My kids have not grown up on "Star Trek", and until recently they knew nothing about it beyond Spock's ears, a captain named Kirk, and maybe a ship named Enterprise. For our regular movie night I recently picked "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." I didn't tell the kids what I was going to … Continue reading Star Trek II: The Wrath of the Well-Read Villain
My son recently told me that Napoleon -- you know, France's short Emperor -- was "poggers." Now, definitions may be in order for those who, unlike my son, are not avid video gamers. Poggers: Originating from an emote on the streaming platform Twitch, poggers or pog is an Internet slang term used to express enthusiasm, … Continue reading Napoleon was poggers, says Le Miz
It's a common trope in fiction: a final confrontation between the central hero of a story and its central villain. It's an important trope in Westerns, both on the page and screen -- Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" is just one famous example. And we see it in works of fiction that are too many to count: … Continue reading Hero, meet your villain; or, never mind
January 31, 2021 I keep running back into "War and Peace", in my re-read of Reinhold Niebuhr's "Moral Man and Immoral Society". This is from chapter 1: The growing intelligence of mankind and the increased responsibility of monarchs to their people have placed a check upon the caprice, but not upon the self-interest, of the … Continue reading Niebuhr and Tolstoy
September 2, 2020 I am struck by some parallels between two battles -- Gaugamela and Austerlitz. I wonder in fact to what degree Napoleon copied Alexander’s tactics. My son and I have enjoyed watching these videos and it's great fun to think about these things, though comments, clarifications and corrections are more than welcome here; … Continue reading Gaugamela and Austerlitz
September 1, 2020 Reading “War and Peace” and watching Epic History TV’s documentaries about Napoleon and Alexander the Great (see below), I’m struck by some parallels between the two men. Alexander’s conquests spread Hellenistic culture and some Greek ideas about democracy. Napoleon’s conquests are said to have exported some of the ideas of the French … Continue reading Napoleon and Alexander the Greats?
August 30, 2020 I’ve finished the novel. One disadvantage of reading out-of-sequence is that when I came to the second half, I had already read most of the truly great stuff in that half. I was then able to skip over those passages as I did my read-through, but that meant that I was only … Continue reading Finishing War and Peace
August 18, 2020 Comet Neowise had already faded by the time I started watching the BBC’s mini-series of “War and Peace” on July 25, up here in Egremont. I watched the whole series in just two days. Another week, and I had the book in hand – the Anthony Briggs translation from 2005. I’d never … Continue reading A small comet and a very Big Book