This is not going to be the blog post I set out to write today. Father Time came sneaking up on me this week and kicked me right in the butt.

My original thought for today’s post was occasioned by the recent addition to my ever-growing list of unusual occupational choices (only a few of which have been detailed on this blog’s “About” page). As of earlier this week, I’m now a part-time contractual editor/game developer for Avalon Games. Once a few editing chores have been knocked out, I have some (what I hope will be kick-ass) ideas for additional Steel & Glory genres.

That makes four hats I’m wearing, as I’m presently employed full time by, part time by ChessBase GmbH, and will resume my duties with the Maryland Park Service at the end of this month. As my old boss (and good friend) the late, great Bill Shipley once said to me, “Damn! You do love to be busy!” True dat.

But my original idea for today’s post got scotched by the enormity of the pile of stuff I’m working on at the moment: editing and revising a classic chess book, editing a wargame rules set, I’m trying to catch up on my video work (as I’m a week or two behind), and Scott Casper has asked me to take a look at the new issue of the Hideouts & Hoodlums newsletter (to which I contributed) — there’s just no time to write that post. To top it off, although I didn’t sign up for the official WordPress “blog post a week” hoo-haw, I do intend to crank out at least one post to this blog each week throughout this year. Today’s Friday and I’m running out of time. So I’ll just leave it at this today:

I’m presently reading David M. Kennedy’s mammoth Freedom from Fear, a 900-page opus about American life during the Great Depression and World War II. As I’ve previously mentioned in this blog, I have a long-standing interest in my parents’ generation and in the 1930’s. My interest in the era has been heightened by my exploration into the world of 1930’s-1940’s comic books over the last three or so years. And the period does have a bearing on my professional work as well, since FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps and their work on Maryland parks in the 1930’s made my current position as a professional historian possible.

Frankly (and ironically), I find Freedom from Fear to be a terrifying book (its title refers, of course, to one of FDR’s “Four Freedoms”). The parallels between the period from 1927 through 1933 and the period from 2006 through 2011 are too numerous and eerie to be ignored. Stock market crashes, related economic woes, foreign civil unrest, natural disasters – all of these combined to create the worst economic crisis in modern history. The scary part is that the Great Depression didn’t even get bad until two years after the stock market crashed; up until the end of 1931, economists kept talking about a “recovery” and how “the worst was over”. Then came foreign upheavals, overseas wars, and natural disasters like the Dust Bowl.

Egypt. Libya. An earthquake which may possibly have crippled the world’s third-best economic power. Oil prices rising again (with some economists arguing that $4 a gallon gas in 2008 hastened the onset of the Recession).


I have a lot on my mind right now, so a short blog post will have to do for this week.

I’ll just leave it at this: Please read Freedom from Fear. And if that book doesn’t scare the hell out of you, then you’re crazier than Charlie Sheen.


Copyright 2011, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.