Friday, February 28, 2014

An Academic Journey to a New World - Part II.

While writing that last post, I was casting about for some kind of image. I take it as a point of pride that I can usually find some manner of appropriate image for most of the posts I do. While I ended up settling on that drawing of Carthage I made (it's hanging in my bedroom to this day), my first thought was to post an image of one of those Carthaginian coins with the map of the world under it that was cited in the paper.

I found the website of the guy that postulates this particular theory well enough, but what I couldn't find was a clear image of the full coin. (That guy, Dr. Mark McMenamin, isn't even a historian as it turns out, but a geologist... so he's not speaking in his area of expertise.) Anyway, I saw the coin to your left, and I saw a detailed image with a section of a that coin that looked really detailed as well as an artist's rendering of that coin, but I haven't been able to find any other instances of the coin on the internet.

However, doing a search for Carthaginian coins wasn't fruitless. These are some examples of what I found, after the jump:

An Academic Journey to a New World - Part I.

When I was an undergraduate student, I took a class called "History of the American Indian." It was taught by Dr. Hyer, who at the time was Chadron State's newest history professor, and nowadays is Dean of the School of BEAMSS here.

Back in those days, the history faculty's approach to homework was mostly no-nonsense. You did a paper, and two tests. Depending on the professor, you might have a couple other minor projects or homework besides that. I like that philosophy - it doesn't waste anyone's time, and at the end of it all, if you paid attention and did your work you had something pretty impressive you could show people. (Which is what I'll be doing shortly.)

I have my own approach to homework - I don't want to bore my professors. In my World War II class, I wrote my term paper on Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut" because I was pretty sure Dr. Rankin had read a million papers about Hitler and the Holocaust and the Battle of Stalingrad already. There was nothing I could say on that score that hadn't already been said by someone a whole lot smarter than me.

But I could do unique, so I did. In this case, I chose to examine pre-Columbian contacts between the Old and New Worlds. Dr. Hyer suggested I limit my inquiries to only one possible pre-Columbian Old World society, so I chose what seemed the likeliest unproven candidate: the Phoenicians/Carthaginians.

This is something I'd read up on a bit. I'd always been an avid fan of Phoenician/Carthaginian history. When I was a little kid, I learned the Phoenician alphabet - it was probably my first act as a linguist. When I was in high school, I did a presentation on the Battle of Cannae, still studied in military colleges and considered one of the most brilliant military victories of all time. Also in high school, I drew that picture up top; it was supposed to be a representation of Carthage. I drew it from written descriptions and not pictures or maps; it has the Bursa and the two harbors connected by canal, and a statue of Dido.

Point is, I knew a lot about the subject. And I was fairly familiar with the arguments advanced in favor of Phoenician contact with the New World.

I am reposting my paper for that class, so you can all see what I wrote back then. It's after the jump.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cooking With Stu: Spanish Rice.

I never did get around to posting the rest of the recipes I photographed a few weeks ago. Let me get on that.

Last recipe, I plated up my black bean and pineapple enchiladas with some Spanish rice, but I never did explain how to make that. Some store-bought mix would be okay, but you can do so much better than that.


From back to front, top to bottom, left to right: rice (any kind will do, brown rice is healthier for you but I used white because I live dangerously), chimichurri, some kind of butter or butter substitute, pico de gallo, and salsa.

I made the chimichurri and the pico myself, and I've posted the pico recipe already. I'll post the chimichurri recipe when I make some more, but at this very moment I'm full up. You should definitely make the pico yourself; buying it pre-made is a ripoff and you can make your own super-cheap. The chimichurri is also cheaper to make yourself; you get three times as much for the same price, and it tastes better. But if you don't know how, by all means just buy a jar of it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

HIstory Harvest Ad Final Take And This Time I Mean It.

After three different recording sessions, this is what we've finally got to broadcast. You'll hear it on the Alleycat and maybe some other stations if we get lucky.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Everyone should see just what Wall Street really thinks of us.

You should read this.

I don't have much to add; the article speaks for itself. The same dudes that wrecked the world economy are making fun of their victims. It's unbridled, psychopathic cruelty, and it's just met its bane - sunlight.

I really hope this story takes off. It needs to.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I both love and hate the Bean Broker.

I love the environment, I love both their coffee and their tea, I love the people that come here to hang out, and I love the baristas. It's easily the best coffee shop I've ever been to.

I hate that sometimes I can't concentrate on what I'm doing. I've been trying to type an email to a professor for the past half an hour while fielding a conversation with someone that doesn't understand that my typing and staring at the computer screen means I'm busy. And I can't just say I need to focus; that'd be rude and for various reasons I can't afford to offend this person. But goddammit, I'm not and never have been one of those people that can multitask, and I can't ever come here anymore without running into this guy, so I have to kiss an hour of productivity goodbye every time I come down here.

If you see me at the Broker, please say hi. Feel free to challenge me to chess, invite me for a smoke, whatever. I value my friends and don't mind spending a little bit of time with them. But please don't spend an hour talking my ear off about the same stuff we talked about last time you ran into me here if I'm obviously busy. I'm a graduate student with very little free time... please respect that.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Project 86 is looking for funding support for a new album.

It looks sweet as hell too.

They've been one of my favorite bands since high school. The 503 is replete with Project 86 references, up to and including putting their frontman Andrew Schwab in the comic for Strip 300. The Project 86 froams (sic) were the second messageboards I ever posted at. They are, all around, a fantastic band whose brilliance hasn't diminished with time. Not only that, but they did it all with very little label support (back when that was a necessity) and in a scene with very little acts that could hold a candle to them. (One of the few that could, Anberlin, recently announced that they're breaking up after a farewell tour.)

Basically, their music kills, killed and will kill to come. Just about anyone who listens to harder stuff has dug them after I played a few songs of theirs. And their latest crowd-funding project is a fan's dream. For $25, I'm getting a signed limited-edition copy of the album, and a bunch of additional stuff. If you look on the list of perks on the Indiegogo site, it's nuts just how much they're willing to do for their fans.

I really really hope this thing works, which is why I'm spreading the word. It's got 38 days left to work, and they're over halfway there, but I wanna make sure they reach their goal. I'm currently reading a book for class called Who Owns The Future? by Jaron Lanier, and one of the points he makes is that the digital network economy has hollowed out the middle class, and one of the places it started was the music industry. It's harder than ever before to eke out a living playing music, but I think and hope that Project 86 will be one of the rare acts that manages to not only pull it off, but to do so on their own, without having to rely on a label. The future of the music industry is going to increasingly look like this, and as a multi-medium artist myself, I want to support other artists trying to make it work.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Human Sacrifice to the Gods.

(WARNING: the pictures and text below get fairly graphic.)

A few months ago, my friend Tom made a post comparing the modern neoliberal system to the Aztec system of ritual human sacrifice. I don't know why, but last night I had a dream about it. It was troubling, and I couldn't sleep past 7:00 AM on a weekend when normally I sleep in 'til noon. I've been up since then, writing and drawing what comes below.

1. I dreamed I was a Tlaxcalan warrior. We fought against the Aztec Empire, and were defeated.

We were marched to Tenochtitlan, where their priests did worship to the gods. Sweet-smelling smoke billowed from the altars atop the great temples.

We will be sacrificed, and our bodies fed to Huitzilopochtli in the spirit world so that the end of the earth will be delayed. The people cheer, for they will taste our bodies in this world, and they hunger for it - they need the meat we will provide. We are foreigners to them, and defeated in battle. It is right and just that this should happen to us.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I covered Stairway to Heaven on Wednesday.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cooking With Stu: Black Bean and Pineapple Enchiladas

Today we're going to learn how to make my very favorite enchilada recipe ever.

You may look at the lack of meat and think I've somehow turned into some kind of feckless vegetarian hippie, but I assure you that's hardly the case. This is better than enchiladas with some kind of meat. Cook it yourself and you'll see.


Top to bottom, left to right, back to front: sour cream, pico de gallo, crushed pineapple, black beans, butter or some kinda butter substitute, cocoa powder, tomato sauce, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, around 12 tortillas, and fresh cilantro. Not pictured: some kind of shredded white cheese. Monterey Jack's the easiest appropriate cheese to get, but a Mexican blend is okay too. If you can get straight Monterey Jack, do that.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cooking With Stu: Pico de Gallo

I'm gonna drop a bunch of Mexican recipes on you guys here over the next week or so. But we'll have to start with the basics before we can do the fancy stuff. Pico de gallo is an all-purpose dressing for Mexican food; it's glorious if done right, and it goes on pretty much all the stuff I'll be making.

It's also the easiest goddamn thing ever, so I'm gonna be dropping some more generalized cooking knowledge on you all in the process, to fill space. So here we go.


From back to front, left to right: onions (white onions are preferred, but any will do), lemon juice, lime juice, salt, fresh cilantro (dried cilantro is gross and bad and if you have it, you should feel bad), tomatoes (any kind will work), and jalapeƱo peppers (not pickled, but fresh and intact).

Monday, February 3, 2014

The universe is not telling me anything.

It's merely coincidence. That's all.


Shut up.

Stu Plays Civ: Roma Victor, 4000 BC - 420 AD

As you all know, when I play Civ now, I post it on here.

I just wrapped up a Civ IV file involving the British Empire (you can read the whole thing if you start here and then read here, here, here and here.)

I decided that I was going to play Civ V vanilla after that file was done, albeit a modded version of it. I grabbed one of the Earth packs with true starting locations, city-states in their true locations, and resources distributed realistically. And I was trying to decide who to play: Rome, Mongolia, Germany, America, Russia or India. After asking around some IRL friends, I settled on Rome.

Anyway, on with Ad Urbe Condita - Librum I.

The founding of Rome is shrouded in much myth and superstition. One tale says that the brothers Romulus and Remus were raised by wolves in the wilderness amidst the shrines of the Sabians. They founded a city amidst these neutral places of worship, but then fought over who would lead it. Rome takes her name from Romulus, who slew Remus.

Another myth says that Aeneas, fleeing fallen Troy, sailed to the uttermost parts of the Greek world, the plains of Latium, and built a new Troy upon seven hills by the river Tiber. It is said that he then ordered his subjects, the Sabines, to abduct German settlers to work their fields. The blond hair of a scattering of rural Italians in Latium to this day gives some credence to this myth.

What we do know is this: the oldest buildings in Rome date from Palatine Hill, where legend states Romulus and Remus grew up. Recent digs for artifacts have turned up coins identified as from the reign of King Menes of Egypt, so we know that the city now called Rome is more ancient than even the myths tell us. It may even have been a place of pilgrimage and worship as many as 4420 years ago!