Tim Murphy

Politics. History. Cole slaw.
Recent Tweets @timothypmurphy
He married an Australian model and bought estates in Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland, the Keys, and the Bahamas. He also bought the sneakers Bruce Willis wore in Die Hard and wore them to make big trades.
Millionaire environmental active Paul Tudor Jones II, as profiled in Michael Grunwald’s The Swamp.
A number of Cairoites impelled perhaps by a desire to see dry land—stand once more on solid terra firma—visit Mound City…They were a cadaverous, saffron-colored set of mortals most terribly afflicted with bad hats and the stench of onions.

There are journalism flame wars, and then there was the Cairo (Ill.) Delta vs. Mound City (Ill.) Emporium Flame War of 1855, motivated, apparently, by each city’s desire to destroy the reputation of its neighbor in order to attract railroad developers.


I was told by the physician that a Southern climate would improve my health, and so I went down to Tennessee, and got a berth on the Morning Glory and Johnson County War-Whoop as associate editor…
The Oxford American's three-page jihad against fellow awesome southern mag Garden & Gun (“GAG” in OA parlance) is basically a scene from Mark Twain’s “Journalism in Tennessee,” only without the grenades.

I can relate, sort of, because my friend and I went on a road trip last summer. It was fun! It was also 22,000 miles long, and, like the Palins, we had to pay for gas because our oxen died attempting to ford the river early on. I was an intern and my friend worked at a coffee shop, which is to say we were both basically broke. That was totally fine, it turned out, because 1.) a lot of Americans we met—rural and urban, red state and blue state—were extraordinarily generous, even to total strangers; and 2.) like a lot Americans, we decided it would be more cost-effective to get a beat-up old Buick, rather than rent a state-of-the-art tour bus.

But looking back on it, I suppose we could have taken the easy way out and 3.) formed a Political Action Committee to bankroll the entire thing.

Did John C. Calhoun have a neck beard?

Did John C. Calhoun have a neck beard?

Obama finds Jesus in Rio. This photo is fantastic.


Dear Mother Jones, please don’t profane the unholy name of death metal like this ever again.


The only thing keeping the Mississippi in line right now is this, the Old River Control Structure outside Simmesport, Louisiana. As it happens, the Murphy–Gontar expedition of 2010 famously drove an hour of its way to check out Old River, so I have one very suspenseful photo of the facility, which is preserved here for posterity. We left just as shit was about to get real—which is to say, the middle part was going to fill up with water so the tug boat could continue on to the Mississippi.

I was half-kidding, a few weeks back, when I wrote that the Salton Sea in southeastern California is like a 19th-century hot springs resort for troubled artists (except instead of consumption and polio, it’s supposed to stir the soul to creative ends). But Roger Ebert flagged this beautiful short film today, that seems to support my theory.


Cajun children, Terrebonne Parish, 1940.

This would make a killer album cover.