The Bookworm Beat 4-27-15 — “not yet the Apocalypse” edition and open thread

Woman writingMy brain is filled with Apocalyptic imagery, but it’s not because Obama is president, the Middle East is in flames, our southern border has collapsed, our economy is stagnant, Greece may drag down Europe, and Islamist’s are resurgent everywhere. It’s actually because last night, when my work load finally showed signs of a much-desired longish-term slowdown, I started reading two excellent books.

The first is Simon Sebag Montefiore’s lyrical and highly informative Jerusalem: The Biography, which takes the reader from Jerusalem’s pre-Biblical beginnings, to Old Testament and New Testament history, and then through post-Biblical history, all the way up to the 1967 War. It’s a lovely book, but I’ve just finished reading about Jesus’s crucifixion and am working my way toward’s the Kingdom of Israel’s destruction in 70 AD, so you can see why I’d be having an “end of days” feeling.

The second book that I’m reading, equally good so far, isn’t helping. It’s John Kelly’s The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time, another elegantly written book that makes you realize the speed with which civilization can collapse (as if the recent Ebola scare wasn’t reminder enough). I think too that Kelly, with a historian’s true knowledge rather than a Progressive’s fantasy-science melange, might just be a climate change skeptic. It’s this bit of information that’s the giveaway, about the changing climate and demographic conditions in Europe in the five hundred years leading to the plague:

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The Bookworm Beat 4-17-15 — the “green hair day” edition and open thread

Woman writingI went to get my hair done today, which is usually a relaxed and peaceful time.  Today, as usual, my hairdresser and I were talking about our respective children, when he suddenly stopped and said, “Have you been swimming?”

That question sure came out of left field. “No,” I responded. “Why?” The answer was a surprise: “Because all your gray hair is green.”

What?!!!! I hadn’t noticed that because I seldom look at myself that closely in the mirror. No one in my family had noticed it because they seldom look at me at all. But there it was: a bilious shade of green in place of my normal skunk stripe, as well as all the other swathes and patches of gray decorating my hair. I have no idea why this happened, but it did.

Gray hair doesn’t bother me; green hair does. I do not like having green hair. Its presence explains why my face had looked peculiarly flushed lately — the green highlighted the red tones in my usually pale face. Just as green is not a good hair shade for me, parboiled isn’t a good color for my face.

After much debate with his colleagues about the best way to handle this unusual problem, my hairdresser decided to go darker, because a tint would cover the green without turning my hair into over-processed straw. The result is that I have sort of reddish-brown hair that’s too dark for my tastes but that I have been assured will fade rather rapidly while at the same time (everyone hopes) still hiding the green.

The whole thing took way too long, although the haircut, as always, is perfection. This matters, because I have hair that can prove challenging to hair stylists. Finding one who is a really nice person and a superb stylist means putting up with an unexpectedly long time in the chair.

My plan today was to get home around midday, call a client, work on several legal projects, and blog. That didn’t happen. After the endless hair appointment, I had to rendezvous with the kids to take care of all sorts of unexpected “we must do it today” chores. It’s 4:15 and I’ve only just walked in. Still, I have much that I want to share with you, so you’ll get a good Friday evening, instead of a good Friday midday, read.

We can kill our way to victory against Islamists

This is an older Daniel Greenfield post, but one that I think still deserves reading. Greenfield’s point is a simple one, which is that it is possible to defeat an enemy by killing so many of his troops that there is no one left to fight, or no one left who is willing to fight (which probably means the same). Anybody, of course, can state a simple principle. Daniel Greenfield’s gift is that he can expand upon it with facts and analysis in a completely compelling way.

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