Diary of a Not-Wimpy Ambassador

If you found a diary left open and unguarded, conveniently transcribed, digitized and text searchable, would you snoop? If you said “no,” you’re a better person than I am.   When it comes to gleaning insights about the days of yesteryear—to say nothing of tantalizing gossip—you can’t beat diaries and letters (along with certain newspapers). Read More

Bram’s Buddy

Inspired by a recent weekend in Dublin, I’m digging deeper into the story of Bram Stoker. Get ready for vampires! Epic battles between good and evil! And copious amounts of garlic! Whoops, wrong book. Today, he’s renowned around the world as the author of the novel that spawned a thousand teenybopper vampire romances, but in Read More

Lost and Found

My terrible sense of direction reared its ugly head, and I got horribly lost. It’s hard to put into words how awful this makes me feel. It isn’t really that I’m afraid I’ll never find my way (although I suppose that’s a tiny, irrational part), but the sense of helplessness and frustration it evokes. I Read More

Too Much Time on Their Hands

♪ Yeah, I’m sitting by my computer, clicking like a damn fool, Got the 20th-century newspaper blues. And I’ve given up hope for an interesting headline And an amusing story. Is it any wonder I have eye strain? Is it any wonder I have carpal tunnel syndrome? ♪ Well, I’m so tired of reading—I got Read More

The Prince and the Pilot

Loyal readers might recall the story of plant-eating, teetotaling, jiu-jitsu-demonstrating health nut and newspaper darling, Gladys Mason, who went missing somewhere between Chicago and San Francisco on a cross-country trek in 1913. Well, folks, we found her! It turns out, after leaving Chicago, she took a detour to Wisconsin, where she opened a popular burger Read More