Entries by Brian Halpin

MC5 and the Multi-Ethnic Roots of Punk Music

  Some people think the English invented punk rock in the mid-1970s with bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash.  Good bands.  Bad history. Others think that punk was born somewhat earlier in CBGB’s nightclub in New York, with groups like The Ramones.  Maybe? Still others find the roots of punk in American garage […]

I’m No Saint

  A “saint” who was never made a saint by the church which claims him. Culturally he was almost certainly a Welshman.  Or more specifically, he was “Romano-Welsh”, born in about 386 CE to wealthy parents who lived and prospered at the outer British fringe of the Roman Empire. In 386 CE, Wales encompassed lands […]

AI With A Whiskey Chaser

      Widespread use of large language model AI is going to distort public education, research, and general knowledge in ways scarcely imaginable. Most people are utterly unaware that even an “old-fashioned” Google search is subject to opaque ranking methods and keyword “auctions” which affect the search results we see. Large language model AI […]

Home Is Where The Heart Is

  Henry Louis Bouquet was born in Switzerland in 1719. Joining the military at the age of 17, he served the Dutch Republic and the Kingdom of Sardinia before fetching-up on the shores of North America, where he achieved the rank of Colonel during the Seven Years War (1756-1763). This conflict could quite rightly be […]

A Lone Star State of Mind

  Britain and the USA support the “right” of people to re-occupy an Eastern Mediterranean land lost to the Romans over TWO THOUSAND years ago. Yet meanwhile, The Great Orange Buffoon pledged during his disastrous term in office to build a wall to stop Mexicans entering a land which was MEXICAN much less than TWO […]

Bookburners

  In 1969, I started first grade in one school, moved house for the fifth time in two years, got pneumonia, and finished first grade in another school. I think my love of books began with that severe bout of pneumonia aged 5, which kept me bedbound for some time. Color TV was for families […]

Oblivious

  It starts when we are children. Adults lead by example, paying attention to certain things, and ignoring others. By the time we grow up, we have an almost completely subconscious, in-built hierarchy of what should be seen as “important”. The rest becomes invisible. On their first day in the history classes I used to […]

Critical Race Theory for Beginners

  I must confess, as someone who hasn’t lived as a person of color in America, I am often a little unsure about how to support or celebrate Black History Month. It seems almost odd to even need to point out the innumerable achievements of people of color, when such things should be obvious to […]

“Better Call Saul”, Rhea Seehorn, and the “Black Dutch”

  Finally got around to watching “Better Call Saul“. Loved every minute of it. When you do what I do, it’s impossible to watch credits without noticing surnames, and going “Ah! I know something about that person’s family history”. The lead character Jimmy McGill is played by Bob Odenkirk, whose German and Irish background comes […]

Bleeding Kansas and Transgenerational Morality

  Use discretion: mentions of graphic violence   It has become more and more common for people to accept the idea of trangenerational trauma.  This is a step in the right direction. Studies published over the past decade have shown how poverty, for example, causes our limbic systems to feed a constant stream of stress […]