Saturday, July 22, 2006

Illuminated Manuscripts

The medieval ages are a favorite of mine. I enjoy reading the history and literature and way of life in those times.

One thing that I find fascinating is the illuminated manuscripts they made. Before the printing press, of course, books had to be copied by hand, often by monks in their monasteries. Some were plain, but others were works of art, filled with detailed illustrations. Here are links to two websites that you might enjoy if you like illuminated manuscripts:

On Illuminated Manuscripts

Atlantian A & S Links: Scribal Arts



Friday, July 21, 2006

Do "Peace Movements" Work? No.

If you don't read Jewish World Review and, you are missing out on some common sense and some truthful information. There are political views and economic views and education views--you name it. I recommend both sites highly.

Whenever there is a war, people start talking peace. This would be a great thing--having peace. But the sad fact is that it isn't realistic, not in this life or in this world. Peace movements are always popular. Those supporting them are mostly sincere, though misguided. Thomas Sowell wrote a most excellent column on this very topic, which I link to at It is called "Pacifists versus Peace."

Something to think about.


Israel's Work Ahead

Israel has gone the appeasement and concession route long enough. The time to fight back has been long overdue, but they are at last showing their strength. May they keep it up. It will do far more to stabilize the region than any attempts at negotiating or giving up land for peace or any of the other failed policies of appeasement that have been tried over and over. And may the UN stay far, far away.

On the website, Jewish World Review, Caroline B. Glick writes a great essay analyzing the situation and what Israel's best options are. It's called "An Acceptable Ceasefire" and is well worth reading.

I also enjoyed Dennis Prager's essay entitled, "The Middle East conflict is hard to solve, but easy to explain." It's also at Jewish World Review.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Popularity of Languages

I was wondering about which languages are spoken most around the world. Which are studied most in learning a second language? I did a little quick research using the trusty Google search engine.

In a 2003 news article, The Minnesota Daily newspaper reports that "More U students opt for less popular languages." Enrollment in classes has increased for Dutch, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Korean, and Latin. They looked at enrollment trends outside the most commonly taught languages, which are English, Spanish, French, and German.

Here's a page from the National Virtual Translation Center which shows charts and graphs of the most used languages on the internet. "...English is the most popular language of the Internet with Chinese in second place. The remaining 8 top languages are all below 10%. Of these, the three Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) account for 36% of Internet users. The six European languages (Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch) account for 28.7% of the total Internet population."

A 2004 news article in The Daily Pennsylvanian (the independent newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania) also talked about the different languages the students are interested in studying, including American Sign Language.

This is just a small sampling of some of the information out there about which languages people are interested in learning. The page about languages used on the internet was a bit of information I hadn't expected to find, but enjoyed reading nonetheless.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Disorder in the Middle East

Jeff Jacoby at Jewish World Review sorts out some of what is going on in the Middle East and what needs to go on there to end at least some of the problems. His article is called "The Enemy is Iran."

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Reading the Classics

Reading classic literature is one excellent way to educate oneself. A favorite site on the internet is Great Books and Classics. The page I have linked to isn't the home page, but it is the page where you start choosing time periods and authors. They have a lot of classic literature that you can read online without having to purchase the books, although if you are like me, you still like to hold a book in your hands and have pages to turn and to write on. This website lets you find out if you like the book before you buy a copy.

These types of books introduce you to thoughts and ideas that live in our culture and upon which later books and essays have been built. Philosopher Mortimer Adler said that it was like a conversation. I don't have his exact quote at hand, but the idea he wanted to convey was that writers, even those separated by decades or centuries, could reply to those who had written before them. The later writers could agree or disagree or both. They could flesh out the earlier ideas. It's an engaging thought, isn't it?

No one can read all of these great books--there isn't enough time. We can, however, sample some of them and look for ones with topics that interest us. It's fascinating to read the writings of those who lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago. There are some timeless ideas in those books--ideas about truth and beauty and reality and human nature.

My particular interests are in Early Christian history and Medieval history and literature, although I want to sample other writings, especially those about books and education and what people studied. What are some of your favorite books or time periods or authors?


Welcome to My New Blog

In spite of the pretentious blog title, I am just a woman who enjoys studying and reading and writing. I plan to post interesting (to me, at least) bits here and also links to articles on the web that you might enjoy.

Comments are welcome. I ask only that you be polite.