shipperx: (GOT: Dany)
Reading Wednesday meme.

What I Just Finished Reading:

History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective by Gregory Aldrete
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Interesting though. I know a little bit more about the history of China now. The most detailed information continued to be Western Civ stuff, but the section on how close the Roman Empire and the one in China came to 'meeting' (but didn't) was interesting. All that trade between them and yet they remained ignorant of one another (and not simply because of the geography separating them but also because it was useful for the cultures expediting the trade to keep each ignorant of the other), with both utterly convinced that they ruled the 'entirity of the "civilized" (by their own definition) world.'

Also some interesting stuff re: Charlemagne and "The Dark Ages" near the end.



What I'm Reading Now:

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

Almost finished.

The title was no doubt chosen to be a bit provocative, but when reading the book it's quite clear that it also encapsulates Aslan's thesis. He repeatedly returns to the idea of 'Zealot', not in the way that a modern audience interprets the word (Zealot: an extremist, fanatic, dogmatist, enthusiast) but in its quite specific -- and original -- historical context. (Zealot: a member of a sect arising in Judea during the first century a.c.e. opposing the Roman domination of Palestine) with some emphasis on Jesus having been specifically (repeatedly and consistently) associated with Nazareth, and the socio, political, and economic implications of that association. (From some of the historic material provided, it can be noted that Rome experienced a similar sense of bafflement and consternation that we sometimes currently feel over what appears to be unending political-religious strife in that corner of the world. In fact, one wonders whether the negative connotations associated with the term 'zealot' are in fact related to our Greco-Roman cultural roots of finding the area to be confounding...?) At any rate, Rome found itself in a situation not entirely dissimilar to the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanastan. The indigenous populace wants you to GTFO. {Of course the Roman answer was "enslave them all!" but that would come a wee bit later...})

If all of this sounds a bit political, I'd say it's because the book is. Not political in a current context (though the FOX brouhaha sort of makes it so), but political in that the book focuses largely on -- as the title said -- the TIMES of Jesus.

The author takes the view that other than Biblical sources, there are few resources in searching for historical Jesus, but there is a wealth of information than can be used to understand the time and place where Jesus was born and lived.ruminations on the book behind the cut... )

And I've rambled enough. I found the book interesting (and not particularly controversial).

What am I reading next?
Probably listening to METAtropolis (scifi speculative fiction)
shipperx: (Default)

When the Tulip Bubble Burst
Around 1624, the Amsterdam man who owned the only dozen specimens was offered 3,000 guilders for one bulb. While there's no accurate way to render that in today's dollar, the sum was roughly equal to the annual income of a wealthy merchant. (A few years later, Rembrandt received about half that amount for painting The Night Watch.) Yet the bulb's owner, whose name is now lost to history, nixed the offer.

Who was crazier, the tulip lover who refused to sell for a small fortune or the one who was willing to splurge? That's a question that springs to mind after reading Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by British journalist Mike Dash. In recent years, as investors have intentionally forgotten everything they learned in Investing 101, tulip mania has been invoked frequently. {...}

The Dutch were not the first to go gaga over the tulip. Long before the first tulip bloomed in Europe--in Bavaria, it turns out, in 1559--the flower had enchanted the Persians and bewitched the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. It was in Holland, however, that the passion for tulips found its most fertile ground, for reasons that had little to do with horticulture.

Holland in the early 17th century was embarking on its Golden Age. Resources that had just a few years earlier gone toward fighting for independence from Spain now flowed into commerce. Amsterdam merchants were at the center of the lucrative East Indies trade, where a single voyage could yield profits of 400%. They displayed their success by erecting grand estates surrounded by flower gardens. The Dutch population seemed torn by two contradictory impulses: a horror of living beyond one's means and the love of a long shot.

Enter the tulip. ''It is impossible to comprehend the tulip mania without understanding just how different tulips were from every other flower known to horticulturists in the 17th century,'' says Dash. ''The colors they exhibited were more intense and more concentrated than those of ordinary plants.''

Around 1630, however, a new type of tulip fancier appeared, lured by tales of fat profits. These ''florists,'' or professional tulip traders, sought out flower lovers and speculators alike. But if the supply of tulip buyers grew quickly, the supply of bulbs did not. The tulip was a conspirator in the supply squeeze: It takes seven years to grow one from seed. And while bulbs can produce two or three clones, or ''offsets,'' annually, the mother bulb only lasts a few years.

Bulb prices rose steadily throughout the 1630s, as ever more speculators wedged into the market. Weavers and farmers mortgaged whatever they could to raise cash to begin trading. In 1633, a farmhouse in Hoorn changed hands for three rare bulbs. By 1636 any tulip--even bulbs recently considered garbage--could be sold off, often for hundreds of guilders. A futures market for bulbs existed, and tulip traders could be found conducting their business in hundreds of Dutch taverns. Tulip mania reached its peak during the winter of 1636-37, when some bulbs were changing hands ten times in a day. The zenith came early that winter, at an auction to benefit seven orphans whose only asset was 70 fine tulips left by their father. One, a rare Violetten Admirael van Enkhuizen bulb that was about to split in two, sold for 5,200 guilders, the all-time record. All told, the flowers brought in nearly 53,000 guilders.

Soon after, the tulip market crashed utterly, spectacularly. It began in Haarlem, at a routine bulb auction when, for the first time, the greater fool refused to show up and pay. Within days, the panic had spread across the country. Despite the efforts of traders to prop up demand, the market for tulips evaporated. Flowers that had commanded 5,000 guilders a few weeks before now fetched one-hundredth that amount....


Whole article

The irony? (Other than we keep doing variations of this dance)...

horticultural article on tulips

Tulip Viruses
Shortly after being introduced tulips became a symbol of status and a way to showcase wealth publicly. Semper Augustus, with its red and white streaked petals, is famously remembered as being the most expensive tulip sold during the "Tulip mania." At the time it wasn't known that the spectacular colors in the petals of tulips were caused by a tulip virus. Tulip breaking virus was carried by the green peach aphid and while the virus caused beautiful flowers, it also caused weak bulbs that died...
shipperx: (Default)

When the Tulip Bubble Burst
Around 1624, the Amsterdam man who owned the only dozen specimens was offered 3,000 guilders for one bulb. While there's no accurate way to render that in today's dollar, the sum was roughly equal to the annual income of a wealthy merchant. (A few years later, Rembrandt received about half that amount for painting The Night Watch.) Yet the bulb's owner, whose name is now lost to history, nixed the offer.

Who was crazier, the tulip lover who refused to sell for a small fortune or the one who was willing to splurge? That's a question that springs to mind after reading Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by British journalist Mike Dash. In recent years, as investors have intentionally forgotten everything they learned in Investing 101, tulip mania has been invoked frequently. {...}

The Dutch were not the first to go gaga over the tulip. Long before the first tulip bloomed in Europe--in Bavaria, it turns out, in 1559--the flower had enchanted the Persians and bewitched the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. It was in Holland, however, that the passion for tulips found its most fertile ground, for reasons that had little to do with horticulture.

Holland in the early 17th century was embarking on its Golden Age. Resources that had just a few years earlier gone toward fighting for independence from Spain now flowed into commerce. Amsterdam merchants were at the center of the lucrative East Indies trade, where a single voyage could yield profits of 400%. They displayed their success by erecting grand estates surrounded by flower gardens. The Dutch population seemed torn by two contradictory impulses: a horror of living beyond one's means and the love of a long shot.

Enter the tulip. ''It is impossible to comprehend the tulip mania without understanding just how different tulips were from every other flower known to horticulturists in the 17th century,'' says Dash. ''The colors they exhibited were more intense and more concentrated than those of ordinary plants.''

Around 1630, however, a new type of tulip fancier appeared, lured by tales of fat profits. These ''florists,'' or professional tulip traders, sought out flower lovers and speculators alike. But if the supply of tulip buyers grew quickly, the supply of bulbs did not. The tulip was a conspirator in the supply squeeze: It takes seven years to grow one from seed. And while bulbs can produce two or three clones, or ''offsets,'' annually, the mother bulb only lasts a few years.

Bulb prices rose steadily throughout the 1630s, as ever more speculators wedged into the market. Weavers and farmers mortgaged whatever they could to raise cash to begin trading. In 1633, a farmhouse in Hoorn changed hands for three rare bulbs. By 1636 any tulip--even bulbs recently considered garbage--could be sold off, often for hundreds of guilders. A futures market for bulbs existed, and tulip traders could be found conducting their business in hundreds of Dutch taverns. Tulip mania reached its peak during the winter of 1636-37, when some bulbs were changing hands ten times in a day. The zenith came early that winter, at an auction to benefit seven orphans whose only asset was 70 fine tulips left by their father. One, a rare Violetten Admirael van Enkhuizen bulb that was about to split in two, sold for 5,200 guilders, the all-time record. All told, the flowers brought in nearly 53,000 guilders.

Soon after, the tulip market crashed utterly, spectacularly. It began in Haarlem, at a routine bulb auction when, for the first time, the greater fool refused to show up and pay. Within days, the panic had spread across the country. Despite the efforts of traders to prop up demand, the market for tulips evaporated. Flowers that had commanded 5,000 guilders a few weeks before now fetched one-hundredth that amount....


Whole article

The irony? (Other than we keep doing variations of this dance)...

horticultural article on tulips

Tulip Viruses
Shortly after being introduced tulips became a symbol of status and a way to showcase wealth publicly. Semper Augustus, with its red and white streaked petals, is famously remembered as being the most expensive tulip sold during the "Tulip mania." At the time it wasn't known that the spectacular colors in the petals of tulips were caused by a tulip virus. Tulip breaking virus was carried by the green peach aphid and while the virus caused beautiful flowers, it also caused weak bulbs that died...
shipperx: (Default)

When the Tulip Bubble Burst
Around 1624, the Amsterdam man who owned the only dozen specimens was offered 3,000 guilders for one bulb. While there's no accurate way to render that in today's dollar, the sum was roughly equal to the annual income of a wealthy merchant. (A few years later, Rembrandt received about half that amount for painting The Night Watch.) Yet the bulb's owner, whose name is now lost to history, nixed the offer.

Who was crazier, the tulip lover who refused to sell for a small fortune or the one who was willing to splurge? That's a question that springs to mind after reading Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by British journalist Mike Dash. In recent years, as investors have intentionally forgotten everything they learned in Investing 101, tulip mania has been invoked frequently. {...}

The Dutch were not the first to go gaga over the tulip. Long before the first tulip bloomed in Europe--in Bavaria, it turns out, in 1559--the flower had enchanted the Persians and bewitched the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. It was in Holland, however, that the passion for tulips found its most fertile ground, for reasons that had little to do with horticulture.

Holland in the early 17th century was embarking on its Golden Age. Resources that had just a few years earlier gone toward fighting for independence from Spain now flowed into commerce. Amsterdam merchants were at the center of the lucrative East Indies trade, where a single voyage could yield profits of 400%. They displayed their success by erecting grand estates surrounded by flower gardens. The Dutch population seemed torn by two contradictory impulses: a horror of living beyond one's means and the love of a long shot.

Enter the tulip. ''It is impossible to comprehend the tulip mania without understanding just how different tulips were from every other flower known to horticulturists in the 17th century,'' says Dash. ''The colors they exhibited were more intense and more concentrated than those of ordinary plants.''

Around 1630, however, a new type of tulip fancier appeared, lured by tales of fat profits. These ''florists,'' or professional tulip traders, sought out flower lovers and speculators alike. But if the supply of tulip buyers grew quickly, the supply of bulbs did not. The tulip was a conspirator in the supply squeeze: It takes seven years to grow one from seed. And while bulbs can produce two or three clones, or ''offsets,'' annually, the mother bulb only lasts a few years.

Bulb prices rose steadily throughout the 1630s, as ever more speculators wedged into the market. Weavers and farmers mortgaged whatever they could to raise cash to begin trading. In 1633, a farmhouse in Hoorn changed hands for three rare bulbs. By 1636 any tulip--even bulbs recently considered garbage--could be sold off, often for hundreds of guilders. A futures market for bulbs existed, and tulip traders could be found conducting their business in hundreds of Dutch taverns. Tulip mania reached its peak during the winter of 1636-37, when some bulbs were changing hands ten times in a day. The zenith came early that winter, at an auction to benefit seven orphans whose only asset was 70 fine tulips left by their father. One, a rare Violetten Admirael van Enkhuizen bulb that was about to split in two, sold for 5,200 guilders, the all-time record. All told, the flowers brought in nearly 53,000 guilders.

Soon after, the tulip market crashed utterly, spectacularly. It began in Haarlem, at a routine bulb auction when, for the first time, the greater fool refused to show up and pay. Within days, the panic had spread across the country. Despite the efforts of traders to prop up demand, the market for tulips evaporated. Flowers that had commanded 5,000 guilders a few weeks before now fetched one-hundredth that amount....


Whole article

The irony? (Other than we keep doing variations of this dance)...

horticultural article on tulips

Tulip Viruses
Shortly after being introduced tulips became a symbol of status and a way to showcase wealth publicly. Semper Augustus, with its red and white streaked petals, is famously remembered as being the most expensive tulip sold during the "Tulip mania." At the time it wasn't known that the spectacular colors in the petals of tulips were caused by a tulip virus. Tulip breaking virus was carried by the green peach aphid and while the virus caused beautiful flowers, it also caused weak bulbs that died...
shipperx: (WTFery)
What's with the blind spot here? 

Do people just 'forget' about other religions? 

What it if said boss was a Scientologist and disallowed any psychological or psychiatric treatment? Or wouldn't cover any treatment for addiction for your son or daughter or your spouse (because they don't believe in 'addiction' either)  What if your boss was a Christian Scientist who doesn't believe in vaccines... for anything!  Or, you know, any medicine whatsoever

Or a Jehovah's Witness and no blood transfusions for you!  Your next car accident could needlessly lead to death.

Seriously, have people gained such American Christian Big Church privilege that they've lost sight of the fact that there are OTHER RELIGIONS (and idiosyncracies between various denominations of Christian)? 

Or exactly why there is separation of church and state in the first place? That it actually protects people's religious rights that they are separate from the state,  that it allows you to freely worship the denomination of YOUR choice  rather than one selected for you by someone else... (LIKE YOUR BOSS!)? Or what destroying that separation could eventually entail? 

Have people become so wrapped up in the concept of "A Christian Nation" that they forgot that the founding fathers of the 18th Century grew up studying British history of the 15th, 16th, and 17th Century.  You know like when Henry VIII stole took over the monastaries taking everything in sight and them smashing what was left to pieces once he 'converted to Protestantism?  And when his daughter Mary executed untold numbers of protestants because of Catholicism?   A lot of Christians died... at the hands of other Christians  while arguing over which denomination was the 'right one!'

And, bowing to Monty Python, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!  ... or the Salem witch trials...

How would Catholics or mainstream (or fundamental!) Protestants feel if the state sanctioned and enforced a religion and it was...Oh, I don't know, for conversational purposes let's say Mormonism?  Would a very religious Southern Baptist really be comfortable with 'prophet' Joseph Smith?  After all, that is  a form of Christianity too (even if those other demoniations might consider it to be heretical).  No one said that a state mandated  "Christian Nation" would be  your  chosen denomination

That's the point! 

There's a reason why the founding fathers wanted separation of church and state.  History is littered with reasons why.  It was done so that you'd have the choice of which religion to worship, so that the state ( or. your. boss) could not force a specific religion on you.

Ahem.

Excerpt of the article the inspired this rant:

Only one Senate Republican — Olympia Snowe of Maine, who is retiring — voted against a truly horrible measure on Thursday that would have crippled the expansion of preventive health care in America. The amendment, which was attached to a highway bill, was defeated on a narrow 48-to-51 vote. But it showed once again how far from the mainstream Republicans have strayed in their relentless efforts to undermine the separation of church and state, deny women access to essential health services and tear apart President Obama’s health care reform law.

The amendment, which was enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, would have allowed any employer or insurance company to refuse coverage for any activity to which they claim a religious or moral objection.

That would have meant that any employer who objects to cervical-cancer vaccines could have refused to provide health insurance that covers them. The same goes for prenatal sonograms for unmarried mothers, or birth control, H.I.V. screening or mammograms...

ETA:  And now Republican Lisa Mukowski says that she 'regrets' having voted for it. A little late, don't you think?

shipperx: (WTFery)
What's with the blind spot here? 

Do people just 'forget' about other religions? 

What it if said boss was a Scientologist and disallowed any psychological or psychiatric treatment? Or wouldn't cover any treatment for addiction for your son or daughter or your spouse (because they don't believe in 'addiction' either)  What if your boss was a Christian Scientist who doesn't believe in vaccines... for anything!  Or, you know, any medicine whatsoever

Or a Jehovah's Witness and no blood transfusions for you!  Your next car accident could needlessly lead to death.

Seriously, have people gained such American Christian Big Church privilege that they've lost sight of the fact that there are OTHER RELIGIONS (and idiosyncracies between various denominations of Christian)? 

Or exactly why there is separation of church and state in the first place? That it actually protects people's religious rights that they are separate from the state,  that it allows you to freely worship the denomination of YOUR choice  rather than one selected for you by someone else... (LIKE YOUR BOSS!)? Or what destroying that separation could eventually entail? 

Have people become so wrapped up in the concept of "A Christian Nation" that they forgot that the founding fathers of the 18th Century grew up studying British history of the 15th, 16th, and 17th Century.  You know like when Henry VIII stole took over the monastaries taking everything in sight and them smashing what was left to pieces once he 'converted to Protestantism?  And when his daughter Mary executed untold numbers of protestants because of Catholicism?   A lot of Christians died... at the hands of other Christians  while arguing over which denomination was the 'right one!'

And, bowing to Monty Python, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!  ... or the Salem witch trials...

How would Catholics or mainstream (or fundamental!) Protestants feel if the state sanctioned and enforced a religion and it was...Oh, I don't know, for conversational purposes let's say Mormonism?  Would a very religious Southern Baptist really be comfortable with 'prophet' Joseph Smith?  After all, that is  a form of Christianity too (even if those other demoniations might consider it to be heretical).  No one said that a state mandated  "Christian Nation" would be  your  chosen denomination

That's the point! 

There's a reason why the founding fathers wanted separation of church and state.  History is littered with reasons why.  It was done so that you'd have the choice of which religion to worship, so that the state ( or. your. boss) could not force a specific religion on you.

Ahem.

Excerpt of the article the inspired this rant:

Only one Senate Republican — Olympia Snowe of Maine, who is retiring — voted against a truly horrible measure on Thursday that would have crippled the expansion of preventive health care in America. The amendment, which was attached to a highway bill, was defeated on a narrow 48-to-51 vote. But it showed once again how far from the mainstream Republicans have strayed in their relentless efforts to undermine the separation of church and state, deny women access to essential health services and tear apart President Obama’s health care reform law.

The amendment, which was enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, would have allowed any employer or insurance company to refuse coverage for any activity to which they claim a religious or moral objection.

That would have meant that any employer who objects to cervical-cancer vaccines could have refused to provide health insurance that covers them. The same goes for prenatal sonograms for unmarried mothers, or birth control, H.I.V. screening or mammograms...

ETA:  And now Republican Lisa Mukowski says that she 'regrets' having voted for it. A little late, don't you think?

shipperx: (WTFery)
What's with the blind spot here? 

Do people just 'forget' about other religions? 

What it if said boss was a Scientologist and disallowed any psychological or psychiatric treatment? Or wouldn't cover any treatment for addiction for your son or daughter or your spouse (because they don't believe in 'addiction' either)  What if your boss was a Christian Scientist who doesn't believe in vaccines... for anything!  Or, you know, any medicine whatsoever

Or a Jehovah's Witness and no blood transfusions for you!  Your next car accident could needlessly lead to death.

Seriously, have people gained such American Christian Big Church privilege that they've lost sight of the fact that there are OTHER RELIGIONS (and idiosyncracies between various denominations of Christian)? 

Or exactly why there is separation of church and state in the first place? That it actually protects people's religious rights that they are separate from the state,  that it allows you to freely worship the denomination of YOUR choice  rather than one selected for you by someone else... (LIKE YOUR BOSS!)? Or what destroying that separation could eventually entail? 

Have people become so wrapped up in the concept of "A Christian Nation" that they forgot that the founding fathers of the 18th Century grew up studying British history of the 15th, 16th, and 17th Century.  You know like when Henry VIII stole took over the monastaries taking everything in sight and them smashing what was left to pieces once he 'converted to Protestantism?  And when his daughter Mary executed untold numbers of protestants because of Catholicism?   A lot of Christians died... at the hands of other Christians  while arguing over which denomination was the 'right one!'

And, bowing to Monty Python, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!  ... or the Salem witch trials...

How would Catholics or mainstream (or fundamental!) Protestants feel if the state sanctioned and enforced a religion and it was...Oh, I don't know, for conversational purposes let's say Mormonism?  Would a very religious Southern Baptist really be comfortable with 'prophet' Joseph Smith?  After all, that is  a form of Christianity too (even if those other demoniations might consider it to be heretical).  No one said that a state mandated  "Christian Nation" would be  your  chosen denomination

That's the point! 

There's a reason why the founding fathers wanted separation of church and state.  History is littered with reasons why.  It was done so that you'd have the choice of which religion to worship, so that the state ( or. your. boss) could not force a specific religion on you.

Ahem.

Excerpt of the article the inspired this rant:

Only one Senate Republican — Olympia Snowe of Maine, who is retiring — voted against a truly horrible measure on Thursday that would have crippled the expansion of preventive health care in America. The amendment, which was attached to a highway bill, was defeated on a narrow 48-to-51 vote. But it showed once again how far from the mainstream Republicans have strayed in their relentless efforts to undermine the separation of church and state, deny women access to essential health services and tear apart President Obama’s health care reform law.

The amendment, which was enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, would have allowed any employer or insurance company to refuse coverage for any activity to which they claim a religious or moral objection.

That would have meant that any employer who objects to cervical-cancer vaccines could have refused to provide health insurance that covers them. The same goes for prenatal sonograms for unmarried mothers, or birth control, H.I.V. screening or mammograms...

ETA:  And now Republican Lisa Mukowski says that she 'regrets' having voted for it. A little late, don't you think?

shipperx: (beautiful disaster)
Long before Doctor Who did a sad episode about him, Van Gogh has always made me sad.  He seems to be the definition of tragic genius.  And, if this research happens to be true, this just makes me feel more sadness for the man. :

From BBC News:

Van Gogh Did Not Kill Himself, authors claim


Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith say that, contrary to popular belief, it was more likely he was shot accidentally by two boys he knew who had "a malfunctioning gun".

The authors came to their conclusion after 10 years of study with more than 20 translators and researchers.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam called the claim "dramatic" and "intriguing". In a statement, however, curator Leo Jansen said "plenty of questions remain unanswered" and that it would be "premature to rule out suicide". He added that the new claims would "generate a great deal of discussion".

Van Gogh died in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, in 1890 aged 37.

It has long been thought that he shot himself in a wheat field before returning to the inn where he later died. But author Steven Naifeh said it was "very clear to us that he did not go into the wheat fields with the intention of shooting himself".

"The accepted understanding of what happened in Auvers among the people who knew him was that he was killed accidentally by a couple of boys and he decided to protect them by accepting the blame." In a short chapter at the end of the book, the authors start to make their case that Vincent van Gogh was shot by a 16-year old boy called Rene Secretan. On why he would cover for the boys, the authors reasoned, "because Vincent welcomed death" and didn't want to drag the brothers "into the glare of public enquiry…"

They lavish praise on their two main sources and pay little heed to the one person who was definitely there - Vincent van Gogh - when he quite clearly said: "Do not accuse anyone... it is I who wanted to kill myself."

As they admit in the book, the truth of the matter is that, "surprisingly little is known about the incident". Which leaves, of course, plenty of room for conjecture.

He said that renowned art historian John Rewald had recorded that version of events when he visited Auvers in the 1930s and other details were found that corroborated the theory. They include the assertion that the bullet entered Van Gogh's upper abdomen from an oblique angle - not straight on as might be expected from a suicide.

"These two boys, one of whom was wearing a cowboy outfit and had a malfunctioning gun that he played cowboy with, were known to go drinking at that hour of day with Vincent.

"So you have a couple of teenagers who have a malfunctioning gun, you have a boy who likes to play cowboy, you have three people probably all of whom had too much to drink."

He said "accidental homicide" was "far more likely".

"It's really hard to imagine that if either of these two boys was the one holding the gun - which is probably more likely than not - it's very hard to imagine that they really intended to kill this painter."

Gregory White Smith, meanwhile, said Van Gogh did not "actively seek death but that when it came to him, or when it presented itself as a possibility, he embraced it". He said Van Gogh's acceptance of death was "really done as an act of love to his brother, to whom he was a burden".

He said Van Gogh's brother, Theo, was funding the artist who, at that time, "wasn't selling".

Other revelations claimed by the authors include that:

* Van Gogh's family tried to commit him to a mental asylum long before his voluntary confinement later
* Van Gogh's affliction, viewed as a mix of mania and depression, was a result of a form of epilepsy

Gregory White Smith said the biography, published on Monday, helped to give a greater understanding of a "frail and flawed figure" and that his art would be seen "as even more of an achievement".
shipperx: (beautiful disaster)
Long before Doctor Who did a sad episode about him, Van Gogh has always made me sad.  He seems to be the definition of tragic genius.  And, if this research happens to be true, this just makes me feel more sadness for the man. :

From BBC News:

Van Gogh Did Not Kill Himself, authors claim


Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith say that, contrary to popular belief, it was more likely he was shot accidentally by two boys he knew who had "a malfunctioning gun".

The authors came to their conclusion after 10 years of study with more than 20 translators and researchers.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam called the claim "dramatic" and "intriguing". In a statement, however, curator Leo Jansen said "plenty of questions remain unanswered" and that it would be "premature to rule out suicide". He added that the new claims would "generate a great deal of discussion".

Van Gogh died in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, in 1890 aged 37.

It has long been thought that he shot himself in a wheat field before returning to the inn where he later died. But author Steven Naifeh said it was "very clear to us that he did not go into the wheat fields with the intention of shooting himself".

"The accepted understanding of what happened in Auvers among the people who knew him was that he was killed accidentally by a couple of boys and he decided to protect them by accepting the blame." In a short chapter at the end of the book, the authors start to make their case that Vincent van Gogh was shot by a 16-year old boy called Rene Secretan. On why he would cover for the boys, the authors reasoned, "because Vincent welcomed death" and didn't want to drag the brothers "into the glare of public enquiry…"

They lavish praise on their two main sources and pay little heed to the one person who was definitely there - Vincent van Gogh - when he quite clearly said: "Do not accuse anyone... it is I who wanted to kill myself."

As they admit in the book, the truth of the matter is that, "surprisingly little is known about the incident". Which leaves, of course, plenty of room for conjecture.

He said that renowned art historian John Rewald had recorded that version of events when he visited Auvers in the 1930s and other details were found that corroborated the theory. They include the assertion that the bullet entered Van Gogh's upper abdomen from an oblique angle - not straight on as might be expected from a suicide.

"These two boys, one of whom was wearing a cowboy outfit and had a malfunctioning gun that he played cowboy with, were known to go drinking at that hour of day with Vincent.

"So you have a couple of teenagers who have a malfunctioning gun, you have a boy who likes to play cowboy, you have three people probably all of whom had too much to drink."

He said "accidental homicide" was "far more likely".

"It's really hard to imagine that if either of these two boys was the one holding the gun - which is probably more likely than not - it's very hard to imagine that they really intended to kill this painter."

Gregory White Smith, meanwhile, said Van Gogh did not "actively seek death but that when it came to him, or when it presented itself as a possibility, he embraced it". He said Van Gogh's acceptance of death was "really done as an act of love to his brother, to whom he was a burden".

He said Van Gogh's brother, Theo, was funding the artist who, at that time, "wasn't selling".

Other revelations claimed by the authors include that:

* Van Gogh's family tried to commit him to a mental asylum long before his voluntary confinement later
* Van Gogh's affliction, viewed as a mix of mania and depression, was a result of a form of epilepsy

Gregory White Smith said the biography, published on Monday, helped to give a greater understanding of a "frail and flawed figure" and that his art would be seen "as even more of an achievement".
shipperx: (beautiful disaster)
Long before Doctor Who did a sad episode about him, Van Gogh has always made me sad.  He seems to be the definition of tragic genius.  And, if this research happens to be true, this just makes me feel more sadness for the man. :

From BBC News:

Van Gogh Did Not Kill Himself, authors claim


Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith say that, contrary to popular belief, it was more likely he was shot accidentally by two boys he knew who had "a malfunctioning gun".

The authors came to their conclusion after 10 years of study with more than 20 translators and researchers.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam called the claim "dramatic" and "intriguing". In a statement, however, curator Leo Jansen said "plenty of questions remain unanswered" and that it would be "premature to rule out suicide". He added that the new claims would "generate a great deal of discussion".

Van Gogh died in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, in 1890 aged 37.

It has long been thought that he shot himself in a wheat field before returning to the inn where he later died. But author Steven Naifeh said it was "very clear to us that he did not go into the wheat fields with the intention of shooting himself".

"The accepted understanding of what happened in Auvers among the people who knew him was that he was killed accidentally by a couple of boys and he decided to protect them by accepting the blame." In a short chapter at the end of the book, the authors start to make their case that Vincent van Gogh was shot by a 16-year old boy called Rene Secretan. On why he would cover for the boys, the authors reasoned, "because Vincent welcomed death" and didn't want to drag the brothers "into the glare of public enquiry…"

They lavish praise on their two main sources and pay little heed to the one person who was definitely there - Vincent van Gogh - when he quite clearly said: "Do not accuse anyone... it is I who wanted to kill myself."

As they admit in the book, the truth of the matter is that, "surprisingly little is known about the incident". Which leaves, of course, plenty of room for conjecture.

He said that renowned art historian John Rewald had recorded that version of events when he visited Auvers in the 1930s and other details were found that corroborated the theory. They include the assertion that the bullet entered Van Gogh's upper abdomen from an oblique angle - not straight on as might be expected from a suicide.

"These two boys, one of whom was wearing a cowboy outfit and had a malfunctioning gun that he played cowboy with, were known to go drinking at that hour of day with Vincent.

"So you have a couple of teenagers who have a malfunctioning gun, you have a boy who likes to play cowboy, you have three people probably all of whom had too much to drink."

He said "accidental homicide" was "far more likely".

"It's really hard to imagine that if either of these two boys was the one holding the gun - which is probably more likely than not - it's very hard to imagine that they really intended to kill this painter."

Gregory White Smith, meanwhile, said Van Gogh did not "actively seek death but that when it came to him, or when it presented itself as a possibility, he embraced it". He said Van Gogh's acceptance of death was "really done as an act of love to his brother, to whom he was a burden".

He said Van Gogh's brother, Theo, was funding the artist who, at that time, "wasn't selling".

Other revelations claimed by the authors include that:

* Van Gogh's family tried to commit him to a mental asylum long before his voluntary confinement later
* Van Gogh's affliction, viewed as a mix of mania and depression, was a result of a form of epilepsy

Gregory White Smith said the biography, published on Monday, helped to give a greater understanding of a "frail and flawed figure" and that his art would be seen "as even more of an achievement".
shipperx: (Default)
Okay... so that was completely cheesy, but I don't care!

First you've got to know that I'm a sucker for this stuff.  Ancient Egypt?  The Minoans?  Ancient Troy?  I watch this stuff.  I ticked it off once and between World History, Tech & Civ, Art History, Architectural History, Interior Design history, and study abroad I've took at least 6 varieties of ancient history in college.  I've also listened to Modern Scholar Trojan War lecture series (which I rec.  It was cool).  Which is all to say that I saw an advertisement for a Science Channel covering the Minoans and Atlantis, and I was so there.

And it was so cheesy! :)  I didn't realize that they weren't just doing computer-animations.  They were having people sorta-kinda act it out.  With dialog (guess what, ancient Minoans are sexy, sexy and speak with English accents!  Their outfits were impeccably sewn, and no matter what their artwork depicted, their women didn't have their tata's hanging out. )  And there was some sort of apocalyptic storyline - the young beautiful lovers.  The good father.  The mystery bound priestess who decides she must make a sacrifice to the angry gods... one of the young lovers.  Good father places beautiful young girl on a ship to escape the volcano and rushes to save his beautiful son from being sacrificed by the priestess... just as the volcano blows up, stopping the priestess from sacrificing the son as they witness (and then are devoured) by the volcano.  But the young, beautiful girl is on a ship at sea, the only ship that got just far enough from the pyroclastic flow to not be incinerated... but is then caught in the tsunami that's rushing toward Crete, so she lashes herself to the mast and rides out the tsunami and is the only person to survive!  (Hee!)  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they were making that up. :)

But, hey, bulls!  Disaster!  Huge volcanic boom.  Tsunami.  Terri O'Quinn with computer animated diagnostics of Santorini blowing up and Crete being wiped out.  I'm a sucker for this stuff. 
shipperx: (Default)
Okay... so that was completely cheesy, but I don't care!

First you've got to know that I'm a sucker for this stuff.  Ancient Egypt?  The Minoans?  Ancient Troy?  I watch this stuff.  I ticked it off once and between World History, Tech & Civ, Art History, Architectural History, Interior Design history, and study abroad I've took at least 6 varieties of ancient history in college.  I've also listened to Modern Scholar Trojan War lecture series (which I rec.  It was cool).  Which is all to say that I saw an advertisement for a Science Channel covering the Minoans and Atlantis, and I was so there.

And it was so cheesy! :)  I didn't realize that they weren't just doing computer-animations.  They were having people sorta-kinda act it out.  With dialog (guess what, ancient Minoans are sexy, sexy and speak with English accents!  Their outfits were impeccably sewn, and no matter what their artwork depicted, their women didn't have their tata's hanging out. )  And there was some sort of apocalyptic storyline - the young beautiful lovers.  The good father.  The mystery bound priestess who decides she must make a sacrifice to the angry gods... one of the young lovers.  Good father places beautiful young girl on a ship to escape the volcano and rushes to save his beautiful son from being sacrificed by the priestess... just as the volcano blows up, stopping the priestess from sacrificing the son as they witness (and then are devoured) by the volcano.  But the young, beautiful girl is on a ship at sea, the only ship that got just far enough from the pyroclastic flow to not be incinerated... but is then caught in the tsunami that's rushing toward Crete, so she lashes herself to the mast and rides out the tsunami and is the only person to survive!  (Hee!)  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they were making that up. :)

But, hey, bulls!  Disaster!  Huge volcanic boom.  Tsunami.  Terri O'Quinn with computer animated diagnostics of Santorini blowing up and Crete being wiped out.  I'm a sucker for this stuff. 
shipperx: (Default)
Okay... so that was completely cheesy, but I don't care!

First you've got to know that I'm a sucker for this stuff.  Ancient Egypt?  The Minoans?  Ancient Troy?  I watch this stuff.  I ticked it off once and between World History, Tech & Civ, Art History, Architectural History, Interior Design history, and study abroad I've took at least 6 varieties of ancient history in college.  I've also listened to Modern Scholar Trojan War lecture series (which I rec.  It was cool).  Which is all to say that I saw an advertisement for a Science Channel covering the Minoans and Atlantis, and I was so there.

And it was so cheesy! :)  I didn't realize that they weren't just doing computer-animations.  They were having people sorta-kinda act it out.  With dialog (guess what, ancient Minoans are sexy, sexy and speak with English accents!  Their outfits were impeccably sewn, and no matter what their artwork depicted, their women didn't have their tata's hanging out. )  And there was some sort of apocalyptic storyline - the young beautiful lovers.  The good father.  The mystery bound priestess who decides she must make a sacrifice to the angry gods... one of the young lovers.  Good father places beautiful young girl on a ship to escape the volcano and rushes to save his beautiful son from being sacrificed by the priestess... just as the volcano blows up, stopping the priestess from sacrificing the son as they witness (and then are devoured) by the volcano.  But the young, beautiful girl is on a ship at sea, the only ship that got just far enough from the pyroclastic flow to not be incinerated... but is then caught in the tsunami that's rushing toward Crete, so she lashes herself to the mast and rides out the tsunami and is the only person to survive!  (Hee!)  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they were making that up. :)

But, hey, bulls!  Disaster!  Huge volcanic boom.  Tsunami.  Terri O'Quinn with computer animated diagnostics of Santorini blowing up and Crete being wiped out.  I'm a sucker for this stuff. 
shipperx: (Spike- Dru - fascination)

From Discovery.com: 
Genetics Confirm:  All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal

(Not Kidding)

If your heritage is non-African, you are part Neanderthal, according to a new study in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Discovery News has been reporting on human/Neanderthal interbreeding for some time now, so this latest research confirms earlier findings.

Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal's Department of Pediatrics and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center conducted the study with his colleagues. They determined some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals, but only in people of non-African heritage.

"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," Labuda was quoted as saying in a press release. His team believes most, if not all, of the interbreeding took place in the Middle East, while modern humans were migrating out of Africa and spreading to other regions.

The ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago. They evolved over the millennia mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They went extinct, or were simply absorbed into the modern human population, about 30,000 years ago.

Neanderthals possessed the gene for language and had sophisticated music, art and tool craftsmanship skills, so they must have not been all that unattractive to modern humans at the time.

"In addition, because our methods were totally independent of Neanderthal material, we can also conclude that previous results were not influenced by contaminating artifacts," Labuda said.

This work goes back to nearly a decade ago, when Labuda and his colleagues identified a piece of DNA, called a haplotype, in the human X chromosome that seemed different. They questioned its origins.

Fast forward to 2010, when the Neanderthal genome was sequenced. The researchers could then compare the haplotype to the Neanderthal genome as well as to the DNA of existing humans. The scientists found that the sequence was present in people across all continents, except for sub-Saharan Africa, and including Australia.

"There is little doubt that this haplotype is present because of mating with our ancestors and Neanderthals," said Nick Patterson of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Patterson did not participate in the latest research. He added, "This is a very nice result, and further analysis may help determine more details."

David Reich, a Harvard Medical School geneticist, added, "Dr. Labuda and his colleagues were the first to identify a genetic variation in non-Africans that was likely to have come from an archaic population. This was done entirely without the Neanderthal genome sequence, but in light of the Neanderthal sequence, it is now clear that they were absolutely right!"

The modern human/Neanderthal combo likely benefitted our species, enabling it to survive in harsh, cold regions that Neanderthals previously had adapted to.

"Variability is very important for long-term survival of a species," Labuda concluded. "Every addition to the genome can be enriching."


shipperx: (Spike- Dru - fascination)

From Discovery.com: 
Genetics Confirm:  All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal

(Not Kidding)

If your heritage is non-African, you are part Neanderthal, according to a new study in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Discovery News has been reporting on human/Neanderthal interbreeding for some time now, so this latest research confirms earlier findings.

Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal's Department of Pediatrics and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center conducted the study with his colleagues. They determined some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals, but only in people of non-African heritage.

"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," Labuda was quoted as saying in a press release. His team believes most, if not all, of the interbreeding took place in the Middle East, while modern humans were migrating out of Africa and spreading to other regions.

The ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago. They evolved over the millennia mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They went extinct, or were simply absorbed into the modern human population, about 30,000 years ago.

Neanderthals possessed the gene for language and had sophisticated music, art and tool craftsmanship skills, so they must have not been all that unattractive to modern humans at the time.

"In addition, because our methods were totally independent of Neanderthal material, we can also conclude that previous results were not influenced by contaminating artifacts," Labuda said.

This work goes back to nearly a decade ago, when Labuda and his colleagues identified a piece of DNA, called a haplotype, in the human X chromosome that seemed different. They questioned its origins.

Fast forward to 2010, when the Neanderthal genome was sequenced. The researchers could then compare the haplotype to the Neanderthal genome as well as to the DNA of existing humans. The scientists found that the sequence was present in people across all continents, except for sub-Saharan Africa, and including Australia.

"There is little doubt that this haplotype is present because of mating with our ancestors and Neanderthals," said Nick Patterson of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Patterson did not participate in the latest research. He added, "This is a very nice result, and further analysis may help determine more details."

David Reich, a Harvard Medical School geneticist, added, "Dr. Labuda and his colleagues were the first to identify a genetic variation in non-Africans that was likely to have come from an archaic population. This was done entirely without the Neanderthal genome sequence, but in light of the Neanderthal sequence, it is now clear that they were absolutely right!"

The modern human/Neanderthal combo likely benefitted our species, enabling it to survive in harsh, cold regions that Neanderthals previously had adapted to.

"Variability is very important for long-term survival of a species," Labuda concluded. "Every addition to the genome can be enriching."


shipperx: (Default)
:
:
Full Article:
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/123497829.html


Excerpt:

Where history is concerned, this is fast becoming a nation of ignoramuses and amnesiacs.

The alarm bell has been ringing for years. Consider "Losing America's Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century," a 2000 study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Researchers found that the majority of seniors at the nation's best colleges could not identify the words of the Gettysburg Address or explain the significance of Valley Forge. They did not know, the study concluded, because they had not been taught. History, the study said, was no longer a requirement in the nation's top schools.

And then, there is a 2006 assessment by the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, often called the Nation's Report Card. It found that nearly 40 percent of high school seniors could not identify the purpose of the Lewis and Clark Expedition {...}  If kids are bored by that, who can blame them? And who cares?

We all should. No child should be able to finish public school, much less college, without a firm grasp of American history. Because history is not dust. Nor is it myths we tell to comfort and acquit ourselves.  Nor is it a lever we twist in order to gain political advantage. No, our history is the master narrative of who we are.

It is a narrative of slaves and soldiers, inventors and investors, demagogues and visionaries, of homicide, fratricide and genocide, of truths held self-evident and of government of the people, by the people and for the people....

(rest of article: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/123497829.html ) 



Book Rec's in this regard:
Lies My Teacher Told Me 
(Professional review:  Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.   From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.

Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers and history buffs alike. )


Back to fannish material:

Meanwhile, in the totally fictional (and bloodsoaked) history of Westeros (Game of Thrones), I have finished about 85% of Storm of Swords now and...

OMG I hate Cersei Lannister!  I want deeply horrible, vile, horrible, dire, awful, painful, excruciating, horrible things to happen to her!

I don't hate her in a 'she's a villain and so I hate in  a love to hate" way where I wonder "Hmm... what scheme will she come up with next?" while mentally rubbing my hands together in anticipation (Littlefinger has me intrigued in this regard) .  No, the hate I bear for this character is  "I know she's only a fictional character but I want something truly permanent, horrible, and painful to happen to her, and I will most  likely cheer any character that can do it ...because did I mention that I HATE her?  Because I do!" 

*ahem*

Back to your usual LJ broadcasting....


shipperx: (Default)
:
:
Full Article:
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/123497829.html


Excerpt:

Where history is concerned, this is fast becoming a nation of ignoramuses and amnesiacs.

The alarm bell has been ringing for years. Consider "Losing America's Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century," a 2000 study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Researchers found that the majority of seniors at the nation's best colleges could not identify the words of the Gettysburg Address or explain the significance of Valley Forge. They did not know, the study concluded, because they had not been taught. History, the study said, was no longer a requirement in the nation's top schools.

And then, there is a 2006 assessment by the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, often called the Nation's Report Card. It found that nearly 40 percent of high school seniors could not identify the purpose of the Lewis and Clark Expedition {...}  If kids are bored by that, who can blame them? And who cares?

We all should. No child should be able to finish public school, much less college, without a firm grasp of American history. Because history is not dust. Nor is it myths we tell to comfort and acquit ourselves.  Nor is it a lever we twist in order to gain political advantage. No, our history is the master narrative of who we are.

It is a narrative of slaves and soldiers, inventors and investors, demagogues and visionaries, of homicide, fratricide and genocide, of truths held self-evident and of government of the people, by the people and for the people....

(rest of article: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/123497829.html ) 



Book Rec's in this regard:
Lies My Teacher Told Me 
(Professional review:  Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.   From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.

Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers and history buffs alike. )


Back to fannish material:

Meanwhile, in the totally fictional (and bloodsoaked) history of Westeros (Game of Thrones), I have finished about 85% of Storm of Swords now and...

OMG I hate Cersei Lannister!  I want deeply horrible, vile, horrible, dire, awful, painful, excruciating, horrible things to happen to her!

I don't hate her in a 'she's a villain and so I hate in  a love to hate" way where I wonder "Hmm... what scheme will she come up with next?" while mentally rubbing my hands together in anticipation (Littlefinger has me intrigued in this regard) .  No, the hate I bear for this character is  "I know she's only a fictional character but I want something truly permanent, horrible, and painful to happen to her, and I will most  likely cheer any character that can do it ...because did I mention that I HATE her?  Because I do!" 

*ahem*

Back to your usual LJ broadcasting....


shipperx: (Default)
:
:
Full Article:
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/123497829.html


Excerpt:

Where history is concerned, this is fast becoming a nation of ignoramuses and amnesiacs.

The alarm bell has been ringing for years. Consider "Losing America's Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century," a 2000 study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Researchers found that the majority of seniors at the nation's best colleges could not identify the words of the Gettysburg Address or explain the significance of Valley Forge. They did not know, the study concluded, because they had not been taught. History, the study said, was no longer a requirement in the nation's top schools.

And then, there is a 2006 assessment by the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, often called the Nation's Report Card. It found that nearly 40 percent of high school seniors could not identify the purpose of the Lewis and Clark Expedition {...}  If kids are bored by that, who can blame them? And who cares?

We all should. No child should be able to finish public school, much less college, without a firm grasp of American history. Because history is not dust. Nor is it myths we tell to comfort and acquit ourselves.  Nor is it a lever we twist in order to gain political advantage. No, our history is the master narrative of who we are.

It is a narrative of slaves and soldiers, inventors and investors, demagogues and visionaries, of homicide, fratricide and genocide, of truths held self-evident and of government of the people, by the people and for the people....

(rest of article: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/123497829.html ) 



Book Rec's in this regard:
Lies My Teacher Told Me 
(Professional review:  Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.   From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.

Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers and history buffs alike. )


Back to fannish material:

Meanwhile, in the totally fictional (and bloodsoaked) history of Westeros (Game of Thrones), I have finished about 85% of Storm of Swords now and...

OMG I hate Cersei Lannister!  I want deeply horrible, vile, horrible, dire, awful, painful, excruciating, horrible things to happen to her!

I don't hate her in a 'she's a villain and so I hate in  a love to hate" way where I wonder "Hmm... what scheme will she come up with next?" while mentally rubbing my hands together in anticipation (Littlefinger has me intrigued in this regard) .  No, the hate I bear for this character is  "I know she's only a fictional character but I want something truly permanent, horrible, and painful to happen to her, and I will most  likely cheer any character that can do it ...because did I mention that I HATE her?  Because I do!" 

*ahem*

Back to your usual LJ broadcasting....


shipperx: (smug spok)

This dude's history rant probably amused me more than it should've, but I lol'd:  Read more... )
*snicker*
shipperx: (smug spok)

This dude's history rant probably amused me more than it should've, but I lol'd:  Read more... )
*snicker*

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