How Opera, Fairy Tales, Trees, and Lullabies Led to Nazism

Sea of Ice (Das Eismeer), Caspar David Friedrich, 1823-1824.

Midnight in Paris–a film that takes us back to Jazz Age Paris and the Lost Generation. And then the city in the Belle Epoque. It could just as well have been turn-of-the-century Vienna, 1950s New York, Victorian London, Hollywood in the silver screen era, or the Silicon Valley in the 70s.  Today, I want to share part one of a favorite, and often overlooked, example of this idea–the idea that a time and a place so captures and consumes an age, it changes history so utterly, for better or worse or both. Germany in the mid-19th century “Romantic” period did just that, with beautiful, and sometimes terrifying, ideas.

Continue reading “How Opera, Fairy Tales, Trees, and Lullabies Led to Nazism”

Monday at the Museum: 14 X-planes at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force


The “X” classification in research and development simply marks an invention’s current use as “experimental.” Some such inventions make it beyond that stage; the majority of those that follow did not. Whatever their contributions to aeronautics in the United States, these X-planes can be appreciated for their interesting designs.

Continue reading “Monday at the Museum: 14 X-planes at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force”

When Love of the Game Erupted into Utter Pandemonium

MAD Magazine, by Al Jaffee. June 1974.

Sometimes sports bring out the best in humanity. But more often than bringing out our best, sports bring out the worst–or, simply, the crazy. 70s-era baseball might just take the cake for “most fanatical followers,” or could at least win award for “most likely to rage.” The following three vignettes demonstrate a penchant for mob mentality in the stadium, given the right circumstances.

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The Unsung Concept Artist Behind Disney’s Mid-Century Blockbusters

Concept art for Johnny Appleseed, Mary Blair, c. 1948. Source: The Magic of Mary Blair

Disney’s teams of animators and designers are known around the world for their unparalleled creative, innovative artistic vision and, historically, most of these great talents were men. But as it turns out, one of the most influential concept artists in the Disney arsenal was a woman named Mary Blair. Disney lovers everywhere have her to thank for the amazing imagery of well-loved mid-century favorites and one of Disney World’s most iconic rides. Continue reading “The Unsung Concept Artist Behind Disney’s Mid-Century Blockbusters”

God’s Giants in China

China Inland Mission’s Shanghai headquarters in the late 1800s. Source: Wikipedia.

Many people today know and support the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), but few may know its past–a past dedicated specifically to China. Previously the China Inland Mission (CIM), it led thousands to Christ under near-constant persecution resulting in internment, torture, and death for many of the missionaries as they faced the Boxer Rebellion, the Xinhai revolution, decades-long conflict between nationalists and communists, the communist revolution, and the Japanese occupation over the course of CIM’s presence in China for nearly 100 years. Continue reading “God’s Giants in China”

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