Sunday, March 25, 2007
I feel so dirty. And I’d do it again. I mean 20 bucks for a season! How am I supposed to resist?
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
As it stands, I’ve got a sexy new Sony DVD-RW drive that works and burns great. Except for one little thing. Often, but not always, after I open the tray, it slides shut a few seconds later, occasionally trying to take my finger with it. It would seem that the god in the machine wants a blood offering.
Monday, March 19, 2007
There are some barbaric individuals who view cooking as a less than manly art. Something fit only for the likes of women and sissy men. I say thee nay. Just look at Emeril. And Alton Brown. And Mario Batalli. And Anthony Bourdain.
Cooking competence is indeed a very good boon. It means not spending all one’s money on shitty fast foot. It means having control over exactly what you’re putting into your mouth, so if you don’t like applesauce, there ain’t gonna be any applesauce on your watch. More importantly, you can feed yourself AT ANY TIME YOU WANT. Plus, women like men who are capable of feeding themselves. And since I’m rocking a bachelor lifestyle going into grad school, ain’t nobody else gonna feed me.
Case in point: I wanted cookies tonight. I wanted them bad. Nothing in the pantry. A lesser man would chalk that up as a loss. Not I. An egg, vegetable oil, cookie mix and an oven at 350 Fahrenheit was enough to put me in business.
Result: Cookies bigger than the nonsense you find in a bag, and WARM.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Oh, I’ll do it, too. Just try me.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Go see 300 if you haven’t already.
What are you waiting for? GO!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Now, Justin Timberlake got it wrong. Sexy was never gone, so there was never any reason to bring it back. Can’t bring back what’s always been there. There’s plenty of other words that have gone missing that are totally worthy of coming back.
Take the word “ruthless.” Its come to mean someone who is without mercy. And, if you’ve got even a very light grasp of how English grammar works, you recognize the -”less” part from other words. Penniless, Merciless, Dauntless, Fearless. “-less” clearly mean a lack of something, and implies an opposite value. “Merciful, Fearful, etc.
Even since a kid I’ve always wondered if “ruthful” (the logical extension of this dichotomy) was the actual opposite of “ruthless.” Well, according to the New English Dictionary, it is. So I’ve decided to bring it back. Look out America, you’re about to get a dose of ruthfulness!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Even more amusing is the location of where they’re filming the live action reenactment segments; Trakai castle in Lithuania. I know this because I’ve been there myself and can recognize the walls and architecture. Last night they did one on the Saxons that was pretty much all filmed at Trakai. Warms the cockles of my heart and it made me fire up Rome: Total War again on the PC.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Surviving members of Tokhtamysh’s faction were granted asylum within the Grand Duchy by Vytautas, and also given land and nobility status, where they became known as the Lipka Tatars. In 1410, at the battle of Tannenberg/Grunwald/Zalgiris (depends on who you talk to), Tatar light cavalry served alongside Vytautas’ Lithuanians and Jogaila/Jagiello’s Poles. The battle was a crushing defeat for the Teutonic Order of warrior monks, and halted their expansion in the Baltic.
The Lipka Tatars remained in service as nobles and valuable cavalrymen in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that followed it, and maintained their Muslim faith even as Lithuania transitioned from a pagan to a Christian land, and are still a well-defined ethnic minority in Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus.
And that’s an incomplete, imperfect and utterly confusing history of the Lipka Tatars and how they got to Lithuania. And knowing is good.
Monday, March 05, 2007
As with all great conquerors, Genghis’ Khanate broke up into fragments after his death, divided between his sons. He was a tough act to follow, and the fragmented khanates stayed that way for a while.
Now, the Tatars (or incorrectly, “Tartars”) were a tribe of Turkic speaking Steppe horsemen similar to the Mongols, and indeed, seemed to be part of the great Golden Horde after Genghis brought them to heel. In Europe, they had a profound impact on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and had a tremendous impact on the region of Bulgaria, and the name Tatar became synonymous with any Turkic speaking Mongols. They inherited a significant part of Genghis’ empire as the White Horde, and this is where things get interesting.
In the late-1300s, a descendant of Orda Khan named Tokhtamysh, gained control of the White Horde with the help of another Mongol general, Tamerlane. Tokhtamysh went on to conquer the Blue Horde (the other half of the Golden Horde) and reunited them under one banner in 1380. Good times for the Horde, right? Well...
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Also, Tiramisu is good. Real good.
That is all.
Friday, March 02, 2007
For some reason, Winwaloe gained the reputation of a “phallic saint” (possibly because one of the French forms of his name was confused with the word gignere, “to beget”). Anyway, he is one of several phallic saints invoked against impotence. Most interestingly, a book in my possession about patron saints of things gives a legend that there was a statue of Winwaloe in Brest carved with an erect member, and that people would carve off a little piece here and there in the hopes that it would remedy the relevant problem. Miraculously, despite centuries of this practice, the, ahem, length of the statue has not diminished. Or so it is said.
See? Isn’t theology fun? And in case you were wondering who the other phallic saints are, here’s a few: St. Ters, Saints Cosmas & Damian, St. Foutin, St. Gilles, & St. Rene. Most seem to be French.
So I’m sitting here trying to think of some kind of nonsense to write about while trying to keep to my self-imposed deadline, and nothing’s coming to mind. Which is odd. Life’s good, there’s plenty of entertainment coming up soon (both high and low brow) to deal with, but lately there’s been a lot going on in life that’s superceded this here side project.
That is all.
Oh. Wait. Here’s something. Morel Orel on Adult Swim is just so…creepy. Really creepy. Tom Goes To The Mayor creepy.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Well….. It is true that a numerically small number of Greeks held out against a numerically superior army and caused King Xerxes no end of consternation, but it wasn’t just 300 Spartans. Herodotus says that there were something like 5,000 or more Greeks present during the course of the battle from all over Greece. Most of them withdrew after the Persians encircled the Greek position, leaving a very small rearguard to protect their retreat. Yet even then it was not JUST 300 Spartans. Some 700 Thespians (from the polis of Thespiae) volunteered to stay behind with the Spartans, and they died just as bravely as the Spartans, and some 400 or so Thebans also took part, but they surrendered to the Persians before the end (which really steamed the rest of the Greeks). After the Spartan King Leonidas (Sparta had two kings at a time) was cut down near the end, the Greeks regrouped and were shot down in a storm of arrows. According to historians, the casualty estimates are about 1,500 Greeks and 20,000 Persians. Even though it wasn’t as lopsided as its been romanticized, the Greeks were still badly outnumbered. Herodotus gives a number of over 5 million Persians at the battle, but that’s a hotly debated topic among historians.
While by itself, the Spartans clearly lost, it did by the rest of the Greeks time to regroup and work toward forcing Persia into a naval battle at Salamis. Sparta does have a well-deserved reputation for ferocity and valor, but the city-state itself was a curious mix of privilege, xenophobia and outright cruelty that was completely unlike any other Greek polis. They had a mystique, even in antiquity, that still resonates.