1. The process of reconstructing the past is fascinating, and that’s why I want to spend time working through its complexities and writing history myself. But if I honestly recall what drew me to reading about the past in the first place, it is fiction. Specifically, children’s historical fiction presented as the diaries of girls my age, living through various periods in Canadian and world history.

  2. Across the internet this subplot has been dismissed as inscrutable and interminable, but The Toast is made of sterner stuff. At a moment when the funding of the National Health Service in Britain is under constant debate, and junior doctors are demonstrating in the streets and talking about strike action, it’s worth taking Downton’s invitation to think about the history of paying for medical care.

  3. Aspects of Modern Oxford, by a mere don
    A. D. Godley, 1894

    Kids Today Want Trophies For Everything

    "The undergraduate who has made a speech at the Union, or a century for his college second eleven, wants a printed certificate of his glorious achievements."

  4. It is 1925, and change is coming to Downton. No one who watched Sunday night’s episode could possibly have missed this point. Repeated by numerous characters, it was underscored by the rumors of impending staff reductions at the Abbey -- and even more by the auction held at a neighboring manor house, Mallerton, after its owners have been forced to sell.

  5. Red lipstick is one of the few makeup looks that has always remained current, no matter the era.

  6. Alexander Hamilton was an important figure in American history for many reasons. He was America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, founded the New York Post, and together with his friend and rival Aaron Burr invented rap in 1776.

  7. American society is always interested in what makes us Asian; it is rarely, if ever, interested in what makes us American. If no one understands what can happen when that second half of the term is stripped from us, no one can keep the injustice committed against Japanese Americans from being committed against other communities.

  8. Catherine of Aragon

    I don't know what to tell you, frankly. You were married to Henry for twenty-four years, which apparently wasn't enough time for you to learn his personality, which was easily irritated and soothed. Are you allergic to noticing which way the wind is blowing? Because that's the only explanation I can think of for your self-destructive behavior.

  9. In 1949, when I was five, my cautious Catholic parents bought a movie theatre in a Lutheran-Mennonite village in southern Ontario. My mother later told me they were trying to give my father a break from teaching high school—a rest from the long hours, the conscientious prep and marking, and the stress of dealing with unruly teenagers.

  10. Remember that scene in season five of Buffy where Giles asks Ben if he can move and then tells him that "Buffy's a hero...not like us," emphasis on the us, and Ben says "Us?" and then Giles stares him dead in the eye and deliberately smothers him with his bare hand, because he's going to do something he knows that Buffy should never have to do but that at the same time absolutely has to be done?…

  11. A of all, she definitely was a lesbian, and I'm not going to have this argument with you. She lesbianed all over Great Britain, and every woman she ever lesbianed with made the ultimate mistake of forgetting that Anne was the Queen, the rightful head of God's true church and the lawful ruler of the Empire, ruining their chances of staying in her good graces for the duration of her reign, Sarah Churchill.

  12. Porch witch
    Hearth mistress
    Parish foot-maid

  13. Specifically, its host, historian Suzannah Lipscomb.

  14. Sammy Peeps! The most endearing quality of everyone's favorite Restoration-era diarist, I think, is his charmingly innocent belief that he was a master of linguistic misdirection. "Pepys' diary was written in shorthand so could not easily be read by a casual browser. There are, however, some passages of a secretive nature where, for reasons of concealment or because his passion deserves a special language, he resorts to a private code involving words based on Spanish,…

  15. There are, I think, drawbacks to being constantly incredulous. I wouldn't say that a substantial dose of skepticism isn't a good idea; I will merely suggest that excessive mistrust can result in the loss of potential joy, and I do not want that for you. I want you to maximize your possible happiness, while maintaining a healthy, wary outlook that protects you from getting eaten by predators. The possibility that I want you to entertain…