New Year’s Life Lessons — From Your Computer

Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to treat yourself like your computer.

  • Delete your history.
  • Empty your cache.
  • Purge your cookies.

Little Theatre

Not all history is good history. Some of it is, but not all of it. It’s ok to get rid of history. Sometimes living with the weight of history just keeps you from moving on to a better life. Getting out from under history is why most people move to America (and why some move away from America). People from abroad often talk about our optimism, our tough can do attitude,  our willingness to take that extra step when everything tells us to stop, our inventiveness and creativity. Most of this comes from being “history light.” If you’ve got that sinking feeling, maybe it’s time to throw some history overboard.

cache

A cache should, by definition, be small and full of easily accessible treasures, like a pocketful of rubies. A cache is something you put aside for the hard times. A squirrel caches nuts for the winter. Caches are made to be raided and emptied. Caches are survival tools. In computer terms, a cache is a collection of hidden data that generally helps you retrieve pages more quickly when you go back to them. But suppose you never want to “go there” again? Then your cache is useless. Everyone has some slag in their cache. Clean it out completely this winter, so that next year this time, you’ve filled it with noting but useful golden places and things and people.

tollhouse

Finally, purge your cookies. It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have something following them around, a habit, an obsession, a stalker. Cookies are used for tracking people. They invade your privacy. They’re a lot like voyeurs or peeping toms/thomasinias. They make you think they’re giving you something nice, like a cookie, but really, they’re more of lure. If you’ve got something following you around, feeding off you without giving you anything back — like a parasite — get rid of it. And remember, some of the worst cookies out there are the one’s someone else has put in your head to bake. Make your own cookies this year!

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Published in: on January 2, 2013 at 12:36 AM  Comments (1)  
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Venerable Bede gets his due on his day (almost) . . . and answers the question, where does all the English pomp and circumstance come from!

Venerable Bede is one of our favorite saints, not least because he was a prolific author! We cannot say enough good things about him, so check out his page on Wilson’s Almanac website for all the dirt.  Bede is best known as the author of  Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum or An Ecclesiastical History of the English People or The History of the English Church and People. 

If you’ve never read it, it’s quite interesting.

And at this point, it’s way out of copyright and available for free!

Bede’s actual day is May 26th, but given the English are celebrating for the better part of the week. . . .

Published in: on June 3, 2012 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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A nice title to consider for Christmas: Wojtek, Bear Soldier

You can read a full review of this book over at Derek Crowe’s website.  But basically, Wojtek was a Syrian brown bear, who became an actual soldier (rank of Private, and he was paid!) in the Polish Army during WWII and helped fight the Nazis at Monte Cassino.

Often there are unsung heros in a war or protest, or forgotten ones.  Animals that serve tend to get short schrift but this book by Alieen Orr corrects that wrong beautifully.  A great gift book for anyone that loves military history.

Spoiler: It does end happily!

Dad and Woytek

You can also find an illustrated children’s version of this story by Garry Paulson. Available in English or Polish.

Voytek the Soldier Bear book cover

Voytek the Soldier Bear children’s book by Gary Paulin
http://www.voytekthebear.com/

Photos, articles and information about Wojtek and the Polish 2nd Corps
http://www.wojtekthebear.com/

The Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum, presented by the Kresy Siberia Foundation, based in Poland and many countries around the world
http://www.kresy-siberia.org

Patryk Polec’s site dedicated to Wojtek and the Polish 2nd Corps
http://wojtek-soldierbear.weebly.com/

Published in: on October 11, 2011 at 2:17 PM  Comments (4)  
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Quite an Exquisite Book! in need of a brown paper bag

We stumbled across this book by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins recently and found it absolutely enchanting. Published in Nov 2010, it’s still considered a new book.  If you missed V-Day, and you still want to get you’re love a little something, we’d definitely recommend this book as a belated offering.

A compendium of delightful things from across the span of time (most of the not very dear), this charmingly written work combines history, fashions, travel, and social commentary in bijoux essays only a few paragraphs to a couple pages long.  It’s a must have for women looking for a light read while soaking in the tub surrounded by candles!

It’s only drawbacks are visual.  The cover design is hideous, whether you find it in red and white or maroon and buff, but you can fix that by putting a plain jacket on it. What you can’t fix are the awful illustrations (and even headings) in sepia. Add to this all manner of dingbats, also in sepia.

We understand what they were aiming for stylistically, but it simply doesn’t work, worse, its aesthetic is off-putting to people most likely to buy it.  Oh well.  If you’re the sort that doesn’t want uber-ugliness around, wait for paperback.  The writing is truly wonderful, and the content enchanting.

If it were a woman . . . you’d just want to her have a better dress.

The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights is currently available only in Hardcover and ebook formats.
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Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 8:20 AM  Leave a Comment  
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