This Week in “Read and Burn”

New on Side/Dishes this week –  A weekly digest of links found interesting, then lost in the blur of unfinished reflections.


Featured image: Astronomy Picture of the Day, July 5, 2004: Cassini Images Density Waves in Saturn’s Rings


Woe to be the Patron of Asses:

“There were indeed people who scoffed at Augustine’s provincialism. The well-educated Julian of Eclanum dismissed Augustine as “what passes for a philosopher in Africa” (philosophaster Africanus) and a “donkey keeper” (patronus asinorum) of his little flock in Hippo.”

Read more: Garry Wills, New York Review of BooksReading Augustine’s Mind

Meyer v. Nebraska (1923)

That time in 1923 that the Supremes overturned a Nebraska state law which prohibited education of and in any language other than the English one, stating “no person, individually or as a teacher, shall, in any private, denominational, parochial or public school, teach any subject to any person in any language other than the English language.”

Read More: Cornell University Legal Information Institute, Syllabus and Opinions

Placenames of Antarctica:

Can CVS boast a namesake as audacious as this?

“The Walgreen Coast was named by Byrd after Charles R. Walgreen, president of Walgreens at the time, who was a supporter of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition, 1933-35.”

Mongol Margins

Musings on the democratization of proper formatting standards, or, the historical-material origins of the APA – MLA schism:

“The colors of ink used in diplomatic letters were also significant. In both the Mamluk and Ilkhanid chancelleries, black ink was for regular text, while gold represented important people and ideas…The Ilkhanids further emphasized important figures by placing them prominently to the far right and slightly elevated on the page, but the Mamluks did not. As a result of this difference, the disgusted ilkhan Ghazan complained in 1303/702 that Mamluk styles were unseemly, their gold ink was misused and the arrangement of the page was flawed.”

Read More: Anne F. Broadbridge, Kingship and Ideology in the Islamic and Mongol Worlds

The Fork Got Off to a Rough Start…

…In England. However, we can imagine common people enjoying Yuan dynasty street noodles in the alleys of fourteenth century Aden, Yemen:

THE RASULID HEXAGLOT…a six-language glossary compiled by or prepared for the sixth Rasulid king of Yemen (r. 1363-77).

It is a collection of vocabularies, listing forms in Arabic with matching entries in Persian, Turki, a dialect of colloquial Byzantine Greek, a dialect of Western Armenian, and a dialect of Mongol. The first glossary begins with religion and associated terms dealing with Heaven and Hell, this world and the hereafter…

The C column of the first glossary covers a wide variety of themes, including some unusual words for foods (e.g. Arab. lākeša nawʿ men al-ṭabiḵ – Turk. tutmač soup) and eating utensils (e.g. Arab. oḏāni yokalo behemā al-rešta “two pieces of wood with which one eats macaroni” [that is: chopsticks] – Turk. šökü).”

Recipe for tutmaç soup, with lamb and yogurt at

On Tits and Turkmenistan

Despite reports from my inner circle of an increasingly confused/alienated Facebook readership, my wall continues to ask what’s on my mind, so here goes — Birdwatchers just make shit up ALL THE TIME.

35: White-Crowned Penduline Tit: This poorly known tit is superficially similar to European Penduline Tit, although it apparently shuns reedbeds and prefers to breed and forage in trees, and can sometimes be seen flitting from bush to bush on open hillsides. There is one record for Europe.”

D.A. Scott claims to have recorded this particular tit’s thin, plaintive “pseee” and “ti-ti-ti-ti-ti” in 1992 “on passage in SW Turkmenistan on the Uzboy river,” despite the fact that that flow notably dried up around the time of its most recent inscription on a map – in 1734. Guess there wouldn’t be any reedbeds along the flats of the Uzboy.

Read More: Simon Harrap, Tits, Nuthatches, and Treecreepers

Read Even More: Krystyna Szykuła, Unexpected 16th Century Finding to Have Disappeared Just After Its Printing – Anthony Jenkinson’s Map of Russia, 1562 

List of Major League Baseball Players With Unidentified Given Names

I suggest editing this page to include every player in the Bases Loaded universe. I bet some of them were Uncles, too.

Read More: Side/Dishes blog: Baseball: It Was a Game of Uncles

Sasha Conda: The Plasticmen

Press releases like this only get so far – basically, directly to me:

“Basically it’s a concept album about this cyber hedonist, Bronco Stephenson, who voyages into this dystopian mall called the Palace Interior, where he’s eventually absorbed into the mainframe by visored figures called Plasticmen.”

Related20 Jazz Funk Greats

Boring as Paint

“NPVLA [that’s the National Paint Varnish and Lacquer Association, bro] in cooperation with the Federal Civil Defense Administration, produced a film, ‘The House in the Middle,’ which asserted that homes painted with reflective white paint have an increased chance of survivability during an atomic event. In 2001, the Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.”

Read More

Internet in a Box

What if the internet were all of your favorite media, maybe only a few hours old, stuffed in a box meticulously organized into folders containing anything from gaming apps to offline versions of Yelp and Craigslist, and flown from Miami to Havana to island points beyond?

Read More: Johnny Harris, This is Cuba’s Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify – all without the internet

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