Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Erin O'Riordan's Almanac Is Now Available in Audio Form on Spotify

If you've been enjoying the "today in history" posts, you can now find them in audio format on Spotify:

I'm looking for guests for my startup podcast, so please message me if you're interested!

Much more tentatively, I'm also planning to put the podcast audio up on my long-unused YouTube channel as well. I'm figuring out how to use ClipChamp.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

121 Years Ago Today: Shiloh Baptist Church Stampede

121 years ago today, on September 19, 1902, one hundred fifteen members of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, are killed in a stampede after one of them called out “Fight!” and this was misheard as “Fire!” 

Listen to the facts of the incident on Disaster Area Podcast:

Here it is from the perspective of Useless Information Podcast:

In addition, you can learn about the history from All Bad Things:

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Here are some other disastrous September 19ths from history:

September 19, 1692: Massachusetts Bay Colonist Giles Corey, having been accused of witchcraft but refusing to plead either guilty or not guilty in court, is subjected to a form of torture in which his body is crushed with increasingly heavy stone weights in an attempt to force him to plead. Corey refuses and is crushed to death, with his last words reportedly being, “More weight!”

September 19, 1881: U.S. President James Garfield dies of septic infection. He had been shot by his assassin, Charles Guiteau, on July 2, 1881.

September 19, 1913: Purdue University student Francis Obenchain dies of a broken neck after taking part in a large-scale fight between first- and second-year students intended as a class hazing ritual.

September 19, 1973: Singer-songwriter Gram Parsons dies of an accidental overdose of alcohol and morphine at the age of 26. He dies peacefully in his sleep inside a room at the Joshua Tree Inn in California. 

His stepfather Bob Parsons insists the singer’s body be flown to New Orleans for burial, but friends of Gram Parsons steal the body from Los Angeles International Airport and attempt to carry out what they insisted were Parsons’s final wishes, to be created in Joshua Tree National Monument (now Joshua Tree National Park). They pour gasoline into the coffin and light it with a match, causing a tremendous fireball, and are charged a fine of $750. What remains of Parsons’s body is buried in Louisiana.

Stay safe and look out for your neighbors.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Remembrance of September 11, 2001

If everything has gone as planned, I'll be started a new job today, September 11, 2023. I'll be going into the office rather than working from home, something I haven't done since before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While I'm embarking on the next step in my career, please consider these books for commemorating the awfulness those of us who were around went through on September 11, 2001. (I shared my diary entry from that date here, on the 10th anniversary.)

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Book Review: 'Little, Crazy Children' by James Renner

As an adult, one of the hardest things for my mind to process is the premature loss of a young person who showed so much promise and talent in their short life. The What Might Have Been is haunting. For this reason, the case James Renner presents in this title is compelling. The murdered young woman had an obviously active, creative, insightful mind, and her senseless killing is irreconcilable with any form of the way things are supposed to be in an ideal world. I'm terrible sorry for the loss her family and friends still feel. Renner appears to feel this terrible lack as well.

Of course a well-written crime story should focus on the victim, and this one does. One thing I found so utterly compelling about Renner's previous book, True Crime Addict, was the way the author was also a character in the story, to the extent that it was virtually a covert memoir. Little, Crazy Children is not autobiographical to that extent.

The author does show up as a presence in the latter chapters, as he proposes an alternative explanation for the senseless crime that law enforcement doesn't seem to have considered in any depth or breadth. As in True Crime Addict, he makes a compelling case. 

For me as a reader, having read True Crime Addict earlier this year, this book took me a little more effort to get into, largely because it's structured with the evidence of the case and witness testimonials laid out in great detail in the first half. I've come to understand that the more James Renner there is an any given James Renner book, the better the book will be. Think of the way Rebecca Skloot became a character in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Maybe the extent to which I'm a nerd for research is a niche preference, but I like a nonfiction narrator who narrates their investigation.

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So, I give 4 stars to Little, Crazy Children and still strongly recommend you read the 5-star book, True Crime Addict.

I borrowed this book from my local library using the Libby app and was not obligated in any way to review it.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

September 2023 Book Deals on

Links contained in this post are Amazon affiliate links and if you purchase products after following these links, I may earn a small commission. These books will be on sale until September 30th, 2023.

I have absolutely no reason to believe that the United States is as politically divided as it was before the Civil War, right? Right??

There's more to Richard Matheson than just I Am Legend and A Stir of Echoes. If you're like me and you use the beginning of September as an excuse to start thinking about Halloween, you might want to listen to these tales.

Add to your basketball book collection with this definitive bio of Sir Charles Barkley.

Perhaps you would like to learn about women in ancient and early modern history.

These are only a few of the 20 pages of choices on sale for the month of September from Go ahead and browse. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the cozy season of curling up under a blanket with tea and good book will be upon us soon.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

The 1900 Galveston Hurricane with Disaster Area Podcast

As you may remember from last year's post:

September 2, 1900: A tropical hurricane formed over the Atlantic Ocean makes landfall in the Dominican Republic. This storm is among the deadliest in U.S. history, with a large number of fatalities coming from Galveston, Texas. Meteorologists of the time, and in particular Isaac Cline, didn’t believe that a significant hurricane was possible in Galveston, and so rejected requests from the townspeople that the city should build a sea wall. As many as 8,000 people in the Caribbean, the U.S., and the Maritime Provinces of Canada are thought to have lost their lives in this storm, including Cline’s wife and some of his children.

There's an episode of Disaster Area for that.

If you enjoy the Disaster Area podcast and want to support author/podcaster Jennifer Matarese, the following are some links to her social media accounts. I want her to be able to afford to write her next book, because I really want to read it. Become her patron on Patreon; you'll feel like a Renaissance-era Venetian arts patron, turning your money into art.

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Instagram: disasterareapod

Patreon: disasterareapodcast 



Hive: trollprincess

If you don't have money--this is quite understandable--the best free way to support Jennifer and her research, writing, and podcasting is to give Disaster Area a 5-star review on any podcast platform that allows reviews. Especially Apple ( Giving a podcaster a 5-star review on Apple increases their podcast's visibility to new potential listeners.

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