Blackbeard and History: What’s a Pirate?

Blackbeard’s reputation today comes from folk tales of the time and the works of authors and movie makers who never saw him, and who never understood the importance of international trade to isolated small settlements like the American colonies. Blackbeard was a hero to the people who knew him. All the glamor of pirate sex and violence was invented much later by Hollywood and its imitators.

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Fix the Computer?

My kitchen computer last Saturday stopped working.  The screen went black and the only action it showed came from my mouse, showing up as a white arrow. The computer wasn’t particularly old, but had a checkered past.  It came into my possession as a replacement for a...

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Eating with Children and Smart Phones

But food has changed.  Our older grandchildren and their parents are various forms of “Vegan.” I’m not sure what that means, except if you’re used to milk, eggs, cheese and meat you won’t find that stuff in the refrigerator. Our younger grandchildren eat everything and anything and their refrigerator is stuffed to capacity; an extra refrigerator/freezer, also full, is in their garage. None of our grandchildren, Vegan or otherwise, would attempt to create an evening meal.

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Heroes v. Villains

Novels need heroes and villains.  Their conflicts make the stories move. Unfortunately, the reader generally imagines the extremes.  Washington , in the revolutionary period, is the ultimate hero. On the other hand, we really don’t exactly know what villains looked like.  We imagine true villains as dark with deep wheezing voices, like Darth Vader.

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Can Ideas Be Downloaded from Machines?

The cloud won’t contain any letters, those emotional and rational thoughts and statements that people struggled to put in writing in their best penmanship. It will just hold tweets and re-tweets. Where will our history and values come from, when everything we see and know migrates to the cloud?

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On the Road with Blackbeard

Tall ships were in the harbor, and Hampton’s Blackbeard Festival planned a parade and pirate invasion. The city was full of toddlers and parents wheeling strollers. Preschoolers wore eye-patches. And I was there, in the Hampton History Museum, for my first...

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42d Street

Though I’d already seen it several times, in February I attended a performance of the musical Forty-Second Street. I’d always enjoyed the songs and the tap dancing, but also wondered why the producers thought this old movie musical, of all the great musicals of the...

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Eye Patch Ready: Blackbeard’s Legacy Press Interview

Last week I was interviewed by Natalie Joseph, reporter with the Daily Press about my forthcoming presentation at the Blackbeard Festival on June 3. Here is the article: Natalie Joseph, Contact Reporter njoseph@dailypress.com May 30, 2017, 12:10 PM It's still a few...

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