The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recently read

All over the map, as per usual. Just a few highpoints:
  • Italy Dish to Dish Monica Sartoni Cesari and Susan Simon; A handy pocket-sized reference to Italian menu terms, by region, with a scattering of recipes as well. A present from friends, and lots of fun to work through: "Huh. So that's what that means."

  • The Fox Wars: R. David Edmunds and Joseph L. Peyser; a very well-researched chronicle of the wars fought between the Fox or Mesquakie Indians and just about everybody else in late 17th and early 18th century Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and other parts of the bloody old Midwest. Those who wanted the scalps, individually and collectively, of the Fox included the Sioux (sometimes;) the Chippewa (virtually without a pause;) the tribes of the Illinois confederation; a batch of mercenary, Christian Iroquois; and the French. In all senses but one, the Fox lost. They did, however, manage to avoid complete extinction, and what's left of 'em live in Oklahoma, now.

    Like the Arikara wars and the Mojave Wars I wrote about a while back (or more accurately, I wrote about books about them,) the real question was which side was more treacherous and bloodthirsty. Neither of the contestants showed any redeeming features at all -- at best, the Fox were consistent in their refusal to toe the line, but also consistent in being completely untrustworthy. The book shows its frank bias toward the underdogs, here, using the word "unfortunately" every time the Fox made a mistake or were roundly defeated. Otherwise, a good piece of work, sadly disposed of by the library who had it. But now, it's become mine, mine, mine, forever to be lovingly housed in the growing Joseph St. library of military arcana.

  • Wabash 1791: St. Clair's Defeat; John F. Winkler; An Osprey Campaign book about the drubbing the Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio tribes gave to an American army, attempting to enforce the results of the American Revolution, that is, "Mine, mine, mine!" Osprey's usual workmanlike quick coverage of the troops engaged, the locations, and the outcomes, along with some great maps. Happened not too far away, too, down in Indiana: 40 24 45.77 N 84 46 43.07 W.

  • Things that make us [sic], Martha Brockenbrough; One of those hateful, smug little books that consist, mostly, of wry letters written by the author to various public figures and agencies, and their fatuous and bureaucratic replies. In this case, the author, who by her picture and attitude seems to be about twelve years old, has appointed herself Chief of the Grammar Police. In that capacity, she goes on and on about all the old saws we've heard a million times: the passive voice, that and which, jargon, malapropisms I have known, and so on and so on. Worth all of the $2.98 I paid for it from a remainder house, if only for the refreshing fit of pique it engendered.

  • Thurber's Dogs, James Thurber; A lovely colection of the old Master's words and drawings on the subject of dogs. Although I knew it existed, it was one of the few Thurber collections not in our library, and so it was a very welcome present. Highly recommended, whether you like dogs, Thurber, or both.

  • The Complete Book of Knots, Geoffrey Budworth; I had exhausted the book I already had on knot tying, and so this was a second course. Very good, if you like sitting around with a length of paracord, trying and re-trying to tie a particular knot. I happen to.

  • Still reading: The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food, Adam Gopnik; other, more violent and less cerebral books intervened, but I'll get back to Gopnik soon. So far, I agree with him almost without reservation.

No comments:

Post a Comment