The concept of honor comes up frequently in the Cat Among Dragon books, because the Azdhagi culture is a modified shame culture. Rada, through watching Col. Ingwe Adamski and a few others, practices a more internalized system of honor. This leads to some conflicts, including the one that caused her long facial scar. Today on Earth we are seeing a similar set of  conflicts, as the shame culture of the Middle East and Asia crashes against the internalized honor/guilt culture of the West. Why are people willing to kill over a cartoon? Because of a form of honor, tied into religion. Continue reading

Snow Day

It snows in Texas.

Last Wednesday started grey, with low, darker clouds massing to the north and west, scudding past on a westerly wind aloft. At the surface, nothing but a soft east wind that managed to find any gap between collar and hat brim and dive in. The clouds stayed north, dropping rain and a little snow, wandering toward Oklahoma. The day stayed grey, and quiet. A waiting quiet. Then the rain began. Continue reading

Revolutions and Revolutions

When we talk about revolutions, we usually think of political revolutions – French, Russian, American, possibly English. Propaganda, warfare, rebellion, those all come to mind. Or perhaps some think of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, with the development of steam power leading to mass production leading to either the rise of modern living standards and prosperity, or the ills of sweat shops and Blake’s “dark satanic mills.” But before all these came another revolution. Continue reading

The Frontiers of Roam

Barring bad life rolls, I’ll be back on the Roman frontier this summer, poking around Norium and Raetia, with a brief stop in Germania Superior to change planes. By now I have traced much of that frontier, from Panonia to Norium, Raetia, along the Limes to Colonia Agripina and Gaul. I’ve been to Britania as well, but not as far as Hadrian’s Wall. I seem to spend a great deal of time, physical and mental, on the frontiers. They are fascinating places, you see. Continue reading

Language Meanders

My name is Alma and I’m a word nerd. You see, I grew up with bits of pieces of languages tossed around the house, in addition to English. I started learning Spanish in grade school, moved, and restarted Spanish and Latin in high school. But I’d already learned some liturgical Latin, and Yiddish, and bits of this and that, and started wondering where words came from, and how languages developed. And as I got older, I discovered that you are not supposed to do that any more. Because linguistics is no longer about etymology and other fascinating stuff. Continue reading

Books of Beauty

Two books hold down the end of my desk. One is a beautiful book, the other is a breathtaking volume about beautiful books. One is based on a copy of the Vulgate illuminated for Duke Federigo di Montefeltro (1422-1482) of Urbino in 1478, with the Latin text replaced by the King James version. The other describes some of the surviving works from King Matthias Corvinus’s library, now in the National Széchény Library in Budapest. They are pure luxuries. One followed me home from the Hungarian National Museum, the other jumped into my hands at the regional Barnes and Noble. You see, I am a sucker for beautiful books.

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Why Revise?

I’m two-thirds of the way through beating A Cat at Bay into a semblance of cohesion, with two-thirds to go. It’s a bit like building your own airplane, in that when you have 90% of it done—structure assembled, controls rigged, engine mounted—you have 90% of the time-consuming, fiddly, frustrating, “I-spent-eight-hours-in-the-shop-with-nothing-but-a-window-and-the-canopy-to-show for-it” work left. That’s where I’m at. Because things have changed over the past eight years. Continue reading