lee’s statue is an opportunity. It’s a chance for freedom to break through the dark clouds of oppression that the statues on Monument Avenue cast over us every day. But to get to that better freedom – a freedom that reflects our historical and contemporary diversity – I hope that after the Lee statue is removed we can pause, stand together, and look at those empty pedestals.

Empty pedestals are powerful symbols. In Prague during the Cold War, an empty pedestal that once supported a statue to Czechoslavak president Tomas Masaryk reminded people living under Soviet rule that they would one day emerge from the oppressiveness of an authoritarian regime.

Empty pedestals can serve a similar function in Richmond, and around the country. History won’t be erased after Lee’s statue joins the recently toppled statues of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis and the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus. For centuries, these structures supported white supremacy and obscured historical truths. Empty pedestals represent opportunities for us to grapple with history’s light and darkness. They are invitations to empathize with the perspectives of people previously marginalized from the interpretation of the past. As Edward Ayers, the Tucker-Boatwright Professor of Humanities at the University of Richmond told me, “What matters now is what we all do with what remains. We don’t have a blank slate or a clean sheet of paper on which to draw our plans, but history never does.”

4. I wish I could find this video, but a year or so ago, I ran across this New Zealander, who was living in Florida, and pointing out all of the differences between New Zealand and the U.S. One of the differences was that people get really worked up about politics. That’s not to say that people don’t care about things in New Zealand, but maybe here in the U.S. people are so much more zealous about the politics. I’m not using “zeal” in a good way here. Maybe we could just sort of chill the damn hell out.

He also wondered why there were not more roundabouts and clotheslines in the U.S. I put up a clothesline this spring and now I’m doing my laundry on cold wash and drying my clothes, and well, yeah, we need more clotheslines. I have no control over roundabouts.

5. It’ll all work out in the end.

Saturday Morning Links

1. I’ve never heard of the artist, Richard Pettibon and Victory Journal profiles him. His art is almost comic-like, except for his work on waves, which are incredibly serene to me and different than his other work.

2. Via Texas Monthly’s Wes Ferguson writes about a Mexican village, Nacimiento de los Negros in Coahuila, just south of Eagle Pass, that celebrates Juneteenth. Mexico had outlawed slavery decades before so many African-Americans made their way to Mexico:

Although few black people remain in northern Mexico, the region was once home to thousands who escaped slavery in the United States. Mexico outlawed slavery in 1829, an underlying factor in Texas’s declaration of independence seven years later. In 1836, there were an estimated 5,000 slaves in Texas, a number that ballooned by 1860 to 182,500—more than 30 percent of the state’s population.

Freedom lay just across the Rio Grande. Maria Esther Hammack, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, estimates that as many as 10,000 slaves followed a clandestine Southern Underground Railroad to Mexico. Most of them fled from Texas, but she’s found evidence of slaves escaping to Mexico from as far away as North Carolina.

Of all things, Nacimiento means “birth” in Spanish.

3. My friend Travis Hale write this about his journey figuring out what Black Lives Matter has evolved over time with him.

4. Bicycling’s Peter Flax writes about Leo Rodgers, a bicyclist who lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident, “My purpose in life is some kind of inspiration,” he says. “I’m working on it.”


Saturday Morning Links

1. I love the ocean.

2. A terrific story from The Ringer on Indiana Jones’ fedora.

The director, who had worked with Landis on 1941, showed her a colored-pencil sketch, an elementary-style portrait of the archaeologist complete with a fedora, brown jacket, and boots. The idea for the character was further sharpened after the pair watched The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Secret of the Incas, and The Greatest Show on Earth, movies whose leading men, Humphrey Bogart and Charlton Heston, all sported classic, midcentury fedoras. Eventually, everyone in production had a clear vision for Indiana Jones. “If you look at Charlton Heston [in Incas], he had the three or four days’ stubble beard and the same look,” executive producer Howard Kazanjian says. “We weren’t copying that, but there was very little in [our] picture that was new.”

3. From almost a year ago via OutsideOnline, how Shenandoah National Park is dealing with its racist past:

In the summer of 1937, J. Ralph Lassiter, Shenandoah’s first superintendent, received a distraught letter from a staff member at the Department of the Interior. “There is a growing demand for picnic areas for colored people,” wrote the Interior staff member. “Two bus loads are going up tomorrow and they have to be fitted into camping places for white people. This is not a good condition.”

Park employees agreed. And so the Park Service settled upon a controversial plan: It would create Lewis Mountain, an area with campsites, cabins, and concession facilities, for African Americans. It would simultaneously designate Pinnacles, a popular picnic area, as an officially integrated facility. While never officially stated, it was nonetheless understood that the rest of the park would remain the sole purview of white visitors.

4. Via Sports Illustrated, how Kelly Agnew tried to cheat his way into enurance racing lore by, well, stopping in the port-a-potty. Turns out that Agnew may also be a horrible human being to-boot.

5. What a Roman city would have looked like, including temples, markets, shops, monuments, and theatres, via Gizmodo.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Via Statesider is the story of Crane Creek and how in the 1920’s that creek was stocked with McCloud trout, which is supposedly only supposed to be found in California:

Legend has it that in the 1800s a railcar was carrying a load of rainbow trout from the McCloud River in California to the east coast. The train broke down on the tracks that ran through Crane. Panicked, the railway workers knew they had to get the trout to colder water or they would soon die, costing not only the company money, but also costing nature a very precious commodity. They decided to transport as many trout as possible to Crane Creek for their best chance of survival. It was at this point that the creek became home to a wild species of trout that anglers dedicate their lives to catching.

Now, some quick research will tell you that the Missouri Department of Conservation stocked this creek with the McClouds until the early 1920s. What is astonishing is that these trout have survived here since that time. Most rainbow trout’s ideal water temperature is between 45 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, but Crane Creek can exceed 70 degrees during the warmer parts of the Missouri summer. Despite the overwhelming odds against them, the McCloud rainbows have thrived in this small, too-warm creek, far from home, and they are some of the strongest, smartest fish that an angler may catch in their life.

2. Via New Yorker, the actual moment the dinosaurs died:

n August 5, 2013, I received an e-mail from a graduate student named Robert DePalma. I had never met DePalma, but we had corresponded on paleontological matters for years, ever since he had read a novel I’d written that centered on the discovery of a fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex killed by the KT impact. “I have made an incredible and unprecedented discovery,” he wrote me, from a truck stop in Bowman, North Dakota. “It is extremely confidential and only three others know of it at the moment, all of them close colleagues.” He went on, “It is far more unique and far rarer than any simple dinosaur discovery. I would prefer not outlining the details via e-mail, if possible.” He gave me his cell-phone number and a time to call.

I called, and he told me that he had discovered a site like the one I’d imagined in my novel, which contained, among other things, direct victims of the catastrophe. At first, I was skeptical. DePalma was a scientific nobody, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas, and he said that he had found the site with no institutional backing and no collaborators. I thought that he was likely exaggerating, or that he might even be crazy. (Paleontology has more than its share of unusual people.) But I was intrigued enough to get on a plane to North Dakota to see for myself.

3. This is more fun history stuff, via Smithsonian Mag, 4,000 people living in a town/city in Scotland in the 3rd century:

Radiocarbon dating indicates that the fort, known as Tap O’ Noth (also the name of the hill on which it stands), was constructed between the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., according to a University of Aberdeen statement. Settlement on the hill itself dates back to the third century, meaning its early inhabitants were likely the Picts, a group of skilled farmers whose military and artistic accomplishments have been obfuscated by their lack of written records.

Drawn from a combination of drone surveys, laser-generated topographical maps and radiocarbon dating, the findings upend “the narrative of this whole time period,” says archaeologist and lead researcher Gordon Noble in the statement. “If each of the [800] huts we identified had four or five people living in them then that means there was a population of upwards of 4,000 people living on the hill.”


5. Usually finding something for the 5th item is pretty easy. It’s been a bad week. Maybe it is a good week. I don’t know. I wrote on Staking The Plains that basically if you are friends with me or align with me then we’re making a deal to look after each other (and our kids) and to speak up when people are not being treated appropriately. That’s the deal that we’re making and that’s the deal I’m making with you. That is at the very least you could do. There’s a huge part of me that feels guilty for not speaking up more. I’ve had multiple conversations with my kids and I think it starts there. Love you all.