January 8, 2004Quote of the Moment
"The love story was hooey. There was no love there unless you paid $3 for it"
--WW2 vet on the movie "Pearl Harbor" (via a Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary edition question.)
Link of the Moment
Not Fooling Anybody is a look at retail shops converted for use as...well, other retail shops. Oddly interesting viewing.
Passages and Online Tool of the Moment
An attempt by Byzantium to impose its will on Bulgaria had ended badly, when the emperor Nicephorus died in combat, his skull being encased in silver by his enemy and turned into a drinking goblet.
Bulgaria's new alphabet allowed it to develop its own literature, and buttressed a doomed bid for independence, which finally ended in a truly horrible fashion in 1014, when the Byzantine emperor, Basil, `the Bulgarian slayer', put out the eyes of 14,000 captive Bulgarians.
--John Man, "Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World". I refound these passages using Amazon.com's cool new "Search Inside This Book" feature. I found a typo or two inside the search results that weren't in the book, and for some reason the page references were like 10-20 pages off, but still, it's an awesome feature.
Wow, Byzantium and Bulgaria...that skull-to-goblet thing is pretty cool, though that mass blinding is one of the most horrible things I've ever read...some claim he blinded men in groups of 100, leaving one man with a single eye to lead his 99 fellows. (Some say that's where sayings like "blind leading the blind" or "in the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king" but I'm not so sure of that, or positive that the story is 100% true as printed there.)