29 March 2010

Ybor City

Once it was interesting. Very interesting. Less so now, though most folks these days probably like it more. All that Miami style nonsense. Old Tampa was always a red brick city. But - courtesy of Matthew Yglesias whose grandfather is from there, here is a song that is actually about Ybor. My father knew his granddad, but that was long ago, back when Ybor City was interesting. There is, still, a park in Ybor with a statue of Nick C. Nuccio, the man responsible for my family migrating down to the port city, and hence, in a way, for my meeting Carmen.

Nuccio once told my father that he spoke three languages, Italian, Spanish, and broken English. My father admired him I think.

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A Tragic Little Story

About a penguin. Is it confused? Suicidal? Was there simply one member of the colony this little fellow could not tolerate any more?

Don't know. No one does. But the little penguin just keeps on going.

There is a profound metaphor here, but I just don't know what it is.

God watches as we head off to our self imposed doom?

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27 March 2010

Linguistic Terrorism

I have discovered a new news source: GlobalPost.com. It's interesting. They only pay their reporters about $12K a year, but for that price they get some pretty good talent since most newspapers are laying off their foreign correspondents. After all, if it doesn't happen in America how could it be news?

The first article I read was about the French fear of linguistic terrorism. Well, it is the French, but to some small extent they have a point. OTOH, French is not exactly the international language it once was, and nothing is going to change that.

Still, I wish I could speak it better.


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21 March 2010

Toyota - Not the only Japanese recall

This just in from a colleague's aunt, who seems to have unusually close ties with the Japanese ministry responsible for such things.
Yamaha has recalled 20,00 pianos due to problems with the pedal sticking, causing pianists to play faster than they normally would, resulting in a dangerous number of accidentals. The sticky pedal also makes it harder for pianists to come to a full stop at the end of a piece making it extremely risky for audiences. Although there have been a tremendous number of accidentals, fortunately it has so far caused no deafs. Analysts are wondering if it will put a damper on their bass market and if Yamaha will be able to sustain sales. Congress is also considering calling in the president of Yamaha for questioning as to when the company first learned about the treble.

Music to make you weep, huh?

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20 March 2010

Geography question

What great monumental construction is this dog standing in front of? Oddly, the dog's face looks like he is from the county that the monument is in (to my eyes, anyway).

19 March 2010

Irish History

Over on David Frum's blog, there is a post by Sean Linnaine on Irish history. Well worth reading, but I have to wonder about this one:
Irishmen have served honorably in every army on the face of the Earth. Irish soldiers have distinguished themselves in battle in every war from the time the Romans first tried to land on their shores, to this very day.

Well, Roman governor Agricola did boast to his son-in-law one day on the beach that he could take that island with one legion, and a few scattered merchants probably made there way to Erin, but otherwise I don't remember the Romans trying to land on their shores.

Unless he's confusing the Britons with the Irish.

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17 March 2010

Clemens' Notebook

This is a post more or less to myself, so I have a convenient place to stash some info I may need in the future for my Migrations in World History Class.

This is a review of Peter Heather's new book, Empires and Barbarians. Everything I have read by Heather has been excellent and this one promises to live up to that standard.

Heather has a fine track record in rescuing historical babies from being thrown out with the revisionist bathwater. His The Fall of the Roman Empire put a new case for the old view that barbarian invasions were an important factor in the collapse of the Roman empire. Empires and Barbarians partly overlaps with that, reinstating mass migration as an important phenomenon in the first millennium and one key factor in the formation of modern Europe.

This is not merely an attempt to turn back the ­historiographical clock. Heather has no patience with the old “billiard ball” model of migration — in which, as Ammianus saw it, Huns bumped into Goths and so pushed them towards the Roman empire. Instead he has tried to look at the first millennium afresh, using modern theories of migration and its motives. We are not dealing with anything like the vast Rwandan exodus, but many of the claimed movements would fit the patterns observed in recent history: people tend to move from poorer to richer regions; groups with a tradition of migration tend to be more mobile than those without; people tend to migrate to areas about which they have information. All those conditions apply to Ammianus’s Goths moving towards the Danube.

I suppose I will have to buy this one. Perhaps more difficult even than spending $$, I will have to find time to read it.

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12 March 2010

Just Asking

Did one of our readers ever finish his essay on "Whence Victorian Sewers?"

Also - how has the winter been in the Great White North? Several times this winter we made a valiant attempt to steal that title.

Brooks assesses Obama

And, on the whole, does a good job of it. After pointing out the absurdity of both right and left opiniond, he concludes with a paragraph that begins to get at the zeitgeist of our 21rst century America. Assuming you believe in creatures like the zeitgeist.
In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office.

But then I am only putting this here because it succinctly summarizes several things I believe.

someday I will plagiarize most of it, once I edit out that crack about blogs.


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10 March 2010

Without Comment

(via Sullivan)

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The Catalan Vengeance

Catalan is making a comeback, thanks to some rather dramatic government intervention in the film industry. I wish them luck (as I stumble through one more article on the Alans in Catalan)

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Movie reviews of Bad Crusader movies

One more URL from Mediev-L, this one of a student's reviews of more movies about the Crusades than I ever dreamed existed. Especially on "the female side of fighting." (the reviews revolve around the idea of examining the role of women in the Crusades)

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The State of the News

From ONN, some brilliantt parody of our news as brought to you by the MSM. This is what all news stories are beginning to sound like to me. Some blunt four letter words, so not for kiddies.

(courtesy of Andrew Sullivan).

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Without Comment

(via Andrew Sullivan)