Monthly Archives: November, 2006


Hey, look – I got into the latest Carnivalesque. How very exciting! Welcome to anyone who follows that link.


There is something very special about the sound of a batsman being bowled. It has to do with the leather ball hitting the wood, the clunk of it, and somehow the sound of the stump coming out of the ground.

I am not as much of a cricket tragic as my mother, but I do love summer.

Happy not to be Flintoff

Be a good Captain.

Bat well.

Bowl well.

Or don’t come home.

I imagine that is how Flintoff is feeling at the moment, and it’s only the second day of the first Test. Nasty.

And, to have the first whinge of the summer, I can’t stand the Channel Nine commentators.

Baby elephants!

And I do mean baby elephants. In the womb, no less! How remarkable.

White Ribbon Day…

is this weekend. I heard Andrew O’Keefe, of Aussie Deal or No Deal (in)famy, on JJJ this afternoon talking about it. I was very impressed with his attitude. He had a great deal of ownership of the whole programme – it was all “we” and “us”.

It’s a fabulous cause, obviously, so it’s magnificent that they are getting some sort of a celeb on board – especially since I presume Deal has a fairly large daily/weekly audience, allowing the message to get out to (hopefully) a large group of people. Whatever works is good.

Damming Sudan

This is a particularly appropriate title of an article in Archaeology magazine, an exceprt of which can be found here. I am so angry at what is being done here – the lack of attention that is being paid to the remains of the area, which may well be incredibly significant. But it also makes me wonder a lot of things.

How much does it matter if we don’t know about a certain period of time? (and how much is that a heresy for a historian?) We are always told not to make a case from silence, but surely there are many, many things we don’t know because it never got written down, or the mss/artefacts were not preserved… surely some, at least, of what we know is preserved by fluke alone. So does it matter that we don’t know something? How much does it matter? How can we make that call? I just don’t know the answer to that question, and it bugs me a lot. Does it change the world that we don’t know exactly how Nubia/Sudan influenced the ancient Egyptians, or more recently medieval African Christians? Maybe not that much… except that more people might respect the modern inhabitants of the area if that became more well-known (which begs the question, how much do people pay attention to historical/archaeological discoveries? Not that much, I suspect, except when it’s about homo sapiens and Neanderthals having sex…).

How do you make the call between modern needs and archaeological needs? I guess people who are still alive take precedence, but surely there can be ways that both interests can be served? It makes me very sad both that nomads are being displaced by this new dam, and that lots and lots of archaeoloical stuff will be lost. But that tribal elders can think that keeping archaeologists out because it will slow the dam down means either that they are stupid and naive – which I am very not convinced by – or they are getting bad advice….

Richard Pipes

I’ve just finished his Concise History of the Russian Revolution, preparing for next year. The book as a whole is fascinating, and glaringly showed up my lack of knowledge, but the end in particular is interesting, for its ruminations – and, to some extent, attack – on historians and thinkings about history. He says that historians should not be passionless in dealing with their subject, that we should not always be scientific in our thinking about historical events.

He says a lot of other things, but right now I have to both make a cassata and get busy with my reports, so I am going to leave this half-thought-out and do those… because my brain really isn’t on theoretical things at the moment.

Still in the Kingdom of Heaven

Gosh, it’s so useful to have a leader who used to be a blacksmith, isn’t it? You can think up all sorts of useful little tricks to bring down the belfries.

And, much as I am embarassed to admit it, Orlando really is a bit of a cutie (sorry J, but he is). He does always play the same character, though… much like Hugh Grant. And bordering on being almost as weak-looking, too. Perfect for Paris Alexandros… what a pansy.


New ASIM! Hurrah! Voume 26… review to follow… I’ve read maybe half; it’s mostly good, but not as overwhelmingly good as previous issues.

Kingdom of Heaven

So I borrowed this out for viewing with some students on a Medieval Day we had at school. We offered Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Monty Python and the Holy Grail also, and I watched the former. I was glad I did, since half way through one of the teachers came and asked whether I had seen it, and if I knew where to forward it to. I hadn’t, so I didn’t; she said the kids were getting bored because it was a talkfest, with very little fighting.

Anyway, we decided to watch it tonight, since it’s our Friday and there is nothing else on TV. It’s not quite as bad as the teacher suggested yesterday, but I can see why the kids were bored. The fighting is – well, I think it’s stylised in some ways, and there really isn’t as much as I had expected. I had thought that this was set during one of the actual Crusades, but it isn’t. (but OH – we just got to the Saladin bit, and that is clever! I knew the Saracen he didn’t kill wasn’t a servant or slave… oh hang on, I thought he was Saladin himself. OK, that’s not quite as cool as I originally thought. Oh well.).

There is a lot of talking. And some bits that I find highly dubious. However, the fact that I picked it was going to be Baldwin the Leper as king has me very smug (and the mask is very cool; I wonder how Edward Norton felt about that, since you basically don’t know it’s him). And the portrayal of Saladin is very positive, for a Hollywood film. Made in 2005… so after the latest crusade was preached by Bush… I wonder if that is deliberate.

Lots of familiar faces in this film too, which is fun. Reinault, he fauning leader of the Templars, was Menelaos in another role. Jeremy Irons, hurrah! Liam Neeson, for all of 10 minutes. Guy de Lusignan… what a different role for Martin Csorkas. I loved him in Aeon Flux, and of course as Celeborn. And the lord not killed by Orlando was blown up in Spooks in very sad fashion. (Notice how I am not bothering to mention Orlando? Pft. Playing Will, again, basically.)