Search Results for "potterville"

2nd 2009
Hotshot Harry from Tucumcari’s first dispatch from AHA HQ

Posted under conferences

Hotshot Harry dishes on the AHA


First day musings [from the American Historical Association's annual meeting 2009]…[ed. note:  Eat your heart out, Rate Your Students--my correspondents have reported first!]

I think the Friday start is a bit disorienting for folks. (That, and the crush of New Year’s vacationers leaving as the frumpy historians arrived gave the Hilton a sense of strangeness.) My memories of AHA openings is that they are rather tame, but this one was far more active. Registration opened at 12.00pm, and you would have thought they were giving out free booze. By 12:08, the very large promenade was packed and the printers serving up badges had suspended business due to overuse. (They were up and running shortly thereafter, but the lines took a solid hour or so to settle down to normal volume.) All I could think of was the Coconut Grove.  [Ed. Note:  Have no historians mastered on-line registration yet?]

More disconcerting for most was that the book exhibit did not open until 3:00pm. And really, this is the highlight of the conference for most, if not all. Picture the AHA without the book exhibit, even for five minutes. Grim.

On the job front…well, there isn’t much of one this year. The smell of fear that normally permeates the cattle pen is a bit more stale this time around.  [Ed. note:  it's a little known fact that Hotshot Harry lived in Potterville before he decamped for Tucumcari, so this greenhorn knows from cattle pens!]

As for the attire, there were some folks who seem to be trying for Soho hip and have missed the mark a bit. Otherwise, standard AHA attire is in effect. Manufacturers of wool have little to fear, despite the economic downturn.

UPDATE, 1/3/09:  RYS has posted the first-day at the AHA impressions of Archie–which brings back memories for me.  Consider Hotshot Harry’s post here the briefer, G-rated version of what Archie has to say.  Archie also provides more of an explanation for those long registration lines yesterday:

So just to prove that academics shouldn’t even be allowed to plan a cluster f*@k, this year’s meeting features an “improved” registration system. If you pre-registered, you wait in line to use one of several laptop computers. You look up your name and press print. Then you go stand in line and wait for one of the graduate student volunteers to call your name and hand you your badge. How this constitutes an improvement over the cardboard box full of alphabetized envelopes is beyond me. In the twenty minutes I stood there, the system crashed twice, and the whole show ground to a screeching halt. Only an a$$hat academic could have been talked into paying someone for this. On a related note, they made the poor grad student workers wear these red AHA T-Shirts that make them look like they are trying out for Santa’s workshop. Just sad.


4th 2008
Election Day open thread

Posted under American history

What’s going on in your neck of the woods, edge of the holler, or side of the crick?  I’ll be posting updates through the day about what I see and hear in Potterville, Colorado (if anyone cares!)  I voted last Thursday, and the traffic at the early vote center was steady and strong.  I prefer to observe the ritual of voting on Election Day itself, but I suppose I was effectively intimidated out of waiting until today to vote by all of the early vote propaganda this year.  Until we make Election Day a day off of work again, then I suppose we’ll have to live with “election season,” such as it is now.  It’s a democratizing improvement over Tuesday-only election days.

Did you vote early or vote by mail?  If not, what were the lines like at your polling place?  (PLEASE VOTE FIRST, then comment at!)  Did you witness or suspect any voter intimidation or voter fraud?  How about fisticuffs or partisan scraps at the polls?  (You can just make something up if you think it will be more entertaining for us to read!)  Stick your head out the window to get a whiff of the fresh breezes of change, slice yourself a nice big piece of Election Cake, and fill us in on what you know.  (Check out Erica’s adventures baking an Election Cake!)

Images by Thomas Nast, of the Dem donkey (above left) and Republican elephant (below right.  This image also includes the Dem donkey dressed in a lion’s coat.)  Maybe we should send Lion costumes to the Congressional dems to make them more intimidating?

UPDATE, 12:15 MST:  Colorado Pols has an interesting commentary on why U.S. Senate Candidate Bob Schaffer may be sitting on a pile of dough instead of spending it:  he’s given up the Senate race to Mark Udall, and is plotting to seize back his former seat in congress from Betsy Markey if she succeeds in beating Marilyn Musgrave tonight.  Good thinking, Bob!  Yeah, if Musgrave loses, it’s because she wasn’t insanely right-wing enough.  Bob, if you lose tonight and Markey wins, just spend that money on a moving van and head on down to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama.  Or, head on back to Ohio.  Maybe, just maybe, Colorado ain’t the same state you moved to 20 years ago.

UPDATE, 3:45 MST:  The headline story on the Rocky Mountain News website now is “So far, so good:  evening voting looking up.”  Come on, people–I’ve got an international readership that wants to see long lines, fisticuffs, and world-class clusterfracks!  Can’t someone report some bad news here for a change?  Who’s going to be the first to report the “hanging chad” of 2008?

UPDATE, 3:50 MST:  CNN’s exit polling (as reported at TalkLeft) looks good for Obama–really good.

UPDATE, 5:15 MST:  The local NPR affiliate (KUNC) is reporting that there were problems in Weld County, Colorado with insufficient numbers of translators at polling places.  Also, KUNC reported that here in Potterville, the Colorado branch of the ACLU is investigating charges that a uniformed Potterville police officer was checking photo I.D.s at the polling station at Moo Moo U.  (Gee, d’you think that the fact that the President of Moo Moo U. is a Republican appointee who was widely rumored to have wanted to run for the 4th CD in 2002, might have something to do with wanting to harrass the college student vote?  I’ll keep an eye on this story, for sure.) 

On the bright side, my local polling place looked like it had a busy parking lot, but no lines out the door.  (I just ran by on my afternoon run.)

UPDATE, 8:00 MST:  I found this video, in which poll watcher Jeff Blum at Trinity Church in Potterville who alleges that a police officer arrived and stood at the door of the polling place.  He says that everything looked to be going smoothly otherwise, and doesn’t say that the police officer was behaving in an intimidating fashion.

UPDATE, 9:02 MST:  Betsy Markey has defeated Marilyn Musgrave.  YESSSS!  And by a humiliating 58 to 42 percent, with 59% of the vote counted.  (That lead won’t hold–but you can see why they’ve stuck a fork in Musgrave–she’s done.)  It’s getting worse:  the Denver Post has this race at 60 to 39.  UPDATE, 4:40 a.m. 11/5/08–the margin has narrowed to a mere 11 points, 55 to 44, with 79% of the vote counted.  What a humiliation for Musgrave. 

UPDATE, 9:09 MST:  Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States.


26th 2008
Eyewitness to History: ej on the ground at the Obama rally at Colorado State

Posted under American history & local news

This and all photos in this post are from the Fort Collins Coloradoan commenter and special correspondent ej was at the Obama rally at Baa Ram U. this afternoon, and sent in this exclusive report:

I’ve been flattered by all the attention the presidential candidates were paying to Colorado, especially the Democrats, who haven’t had much cause to come here of late. The turnout at the rally for Joe Biden at Moo Moo U. in Potterville stunned me! But that was nothing compared to the events today. Early estimates had the Barack Obama crowd at Denver  hitting about 35,000. Actual tallies-over 100,000. I thought I would be safe showing up at the CSU rally close to 3-I wasn’t die hard enough to camp out, so a good seat wasn’t going to happen regardless. And after all, it was Fort Collins–how many people could there be? But when I finally got there, I was stunned by the turnout. Lines had started forming as early as 10 for a 3:30 speech, and they were forced to “close the gates” at 3. (I’m not really sure what that phrase means at an outdoor rally). So I stood along the train tracks facing the oval with hundreds of other folks who couldn’t get in. I was surprised by how fervent the crowd was-even those of us who didn’t have a seat.  Ed. note:  the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports that there were 50,000 people at the Oval this afternoon.

We couldn’t see much through the trees, but we could hear just fine. Obama actually started speaking before 3:30 (another surprise for me. I was sure he would be late and there would be several irritating introductions). The first few minutes were about early voting, along with some nice personal touches for the CSU crowd. About 10 minutes in, he segued to his stump speech. I have to say, as someone who has been obsessively watching CNN of late, I thought most of this would be familiar to me, but I realize now that they all play the same sound bites over and over, and they tend to be the policy ones. There were parts of his speech that I’m sure weren’t new to him, but I had never heard before, and I found them really effective. He talked about opportunity, but made it really personal, and really pitched to a crowd of first-time voters. Who here doesn’t have a parent or grandparent who didn’t go to college, but was determined that their child would? Who here doesn’t have a parent or grandparent who didn’t have the right to vote, but marched so that their children could? (Granted, that last one probably doesn’t hit home quite as well in Colorado as it does in more diverse states, but the crowd loved it).

Historiann already mentioned the “raise your hand if you make less than 250k line.  In person, it played much better. The crowd was silent because everyone was raising their hand! He really does have an uncanny ability to connect on a personal level with an enormous crowd.  Interestingly, the lines that got the crowd the most frenzied were those about “one America” and condemnations of divisive politics. I guess in light of that, its easy to see why the Republican campaign is floundering right now.

He spoke for 30 minutes. I left immediately. In part because there was no chance to see him up close, but more because I was illegally parked and worried that someone would tow my car. All in all, I was overwhelmed by how enthusiastic people were-even those of us peering across the oval from the train tracks. The cynical side of me has to ask where all of these folks have been. I’ve been in Colorado for 8 years now, and I never in my wildest dreams imagined there were so many Democrats living alongside of me. Perhaps they’ve only now been emboldened enough to come out publicly, or maybe they are recent converts. In any case, I wish they would have been this excited 4 years ago, but am nonetheless thankful for their votes now.


21st 2008
Exclusive report: Joe rocked the rally at Moo Moo U.

Posted under American history & local news & students

Historiann commenter ej attended the Democratic rally today at Moo Moo U., and sent in a special report:

So today I drove in to Potterville with my husband and 1-year-old daughter to hear Joe Biden speak at Moo Moo U.  Although doors opened at 10:30 (for an estimated 1 p.m. speech) we did not arrive on campus until about 12:15. In part because there was no way my squirmy little daughter could wait any longer than that, but mostly because I was unable to fathom more than a few hundred folks attending this event. In spite of the recent New York Times’ claim that Potterville is up for grabs, Republicans dominate Weld county! And I’ve always thought that even the student body leans firmly to the right. And honestly, it was just Joe Biden, not Barack Obama.  Much to my surprise, the line snaked all the way from Butler-Hancock Arena to the very end of the practice field! And people had been streaming into the building for over 90 minutes by that point.  The wait was long, but it did provide us with the opportunity to see the man himself arrive in his bus caravan shortly before 1:00. 

Once we passed through security, we found a packed arena, standing room only! After a brief intro by some local congressional rep whose name I did not hear, the Dem challenger for the 4thCD, Betsy Markey introduced Joe Biden. The crowd was extremely enthusiastic, in part because some of them had been waiting since 8am-including several of my students. Who knew? Biden seemed pretty energized, perhaps in part to make up for the controversy he’s caused over the last few days with his “attack” remarks, but he didn’t bring that up.  There weren’t any surprises in this speech, which seemed fairly familiar to me because of my obsessive CNN watching over the last few weeks, but was energizing nonetheless. He hit the standard themes of economy and failed Republican policies, and condemned McCain for his robocalls and gutter tactics (my words, not his), and really hit home the need to get out the vote (which probably means even more calls chez Historiann until everyone in the household votes!).  Ed. note:  how the hell will they know when I vote?  All of this nagging is making me less inclined to vote early, quite frankly.

The crowd was a mix of students and regular folk, who were all extremely excited. I think I and my companions were more moved by the sight of so many enthusiastic Democrats in Potterville than we were by Biden, and that’s not intended to be a critique of Biden! According to early estimates, nearly 4,000 people were there-boy was I off! But it really seems as if the Democrats have a shot here in Weld county.  As a friend remarked, “when you see so many boys in baggy jeans showing up for a Democratic rally, you know the tide is turning our way!” So all in all, a worthwhile trip that made me want to proceed immediately to a local polling center and cast my vote-which I couldn’t do because the baby fell asleep as soon as she got into the car! But it was nice to finally see some love from the Dems after having to put up with those incessant commercials. There’s got to be some benefit from living in a swing state!

Ed. note:  re:  those boys in baggy jeans.  Yes, indeed:  I remember not-so-fondly, ej, that when we marched in the Homecoming Parade with the Weld Dems in 2004, we were heckled by the fratboys on 10th Ave.  Thanks for the in-person reportage–maybe the tide is turning after all.


19th 2008
Swing state election news and notes

Posted under American history & local news


Well, I have some good news and some, well, annoying news to report:

  • Signs of the times update:  The yard sign battle in my neighborhood, which was once so lopsided, is now being won decisively by Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates.  The week after I wrote my original post, all sorts of Dem yard signs blossomed.  So, it looks like the Republican signs were just out there earlier–they haven’t increased in numbers, and the Dem signs have overtaken them.  (Of course, this was true in 2004 too–my neighborhood is where you’d expect to find the Dem signs–but one can live in “hope,” can’t one?
  • The stalkerish Obama campaign:  I was at a little get-together this weekend with friends.  One of my friends, “Jenny,” a big Obama booster, volunteer, and donor from the beginning (she’s got a yard sign and two window signs, m’kay?), complained about the stalkerish phone calls she’s been getting from the Obama campaign.  I was very surprised to hear of her irritation–as I said, she’s been a huge supporter of the campaign.  After repeatedly informing the caller that she can’t give any more money (she’s been unemployed for more than a year), saying that she is of course voting for him, and asking them to take her off their call list, she keeps getting calls.  Jenny informed one of the callers at one point last week that this is the kind of thing that really irritates people, and that if she, a committed Obama supporter is irritated by the obsessive phone calling, that she’s pretty certain this will turn off voters who are on the fence.  She reported that the last call she got from the campaign–after several others she had after having asked to be taken off the call list–she just screamed “NO, NO, and NO!” and slammed the phone down.  The other adults at the table nodded in sympathy.  I’ve seen a little of this too.  (Is this among the joys of living in a swing state?)  Ever since the other adult in my household requested a mail-in ballot, the Obama campaign has been calling our house to nag hir about it.  Hey, Obama campaign:  you’ve already got the votes of the people you’re nagging, like a creepy ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who just won’t let up.  Do they need to write it in their own blood on $100 dollar bills?  Lay off, already, at least on reliable Dem voters who have never missed voting Democratic in any election.  You raised $150 million last month, and you’re ahead in the polls–knock off the Glengarry Glen Ross act with people who are already on your side.
  • Joe (the Senator, not the plumber) is coming to Potterville:  In fact, this afternoon’s call from the Obama campaign was to wonder if the other adult in my household would like to go see Joe Biden, who is apparently coming to Potterville on Tuesday.  We’re pretty jaded around here–we got a visit from a sitting president four years ago.  I wasn’t terribly excited about it, but the military helicopter flyover was pretty cool.  Tuesday Monday will be a big day here in Potterville, since that night we’re also hosting one of the debates between our candidates for the U.S. Senate, Bob Schaffer (R) and Mark Udall (D). 

UPDATE 10/20/08:  Unbelieveable!  Obama is seven points up in Colorado in the latest polls, and the Obama campaign just called to ask me for $100 tonight.  Sorry–when I have $150 million, check back with me then.  I’m giving to Betsy Markey, our local congressional candidate.  Remeber kids, if you’re thinking of donating to a political candidate:  no good deed goes unpunished!


8th 2008
FREACout in the Desert: No Depression!

Posted under American history & conferences & local news

Famille Historiann is off on a working mini-break to Tucson, for the annual meeting of the Front Range Early American Consortium at the University of Arizona.  (Teh Srsly Awesumm Greatest Depression Evah may mean that this is our last trip for a while–so let up, OK?)  The FREAC as it is affectionately known is one of those regional gems with a very friendly and smart cast of regulars.  Many thanks to Jack Marietta for hosting us.

So, no posting this weekend–only rigorous interrogations of scholarship, while sitting by the pool drinking Cactus Blossom margaritas.  Historiann is taking ideas for an essay on “Gender and Sexuality in the North American Borderlands” out for a ride.  Giddyap!

UPDATE, 10/12/08:  Home again, and it’s 45 degrees F and damp in Potterville!  Those 90-degree days around the pool sure felt good.  Oh, and the conference was great, too–I learned a lot, and where else can one tell stupid jokes about Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine?  (I mean, who else would appreciate them?  Thanks, FREACs!  See you in Boulder next year.)


6th 2008
Signs and the “Times”: focus on Potterville

Posted under American history & local news

Wow–my sweet, quiet, former-utopian-colony town made the big-time today in a “Road to November” video featured on the front page of the New York Times.  (Permalink to the video is here–check it out; h/t to reader K.N. for alerting me.)  I think it’s a fair overview of what’s going on here.  However, I don’t see a battle over yard signs–yet anyway–which has concerned me.  Four years ago, people had their Kerry/Edwards signs out in force in September, and there was a lot of intensity among Democrats and Independents because of their rage and frustration about George W. Bush.  Here in Potterville, I don’t think there’s as much positive intensity for Obama, as the first (and still majority of) yard signs I saw were McCain signs, even in my neighborhood, which has more liberalish intellectualish people because of its proximity to Moo Moo U. (also featured in the video).

Although I’m a Democrat (and on every local and national candidate’s fundraising list), no one from the Barack Obama campaign has yet contacted me to ask me to put out a yard sign.  I understand the focus is on registering new voters (and firing up the kids with a visit from Eva Longoria Parker), so maybe longtime Dems, regular voters, and homeowners aren’t high on their list right now.  (Still–I think it would do the Obama campaign some good to get off of the college campuses once in a while.  I remember that we all though the college kids with their cell phones would put Kerry over the top–and I’m reluctant to swallow that line again until the kids deliver like middle-aged and senior voters do for the Dems.)


19th 2008
Saturday morning funnies

Posted under American history & jobs & local news & wankers

Well, imagine my surprise when I returned from my recent short vacation to find this little invitation in the mail from the University of Colorado.  (While I live in Colorado and work at a university, CU is not my employer–I work at the old aggie school I affectionately refer to as Baa Ram U.)  My surprise turned to delight when I opened this fine, glossy card, to read that I am invited to meet the new president of the University of Colorado, about whom I’ve blogged quite a bit here, here, and here.  (My overall take on uncredentialed politicians who presume to lead universities is here.)  Check it out below–the party is at the Potterville Country Club.












Side note:  I’ve never seen an academic’s spouse advertised like a warm-up act, but I guess it’s just further proof of the different ways that politicians think compared to people in academia.  (I don’t even know if my current Dean is married, and although one of her predecessors was married, I never met his wife, even when he hosted a nice luncheon for junior faculty at his house.  And, I’ve never seen or heard anything featuring the presence of the wife of the current president of Baa Ram U. or his immediate predecessor.)  Does anyone else think this is strange?

Five years ago, I donated a modest sum to a scholarship in memory of the historian and CU Professor Emeritus Jackson Turner Main upon his death, and I suppose a good deed sent to the development office never goes unpunished, which is why I get invitations to all sorts of parties for fancy donors to CU.  As if!  It reminds me of the Christmas card I got from George W. Bush and family in 2004–I had been a major donor to Kerry, so I wonder if the Bushies were just reaching out in case I wanted to make friends with the other team in victory.  Yes–it was the official White House Christmas card.  I also wonder if they sent the card out to Kerry donors to gloat!  (Maybe that’s what Benson is doing to Historiann?  Probably not–as they old saying goes, money talks, bull$hit walks, and they don’t know about my secret identity as Historiann.)

So, anyway, back to the current invitation on my desk:  what do you think I should wear?  (The invitation says “business casual,” but I don’t even know what that is any more.)


23rd 2008
Public history round-up: Museum Studies edition

Posted under American history & art & conferences & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & women's history

As we here in Potterville pull on our boots and get ready for the big rodeo and ”western celebration” coming to town, I’m happy to report that a few of you are getting out of your towns to attend conferences and conduct some research.  Here are some interesting museums featured on a few blogs I read regularly:

  • Anxious Black Woman is just back from the National Women’s Studies Association annual meeting in Cincinnati, and gives us a great report on the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a new museum there.  I’m particularly grateful for her review, because Historiann lived in southwestern Ohio when this museum was being planned a decade ago, and she was a little skeptical of the concept.  (White people in and around Cincinnati are really into the Underground Railroad, and every little town has at least two or three mythological sites or houses that people commemorate as alleged stops on the UGRR.  Historiann was always suspicious that this was a means for white people to re-write the history of slavery and to cast their ancestors in heroic roles as slavery resisters, rather than in the much more likely role of slavery enablers, especially because African Americans were enslaved in southwestern Ohio, contrary to the provisions of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.  I lived in a town near the Ohio-Indiana border I’ll call “Boxford,” which likes to pretend that its proximity to the authentic Quaker town of Richmond, Indiana somehow retroactively turns all nineteenth-century Boxfordians into abolitionists.)  ABW’s verdict on the museum?  Disappointing in its interest more in masters than enslaved people and in its erasure of women, although the introductory movie was good.  (But go read her more thorough treatment yourself!)  The good news is that the NWSA itself was a great experience–I’m envious that I wasn’t there!
  • If your summer travel plans take you to Cincinnati, the Cincinnati area has all kinds of new museums–for example, the Creation Museum of Hebron, Kentucky, just a few exits down the road from the Cincinnati airport, is another museum that was just under construction when Historiann lived nearby.  It’s a creationist extravaganza of imaginary natural history–tell them Bing McGhandi sent you!  Here’s a reality-based review of the CM.
  • Professor Zero is in Lima (Peru, not Ohio!), and went to the Museo de Pedro Osma, which sounds like an interesting palace filled with colonial as well as twentieth-century art.
  • Do any of you have recommendations for interesting fine arts, history, or other museums in your home towns (or that you’ve encountered on your travels) for summer vacationers? 
  • Finally, for those of you in the academy who are public historians, or work with public historians, what’s your sense of public history’s relationship to non-public history (frequently referred to somewhat condescendingly as “academic history,” as though public history is an inferior intellectual pursuit)?  My sense is that there used to be more conflict or resentment among “academic” historians, but that these distinctions (well, snobberies, actually) are fading.  Is Historiann (who is not a public Historiann) overly optimistic?


22nd 2008
Scenes from a small-town rodeo

Posted under American history & childhood & local news

This rodeo is mostly kids-only competitors and was a benefit for Cystic Fibrosis research, although apparently after dark they do “open bull riding,” which means that anyone can give it a whirl.  (Not recommended!  Hint:  there’s a good reason why most pro Rodeo bull riders retire at twenty or twenty-one!)  These rodeos run every Saturday night in summertime, 4 to 11 p.m., and none of those children are watching TV, playing video games, or getting bored.  School-aged children participated in calf-riding and “mutton busting,” while teenagers rode the bulls.

At one of the first rodeos Historiann ever attended, my friends and I saw a nineteen year-old young man get absolutely stomped by a bull.  We had ringside seats, and the distraught mother ran down in front of us to see her son carried off by the paramedics.  The boy was hospitalized, but thankfully suffered no brain injuries or anything else irrevocable.  It’s a hard living, but those who do it look forward to “cowboy Christmas.”  Potterville boasts the World’s Largest 4th of July Rodeo.  Giddyup!

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