Showing posts from August, 2009
I had never heard of Larry Knechtel -- but of course it turns out my friend Matt not only heard of him, he also played on a bunch of records with him and had this to say.
Somehow I don't think that makgeolli is going to displace a drink like Patrón as a luxury beverage on the global markets.

State support for traditional Korean liquor

"There’s been a lot of talk about globalizing Korean cuisine lately, but cuisine is more than just food.

Thus the government announced yesterday a project to promote traditional Korean liquor, with the promise of a 133 billion won ($106.7 million) subsidy to the traditional liquor industry over the next five years.

The plan, announced by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Finance Ministry and the Presidential Council on National Competitiveness, aims for $1 billion in exports of Korean traditional liquor by 2017. Last year, Korea exported $230 million of such alcohol.

“By improving the quality of our liquors and providing more choices, we will be able to boost the popularity of Korean liquors,” said a ministry official who declined to be named.

The government also hopes to resurrect 50 now-…
No shortage of loonies around either, which is no surprise. I was in a co-op today and saw a large poster that said "free the political prisoners! Free Sirhan!" Can this be right? There is a movement to free Sirhan Sirhan?
The power of the pedestrian here is really something else. Cars actually stop for you in crosswalks. Yup, they even anticipate your crossing the street and stop preemptively. I had a guy in a pick-up truck wave a sheepish apology to me with a guilty look on his face because he didn't adequately stop as I approached the curb. Civilized, sure, but I was thinking there must be some major fines to compel this kind of compliance.

Nice as this all is for pedestrians, it strikes me as vaguely dangerous as well, lulling people into a false sense of safety which would be destroyed in any other city where no such niceties apply. Like my own, for instance, where motorists go out of their way to try to run you over.
The day I arrived there was a protest in front of Boalt Hall about the return of John Yoo -- architect and/or tool of the Bush torture policy -- which launched a defense of Yoo's academic freedom by Dean Christopher Edley of the Law School. Here is the text of Edley's email. I think it is a thoughtful approach to the issue and though I personally think Yoo is merely one (and not the biggest) of the unindicted war criminals of the Bush administration, the case for academic freedom here seems to be to indisputable.

Edley wrote in part:
"What troubles me substantively with the analyses in the memoranda is that they reduce the Rule of Law to the Reign of Politics. I believe there is much more to the separation of powers than the promise of ultimate remedies like the ballot box and impeachment, even in the case of a Commander in Chief during war. And I believe that the revolution in sensibilities after 9/11 demanded greater, not reduced, vigilance for constitutional rights and…
Blogging has been light as I have relocated to California for a time. Not that it is hard to blog out here, since there is wireless everywhere--I've just been busy.

I'm out here cranking away on my extraterritoriality book, fortunate enough to be a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society, which is affiliated with the law school at UC-Berkeley. It is a great place to be, very supportive and interested in what I'm working on. The other visiting folks out here are legal scholars but all have a social science angle which makes their work really interesting.

Beautiful place to be and a truly excellent place to work. Having a nice office to work in is great, having these incredible libraries right here (particularly the law library and the Bancroft Library ) is incredible, but most of all just having the time to work uninterruptedly is the key.

Though being away from the Lil Buddha and the lovely Miss Skye is no fun.

I only mention that the weather is es…
For those of you not closely keyed into the beleaguered sensibilities of historians of American foreign relations (a subject that often consumes academic historians but interests few others), Tom Zeiler's direct piece at HNN clarifies why this field remains vital and important and readily dismisses the doom- and nay-sayers. Worth reading.

I was at that SHAFR conference and also specifically at the huge meeting about changing the name of the field and/or the journal or organization, it was a really interesting and thoughtful conversation. I appreciate the comments of the founders of the organization, it was a rare opportunity to have them gathered and thinking about what they created decades ago.

Most of the proposal were interesting. I have some of my own that I was planning to submit to the SHAFR newsletter, so I am sure to put something up on Nunal along the way.

One thing I took away from some of that discussion was that a certain small group of hotshot transnational histor…
I was reading about the spanking new and sure-to-fail U.S. poppy eradication plan in Afghanistan at the moment (paying farmers not to grow poppy) and was struck by the fact that that whole country would be certain death for me aside even from the inherent danger of the bombs, snipers, firefights, and so on. The story was accompanied by a picture of Marines holding a huge sack of poppy seeds which had a hole with the seeds pouring out. Since a few poppy seeds or a single flower is enough to put me into anaphylactic shock and likely certain death I was pretty happy not be over there. Even if I am curious to learn how the beekeepers manage their hives there.
And speaking of bees, my old friend Bill Dixon (those of you who know him will not be surprised to hear this) has been in Afghanistan for a while-- after spending two and half years in Baghdad! Fearful he is not. He's been sending me pictures and stories of life over there, just incredible to hear. I have meant to post them because they are a hell of a lot more interesting than what filters to the papers but keep not blogging much.

This past week he ended up in a region called Shakar Dara about an hour north of Kabul, which means "Sweet Valley,". Bill says "it is amazingly beautiful and the people are incredibly friendly. In the 80's it was a brutal killing ground for Russian conscripts, but it's okay now as long as I go with Afghan friends who know some locals. I've adopted a bunch of the kids and show up regularly with school supplies and candy."

The name of the area may come from the beekeepers there. I have posted a bunch of Bill's pict…
I haven't been blogging much, in part because I have been trying to balance all things at once from the book on empire to my own personal ever-expanding beekeeping empire.

I just moved a beehive up to an undisclosed location in the heart of Richmond, on a bluff overlooking the James River. This is a breathtaking spot. I am going to put at least one more hive in this spot. Here is the hive.

I need to figure out what that plant is behind the bees, they love it. They were all over it early in the morning (6 am). Any clue what it is?

And here is the vista the bees have:

Not half bad, no? I have high hopes for this yard.
Lark just turned two. Still trying to get my mind wrapped around that, hard as it is to believe how fast these two years have gone. But great to experience it-- she is so utterly a little person with intense emotions in all directions (often straight up and down). Everyday she gets more interesting and interested, you can see her just absorb everything.

And let me say that if there is a better feeling than having your daughter yell 'daddy' and run into your arms and kiss you I can't imagine it.

We had a birthday party for her at Clifftop again and for some reason we took almost no pictures of it (or of the whole festival). There are a few Here is Lark blowing out the candles. She had so much fun doing it she did it again. "Again" is up there as one of her favorite phrases. "Again" is a good phrase to have at your disposal at an old time music festival. lark would often say that at the end of a tune.

We played some music and Lark danced with a bu…
I ran up to the National Archives to grab some more material the other day before I leave for points west. (Those of you who know me surely by now have some insight into this drive to get yet-more).

I was working in some late 19th century Army records, which are really fantastic materials even if a bit limitless and lacking in clear finding aids. The archivists know there way around though I got a staggering amount of stuff, I took a few thousand pictures. There is a feeling of accomplishment doing that, but of course I have only done a cursory reading of them to see if they are interesting. So, another mountain of stuff to whittle away at, though this is easily done. The richness of those materials makes me think of focusing even more on the Army in a future project. And I didn't even scratch the microfilm yet...

Anyway, the point of this is not to discuss the Archives, but to discuss something much more important-Mexican food.

When I got to the Archives out in Maryland I …