Dear Benioff and Weiss… WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?

OK guys, I get it.  George just hasn’t been able to crank out the books fast enough, and now the TV show has caught up to the books, more or less.  So now you no longer have all that juicy source material to work from, you just have whatever tidbits GRRM has given you about where the story is going.  That’s fine.

But guys?  I’m worried.  Frankly, you are starting to scare me a little bit.  Not having Book Six or Book Seven to work from does not mean that you should suddenly become nihilists.  It’s not a race to see who can kill more characters.  Moving the story forward does not mean taking a large metaphorical dump on the hopes and dreams of the fans, ok?

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Today is the anniversary of the worst maritime disaster in American history

It was April 27th, 1865 – 151 years ago today.  And I bet that most people have never even heard of it, even though it killed more people than the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 or the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915.

It was an American steamboat named the Sultana.

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April 15th is another eventful date

Well.  April 15th is another day that it seems like so many things happened throughout history.  And for the most part, it seems like it has been a date on which a lot of truly tragic things happened.  Honestly, I can only think of one really cool thing that happened on this date: it was the day that Jackie Robinson first debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  And as big a fan of baseball as I am, and as happy as I am about how far my favorite sport has come since that time, I can’t help but contrast that event with all the other terrible, tragic things that have happened on this day.

Of course, the most immediate thing for me is that this is the 3rd anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Hard to believe it has already been three years.  But I am glad that Boston had really come together and bounced back.

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Today, April 12, is one of those days when so much happened

Today’s date is a day on which so many things happened, I doubt I can even remember them all.

Of course, it is the day that in 1861 the Civil War started with an artillery bombardment of the Union garrison in Fort Sumter, in the middle of Charleston Harbor.  That’s a gimme for a Civil War historian like me.

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Charleston, the Confederate flag, and the Civil War

It has taken a while for me to process everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks. And truthfully, I am still processing it.

Never, in my life, would I have predicted that the discussion to get rid of the Confederate flag once and for all would begin in Charleston, South Carolina.

The same place where the Civil War began, all those years ago.

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The best GRRM interview I have ever read

Admittedly, I have not read every single interview he has ever given, nor have I watched all of the ones he has given on video, but this interview I read recently on io9 is my hands-down favorite.  No, it isn’t new, but I had not read it until this week.

But it’s fantastic, especially for someone who is interested in writing and wants to see how a famous writer’s mind works.  And I find it just fascinating.

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Denial, or where science and belief collide

I try to not rant too often on our blog, because I prefer to talk about things that are interesting and beautiful and even uplifting.  But sometimes I just feel compelled to do so because the absurdity and stupidity of something really gets to me.  This is one of those times.   So I ask your forgiveness as I indulge my anger a bit.

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Owning the past

The whole mess with Paula Deen has me thinking about a lot of people I knew when I lived in the South.  Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia were all places I spent a lot of time.  And the more I think about it, the more I think the image problem the South has in regards to much of the rest of the country (and even the world, to some extent) is this:

The South (as a region) still hasn’t come to grips with slavery, even now, some 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  Collectively, the South thinks that it has, but really it hasn’t.  I am saying this as someone who was born there and lived there for decades who also happens to be a specialist in the area of 19th century American history.

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Modern marine archaeology

The continual adaptation of modern technology to the discovery of shipwrecks, especially historically significant shipwrecks, is something that fascinates me.  So when I saw this story in Salon about the use of a 3-D sonar to reveal hidden features of a Civil War shipwreck off the coast of Texas, I just had to read it.   And if that sort of thing interests you, go check it out, because I am going to babble about history geek stuff for a little while and you might as well understand what I am talking about.

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