Reed Bookstore – Birmingham, Alabama

Reed Books is a bookstore owned by Jim Reed and is located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.  It is more than just an antique book store, it is also a museum of cultural artifacts.

When I first walked in the door, my jaw dropped and my eyes started to bulge out of my head.  I was speechless.

I could spend an entire day at this bookstore.  However, this is not a place I should be allowed to go unsupervised with a credit card.  The results could be disastrous.

The Thing from Another World (1951)

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For the next six weeks, the Huntsville Library is showing classic science-fiction movies from the 1950’s.  This week we watched The Thing from Another World, which hit the big screen in 1951.

The movie is about a flying saucer that landed near an Arctic research station.  The pilot of the spacecraft was a plant based advanced life form.

The lead scientist at the research station, Dr. Arthur Carrington, wanted to befriend the alien creature.  He hoped to establish a mutually beneficial relationship.  He believed this would lead to huge advancements in science.

Unfortunately, the alien rebuffed Dr. Carrington and killed him.  In the movie, the scientist appeared stupid and naive.

Caption Patrick Hendry was the leading Air Force officer at the research station.  He believed the alien should be killed in order to protect mankind from the possibility of being destroyed by a powerful race of extraterrestrial creatures.

Caption Hendry and his fellow soldiers fought bravely and used electricity to kill the alien.  Caption Hendry was the hero of the movie.

In the early 1950’s, America was facing a growing communist threat.  There was a lot of fear concerning the Soviet Union and many believed America might be invaded by communist.

There were a lot debates on how to deal with this threat.  Should Americans use diplomacy and find a peaceful solution?  Should Americans use military might to stop the spread of communism?

This film used science-fiction to entertain and address culturally significant issues.  The movie is listed and persevered in the National Film Registry, because of it’s cultural significance.

I enjoyed watching the movie.  The plot was clear and concise.  The characters were well developed and often engaged in witty dialogue.  It is worth watching, especially when you know the historical and cultural significance of the film.

Alabama War Museum

The Alabama War Museum is located in Madison, Alabama.  The museum is small; however, it has an impressive variety of artifacts and historical items.  They have rotating exhibits that change several times a year, so each visit is an adventure.  Also, the gift shop is amazing and full of unique items.

 

 

Rabid – A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

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This book is unique, because it takes an in-depth look at rabies and how the virus influenced human history and our culture.

There is a historical section that describes treatments used in the middle ages.  The infected person would have the wound cauterized and blood would be drained from their bodies.  Various herbs and spices were also used in an attempt to purify the body.

Louis Pasteur developed a vaccine that could save victims if administered before they showed signs of the disease.  However, some physicians of that time did not believe in germ theory and felt the vaccine was dangerous or would be ineffective.

There is another section that explains how the virus is transmitted and how it kills the victim.  It also talks about the viruses ability to spread quickly within a geographical region and which animals are most likely to be carriers of the virus.

The final section of the book discusses how rabies has influence our culture.  Victims of the rabies virus displayed shocking symptoms, which influenced the folklore and helped develop stories about werewolves, vampires, and zombies.

Rabies also played a role in popular literature and in movies, for example:  Cugo, The Rage, and Old Yellower.

I enjoyed the book, because it was informative and I learned a great deal about the rabies virus.  I was also impressed by how much this virus influenced culture, literature, folklore, and movies.

Historical Jesus

I was wondering if there is any historical evidence that Jesus actually lived and was executed as recorded in the Bible.  Determining if Jesus was God is beyond the scope of this blog post, that is a whole other conversation.

I did some research and this is what I discovered.

  • Tacitus was a Roman historian and he wrote about Christians.  He called them followers of Jesus Christ.  He also wrote about Jesus being crucified during the reign of Tiberius and sentenced by Pontius Pilate.
  • Josephus was a Jewish historian that wrote about Jesus and made references to the miracles and resurrection stories.
  • The Babylonian Talmud (a collection of Jewish rabbinical writings) also mentioned Jesus and his crucification.

(source: Michael Gleghorn, http://www.probe.com)

While reading articles on this subject, I found a quote that was really interesting.

“There is no evidence that the existence of Jesus was ever denied in antiquity by those who opposed Christianity.”

(source:  Historicity of Jesus, http://www.wikipedia.com)

This is an area of research that I have just recently started, so I know there is a lot more information out there.

If you are aware of information that confirms or denies the existence of Jesus, please let me know in the comment section below.  You can disagree with me or other commenters, but please don’t be rude.