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Some things I’ve been reading

It’s been a while since I did a book review, so here’s what I’ve read so far in 2023.

My thoughts on the local paper

On May 17, I sat down in the middle of the night to record my thoughts on the state of the local paper, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, and share a little bit what it was like to work there.

They Thought They Were Free

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking about a book I read a while back, “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45.” There is an excerpt I thought I would share.

If you’re not familiar with the book, August Heckscher, the chief writer of editorials of the New York Herald Tribune, wrote the book “suggests how easy it is for human beings in any society to fall prey to a dynamic political movement, provided their lives are sufficiently insecure, frustrated or empty.”

So, I’m a podcaster now

For the past few years, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a podcast about history, particularly, the history of western Nebraska. The biggest factor holding me back was whether I should do it alone and whether my mental health issues would allow for such a committment. From 2020 to 2021, I really wasn’t in a place where I could do much of anything. I was functioning on the most basic of levels and could barely do anything except go to work and sleep.

Throughout the course of 2022, this all changed. I haven’t spoken much about what I did in 2022 for my mental health and how I worked on my PTSD, but I made significant changes and progress in that area, which I will, eventually, write about.

Today, however, I am pleased to announce the launch of a new podcast, Storytelling on the Plains. My friend, Conner, and I have been working for several months on our plan, creating a story list, researching, writing, and recording. Our first podcast went live yesterday.

Let people have their joy

Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress.

Until last Thursday, I didn’t know Lizzo existed. Until last week, I didn’t know President James Madison owned a crystal flute. I did know, however, people will get riled up over the dumbest shit on the planet.

Monday Musings: Other writings

The inside of the Buddhist shrine at the Japanese Hall in Gering.

For most of my time working at the Scottsbluff Star-Herald newspaper, I didn’t have much of a fear about what would happen to my stories once I turned them in. The rule goes “the editor can, and sometimes will, change your story.”

It’s time to stand against religion before it’s too late

About three months ago, I had a conversation with someone about religion. I told this person about another conversation I had with a friend about the dark and dangerous turn America has taken. My friend remarked they were ready to leave the country permanently if the loud minority of conservative evangelical Christians get to have everything they want.

My friend worried these Christian Nationalists would come for people like me and him. I, too, have had these worries for quite some time. We’ve seen it time and again with authoritarian regimes. The intellectuals, the educated, the atheists, anyone who stands counter to what they demand are rounded up and executed.

I told the person I was having a conversation with there was still hope in the back of my mind that Americans would rise up against Christian Nationalism, but I’m not entirely sure this will happen. I also mentioned I do not like Christianity nor many of its adherents. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I wish I didn’t, but I do.

What I will be reading in 2022

Each January, I gather together suggestions for books and make a list of the things I want to read. I typically read 18-24 books a year, plus scientific studies and podcasts as they come along, but the past two years have been a bit difficult for me and my focus was not quite there. This year, I’ve gathered 10 books. If I can get back on track, I’ll be finished with them halfway through 2022, but I want to be realistic in my goals, so this list is a good way to achieve it.

How I’m filling my time

One of the things I enjoy in life is learning. Since deleting my social media accounts, I’ve had time to do more of what I love. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve read in the last couple of weeks. I hope you find something enjoyable.

A summer of blood and despair

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