Rockford, Illinois, USA
February 05
I'm a regular middle aged guy, living in a regular middle class neighborhood, in a regular middle-sized community in the middle of America. I am an expatriate Texan transplanted to the Midwest, and wondering how I got here, and where I'm headed.

Procopius's Links
Editor’s Pick
JULY 16, 2012 10:05AM

Drought in the Corn Belt

It’s beginning to be a big story in the national news, but it’s been the subject of conversation in Illinois for most of the summer.  This state, and the entire Midwest Corn Belt, is under a severe drought.  Its impact will be felt soon, not only in the United States, but… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 2, 2012 8:49AM

April 2, 1917: When America Joined the World


ww1 article



On this date 95 years ago, America set aside its isolationist heritage and, for better or worse, became a full-fledged member of the international oecumene.  It was on April 2, 1917, that President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a formal declaration of war agains… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 9, 2011 2:21PM

I Should Be Dead

The first house I lived in was one block from a brand new Interstate highway.  Once when I was about two or three years old, I wandered from our unfenced back yard and started walking along the shoulder of the highway.  A neighbor happened to drive by.  He picked me up… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 5, 2011 10:44AM

Gingrich Will Be the GOP Nominee

Newt Gingrich will be the Republican nominee for president.  Why?  Because Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and the GOP primary/caucus schedule favors a non-Mormon candidate.

White Evangelical Christians are perhaps the strongest, most loyal constituency of the Republican Party.  That is Ro… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 15, 2011 7:29AM

Today in History: America's First National Government

On November 15, 1781, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, the first governmental framework for the new United States of America.  Prior to the Articles of Confederation, there was no written set of laws applicable to all Americans.  Each state was complete… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 9, 2011 10:21PM

Rowing the Rock River Regatta

This past weekend, some 1,700 men and women gathered in Rockford, Illinois, to take part in one of the more obscure, yet fun and colorful sporting events one could ever hope to witness.  Sunday marked the 26th annual Head of the Rock Regatta, when athletes from across the nation gather to… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 5, 2011 11:45AM

Observations on the State of Education

Some who read my blog may know that I made a career change to teaching a few years ago.  I will be the first to admit that I am not an expert in the state of education in America.  In fact, I’m not even a full-time teacher, yet.  I was not… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 13, 2011 7:27PM

Cold War Memories




I just watched the trailer for the upcoming film, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”, based on the John le Carre novel of the same name.  Many, if not most readers of this post will surely be familiar with the book, although I would understand if you never actually… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 31, 2011 8:44AM

Today in History: The Movies!



edison projecting kinetoscope
Thomas Edison's projecting kinetoscope, also called a kinetographic camera

On August 31, 1897, Thomas Edison patented his kinetographic camera, the forerunner of the modern motion picture film projector.  Edison’s was not the first motion picture camera.&nbsRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 25, 2011 12:14PM

Man-Made Disasters and Pandering Politicians

        Yes, we'll gather at the river,

        the beautiful, the beautiful river;

        gather with the saints at the river

        that flows by the th/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 11, 2011 1:17PM

This Year's Bike Ride - Southwest Wisconsin

I come from a family that likes to ride bicycles.  Admittably, I don’t have the stamina of my siblings. My sister rides – and runs – competitively, and thinks nothing of cycling along the roller coaster roads of the Appalachians or the Canadian Rockies.  My brother rides t… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 5, 2011 2:45PM

The Last Hapsburg

It was one of those little blurbs that appear as a sidebar below the fold on the back pages of the newspaper.  It is a story that doesn’t really bear much relevance to current world affairs, and no one would feel deprived if it never made it to print.  Still, it… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 15, 2011 3:00PM

Me and Dad and the Rattlesnake

When I was about 12 or 13 years old I received a .22 gauge bolt action rifle for Christmas.  People who hear this little fact generally respond in one of two ways.  Some will be shocked that a child that young would be entrusted with a rifle, even a small one… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 6, 2011 9:54AM


Erosion.  Anyone familiar with my blog might wonder why I would put out a post on something like erosion.  After all, the majority of my blog entries deal with history, not ecological issues.  The fact is, history cannot be separated from ecology.  Ecology has been one of the grea… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 13, 2011 8:42AM

Today in History: The Death of John Jefferson Williams

A wave of patriotic fervor swept across the northern tier of states that summer of 1863.  It was the summer that saved the Union.  The offensive capabilities of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had been crushed during the three days of hell that ended on July 3 outside Gettys… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 8, 2011 4:03PM

A Walk along Urban Train Tracks

I was bored.  It was a cloudy, blustery spring day, far colder than the calendar would suggest.  It was the kind of day best spent indoors.  Nevertheless, I was suffering from a near terminal case of cabin fever.  I needed to get out and do something.  Then the wild idea hit… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 29, 2011 9:40AM

I Am Not an American, Oh No!


Well, I predicted it.  A few days ago I commented on a post  by OS’s own star blogger, designanator, in which he stated that Obama’s release of the “long form” birth certificate would finally put the entire birther “controversy” to rest.  Only… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 1, 2011 10:19AM

The Chicago Mini-Tribune

I’m really glad I don’t work for a newspaper.  I would hate to work in a profession that just barely limps along while the front office takes desperate measures to keep the enterprise afloat against seemingly insurmountable economic trends.  In the past two years we’ve see… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 26, 2011 5:13PM

Substitute Teaching in an Inner City School

Anyone feeling overly optimistic about the future of America need only take a substitute teaching job in an inner city public school, and your optimism will very quickly blow away like pinching blood-red sand in a West Texas dust storm.

Two weeks ago I began filling in for… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 3, 2011 5:15PM

Geographic Disconnects in the Movies

One of the little things about the movies that bothers me is the fact that Hollywood seems to believe that virtually every noteworthy event that took place in the 19th century American West happened either in the deserts of the Southwest, or in the shadow of the highest peaks of… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 28, 2011 7:22PM

Frank Buckles, Last Combat Veteran of WWI, Has Died

The last combat veteran of World War I  has died.  Frank Buckles, a volunteer with the American Expeditionary Forces, passed away at the age of 110.  I have mentioned Buckles in a few of my previous posts, here and here.  Buckles was born in Missouri, and later moved to West Virgi… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 10, 2011 10:53AM

Breaking News Updated: Mubarek's Hubris

Of course, now we know that Mubarek's 30 years of autocratic rule has blinded him to the will of the masses.  What hubris those years have wrought.  Tonight, as thousands march toward the Presidential Palace, the fate of dictators throughout the Mideast and Arab World hangs on the brink.&nb… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 24, 2011 12:28PM

The Transient Beauty and Whimsy of Snow Sculpture

Each winter, Rockford hosts the annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition.  This is the third largest public festival held in our city, and it attracts nearly 100,000 visits every year. There are 35 teams competing in this event, and it is divided into a professional competition and a school co… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 21, 2011 12:34PM

Are We a Nation of Wimps?

I was woken up at 5:00 AM this morning by an automated telephone call letting me know that the local schools would be closed today due to extreme weather conditions.  Expecting to see a raging blizzard outside, I was rather surprised to notice that my sidewalk was still well cleared of… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 10, 2011 8:27AM

Jan. 10, 1901: When the 20th Century Really Began

In 50 or 100 years, when historians look back on the 20th century, several things will stand out.  It was the century of world-wide total war.  It was the century of racial and national genocide.  It was the century of ideological competition.  It was “the American century&r… Read full post »