Category Archives: Divers Items

Lawyers, the old man’s disease

Matthew Shardlake, was “the sharpest hunchback in the courts of England” in the 16th Century. That’s how he is accounted by C.J. Sansom.

In Sansom’s Dark Fire, Shardlake speaks of his “ambition to retire from practice, to escape the noisome crowds of London.” And, he says, “in two years’ time, I would be forty, in which year the old man’s disease begins; if business was good enough I might do it then.”

On the other hand, Shardlake’s friend, Guy Malton, the dark-skinned Moorish-Spanish-one-time-Catholic-monk and physician, who escaped to England to become an apothecary in Henry IV’s post-Dissolution England (always one step ahead of the latest sectarian persecution), asked

Yet I wonder if that is the life for you, my friend. Would you not become bored without cases to sharpen your wits on, problems to solve?

Shardlake:

London now, fuller of fanatics and cozeners every year. And my profession has enough of both.

I dream of a quiet life in the country …. Maybe then I will feel like taking up painting again.

Looks like the only thing that has changed from then to now is when “the old man’s disease” begins.

But wait. When Sansom in the 21st Century creates Shardlake of the 16th, who is really speaking of when?

The Mystery of Albion Tourgée and Bennett College

Albion Tourgée

Multiple biographies and profiles recite that Albion Tourgée was a founder of Bennett College. That’s the tradition. Wikipedia says it’s so.

He lived almost next door.

BUT nobody can cite a primary source and he is not named in the original charter issued by the General Assembly. (Wait, is Wikipedia a primary source?)

I bet that the first one to find a primary source will get a free Bennett T-shirt or cap. Shoot, I’ll get you one.

 

Sun-dried tomato pesto — SPOILER: Recipe plagiarized from Guilford College

Recipes are not protected by copyright law.  (At least, as long as they do not incorporate anything more than materials and directions.)

Recipes might be plagiarized, but plagiarism is not illegal, exactly. There is, however, a moral component to it.

So let’s start with this: the excellent recipe set out below was created (as far as I know) by Guilford College to accompany the exceptional sun-dried tomatoes grown and dried on the Guilford College Farm, which supports Guilford’s extraordinary Sustainable Food Systems major and which produces over 10,000 pounds of food a year (and more).

Here’s the deal: Guilford College sun-dried tomato pesto is dynamite, and it’s great on collards. And other stuff. Takes about 10 minutes to make. Here’s what you need to know:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes.

NOTE: Use dry dried tomatoes, not the ones immersed in oil. If you try it with the latter, you’ll want to adjust other ingredients, and flavor may be inflected. Guilford College sun-dried tomatoes are comparable to a leaf of flue-cured tobacco.

  • 1/3 cup unsalted, dry roasted almonds.

NOTE: I would use more almonds than this, at least with my collards. I’m not sure that salted almonds wouldn’t be fine, but not the smoked ones or flavored ones.

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt.

NOTE: Now, you see the point about whether the almonds are salted.

  • 2-3 cloves garlic.

NOTE: This is going to depend on you and garlic, and the particular garlic you have. Food without garlic is ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­like an interstate with no exits­, but too much garlic is a punishment for sins.

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves, the ones you should have growing in a dry, full-sun spot somewhere in your yard (in a pot for all that). Even you can raise rosemary.
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. (You know the drill about red pepper: it’s optional; you can probably add more than what’s prescribed. Up to you.)
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper.
  • ¾ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil. (More or less, depending on your plans for it. I wouldn’t use too much here.)

Directions

Put it all into a food processor. Process. Just like the Early Friends did.

Put it on whatever you want to.  Collards is/are a good idea. Or, black-eyed peas, for the season.

Moral Absolution

If you have read this far knowing that this recipe has been appropriated from Guilford College, you now have three options. They are:

  1. Refer a likely student to Guilford knowing that Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE – changes lives.
  2. Make a donation to Guilford, hoping that, if your donation exceeds three figures, someone will send you some sun-dried tomatoes, and knowing that your gift will support Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE. If the sun-dried tomatoes are not forthcoming, ask for some.
  3. Tell others that Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE – is carving out a unique and immensely valuable niche for Guilford College in the firmament of 21st Century higher education.

If you do not do one of these, then you may be colluding in some sort of plagiarism. It’s not clear.

Sylvia

I saw this in an obituary this morning:

Sylvia always brought so much food to family events that people had to make several trips to her car to bring it all in.

Kind of a poem about a certain slice of North Carolina in the mid-20th Century.

Greensboro placed at the center of American history — “the earliest known” long-distance Underground Railroad scheme

Bound for Canaan, The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement by  Fergus Bordewich, was pronounced by the Wall Street Journal to be “an excellent book . . . as close to a definitive history as we’re likely to see.”

In Bound for Canaan, Bordewich says

By the 1800’s the North Carolina Quakers formed the only sizable abolitionist community south of the border states. Though isolated in an ocean of slaveholders, they were numerous and well organized, and had close links with relatives, friends, and fellow Quakers in the free states. They were uniquely well situated to lay a foundation for the earliest long-distance route of the Underground Railroad.

****

Beyond the border states, only in North Carolina, where Quakers provided the critical mass of support, would organized emanciplationist sentiment survive on a significant scale, and produce men radical enough to break the law.

****

Levi and Vestal Coffin [from the New Garden community near present-day Greensboro] were shortly to become the founders of the earliest known scheme to transport fugitives across hundreds of miles of unfriendly territory to safety in the free states.

So Bordewich puts Greensboro and Guilford County at the center of the history of the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness in America – a place Greensboro and Guilford have continued to occupy ever since, with the histories of Albion Tourgee, the Sit-In Movement, Henry Frye, the Klan-Nazi Shooting (also referred to as the Greensboro Massacre), and the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

WELL, Fergus Bordewich will be in Greensboro to speak on November 2. His topic:  “Still Bound for Canaan. The Underground Railroad, its History, and its Meaning for the Twenty-First Century.

That event will be free and open to the public.

Baby Boom summoned back to the barricades — we have an image problem

UNCG’s G.R.O.W.T.H. (“Gerontology Research, Outreach, Workforce, & Teaching Hub”) initiative may have stumbled upon the beginings of a disturbing trend.

The scholars at UNCG have observed that prospective gerontology students, when surveyed, say they want to work with older adults, “but not with Baby Boomers.”

They want to work with people “like my grandmother,” instead of Baby Boomers. (Wisely, no one has pointed out to them yet when grandma was born, and what she was doing back in the ‘60s. That’s what education is for.)

No doubt, this attitude among the young has been provoked by surly (not to say “fake”) media narratives.

OK: Baby Boomers did not defeat the Nazis. That was our parents.

And when it came to Vietnam, we split.

US presidents who are Baby Boomers, none of whom bothered with the war, seem destined for not-very-inspiring chapters in the history books. And, there has always been a certain theme of self-absorption among our entire cohort. We are sometimes referred to as “the Me Generation.”

But, speaking as one of the very first Baby Boomers – an original – pretty soon we’re going to need somebody to take care of us. And somebody has got to study us. (We have always liked that.)

So, it’s back to the barricades.

We’ve got an image problem. We’ve got to figure out a way to charm these Millenials and the now-emerging Generation Z. They need to know: it’s not all about them.

Marcus in a dyspeptic moment

What was he reading?

In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius advises

Cast out the thirst for books that you may not die growling, but with true graciousness, and grateful to the gods from the heart.

For most of his career, and especially while he campaigned on the northern borders, which is when he wrote The Meditations, Marcus had no access to cable TV.

Allowing for the subsequent passage of time, one may perhaps broadly interpret what he was saying as: “watch too much cable TV and you will die growling.”  Grrrr.

Cast out that thirst.

The “first planter of education” at Guilford College was a woman “who stepped directly from the forest” – Anne the Huntress

Guilford College is rightly celebrated as the first coeducational college in the South.

What may be less well known is the tale of the first “planter of education” in the community that became Guilford College. She was known as “Anne the Huntress.” Her character and attributes color the culture, if not the attire, of women (and men) at Guilford College to this day. She stepped directly from the forest.

Quoth Dorothy Gilbert:

The first planter of education [in the New Garden community] was a woman who stepped directly from the forest in 1790 and vanished away into it seventeen years later. Her coming was dramatic. A large company had gathered to watch a shooting match, and suddenly there was among them a beautiful young woman carrying a highly ornamented rifle and equipped with a shot pouch, belt, hunting knife, and hatchet. She asked permission to take a shot with contesting riflemen: then she stepped to the line, gracefully raised her rifle, took quick aim, and fired. The ball drove the center sixty yards away. And this was the teacher, for Ann the Huntress – she never gave another name – lingered happily in the community for years: and as she visited from home to home, she taught the children for her recreation and killed the deer for her livelihood. She particularly objected to careless pronunciation, and young Quakers began the use of the final consonant. The speech within that neighborhood showed perceptible differences, and Addison Coffin believed that the influence of Anne the Huntress accounted for it and prepared the way for the success of [what became Guilford College].

This teacher “who wore Indian leggings and carried her rifle,” Gilbert believed, ”deserves commemoration in the annals of the profession.” She came from the forest and she planted a tradition of education and refinement at the very beginnings of the New Garden settlement in the Carolinas. “Ann the Huntress” was her name.

To this day, selected Guilford students may be observed to exhibit memorable attire. Perhaps there is a strain of the Huntress in that.

While no latter-day Guilford student is known to carry a silver-plated rifle (nor would a rifle likely be welcome on campus in these parlous times), one account of Ann’s 1790 bullseye reports that she fired a second shot immediately after the first – and landed it “neatly atop the first;” and hitting the mark is another Huntress attribute that characterizes Guilford students to this day. It is seen in the performance of Guilford’s golf and basketball teams, the creations of its Mark Dixon’s sculpture students, and the precision of all those accounting majors.

Issues of careless pronunciation among present-day Guilfordians want closer scrutiny.

 

Contronyms: at the frontiers of language

Somewhere in Southern California, there’s a lady named Judith Herman.  She’s got a blog: Lexie Kahn, Word Snooper. Her snoop is “Lexie Kahn, Private Etymologist.”

Herman is doing good work.

She’s published “25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites;” and “16 More Words That Are Their Own Opposites.” Others are on this trail. Somebody posted “20 Words That Are Their Own Opposites.” Grammarly posted 75 Contronyms (Words with Contradictory Meanings)

Words that mean exactly what they don’t mean.

Go English!

 

 

Basil is for Idiots

Basil is for idiots, but pesto

basil_genovese-plantOver the millennia, the peoples of the Mediterranean have learned a simple but profound truth: Almost anything goes better with olive oil, garlic and a little salt. Maybe some lemon juice. Over time, they realized that, if you have the oil, the garlic, and the salt, then you can just go out into the back yard, scoop up almost anything that’s green and fresh, and mash that up with the oil and garlic and have something good to eat …  although, if you try this, things will go a lot better if you have some basil or parsley in your yard.

Which of course brings the discussion to pesto and pistou and persillade and green sauce. It’s time to get ready.

With fresh basil, you can have the best pesto. The good news is: any idiot can raise good, fresh, plentiful basil.

All basil wants is a lot of sunshine, plenty to drink and a well-drained place to sit. (Basil and I are a lot alike.) You can have all the fresh basil you want – at trifling cost.

It’s a little amazing how many different recipes are described as the one for “classic” pesto, and it’s daunting to observe the near-religious fervor that infuses notes and articles about it. Just put “pesto recipe” into your search engine and push the button.

Remember what Bobby Bare said: “Just buy you some basil and plant it by June, and you’ll be a rocking and a rolling soon.”