Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s legendary song about one of America’s most fascinating states. “Sweet Home Everywhere,” out now from the New New South, traces the complex social history of “Sweet Home Alabama,” one of the world’s most recognizable and…
In his April 2013 Atavist story The Legends of Last Place, Abe Streep brought us the saga of the Santa Fe Fuego, a minor-minor-league baseball team whose lackluster performance in 2012 earned it the distinction of being the last-ranked team in all of professional baseball. At the time, the Fuego’s pitcher was Rod Tafoya, at 47 the oldest active professional baseball player in the game. Before joining the Fuego, Tafoya had spent years pitching in various semi-professional baseball leagues, in singleminded pursuit of a goal he had imposed on himself: Before he retired, he vowed, he would win 300 semi-pro baseball games.
On his Facebook page, Tafoya, now pitching for the semi-pro Albuquerque Yankees, informs us that he finally hit the 300 mark yesterday with the Yankees’ victory over the Albuquerque Colt 45s—which seems like as good an excuse as any to revisit Streep’s wonderful, funny and occasionally heartbreaking portrayal of the pitcher and his teammates.
An excerpt from The Legends of Last Place, by Abe Streep:
On November 9, 2011, Rodney Tafoya stood in a long line at Santa Fe city hall. He was clean-shaven and wearing a sharp beige sports jacket, his black hair immaculately sculpted with gel. His trim, five-foot-nine build was betrayed only by the first swellings of a middle-aged belly. He had two minutes to speak, and he had no notes, but his intentions were unambiguous. He planned to convince the city government to give him one more shot at greatness. He felt a passion rising inside him. Time was running short. He was 47 years old.
Ever dreamed of leaving your life and starting a new one?
That’s exactly what Evan Ratliff did in August of 2009 in a story for Wired magazine.
Going on the lam takes a lot of preparation. Here’s Evan’s list of essentials for life on the run. Read more about his adventure and check out previously unreleased media in a version he recently built with Creatavist.
• MacBook A lifeline to your old life. Evan used his to keep tabs on his pursuers, to make travel arrangements, and check email. Be sure to cover your tracks with a software program that masks IP addresses, like Tor.
• Internet On The Go Evan used a mobile broadband device from Virgin Mobile—the only company not requiring a background check to sign up.
• Prepaid Phones Only for emergencies. Before leaving California, Evan disabled the battery on his personal cell phone to render it untraceable.
• Anonymous Money Evan used prepaid gifts cards he paid for in cash: MasterCard, Visa, American Express. One that looked like a credit card and had his new name: JD Gatz.
Almost everyone who hears the shocking story of the Dozier School for Boys, one of the country’s oldest and largest reform schools, and a model for the nation, asks the same question: how could this happen? How could the Florida government allow generations of young wards to be whipped, shackled, forced into hard labor, and possibly worse for over 100 years? Allegations of abuse dogged the school through its closing two years ago, and continue today, with troubling questions and answers still remaining.
In The Bones of Marianna, which I spent the past year reporting, I tell the story of two determined crusaders who pushed this dark past into light. Jerry Cooper, a star of Dozier’s football team, haunted by the memory of a teammate he accused the school of killing, spends years quarterbacking the fight to expose the truth, while a leading forensic anthropologist, Dr. Erin Kimmerle, digs up grim secrets in the school’s unmarked graveyard. The Prologue, excerpted here in Longreads, draws from Cooper’s recollection of a little white building that he, and hundreds of boys who passed through Dozier, will never forget.
Thanks to Kushner and The Atavist for sharing this story with Longreads Members. Below is the opening chapter.
On June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill delivered a speech to Parliament.
What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.
But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealthlast for a thousand years, men will still say,This was their finest hour.
“D For Deception” by Tina Rosenberg tells the story of how one best-selling spy novelist turned his pulp fiction fantasies into real-life espionage in an epic effort to fool Hitler.