Monday, May 31, 2004

Mmmm... Animated & Comic Goodness

The next couple weeks are looking mighty fine for me. The next Simpsons DVD set is being released (15 June) and the next Usagi TPB is also hitting stores (09 June). Gonna hafta snap both of those up right away. Odds are, most of you are familiar with the Simpsons, even if you aren't a fan, but most of you probably haven't heard of Usagi Yojimbo. Simply put, it's an anthropomorphic samurai manga. There is a fair bit of violence (it is about samurai), but overall the fare is appropriate for probably 12 and up, I'd say.

Visitors From Another Site

Interesting. Over the past two or three days I've had at least one (and maybe two) visitors to my blog leave comments on different posts. What's more interesting about that than usual is that they came via The One Ring, where I have a (very) small link to my blog in the footer of my posts and a more prominent one on my user info page. I don't know that either will necessarily come back or become regular readers, but that's okay. It's just kinda cool to know that some of those people come by.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Test Picture


test Posted by Hello

Just testing out how to post pictures. (This is a knight from a chess set of mine, by the bye.)

Thursday, May 27, 2004

312

Yeah. That's right. I scored 312 on Population Tire. Not only will you never even approach that score, I did that with a trackball mouse. Tremble in awe at how I really need to find better ways to spend my time.

Hobbit Discussion

Well, my chapter of the Hobbit discussion going on over at The One Ring is drawing to a close. I put up the last questions for today and I'll be starting a thread for open discussion on the chapter tomorrow with the summary to follow on the weekend. I don't know that anyone that I know personally stopped in to look at the discussion, but I was a bit disappointed with the level of participation. Neh. What can one do? I'm hoping that it has more to do with a lack of interest in The Hobbit than a failing of my discussion leadership. After this book discussion wraps up in a few weeks, we'll be discussing The Silmarillion next. If you're interested in the myths that Tolkien crafted that were the world into which he wrote The Lord of the Rings, check it out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Books

Just finished reading Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment last night. Quite an enjoyable read. It is essentially a survey of the greatest accomplishments of mankind over the course of known history. It also ranks the people who were the greatest in their respective artistic and scientific fields. My statistics are not sufficiently advanced to be able to thoroughly critique his work, but from what I do know it looked pretty good to me.

He has some interesting arguments about why certain periods in history have seen greater levels of accomplishment than others and why certain areas of the world have varying levels of accomplishment as well. It's really a bit too complex to summarise here, but I'd highly recommend it. Unless you think that things like American Idol are great art and high culture, you'll find it very interesting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Rosen-bored

I've been giving Rosenblog a try for a week or two now and I don't think I'll be visiting it regularly for too much longer. I don't have the same complaints that I had about the Shark Blog, it's just that this one has failed to captivate me. Some of the stuff was interesting, like this, but overall I just didn't get into it. (He's quite taken with Bill Cosby's speech to the NCAAP on the anniversary of Brown; 5 lengthy posts in the last 4 days.) I'm sure I'll check back from time to time, but it's not one I'll read every day. That's all right. I doubt he'd want to read my blog every day.

Books

Read the next Discworld novel, Witches Abroad recently. It wasn't bad. The nod to Twain was nice. It also actually had a very interesting conservative/libertarian anti-totalitarian thread that ran through it as well. Very refreshing to read a non-fiction book where the author doesn't adhere to the "if only the government were permitted to solve our problems for us" line.

Also finished Tenured Radicals. It was good, but not something that everyone needs to go out and read. It's a good overview of how deconstructionist and relativist theory has taken over the humanities and the problems that causes. I'm a bit more interested in this than the average person, probably, since I double majored in History and Sociology. If you're looking for a critique of the situation in the humanities, read it. If not, you can safely skip it. (Another reason that I read it is that I got interested in Roger Kimball after reading some of his articles in The New Criterion.)

Brooks Gets Knee-capped

Arma Virumque points out (approvingly) that David Brooks has come in for some criticism and an attempted outing recently. In the April issue of the Philadelphia magazine, Sasha Issenberg calls Brooks out for not bothering to do research, recycling stereotypes without really thinking about them and pursuing fame and fortune by only appearing to be an intellectual.
Brooks satisfies the features desk's appetite for scholarly authority in much the same way that Jayson Blair fed the newsroom's compulsion for scoops.
Serious stuff.

More recently (this past Sunday) Michael Kinsley of Slate tells us that Brooks is actually, (gasp!) a liberal.
''Is he serious?'' is an interesting question about David Brooks. But a more important question, for Brooks himself and for all of humanity (now that he is a Times columnist), is ''Is he conservative?''.... [W]hen he declares that hard-working business executives are living their ''whole lives'' in a furrow -- ''in that furrow, your personality becomes a mere selling device. Friendships become contacts. The urge to improve deteriorates to mere acquisitiveness. Money becomes the measure of accomplishment'' -- well, frankly, that sounds more than a bit like Karl Marx, doesn't it?

And Arma Virumque even gets in a swipe at Wonkette's grammar. Gotta love 'em.

Monday, May 24, 2004

First Things And Darwin

Interesting little bit from First Things' section called "The Public Square" in the May issue. Richard Neuhaus, while reviewing a book on Darwinism from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, makes the following couple of comments and observations.
One is sometimes asked whether one “believes in” evolution. More strident Darwinists adamantly insist that it is not a matter of faith; it is not a theory to be accepted or rejected; it is a fact to be acknowledged. But of course that is silly. It is precisely, and Darwin intended it precisely as, a theory to explain how the complexity of living systems came about. And there may be something to it in terms of micro-evolution, in possibly explaining how changes happen within particular species. As for macro-evolution—a general and all-encompassing explanation of how we and all other living things came to be—Darwinism is, in my considered judgment, preposterous.
And again,
It is odd but understandable that in our intellectual culture a critic of Darwinism is thought more credible if he is an agnostic or atheist. A scientist who believes in the Creator is suspected of cooking the evidence to support his belief. Whereas one who has made a commitment to agnosticism or, even better, atheism is thought to be neutral. This, too, is nonsense.
I haven't been reading First Things like I should. Yet another magazine that, had I more disposable cash and free time, for which I would purchase a subscription.

Friday, May 21, 2004

If I Had A Million Dollars...

I think that this is one of the better answers to the question: What would you do with a million dollars? Both answers, actually.

Derbyshire's First Law Of Opinion Journalism

"Anything -- anything whatsoever -- that a Gentile says about Jews or Israel will be taken as rabidly antisemitic by somebody, somewhere."

From the Corner.

An Update

No, not here. My friend Chris has totally revamped his website. Now it just remains to be seen if he will continue to do so, or if things will follow their usual pattern. The usual pattern being: major revision, a month of tweaks, a year of no changes or updates, repeat.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Why Was I Not Notified?!

My favourite pitcher, Randy Johnson, throws a perfect game on Tuesday and I don't find out until late Thursday night? Could the fates be any more cruel?

Still, this is just further evidence that Randy, in his prime (the last 10-12 years), is the best pitcher baseball has seen in the last 20 years. Nay, I will go further, the best since Sandy Koufax. Sadly, I don't think anyone who reads this blog follows baseball enough to want to argue with me about it, so I won't get to bring out all my devastating arguments to support my contention.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Truth, The American Way, And Presbyterians

Greg has a post up (well, it's down his page a bit now) expressing surprise that Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) is Presbyterian. I don't know much about him; frankly, I don't read his blog. Greg then goes on to say he doesn't like any mainstream denomination's leadership.
And in the end, I really despise the denominational leadership of just about every mainline denomination. They're moving closer to the Church of England, just another anti-American interest group with no firm convictions.
What I find curious is that Greg's primary problem with mainline denominations and the Church of England is that they are "anti-American". (Perhaps this is a mis-reading of what Greg meant. Perhaps the lack of firm convictions was intended to be indicated as his primary beef with the Anglicans and others. If so, sorry about that, Greg.)

I agree, it is deplorable that they are so stridently anti-American, but the biggest problem that I have with them is their erroneous theology. I'd say that a dedication to Truth is most important, and the other things follow from that. I don't pick where I go on Sundays, and who I worship with based on whether I think they have the proper position on the War in Iraq, on tax-cuts or even if I think they love America as much as I do. I think one ought to choose a church based on whether or not one thinks that they seek and teach Truth.

On Again, Off Again

Well, been gone for a few days. My computer is giving me back-chat again and my wife had her tonsils removed. It's strange how much the experience (viewed by a third party, myself) is like Bill Cosby's description of it in his comedy.

Been doing a fair bit of reading while the wife sleeps and otherwise recuperates. Haven't finished any more books, but I've read a good 400-500 pages in several different books. Should have some mini-reviews up in a few more days. Been nice to have the time off work too. Have to go back tonight, but it'll be a short week.

Next week is my chapter discussion over at TORN on their discussion board, so I've been preparing for that too. Should be good times.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Speaking Of Ducky...

I'm thinking that one o' them thar Ducky shirts from the Homestar Runner store might be in order. Perhaps a birthday gift? An early birthday gift? An unbirthday gift?

Hmmm. Maybe Fluffy Puff instead/also...?

Mmmm...Baseball Stats...

Found me a tasty new baseball statistics blog. The plethora of statistics in baseball is what makes America's Pastime so grand. The site design is lousy and leaves much to be desired, but the content is just ducky. I'll be keeping an eye on it for a few days and, should events warrant, I'll be adding it to the old link bar to your left.

Be Still My Beating Heart

Greg has noted my distress over not having my boot-licking praise noted on his website and graciously posted part of it in his sidebar now. He did not, however include the whole thing, leaving out the part about saving blonde children. Sadly, since I don't think he reads Wodehouse, I don't think he really got that reference.

At any rate, the sun shines once again. Having such an unusually effusive bit of praise in his sidebar might drive some curious people to my blog via the link below my comment.

The Comeback Of TB?

On NRO yesterday, a good article on tuberculosis (TB), the threat it poses and what is currently being done to combat it. Right now, there is only one TB drug that multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) doesn't resist, and when MDR-TB finally does begin resisting that too (as I believe is probably inevitable), if there isn't a new treatment available, we could well see a world-wide TB epidemic.

The article also has some good detail on how the company that holds the patent on the only universally effective TB drug, Lilly Pharmaceuticals gives away large amounts of it to the World Health Organization (WHO) and licenses it to Third World manufacturers (royalty free on the product they donate to the WHO) in order to keep the number of new cases of TB as low as possible.

Body Parts Are Not Negotiating Tools

An article in today's Christian Science Monitor about the Israeli effort to recover the pieces of the corpses of their soldiers that were killed and dismembered by Muslim terrorists in Gaza recently. Not only were they paraded through the streets and for news cameras immediately after the murders, but they've apparently been kept as trophies by various terrorists.

So now the Israelis have a mission in progress with the dual objectives of destroying terrorist workshops and recovering the bodies of their murdered comrades. And why would these people want such ghoulish trophies?
Hamad [Ghazi Hamad, the editor of Al Risale, a newspaper sympathetic to the Islamic militant movement] says that the Islamic groups holding the remains may gain more legitimacy because Israel would have to engage in speaking to them - through an international mediator such as the Red Cross.
That's right, it will help them gain legitimacy by holding the dismembered corpses of Israeli soldiers hostage. If that isn't evidence of someone who's seriously lost his grip on reality, I don't know what is.

As well, I think this is a very basic mis-reading of the situation. Having the entire body to bury is very important to many Jews. So important, in fact, that there are special volunteer crews that go over the sites of terrorist bomb attacks to try and collect every piece of human remains so that bodies can be complete when interred. Holding the bodies of Jews hostage will likely only inflame the Israelis and make them even more implacable foes rather than giving the terrorists a position of strength from which to bargain.

Books

Actually, that should probably just be "book". I've only finished one since I last wrote about my reading, and I haven't started anything new. The one I just finished was The Mother Hunt, another Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout. It wasn't bad, but I didn't like it so well as most of the others that I have read. The supporting characters were weak, and I, like one of the reviewers at Amazon, think it would have been a better mystery without the murders.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Repeal The 17th Amendment!

Bet you don't even know which one that is without looking it up. Don't feel too bad, neither did I and most people probably wouldn't either. What it is, however, is the amendment that changed how the Senate was filled. Instead of having senators chosen by state representatives, they were instead popularly elected.

Why is this a big deal? Bruce Bartlett makes a pretty convincing case at NRO today that this change contributed in large part to the dramatic increase in the size of the federal government over the last century or so. He doesn't make the case that repealing the 17th Amendment would be easy, that it would shrink government or that it would be a panacea for the problems that face the country. But I found it pretty convincing on the idea that it keep the government from getting much bigger than it already is. As a conservative, let me tell you, just halting the growth of the federal behemoth would be a wondrous accomplishment and cause for celebration.

And since the 17th Amendment is relatively unknown to the public at large, I think that a well-reasoned case for repeal, put before the public in a competent way would have a better chance of succeeding than, say, trying to abolish the Department of Education.

Book Discussion Group

So I participate in an online forum that discusses the works of Tolkien and (Shut up! I am not a geek!) anyway, in about (Am not!) a week and a half I'll be the one leading the discussion of one of the chapters of The Hobbit. (Shut up!) If anyone is interested in dropping by and reading or even participating, (It's not just a geek thing. Really.) feel free. My discussion is on Chapter 15 and runs the week of 24 May. My name on the boards is "Atlas", the same one I use in the Falcon Forums. If you do drop in, a word to the wise: they frown on personal conversation, so if you do decide to post there, you oughta keep it on topic.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

It's A Deliberate Slight!

Well, now I know. I'm being deliberately slighted by Greg. I know he's read my blog since that post of mine because he referenced what I wrote about McDermott on his own blog.

Of course, I have no idea what I'm going to do about this.

Books

Finished another Discworld book: Reaper Man. Quite good, as all the ones that feature Death prominently are. (When I say "Death", I mean of course the Horseman of the Apocalypse, not that lots of people die. Though that usually happens too.) Once again, my brother Sean deserves some thanks for helping me get started on this series. Thanks, bro.

I've got a number of other books out from the library that I'm trying to read now too, though I'm hesitant to name them off in my blog because I'll feel foolish if I don't finish them before I have to return them. I'll just say that I'm reading a couple books on history, a couple on education and a couple novels. As I finish them, I'll mention them here, link to them at Amazon and give a brief run-down of what I thought about them.

McCainocrats

Greg has a post up about how a Kerry-McCain ticket might pose a huge threat to Bush's re-election chances. While he may be right that Bush would be well-advised to play nice with McCain and make certain he's invited to Bush's birthday party and such, my inclination is the opposite. What's the point of having a Majority Whips and things in Congress if they can't keep McCain and his fellow McCainocrats (Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel, etc.) in line? McCain insists on being nicer to Democrats than to his fellow Republicans, then he ought not to get any help for his own re-election efforts or get any committee chairs. I know, I know. He'd win re-election easily on his own and that's not how committee chairs work. A guy can dream.

Hijacked Browsers

You know what I hate? I hate it when I'm reading a blog, minding my own business, and I find a link that's interesting. "Huh", I think. "That's interesting." So I click on the link and AAARRRGHHH!!! It doesn't open a new window! I hate that. Look: it's not that hard to code it in to open a new browser when your readers click your links. Not only is that cool, but when they're done reading whatever it is and clicking and following the links on the page you linked to, they still have a browser open with your page. So they'll remember to come back and keep reading your site. Which is good, yeah? That's why you put up a site in the first place. So people will look at it.

Shark Is Not To My Taste

I've been reading some different blogs that Greg has linked. Most recently, I've been giving the Shark Blog at try. It's well done and all, the writing is good, the layout and colours do not offend the eye, but it's not really to my taste. I'm not captivated by the fight against the Seattle Monorail, nor am I particularly interested in the local political scene. It seems to be irretrievably liberal, and I'm not inclined to bang my head against the wall. Which isn't to say that I won't keep voting and otherwise agitating as my conservative principles dictate, but I'm not going to write (or read) a lot about our local lefties and their loony ideas.

Next up, the Rosenblog.

Monday, May 10, 2004

It's Prententious, But That Doesn't Make It Not Cool!

An interesting link over at ToshiStation (which I have been remiss in visiting for the past few weeks) regarding a watch. Without even looking for a price I know I'll never own one (my Timex works just fine, thanks), but it's quite the nifty thing to look at. It does seem pretty revolutionary for a watch, but to read the marketing copy you'd think they came up with cold fusion.

Mmmm.... RSS Feed...

Or something. I'm not hep to all this new-fangled technology and junk, but I think I've got it set so that one can now subscribe to a feed of my blog. I've done it through FeedBurner. How well it will work remains to be seen. Though, in keeping with my Scottish heritage, the important thing to me is that it's free.

What's that? Why am I concerned about how well it will work? There's a neat little notice on their site that reads:
This is a Pre-Alpha release. Meaning, there are still likely to be many many bugs, and while the software isn't unstable at this point, we wouldn't go throwing around the term "high-availability" just yet either. Caveat Emptor.
Now that I've taken care of your complaint, Xan, how 'bout you do something about mine? Update your site!

Haloscan, Come Back!

That's it. After seeing the comments that Steve left (which may disappear shortly after this post is up) and trying out the comment system myself, I'm turning off Blogger's comments and getting Haloscan back. Far superior.

Changes

Yeah, so Blogger has an update which makes a lot more like what I've gathered that MT is like. And, since this is free, it's making me less inclined to migrate my blog off of Blogger and onto my own site. This works well enough for me and I don't need the headache. Especially since my computer is acting up again. (No snide comments, Steve!) Speaking of comments, I suppose I could just get my old comments back, but I'm interested to try Blogger's new comment system and see how that goes. Anyway, I'll still probably alter the colours a bit and mess around with the other features.

Addendum:
Blogger's spell-check still doesn't recognise "blog" or any of its variants as an actual word. That's still funny to me.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Take It Out Of The Ball-Game

"Want to go to a baseball game?"

"Yeah! 'Cause they have Spiderman logos on the bases now!"

Which is apparently how Major League Baseball thinks kids will respond to it's latest money-making venture. Or at least, that's the line they're trying to feed the rest of us about why they sold ad space on the bases. '"We need to reach out to a younger demographic to bring them to the ballpark," said Jacqueline Parkes, baseball's senior vice president for marketing and advertising.' Yeah, a four inch ad that will just look like a red spot from the 300 level will draw 6 year olds to ball games and cause them to be entranced for the next three hours. And I have this great sea-side property to sell you just outside Phoenix. I'm with Fay Vincent, former commissioner.

"I guess it's inevitable, but it's sad,'' said Fay Vincent, a former baseball commissioner and former president of Columbia Pictures, which is releasing "Spider-Man 2.''

"I'm old-fashioned. I'm a romanticist. I think the bases should be protected from this. I feel the same way I do when I see jockeys wears ads: Maybe this is progress, but there's something in me that regrets it very much,'' he added.

Update:

MLB has reversed the decision about logos on the bases.

God, McDermott And Public Life

Stefan Sharkansky comments on Matt Rosenberg's article in the Seattle Times on Jim McDermott's failure to say the words "under God" during the Pledge of Allegiance.

While I would agree that no one should be required to say the words "under God", I find the defence put up by Mr Rosenberg (and Mr Sharkansky by extension, since he said he agreed) to miss the mark slightly.

Mr Rosenberg writes that conservatives who complain about the attempts to expunge any reference to God from the public square should sit down and shut up.
Now, the Supreme Court is weighing an appeals court's ruling against the pledge's "under God" reference. If the ruling is upheld, conservatives should hold their fire. They've yowled enough already. It's hypocritical for proponents of small government to claim they need the government to endorse religious values.
I don't need the government to endorse my religious values. But I don't like the idea that I have to check my religion when I enter into public life. If I want to let my most deeply held beliefs inform my actions and thoughts, I should be able to. If it is important for me to remind myself and others of the fact that all leaders are appointed by God (Romans 13:1), I should be able to do so, ask that others do so and criticise them if they do not. I cannot force them to acknowledge God, and I do not want to.

In the comments to Mr Sharkansky's post, Greg notes that Representative McDermott would be criticised as well had he refused to say the words "with liberty and justice for all". Mr Sharkansky's rebuttal was that the concept of "liberty and justice for all" was a more universally held one. But what then is the level of consensus needed before bucking it permits valid criticism? There may be more people who have no problem with Rep. McDermott leaving out "under God", but those of us who criticise him lose none of the strength of our arguments for that.

Don't Try And Out-Weird Me, Three-Eyes

The Exorcist Performed in 30 Seconds by Bunnies. Truly.

See also: The Shining Performed in 30 Seconds by Bunnies. Oh, yes.

Buy A Lottery Ticket

Man survives having six nails shot into his head by a nail gun. Wow.

Falcon Runaround

Consistently the best part of The Falcon is The Runaround by Kevan Lee, Sports Editor. Even when he's clearly in the wrong, as he was about rejoicing at the misfortunes of the Mariners, he's still funny and his articles are well-written. This week's article on the virtues and vices of the respective NBA conferences was particularly amusing. I laughed out loud at least twice, which is a lot for an article only about 800 words long. Keep it up Mr Lee. And here's hoping we get to read more of your work after this year of school ends.

Whatta Guy!

I was noticing that Greg has some "Praise For Piper" in his sidebar. I also noticed that nothing I have ever said about him has made the list. Is it my lack of influence? (Greg himself is at least a third of my regular readers.) No, he still quotes jG whose blog is defunct. Have my comments not been accurate descriptions of him? Ridiculous. My insights are invariably trenchant and precise. Have I not been sufficiently fawning? Perhaps. Let's try some sycophancy to see if I can get onto that sidebar too.

Greg Piper is a prince among men. He combines an angelic grace and pefection of physical form with the wit, knowledge and loquacity that have characterised the greatest pundits of American and English literature, from Twain to Mencken, from Wilde to Eliot. When not dispensing pearls of wisdom to the hoi polloi he is out saving blonde, blue-eyed children from runaway horses and generally strewing good deeds and happiness hither and yon.
There. If that doesn't do it, I'll know it's a personal slight.

Blogs? Bad!

Nate Ellis over at The Falcon (the college rag of my alma mater) has an Opinion article this week about how blogs are evil and do nothing but contribute to the cacophony of words that is the Internet. I think there is a point to be made regarding the sea of dreck that the few pieces of worthwhile writing float in, but I think his blanket condemnation of blogs is silly on the face. He's also pretty down on the readers of blogs as being people of great gullibility and little discrimination. I can't wait to see what Greg has to say, being so fond of blogs that I sometimes wonder if he errs in the opposite direction, finding them a panacea for societal ills. Well, even if he does err, I don't think Greg errs to nearly the magnitude that Mr Ellis does.

Fun With Names

Bit of a funny post about googling one's name. Via Arma Virumque.

Bush the Multi-Culti President

An article on today's NRO by John Derbyshire that points out that President Bush has deeply imbibed the multi-cultural cant that "everyone is the same except for appearing different". Which, as Derb points out, may well be true in the case of biology, but culture, religion, etc. may be a different story. And if it is, then what happens if the Iraqis reject the democratic model we provide and choose an Iranian style state? Derb hopes we learn a lasting lesson, but I'm not so certain. I am now less sanguine about the seriousness of the Left than I have been before in my (admittedly, fairly short) life.

And a final point on Bush, I'm also open to the idea (a bit more than Derb it seems) that Bush is more paying lip-service to multi-culturalism than a true believer.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

So Much To Read, So Little Time

So many things I'd like to read, so little time to read them. All this work and sleep and stuff gets in the way. By way of example, let's just a glance at The New Critierion's website. There are two book reviews that have piqued my interest and a major article that once again tempts me to subscribe.

The article is by Robert Bork and it's about the efforts of judges to remake society by judicial fiat. It sounds fascinating. Here is the excerpt provided on their website:

In short, what we are witnessing is the homogenization of the constitutional laws of the nations of the West. And, since constitutional law is increasingly made by judges without reference to the actual constitutions they purport to be applying, there is developing an international constitutional common law. That is made possible by the fact that judges in almost all Western nations share Olympian values. Thus, we tend to see indifference or hostility to religion, the embrace of sexual permissiveness, the normalization of homosexuality, the creation of abortion rights, the classification of pornography and extreme vulgarity as protected free speech, hostility to traditional authorities, and special rights for favored ethnic minorities and, often, for women. All this leads to the Balkanization of society and the weakening of social discipline based upon a shared morality.

The first book review is written by Marc Akin about Washington's Crossing. It's a book about the famous crossing of the Delaware and the events surrounding it. Sounds like quite a good book. I've always been impressed (who hasn't been?) by George Washington and probably ought to read up on him a bit.

The second review is by the incomparable John Derbyshire on "the strangest travel book ever written": An African In Greenland. And he's probably right. It's a book by a man from a small village in West Africa who travels to the northern reaches of Greenland since his family decided he ought to become a priest in the local snake cult. At one point Derb points out, since the author, Tété-Michel Kpomassie, even "goes hunting for whale, seal, and blue shark, in the traditional style, passing comments on the differences between whale hunting in the arctic and lion hunting on the African plains— Kpomassie must surely be the only person that has ever been qualified to make such comparisons."

So much to read... If only sleep were optional.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

It's All Greek To Me

Interesting article in the latest New Criterion by Victor Davis Hanson (also a frequent contributor to NRO) on an art exhibit that is primarily concerned with images of children from ancient Greece. He uses the exhibit to discuss how much like we moderns these Greeks were. Interesting read and some good information to counter some of the prevailing notions about Greek society.

"The effect of viewing some 126 displays from American, Canadian, and European museums is an almost eerier resonance between past and present not discernible even through close reading of Greek literature. Greek children in a variety of contexts in the current exhibition are shown playing with familiar household pets like cats, small birds, and geese. Their toys seem to have come right out of small-town America of the 1940s—spinning-tops, hoops and sticks, jointed dolls, even seesaws. Greek moms, we learn, had their potties and training chairs—and rooms full of assorted cluttered junk such as mechanical toy rollers, pig-rattles, and wheeled horses. If we think clay for plastic, the experience is not much different from strolling through the aisles of Toys-R-Us. One terracotta spherical ink-well is identical to a Voit soccer-ball—even down to the familiar pattern of stitched ridges."