There's a great thunderstorm moving over right now, dumping rain, crackling and booming like someone's splitting open the sky and lobbing tactical nukes right over the house. I love weather.
I stopped by a cool store yesterday, Historia Emporium - The History Store, a fairly small, but well supplied shop on Route 33 in Greenland, New Hampshire. They have a wide-ranging selection of books, which is what kept me in the store far longer than I'd planned--or could have spent looking at full-sized medieval and Viking helmets, the moderate selection of Tamiya (and others) World War II era models, ships, prop planes, jets, submarines, the wide variety of DVDs on historical subjects, revolutionary war miniatures, and a really cool assortment of collectible passenger jets. OK, there's a lot to see in this little store. Great prices on books, although not enough ancient history. The web site is geared more toward gifts for the history lover (http://www.greathistorygifts.com/).
This post is a blatant attempt to latch onto the Google-ranking coattails of the world's authority on Google driving directions. I'm talking about Skott of Textiplication fame, ranked third at Google when you search for directions. (Has this one been coined yet: bandwagoning? If not, I'm claiming it.) If the Bryn Mawr Urology department can get in on the rank boosting why can't I?
I'm picking up my father tonight at Logan, I go to Google maps, put in my work address, click on the "From here" in the directions popup. It doesn't understand "Logan airport" or Logan International, or Boston..., That big airport in Boston. Same response: "We could not understand the location Boston Logan International Airport." I don't know the street address for the airport. Who does?
I Google for the address--separately. It's on Harborside Dr, East Boston, MA. The directions look good. The only problem I see is that it's written for people who are from the Boston area and know perfectly well where the airport is. But for someone who isn't this looks like trouble:
...Bear right at American Legion Hwy - go 0.9 mi
11. Bear right at Lee Burbank Hwy - go 1.1 mi
12. Continue on William F McClellan Hwy - go 1.7 mi
Who's Lee Burbank? There's no way to find out because if you Google for Lee Burbank every result has to do with everything with an address along Lee Burbank Hwy.
This is like a southern Californian who knows perfectly well that he's sitting in traffic on the Santa Ana or the Long Beach--and will look at you funny if you say 5 or 710. Damn out-of-staters, clogging up our nice twelve lane bands of concrete. I'd be at freakin' In-and-Out Burger by now if it wasn't for them. Go the F home!
Anyway, I'm heading out at 4 this afternoon, and I'm thinking of just following the big green rectangles with the airplane picture on them.
A funny bit from Molière's The Bourgeois Gentleman. (Read the Project Gutenberg e-text). Simple, dull Jourdain wishes to become a cultured gentleman and has hired several teachers help him accomplish this.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: ...I must confide in you. I'm in love with a lady of great quality, and I wish that you would help me write something to her in a little note that I will let fall at her feet.
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: Very well.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: That will be gallant, yes?
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: Without doubt. Is it verse that you wish to write her?
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: No, no. No verse.
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: Do you want only prose?
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: No, I don't want either prose or verse.
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: It must be one or the other.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Why?
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: Because, sir, there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: There is nothing but prose or verse?
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: No, sir, everything that is not prose is verse, and everything that is not verse is prose.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: And when one speaks, what is that then?
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: Prose.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What! When I say, "Nicole, bring me my slippers, and give me my nightcap," that's prose?
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: Yes, Sir.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: By my faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing anything about it, and I am much obliged to you for having taught me that. I would like then to put into a note to her: "Beautiful marchioness, your lovely eyes make me die of love," but I want that put in a gallant manner and be nicely turned.
Is there really anything--on the macro level--that can't be done with LEGO? A hundred years from now we'll be blogging about some wacko--ahem--some industrious person who's taken the time to build a Type 2 Dyson Sphere around the delta Pavonis system, and, with the exception of some carbon nanotube structural cabling, it'll be made entirely out of LEGO. Just picture it, 400 quadrillion square miles of colored plastic bricks--and just for kicks, every million miles there'll be a 2X4 brick sticking up with the head of Jar-Jar Binks followed by one of those window pieces with the crazy Tudor-style tracing.
From Make Blog, LEGO Harpsichord.
I haven't found a job yet that didn't require a fairly significant commute, and we're years away from cars that drive themselves to work while I sit in the back with a book. Until then, there's audible.com. I'm a long time audbile.com subscriber, but I still can't get through an audio book without going out and buying the hardcopy. I usually get around the re-readability problem Joe (The Average Joe) mentions by selecting books I've already read, or buying the print book and reading it before I really get into the 10 to 18 hour reading of the book (broken up over a couple weeks of 45 minute commutes--each way). I blogged about audible back in February.
Tim Spalding, editor of the The Ancient Library, an ambitious effort to bring more classical resources online, has started with some great works for students and scholars, but there's also a lot for authors working on historical pieces. (Try browsing William Hazlitt's Classical Gazetteer, a dictionary of some 14,000 ancient Greek and Roman places, or Greek Divination: A Study of its Methods and Principles by W. R. Halliday). The Ancient Library is still in the "first stirrings of a major new classics resource" stage, but promises to be on the way to a classical community portal, with forums for classics discussions, "Wiki-style commentary" for the primary works, and presentation of these and other works as both scanned page images and as OCR'd text in HTML layout. Amazing stuff. I'll be making regular visits to see Ancient Library develop. Definitely one to bookmark--or favorite-ize, depending on your browser preference.
Dru Pagliassotti at The Harrow has written a brilliant editorial on plot ("This Story Has No Plot"). The "tome" link is hilarious. Don't miss it.
DNA stain (fabricated to mimic real DNA)
Mail order card for first two experiments*
And lots more
Anything that requires four D and three 9V batteries has to be good, doesn't it? (Of course, you won't need these with the Discovery Fusion Explorer Kit, or--Not available till Christmas 2006--the Discovery Planetary Core Tap Explorer Kit).