Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I was out in my parents-in-law's woods the other day and came across a fantastic fungus.  It was quite large (as seen next to my foot), and very, very orange.  The picture does not quite do the color justice:

Hot Pavement

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Nation's Capital

My brother and my daughter overlooking the view of DC from the roof of his building:

The fireworks from his apartment were great.

Friday, May 31, 2013

On Matters Cromwellian

I am lately reading "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel, which won the Booker Prize in 2009.

I am finding it difficult to keep the characters straight.  I just looked up Thomas Cromwell to more properly assess his place in history around Thomas More and the whole treason and execution thing.  This will blow some surprises in the book, but will help me dispel some conflating I think I've done around the various Cardinals, Lords Chancellor, et. al.

Thomas was instrumental in fighting the Pope on behalf of Henry VIII's desire to occasionally divorce his wives.  This lead to the formation of the Anglican church and ultimately to his own execution--a beheading with his spiked head displayed on London Bridge.

A fun discovery and relevant to a brief exchange I had last night with my mother-in-law: Oliver Cromwell is his great, great grand nephew (maybe some more greats in there, they were born 115 years apart).  Oliver is more famous currently, as he's seen as the great butcher of Irish Catholics (and Scottish Catholics, but I hadn't known that since Scots tend to write fewer drinking songs detailing their historical grievances).  He ruled England briefly as a kind of king/non-king.  He was hated enough that having died from malaria, he was dug up three years later to be executed posthumously!  Subsequently his severed head spent 30 years on a spike atop a pole over Westminster Hall and then changed hands for 250 years before being laid to a kind of rest in the 1960s.

Cromwells apparently rest uneasily unless a mob of angry Britons has rent their corpses.