This is the archive page for the category [History]; below you should see headlines and summaries of all entries found here on the subject. Click the appropriate link at each to read the entire entry.
Why I'm quitting Facebook: Or, Welcome to 22015 AA. | October 8, 2015
Today at my personal journal, all the reasons I've decided to quit Facebook for good at the end of this year, and what this has to do with the invention of agriculture 22,000 years ago.
Ghaddafi, Sheen and the Collective American Punishment. | March 6, 2011
What does Charlie Sheen have to do with civil war in Libya, the lasting legacy of Bush, payday loan centers in bad neighborhoods, France in the 1950s, and how the economic meltdown is all your fault? Click through to find out. J'accuse!
Regarding "Walden," Lincoln Park, and middle-aged hippie pussies. | November 21, 2010
As part of an essay project at my arts center, I recently read Thoreau's "Walden" for the first time since high school, which got me to thinking of Chicago's Lincoln Park and why I seem to enjoy rural surroundings so much more now at middle-age than in my youth. Today, those thoughts, plus plenty of photos of the park itself.
My Summer of Museums. | July 18, 2010
My summer project this year is to revisit Chicago's twelve largest museums; as of this weekend I've now visited four of them, including the "Big Three" at Museum Campus (the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History). Today, a photo-heavy look at my trips, and the subjects they've had me thinking about this summer.
Time again for a little fortune-telling. | July 10, 2009
A reader asked me recently when I was going to do another journal entry on futurism; and that's all it took for me to sit down and write it. Today, detailed thoughts on what I think is coming in America's next "era" (25 to 75 years), "age" (marked by technological change), "period" (marked by philosophical change), and "epoch" (as in we're in the middle of the "Scientific" one right now).
Is "Lost" the "Ulysses" of television? | April 5, 2009
I'm trying to get more work these days as a futurist; and that means among other things trying to come up with my own quirky theory about the arts, that I too can write a cultishly popular book about and get invited to South by Freaking Southwest too. Today, first thoughts about that theory, and how it applies to the remarkable developments within the television industry in the last decade.
Introducing the "wikicloud" theory of amateur historical research. | February 8, 2009
Uh-oh; it's another entry just for nerds! Today in fact concerns a new research project I've taken on, to eventually present this summer through my arts center, wherein I read a thousand Wikipedia entries on the subject of the 19th Century then present them in 3D "mind-map" form, or in other words a "cloud" of information. Click through for a lot more on what I mean.
Regarding the demise of television and my new "Grand Unified Theory of the Arts." | January 22, 2009
I haven't really talked about this online yet, but in recent years (since opening my arts center) I've been slowly coming up with a new "Grand Unified Theory" about the arts, that every medium in history has actually gone through a remarkably similar series of steps in terms of how it's perceived and used by the general public. Today, my first detailed thoughts on the matter, as it pertains to the history of the television industry.
The end of Bushism. Thank God. | November 9, 2008
I've been trying to write my "Obama Wins" entry this week, but have been having a hard time finding something unique to say about it all. So instead, this entry, on why Obama's victory was also a loud repudiation of Bush and his policies, and why I think he and his cronies are just as guilty of fascism as any Nazi in the 1930s was.
I confess: I've been obsessed with the Beijing Olympic Games. | August 23, 2008
Yes, it's true; like millions of other Americans, I seem to be hooked on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in a way I never have with any other Olympics. Why? Well, that's complicated. Click through for more.
The suburbs. The horror. | August 14, 2008
A recent walk by an abandoned fast-food place in my neighborhood, plus thinking about a recent article in the New Republic that's been getting a lot of attention, gets me thinking of a nightmarish future world centered around half-abandoned, poor-filled suburbs. Click through for more.
Welcome to the Distributed Life. | October 19, 2007
The futurist in me has been recently thinking again of a concept I first came up with a couple of years ago -- the "distributed lifestyle," based on distributed computing, where half your work or school day is instead spent at home with family and technology. Click through for a lot more nerdy goodness!
I created a new phrase: "Global Singular Disorder." | August 25, 2007
For those who don't know, my new role this summer as the owner of an arts center has had me ingesting massive amounts of user-created content around the world; and doing such a thing, I'm convinced, has started profoundly affecting the way I perceive the world itself, as well as my role within it. Today, lots more details on this enigmatic statement.
It's true -- Chicago 2007 is a Victorian science-fiction dream. | August 18, 2007
Yeah, I know I've been talking about this a lot this summer, but a recent bike ride got me thinking yet again about Chicago 150 years ago versus Chicago now, and how it was the persistent vision of many Victorian-Age citizens that created what we have here now. Today, yet MORE on the subject, and why I still believe in the power of these things to transform.
In which the westside parks bring up the age-old question: Are idiots born or made? | June 14, 2007
As regular readers know, earlier this week I went on a bicycle tour of the old West Side Park system here in Chicago, in preparation for a customized bike map I'm making on the subject. And man, was that an awful experience. Today, I explain why.
Dreaming of a green St. Louis. | May 19, 2007
For those who don't know, I've been doing a lot of bicycling lately, around to some of Chicago's historic parks; it's had me thinking a lot about the subject of urban renewal, the future of cities, and especially former Industrial-Age giants like St. Louis where I grew up, which are rapidly turning into ghost towns in this Information Age in which we now live. Today, some thoughts about what can possibly be done.
I've been thinking about Jesus recently. | March 23, 2006
I've been making my way recently through my "read this stuff" box here at home, and in particular a series of lectures by Jewish intellectuals, concerning Christian-Jewish relations. It's had me thinking a lot recently about the subject of Jesus - if he was a real man, what kind of man he might've been, why the Christians and Jews had such a falling-out over him in the first place. Today, my thoughts. Plus: I think I've finally sold my mom on the idea of my arts center, thank God; and, hopefully it'll finally sink in with a bunch of new people today - that I'm holding a reader fundraiser right now. Only $195 to go!
Good Lord - more about Second Life! | March 15, 2006
Good Lord - my fifth day in a row of entries about the alternative-reality videogame "Second Life!" But hey, what can I say - I have yet more things to say about it! Including: an update on my reader fundraiser ($50 raised, $450 to go); more about land ownership, how to build objects, and how this all naturally affects zoning, without there having to be any laws about it; I've started talking with more Linden employees; and more on the serious, academic experiments that can be run within Second Life as well, especially by traditional academic organizations (at a steep price discount too, no less).
More regarding "the conversation." | March 3, 2006
So how interesting is this? A week after proposing a "tag" system here for getting responses to me without commenting, I've stumbled across a group of hiphop DJs in Canada doing the same exact thing! Today, more thoughts on why this might just be the future of online conversation. Plus: Does Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers deserve to have a street named after him?; and won't some sexy little stranger out there help me decide if cybersex is worth the trouble?
More regarding Germany and nationalism. | January 25, 2006
Yesterday's news about the new "Du Bist Deutschland" public-relations campaign prompted a thought from me - "Should we really be encouraging Germans to be proud of their country again in the first place?" Today, why I don't mean this as an insult, but rather as a compliment!
Those angst-filled Germans are at it again. | January 23, 2006
Oh, those angst-filled Germans are up in arms again; they're arguing over who exactly has the right to call themselves a writer in public, and to have an audience. Today, one American's outsider thoughts on the subject, based on two tours now over there myself, hanging out both those times mostly with writers and other intellectuals. Plus: thoughts on the recent "Bleak House" series on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre."
More thoughts about utopian societies. | November 12, 2005
A continuation of yesterday's entry, examining the concept of utopian societies.
I've been thinking about utopian societies. | November 10, 2005
What does King Arthur have to do with BF Skinner? What happened to all those freaky utopian hippie communities that were established in the 1960s? And when will the world finally be rid of Objectivists? All is revealed in today's entry, a critical examination of utopian societies.
More thoughts about Middle-earth. | November 4, 2005
A continuation of yesterday's entry, examining the infinitely complex mythology JRR Tolkien created over the course of his life. Just what is 'mythology,' anyway? Is Middle-earth any less real than, say, Camelot? Or Scottish tartans? 500 years from now, will people be mistaking Lord of the Rings for real history?
What the Irish can teach us about George W. Bush. | July 6, 2005
It's becoming more and more frustrating to be a free-thinking, liberal American every day, it seems, and my bitterness about it all came to a boil on "Independence" Day a couple of days ago. Today, a few thoughts on how Frank McCourt's book "Angela's Ashes" can teach us all to calm down a little.
[story] 175113 | August 4, 1997
An online version of my 1997 story "175113," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1997."