Wednesday, 29 July 2015

C. Fannius

Biography offers the easy approach to history, and some go no further than biography. To this form of writing the establishment of the monarchy and the long duration of a dynasty might have seemed not a little propitious. Yet the earlier theme in imperial Rome is not so much the Caesars as their victims. If the practice took its origin from the funeral oration, it was soon exploited by persons extraneous to the deceased, avowedly as a genre intermediate between oratory and history. A certain C. Fannius resolved to write about those whom Nero killed or banished. He composed three volumes. Then the author was vouchsafed a vision of Nero. The spectre came and sat on his bed, read the scrolls one by one, and went away. Fannius divined that it was not his destiny to write any more; and Fannius died.

Ronald Syme "Tacitus" (1958) vol 1 p92

That immaculate semicolon.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

To The Threep'ndy Tories

Indeed, crow away about stumping up your £3 and helping Jeremy Corbyn on his way to the Labour leadership.

What was that about the Opposition don't win elections, the Government loses them?

I give you f'rinstance John Major's Traffic Cone Hotline, Gordon Brown's... well, Gordon Brown.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Nothing New There, Then

When a despot is killed or a dynasty destroyed less is achieved than some expect. After the initial transports of newly won liberation men look around and discover that the system abides - and most of the people.

Ronald Syme "Tacitus" (1958) vol 1 p3

Bit unfair of me maybe to spring "Tacitus" (2 vols) on my readers but if you haven't read "The Roman Revolution" you have missed one of the great historical works. This is about the Republic, the civil war following Caesar's assassination and the establishment of Augustus. Politics, war and more.

His prose style is superb: precise, condensed, expressive.

Deletions made to make it clear that I am not delusional: I am well aware that I have no readers.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Tootle Tootle Dixie

Rumour has it that the Confederate States may be aboiut to surrender, a little bit.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

In Soviet-Union-on-Sea, Cat Strokes You

In a word, Toxoplasma gondii.

The cat sez that's two words; okay, two.

Either way, if you are reading this blog - which you aren't - chances are that it isn't you.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Angry Penguins

So I called it wrong last time (so far) which is why nobody of note, or otherwise, bothers to read this blog. Here are some angry penguins.  They may not be angry, of course.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Has to be counted amongst the walking dead.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.

This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. As the party of one nation, we will govern as one nation and bring our country together. That means actively promoting certain values.

Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

We must say to our citizens: this is what defines us as a society.

So, now you are going to be actively tolerant!

Sehr gut!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Got Us All On Tenterhooks⸮

July 16 1969: Apollo 11 departs the Kennedy Space Centre, Moonward bound.
July 24 1969: Apollo 11 Command Module arrives Pacific Ocean, returning from Moon.
Mission duration: 9 days.

May 8 2015: Labour Party finds itself short one leader.
September 10 2015: Labour Party finds new leader.
Mission duration: 126 days.

Our modern question mark is descended from the punctus interrogativus, a right-to-left lightning stroke perhaps introduced in the West by Alcuin of York in the C8th. The punctus percontativus, a reverse question mark denoting a rhetorical question, and by extension irony or sarcasm, was proposed by printer Henry Denham in the 1580s and fell into disuse in the C17th.