EppsNet Archive: History

Twitter: 2010-08-16


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to retweet it. # Read more →

Miep Gies, 1909-2010


AMSTERDAM – Miep Gies, the office secretary who defied the Nazi occupiers to hide Anne Frank and her family for two years and saved the teenager’s diary, has died, the Anne Frank Museum said Tuesday. She was 100. “I don’t want to be considered a hero,” she said in a 1997 online chat with schoolchildren. “Imagine young people would grow up with the feeling that you have to be a hero to do your human duty. I am afraid nobody would ever help other people, because who is a hero? I was not. I was just an ordinary housewife and secretary.” — msnbc.com Read more →

Hotel California


I’m reading one of those “year in history” things for 1976 — Legionnaire’s Disease, Apple Computer founded, Hotel California released . . . wait a minute . . . Hotel California was released in nineteen-SEVENTY-SIX?! Oh my gosh . . . oh my gosh . . . As a sidebar, I’m disappointed in the Eagles for signing Michael Vick. Does he even play an instrument? Read more →

Lightning’s Book Reviews: Don’t Know Much About History


Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning! My owner’s son has this book for his AP U.S. History class. You should read it! The title — Don’t Know Much About History — makes you think of the famous song by Sam Cooke, so right away you want to know more about it! History is fascinating! For example, did you know that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor had ELEVEN pugs?! The Duke used to be the King of England but he had to “adbdicate” (that means quit) so he’d have enough time to walk all of his dogs. I hope that fact is in the book! — Lightning Read more →

Thomas Jefferson Wishes You a Happy Fourth


My fellow Americans — Happy Independence Day to all of you! Please take a few minutes on this day to look at a wonderful history lesson — about me! — by Maira Kalman, in which you’ll learn, among other things, that I actually wrote the Declaration of Independence! Thanks, Tom Read more →

Crucial Conversations


I know my son had a history test today, and that history is a make-or-break class for him. I want to ask him about the test but we’re having a delicious family meal at Olive Garden and I don’t want to break up the festive mood in the event the news turns out to be bad. I decide to ease into it with some small talk . . . “So, how was recess today?” o_O (BLANK STARE) I continue, “I know you had a history test today but rather than get right into that, I thought we could start with some small talk about recess.” He says, “I haven’t had recess since 6th grade.” “Oh. In that case, how was the history test?” Read more →

Failure is an Orphan


For centuries, historians have debated whether history is propelled by Great Men (and Women), human forces of nature who bend events and systems to their will, or by vast impersonal forces (communism, capitalism, globalization) that render even the most powerful of us a mere reed basket floating in a massive river. There’s no session on the subject at the World Economic Forum in Davos. But at least with regard to finance and business, the consensus seems to be clear: Success is the work of Great Men and Great Women, while failure can be pinned on the system. — Daniel Gross, “Why the world’s economic leaders blame the catastrophe on the system instead of themselves” Read more →

How to Get an A in Honors History


First semester grades are out. My son missed getting straight A’s by a point and a half. He had an 88.5 in honors history. He got an A in honors English with a 90.14. The honors classes at Northwood are very demanding. Even the best students get low A’s and high B’s. Three kids got A’s in the history class. The high score was a 91.1. “The 91.1 is Ted,” my son says. We know Ted. “Ted is history. He’s bad at math, average in English, but he knows everything there is to know about history.” “Make sure you touch base with the history teacher,” I say. “Let him know you’re really doing your best for him and ask him what you need to do to get that extra point and a half this semester. He’ll tell you.” “He’ll say, ‘Study hard, get a good score on all the assignments,… Read more →

Thomas Jefferson’s Election Blog


Firstly, I’d like to thank Paul Epps for giving me this space on his web site to express my humble views. He is a real American. What concerns me today is that a candidate for president, Barack Obama, has said that he wants to “spread the wealth around” in America. It was a long time ago, but let me remind those of you who didn’t pay attention in history class that we founded this country as a rebellion against a too-powerful government. We believed in — and fought for — self-reliance and freedom, including the economic freedom to earn a dollar and spend it any way you want to. When someone tells you that he is going to decide how much money you can earn before he starts taking it away from you and giving it to someone else, that man is a scoundrel. And when Americans — the descendants… Read more →

Have We Lost Perspective?


I get very, very frustrated when I . . . hear certain Americans talk about how difficult the problems we face are, how overwhelming they are, what a dangerous era we live in. I think we’ve lost perspective. We’ve always had difficult problems, we’ve always had great challenges, and we’ve always lived in danger. Do we think our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents didn’t live in danger and didn’t have difficult problems? Do we think the Second World War was less difficult that our struggle with Islamic terrorism? Do we think that the Great Depression was a less difficult economic struggle for people to face than the struggles we’re facing now? Have we entirely lost perspective of the great challenges America has faced in the past and has been able to overcome and overcome brilliantly? I think sometimes we have lost that perspective. — Rudy Giuliani Read more →

It Seems Obvious in Retrospect . . .


. . . but something I just learned is that area codes were originally assigned according to the population density of the city or region, with the lowest numbers going to the most populous areas. Keeping in mind that phones in those days had rotary dials, and higher numbers therefore took longer to dial, the thinking was that areas with the most people should be the easiest to call. That’s why New York City got area code 212, Chicago got 312, Los Angeles got 213, etc. (Zero actually counts as a high number — a 10, essentially — because it takes the longest to dial.) Conversely, the area code for the entire state of Alaska was (and still is) 907. Read more →

Go Tell the Spartans to Program a Football Game


I ponied up the 50 bucks to join the XNA Creators Club and so far I’ve been able to code and deploy some rudimentary 2-D games on our Xbox 360. “Can you program a football game?” my son asks. “No . . . first of all, I’m just learning this stuff, and second, you can’t expect one person to duplicate the efforts of dozens of people over a period of years.” “Haven’t you ever heard of The 300?” he shouts. “Yeah. They all died.” “But they gave a valiant effort!“ Read more →

Blast from the Past


After winning 11 state primaries in a field of 16 contenders, I won the Democratic presidential nomination. I then lost the general election to President Nixon. Indeed, the entrenched incumbent president, with a campaign budget 10 times the size of mine, the power of the White House behind him and a highly negative and unethical campaign, defeated me overwhelmingly. But lest [Dick] Cheney has forgotten, a few months after the election, investigations by the Senate and an impeachment proceeding in the House forced Nixon to become the only president in American history to resign the presidency in disgrace. Who was the real loser of ’72? — George McGovern   Wow, that is a provocative question. It really made us wonder if we’ve been wrong all these years. Accordingly, we went back and checked. Turns out the real loser was McGovern, just as we had thought! — Best of the Web… Read more →

Casey Goes to Washington


Pictures from my son’s 8th grade trip to Washington, DC. Read more →

Massive Accountability


Maybe you’ve noticed that most software sucks. Maybe you’ve wondered — if you work in the software business — why our aspirations are so low compared with the possibilities of our profession. Maybe you’ve wondered what, if anything, could be done about this. Here’s a fun story about the benefits of really holding people accountable for the shoddy quality of their work. In The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain wrote about King Xerxes, who in the 5th Century BC ordered a bridge of boats to be built across the Hellespont: A moderate gale destroyed the flimsy structure, and the King, thinking that to publicly rebuke the contractors might have a good effect on the next set, called them out before the army and had them beheaded. In the next ten minutes he let a new contract for the bridge. It has been observed by ancient writers that the second bridge was… Read more →

Between the Two of Us, We Know a Lot of Stuff


My boy repeats something he just heard on the Angels-Twins telecast: “The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.” Sensing a teaching moment, I ask him, “Do you know who Hubert H. Humphrey is?” “No,” he says. “But you do, so it’s all right.” Read more →

A Pessimist Looks at History


…Let me get this straight, we sent how many tanks and planes over there, it’s already been one full day and they still haven’t made it off of those beaches. Give me a break. How much money is being spent on that army again? Well I know I won’t be cheering for the abolition of fascism in Europe if this continues… — Posted on June 7, 1944 Read more →

One Thing We Agree On


The West reveals here a hatred of itself, which is strange and can be only considered pathological; the West is laudably trying to open itself, full of understanding, to external values, but it no longer loves itself; in its own history, it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. — Pope Benedict XIV, “If Europe hates itself” Read more →

Frequently Wrong But Never in Doubt


Absolute moral certitude through the ages I read today where someone called the new pope, Benedict XVI, “a tremendous intellect” because he speaks 10 languages and has written 40 books. I don’t know if that’s true, but let’s say it is. What are the 40 books about? His unquestioned acceptance of everything he’s ever been told? Read more →

St. Patrick in Action


A little-known sketch of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland . . . Read more →

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