I find myself procrastinating more and more as I near the finish line… Today while I’m lackadaisically running simulations to tie up some loose ends, I’ve been reading old posts by Errol Morris on the NYT blog about photography (Zoom). The blog has a number of lengthy, multi-part series on old photographs. I read the first two of a seven part series currently running about depression-era photos (e.g. Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Woman) and whether they are posed, and whether it matters if they are posed.
Craving a completed series, I moved on to one on the Crimean War. I found the following paragraph buried in it, which, though it is certainly not the most captivating part of the very verbose series, enthralled the knitter in me:
The Crimean War, often described as a precursor to the American Civil War, is more a harbinger of World War I – a stationary front informed by endless and futile exchanges of lethal artillery fire. Trench warfare par excellence. Lord Raglan, the commander of the British forces, previously the Duke of Wellington’s aide-de-camp, lost his arm to a French cannonball at Waterloo. His specially designed sleeve – the Raglan sleeve, along with the cardigan and the balaclava – is how we remember the Crimean War. A war defined by innovations in wardrobe – a sleeve, a sweater and a hat. Raglan, who died in the Crimea just before the fall of Sebastopol, seemed often confused about what was going on. He would exhort his soldiers to go out and fight the French and had to be reminded that in this particular war the Russians were the enemy. The French were his allies.
I used to be quite the history buff – I honestly believe I may have gotten every single answer on my AP U.S. History exam exactly correct – but I’ve been thwarted by my poor memory and the myriad other subjects demanding my attention. I miss the rich, albeit partial view you can gain of other times and places. I think the historical record of now will be slightly absurd for the overly detailed and scattered records being kept by everyone and their mother, myself included.
Unrelatedly, though from the same article, my favorite phrase of the day (or perhaps, ever):
You could just make out the orange roofs of a large building complex. Gorbachev’s summer home. It kind of looked like a metastatic International House of Pancakes.
This doesn’t conjure visions of the actual IHOP building, but rather little outcroppings of pancakes, stacked high, all over the countryside.