Sucks for the rest of you, I know, but I promise to use my immense power only for good.
October 28, 2008
October 27, 2008
I’ve only read a few of Tony Hillerman‘s books, and I definitely noticed that, as is the case with many prolific authors, the quality of his books began to decline a bit late in his career, but I would still say he was an extraordinarily gifted writer, with a rare talent for evoking the feel of places with mere words. I’m generally wary of reading about things and places I’m already personally familiar with, because there are so often inaccuracies and misunderstandings that cloud any enjoyment I might get out of the prose, but I never had any problem with Hillerman’s books. He got everything right, from the complex cultural issues and problems to the surpassing beauty and awe-inspiring majesty of the landscape. Given the constraints of his genre, his talent for accuracy and authenticity was remarkable. He did a better job than anyone else I know of in reflecting the ambiguities and complications of modern Navajo life, and the prose in which he did it was (and remains) simply gorgeous. He will be missed.
October 19, 2008
Ah, archaeologists. From page 23 of Kin Kletso: A Pueblo III Community in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico by Gordon Vivian and Tom Mathews:
But to return to our problem, just how dead fish transported from the Rio Grande to Chaco would be useful ceremonial adjuncts, we are not prepared to say.
October 9, 2008
On this day in 1582, nothing happened in Spain, Portugal, Poland-Lithuania, or most of Italy. It’s not that this was an uneventful time in those places; far from it. This date, however, was right in the middle of the block of days eliminated from the calendar by the papal bull Inter gravissimas, issued a few months earlier, which recalibrated the civil calendar to bring the date of celebration of Easter back in line with where it had been at the time of the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 by declaring that the day after October 4 would be October 15. Since the bull was issued by Pope Gregory XIII, the resulting calendar is known as the Gregorian Calendar.
This is the calendar we still use today, of course, but it took a while for that to happen. The papal decree only took effect immediately in the parts of Italy where he was also the secular ruler, and the only other rulers to adopt the change on the intended date were Philip II of Spain and Portugal, Stefan Bathory of Poland-Lithuania, and the leaders of various small Italian states, all of them staunch Catholics. Other Catholic rulers, such as Henry III of France and the Austrian Habsburgs, adopted the new calendar within the next couple of years, while most Protestant countries resisted the change for more than a century. In the countries that did not accept the change originally, October 9 occurred as scheduled, and things happened on it. In Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Poland-Lithuania, however, October 19 occurred instead, and things happened then.