Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Qualifications for Politics

The great Greek comedian, Aristophanes, made a very astute observation about the real qualifications of most politicians. The following is from the play Plutus.

Carion: You're a good man, a patriot?
Politician: If ever there was one.
Carion: And, as I guess, a farmer?
Politician: I? Lord save us. I'm not mad.
Carion: A merchant then?
Politician: Ah, sometimes I have had to take that trade up--as an alibi.
Carion: You've some profession surely.
Politician: No, not I.
Carion: How do you make a living?
Politician: Well, there're several answers to that. I'm Supervisor General of all things here, public and private too.
Carion: A great profession that. What did you do to qualify for it?
Politician: I WANTED it.

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