All posts by Jordan Taylor

At 17, I vowed never to live in Virignia, or be a teacher .

Civil War Viewing Homework

Peninsula Campaign

Mins. 10-14 — Lincoln and McClellan

What are the details that clearly indicate the relationship between Lincoln and McClellan?

How do the confederates delay the Union around Yorktown?

Then  23-27:40

How deep is t?

Then from 57:30 to Credits / 1:04

What is the tragic mistake that is made and how does Lee resolve the Peninsula campaign .


Western Campaign

Section on Grant and Shiloh

Mins. 32-50

What is the importance of Shiloh in the West? What is Grant’s strategy?

Get Culture ::: 2013 Edition

Nestled in the valley of Central Virginia, Wayne Lanes of, wait for it, Waynesboro offers all the brash, derlict, and redneck charm so formative of the American enterprise.  Although the jukebox was replete with former subjects of the Queen (and at a pocket-gouging 2 songs for a dollar!), the atmosphere of Wayne Lanes suggests that nothing too formal is going on here.  You rent your neon shoes before you assume a new name on the scoreboard and roll variously weighted balls at 10 symetrically laid out pins.  While baseball might be America’s pastime (or past time?), bowling remains a stubbornly important part of the American idea of leisure and working class culture.  In film, bowling has been used as widely as an organizing principle for hardboiled stoner detective stories or gross-out Amish bowling comedies. More serious treatments have seen bowling as emblematic of a strong middle class community that defined the short American century of prosperity.


After some time on the lanes, you take your strained muscle to a local eatery to refill. No leisure activity could be compete without a feeding, and I like to think we are living up to our national heritage when we indulge in some barbeque. Note Alexis de Tocqueville scolding observations from 1831’s seminal Democracy in America:

At first we found the absence of wine from meals a serious deprivation, and we are still baffled by the sheer quantity of food that people somehow stuff down their gullets. Besides breakfast, dinner, and tea, with which Americans eat ham, they have very copious suppers and often a snack. So far, this is the only respect in which I do not challenge their superiority; they, on the other hand, reckon themselves superior in many ways. People here seem to reek of national pride. It seeps through their politeness.

At the close of the day, we retreated to a farm to let the dogs frolic and do some quality porch-sitting.  I couldn’t help but be drawn to this final piece of quilting:

Was it the home-spun quality? or the pigs? or the public blessing ironically undermined by acknowledging the mess?  Well, it seemed to capture all the “hot mess” qualities I like about America.  Not the classiest, not the smartest, not of the finest quality but the most fun.