The Asylum Is Not a Halloween Attraction

But After My Own Trip to the Psych Ward, I Understand the Haunting Power of These In-Between Spaces

Haunted attractions that will push you to the edge of your sanity is the tagline that greets you on the Pennhurst Asylum website. Like other asylums-turned-amusement centers, Pennhurst’s marketing focuses on the horror of its history. The ghosts haunting the place, waiting to terrify you, are supposed to be those of the people once admitted there. The website includes pictures of performers as ghostly patients in straightjackets, monstrous hospital staff performing lobotomies, and many a stereotypical image of mostly female patients looking crazed—messy hair, dirty faces, wild facial expressions. Last …

A SoCal City Born on the Fourth of July

We Can Thank Independence Day For Making Huntington Beach What It Is Today

The Fourth of July is a cherished celebration across our country. But in the Orange County city of Huntington Beach, it’s even more important. The holiday helped make the town …

How Fireworks Divide California

The State’s Regulations on a July Fourth Tradition Don’t Always Make Sense. But They’re Part of What Makes This Country Great.

If you venture out to Fourth of July weekend events around California, you’ll probably hear high talk about how Independence Day is a celebration of the things we Americans supposedly …

Is Memorial Day About Grief, Glory, or Hot Dogs?

To Understand America’s Most Confusing Holiday, You’ve Got to Ponder Why We Get the Day Off in the First Place

Memorial Day is one of America’s most confusing holidays. Depending on the celebrant, it can be a day of grief, glory—or backyard barbecues.

It’s not a bad thing to have such …

Don’t Call This Veteran a Hero

On Memorial Day, a Peacetime Soldier Explains Why ‘Hero’ Is a Four-Letter Word

“They think I’m some kind of damned hero,” the young veteran, a former airman, said in a hushed tone while ducking his head and quickly glancing behind him.

His voice and …


I never thought much of the folks who pray
 The Lord to make them thankful for a meal
Expecting Him to furnish all the food
And then provide them with …