Sentence of the Day: from Philip Pullman’s FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM

  • When the bird saw the vegetable stew coming to the boil with a dead mouse in it, he panicked.

— from The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage, a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, re-told by Philip Pullman

Caligula’s Real Name Means . . .

You will not believe this, but according to Mary Beard, the name ‘Caligula’ means Bootikins.

It was a nickname whose origin was thus:

His parents “had taken him as a young child to military campaigns and dressed him up in a miniature soldier’s uniform, including some trademark miniature army boots (The Latin for boots is caligae).”

— p. 391 SPQR

#lmao

Mary Beard: How To Lose an Election Campaign

In early Roman times, campaigns used public debate and canvassing to win elections. The debates were “semi-formal meetings,” at which loud “political passion” was so involved that once a crow “which had the bad luck to be flying past” (I believe that’s a Mary Beard joke) “fell to the ground, stunned.”

In the second century BCE, a candidate named Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica (You can forget the name now; he’s not important. In fact, self doesn’t know why she bothered to type out the entire name rather than identifying him as PCSN) “was out canvassing one day in a bid to be elected to the office of” blah blah “and was busy shaking the hands of voters . . . when he came across one whose hands were hardened by work in the fields. ‘My goodness,’ PCSN joked, do you walk on them?’ He was overheard and the common people concluded that he had been taunting their poverty and their labour. The upshot, needless to say, was that he lost the election.”

#lol

SPQR p. 192: only the rich could afford to run for public office (Campaigns, then as now, are expensive) but “success . . .  was a gift bestowed by the poor.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SCROTUS Handshake: Exactly As Described

Story # 8 in Phil Klay’s Redeployment (“Prayer in the Furnace” — another lousy title, but let’s not digress)

#ShinzoAbe #PrimeMinisterofJapan #ShakesHandsWithTrump

p. 142

“He’s gonna do this handshake,” the major said. “It’s called the dominance shake. He does it to everybody.”

Eklund was a Catholic convert and had a tendency to tell me more than he should, inside the confessional and out.

“The dominance shake,” I said, amused.

“That’s what he calls it. He’s going to take your hand in his, grip it real hard, and then twist his wrist so his hand is on top of yours. That’s the dominance position. And then, instead of shaking up and down, he’ll pull you in and slap you on the shoulder and feel your bicep with his free hand. It’s Fehr’s little way of peeing on your personal tree.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Yes, All Right, Still Story # 5 of REDEPLOYMENT

Here’s the sentence:

“There is a direct link,” I said, “between the oppression of women and extremism.”

This conversation is taking place in Iraq. And it is funny. Not because self doesn’t believe the truth of it. She does. But it’s being said by an American civilian in Iraq (who goes by the name Chris Roper and self isn’t sure why but she keeps thinking she knows someone with that actual name). So it seems ironic. You know?

Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: “Down”

DSCN1343

Study in Oil by Bernadette Burns. She lives on Sherkin Island, off West Cork. http://www.bernadetteburns.com

We’re going under.

When?

Today.

Just like that.

Yes.

Well, I need more time to select.

Select?

Yeah. What do you think?

Everything you need is down there.

The two men arguing are about to descend to the ocean floor in a bathosphere called Pinkie Pi. They are under the impression that’s where everyone else on the surface has gone.

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Phil Klay

It’s been one whole day and self is still reading the same story she began this morning, “Money as a Weapons System.” She sincerely hopes she won’t still be reading it,  this time tomorrow.

I was new to the cc game, a game played with skill by staff officers throughout the military, but I knew enough to know that the more senior people you could comfortably cc on your e-mails, the more everyone had to put up with whatever bullshit your e-mails were actually about.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

And STILL More From “Money As a Weapons System” (Story # 5 in Phil Klay’s REDEPLOYMENT)

The title’s a little too obvious. The story itself is layered with irony. It’s all about how American good intentions are worthless. (“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” a quote from who, self knows not, but you’re welcome)

The narrator is an adviser who gets sent to Iraq as part of the Rebuilding. Shortly after his arrival (via helicopter, a true gift from above!), he has this conversation:

“Cindy’s a true believer . . . “

“What is she working on?”

“She’s our womens initiative adviser,” said Bob. “She used to be on a local school board back in wherever the fuck she’s from. Kansas or Idaho or something. She handles our women’s business association, and she’s starting an agricultural project for widows.”

“She knows about farming?” I said hopefully.

“Nope, but I taught her how to google.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What the Writing Desk Looks Like Today, 20 March 2017

DSCN1136

Niall Leavy Brochure from a 2009 Exhibit Called “Inner Light”; copy of self’s book Mayor of the Roses: Stories, Miami University Press

Niall was here last year. Saw his work at Open Studio at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

At the opposite end of the table, self’s book from Miami University Press (There’s another story collection that came after this one: The Lost Language. Self’s Dearest Mum gave copies to all her friends as a Christmas present, but painstakingly tore out all the stories she didn’t like, lol)

You will notice that today the writing table is square. That’s because there are two of them in her unit, and she switches back and forth between them, depending on her need for the scissors, lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What the Writing Desk Looks Like Today, 15 March 2017

Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Scissors are EXTREMELY important for any writing endeavour.

For the cut and paste.

You may also notice that there is a new book on the table: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. Yes, self finished Montcalm and Wolfe last night. The Battle of Quebec was a sniffle at the very end, followed by the downfall of perhaps the greatest statesman England has ever known, Pitt. And then self skimmed over the last dozen pages.

And the Oxford English Dictionary word of the day is — drumroll, please — VAMPIRE!

  • A vampire is a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long, pointed, canine teeth.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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