Jadwiga's Burrow

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Thursday, April 16th, 2015
1:16 pm - Google Scholar Button for Chrome
Lets you check to see whether a journal article you have the title for is available online, especially Open Access, also (if the article comes up in Scholar) lets you get a decently-formatted citation in one of 3 formats.

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Thursday, February 26th, 2015
10:01 am - Relevant to the last quotation post
'The opening formula of Akan tales varies from one area to another; but they all depict the absence of truth in what follows. Among the Ashanti the introductory formula - "Yense se, nse se O" - means "We don't really mean it, we don't really mean it, (that what we are going to say is true.)" Among the Fanti, the opening formula may be "Okodzi wongye ndzi" - "Okodzi is not meant to be believed", to which the audience replies, "Wogye sie" - "It is meant to be kept (and passed on)." In this dialect, the imaginative story is referred to by any of the following terms - anansesem, okodzi, or fien. (In Ashanti, it is invariably, anansesem) Occasionally, the opening formula may be "Anansesem da bi o" (Ananse tales, sometime ago), to which the audience respond, "Da bi ara ne nde" (past days are the same as today). This underlies the timelessness of tales in Akan.'

-- from "The Akan Trickster Cycle: Myth or Folktale?" by Kwesi Yankah. https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/125/Akan_Yankah.pdf

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9:44 am - Two quotes relating to stories
I finally got my hands on the quotation book that inspired me so much in Middle School-- Pegs to Hang Ideas On that I began making my own common-place book, peopled at first by quotation filched from it. What inspired me to track it down after all these years? Two quotes that I wanted to share with a writer friend:

We do not really mean, we do not really mean, that what we are going to say is true.

-- Traditional Ashanti Folktale Beginning

This, my story which I have related, if it be sweet or if it be not sweet, take some elsewhere and let some come back to me.

-- Traditional Ashanti Folktale Ending

These both allegedly come from Ashanti folktales, and following up on this a bit, I see this in Wikipedia:
'... a traditional Ashanti way of beginning such tales: "We do not really mean, we do not really mean that what we are about to say is true. A story, a story; let it come, let it go" and finishes traditionally with: "This is my story which I have related. If it be sweet, or if it be not sweet, take some elsewhere, and let some come back to me."'

citing Kwesi Yankah (1983). "The Akan Trickster Cycle: Myth or Folktale?" (PDF). Trinidad University of the West Indes. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008.

I definitely like the longer version of the introduction better:
"We do not really mean, we do not really mean that what we are about to say is true. A story, a story; let it come, let it go"

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Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
1:47 pm - Successful carrots
Well, as part of our low-carb diet, we steadfastly ignore the carb and glycemic index of carrots (singing la la la I can't hear you) and pretend that because they are free veggies on Weight Watchers (or used to be) we can have as many as we like. (After looking up the glycemic index of parsnips, we bid them a sorrowful goodbye, but carrots, we couldn't give up.)

Anyway, so I was thinking of something fast that could go with the Baked Dover Sole and the Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts we had planned. So...

I took 2 'horse' carrots -- the large ones that are sold individually rather than in bags; they seem sweeter-- peeled them and grated them on the large shavings side of the box grater. (Ok, I started out with 3, but after seeing the pile of carrot shavings, I stopped at 2.)

Then I shaved in a peeled, 2" knob of ginger.

Heated some (2-3 tsp) canola oil* in a big steel skillet, dumped in the carrots, and sauted like mad. Eventually I had to add more oil-- it was a LOT of carrot, and finally I finished with some butter. When it was soft to the tooth and the carrots were releasing significant orangeness, I sprinkled a bit of galingale on top, mixed it in, added a touch of salt.

It was amazingly yummy. (I am tempted to try it with balsamic vinegar or orange juice, but it was lovely the way it was.)

*Yes, I know canola oil is GMO. At least there's no uncertainty there.

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Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
8:04 pm - Using up the mushrooms and mashed potatoes: pork sirloin roast with mushroom gravy
So there was a lot of leftover mashed potatoes, and mushrooms we hadn't used.
And there was a pork sirloin tip roast.

So I sprinkled it with Penzey's Bavarian Seasoning.
Seared it with a little butter.
sliced enough mushrooms to make 3 cups
sauteed the mushrooms with some butter.
Dumped the mushooms over the roast in a warm crockpot.
Added 2 regular carrots peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces.
Sprinkled on Penzey's dried minced garlic.
sauteed 2 small onions in olive oil.
Deglazed with about a cup and a half of water and 2 tsp beef base (I should probably have used some less.)
Cooked on high for 2 hours.

Yum. Going to warm up some leftovers now.

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7:59 pm - About that slaw
1 medium size red cabbage, shredded in the food processor
2 very large carrots, shredded in the food processor
2 large Granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced to matchsticks
about 1 and 1/2 cups walnut pieces
1.5 tsp ginger garlic paste (I put that *** on everything, I told you)
dash celery seed
mignonette pepper to taste
3-4 tbsp bitter orange juice
2-3 tbsp splenda
garlic infused rice vinegar to taste
olive oil to taste

I gave pint containers of it to 2 of the neighbors, as there was too much to put in the fridge. It didn't taste right until I got enough walnuts in it.

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Tuesday, December 30th, 2014
7:00 pm - There was a cabbage
We are trying to eat up all the leftovers from Christmas, etc.

So, in our crisper, was the red cabbage I bought to make the constructed salad from Markham at the event-- and never made. Hm. Whole red cabbage. My friends and those who have seen me cook know this will go no-where tidy.

Then there were granny smith apples I bought when Sarah wanted to make apfeltashen.

Red cabbage, tart apples. Ok, either cabbage and apples or... Cabbage/Apple Slaw Yes!

I bought 2 'horse' carrots-- the big ones that look like they would be good for home defense. Got out the food processor and started to chop cabbage. (Note to self: find the pusher-thing for the food processor. Wooden spoon handles are chancy.) And then carrots.

And then I opened the food processor, dumped it in a bowl and stared at it. Oh dear, that will need the rest of the red cabbage for balance. Grated up the rest of the cabbage. Ta-da! Right mixture.

And then there was no room left in the bowl for apples. I'm thinking wild thoughts about sending some to our widowed neighbor and asking him to give it to his children's families....

Wait, this is just cabbage and apples, right? It's stir fry! So, I heated up the skillet, put in olive oil (I know, wrong oil for stir fry, but it was handy), sliced up a small onion and sauted it. Then I dumped in a cereal-bowl full of the cabbage/carrot mixture and stir fried it; added some more oil; added half a teasponful of ginger-garlic paste (my equivalent of Frank's Hot Sauce-- that **** goes on everything) and then it needed a little liquid-- turned the heat down and splashed on teriyaki sauce... good, but a little bland now. Ah-ha! Splashed in a couple of teaspoons of bitter orange juice (we had an open bottle over from the chicken with orange and cinnamon on the dayboard), stirred it around and tasted it....

I'll be in my happy place. With a bowl and a spoon. See ya!

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
4:06 pm - Project MUSE - The Invention of Infertility in the Classical Greek World: Medicine, Divinity, and G
Project MUSE - The Invention of Infertility in the Classical Greek World: Medicine, Divinity, and Gender

Interesting article on the definitions and categories of treatment of non-fertility in the ancient Greek world.

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014
11:40 am - Because sometimes we just need a laugh
I am reposting the link to "I has a sweet potato"

which I just sent to my colleague.

Sometimes you just need to sporfle.

Also, in my house, requests for the 3rd pbj of the day are met with:
"He was badly brought up." "By people who never fed him."

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Monday, October 27th, 2014
9:34 am - There's something symbolic here...
So, was looking in the databases for the class I'm instructing today, whose paper topic focusing on methods for combating homophobia, transphobia and other things queer theory strives to address in specific settings.
Just for (a certain sick variety of fun) I tried searching "gamergate" and was surprised to come up with a large number of biology journal articles.

Apparently, according to the OED:
In some eusocial insects, esp. certain ants: a worker (female) that can become capable of reproducing, esp. when the queen has died. Also in certain casteless social insects: any dominant reproductive female in a colony in which most females do not reproduce.

1984 C. Peeters & R. Crewe Naturwissenschaften 71 50/1 The fertile workers may be called gamergates (‘married workers’) to distinguish them from ergatoids.

you can't make this stuff up.

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Friday, October 24th, 2014
1:32 pm - Breeder Public Enemy #1
Yesterday, after his Robotics class, I told Beekman we were going to pick up some nuts before we went home. He was VERY invested in going home for screentime, either TV or gaming on the tablet, so he did not want to go. He was gretzing and whining, but I said, it will be quick, and then we'll go right home.

By the time we reached the small mom'n'pop nuts store, he was still upset, and when I told him he had to come in with me, he burst into sobs and tears. (This is his usual way of showing REALLY extreme disapproval of parental dictates; fortunately it doesn't happen often.)

Standing there with him outside the car, I made some calculations. I had said we were going to go get the nuts, and that he had to come with me. I was reasonably sure that nothing at this point was going to allow him to get himself back under control but a long session of grieving and then, eventually, getting what he wanted. And he was going to get what he wanted; he was going to get screentime after we got home and did his homework. I did not want to punish him for wanting what he wanted, nor did I want to reward him for the anger/tears by giving him what he wanted (not going into the store).

So, I took my crying five year old into the store, ordered the three things I needed, while talking softly to him and telling him it would be all right. I also asked him if he wanted some candy. We were the only customers, and the proprietor asked, in a fatherly way, why he was crying. I explained that he was learning a hard lesson about how sometimes we don't get what we want when we want it, but have to wait a little. "Ah," said the proprietor, not in a disapproving way. In the end, I bought some candy to share with Beekman, and the proprietor also threw in a free candy bar for Beekman. (Throwing in a free something for the kid appears to be common in the mom-and-pop stores around here.)

On the drive home I explained that I was totally sympathetic with his disappointment about how he hadn't gotten what he wanted when he wanted it, and that I understood that he couldn't stop crying right now. (Had I had other errands in mind, I would have abandoned them.)

Beekman and I went home, where he rejected the candy, and did some of his homework snuggled up in my bed, with sporadic bouts of sobbing; eventually, despite saying he didn't need a nap, he napped. When woken up for dinner, he was cheery, ate dinner, did his homework, and got screentime.

He didn't scream, howl or yowl, he just cried/sobbed. And no other customers were impacted. And this is exactly the way I vowed I would treat this problem way back when I was a tweenager and watched my brothers throw tantrums to get out of going places they found boring. But I'm fully aware that this is exactly the kind of parenting that makes teenagers and militantly childfree people look down on parents.

Which leaves me in that liminal space so common to parents, of not being sure whether acting according to one's priciples is immoral or not. :)

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Friday, October 10th, 2014
12:20 pm - Medieval Kitchen review


There are some really good features of this book. The best is the illustrations. I'm not sure how they got permission (assuming they did get permission) to reproduce all those period depictions of cooking and eating, but the book is worth it just for those gorgeous color reproductions. These are illustrations you'll have trouble finding together in other sources, or finding online.

Another useful section is a two page spread on the chronology of some sources from the period, which I would have no qualms (after double-checking it) sharing with my students.

Furthermore, the author's Finnish origin and her use of non-English texts leads to the inclusion of information from Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish documents that are just not available in other sources. The references to documentary history and archaeology that aren't really available to English-only readers, such as the quotations from the FInnish works of Michael Agricola, bishop of Turku, and the menus from Finnish sources, make it a valuable source for an area not usually covered by food historians.
However, the biggest flaw in this volume is the lack of source citation. While the author makes in-text references to where a recipe may be found, there are no notes indicating the sources of many of the descriptive comments. This is especially troubling when one is dealing with areas where the author disagrees with the general run of scholars, for instance asserting that radishes were now known in Europe until the 16th century. Some of these may simply be typos in translation-- the author appears to claim that brewing in Scandinavia, *unlike* in other European countries, was done in the home by women... but most modern brewing history seems to claim that in most other European countries, the majority of beer brewing *was* done in the home, by women. That could be a simple mistranslation.
The section of recipes-- one might even say 'recipe file'-- at the back is somewhat problematic. In some cases, the author includes the original text of a recipe from the period, but almost always untranslated, thus making it difficult for the English-only reader to determine whether the version presented reflects the original accurately. In many cases, however, the author only says her version of recipe "was developed in reference to" a primary or secondary source. There are at least two references of this sort likely to freeze the blood of a knowledgeable medieval cuisinier: one to "with reference to Madeline Pelner Cosman," the author of Fabulous Feasts, a text whose descriptive material is reasonably regarded but whose recipes are overly reliant on 1970s fashions; another is 'with reference to James Matterer's website Gode Cookery" a site that includes both medieval and Renaissance texts with cooking versions and "Modern Recipes for Beginners." The sources for the recipes section, in particular, are omitted from the book's bibliography as well, unless cited somewhere else in the text.

The result is the level of scholarship that we would accept, possibly with some reluctance, in the SCA publication "Compleat Anachronist," where anything that sounds wrong should be verified with other sources. I still want to know how medieval pies were easily baked at home, without an oven, for instance. But the author omits the biggest sins of discussing medieval-and-Renaissance cookery (for instance, complaining about the amount of spices). But I expected better of someone with a doctorate in Medieval History-- compare it to Bridget Ann Henisch's Medieval Cook or Redon and Serventi's Medieval Kitchen; at best it's more like Maggie Black's Medieval Cookbook (a text that drives me insane by the way it uses recipes-- Le Menagier recipes for instance are ONLY in the section not devoted to Le Menagier, etc.)
It also is similar to Food and Drink in Medieval Poland, by Weaver and Dembinska, in the way it covers an area traditionally neglected, but undercuts itself by not citing sources and by including syncretic recipes without properly identifying their precursors.
In sum: worth it for the pictures, and the Scandinavian background. Double-check anything you read in here, using texts that cite their sources.

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
9:50 am - Interesting article in The Christian Century
Miles, Margaret R. 2008. "God's love, mother's milk." Christian Century 125, no. 2: 22-25
EBSCO abstract: "The article presents an exploration into the use of nursing as a theological metaphor in Western medieval and Renaissance Christian art. An overview of several uses of the nursing Virgin Mary within church history is given, along with its gradual changes in artistic connotations throughout the Renaissance. The value of the religious image of nursing in spiritual life is emphasized."

"By 1750 the public meaning of naked breasts was largely medical or erotic. I have not been able to find a single religious image of the breast painted after 1750. By that time, it was impossible to symbolize God's love by depicting a nursing Virgin. Meanwhile, crucifixion scenes increased in number and in their graphic depiction of violence and suffering . . .
Did the increased attention to violent crucifixion scenes arise from social changes in Western Europe? . . . There are problems with the crucifixion scene as a representation of God's love for humanity. It presents a violent act as salvific. Are crucifixion scenes the unconscious origin, deeply embedded in Western Christian societies, of the sacrificial rhetoric that surrounds war? (On the eve of the Iraq war, George W. Bush said, "Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty but the certainty of sacrifice.") Does the proliferation of crucifixion scenes habituate us to violence? The equation of love with heroic violence and suffering is typically a male-centered perspective. Depictions of the lactating Virgin, of course, also involve expectations about gender. Is God's love for humanity more adequately represented as the provision of life, daily care and nourishment, or as redemptive suffering?"

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Monday, September 29th, 2014
1:59 pm - Some things never change
Cut for dated, racist language:
Read more...Collapse )

Federal Attorney Charles E. Boles, in a legal memo for the U.S. Post Office during WWI, on the black paper's reportings of lynchings.


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Thursday, August 21st, 2014
1:27 pm - Being your own science experiment
I am listening to "My Stroke of Insight," by a neuroanatomist who had a severe stroke (but who recovered apparently fully). Luckily, because of where the stroke hit, part of her experience was a feeling of vast peace, probably because of the intermittent failure of 'brain chatter,' but she was able in her clear moments to realize and take steps to call for help. However, when she first realized the odd feeling was a stroke-- when her arm went numb-- her first reaction (as she recalls) was "I'm having a stroke! ... Wow, this is so cool!... Wow, how many scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain function and mental deterioration from the inside out?"

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014
3:16 pm - Google images is distracting
While looking for suitable images of squirrels for an online info.lit. project, I came across pictures of the Patagonian Mara:
A relative of the guinea pig:

More images of baby maras at Zooborns:

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Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
12:21 pm - book review
Burma ChroniclesBurma Chronicles by Guy Delisle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When my co-worker pressed this on me, I wasn't expecting much-- we had been discussing corrupt post-colonial governments. But in the end I was charmed by Delisle's record of experiences as a work-from-home dad and spouse connected with the aid organizations in Myanmar.

Reviewers say things like 'part travelogue, part memoir, part international criticism' or words to that effect. But what Delisle does is capture both some attractive aspects of life in the country and the frustrations of living under the junta as seen from the outside. It's more a memoir than anything else, but it opens a window into his experience, and beyond that, to the experiences of citizens and aid workers, without attempting to take over their perspectives. It's almost gentle in its way-- certainly gentler and less immediate than the BBC or NPR stories one hears-- and yet that everydayness is more illuminating and sticks with one better than the 15 minute casualty/oppression reports.

Also I like his drawing style.

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Monday, June 30th, 2014
12:27 pm - An interesting book on 19th century pregnancy and birth experience

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Subtitle: American attitudes toward childbearing and infant nurture in the urban North, 1800-1860

This well-researched volume analyzes and summarizes some of the trends in the first half of the 19th century in the Northern US in attitudes and actions related to pregnancy, childbirth, and the first years of a child's life.

Because this volume relies extensively on letters and diaries, as well as some popular and medical writings, it concentrates primarily on upper-middle to upper-class women. For these women, expectations were changing. Doctors were beginning to make inroads in the childbirth industry, especially aided with new technology such as forceps, ergot (to quicken labor), and, later, anesthesia (ether and/or chloroform). Previously, these 'male midwives' attempted to establish themselves as accoucheurs but since they were unlikely to have the practical experience of trained midwives, they more likely to be called in as a last resort, to use the crochet to save the woman's life in cases of obstruction.

However, as male doctors made inroads in the labor room, and professionals such as the month-nurse took over the roles previously occupied by the woman's friends and relations, women also asserted their preferences and choices in various ways. Social pressures, too, were imposed by the local peer group, such as a local preference for a long 'confinement' period after the birth (to paraphrase Shirley Jackson, the mother of three children will do pretty much anything for a week lying down... including having a fourth). Post-partum depression was in fact known (though not by that name) and family and friends made efforts to assist severe cases...

The most touching part of this volume was the discussion of attitudes toward infant rearing, where the primary conflict appeared to be between the attachment to the infant and the probability that he or she would perish, as many children did. This was the time where the idea of infant depravity (inherited sin) was slowly discarded in favor of infant innocence, and the idea became current that a short-lived baby could bring salvation to the family by its innocence and the connection its death made between the parents and heaven. These are the struggles of parents in a time of high infant mortality to resign themselves.

The book is well written and well researched, and a remarkably quick read and study. Certainly worth it for those interested in the history of medicine, women's history, or nineteenth century history; but probably not suitable for the parents of very young children...

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10:48 am - More articles
Haifeng Liu, Jianli Chen, Jianjun Mei, Jinbiao Jia, Lei Shi, A view of iron and steel making technology in the Yan region during the Warring States period and the Han dynasty: scientific study of iron objects excavated from Dongheishan site, Hebei province, China, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 47, July 2014, Pages 53-63, ISSN 0305-4403, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.04.001.

Chaofang Ming, Yimin Yang, Jian Zhu, Li Guan, Changsheng Fan, Changqing Xu, Zhengquan Yao, Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Guoding Song, Changsui Wang, Archaeometric investigation of the relationship between ancient egg-white glazed porcelain (Luanbai) and bluish white glazed porcelain (Qingbai) from Hutian Kiln, Jingdezhen, China, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 47, July 2014, Pages 78-84, ISSN 0305-4403, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.04.005.

Sonia Mugnaini, Marco Giamello, Anastasia Pisani, Salvatore Siano, Casting cores used to craft large bronze masterpieces of the Florentine Renaissance and Mannerism, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 47, July 2014, Pages 85-98, ISSN 0305-4403, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.04.010.

Teija Alenius, Georg Haggrén, Markku Oinonen, Antti Ojala, Ritva-Liisa Pitkänen, The history of settlement on the coastal mainland in Southern Finland. Palaeoecological, archaeological, and etymological evidence from Lohjansaari Island, Western Uusimaa, Finland, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 47, July 2014, Pages 99-112, ISSN 0305-4403, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.03.036.

Thomas Oliver Pryce, Mitch Hendrickson, Kaseka Phon, Sovichetra Chan, Michael F. Charlton, Stéphanie Leroy, Philippe Dillmann, Quan Hua, The Iron Kuay of Cambodia: tracing the role of peripheral populations in Angkorian to colonial Cambodia via a 1200 year old industrial landscape, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 47, July 2014, Pages 142-163, ISSN 0305-4403, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.04.009.

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Friday, June 27th, 2014
10:11 am - Herodotus, father of history
Herodotus: The Father of History (Great Courses, #2353)Herodotus: The Father of History by Elizabeth Vandiver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I "read" this course series as the audiobook, and really enjoyed it. Though at the beginning-- the first 4 CDs-- Vandiver gives mostly background, she does work through the plotline of Herodotus as well, so it forms a sort of outline for reading the works. Vandiver is careful to give multiple perspectives in the analysis of what Herodotus says, how it fits into Greek history, etc. Ok, admittedly, after listening to 2 of her courses, I'm an unashamed fangirl and would probably listen to her lecturing about Greek paint drying (or the Odyssey, which I admit I find as maddening as the voyages of James T. Kirk...)

I now feel ready to tackle the Histories. I also have a few new 'tags' from Herodotus to add to my repertoire ("Their arrows blacken out the sun!""Good, then we will fight in the shade!" as well as "Soft lands make soft men.") My understanding of the Persian wars, especially the battle of Thermopylae, and even the Peloponnesian wars, is vastly improved-- I admit my recollections from seventh-grade history are rather misty not to mention simplified. I had no idea that Pericles of Golden Age Athens presided over not only the Peloponnesian wars but an outbreak of plague in Athens which killed him.

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I think "Soft lands make soft men" may be the unofficial slogan of my shire of origin. (Comment if you want the whole story...)

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