East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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By the gods! – Cursing in Latin redux

A while back I did a post about cursing in Latin and Ancient Greek.
In my Aculeo & Amunet stories, Latin and Classical Greek swearwords are often used as a replacement for English-language swearwords – it’s fun, it adds a nice period-feel, makes happy the philologists among my readers and allows my characters to talk dirty without actually being dirty.
Because irrumator is a lot better than a##hole.


But what about invoking the name of the gods? Continue reading

other feat


He’s a pirate – Henry de Monfreid

Henry-de-MonfreidTwo summers back, in 2013, I bought on a whim three books from a small italian publisher.
I was intrigued by the titles, and by the short bio of the author.
The author was Henry de Monfreid.
The three books I bought as a bundle for a few euro are the unlikely translations of de Monfreid’s first three books – Les secrets de la mer Rouge (1931), Aventures de mer (1932), La croisière du hachich (1933).
Henry de Monfreid was, by his own admission, a pirate, a drug smuggler, an adventurer and a gunrunner.
Or, as his French Wikipedia page simply states, un commerçant – a man of business.

But it gets better than that. Continue reading

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Weird connections.
I was doing some research about digital nomadism and the possibility of working while on the road with a minimum of fuss and some cheap gadgetry, when I stumbled on the sort of information that’s perfect for Karavansara (you find the full article in the links at the end of this post).

Looking for a better way to identify their herds and locate them when they wander off, these folks had apparently decided to paint their phone numbers onto the side of their livestock in lieu of abstract brands.


While I was searching for digital nomadism, I stumbled on nomadism proper, with digital expansions. Continue reading

media feat

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Passion in Swahili

50pelisantesdemorirmogambogracekellyavagardnerThere is a very quick personality test that’s pretty popular and well-known1.
It basically goes like this – choose your favorite Beatle.
Everybody knows the Beatles, and choosing is not that difficult.
Based on their choices, you can profile pretty easily the people you meet.
It works.

Another test, that is somewhat more limited but equally good at discriminating between groups goes like this:

You are Clark Gable in Mogambo – do you choose Ava Gardner or Grace Kelly?

Get the answer to that, and you’ll know a lot of things about the person standing in front of you – a lot of them impossible to define in any other specific way2.

For the uninitiated, Mogambo is a 1953 movie by John Ford that has been aptly described as an adventure movie without adventure.
And it goes like this:

Now, as I mentioned somewhere else, I love Mogambo. Continue reading


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