Even When Glory Departs, Something Always Remains

The Italian humanist Ciriaco de’ Pizzicolli lived from 1391 to 1452.  He is more commonly known as Cyriac of Ancona.  While most humanists of his era were content to labor at their desks, he was unusual in that he sought to observe ancient monuments and inscriptions in person.  He was, in fact, one of the very first to undertake a systematic survey of the surviving monuments of Greek antiquity in the Eastern Mediterranean; his work is of great value to the modern antiquarian, since many of the inscriptions and temples he sketched now no longer exist, ravaged by the cruelties of time and man.

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Catching Birds In Anzio, Italy

The Italian humanist Biondo Flavio of Forli (1392-1463) was one of the great names of Renaissance humanism.  His extensive Description of Italy (Italia Illustrata) collected anecdota and geographical information about every region of the country from ancient times until his own day.  It was first published in 1451, but saw frequent additions and revisions until Flavio’s death.  Book II, section 7 of his treatise provides some details on how the natives of Nettuno (a town in the region of Lazio, south of Rome) go about netting birds.  The passage attracted my attention for some reason, and I thought it might be worth relating; it may even be of interest to modern hunters.  Flavio himself can provide the specific details:

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A Few Traditional Irish Recipes

I recently picked up an interesting cookbook at a used book sale:  George L. Thomson’s Traditional Irish Recipes.  Thomson apparently traveled all over the country to select the most traditional representations of the nation’s cuisine.  Hearty and relatively straightforward in preparation, many of these recipes make great additions to your kitchen arsenal.  I’ve decided to present a few of them here.  The average person may find it difficult to obtain traditional Irish ingredients like eel, cockles, nettle tops, and carragheen moss, so I’ve made an effort to pick recipes that are likely to be more practical.  I’ve prepared each of these dishes and can tell you that they are very good.

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Seeking One’s Fortune, And Meeting George Washington

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François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) was a French writer, diplomat and historian famous for his posthumous autobiography Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb.  The book is appealing for its admixture of blunt honesty and romantic reflection that capture the spirit of the times in a way that enables the reader to feel he is a participant himself.

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Some Requirements For Political Stability

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In recent weeks I have had a chance to visit for a short time a few of the republics in Central America:  Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia (South America, but close enough), Guatemala, and Mexico.  I have been trying to upload a podcast I recorded on the subject, but internet connections are so slow that I will have to wait a bit more on that; the upload times are just too long.  I’ve been posting photos on my Instagram account for those who are interested in seeing them. Continue reading

Through The Panama Canal

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I am on a ship that will transit through the Panama Canal tomorrow.  For me this is a big moment:  to be able to see one of the great engineering marvels of the world; to experience the incarnate will of one of my idols, President Theodore Roosevelt; and finally, to see the natural tropical beauty of the Canal Zone.  All these things are on my mind as I write these words.

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