Po’ Bastard has nuthin’ on me…

Today, to cause massive amounts of salivation and desire in The Wife, I took a nice steak (tip cap or something like that … like who gives a shit what it was) and put it in a freezer bag with a marinade. The marinade consisted of salt, crushed peppercorns, parsley, thyme, olive oil, crushed garlic cloves, and some popov vodka.* It must now marinate for two to three days. And when it is ready, I shall broil it, and we shall eat gloriously.

Best way into a woman’s pants is through the button and zipper.

What are you looking at?!?

*Yes, I got the damn recipe from somewhere else. I didn’t say I was original … just competent.

Dig up dirt

In my banter with one of my friends Lemont, who also happens to be a historian, we usually at some point digress into what I would tentatively describe as the historian’s version of a ‘Yo Mama’ face-off. Usually this is over the wonderfully pointless ‘rivalry’ between modern historians (say post-1945) and those of a more non-modern persuasion (take your pick from ancient to early modern or whatever).

Rivalry over what, you may ask? Well, let’s just say that most modern historians (actual and wannabees) have probably heard the epithet that we don’t actually study history. Instead, we’re just doing ‘current events’. I’ve certainly heard this from Lemont, who is a historian of Anglo-Saxon England (over 1200-1700 years ago, for the unknowning among you). My responses to him often fall back on the schoolyard-esque argument that if he has to dig up dirt to make his argument then he’s really desperate for sources.

(The response to that is, of course, to blame it all on the Vikings burning everything down, but don’t they get enough of a bad rap as it is?)

Point, Andrew? Well, I’ve always looked upon my historical work as having a bounty of source materials, since modern society just produces more garbage that people can/need/must save. In fact, we really have too many sources at times, which can just as easily blind us as a lack of evidence. But hey, who looks a gifthorse in the mouth?

But what is one supposed to do when there are holes even in this overabundance? This is the problem I’ve been dealing with in my dissertation work lately. Certain areas within my work suffer from a paucity of source materials, leading me to wonder exactly how I’m supposed to dig up some dirt to fill in those gaps. What is one to do when the executive committee papers of an Irish political party for the 1961-1975 period were destroyed in a fire? Aside from stalking old Fine Gael party members to see if they have copies in the nooks of their attics (doable, but not right now in the home stretch), I am left with the tried and true methods of building a circumstantial argument from a variety of others areas or simply acknowledging the gap and moving on. This really pisses off the anal completionist in my personality (I can hear my close friends and family snickering at this … shut up you lot).

If you are wondering why my dissertation isn’t done yet, here’s exhibit ‘A’ for you. This isn’t a hobby, you know.

President Bush, FDR, and Yalta

So, after reading about President Bush’s woefully uninformed comments about FDR selling out Eastern Europe at the 1945 Yalta Conference, I figured that I, having actually done some research on Yalta and having won two awards for a paper I wrote in it, would explain why Bush was simply talking out his ass by spewing a long-time myth and neo-con talking point.

And then I noticed that Arthur Schlesinger Jr, the eminent Pulitzer winning US historian, had made a post about this very thing at the Huffington Post, noting:

The American president is under the delusion that tougher diplomacy might have preserved the freedom of small East European nations. He forgets the presence of the Red Army. No conceivable diplomacy could have saved Eastern Europe from Soviet occupation. And military action against the Soviet Union was inconceivable so long as the Pacific War was still going on. Our military planners, in order to reduce American casualties, counted on the Red Army to enter the war against Japan . At Yalta Stalin promised a firm date in August. And in February the atom bomb seemed a fantasy dreamed up by nuclear physicists.

Pretty much hits it on the head. Anyone says FDR sold out Easter Europe at Yalta to you, just toss back in their face this simple fact: the Red Army on the ground. You can read the rest of Schlesinger’s post here.

Shameless Self-Promotion

So I’m giving a talk/paper next week. It’s on Thursday 28 April 2005 at 1pm on the campus of Dublin City University (specifically in the Office of the Vice President of Research). My paper is entitled ‘A Unique and Unparalleled Surrender of Sovereignty’: Early Irish Euro-skepticism and the EEC Debate, 1968-1972.

And if that doesn’t put half of you to sleep, there’s at least going to be sandwiches for those who remain awake.

Note to Self: Write Living Will

This “living will”, I think, captures the whole Schiavo stupidity perfectly:

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn’t be long enough for me.

There’s more. Oh so much more. Go check it out here.

(found via Atrios)

Consummatum est

So, being slightly retarded when it comes to scheduling my work habits, I agreed back in December to write a few entries for an encyclopedia that will be coming out late this year or sometime in 2006. It’s on the home front during the world wars in America, Britain, and Canada.

Anyway, the deadline for submitting the entries was March 15, which created a slight problem for me, since I would be partying hard in Brussels at that point (actually at that very point I was bored out of my mind at SHAPE headquarters and marveling at their seventies decor, but whatever). That meant I had to have the damn things finished before I left on March 9. And although I had two entries completed (well, more like one and a half), I needed more time to finish the last one. Thankfully (or rather because they probably deal with deadline-busting academics all the fricking time), they accommodated me, and all was well with the world.

So why am I babbling about this? I know, I know, I can hear your muttering now: Andrew, you could have just finished them in February or something, yeah? Rubbish. You have no idea how much procrastination stimulates endorphin production. The thrill of butting up against a deadline like some blood-crazy bull goring a matador in the crotch is just too desirable sometimes for one’s own good.

Being late with work gets you high, people. Think about it.

Anyway, I mention this only because I’m finished. My entries are done. The heavens can now open up, and Monty Python trumpets can pop out of the Pope’s arse to play ‘Taps’. It is completed.

Now to finish off the next pile of work that my advisers call a dissertation and my wife calls an albatross.

Good night.