I’d like to try cooking them

I was amused to read that clay tablets, many thousands of years old, containing ancient Babylonian recipes have been decoded, and researchers are trying to prepare the dishes they describe. The instructions for lamb stew read more like a list of ingredients than a bona fide recipe: “Meat is used. You prepare water. You add fine-grained salt, dried barley cakes, onion, Persian shallot, and milk. You crush and add leek and garlic.” But it’s impossible to ask the chef to reveal the missing pieces: This recipe’s writer has been dead for some 4,000 years. Instead, a team of international scholars versed in

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An oldie, but still funny as heck

I noticed this video at the Feral Irishman’s place the other day.  I posted it on this blog back in 2016, but it made me laugh all over again to see it once more:  so I thought you might enjoy it again, too. Somehow I don’t think that relationship lasted . . . Peter

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New York City exports its homeless problem

This doesn’t surprise me, and it’s hardly confined to New York City;  but the sheer brazenness of the bureaucrats is mind-boggling.  “Let’s dump our problems on other cities, without bothering to tell them what’s on the way!” New York City generously shares its homeless crisis with every corner of America. From the tropical shores of Honolulu and Puerto Rico, to the badlands of Utah and backwaters of Louisiana, the Big Apple has sent local homeless families to 373 cities across the country with a full year of rent in their pockets as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Special One-Time Assistance

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In memoriam: Harold Bloom

An academic legend has left us.  Prof. Harold Bloom died earlier this month.  The New York Times offers a lengthy obituary. Professor Bloom was frequently called the most notorious literary critic in America. From a vaunted perch at Yale, he flew in the face of almost every trend in the literary criticism of his day. Chiefly he argued for the literary superiority of the Western giants like Shakespeare, Chaucer and Kafka — all of them white and male, his own critics pointed out — over writers favored by what he called “the School of Resentment,” by which he meant multiculturalists, feminists,

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Money is the problem, not the solution

I noted with some cynicism an article in Rolling Stone titled “Why Can’t California Solve Its Housing Crisis?”  Here’s a brief excerpt. Google recently pledged $1 billion to help ease the Bay Area’s housing crunch — but that sum is only eye-popping until you hear experts explain it would cost $14 billion to execute the company’s vision of building 20,000 homes. Google’s is a well-intentioned gesture, but one that illustrates how the problem facing the Bay Area, and California at large, is much worse than even its brightest minds can comprehend. . . . Four years ago, Liccardo set a

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Tab clearing

Several items have crossed my monitor in recent days and weeks that I haven’t had time to develop into full-length blog articles, but I think are nevertheless worth sharing. 1.  With the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks still fresh in our minds, here are two articles that you might want to bookmark for future reference.  They contain material that’s timeless, and will be useful long into the future, particularly when speaking with people who weren’t even alive when the attacks took place. Images of 9/11: A Visual Remembrance The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding Al-Qaeda and the Domestic Fall-Out from America’s Secret

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The past was another country, indeed

One of the most famous quotations from L. P. Hartley’s novel “The Go-Between” is this: The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. I’ve been forcibly reminded of that while reading “A Builder of the West:  The life of General William Jackson Palmer” by John S. Fisher, published in 1939. General Palmer (brief biography here) was a Civil War officer, later awarded the Medal of Honor for his battlefield courage.  He was the founder and first President of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which has already featured in one of my Ames Archives novels, “Rocky Mountain Retribution“. 

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Social services and prisons: is there a cause-and-effect relationship?

I was struck by two articles, written on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, that I came across within the past few days.  I think that in isolation, each is self-explanatory;  but when read together, the synergy between them is clear. The first article is from the New York Post, and is titled “Social services used to build character — now they blame society“. “Those who have much to do with plans of human improvement,” [Charles Loring Brace] wrote, “see how superficial and comparatively useless all assistance or organization is which does not touch . . . the inner forces which form

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Restoring marriage

The problems inherent in marriage are discussed in an article at National Review.  The excerpt below highlights many of the issues they discuss, and I’ve highlighted one paragraph in bold, underlined text for further discussion. Who or what is to blame for this unraveling of marriage and the complete breakdown of trust in Rob’s world, and in the world of so many white, working-class people like him? Economic instability is most immediately evident … Less visible but more dramatic is the role of social alienation. At least two generations have now come of age in the aftermath of the divorce revolution, and

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