21 November 2008

What Am I Reading?

Norval Morris & David Rothman, eds., The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society

David Hume, Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary

14 November 2008


I am quite keen on Invisible Conga People. Check 'em out.

15 October 2008

South Sister

Some pictures from the South Sister climb in 2007.

03 October 2008


Had a wonderful time in Yosemite and the Sierras. Will post some pics sooner or later.

05 September 2008

Medieval Form Letter

Some things never change.

To that magnificent lord [blank], I, [blank]. Since it is known familiarly to all how little I have whence to feed and clothe myself, I have therefore petitioned your piety, and your good will has decreed to me that I should hand myself over or commend myself to your guardianship, which I have thereupon done; that is to say in this way, that you should aid and succor me as well with food as with clothing, according as I shall be able to serve you and deserve it.

And so long as I shall live I ought to provide service and honor to you, suitably to my free condition; and I shall not during the time of my life have the ability to withdraw your or guardianship; but must remain during the days of my life under your power or defense. Wherefore it is proper that if either us shall wish to withdraw himself from these agreements, he shall pay [blank] shillings to the other party, and this agreement shall remain unbroken.

-- tr. E.P. Cheyney, "Frankish Commendation," Translations and Reprints of Original Sources of European History, vol 4, no. 3, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1897, p. 3-4.

29 August 2008

This Week In History

This week is the anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert (August 26th, 1071), a defeat which was the beginning of the end of the Byzantine empire. More here.

26 August 2008

Today's Quote

"...the jump from the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom will be the inglorious death of the very possibility of human excellence." -- Leo Strauss

As I'm not inclined to think that necessity (in one form or another) will ever be erased from the human condition I do not think that such a "realm of freedom" will ever come to pass.

15 July 2008


Of the Iliad that is.

Did he have the oppurtunity to see a solar eclipse? Check it out.

09 May 2008


I didn't know that Treblinka closed basically as a result of a prisoner revolt. Unfortunately apparently none of the prisoners survived the incident. Still, their courage should be celebrated.

Messerschmitt Me 264

What a fascinating plane. I've thought for some time that it (along with a lot of other evidenced) demonstrated the Nazi regime's desire to have it out with the U.S. and that this desire preceded the outbreak of WWII. Which is not to say that war was inevitable, but it is to say that the Nazi regime presented a threat to the U.S. from the former's inception.

07 May 2008


Throughout the primaries this year various persons have talked about this or that state being a "firewall," and in most (all?) instances that turned out not the be the case. I don't know if anyone claimed that North Carolina would be a "firewall," but that is what it turned out to be.


Happy B-Day Israel!

While (and not only in hindsight) it may not have been the best idea for Israel to have be refounded in the Levant, it was I think important for a Jewish state to be formed following WWII. Whatever the wisdom regarding the former decision, I hope that both Israelis and Palestinians can find a way forward which is both prosperous and peaceful.

05 May 2008

Twenty Pounds

I had my check-up today. I've lost twenty pounds since last year about this time.


To my loyal readers (yeah, all three of you):

In the coming months I hope to be a more active blogger. I've been busy and that has kept me away from my blog, however, I'll try to allocate more time to this blog as it is generally a pretty good outlet for the detritus and random matrial flouting around in my mind.

That is all.

03 May 2008

Incan Medicine

Incan doctors were apparently quite skilled when it came to addressing head trauma.


Here are some pictures of the progress up to this point. Thus far I've partially replumbed it, put down new tile, put up the walls that you see and put in a new toilet and pedestal sink. There is a lot to do still (like tiles for the ceiling - I took down the popcorn as it was in poor shape) but the end is in sight. Then I start work on completely remodeling the kitchen.

20 March 2008

Boston Marathon - 2009

I completed a half marathon recently and that has spurred me to reach even greater heights! Namely qualifying for the 2009 Boston Marathon. Wish me luck.

22 February 2008

New Books

Robert Fagles, trans., Virgil, The Aeneid (2006) (a new translation of one of my favorite texts) (2006)

Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding (1986)

Sena Jeter Naslund, Ahab's Wife or, The Star-Gazer (1999)

10 February 2008

Stalin's Smallpox

At the age of six Stalin contracted smallpox. Is it ethically appropriate to wish that he had died from the disease? After all at the time he was still a mere innocent.

28 January 2008

Recent Acquisitions

Orlando Figes, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History Of Russia

Ted Tunnell, Crucible of Reconstruction: War, Radicalism and Race in Louisiana, 1862-1877