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Monthly Archives: November 2017

La saison des camélias

The abbey’s camélias have have reached above the roof line. It’s time for pruning, I think. The bee was working the camélias at 42 degrees F. And yes, when I think of camélias I always think of La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas the younger, which, before my French started getting rusty, I read […]

Against the Grain

Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, by James C. Scott. Yale University Press, 2017. 312 pages. Why did human beings abandon their hunter-gatherer livelihoods, build the first towns and cities — and therefore create the first governments? This book uses new findings from archeology, epidemiology and climatology that may radically change […]

Merlin’s neck rags

Why is it that, though warm around-the-house winterwear is easy to find in the form of henleys and waffle-weave undershirts, nothing ever has a collar? Necks get cold. Sure, I have turtlenecks and even fleece neck-warmers that I keep in the Jeep. But the collarless winterwear needs a supplemental collar. The TV series Merlin (a […]

Let’s just talk about the truck

The flag on the back is the Christian flag, which is commonly flown in King, North Carolina. Also note the bumper stickers in the lower photo. We could talk about why a surplus military vehicle belonging to the Pfafftown (North Carolina) militia, a right-wing paramilitary group, showed up at the polling place for the Nov. […]

Two-course breakfasts?

The French conceive of breakfasts in two categories — sweet and salty. I suppose we Americans do, too, though I don’t recall anyone ever asking, “Would you prefer a sweet breakfast or a salty breakfast?” Usually we choose. But this morning the cool, gray weather — and the devil — led me to do both. […]