Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Two Not-So-Random Quotes

"A nation of slaves is always prepared to applaud the clemency of their master who, in the abuse of absolute power, does not proceed to the last extremes of injustice and oppression."

Edward Gibbon, referring to Theodosius I, in 'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'. (Folio Society, 1995, Eleventh Printing 2000, Volume III, page 348)

"Nobody is listening to your telephone calls."

U.S. President Barack Obama, June 2013

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Tall Ships Come To Brockville

The Unicorn, Pride of Baltimore II, and Sørlandet
 The Peacemaker
Empire Sandy
Fair Jeanne

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Female Executives Unite!

From The New Yorker...

I find the backlash against C.E.O. Marissa Mayer's decision to end telecommuting at Yahoo and the many harsh reviews of Facebook C.O.O. Sheryl Sandberg's new book Lean In to be quite instructive.  In Mayer's case, I sense that the 'enthusiastic fools of the future' (as Kerouac called them) feel betrayed.  How dare you suggest that our glorious technological revolution may still require face-to-face human interaction?  Blasphemy!  And attempts to discredit Sandberg as some sort of privileged Davos Woman almost prove her point.  It may indeed be time for women to lean in a bit more. Mind you, I don't like the Davos Forum and what it represents; but the difference between her book's reception and that of, for example, Lee Iacocca's Autobiography is quite telling.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Dear PLA Unit 61398,

I'm not surprised but am nonetheless disappointed that the Empire of Heaven (Tian Chao), the Middle Kingdom (Zhong Guo), Cathay (Huaxia), however you prefer to be addressed, would feel the need to steal industrial, military and scientific secrets.  One would think innovation of all sorts would well up naturally from the descendents of the great Yan and Huang tribes. Guess not.

And if you NSA guys are watching the Chinese watch me - don't gloat.  The concept of U.S. exceptionalism is fast becoming laughable, almost pitiable, when one considers Citizens United, voter ID (suppression) laws, the NRA, Tea Party Republicans, the 'Texas Schoolbook Massacre', etc. etc. Then again, these abominations do suggest exceptionalism of a sort.

On a lighter note, following up on my last post, I came across this in Sir Walter Scott's 'Waverley':

"... for he and all his family are, and have been, time out of mind, Mavortia pectora, as Buchanan saith, a bold and warlike sept, or people."

Time Out Of Mind! That most excellent Dylan album from 1997.

It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Those Irrepressible Saxons!

In the Dedicatory Epistle of Ivanhoe, his romance of the late Middle Ages, Sir Walter Scott tried to head off possible criticisms of such historical novels by stating that he had done his best to be historically accurate while at the same time being readable to his audience.  And if there were some anomalies?  It's an entertainment!  Enjoy!  It makes me think of criticisms, from within the academy, of works like Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell novels or the movie 'Lincoln'.  Also, in a subsequent introduction to the book, Scott said he wrote it, in part, in case readers were getting tired of his Highland romances.  In both pieces, from almost two hundred years ago, it's interesting to read authorial concerns so modern.