Texas Liberal

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Et Tu, Blogger?—An Ides Of March Blogging Break


Even the best of bloggers needs a break sometimes.

And so do I.

I’m blogged out.

Texas Liberal will return on Monday, March 17.

The painting is Death Of Julius Caesar. It was painted in 1798 by Vincenzo Camuccini.

Here is information on the life of Caesar.

Here is an explanation of the term Ides Of March—   

The soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March,” has forever imbued that date with a sense of foreboding. But in Roman times the expression “Ides of March” did not necessarily evoke a dark mood—it was simply the standard way of saying “March 15.” Surely such a fanciful expression must signify something more than merely another day of the year? Not so. Even in Shakespeare’s time, sixteen centuries later, audiences attending his play Julius Caesar wouldn’t have blinked twice upon hearing the date called the Ides.The term Ides comes from the earliest Roman calender, which is said to have been devised by Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome. Whether it was Romulus or not, the inventor of this calendar had a penchant for complexity. The Roman calendar organized its months around three days, each of which served as a reference point for counting the other days:

Kalends (1st day of the month)

Nones (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months)

Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months)

The remaining, unnamed days of the month were identified by counting backwards from the Kalends, Nones, or the Ides. For example, March 3 would be V Nones—5 days before the Nones (the Roman method of counting days was inclusive; in other words, the Nones would be counted as one of the 5 days). 

March 13, 2008 Posted by | Art, Blogging, History | , , , , | 2 Comments

Life & History Consists Of Broad Themes—It Is Not A Series Of Fragments

The painting above is Twilight In The Wilderness.

It was painted by Frederic Edwin Church in 1860.

Here is what it says about this painting in the book American Art and Architecture by Michael J. Lewis—

Church did not fragment his colors into intense local passages but subordinated them to an overall chromatic scheme…As with a musical composition, there is a dominant key signature against which contrasting harmonies resonate.   

That’s right!—Life is a few broad themes. Individual events take place within the broad themes. These broad themes last through time.

In the 1796 Presidential election, John Adams won nine states and Thomas Jefferson won seven states.

All nine states Mr. Adams won in ’96 were carried by John Kerry in 2004.

Of the seven states won by Mr. Jefferson, George W. Bush won six of them in ’04. ( Pennsylvania was the only state to switch, as it were, from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Kerry.)  

As a general matter, the Adams’ states were in the North and the Jefferson states were in the South.

These regions of the country had different patterns of initial settlement. In the early years of the nation they had different institutions and different cultures to a greater extent than seen today.

The 2004 results would suggest, with admittedly some simplification, that despite the passage of 208 years, initial differences between the regions have formed broad general themes that have exercised some control of American political history.

Which, I’m sure, is just the point Mr. Church was getting at in his painting.

A great book to learn about the early years of the United States is American Colonies–The Settling Of North America by Alan Taylor. 

Frederic Edwin Church lived 1826-1900. Here is some information about Mr. Church

The above links to Mr. Adams, Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Bush are from the first-rate presidential resources at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.  

March 13, 2008 Posted by | Art, Books, Colonial America, History, Political History | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Grocery Store At Night Is A Happy Place

I was in the supermarket last night.

Usually I shop on weekday mornings.

However, last night I was in the supermarket around 10 PM.

I often notice young couples shopping together when I go the supermarket in the evening.

These couples are both straight and gay.  

They often seem happy.

I think maybe their autonomy and their relationships are both still relatively new, and that shopping together late in the evening is an affirmation of both the autonomy and the relationship.

My wife and I have been married 8 years and I am 40 years old.

But I’d like to think that our marriage still has the energy and happiness I see with the young grocery shoppers.  

March 13, 2008 Posted by | My Wife Is The Best Person Ever, Relationships | , , | 2 Comments