Image of the month: ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ (Aujuittuq) / Grise Fiord

#B (6570)Aujuit­tuq [ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ, also known as Grise Fiord] is Canada’s north­ern­most town, in Qik­iq­tani Region, Nunavut Ter­ri­tory. It is located at the south­ern tip of Ellesmere Island, which is about half the size of Cal­i­for­nia, or about twice the size of Por­tu­gal. 800km fur­ther north from the lit­tle vil­lage is Cana­dian Forces Sta­tion Alert, the north­ern­most set­tle­ment in the world but inhab­ited only by a rotat­ing pop­u­la­tion of mil­i­tary per­son­nel and sci­en­tists. Aujuit­tuq is a real town in which peo­ple are born, live and die, and one of the cold­est inhab­ited places on earth.

FILMSJUNE 2018

(Almod­ó­var 1983) What Have I Done to Deserve This? [¿Qué he hecho yo para mere­cer esto!!]
(Five­son 1979) The Clonus Hor­ror [Mys­tery Sci­ence The­atre ver­sion]
(Oswald 1964) The Outer Lim­its: Ep.22 ― Spec­i­men: Unknown
(Hitch­cock 1940) For­eign Cor­re­spon­dent
(Dante 2013) Trail­ers from Hell: Joe Dante on Earth vs. the Fly­ing Saucers
(Sears 1956) Earth vs. the Fly­ing Saucers
(Wilder 1956) Wit­ness for the Pros­e­cu­tion
Read more »

First-time listening for June 2018

29189. (Hec­tor Berlioz) La Damna­tion de Faust [com­plete opera; d. Inbal; Gulyás, Lloyd,
.… . Ewing]
29190. (Dinah Wash­ing­ton) Dina Wash­ing­ton [Verve Jazz Mas­ters #40]
29191. (Imag­ine Drag­ons) Night Visions Live
29192. (Lak­sh­mi­narayana Shankar) Raga Aberi [w. Zakir Hus­sain]
29193. (Slam) BBC Essen­tial Mix, May 1,1994
29194. (Nam­a­giripet­tai Krish­nan) Kalyana Melam
29195. (Hec­tor Berlioz) Roméo et Juli­ette, Op.17 [d. Inbal; Denize, Cole, Lloyd]
Read more »

READINGJUNE 2018

27457. (Antanas Sileika) Under­ground
27458. (Marc-Antonio Bar­blan) 1476 ― Le naufrage du grand Duché d’ Occi­dent [arti­cle]
27459. (Hermione Hoby) A Story of Sur­vival: New York’s Last Remain­ing Inde­pen­dent
. . . . . Book­shops [arti­cle]
27460. (Alex Pre­ston) How Real Books Have Trumped EBooks [arti­cle]
27460. (Bur­jor Avari) India: The Ancient Past
27461. (Steven Muhlberger) Two Dukes of Bour­bon, Fac­tual and Leg­endary [draft]
27462. (Char­lotte L. King, et al) A Multi-faceted Approach towards Inter­pret­ing Early Life
. . . . . Expe­ri­ence and Infant Feed­ing Prac­tices in the Ancient Ata­cama Desert [arti­cle]
Read more »

Fourth Meditation on Democracy [written Saturday, September 22, 2007] REPUBLISHED

https _s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com_736x_ee_59_33_ee593300e425c02784549e0228c025e1In the begin­ning years of this blog, I pub­lished a series of arti­cles called “Med­i­ta­tions on Democ­racy and Dic­ta­tor­ship” which are still reg­u­larly read today, and have had some influ­ence. They still elicit inquiries from remote cor­ners of the globe. They are now buried in the back pages of the blog, so I’m mov­ing them up the chrono­log­i­cal counter so they can have another round of vis­i­bil­ity, espe­cially (I hope) with younger read­ers. I am re-posting them in their orig­i­nal sequence over part of 2018. Some ref­er­ences in these “med­i­ta­tions” will date them to 2007–2008, when they were writ­ten. But I will leave them un-retouched, though I may occa­sion­ally append some ret­ro­spec­tive notes. Mostly, they deal with abstract issues that do not need updating.


14-03-18 BLOG FOURTH MEDITATION ON DEMOCRACYRecently, two Cana­dian high school stu­dents did a remark­able thing. It was remark­able enough to gen­er­ate a large amount of com­ment in the blo­gos­phere. Accord­ing to the orig­i­nal news item in the Hal­i­fax Chron­i­cle Her­ald [1], a grade 9 stu­dent “arrived for the first day of school last Wednes­day and was set upon by a group of six to 10 older stu­dents who mocked him, called him a homo­sex­ual for wear­ing pink and threat­ened to beat him up.” Any­one who has attended high school knows the usual out­come of such sit­u­a­tions. But in this case, it was dif­fer­ent. Two senior stu­dents, Travis Price and David Shep­herd, were dis­gusted by this crude bul­ly­ing. “It’s my last year. I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do some­thing,” David explained. The two stu­dents bought 75 pink tank-tops and, ral­ly­ing stu­dents through the inter­net, per­suaded half the stu­dent body to wear them, or to sup­ply their own. When the bul­lies next came to school, they were con­fronted by an ocean of pink sol­i­dar­ity. “The bul­lies got angry,” said Travis. “One guy was throw­ing chairs (in the cafe­te­ria). We’re glad we got the response we wanted.” Read more »

Image of the month: You can’t have too many freckles.

#C (7326)

FILMSMAY 2018

(Yea­worth 1958) The Blob
(Cross­land 2010) Mur­doch Mys­ter­ies: Ep.30 ― Rich Boy, Poor Boy
(Meza-León 2017) Rick and Morty: Ep.30 ― The ABC’s of Beth
(Dein 1960) The Leech Woman [Mys­tery Sci­ence The­atre ver­sion]
(May 1976) Mikey and Nicky
(Berke 1958) The Lost Mis­sile
Read more »

First-time listening for May 2018

29171. (Arthur Sul­li­van) Suite from the Inci­den­tal Music to The Merry Wives of Wind­sor
29172. (Afghan Whigs) Big Top Hal­loween
29173. (Gioacchino Rossini) Armida [com­plete opera; d. Ser­afin; Callas, Albanese, Fil­ippeschi]
29174. (Sleater-Kinney) The Hot Rock
29175. (Arthur Sul­li­van [& W. S. Gilbert]) Trial By Jury [com­plete opera; D’Oyly Carte]
29176. (Dal­i­bor Slepčík) “Kou­zlo bíle­jch rán” [sin­gle]
29177. (Blod­wyn Pig) Ahead Rings Out
Read more »

READINGMAY 2018

27440. (Judea Pearl) Causal­ity ― Mod­els, Rea­son­ing, and Infer­ence [2nd ed.]
27441. (Chris Loen­dorf, David Jacobs & Glen E. Rice) Pet­ro­glyphs, Grind­ing Slicks, and
.… . Cupules of the Rock Island Com­ples: U:8:3e92/862 [arti­cle]
27442. (Steve Muhlberger) [in blog Muhlberger’s World His­tory] When Does Any­one Ever
.… . Appol­o­gize Like This? [arti­cle]
27443. (Steve Muhlberger) [in blog Muhlberger’s World His­tory] Ibn Batuta and the Empire of
.… . Mali in Extra His­tory [arti­cle]
27444. (Franziska Dövener, Car­ola Oelschlägel & Hervé Bocherens) Kamele im west­lichen
.… . Trever­erge­biet – ein nahezu voll­ständig erhaltenes Drom­e­dar aus dem vicus Mamer–
.… . Bar­trin­gen, Lux­em­burg [arti­cle]
Read more »

Third Meditation on Democracy [written Saturday, August 18, 2007] REPUBLISHED

https _s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com_736x_ee_59_33_ee593300e425c02784549e0228c025e1In the begin­ning years of this blog, I pub­lished a series of arti­cles called “Med­i­ta­tions on Democ­racy and Dic­ta­tor­ship” which are still reg­u­larly read today, and have had some influ­ence. They still elicit inquiries from remote cor­ners of the globe. They are now buried in the back pages of the blog, so I’m mov­ing them up the chrono­log­i­cal counter so they can have another round of vis­i­bil­ity, espe­cially (I hope) with younger read­ers. I am re-posting them in their orig­i­nal sequence over part of 2018. Some ref­er­ences in these “med­i­ta­tions” will date them to 2007–2008, when they were writ­ten. But I will leave them un-retouched, though I may occa­sion­ally append some ret­ro­spec­tive notes. Mostly, they deal with abstract issues that do not need updating.


A convivial gathering of men and women in ancient Pakistan. The style of art, known Gandharan, drew on influences from India, Persia and Greece.

A con­vivial gath­er­ing of men and women in ancient Pak­istan, dur­ing the Gand­ha­ran era, a time of intel­lec­tual and artis­tic syn­the­sis. Gand­ha­ran art, drama and phi­los­o­phy drew on influ­ences from India, Per­sia and Greece.

West­ern Europe, and lands cul­tur­ally derived from it, have made some rel­a­tively suc­cess­ful approx­i­ma­tions of democ­racy and civil soci­ety, and com­bined them with notice­able pros­per­ity. Peo­ple both inside and out­side this favoured zone won­der why, and they have often sought the answer in two par­tic­u­lar areas: reli­gious tra­di­tions, and the dra­matic intel­lec­tual era called “the Enlight­en­ment”. As some­one who has writ­ten about the uni­ver­sal aspects of democ­racy, I’ve often felt some annoy­ance at what I con­sider parochial views of his­tory, and dubi­ous ideas of causal­ity. I feel great sym­pa­thy for peo­ple out­side the favoured zone, who are hope­ful that they can have a demo­c­ra­tic future, but are dis­com­fited by the “second-banana” sta­tus that it seems to imply for their cul­tural her­itage. This is espe­cially true in the Islamic world, where past cul­tural glo­ries and present embar­rass­ments com­bine to make the search for demo­c­ra­tic reform a touchy sub­ject. I think that an exces­sively car­toon­ish view of the Enlight­en­ment, and of the rela­tion­ship between reli­gion and democ­racy, is part of the prob­lem. Read more »