Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Well, the sun gave up and its mostly cloudy now - still better than being pelted by sleet, though it remains cold. Have walked through a good deal of the shopping areas of London today (Oxford, Piccadilly, Bond St, Regent St. The prices are extraordinary - I couldn't imagine living here. Definite signs of an upper-class society throughout town as well - parks under lock & key, people that make no effort to yield while walking on the sidewalks, lack of eye contact when passing and of course the type of stores and the prices. I'm beginning to think the day of the strong ruling class and peasant class remains fully intact with King Blair and King Bush sitting on the thrones. The difference is that the power (and the funding) comes from the head of corporations rather than land barons and the battle is not over land, the global economy. I digress...

Visited the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery (right next door) and the Royal Academy today (all free). The first two were quite impressive. Both the collection and the building housing the national gallery was quite a site. The portrait gallery took you through the history of England in chronological order with a good narration about what was happening as the years unfolded and how the crown bounced around between blood lines and how the religious division between Protestant and Catholic within the same family played a significant role in how things unfolded. It also seems that death in battle or by execution was often how things ended for many of the kings or their wives. Guess its only good to be the king so long as you have full support of the people and others in your family. I'm still not sure I've got all the history clear in my head - I think I need some kind of cheat sheet that shows who is from what family, how long they were in power and what happened during their reign.

The book I'm now reading, Cod, is more than you ever wanted to know about the fish. What's interesting is that much of the power of the 17th and 18th century came from the trade with America and the Indies of which the codfish played an important role. Its an odd bit of context, but interesting that a fish could play such an important role in history (though I'm sure the book may be amplifying the role somewhat).

Must be on my way, I'm out of Cappuccino...

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