Category Archives: Uncategorized

Science Fiction got there first (again)

Back in High School (1964-68) I read a lot of science fiction by Mack Reynolds. His Joe Mauser series is set in a world where the cold war continues into the 21st century, but, to avoid catastrophe, the West and the “Sov-world” have agreed to restrict all military forces to pre-1900 technology. There is still lots of fighting going on at that level.

Recently I was reading about the decades old border dispute between between China and India countries, which actually led to war in 1962. The conflict still simmers on, but a 1996 agreement states that

Neither side shall open fire, cause bio-degradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometers from the line of actual control.

Neither side wants to get the blame for starting a shooting war, so both sides are following the letter of the agreement. However, nobody is backing down. There have been reports that “Chinese troops have used improvised edged weapons, such as nail-studded clubs, in … skirmishes with Indian forces.” and both sides have martial artists in their border forces.

It seems that the Chinese are escalating. We now have Chinese soldiers armed with new devices for hand-to-hand combat with Indians in Tibet. Actually the “new device”, the guan dao, is quite old. It similar to a a western medieval halberd. It will be interesting to see how Indian army responds. They have a rich tradition of edged weapons to draw upon.

Dating a passage in Acts

Acts 18:12-17 reads (NRSV):

12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. 13 They said, “This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law.” 14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; 15 but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters.” 16 And he dismissed them from the tribunal. 17 Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things.
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More reading notes

  • Christopher Matthew, A Storm of Spears: Understanding the Greek Hoplite at War. The most important conclusion from this is how the Greeks wielded their spears. Despite all the pictures, they did not hold them over their heads with a back-handed grip. Instead, they held them with the butt of the spear tucked under their armpits. This allowed for much greater reach and strength. Lots of good experiments with re-enactors.

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Some of my summer reading

Rang Gaeilge, 25ú lá Mí na Lúnasa 2020

Eachtraí Eilíse i dTír na nIontas

Caibidil XI: Cé a ghoid na Cácaí?
Who stole the cakes?

  • Nuair a shroich siad an áit bhí an Rí Hart is an Bhanríon Hart ina suí ar a gcathaoir ríoga agus comhthionól mór ina dtimpeall—scata mór de gach uile chineál éan beag agus beithíoch beag, chomh maith le paca iomlán cártaí: bhí an Cuileata ansiúd ina sheasamh os a gcomhair, é ceangailte le slabhraí agus saighdiúir ar garda ar gach aon taobh de; díreach taobh leis an Rí bhí an Coinín Bán, stoc i lámh leis agus scrolla meamraim sa lámh eile. Bhí bord i gceartlár na cúirte agus mias mhór cácaí ina luí air; bhí siad ag féachaint chomh deas sin nuair a bhreathnaigh Eilís orthu gur chuir siad uisce lena fiacla—“Faraor nach bhfuil an triail thart,” a dúirt sí léi féin, “agus an bia á chur timpeall!” Ach ba bheag an baol go dtarlódh sé sin; thosaigh sí mar sin ag féachaint ar gach rud thart uirthi chun an t-am a chur di.

    When they reached the place where the King of Hearts and the Queen of Hearts were sitting on their throne with a big gathering around them—a big crowd of all sorts of small birds and small beasts, as well as a full deck of cards: the Jack was standing there in front of them, bound with chains and a soldier on guard on each side of him; just next to the King was the White Rabbit, trumpet in one hand and a memo scroll in the other. There was a table in the exact center of the court and a large dish of cakes lying on it; they seemed so nice when Alice looked at them that she watered her teeth—”Alas, the trial is not over,” she said to herself, “and the food being passed around!” But there was little danger of that happening so she started looking at everything around her to pass the time.

    comhthionólAssembly; gathering, groupm
    scataCrowd; group, drove, packm
    iomlánAll, the whole; total, aggregate; full
    Cuileata = CuireataKnave, Jackm
    meamramParchment; parchment writing; Memorandum

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Rang Gaeilge, 28ú lá Mí na Iúil 2020

Eachtraí Eilíse i dTír na nIontas

Caibidil X: Cuadraill na nGliomach
Quadrille of the Lobsters
gliomachlobsterm gpl gliomach

  • Lig an Turtar osna dhomhain agus chuimil sé a lapa mór trasna a dhá shúil. D’fhéach sé ar Eilís agus thug sé iarracht ar labhairt léi, ach ní fhéadfadh sé focal a thabhairt leis go ceann píosa, tháinig a leithéid sin de thocht ar a chroí. “Ba dhóigh leat go raibh cnámh sa scornach á thachtadh,” arsa an Ghríobh; agus thosaigh sé á chroitheadh agus á bhualadh sa droim. Fuair an Turtar Bréige a ghlór sa deireadh thiar, agus thosaigh ag caint arís agus na deora ag sileadh go fras síos a leicne:—

    The Turtle let out a deep sigh and he rubbed his large paw across his two eyes. He looked at Alice and he tried to talk to her, but he could not say [give] a word in one piece, such a strain came to his heart. “You would think there was a bone in his throat strangling [him],” said the Griffin and he began shaking him and hitting him in the back. The Mock Turtle found his voice at long last, and he started talking again as the tears were dripping copiously down his cheeks.

    lapapaw, flipperm
    leithéidLike, counterpart, equal; suchf
    tachtadhstrangling, strangulationm
    deoirtearf npl deora
    sileadhdripping, weapingm
    frasCopious, plentiful, abundant
    leacacheekf npl leicne

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Rang Gaeilge, 23ú lá Mí na Mheiteamh 2020

Eachtraí Eilíse i dTír na nIontas

Caibidil IX: Scéal an Turtair Bhréige
The Story of the Mock Turtle
Turtarturtlegenitive here. Lenition blocked by n

  • “Ní féidir leat a shamhlú a[however much] shásta is atáim thusa a fheiceáil arís, a sheanchara[vocative] dhil!” arsa an Bandiúc, agus í ag sacadh a láimhe[g following vn] go ceanúil faoi ascaill Eilíse agus iad ag siúl ar aghaidh le chéile.
    Ba chúis áthais le hEilís í a fháil agus giúmar grianmhar mar sin uirthi, agus dúirt sí léi féin go mb’fhéidir gurb [direct rel clause] é an piobar a rinne chomh fíochmhar sin í nuair a casadh[past aut] ar a chéile sa chistin iad.

    “You can’t imagine how happy I am to see you again, dear old friend!” said the Duchess, and she affectionately thrust her hand under Alice’s arm as they walked forward together.
    Alice was delighted to find her in a cheerful mood like that and she said to herself that it might have been the pepper that made her so fierce when they met each other in the kitchen.

    dilDear, beloved
    sacadhthrust, shovem
    ceanúilLoving, affectionate
    giúmarhumor, moodm
    grianmharSunny; bright, cheerful, pleasant.
    fíochmharFurious, ferocious

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Rang Gaeilge, 13ú lá Mí na Bealtaine 2020

Eachtraí Eilíse i dTír na nIontas

Caibidil VIII: Páirc Cróice na Banríona
The Queen’s Croquet Park
  • Bhí crann mór róis [g] ina sheasamh gar do gheata an ghairdín [g]: is geal a bhí na rósanna ag fás air, ach bhí triúr gairneoirí ina thimpeall agus iad go gnóthach á bpéinteáil dearg. Chonacthas d’Eilís gurbh an-aisteach an rud é agus dhruid sí leo ionas gur fearr a d’fheicfeadh sí iad. Nuair a bhí sí ag teacht i láthair, d’airigh sí duine díobh á rá, “Fainic, a Chúig! Ná bí ag stealladh péinte [g] orm mar sin!”

    A large rose tree was standing near the gate of the garden: The roses growing on it were white, but there were 3 gardeners around it and they were busy painting them red. This was seen by Alice to be a very strange thing and she moved closer to them so she could see them better. When she came up to them, she heard one of them saying, “Watch out, Five! Don’t be splashing paint on me like that!”

    láthairPlace, spot; site, location
    í láthairpresent
    airighperceive, sense
    Fainicbeware, look out, watch out

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