I get more comments!
Andrew Reeves, sometimes I backtrack references, or check forward citations. Sometimes I do keyword searches. Sometimes I'll flip through online tables of contents. And sometimes, hell if I know where I got that.
I see there's a swell of interest in Hideyoshi's personal letters.
Random Oscar thought: John Hawkwood : Giovanni Acuto :: Clint Eastwood : Corrado Astuto? His translation for Morricone was very cool. Anyway, I don't actually have a TV, so I know about this through my psychic powers. I do have a lot of books.
Gargoyles, Thomas Bernhard. One of Wisconsin's finest novelists. A mill won on a bet over a twelve-point buck, the last two mill brothers killing every exotic bird in the aviary because they were making too much racket, but saving the corpses for taxidermy purposes, and getting the new Hmong Turkish guy to help out (who does a better job)? Classic Wisconsin.
The Pure Product of America: Isn't he Austrian? And what about the last hundred pages, the mad prince's monologue on forestry, family, and cognitive despair?
The Pure Product of America: Right.
The Emperor of the Sorcerers, volume 1, Budhasvamin. I found a few titles in the Clay Sanskrit Library at the Strand before Methodist Lent, hidden underneath some Arthuriana. They're not bad. This one is pretty good, in fact. It's taken from four Nepalese manuscripts, two from the twelfth century, collected and edited by a French scholar in 1908. One of the plot points involves the construction of an airplane to satisfy a queen's pregnancy cravings. No, really:
All the artisans stood aside and talked at length among themselves before speaking to Rumanvan in voices faltering with fear: 'We know of four types of machine: machines for water, stone, and dust, and those for pressing sugarcane. As for sky-machines, they are apparently known to the Greeks but we have not come across them.'
The Sanskrit word for 'machine' or 'mechanism' is yantra, incidentally. It's best known now as a Tantric geometric design, like a mandala.
I get letters!
Cosma: "Eurocentrism in the history of mathematics, the case of the Kerala School" has less explication of the mathematics than I would have liked. (The recent Pingree article in Daedalus is much better in that respect.) They go into detail how earlier European historians systematically belittled the accomplishments of Indian mathematics -- unsurprising but infuriating -- discuss current (lacking) presentations of the material, and propose a possible channel for the flow of Kerala mathematics to Europe in the early modern period, through the Jesuit presence in south India.
Their case that this actually happened, however, is in my opinion slight. Strong enough for the plot of a Tim Powers novel, but come on, people. It's not like the Jesuits didn't write letters. They would have had to, for this conduit to work. Dig something up in the archives, and we'll talk.
In my newfound Copious Spare Time (TM), I have discovered I have accumulated nearly 1.4 gigabytes of unsorted academic papers on my hard drive.
Fortunately, I still have some aspirin left over from my last job.
To structure this task, I'm going to list all the papers here in alphabetical order by author, starting with the A's. If anyone sees something they want my opinion about, ask. I might answer! No really.
Links and other miscellanea.
Armenia will have its next Parliamentary elections on May 12. Incredibly, these have been scheduled on the same day as Eurovision! I foresee much channel-surfing that night.
I am enjoying Dr. Vector. Probably because he's obviously enjoying himself.
I have seen and handled many common snapping turtles, and I can tell you that they are meanest creatures on the planet, and that legends of their ferocity usually come nowhere near the truth. I raised one from a hatchling to sexual maturity (carapace length of about 8 inches) and when it was younger it would frequently kill fish that were bigger than it was. The speed and power of the bite and the turtles' willingness to use it on anything that moves could hardly be exaggerated. They are my favorite living tetrapods.
Okay, posts about the weather are boring.
Still, there is a point in there. Two points. One, Armenia is weird. You have long, furnace-like summers; mellow pleasant autumns; short but brutal winters; and stormy, rainy springs.
There's no close American equivalent to this. There's no part of the United States where you'd have two feet of snow on the ground for weeks at a time, but also have a growing season that allows brandy grapes and good tobacco. It's a Mediterranean climate, but pushed inland and several thousand feet up a mountain side.
(And, you know, it's not bad. I don't much love winter, but climates without it seem... a little lacking. So a winter that is serious but short is a decent compromise.)
Two, when you live in the former Soviet Union, weather is a little more in your face.
I can't take any more. I can't.
Oh, it's not actually spring. Not as such. No flowers yet. No leaves.
But it's been over freezing almost every day for two weeks now. The mountains of snow are almost gone; there are just a few scabs of white left. They're being replaced by seas of mud, but never mind that now.
This morning, walking Alan to the bus, I heard a bird I hadn't heard before. I don't know what bird it was. Some small passerine... the call was a low, melodic, whoo-wheet-wheet. I didn't know the bird, but I understood what it was saying. "Howdy! Howdy! I'm just back from the Horn of Africa! Any neighbors? Am I the first? This is my tree now! Howdy!
It's been a warm week.
"Warm" is a relative term, of course. But most days it gets up to 5 degrees, or 40 Fahrenheit.
So the snow is melting. But since there is a lot of snow, it's taking a long time to melt. Mud and slush everywhere. Then after dark it all freezes again -- mornings are slippery.
Sunday afternoon, I took the boys on a stroll through the Vernissage. (That's the big Yerevan flea market.) They enjoyed it very much, in part because the heavy foot traffic had turned it into a frozen swamp, with puddles of icy water and slush everywhere. Splash, slosh, splash.
-- Is this the end of winter? Or just a warm spell before the Caucasus turns on us?
How would I know?
But after a month of heavy snow and bitter cold, I'm not complaining. There are worse things than a little slush.
Genghis: We have won again. That is good! But what is best in life?
Subotai: A fleet horse, the open steppe, falcons at your breast, and the wind in your hair.
Genghis: Wrong! Conan, what is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!
Genghis: That is good. Carlos?
Carlos: What is best? With few words, to have your enemies crush themselves, and pay you for the privilege.
Genghis: Consulting is nice work. And you, the Greek.
Pindar: Ahem. Water is best!Genghis: ...
Pindar: Also, bling and victory!
Genghis: All right then.
... it's the final minutes of the fourth quarter in Miami. The score is 6-6: the Colts have scored two field goals off of two Rex Grossman interceptions; the Bears have scored three safeties off an increasingly rattled Peyton Manning.
(At an undisclosed location in Brooklyn, certain people have been vocalizing the melody to the song "Yakety Sax", originally recorded by Boots Randolph and made famous by Benny Hill.)
Before the Colts return to the field, on the sidelines one sees Peyton Manning in a furious argument with Colts coach Tony Dungy. Peyton takes off his helmet and stomps away, sulking like Achilles.
Dungy has decided. It is the time of JimSorgi.
The Vinatieri extra point is good.
Final score: Colts 13, Bears 6.
Update: Well, he did it. I thought it couldn't be done, but he did it. He is truly the man. Unbelievable. Prince actually put together a worthwhile halftime show.
In other news, much Yakety Sax was vocalized during the game. Manning played a workmanlike game -- the driving rain prevented the Colts from airing it out -- and the Bears' defense performed really well for a unit that had to be out there for three quarters.
But the Most Valuable Player of the game really has to be Rex Grossman, who made the Colts' victory possible. Had the Bears a competent quarterback, Chicago would be completely insufferable, and I am sure Tony Dungy will wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat about it.
But, as the saying goes, The Bears Still Suck.