A Touch Dated? Perhaps . . .

The inundation of political ads and . . . bumf (to use a wonderful Britishism for useless paperwork) reminded me of a sticker I saw some time ago, on the back window of a car in the lot at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.

It proudly proclaimed:

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Overheard in the Halls: Part 21

Miss Verbum: Miss Red, a question.

Me: Yes, ma’am?

Miss Verbum: I see that the October Revolution will be in March. Can we move that a week?

Me: Yes ma’am, there’s some flexibility in the schedule.

Miss Verbum: Thank you. [walks toward the work room]

Puzzled Sophomore [to junior]: Huh?

Jaunty Junior: Teachers don’t have to make sense. We have to make sense.

P.S.: [still puzzled] Um, OK.

* * * * * * *

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Thursday Excerpt: White Gold and Empire

Life happened yesterday, so instead of the post I’d intended, you get this instead.

Tarno ate a large helping of bread with potted meat and some of the previous day’s stew before leaving for the boiling house. The boys slept still. He should wake them, but they’d put in good work the day before, and deserved a little extra rest. Or so he told himself. Tarno did bring in the night-soil box, lest it disappear. He also checked the vegetables in the garden, picking off a few leaf-beetles and crushing them.

A handful of other men walked with him to the city gate closet to the salting works, yawning and muttering about the price of wood, the weather, and speculating about the next year’s wood supplies. That seemed to be all anyone talked about. Tarno mulled things over, and decided that he preferred grumping about wood to nervous whispers about the Great Northern Emperor, or about dying magic workers. They’d lost a preservation mage and a healing mage from the salting works, and the men and women had sworn that they’d kill any southlander themselves if they caught the bastards who had poisoned the grain. People who worked with fire and boiling brine every day knew lots of ways to kill people. Tarno preferred any other topic, almost. Continue reading

Jim Crow and Economics

Note: This is a very broad overview of things, and I’m gliding over a lot of history. There are a number of books on the topic, a few of which I’ll mention at the end of the post. We’re talking economics here.

The laws collectively referred to as “Jim Crow” legalized economic and legal discrimination against people of African ancestry in parts of the United States. In other areas, informal local agreements and mob action served a similar purpose, that being keeping African-Americans and other blacks out of certain jobs and places of residence.

The term “Jim Crow” came from a minstrel show song of that title. Continue reading

Tuesday Tidbit: Arthur vs. a Brat

In which Master Saldovado deals with a small but whiny problem.

“Sheesh, over a hundred for a picture? That’s almost criminal,” the young man whined. “Posters at the mall place are a lot cheaper, better buy.”

Lelia pretended not to hear him as she helped Onyx try on a vest. “How thick of a shirt are you planning on, sir?”

He buttoned the front, then tugged a little. “A little lighter than this. I think medium works better.”

“It does if you want a sleeker line, yes, sir.” She took the large back and offered him the medium in the same pattern.

He took it and tried it on as she kept one eye on the new customer. The stranger had left the prints and was poking at the inexpensive jewelry. “That’s too much for earrings. You’re getting ripped off,” he told Mandragorina.

The woman studied him, and replied, “Not for sterling silver, made in the US. If you mean the Chinese or other import jewelry that turns your skin colors and makes you break out, you are quite correct. And I did not ask your opinion, sir.” Continue reading

Harz Mountain Stories

Two years ago, my summer wanderings took me to the Harz Mountains in eastern Germany. As is my habit, I found a couple books of regional folk-lore, and one very detailed sort of “Folk-Lore Road Guide to the Harz.” In German, and no, I’m not up to translating it, at least not at the moment. But once I found a detailed enough map, or could match the locations to where I was going that day, I found a wonderful treasure trove of stories, and patterns. The patterns . . . Very different from what I’d found in the mining areas of Austria. Continue reading