8MAR2018 – Quote of the Day

Herodotus again!  I guess I’ll keep going until forced to stop.  Herodotus was a great traveler and during his trip to Egypt he assembled the Egyptian histories supposedly from the Egyptian priests.  Here’s a story of one of the early pharaohs.


Rhampsinitus had great wealth in silver, so great that none of the succeeding kings could surpass or come near it. To store his treasure safely, he had a stone chamber built, one of its walls abutting on the outer side of his palace. But the builder of it shrewdly provided that one stone be so placed as to be easily removed by two men or even by one. [2] So when the chamber was finished, the king stored his treasure in it, and as time went on, the builder, drawing near the end of his life, summoned his sons (he had two) and told them how he had provided for them, that they have an ample livelihood, by the art with which he had built the king’s treasure-house; explaining clearly to them how to remove the stone, he gave the coordinates of it, and told them that if they kept these in mind, they would be the custodians of the king’s riches. [3] So when he was dead, his sons got to work at once: coming to the palace by night, they readily found and managed the stone in the building, and took away much of the treasure. 121B. When the king opened the building, he was amazed to see the containers lacking their treasure; yet he did not know whom to accuse, seeing that the seals were unbroken and the building shut fast. But when less treasure appeared the second and third times he opened the building (for the thieves did not stop plundering), he had traps made and placed around the containers in which his riches were stored. [2] The thieves came just as before, and one of them crept in; when he came near the container, right away he was caught in the trap. When he saw the trouble he was in, he called to his brother right away and explained to him the problem, and told him to come in quickly and cut off his head, lest he be seen and recognized and destroy him, too. He seemed to have spoken rightly to the other, who did as he was persuaded and then, replacing the stone, went home, carrying his brother’s head. 121C. When day came, the king went to the building, and was amazed to see in the trap the thief’s body without a head, yet the building intact, with no way in or out. At a loss, he did as follows: he suspended the thief’s body from the wall and set guards over it, instructing them to seize and bring to him any whom they saw weeping or making lamentation. [2]


But the thief’s mother, when the body had been hung up, was terribly stricken: she had words with her surviving son, and told him that he was somehow to think of some way to cut loose and bring her his brother’s body, and if he did not obey, she threatened to go to the king and denounce him as having the treasure. 121D. So when his mother bitterly reproached the surviving son and for all that he said he could not dissuade her, he devised a plan: he harnessed asses and put skins full of wine on the asses, then set out driving them; and when he was near those who were guarding the hanging body, he pulled at the feet of two or three of the skins and loosed their fastenings; [2] and as the wine ran out, he beat his head and cried aloud like one who did not know to which ass he should turn first, while the guards, when they saw the wine flowing freely, ran out into the road with cups and caught what was pouring out, thinking themselves in luck; [3] feigning anger, the man cursed all; but as the guards addressed him peaceably, he pretended to be soothed and to relent in his anger, and finally drove his asses out of the road and put his harness in order. [4] And after more words passed and one joked with him and got him to laugh, he gave them one of the skins: and they lay down there just as they were, disposed to drink, and included him and told him to stay and drink with them; and he consented and stayed. [5] When they cheerily saluted him in their drinking, he gave them yet another of the skins; and the guards grew very drunk with the abundance of liquor, and lay down right there where they were drinking, overpowered by sleep; [6] but he, when it was late at night, cut down the body of his brother and shaved the right cheek of each of the guards for the indignity, and loading the body on his asses, drove home, fulfilling his mother’s commands. 121E.


When the king learned that the body of the thief had been taken, he was beside himself and, obsessed with finding who it was who had managed this, did as follows—they say, but I do not believe it. [2] He put his own daughter in a brothel, instructing her to accept all alike and, before having intercourse, to make each tell her the shrewdest and most impious thing he had done in his life; whoever told her the story of the thief, she was to seize and not let get out. [3] The girl did as her father told her, and the thief, learning why she was doing this, did as follows, wanting to get the better of the king by craft. [4] He cut the arm off a fresh corpse at the shoulder, and went to the king’s daughter, carrying it under his cloak, and when asked the same question as the rest, he said that his most impious act had been when he had cut the head off his brother who was caught in a trap in the king’s treasury; and his shrewdest, that after making the guards drunk he had cut down his brother’s hanging body. [5] When she heard this, the princess grabbed for him; but in the darkness the thief let her have the arm of the corpse; and clutching it, she held on, believing that she had the arm of the other; but the thief, after giving it to her, was gone in a flash out the door. 121F.


When this also came to the king’s ears, he was astonished at the man’s ingenuity and daring, and in the end, he sent a proclamation to every town, promising the thief immunity and a great reward if he would come into the king’s presence. [2] The thief trusted the king and came before him; Rhampsinitus was very admiring and gave him his daughter to marry on the grounds that he was the cleverest of men; for as the Egyptians (he said) surpassed all others in craft, so he surpassed the Egyptians. 122.


They said that later this king went down alive to what the Greeks call Hades and there played dice with Demeter, and after winning some and losing some, came back with a gift from her of a golden hand towel. [2] From the descent of Rhampsinitus, when he came back, they said that the Egyptians celebrate a festival, which I know that they celebrate to this day, but whether this is why they celebrate, I cannot say. [3] On the day of the festival, the priests weave a cloth and bind it as a headband on the eyes of one of their number, whom they then lead, wearing the cloth, into a road that goes to the temple of Demeter; they themselves go back, but this priest with his eyes bandaged is guided (they say) by two wolves49 to Demeter’s temple, a distance of three miles from the city, and led back again from the temple by the wolves to the same place. 123.


These Egyptian stories are for the benefit of whoever believes such tales: my rule in this history is that I record what is said by all as I have heard it. The Egyptians say that Demeter and Dionysus are the rulers of the lower world.50 [2] The Egyptians were the first who maintained the following doctrine, too, that the human soul is immortal, and at the death of the body enters into some other living thing then coming to birth; and after passing through all creatures of land, sea, and air, it enters once more into a human body at birth, a cycle which it completes in three thousand years. [3] There are Greeks who have used this doctrine, some earlier and some later, as if it were their own; I know their names, but do not record them. 124.


A Really Weird Article About Human Motivation

Out at the fringes of the Dark Enlightenment are many very smart, very weird individuals.  The guy who writes the blog that this link goes to http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/03/04/god-help-us-lets-try-to-understand-friston-on-free-energy/ is a psychiatrist who supposedly is part of the dissident right.  In this post he discusses a theory (Free Energy Principle) that unifies the behavior of living things from the single cell organism up to and including the behavior of human beings.  Now I haven’t read all the details but apparently the postulator of this theory is a brilliant individual who is equally comfortable with brain physiology and quantum physics and sees links between both.  Apparently, he has identified the underlying motivation behind all human activity.  And it’s not love or fear or sex or power.  It’s the desire to avoid uncertainty.  Huh.  Didn’t see that coming.

Anyway, he also links https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064518300083 to a paper about this theory that compares the potential for applying this theory in real life to the fictional psychohistory of Asimov’s Harry Seldon.  In the Foundation novels Harry Seldon uses psychohistory to predict the future and also engineer changes to that history to improve the outcome.

And they call me crazy for voting for Trump!  Well, anyway, I include it here for your attention.


7MAR2018 – Quote of the Day

Want to know how dice were invented?  Herodotus will tell you.  Don’t believe him?  Well, read my footnote at the end of the story.

The customs of the Lydians are like those of the Greeks, except that they make prostitutes of their female children. They were the first men whom we know who coined and used gold and silver currency; and they were the first to sell by retail. [2] And, according to what they themselves say, the games now in use among them and the Greeks were invented by the Lydians: these, they say, were invented among them at the time when they colonized Tyrrhenia. This is their story: [3] In the reign of Atys son of Manes there was great scarcity of food in all Lydia. For a while the Lydians bore this with what patience they could; presently, when the famine did not abate, they looked for remedies, and different plans were devised by different men. Then it was that they invented the games of dice and knuckle-bones and ball and all other forms of game except dice, which the Lydians do not claim to have discovered. [4] Then, using their discovery to lighten the famine, every other day they would play for the whole day, so that they would not have to look for food, and the next day they quit their play and ate. This was their way of life for eighteen years. [5] But the famine did not cease to trouble them, and instead afflicted them even more. At last their king divided the people into two groups, and made them draw lots, so that the one group should remain and the other leave the country; he himself was to be the head of those who drew the lot to remain there, and his son, whose name was Tyrrhenus, of those who departed. [6] Then the one group, having drawn the lot, left the country and came down to Smyrna and built ships, in which they loaded all their goods that could be transported aboard ship, and sailed away to seek a livelihood and a country; until at last, after sojourning with one people after another, they came to the Ombrici,31 where they founded cities and have lived ever since. [7] They no longer called themselves Lydians, but Tyrrhenians, after the name of the king’s son who had led them there.

Herodotus is called the “Father of History” but he is also known as the Father of Lies.”  And this is reflected in the skepticism that greets any account in Herodotus that doesn’t possess independent confirmation from other sources.  As an example, in our quote from today Herodotus claims that the Etruscans (Tyrrhenians) were really Lydians that emigrated to escape a famine in Lydia.  This story was heaped with scorn for hundreds of years by archeologists and other classical scholars who saw no evidence of its truth.  But follow this link for a fresh perspective.


Two Takes on the De-Platforming Threat to Right Wing Businesses by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Etc.

Vox and the ZMan both look at this situation and address different aspects.  Vox says if you don’t build your own platforms you will be destroyed.  Zman sees the current situation as a Public Utility, no different from the electric company discriminating against its customers.

Both good and valid points.  But I think Vox is speaking to right now and Zman is pointing out something for the justice department to look into.  As someone who use Google for various services it brings home the point that having your own support system and not depending on liberals is a good idea.  But a hard one to achieve.


Pick of the Day from American Greatness –  Apocalypse Ciao – Italy’s Trump Election by Angelo Codevilla

As all of my long term readers know Angelo Codevilla is one of my favorite conservative scholars.  I enjoyed this recent post on Italy’s election.  And I had to chuckle when I read this description of the Five Star Movement’s “slogan”:

“The big winner of the night, however, was the “Five Star” movement. This most obviously Trumpian outfit, which expresses the voters’ anger at the establishment, won 33 percent. Its slogan, “Vaffanculo!” none too subtly invites establishmentarians to attempt monogenesis.”

Now as any Brooklyn Italian kid knew back in my day that word would get you slapped in the face and sent to the Church Confessional if your mother heard you say it.  But it is exactly the correct sentiment for the globalist dictators destroying Italy and every other country in the First World.  It’s a quick read and will bring you up to date with yet another populist echo of the Trump heard round the world.


6MAR2018 – Quote of the Day


Before this excerpt Herodotus is talking about how Darius became King of Persia with the help of the other six conspirators during their revolt against the Magus.  In this aside he finishes off by showing why a brother could be dearer than a son or husband.

Of the seven men who revolted against the Magus, one, Intaphrenes, got his death through his own violence immediately after the rebellion. He wanted to enter the palace and speak with the king; and in fact the law was, that the rebels against the Magus could come into the king’s presence unannounced, if the king were not having intercourse with one of his wives. [2] Intaphrenes, as one of the seven, claimed his right to enter unannounced; but the gatekeeper and the messenger forbade him, telling him that the king was having intercourse with one of his wives. Intaphrenes thought that they were lying; drawing his scimitar he cut off their noses and ears, then strung these on his horse’s bridle and hung it around the men’s necks, and so let them go. 119.


They showed themselves to the king and told him why they had been treated so. Darius, fearing that the six had done this by common consent, sent for each and asked his opinion, whether they approved what had been done; [2] and being assured that they had no part in it, he seized Intaphrenes with his sons and all his household—for he strongly suspected that the man was plotting a rebellion with his kinsmen—and imprisoned them with the intention of putting them to death. [3] Then Intaphrenes’ wife began coming to the palace gates, weeping and lamenting; and by continuing to do this same thing she persuaded Darius to pity her; and he sent a messenger to tell her, “Woman, King Darius will allow one of your imprisoned relatives to survive, whomever you prefer of them all.” [4] After considering she answered, “If indeed the king gives me the life of one, I chose from them all my brother.” [5] Darius was astonished when he heard her answer, and sent someone who asked her: “Woman, the king asks you with what in mind you abandon your husband and your children and choose to save the life of your brother, who is less close to you than your children and less dear than your husband?” [6] “O King,” she answered, “I may have another husband, if a god is willing, and other children, if I lose these; but since my father and mother are no longer living, there is no way that I can have another brother; I said what I did with that in mind.” [7] Darius thought that the woman answered well, and for her sake he released the one for whom she had asked, and the eldest of her sons as well; he put to death all the rest. Thus immediately perished one of the seven. 120.


5MAR2018 – Quote of the Day

Herodotus tells us the story of Canduales, the King of Lydia, who lost his throne and his life because he was too infatuated with his wife.  Now this is an aside in the story of how the Persian War came about.  As a story teller Herodotus is like your great Aunt Agatha who starts telling you about World War Two and manages to include the fact that your grandfather cheated at solitaire and that an ice cream sundae only costed three cents back then and that Clarke Gable had bad breath.  It’s usually a long circuit and you eventually get there but what you remember are the crazy tidbits he throws in along the way.


This Candaules, then, fell in love with his own wife, so much so that he believed her to be by far the most beautiful woman in the world; and believing this, he praised her beauty beyond measure to Gyges son of Dascylus, who was his favorite among his bodyguard; for it was to Gyges that he entrusted all his most important secrets. [2] After a little while, Candaules, doomed to misfortune, spoke to Gyges thus: “Gyges, I do not think that you believe what I say about the beauty of my wife; men trust their ears less than their eyes: so you must see her naked.” Gyges protested loudly at this. [3] “Master,” he said, “what an unsound suggestion, that I should see my mistress naked! When a woman’s clothes come off, she dispenses with her modesty, too. [4] Men have long ago made wise rules from which one ought to learn; one of these is that one should mind one’s own business. As for me, I believe that your queen is the most beautiful of all women, and I ask you not to ask of me what is lawless.” 9.


Speaking thus, Gyges resisted: for he was afraid that some evil would come of it for him. But this was Candaules’ answer: “Courage, Gyges! Do not be afraid of me, that I say this to test you, or of my wife, that you will have any harm from her. I will arrange it so that she shall never know that you have seen her. [2] I will bring you into the chamber where she and I lie and conceal you behind the open door; and after I have entered, my wife too will come to bed. There is a chair standing near the entrance of the room: on this she will lay each article of her clothing as she takes it off, and you will be able to look upon her at your leisure. [3] Then, when she moves from the chair to the bed, turning her back on you, be careful she does not see you going out through the doorway.” 10.


As Gyges could not escape, he consented. Candaules, when he judged it to be time for bed, brought Gyges into the chamber; his wife followed presently, and when she had come in and was laying aside her garments, Gyges saw her; [2] when she turned her back upon him to go to bed, he slipped from the room. The woman glimpsed him as he went out, and perceived what her husband had done. But though shamed, she did not cry out or let it be seen that she had perceived anything, for she meant to punish Candaules; [3] since among the Lydians and most of the foreign peoples it is felt as a great shame that even a man be seen naked. 11.


For the present she made no sign and kept quiet. But as soon as it was day, she prepared those of her household whom she saw were most faithful to her, and called Gyges. He, supposing that she knew nothing of what had been done, answered the summons; for he was used to attending the queen whenever she summoned him. [2] When Gyges came, the lady addressed him thus: “Now, Gyges, you have two ways before you; decide which you will follow. You must either kill Candaules and take me and the throne of Lydia for your own, or be killed yourself now without more ado; that will prevent you from obeying all Candaules’ commands in the future and seeing what you should not see. [3] One of you must die: either he, the contriver of this plot, or you, who have outraged all custom by looking on me uncovered.” Gyges stood awhile astonished at this; presently, he begged her not to compel him to such a choice. [4] But when he could not deter her, and saw that dire necessity was truly upon him either to kill his master or himself be killed by others, he chose his own life. Then he asked: “Since you force me against my will to kill my master, I would like to know how we are to lay our hands on him.” [5] She replied, “You shall come at him from the same place where he made you view me naked: attack him in his sleep.” 12.


When they had prepared this plot, and night had fallen, Gyges followed the woman into the chamber (for Gyges was not released, nor was there any means of deliverance, but either he or Candaules must die). She gave him a dagger and hid him behind the same door; [2] and presently he stole out and killed Candaules as he slept. Thus he made himself master of the king’s wife and sovereignty. He is mentioned in the iambic verses of Archilochus of Parus who lived about the same time. 13.


So he took possession of the sovereign power and was confirmed in it by the Delphic oracle. For when the Lydians took exception to what was done to Candaules, and took up arms, the faction of Gyges came to an agreement with the rest of the people that if the oracle should ordain him king of the Lydians, then he would reign; but if not, then he would return the kingship to the Heraclidae. [2] The oracle did so ordain, and Gyges thus became king. However, the Pythian priestess declared that the Heraclidae would have vengeance on Gyges’ posterity in the fifth generation; an utterance to which the Lydians and their kings paid no regard until it was fulfilled. 14.


Inside Man – A Movie Review

For the most part, the Millennial Generation is composed of hopeless nincompoops whose taste in movies, television and books is so vapid and cretinous that being boiled in oil would be preferable to watching one of their picks.  But there are exceptions.  I work with a young fellow who has demonstrably received an education that includes many of the elements of the Old School.  He has a good grounding in history and science and is acquainted with the western canon of literature.  Without a doubt he leans far more to the left than I do but paraphrasing Churchill a man in his twenties who isn’t a liberal has no heart.  Well about a week ago we were talking about crime dramas and he asked me whether I like the “caper” movie genre.  I assumed he was going to mention Ocean’s Eleven or a Guy Ritchie film.  But he said it was a movie with Denzel Washington as a New York City Police Detective negotiating a hostage crisis during an abortive bank robbery.  It sounded interesting.  I like many of Washington’s movies.  As an expat New Yorker, I’m sort of a pushover for New York City stories so I was interested.  But then he said it was a Spike Lee film.

I had never, up to that point, watched a Spike Lee “joint.”  I consider him a race hustler who has built his reputation by fanning the flames of black animosity toward white people.  All in all, I consider him a jerk.

In my reaction to my young friend’s suggestion I mentioned these feelings.  He did his best to assure me that this was a pure crime drama without any hint of racial justice propagandizing.  Based on his past track record of good sense, I begrudgingly decided to give it a shot.

So last night I watched it.  It was good.  It was very good.  Full disclosure, there were a few minor race hectoring flourishes that added nothing to the story.  But they did little to harm the story either.  I looked at them as involuntary reflexes that Spike Lee probably didn’t even know he’d added.  But they were minor and didn’t spoil the story.

The movie is a very good caper.  I won’t spoil any of the plot but will just say that there are lots of balls in the air and several interesting major characters and lots of minor characters doing interesting things.  Denzel is the star of the movie outside of the bank and Clive Owen is the star inside the bank.  Other relatively big-name actors are Christopher Plummer, Jody Foster and Willem Dafoe.  Washington’s cop partner is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor whom I know from his role as “The Operative” in “Serenity.”  And lots other unknowns do good work as the hostages, cops and criminals.

So, knowing that Spike Lee made this picture does detract from my enjoyment of the film.  I begrudge the African music he adds at the beginning and end.  I take points off for those flourishes of racial sniping I mentioned above.  But after all that I am forced to admit it’s a very good caper film.  I recommend it to anyone who likes this genre.  It’s highly enjoyable and skillfully constructed.  Well done Spike Lee?


4MAR2018 – Quote of the Day

(I should just have a Kipling Corner but, anyway, here is a poem he wrote for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.  And you could tell that he knew that sitting at the summit of the British Empire’s power the coming fall would be calamitous.  Looking at where things are now it is just as timely today as it was in 1897).



By Rudyard Kipling (1897)


God of our fathers, known of old,

Lord of our far-flung battle-line,

Beneath whose awful Hand we hold

Dominion over palm and pine—

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!


The tumult and the shouting dies;

The Captains and the Kings depart:

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!


Far-called, our navies melt away;

On dune and headland sinks the fire:

Lo, all our pomp of yesterday

Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!


If, drunk with sight of power, we loose

Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,

Such boastings as the Gentiles use,

Or lesser breeds without the Law—

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!


For heathen heart that puts her trust

In reeking tube and iron shard,

All valiant dust that builds on dust,

And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,

For frantic boast and foolish word—

Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!


3MAR2018 – Quote of the Day


(Let’s continue the Herodotus theme.  In my history class in fifth grade we learnt that Vasco da Gama was the first man to circumnavigate Africa.  But apparently the Phoenicians were contracted by the Egyptians to prove that there was a sea route around Africa (or as the Greeks called it Libya).  And this was over 2,500 years ago.  It’s also interesting to see what mistaken views Herodotus had about the comparative sizes of Asia, Africa and Europe.)


Herodotus, The Histories. 4.42

I wonder, then, at those who have mapped out and divided the world into Libya, Asia, and Europe; for the difference between them is great, seeing that in length Europe stretches along both the others together, and it appears to me to be wider beyond all comparison. [2] For Libya shows clearly that it is bounded by the sea, except where it borders on Asia. Necos king of Egypt first discovered this and made it known. When he had finished digging the canal which leads from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf, he sent Phoenicians in ships, instructing them to sail on their return voyage past the Pillars of Heracles until they came into the northern sea and so to Egypt. [3] So the Phoenicians set out from the Red Sea and sailed the southern sea; whenever autumn came they would put in and plant the land in whatever part of Libya they had reached, and there await the harvest; [4] then, having gathered the crop, they sailed on, so that after two years had passed, it was in the third that they rounded the pillars of Heracles and came to Egypt. There they said (what some may believe, though I do not) that in sailing around Libya they had the sun on their right hand.22 43.