Plus ça change

Things that have changed since I was last in front of a classroom (May 2008):

1. I now have a blog.

2. I got my hair cut.

3. I switched from PC to Mac.

4. I have traveled in Belgium and visited my family there.

5. I have done some real primary research, filling the well properly for the first time since graduate school.

6. We got a new bookcase in the kitchen, which meant rearranging all of our books and giving many of them away.*

7. I have a number of wonderful new friends.

8. I am on Facebook.

9. I got a new navel ring, custom-designed by a fabulous jewelry artist.

10. I got another piercing, this one in the cartilage in my right ear.

11. I got progressive lenses.

12. I got a Blackberry.

13. I found a new yoga teacher.

14. I've competed in épée.

15. I have started to learn to pray.

Things that are still the same:

1. Those extra ten pounds.

2. My USFA ranking.

3. My teaching clothes.

So, I ask you, if so much has changed, why does it seem like I am still the same?

*This may not seem like a big deal, unless you hang on to books as long as I do.


  1. I was following your thread of primary research on interpreting manuscripts and paintings. I saw in your comments on the painting by Jean-Baptiste Oudry the question,

    Why are there so many paintings from this period about hunts?

    Tim Blanning's book "The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648 - 1815" NY: Viking, 2007, covers the pervasive hunting culture of the European aristocracy in Chapter 8 "Court and Country".

    Blanning gives the following example.

    The bag of eighty-one [items of game] was modest by royal standards. Louis [XVI] kept a careful account in his diary of the game he killed. In December 1775 he recorded the death of 1,564 items, bringing his annual total up to 8,424. The limitations imposed by eighteenth-century musketry did not prevent large scores being achieved quickly. According to the marquis de Dangeau, on 30 June 1706 the ducs de Berry and de Bourgogne (Louis XIV’s grandsons) shot more than 1,500 partridges on the plain of Saint-Denis. Another aristocratic chronicler, the duc de Luynes, reported in 1750 that Louis XV shot 318 in three hours at Versailles and another 135 in an hour-and-a-half a few days later. The record seems to have been 1,700 shot by the King and his entourage on the plain of Saint-Denis on September 1738. Slaughter on this scale required more than a steady hand and a strong stomach. By the end of Louis XIV’s long reign, an elaborate, large and very expensive hunting organization had been developed, subdivided into several specialized sections determined by the nature of predator and prey. (Pursuit of Glory, 394 - 395)

  2. Thanks, Jim, this is really interesting!


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