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

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.

More from Story #5 of REDEPLOYMENT: “Money As a Weapons System”

The narrator is introduced to his translator, “a short and pudgy Sunni Muslim everybody referred to as the Professor.”

“Why do they call you the Professor?” I asked him.

“Because I was a professor,” he said, taking off his glasses and rubbing them . . . “before you came and destroyed this country.”

We were getting off to an awkward start. “You know,” I said, “when all this started I opposed the war . . . “

“You have baked Iraq like a cake,” he said . . .

Self really hopes there aren’t too many nasty stories left; it is really hard to read about IEDs and “light’em up” and night patrols, especially when it is in fact night, which will be arriving in less than 12 hours.

After Redeployment, the next two books on self’s reading list are:

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And she will read them in this order: SPQR first, followed by Rubicon.

She ordered Conspirata, by Robert Harris (a novel about Cicero), and it was delivered to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre a few days ago. Unfortunately, the copy was in French. She contacted the bookseller and they told her that in fact the only other copies they had were in Italian. But Mary Clerkin came in and saved the day and put in a request from the local library in Clones.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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