Bulls Before Breakfast: The Pamplona Bull Run

Pamplona Bull Run - Bulls Before Breakfast - San Fermin

by Peter N. Milligan

I run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, in the summertime with my adoptive brother Ari at the famous San Fermín fiesta. After I come home, I deliver eight or nine pairs of white pants for cleaning and repair to Spot Cleaners in Cherry Hill, NJ. After two weeks at the celebrated fiesta, these once immaculate pants are muddied, torn, burnt, carelessly stained by libation spillers, and more often than not, bloodied; human, animal, and “unknown other.” Except for the pairs that are seized by United State Customs (and presumably cremated and buried in Nevada for public health and safety), Mr. Kun is able to return them to me spotlessly cleaned and seamlessly mended. Men’s white pants are hard to come by and must be kept in good repair. Read more ›

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Posted in Contemporary History

Mark Kram: “Lawdy Lawdy He’s Great”

Great Men Die Twice - Mark Kram Lawdy Lawdy

by Mark Kram
“Lawdy Lawdy He’s Great” – (Ali Frazier III) Sports Illustrated Oct 13, 1975

Across the ring Joe Frazier was wearing trunks that seemed to have been cut from a farmer’s overalls. He was darkly tense, bobbing up and down as if trying to start a cold motor inside himself. Hatred had never been a part of him, but words like “gorilla,” “ugly,” “ignorant”— all the cruelty of Ali’s endless vilifications— had finally bitten deeply into his soul. He was there not seeking victory alone; he wanted to take Ali’s heart out and then crush it slowly in his hands. One thought of the moment “LAWDY, LAWDY, HE’S GREAT” 65 days before, when Ali and Frazier with their handlers between them were walking out of the Malacañang Palace, and Frazier said to Ali, leaning over and measuring each word, “I’m gonna whup your half- breed ass.” Read more ›

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Posted in Sports History

Hemingway and Cuba: Through the Smoke of a 102-year-old’s Cigar

Gregorio Fuentes Hemingway's Cuba-old man and the sea

by Brin-Jonathan Butler

Gregorio Fuentes, the model for Hemingway’s humble Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea, survived until 104 and still never read a word of the thin, 127-page novel that brought his friend a Pulitzer and Noble Prize. Fuentes, born in the Canary Islands in 1897, had a fishing rod in his hands before he could walk. Read more ›

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Posted in Modern History

The True Cost of Spice: Murder in the History of Nutmeg

East India Trading Company - The History of Nutmeg

By Gilles Milton

A change in the cloud pattern brought the first suggestion of land. Next came the seabirds and leaves in the water. And finally (and to a resounding cheer) the faint smudge of coastline would be sighted – grey at first, and then mauve, before it darkened and sharpened into a brilliant tropical green. Read more ›

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Posted in Medieval History

Guarding Fidel Castro: His Double Life and Infidelity

Juan Reinaldo Sanchez Shaking Fidel Castro's Hand

by Juan Reinaldo Sanchez


There is nothing ordinary about Fidel Castro. He is unique, special, and different. One thing in particular, among all the others, marks him out from all his compatriots: he cannot dance the salsa! It holds no interest or attraction for him. Another thing that distinguishes El Comandante from “normal” Cubans is that he does not listen to music, neither Cuban nor classical— and certainly not American. His predilection for marital infidelity, on the other hand, is typically Cuban: it is a veritable national sport. Read more ›

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Posted in Contemporary History, Modern History

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