Monday, November 14, 2011

This ain't rock and roll, this is...

The other afternoon, upon realizing that there was, in fact, a Chick-Fil-A not a couple miles from my doorstep and that my long, self-willed exile from the loving breast was over, I headed out for a Chick-Fil-A sammich and a box of nuggets to celebrate.

I must have driven past this particular restaurant dozens of times over the last few years and it just never registered on my consciousness, because it's right in front of Barnes & Noble and B.D.'s Mongolian Grill, two of my favoriter destinations in the north part of town.

Having forgotten a book, and being unable to properly digest food without reading, I stopped in B&N and was almost immediately successfully marketed to by the following title sitting prominently on a shelf at eye level: The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: The Definitive Chronicle of History's 100 Worst Atrocities. This looked right up my alley.

The author, Matthew White, a self-described atrocitologist, necrometrician, and quantifier of hemoclysms, maintains the website Necrometrics.com, among others, and delivers black humor with a deft wit. I've been pretty much engrossed in the book since. You should read it.

Oh, and in the "The More You Know..." category, as a Pratchett fan, I got a wry chuckle learning that, during the religious tumult of the Reformation (where we are using 'tumult' as a polite term for 'bloodbath'), Scottish trouble-making evangelist John Knox railed against the seeming alliance of Catholic queens in Western Europe in the pamphlet The first blast of the trumpet against the monstruous regiment of women... Heh. Now I get it, Terry.

8 comments:

Lazy Bike Commuter said...

Oooooh, yes. Terry is clever. I imagine the English get that a little more quickly.

Ed Skinner said...

[Sarcasm]Nicely reviewed. That pretty much sums up my impression of Chick-Fil-A as well.[/Sarcasm]

karrde said...

That makes two 'time-sink' posts in the past week.

First the 'Found In The Woods' link from last week, and now this Necrometrics guy.

Of course, not everyone will respond to a page full of data, stats, and analysis in the same way...

Andy said...

Two references to that book in one day, so it must be good. It will be waiting for me when I get home. Can't wait.

Divemedic said...

Take a look at this book, it may be right up your alley:

http://www.amazon.com/Napoleons-Buttons-Molecules-Changed-History/dp/1585423319

Justthisguy said...

Et tu, Tamara? I am also of the ilk whose saliva glands and esophagus don't work right unless they have some copy in front of them.

kishnevi said...

I'm surprised you never heard of Knox's pamphlet before; it's one of the most famous examples of biting the hand that feeds you in history, since Knox was complaining not only about Mary Queen of Scots but also Queen Elizabeth, whose government was the main backer of the anti-Catholic revolution in Scotland of which Knox was a part. Queen Elizabeth of course got royally angry with Knox in that way that only she could manage, and never forgave him.

And Knox's complaint was that these women had the audacity to actually be the ruling monarchs instead of docilely finding a husband to do the ruling for them, which has made him a walking target for every passing feminist in the last fifty years. And although Pratchett uses the word in the modern sense, Knox was using the word in a sense common in the 16th century but which has dropped out of usage in the intervening centuries. Back then regiment meant "regime" or "rule by"(and the military usage grew out of that: a particular regiment was the body of soldiers who were under the rule of a particular general or colonel). In modern times, we'd be talking about "The Monstrous Idea of Rule by Women"; back then they would be calling one of the goals of the Gulf War "regiment change".

Tam said...

Yes. Of course, the plot of the book makes the title a deliciously multi-leveled pun.

(Knox's broadside is available online, for anyone who's interested, BTW...)