Sunday, May 29, 2011

look! another thought about charters!

hmmm. So you have a charter. Actually, you have lots of charters. And the editor of the charters has given them titles according to the names of the people who make the donation (or whatever). This makes sense... except that a lot of the donations appear to be made by trustees, who are merely passing along someone else's donation, as it were. So legally, they are the donors. Functionally, though, they sort of aren't, in the sense that monastic donations are normally made in the hopes that someone's sins will be remediated (although I came across one today that actually uses pro absolutione peccatorum). The trustee is just a middle man whose job is to fulfill someone else's wishes (or to grant permission, depending on the sort of trustee it is).

Add to that the fact that there are two different sorts of trusteeship, as far as I can tell (and is manu potestativa really a livery of seisin in the C9th and C10th?) and it makes for interesting reading. Except that I can't recall having read anything in particular that splits out donors of origin from donors who are trustees (and especially donors who are trustees whose relationships to the donors of origin are unclear, except when noted or when they are counts or other officials).

I have actually read my way through Bresslau, and Beumann, and Ewig, and any number of other godsawful German paperweights designed to tell us about such things, and I don't remember seeing much discussion of this -- but then there is a soporific quality to such reading...

So, hivemind, can you think offhand of anything that clearly articulates what we mean by 'donor' and if it takes into account donations made by trustees? More specifically, can you think of anything that talks about such things pre-11th (or even 10th) century and Frankish?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Writing Group: Call for Participants

As previously announced, Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar (from whom I shamelessly borrowed this text) and I are launching the pilot term of our online writing group. We're going to be starting up next Friday. For now, we'll be doing this as sort of an open-thread Friday, where you check in once a week to report on your progress. Occasionally, we may offer suggestions of things to contemplate and comment on in a given week. But mostly, it's going to be about us being a group of people who hold each other accountable for producing a finished piece of writing in a 12-week period. June 3 will be week one, the first week that you report progress. August 19th will be week twelve – the week you have your project finished.

Who can participate? Anyone who is writing something. Given that Notorious and I are both academics, and both in the Humanities, our posts will likely be geared toward that audience. But all are welcome to participate.

Lest you think this is all loosey-goosey, however, we're going to require one thing from anyone who wants to participate: A firm commitment. So that's the theme of this thread: What will you commit to writing in this twelve-week period? A conference paper? An article? A chapter of your dissertation? Will it be a complete first draft or a revision? It can be anything you want, so long as you can commit to working on it and reporting your progress weekly, and – most importantly – finishing it by August 19th. So figure out what you can reasonably accomplish, and tell us about it.

Notorious and I will alternate weeks to host. She'll take the first week, Friday June 3rd, when we'll talk about your first week's progress, but also the importance of daily writing, and your writing environment. But that's for next week. For now, let's just get to know each other, and share our project goals for the next twelve weeks.

Hope to see you there!

From Notorious: There are many wonderful writing guides out there, but one that I'd love to recommend to this group in particular is "Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks." It's geared towards advanced grad students and early- to mid-career academics, and focuses on taking something you've already got a bit of a draft of (seminar paper? conference paper?) and expanding, revising, and shaping it into a polished piece. Week-by-week instructions and everything. It's not an "assignment" for the group, but I've used it with great success.

From me: I love to track word counts, and find that posting a word count meter is useful. You can find a really nice little version here.

You have to update it at the site when you add words, and then replace the code, but it's not much of a problem. I've added one for my current project at the top left of the sidebar.

Amusing charter thing

Supradictus Williprahtus malo conatu ipsam supradictam rem auferre studuit sed dep volente atque iustitia dictante coram prefectis nuntiisque imperatoris Werine et Unfride per vim cogatur tradidit quod debuit et isti sunt testes de illa traditione. +Willipraht qui traditionem fecit [...][!]

Diplomatics, the PhD, and Imposter syndrome

First, thanks to Historian on the Edge for answering my last question patiently, because it was not the smartest question ever. Still wondering about the historiography, though, and hoping that's not an obvious thing, too.

Well, I suppose it is, because I can always read the footnotes, but who keeps copies of Bresslau, et al., around the house? They aren't in my uni's library, either.

Anyway, I was thinking this morning a bit more about this whole diplomatics thing. Before I met my good friend at A Corner of Tenth Century Europe, I don't think I actually knew there was such a thing and that it had a name. I'd written a doctoral thesis for a committee that included someone who uses charters and all sorts of other legal documents, a Fellow of the MAA, and known for his work on disputes and land tenure (a bit), and I'd never heard of Diplomatics as a field. In fact, I don't think I knew that there was such a thing as a 'charter person' vel sim. I just happened to be using a single set of charters and a couple of sets of annals to talk about what they could tell us about Carolingian administration. On the way, I found that I couldn't do what I wanted to do without some understandings of onomastics (a word I didn't know, because in my head it was Namenkunde, whether Personen- or Orts-), so I read about leading names, and name-elements, and other such things. And of course, this led me to various prosopographical works (thank goodness I had already worked a bit with the PIR on a couple of papers in grad school, so the idea was not foreign to me), which I also read, used, and disagreed with at times. No really, there are bits of my thesis where I argue against both Borgolte and Mitterauer, for example.


Where am I going with this? Leeds. In the short term. I love going to Leeds. If I had to choose only one conference, that would be it. It is the conference with the highest concentration of cool and smart people who do what I want to do, and they do it really well. Leeds allows me to pretend that I'm good enough at what I do to fit in, and I love that my brain has to work really, really hard. It's the mental equivalent of a really good long bike ride or run through the woods. It makes me think I might even be able to survive a sabbatical semester amongst my UK colleagues, who are amongst the most generous people I know.

In the long term, though, Leeds scares the hell out of me. Every day is a day where I realize that there are things I have simply missed out on. Some of these things are easy to explain, I think. There are a lot of medievalists in the UK, and it's a small enough place that scholars regularly meet and present their work to each other at seminars. There are such things in the US, but we're pretty spread out. When I was an undergrad at Beachy U, there were regular visits by scholars who gave papers, and I know that such things happen in the US in places where there are enough medievalists to have regular seminars -- places like LA, and the Bay Area, and places like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. But my grad school wasn't so advantageously located. I also think I wasn't really acculturated in a way that I understood that this was what people did -- I went to such seminars and talks as were available because someone told undergraduate me I was supposed to -- but not that they served a function other than being interesting, yet somewhat passive, activities.

I know, right?

I am not sure how much of this was me being obtuse. As a postgraduate student, I largely saw research and writing as evils necessary to getting a teaching position. I think maybe this is because I never really saw my professors as scholars. They didn't really talk about it much, in the sense of process, or why they loved it, and they were all fantastic teachers. My PhD program required that we undergo teacher training, and that we teach lecture courses of our own. It was great training, and definitely played a huge part in my being employed, but it also helped to create a situation where the immediate needs of students took precedence over my research for the very beginning. I was good at teaching, and the rewards were immediate. Research, not so much.

Why not? Well, because I had no idea what I was doing. My thesis advisor is mostly an archaeologist. People still raise their eyebrows when I tell them who I worked with, because Late Antiquity is not necessarily Early Medieval, and the sorts of things that Doktorvater does are really nothing like what I do. But he and I bonded when I went to Grad U, and because of a set of freak occurrences, there was no one else to work with at the time I began to work on my thesis. We hired Fellow of MAA shortly thereafter, but I was always intimidated by him, and never had a conversation with him where I didn't feel like a complete idiot. Many years later, I realized he doesn't make eye contact with anyone, and just approaches things very different to how I do. But at the time, I couldn't see working with him. So I put together a prospectus, defended it, got a DAAD, and went off to Germany, where the only person I knew was another Late Antiquarian. He introduced me to medievalists on the faculty, but mostly, I hid and worked by myself.

I wrote my PhD in a vacuum, more or less. At first I was connected to the university, but I didn't really make friends, and felt pretty much isolated. None of the people I knew worked on anything related to what I was doing. Then I started dating X, and somehow my ties to people at the university were replaced by his friends. There was my advisor, but no connection really to "here are things happening in our field that you should know about." The more physically isolated I was, the worse my Imposter Syndrome got -- and the grounds for it seemed to be more and more realistic. The PhD finally was finished, signed off, complete -- not that it mattered, because I'd left academia at that point.

Except, of course, it turns out I didn't. I just spent a few years adding to the huge gaps in my knowledge and picking up bits of what I missed like a magpie attracted to the shiny. I expect I'm not the only person out there who has had experiences like mine, but for me, it's been really disconcerting to talk about what I do and have other people understand it and be able to give me advice. It's probably not a bad thing to have approached things as I have -- no preconceived notions, after all! And I think if I'd thought of myself as a charter person, or a diplomatics person, I'd have turned out very differently. Even now, I think of myself as a social and political historian who uses charters a lot, although the amount I think about methodology might indicate a diplomatists lurking in the shadows.

It's lurking there along with the Imposter Syndrome. Even though I am again, or still, working in relative isolation, it's at least no longer a vacuum. Now it's a balancing act: engagement, even over the internet, allows a feeling of membership in the community; membership in a community where everybody else knows so damned much* might let the imposter out of the shadows.

*and yes, I do realize that spending my time having to keep up with teaching all the non-US history my department offers (i.e., the whole world from Harappan culture till now) gives me breadth that takes away from the depth my impressive colleagues have. Doesn't make me feel less dumb, though :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Diplomatics, whether or not I want 'em

So I found some cool stuff on Google books today. Unfortunately, it's all 19th C German legal scholarship, which means I have no idea how useful it really is. On the one hand, it offers very clear interpretations of some of the stuff I've wondered about for a long time. On the other, I have no idea if it's correct or not (in terms of what we now understand). But there was a nice explanation of per manum clauses (once I figured out what some of the German words were), and now I just have to figure out if these were things that the early diplomatics people would have looked at.

Speaking of which, did you know that Breßlau worked with Heinrich von Trotschke for a while? I think this in part reaffirms my belief that we really can't trust ANY early German diplomatics scholarship entirely -- there's just always the lingering spectre of circular nationalistic reasoning. For example, there's the understanding of "national" law codes as being real exemplars of the values of particular people that obviously may be partially true, but is also now understood within the context of Carolingian meddling policy, I think? Or am I imagining that?

But really, what I meant to say was this:

how separable are praecarium and usufruct? That is, I understand how one could grant the latter without the former, and that sort of makes sense. I understand how one could grant the former without the latter, but it seems to me to be pointless. More importantly, I wonder how easy it was to keep such things straight among all the players.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yes, I do...

Have a towel, and know where it is.

Have a hard-boiled egg.

Am not wearing lilacs, 'cos I wasn't there.

(I think I've got it covered...)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So it's not just me and Historian on the Edge, then...

Apparently, Mark Lind at thinks even less of Ferguson than I do.

Just for starters, Lind asks, "What accounts for the attention lavished by the American media on a huckster as vulgar and shallow as Niall Ferguson?"

Later, he tells us a little of what he really thinks: "...Niall Ferguson has the moral imagination of a teenage boy addicted to gruesome video games."

I think he's wrong about Fritz the Cat, though. Unless Ferguson really said that. But I'm giving Ferguson some credit here, and will assume the cat in question ia Felix.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A bleg about tools and toys and software

Hello, all --

So, like many people, I'm thinking about eventually getting an iPad. I have been at a couple of conferences lately and just think it would be so much easier not to lug a full-sized computer around when I travel. I'd really like it to be usable even for extended trips -- for example, is it enough computer to take to the UK for six weeks? Or would I need to take my macbook, but still only carry the iPad to the BL to work? (and of course I now need to check and find out if the stories of abused iPad manufacturing workers in China are true...

No, I can't really afford one, but we can use our research allotment towards it, which I think would be better than trying to justify one on my taxes. Far easier to explain why I need professional memberships and journals.

Anyway, so the first questions are:

Is it really a good tool?
How much memory is the minimum I need?
How much can it replace my heavier computer?

But also... and these are more important questions:

Can I use it to duplicate my current workflow?

Can I use it to re-create the workflow I want?

Because here is the thing -- I like to take notes by hand, but I like the organization of programs like zotero. Zotero only runs with Firefox, which I can use on a mac, but not on an iPad. Sente seems to do much of the same, so that's a possibility on the organizational end.

But what I would love to do, and what would absolutely sell me on an iPad, is to be able to take notes on the iPad with a stylus (no problems with bringing pens into the BL!!) and then drag them into the note management software. It's clear that scrivener will not be available, but Apple has at least made a version of Pages for the iPad, so writing can be done -- but the research still has to be somewhere.

So people, what do you think? Is it possible to do what I want? What software do you recommend?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Online Writing Group: Watch this Space

Stolen shamelessly from Notorious, PhD...

Online Writing Group: WATCH THIS SPACE!
Notorious and I are closing in on starting the writing group. We were supposed to have an announcement, CFP up this morning, but as I said in my reply to her e-mail (entitled "itotallyfuckingforgot"): "eyeballs, alligators, etc."

Like Strunk & White, I am (apparently) a fan of brevity.

So, we're batting a real opening announcement back and forth over the course of the day, and it will be cross-posted later tonight or perhaps tomorrow (or even tomorrow's tomorrow), at which point you can see if it will work for your needs right now, and sign up. First "Term" will begin next Friday. If it doesn't work for you right now, don't worry: another one will be along in the fall.

Watch this space!

Friday, May 20, 2011

St Gall Plan Project Job

Please repost as appropriate.

Manuscripts Specialist (Staff Research Associate III)

Under the direction of the project's Principal Investigator Professor Patrick Geary and the Project Manager Dr. Julian Hendrix, the Research Associate will be responsible for directing and performing archival and library research, and for identifying and analyzing the linguistic, orthographic, paleographic and textual features of some 168 medieval manuscripts for the research project "Creation of Virtual Libraries of the Carolingian Monasteries of St. Gall and Reichenau." Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this project will make accessible online digital images, descriptions, and contextual data of ninth-century manuscripts from libraries at St. Gall and Reichenau. The Research Associate will assist the Project Manager with the development of XML templates and user interfaces for the project's manuscript website. The Research Associate will also assist the Project Manager in creating descriptions and indices of the manuscripts' contents as well as be responsible for writing thematic essays highlighting significant elements of the manuscript collection for publication on the project website.

Candidates must have a PhD in some area of medieval studies and strong Latin and German, as well as extensive knowledge of Carolingian paleography and codicology, and experience working with early medieval manuscripts. Experience working with XML markup and web design is strongly preferred.

This is an eleven month (08/01/11 - 06/30/12), grant-funded position. In addition to completing the online application at (you can not be considered for the position without applying on-line), please send a copy of your letter of application (cover letter) and CV to the project PI, Professor Patrick Geary, by email to AND Project Manager Dr. Julian Hendrix, email jhendrix AT ucla DOT edu. Review of applications will begin immediately.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Training for the Dark Side?

From Kalamazoo to a workshop where I am supposed to be learning to be an administrator, my life takes me such wonderful places. Exciting! One day between, spent mostly marking with colleagues. More on that later, but let's just say that it helped to demonstrate why some colleagues are so adamant that double-marking is a bad thing.

In between, I've been becoming ever more conscious of what it means to be an introvert. For example, it's pretty late, and I am finally winding down enough to sleep -- and I have to be up early to lead a discussion. So tired. But can't wind down.

But enough of that.

I'm learning the ways of the Dark Side. Mostly, I'm learning about my colleagues and myself, and how we take different things away. For example, a colleague in another department went to a similar workshop and came back with a new and enlarged chip on hir shoulder. What zie learned was that other low-level administrators all had it better than their colleagues at SLAC, and that SLAC sucks. It doesn't, as it happens.

What I have learned so far is that SLAC is pretty weak in procedures and a few other things. Also, I've been able to listen to other people and it's helped to re-set my reality scale. It's been nice to hear so many non-SLAC stories, most of which are not about dysfunctional departments and divisions. Some are, and I think it's not all sunshine and roses out there: too many heads nod when someone tells a story that sounds painfully familiar. I've also learned a lot of things about data, how universities function, and how, even though department and division chairs at SLAC have very little power, we are given so much more information than many of our colleagues. That information is something that, if you can make sense of it, can itself be somewhat empowering. Or maybe it's just me -- when I understand things, I feel much more secure! There have been frightening moments, though. I am far better at understanding the big picture than I like. I don't think departmentally; I think institutionally much more often.

Midway through a session today I was reminded of how many medievalists I know who are really very good at administration. And since it was well into day two, and my mind was wondering, I started thinking about the pedagogy panel at the Zoo, and how a colleague there reminded the rest of us that, where our modernist and Americanist colleagues' specialties are generally no broader than 50-75 years in one place, medievalists are expected to specialize in a thousand years, and at east 2-3 geographical areas. On top of that, we have the killer arsenal of mad skills. Sure, we tend to focus our research a bit more, but when we teach, we teach a LOT of content, comparatively speaking. Moreover, the content we teach is not just "history" -- we include literature and art and material culture -- lots of stuff. I wonder if there is a connection between our interdisciplinary training and an ability to look beyond our very narrow fields/departments/divisions. Or not. Just a thought. Anyway, it was interesting to hear the stories of colleagues and also to hear the occasional shock at some of the suggestions made in some discussions: one colleague seemed to say that hir program generally wrote job ads so that hir school's graduates would be the best candidates for those jobs. There were gasps, too, when I suggested that perhaps a way to deal with grade appeals was to ask someone else to take a copy of the rubric and the exam or paper and have them regrade. Threats to autonomy, dontcha know...

Wonder what I'll learn tomorrow..

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kalamazoo, day the last

Will blog about the middle later, but here are the highlights:

  • Hanging out with colleagues from my state, who are now discussing a regular video-seminar
  • Hearing about the 'horses in mud' paper
  • Celebrating with my colleague from SLAC and my friends from other places
  • Wonderful time talking to people at the dance last night
  • Finding out that someone I thought hated me probably doesn't
  • Learning how to teach about early Christianity from Walter Goffart
  • Finding out that Goths don't always have moustaches and Romans often do
  • Bees! Hymns to bees! Bees are monks, because they are virgins
  • Did you know that Venetians were using surnames comparatively early?
  • We need to rethink masculinity and take masculine studies away from the feminist paradigm; and think about the somatic rather than the discourse
eta: Also, loved the announcement that a rather well-known early medievalist was not chairing his session because he was in a boxing bout.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Zoo, day One

Arrived to find presents waiting for me! Also, had good trip, fun with the Director, my colleague and roommate. Split up for separate dinners. On way back to hotel, found that our confirmed double was a king. Bastards. No other rooms. Nasty letter sent to Discovery Kalamazoo re WTF?


Also, corrigenda shows that Thursday evening session cancelled. Yay! Friend's paper now across from other friend's paper. Boo.

Also, kind of had to tell a colleague I like no to dinner because I had plans. Normally, I like to invite more people, but this is someone I only see in person once a year, and we like to talk about real-friend stuff that we can't talk about in front of colleagues. Boo. But yay for dinner with friend I love.

Tomorrow morning? Bernhard at 10:00 for Paul Kershaw's paper.

With luck, maybe a better room on the morrow?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Alternate Kalamazoo Thursday Dinner

Well, it looks like there is a Thursday p.m. talk I want to go to -- a couple of papers on things Fulda-ish, including Albrecht Diem talking about Lul (I think). So I think I will likely ditch the EM dinner. Anybody want to join me?

UPDATE: I may not be able to cancel the EM dinner plan after all, unless someone is willing to take my seat. I don't really want to pay for a meal I don't eat, and I'm not willing to stick the organizer with my costs.

Fingers crossed there are more people who want to go but haven't arranged.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Anecdotal History

I'm working on a paper that is likely to be a few days late in getting to the respondent (REALLY, REALLY sorry about that!). It's ostensibly on what we can see in some charters about step- relations. This has been made more difficult by the fact that I can't find the notebook that had my notes that I used for the abstract. Go me. Anyway, some things occurred to me today that I need to jot down, and here seemed as good a place as any. As I've been working, I've been worrying about whether or not the abstract and the paper will match up at all. Fortunately, whatever I write will still fit within the parameters of the session, so that panic is off.

So anyway, I might not find as much as I'd like on stepmother-stepdaughter relationships. I can stretch that to talk about stepmother-stepson relationships, and in fact I think I need to talk about those if only because most of the high-profile stepmother stories from the Carolingian period are royal and stepmother-stepson. This morning, though, I realized that I can't recall all that many mother-daughter (or mother-son) relationships in my documents. I should mention here that I am using relationships in two ways: the first is the obvious one, evidence of any familial connection; the second is the one that we infer from donations made on behalf of others. It has long been posited, and I think that this is largely correct, that donating property on the behalf of another is to some extent evidence of affection. I think that duty is perhaps also a reason, but really that is unlikely if the person for whom the donation is made is dead. I am also now wondering, though, if donating for a third party is also a way of mediating disputes or securing an uncontested release of property, i.e., "I know that my relatives really want to get their hands on this, and they are going to fight about it when I'm gone. Even though I have made provisions for this in the charter, in that they can pay a whopping sum to the monastery to get the land back, they're a bunch of greedy bastards and I don't really want that to happen. So I'm also going to put their names on it. This will put them in a position where they will really look bad if they try to regain that property."

Maybe. I'm not entirely sure I haven't read bits of that before, but will need to look that up. At any rate, I think that there needs to be some comparison to the charters in which people make donations for their mothers as well.

But anyway, it seems to me that the paper will be better if I contrast the mother vs stepmother cases. Which is probably obvious to most of you, but I tend to forget such things. In fact (and this is something that I have really got to get over) I'm like a magpie when it comes to research, going for the shiny and not thinking about framing it nearly as well as I should. Part of this is that I tend to do research only when I can concentrate on it, which is in the summer. This is really not ideal, and I must figure out how to change that, even if it only means keeping up with reading through the academic year. In years like this one, where I teach nothing medieval at all, it's especially important to make time to do this. If it weren't for blogs, I'd be absolutely lost, and most of you know I've been crap at keeping up this year. Another part may be that I am, apparently, a mental magpie, or Doug, the dog in Up, whose attention is completely taken over by the random appearance of a squirrel. Don't know if I mentioned it, but apparently, I have ADHD (inattentive). Knowing this does make me more conscious of looking for solutions and coping mechanisms, rather than beating myself up over being a magpie, at least.

What does this have to do with anecdotal history? Well, it also occurred to me this morning that I seem to be stuck in a pattern of finding cool anecdotes to write about. They are the sorts of things that fit in well with my teaching and service load, as well as my tendency to follow the shiny. I don't think they lack value, either. In fact, I think that anecdotes are what make what we do accessible to non-historians and help to demonstrate one of the real values of studying history: historians look at people, and try to understand people and why they did what they did -- and to me, this sort of inquiry is immediately valuable and transferable to how we approach our own world.

Having said that, I also want to make a concerted effort to make my anecdotes more meaningful to other historians, to add more to the larger conversation. In the meantime, I suppose I can continue honing my skills at asking awkward questions. :-)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

What possessed me...?

... to work with stuff like this? Seriously, 8th C land transactions? What the HELL was I thinking? Every summer, I start to read these, and every summer, I think, "it's bad enough you decided to be a medievalist. It's bad enough you decided to be an Early Medievalist. It's bad enough that you decided to be a dime-a-dozen Carolingianist. But really, did you have to choose to read stuff like this and then get a job where you don't get a chance to practice your Latin during the year???"

This is why:

In Christi nomine ego itaque ultimus exiguusque dei servorum famulus Matto sed et ego nuncius fidelis Othelm diligenter devotus in elimosinam Iulianae dei famulae et abbatissae pro remedio animae suae ipsa mihi manu potestativa ex iure proprietatis suae in Uuangheimero marcu tradiderat. similiter et ego Matto in supra dicto loco ubi supra dicta Iuliana soror mea totum et integrum s. Bonafacio per manum Othelmes tradiderat ita et ego in villa eadem portione et ex illa quantitate quantum mihi ibidem adjacet proprietatis sicut aliis testibus perpluribus cognitum est ita et ego Matto supra dicto loco in elimosinam meam et fratris mei Megingoz et eorum quibus debitor sum sicut et illa supra dicta Iuliana soror mea per manum supra dicti Othelmes sic trado quicquid ad meam pertinet proprietatem totum et integum sic et ille Othelm nos simul trademus sicut supra dictum est in Wangheimero marcu id est illam ecclesiam et monasteriolum constructum cum illis sanctorum reliquiis et cum omni proprietate id est tam terris silvis campis pratis pascuis aquis aquarumque decursibus aedificiis domibus arialis coloniis qualiter et quomodo heredatum a parentibus et a nobis elaboratum aut exquisitum sit peculiari utriusque sexu [I think] mobilibus et immobilibus quicquid dici aut nominari queat et haec mancipia quorum haec sunt [big-ass list of mancipia]

You know, I have enough trouble making sense of this sort of stuff in current legal English. Now Latin is making me feel dumb.


Monday, May 02, 2011

Zoo Meetup reminder

Hello, all --

Here is a reminder that the post about the Kalamazoo Blogger meet-up is here.

Also -- early medievalist types: I have tentatively responded "yes" to the Thursday night dinner. But I have to go to the SMFS dinner on Saturday, too. That means only Wednesday and Friday night dinners free. If anybody is interested in a breakaway dinner on Thursday somewhere more convenient and less pricey (because face it, it's going to be a minimum of $50 after drinks), please say so!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

It's May!

It's May! And I have not written my paper for Berks yet! Plus, I am giving two finals tomorrow! Argh!

But it's MAY! so here are things to ring in that particularly lovely month...

or, if you prefer the very disturbing original, it's here -- no embedding allowed

And of course, this vision of Walpurgisnacht:

On the other hand, this might be more to your tastes:

And of course, this:

Or, if you prefer something entirely sappy...