The Pay Phone Booth Dials Back In

Inspiration comes this week from the New York Times. A few days back they ran a lovely piece on an Arkansas town’s determination to save a phone booth. That’s right. A phone both.  A sleepy driver had smashed into the relic in the small town of Prairie Grove earlier this year and destroyed it, but […]

Past Tales



Burn, Baby, Burn. Earth Day and the Historic 1969 Cuyahoga River Fire

In honor of Earth Day, Theseus devotes its weekly article to what may be considered, not the birth of the modern environmental movement, but its birthplace, the Cuyahoga River. Why Cuyahoga? An image of the 1959 fire on the Cuyahoga. Just business as usual on the Cleveland River—and no public outrage followed. United States history […]


Only Twenty Feet From Stardom but Lost Forever is Gold Star Recording Studios

Twenty Feet From Stardom (2013) won the Academy Award for best documentary feature. It’s billed as “the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.” Among other things, it’s another depressing reminder that you can work hard in life and have a ton of talent, […]


Ghostly Sightings in Austin, Texas

At theseus.com, I strive for third-person narrative that is professional in tone. But the story of the ghost sign in Austin, Texas is too personal to tell in such a formal manner. So from the heart, here it is,  the story of the Dr Pepper Ghost Sign. Last December, as I was driving down Burnet […]


When the Villain is the Landscape: The Genius of HBO’s True Detective

True Detective ended three weeks ago, and who doesn’t miss it a lot? Even though it only ran for a mere eight weeks, every second of this HBO series about two Louisiana detectives in pursuit of a serial killer was mesmerizing. Rust Cohle (Matthew McConnaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) couldn’t be more opposite in […]


The Mystery of Flight MH370: Hiding Planes in Plane Sight? How to Fake it Like a Landscape Architect

In the wake of Malaysia Airline’s announcement this week that flight MH 370 had likely crashed over (or into) the Indian Ocean, there was at least a partial end to what had become one of the most puzzling and bizarre stories in modern aviation history. As pointed out in The New York Times, it made […]


The Long Awaited Return of Theseus

Dear Friends and Followers, After a 3 month hiatus, I am returning to Theseus. What happened? I am teaching four classes this semester. It’s also exhausting being the sole provider of content. But today, after surfing the web, I found a site devoted to drifting people searching for a calling. One piece of advice was […]


The Shame of the National Trust: Overlooking the North Pole as Historic Landmark

Christmas should not be a season of scandal. So how does one explain the approach of yet another Christmas Day without inclusion of the North Pole on the National Register of Historic Places? If ever a town, building (or whatever this place is) qualified for inclusion, it would have to be the North Pole.  Just […]


No Prayer of Finding a Seat at the Smallest Active Catholic Church in the Country

In the hamlet of Warrenton in Fayette County, Texas sits a building hailed as the world’s smallest active Catholic church, St. Martin’s.   A brief search on the Internet reveals that this same boast is made by countless small churches across the United States. But this church is in Texas, so surely the claim is […]


Ugly Cool, Part II: The Historic Victory Grill Juke Joint In Austin, Texas

Part 1: Ugly/Cool: The Victory Grill In part II of our ugly building expose, we continue our exploration of Austin’s ugliest but coolest building. By the 1960s and 1970s, the 11th Street area suffered a slow, steady decline. One by one clubs started to close, and The Victory Grill became a casualty of neglect. The […]


The Ugliest Building in Austin, Texas is the Coolest: The Victory Grill, A Classic Juke Joint

This is part I of a two-part series exploring one of the ugliest historic gems in Austin, Texas. “Artists were relegated to the chitlin’ circuit. Working it was a grind. Even its title is depressing, derived from what black people call a hog’s small intestine, the cuisine of relegation. This chitlin’ circuit seemed to be […]