Bad Admin

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Bad Admin last won the day on July 9 2016

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  1. Between 2010 and 2014, archeologists digging in London’s financial district, on the site of a new British headquarters for Bloomberg, made an astonishing discovery—a collection of more than four hundred wooden tablets, preserved in the muck of an underground river. The tablets, postcard-sized sheets of fir, spruce, and larch, dated mainly from a couple of decades after the Roman conquest of Britain, in A.D. 43, straddling the period, in the reign of Nero, when Boudica’s rebellion very nearly got rid of the occupation altogether. Eighty of them carried legible texts—legible, that is, to Roger Tomlin, one of the world’s foremost experts in very old handwriting. Full article: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/persons-of-interest/how-to-decode-an-ancient-romans-handwriting?mbid=social_facebook
  2. Hi Mallim, Glad to see you here. Things are kind of slow in these parts but I'm hoping to try and light a fire in the near future! Stick around. Love finding good old books in stores. Make sure you check out our Facebook page if you haven't been there yet. It's very active.
  3. I wonder if this is the one Alexander Hardcastle was looking for decades ago. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/8168380/Archaeologists-to-embark-on-quest-for-2500-year-old-lost-Greek-theatre.html
  4. That's amazing, what a find! BTW I'm in Reno and just had to laugh at the faux-classical statutes in the casino lobby!
  5. That's funny. My home town is in eastern Oregon, very rural. Drugs esp meth and heroin are out of control. Marijuana is legal of course and taxed along with alcohol so there's that. We're slow around these parts for now, but welcome!
  6. Boy we must be on the same wavelength. The last month has been an Evelyn Waugh marathon. I finished Decline and Fall, Put Out More Flags & started Black Mischief but put it away to read Vile Bodies for a book club. Now I'm almost done with The Aerodrome by Rex Warner--recommended by Anthony Burgess--and I'll probably pick up Black Mischief again. I read Scoop and Brideshead Revisited last year and recently saw the book on Helen at a used book store. I'm looking forward to the Sword of Honour trilogy. I also beefed up my Anthony Burgess and Graham Greene collections to fill out my cranky-English-Catholic authors reading list. The Brideshead Revisited miniseries was outstanding. I'd never watched it before I read the novel.
  7. I recently read an article where the phrase "we live in a post-factual democracy" was used to describe the phenomenon of how those on social and other media simply shrug off factual data with their own 'facts'. I increasingly find it useless to engage with those people on issues of politics. A pity really, they include a lot of friends, mostly ex-army. You are certainly more patient than I am, I stay away from those FB posts just to preserve my emotional balance! I know I can unfollow and I have, but it seems a shame. I love Orwell's essays they're more important to me than his novels and unfortunately seldom read nowadays. For years I've had the four volume set of his collected essays edited by his then very young widow: An Age Like This, My Country Right or Left, As I Please and In Front of Your Nose. This might be a good time to dig them up and revisit them.
  8. Facebook has been hell during the election season! I've tried to stay away as much as possible.
  9. Kind of cool I think. Certainly took a lot of effort! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp0tqdu7fH4
  10. Yeah, I went in for the college money and ended up in a couple of wars! To paraphrase what one of my team members used to say; nothing focuses the mind more than the prospect of your imminent death.
  11. https://newrepublic.com/article/134975/erotic-bard-ancient-rome Review of a new book on the Romn poet Catullus: The Erotic Bard of Ancient Rome By James Romm Dunn’s first foray into the realm of the dark arts comes when she identifies Lesbia as Clodia Metelli, the sister of Publius Clodius Pulcher—a leading politician of Catullus’ day, a bizarre, bad-boy aristocrat next to whom Donald Trump might seem a sober statesman. This is not an egregious leap of faith; an ancient source with good authority tells us that Lesbia’s real name was Clodia, and Catullus himself reveals, in one of his poems, that Lesbia’s brother was named Pulcher. The trouble is that Clodius had three sisters, all of whom were named Clodia, and at least one recent scholar has strongly argued that a different Clodia was the woman who drove young Catullus half-insane. Since the Clodia Metelli theory is central to Dunn’s story—especially given that much is known about Clodia Metelli’s scandalous sex life, including a rumored affair with her brother, is detailed in an extant speech by Cicero—it matters deeply that it is only a theory. Yet the constructs Dunn builds upon this flawed foundation—the imagined first meeting of Catullus and Clodia, their efforts to keep their affair secret from Metellus, the correlations of Catullus’ Lesbia poems with what is known (or at least rumored, in a surviving diatribe by Cicero) facts of Clodia Metelli’s scandalous sex life—assume it has the solidity of fact. Dunn’s single, poorly reasoned footnote does little to address a problem that should have been acknowledged openly, in her text. Once she has set foot on the slippery slope of speculation, Dunn’s slide becomes precipitous. Furius, the friend whom Catullus jeeringly threatened with oral and anal rape, is identified on thin evidence as a satirist named Marcus Furius Bibaculus, whom Dunn thereafter refers to confidently as “Catullus’ rival” because the historical Bibaculus wrote in verse. A little boat that Catullus addresses in one of his lighter compositions is made to serve a very specific role in his life, bearing him back through the Black Sea on his return from an administrative tour of duty in the East. In her footnotes Dunn gropes for obscure scholarly support or ancient testimony to shore up these guesses. Her last pages, which conjure up a scene of public mourning for Catullus—when in fact nothing is known about his death or burial—are sourced only to an Italian Renaissance writer who may, or may not, have had access to a now-lost work by the Roman historian Suetonius. With his freewheeling aggression, his willingness to let fly at the slightest provocation, Catullus evokes the modern Beat poets. What’s maddening is that Dunn, by going just a bit further down this road, could have written an interesting novel, exactly what Thornton Wilder chose to do in his now-obscure 1948 novel The Ides of March when confronted with the same material. Dunn’s technique is indeed close to that of a fiction writer in much of Catullus’ Bedspread, as when she imagines, in ways that go far beyond the poems, what her characters were sensing or thinking. To describe, as Dunn does, the herbs and flowers Catullus smelled as he made his way to a dinner at Metellus’ house on the Palatine hill, one day in the early 60s B.C., requires a novelist’s imagination. Did such a moment ever take place? Dunn takes her cue from Catullus’ famous translation of an ode of Sappho, poem 51, describing his jealous feelings as he watches his adored Lesbia converse with another man. Others before her have guessed that this is the earliest of the Lesbia poems, written shortly after Catullus had first met his future lover. But even if that is true—already a huge leap—the dinner party that Dunn stages as the venue of their encounter is pure invention, never mind Catullus’ sensations as he went to that party. Catullus lived through a crucial era of Roman history—the late Republic, a time of decaying political structures, megalomaniac leaders and huge influxes of wealth—and dwelt among some of its more colorful personalities. He knew, at a distance, the rising Julius Caesar, and several times poked irreverent fun at Rome’s most glorious general (Caesar later had him over for dinner and forgave him, an ancient source tells us). He heard Cicero declaim, and befriended a man he called Caelius, quite possibly the orator Marcus Caelius Rufus, whom Cicero defended in a still-famous legal speech. And, he fell passionately in love with one of the sisters of Clodius Pulcher, the most prominent and flamboyant political figure of his day. The temptation to connect the dots, to make Catullus’ poems the through-line by which this rich era can be explored, is indeed hard to resist. But the collection must first be chronologically sequenced, and the identity of Lesbia, Caelius, and others of their dramatis personae established with certainty—feats that can’t be pulled off without recourse to black magic.
  12. I vaguely recall the Eighties; booze, pot smoke followed down the road by basic training....it's all a blur.
  13. Rather interesting but a bit difficult to believe; From Archaeology News Network "The sounds of languages that died thousands of years ago have been brought to life again through technology that uses statistics in a revolutionary new way. Now, researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford have developed a sound-based method to move back through the family tree of languages that stem from PIE. They can simulate how certain words would have sounded when they were spoken 8,000 years ago." Read more at https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2016/07/time-travelling-to-mother-tongue.html#4OiRiwz3GG9lByX0.99
  14. It's not going to get better in an age of social media. The problem of course is too few people want to take the time to weed through to clarify information.
  15. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/051122-old-plant-seed-food/ A sapling germinated earlier this year from a 2,000-year-old date palm seed is thriving, according to Israeli researchers who are cultivating the historic plant. "It's 80 centimeters [3 feet] high with nine leaves, and it looks great," said Sarah Sallon, director of the Hadassah Medical Organization's Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center (NMRC) in Jerusalem. Sallon's program is dedicated to the study of complementary and alternative medicines. The center is also interested in conserving the heritage of Middle Eastern plants that have been used for thousands of years.