Out of This World: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 28 February 2018


— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Three views of the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre, which self visited for the first time on 1 June 2017:




The canvas roof of the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre (viewed from the Galerie Donatello) looks like a desert-colored wave. Self thinks it is fabulous.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Books About War

Self adores reading books about war. Perhaps it is the drama, the spectacle. A good war book thrills her like no other.

She mentions this as she’s come to a point in The Romanovs where Alexander, the grandson of Catherine the Great, becomes Emperor of Russia. He was Catherine the Great’s chosen heir, only she died too quickly (at 68) and Alexander’s vicious father Paul took over (Paul was so terrible a monarch that he was strangled by his ministers after just five years in power)

When the crown is brought to Alexander, he doesn’t want it and weeps. Which means: he made a really good Emperor. And he ruled for 24 years.

Anyhoo, here we are on p. 288. Alexander, a very green monarch, has to face Napoleon. Napoleon recognizes the weakness of his opponent and says to his men, “Let’s finish this war with a thunderclap.” He launches his attack on Alexander’s forces, and 28,000 Russians are slaughtered (That is almost a third of the population of the city where self lives: Redwood City, California). Alexander is “almost run down by his own men as they” flee “for their lives.” Alexander comes down with a fever (Self would, too, if she had to watch 28,000 men slaughtered on a battlefield) and was sustained only by his doctor administering “wine and opium.”

But — Alexander does not collapse! He declares Napoleon the “Beast of the Apocalypse” and enlists the man who murdered his father to muster the Russian troops. The Russians fight Napoleon “to a grinding, bloody draw at Eylau, losing 26,000 men,” but the French lose 20,000. The carnage is appalling, but Alexander, understanding that he must be in it “for the long game,” sues for peace (Catherine the Great was right to choose him over his father!).

Alexander is twenty-nine when he and Napoleon meet at the Niemen River. Napoleon recounts that he “chattered away,” but Alexander understood his game. Alexander tells his mother (who loathed the French): “We will do everything to prove the sincerity” of Russia’s “tight alliance with France, this fearful colossus . . . until the moment when we will calmly observe his fall.”

p. 295: “As for Napoleon, he started to despise Alexander with that special hatred reserved for the beloved mistress who ends a cherished affair.”

Good stuff!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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