Monday, February 21, 2022

Lake Forest: getting serious; Emnati: $950,000; Burgundians and Putin: two quotes


Yesterday I purchased the iSailor charts for Iceland and the Irish Sea.  Each cost $15.  I already had the charts for the west coast of Scotland.  With that kind of money invested, I have to go.

The tight ring just east of Madagascar in this morning’s Earth Wind Map is cyclone Emnati.  This will be the fourth major storm to hit that area in the past six weeks.  You may have noticed that life is not fair.  My sympathy for those unlucky people, and I will try to find some way to donate to their relief.

I thank Larry for a link to an article about absurdly expensive whiskies and ‘cheaper’ alternates.  The alternates are still to my mind absurdly expensive.  The most expensive of all is a bottle of Yamazaki 55 year old listed at $950,000 a bottle.  That is not a misprint.  There are about twelve 2 ounce drinks  in a .75 liter bottle, which comes out to $80,000 a drink.  Occasionally I have a slight suspicion that some people have too much money, but of course in this best of all possible capitalistic worlds that can’t be so.

I just finished reading the very well written and interesting THE BURGUNDIANS by Bart Van Loo which filled in some gaps I had in Medieval European history.  Set mostly in the 1400s when the Dukes of Burgundy were nearly the equals of Kings, the succession was from John the Fearless to Philip the Good to Charles the Bold.  For Charles ‘Bold’ is a kind translation for fool hearty.  I also like an earlier king, Louis the Do Nothing.

I was most struck by how kings and dukes managed to get others to die for their egos and greed, as I am stuck today that one man, Vladimir Putin, can cause the deaths of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, in the Ukraine.  I would not have given my life for any of them.

Joan of Arc is included in THE BURGUNDIANS.  She was of course betrayed by the King of France whose throne she saved, tried by the English, and burned at the stake.  The book relates that when the authorities wanted to show some kindness to those burned at the stake, they used wet wood so death would come by smoke inhalation rather than flames.  With Joan they refused to use wet wood.

I am now rereading Gore Vidal’s novel, BURR, based on the life of Aaron Burr.  I read it first decades ago.  A quote I find interesting:  I suspect Cromwell was right:  the man who does not know where he is going goes farthest.  Talleyrand used to tell me that for the great man all is accident.

Last night Carol and I rewatched THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.  At the end Sean Connery, the captain of the Russian submarine, quotes Christoper Columbus:  And the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home.

1 comment:

Ernie said...

Also, Aethelred the Unready. A joke you might enjoy, but not the one one thinks of, as it is something like "King Well-Advised the ill-advised".