Mules and How They Saved America

Did dear blog readers know that George Washington was a mule breeder? No? He sired out his mules (especially one very prolific mule named Royal Jack, a gift of the King of Spain to America, in 1785)

from Rinker Buck’s The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, p. 36:

  • Mules have a slightly larger cranial cavity than horses, and thus larger brains, and are more intelligent and judgmental. Mules also possess, from their donkey side, a more feral, self-preservationist nature, and intensely dislike putting themselves in danger . . .  Two related feral traits of mules — a keen sense of smell and acute hearing — made them legendary on frontier farms and the overland trails, at least to men sensitive enough to understand them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

In Honor of Earth Day 2017, #amreading

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (Flying Eye Books)

This is a grrrreat children’s book which gives a clear picture of the difficulties faced, through spare illustrations that evoke the truly epic nature of Shackleton’s journey.

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There’s a quote from Roald Amundsen on the publication information page:

  • No man fails who sets an example of high courage, of unbroken resolution, of unshrinking endurance.

— Roald Amundsen

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Self absolutely loves it.

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Stay tuned.

Front Page, The Guardian, 20 April 2017

Theresa May (one of Trump’s only remaining BFFs, after Putin) hints to the Sun that the UK may be cutting back on its spending commitments on overseas aid spending (current target: 0.7% of GDP on aid)

On the day the British government voted to hold an early general election, Bill Gates, billionaire philanthropist, spoke with The Guardian. He said: “The big aid givers now are the US, Britain, and Germany — those are the three biggest, and if those three back off, a lot of the ambitious things that are going on with malaria, agriculture and reproductive health simply would not get done.”

Gates said “the leadership role taken by the UK could determine whether ambitious efforts to eradicate malaria in Africa were launched. He added: “Malaria has always been the disease we really want to take on, and the UK has always, in terms of research capacity and aid, been a leader. In terms of where the aid ambition gets set, the UK can be a huge leader in driving that malaria eradication, or the world may have to back off and not get started on that.”

In an interview with the Sun, May “gave an evasive answer to the question of whether she would continue to back the 0.7% commitment . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Earth Day, April 2017

Share an image that means ‘earth’ to you — whether it’s a panorama of a landscape that takes your breath away, a close-up revealing a detail in nature, or another scene that honors the outdoors . . .

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

Went for a long walk this morning, in honor of Earth Day. It was peaceful and beautiful by the lake. Here are some pictures:

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The first swan she’s seen at the lake this year!

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More flowers popping up all over!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Security: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 4 April 2017

Show us something that represents security. It could be your kids happily reading under their favorite throw blanket. It could be a roaring fire chasing away the last of winter’s cold.

— Krista, The Daily Post

Reading gives self a fabulous feeling of security. And especially reading a book. An actual object she can hold in her hands.

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A bed also gives self a feeling of security.

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Finally, gates give self a wonderful feeling of security.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tom Holland, RUBICON, p. 120

We learn about the importance of outward appearance in Rubicon, p. 120:

Julius Caesar was forced to flee Rome because of a power struggle in which he ended up on the wrong side, saved from assassination only by his mother’s family ties to some of Rome’s richest and wealthiest.

While in Rome, young Caesar raised eyebrows when he wore “his belt too loosely. In the courts of Eastern kings, however, stylish dressers were much admired, and the provincial authorities were quick to realise that the patrician dandy would be ideally cut out for diplomatic missions. Caesar was accordingly dispatched to Nicomedes, the King of Bithynia — who was indeed charmed by his Roman guest. Too charmed . . .  Nicomedes was believed to have demonstrated his appreciation of Caesar by taking him as a lover.”

By the time Julius Caesar returned to Rome, “not only had he” managed to keep “Nicomedes sweet . . . he had managed to borrow much of Nicomedes’ fleet.”

Those Romans, though! #SMH

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

pp. 398 – 399, Mary Beard

TRIGGER WARNING: Because some of those Roman Emperors #selfshakesherhead were clearly cray-cray.

The Emperor Commodus “dressed as a gladiator and” threatened “the senators in the front-row seats of the Colosseum by waving the head of a decapitated ostrich at them” (An eyewitness “had to pluck some laurel leaves from the wreath he was wearing and stuff them in his mouth to stifle the giggles.”)

Tiberius retired from public life almost entirely, preferring to stay in his villa on Capri where he used “little fishes” (euphemism for “boys”) to nibble at his _________ underwater. (There is a film re-enactment in Bob Guccione’s 1970s Caligula)

Mary Beard says the following is “even more chilling” than Tiberius or Commodus: Domitian would torture “flies by killing them with his pen.”

#what #Sorrybutno #youcannotbeserious #whocaresaboutflies

She derides Marcus Aurelius for being cliché: “Do not act as if you were going to live 10,000 years. Death hangs over you.”

Vespasian (69 CE) put “a tax on human urine.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Book # 7: Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

A hard-bound book titled, simply, Annaghmakerrig. It has excerpts from work by past residents:

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Photograph of Pat Donlon at Work in the Main House

The poem:

Black is the raven
Black is the rook
But, blacker the child
Who steals this book.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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 Sentence of the Day

Hypocrisy is a common weapon of power.

p. 358, SPQR

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