The Other, Other Southern Religion

Baptist, Methodist, BBQ, and football. If you were to ask most people in the southern US about the most common religions (not denominations, because then you start getting ACC, SEC, and those tossed in) practiced in the region, those would probably be the top four. (Outside of Louisiana. They’re . . . different.) Bar-b-que, BBQ, bar-be-que, however you spell it, it involves meat, heat, and sauce. Bar-b-que is not smoked meat, although there is a lot of overlap. Or perhaps smoked meat is not bbq. Continue reading


The Return of City Rights

During the time of the Holy Roman Empire, and really anywhere you had walled cities and fortified communities, it was understood that only those with city right, what we’d call citizenship, had the right to be protected by the walls. In ordinary times, non-citizens could stay overnight for business, or to spend money, or as diplomats or common workers. When war, natural disaster, or plague struck, non-citizens could not remain. The city only had enough food, water, shelter, and other supplies for citizens. A citizen had duties to the city, duties of prayer, support, and defense as well as paying taxes and providing labor. Continue reading

Hero, Horror, Yes

Apropos of two comments over at Peter Grant’s place, I started thinking about history and memory. They dovetail into the WIP, because they involve Vlad Tepes. Was he a national hero, somewhat tragic, forced into being cruel by the cruelty of his enemies? Or was he born with a sadistic inclination that the situation allowed him to indulge, even on his own and neighboring peoples (the Saxons in some villages in Wallachia)? Given that Freudian analysis on pre-modern minds is, at the very least, fraught, I’d say the only safe answer is, “It depends on when, where, and who you ask.”

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It was the Car, not Me, Officer!

Self-driving cars do not interest me. Or to be precise, I have no desire to own or be in a self-driving car. I have dealt with Otto-Pilot and all its charms and quirks. Reading some of the “awkward owner” stories about cars with self-driving features, and some of the technical problems said cars have, put me right off owning a car with self-driving features. I prefer to be in as much control of my vehicle as possible. Continue reading

Little Trees and Minié Balls

Or “how we do broccoli and Brussels sprouts at RedQuarters.”

I don’t quite recall when DadRed started referring to Brussels sprouts as minié balls. It’s been a while though, and the name stuck. Both vegetables come from the same family, both have people who love them and people who detest them. And both tend to be rather dry when brought home from the food store. Continue reading

What is a Strong Woman?

Well, I’d say not the female protagonist(s) in the series that inspired last week’s “Wolf of the World,” or in several other pop culture books, movies, and TV shows. But that’s just me. Strong doesn’t mean shrill, or shrewish (with apologies to four-footed shrews), or “I’m going to be stupid and irritating to show you how independent I really am.” I don’t think it means “able to drink most guys under the table and beat up 250 lb Judo masters even though I weigh 95 pounds when I wear heavy boots,” either. But I might be behind the times, as usual. Continue reading

Question Authority – But Not Mine

“The death of the expert” has been either lauded or lamented for a while now. At least since the 1980s would be my personal guess, but that’s when my memory for things academic begins, so it probably goes back farther. I seem to recall reading about the 1968 crowd insisting that people older than them couldn’t be trusted, and “the Man” was certainly not to be left unchallenged. Now members of that same cohort are the senior advisors, senior faculty, and Powers That Be (in the US at least), and heaven forfend that anyone dare raise a hint of doubt about their pronouncements. Funny, that. Continue reading