The Maritime Adventures Of Philip Ashton

In June 1722 a seaman from Marblehead, Massachusetts named Philip Ashton was aboard a vessel that entered the waters around Shelburne, Nova Scotia.  Ashton was a fisherman and had no experience with trouble on the high seas.  But this was to change very quickly.  As his shallop entered the waters of the harbor, it was spotted and boarded by pirates under the command of the notorious Edward Low.  The crew and its cargo were now under the control of Low and his men.

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Wise Sayings Of The Poet Al-Tihami

The Arabic poet Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Tihami (? – 1025) is said to have taken the name Tihami in one of two possible ways that may hint at his family’s origins, according to our trusted chronicler Ibn Khallikan.  Tihami was used both as an informal name for the city of Mecca, and as a name for the mountains between the Hijaz and Yemen.  But it is not clear which of these geographic references apply to our poet.

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Why You Should Have A Slow-Cooker

If you’re single and living alone, it’s important to know how to cook nutritious meals for yourself on a consistent basis.  Like practically everything else in today’s world, you need to learn this skill yourself: no one is going to spoon-feed you.  What I want to talk about today is an efficient cooking strategy that can optimize the time, cost, and nutritive value of your home cooking.  What I’m talking about here is the crock-pot (or slow-cooker).  Using a slow-cooker will save you a huge amount of time and money.

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Sunday Movie Roundup (3/19/2017)

The Wall (Die Wand) (2012)

Director:  Julian Pölsler

This is an intriguing, mysterious, and unnerving meditation on loneliness and alienation.  An art-house film that may not be to everyone’s liking, this top-notch drama features fantastic choreography and views of the Austrian Alps, as well as a great performance by Martina Gedeck.  The plot:  a woman visiting some friends in the Alps suddenly discovers that she is cut off from the rest of the world.  And when I say “cut off,” I mean literally cut off.  There is some kind of deflection barrier or “force field” that encases the area around her cottage from which there is no escape.

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The Memory Of Benefits, And The Forgetting Of Offenses

Some weeks ago I sought to make contact with two old friends I had known in the early 1990s.  I had not spoken to either one since about 1993.  This kind of thing is always an uncertain proposition, as you can never really be sure how a person has changed over the years.  Sometimes you may find that the person has little enthusiasm for reconnecting; in some cases old friends may have changed beyond all recognition.  But in spite of this I was not deterred:  my experiences in doing this sort of thing have always been very good.

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Fixed Fortifications Are Useless

Armies and states throughout history have sought to provide security by constructing fixed fortifications like fortresses, citadels, and walls.  These projects inevitably end as dismal failures.  Not only do they not provide security, but they do something even worse:  they provide an illusion of security that encourages a defender to be overconfident and careless.  And when this happens, disaster is only a matter of time.  Walls and forts do not provide security; at most they can help channel avenues of approach for advancing enemies.  For states are not protected by fortresses, but by the valor of their citizens.  When the latter is lacking, the former are of no use.

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The Rise Of The “Plutocratic Insurgency”

I’ve written before on the extreme social dangers that come about from excessive concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few.  A very important series of articles by Robert and Pamela Bunker in Small Wars Journal has taken this idea one step further:  they have identified the current vast income disparities as a form of insurgency warfare.  This condition–in all its forms–they call the plutocratic insurgency.  This podcast discusses some of their conclusions, and asks readers to ponder the implications of this insidious form of warfare on social health.

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