Over the weekend we went to a backyard fundraiser for the Genocide Intervention Fund, an effort launched by a few Swarthmore undergraduates to support African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, in the hope that they will at least slow the ongoing genocide. A young woman spoke who had lived through the Rwandan genocide as a child and had just come from visiting with Darfur refugees in a camp in Chad. Please consider donating.

It was an artsy crowd, and a man whose name I didn’t catch was passing around a handheld viewer with a fascinating sample of 3-D slides he had taken—a giraffe with a crick in its neck; an antipapist rally with a bonfire, a scaffold, and audience members in Viking helmets; and electric sparks snaking out of a Tesla coil like some kind of Frankenstein’s-monster octopus. He said he was going to be projecting the slides on August 18 at the next meeting, free and open to the public, of the New York Stereoscopic Society at the American Museum of Natural History.

There are 3-D images from the 1850s at the ICP’s Young America exhibit at Sixth Avenue and 43rd Street. You may recall that a few weeks ago I began an unofficial audio guide for the exhibit. The bad news is that I decided, about a third of the way through reading P. C. Headley’s Life of Louis Kossuth in order to pontificate about him, that this was not a cost-effective use of my time (and might even, from the perspective of book-writing, be considered an elaborate form of procrastination). The good news is that the exhibit is in New York for another month, and there is still time for you to see it unencumbered by my mellifluous tones.

As part of a new resolve to be more consistently nineteenth-century, I would like to report a bit of news about Charles F. Briggs’s The Trippings of Tom Pepper, the novel from which the title of this blog is taken. While reading works by and about William Dean Howells, for reasons I am not yet ready to disclose, I recently learned that after Howells and his brother read Trippings, they swore to each other that they would never lie—an early sign of Howells’s hyperactive superego, in my opinion, because Tom Pepper’s guilt about lying struck me (in the one volume of the novel I’ve read) as more of a running gag than an earnest plot point.