Panther Red

I’ve long used “Acilius” as my screen-name, in tribute to Gaius Acilius, a Roman historian who was alive and doing interesting things in 155 BC.  It never occurred to me that anyone would know the etymology of the name “Acilius”; it was quite an old name among the Romans, and they did not really keep track of that sort of thing in those days.

A couple of months ago, I happened onto a post on the blog “Paleoglot” which led me to wonder if there might not be a way to explore the question of where the gens Acilia found its name.  Blogger Glen Gordon analyzes various occurrences of a stem acil- in Etruscan.  In his conclusion, Mr Gordon offers these definitions to cover the occurrences he has discussed:

I think we could define the English translations of the whole word family much better as part of a grander…

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My site on Blogs Pot

Lately I’ve been copying my posts from Los Thunderlads to my satellite site on blogspot.  My goal is to have another backup in case something happens to WordPress.  So far I’ve copied all the posts I intend to copy from the blog’s inception in July 2007 through August 2009, and also from several more recent months.  The rest will be going up in the weeks ahead.

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2010 roundup

Last year, we published 195 posts on our parent site, Los Thunderlads.  Among the most popular were “Words that can be spelled using chemical symbols,” “Sex, perhaps; sexiness, no,” “Georgia O’Keeffe Paintings,” “Pictograms taking care of business,” “The strong do what they will, and the weak suffer what they must,” “More veiled women,” “Conway’s game of life,” “The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain rereleases two early albums,”  “The labors of Hercules,” and “Discover Magazine, June 2010.”  I can explain the popularity of some of these posts, but not of all.  Maggie Jochild linked to “The labors of Hercules” on GroupNewsBlog.  Al Wood gave “The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain rereleases two early albums very high praise on Ukulele Hunt.  And “Sex, perhaps; sexiness, no” links to this picture.*  Also, a post that mentioned Susie Bright attracted Susie Bright’s own attention; a Tweet from her drove a lot of traffic to the site, not so much to that post.

2010 was also the year Los Thunderlads joined Twitter; we don’t do much there, and have attracted only a few dozen followers.  We might start taking more seriously in 2011.  Also drifting about in cyberspace is a side project I started in February and haven’t touched since March, Classical Ukulele.  Compared with the fate of that site, I’ve almost done a good job keeping up with another satellite, our Tumblr site.

Early in the year, Believer1, aka Mrs Acilius, posted several very interesting things at her site, One Believer.    She hasn’t posted there since April, when she discussed differing attitudes towards the proper relationship between religion and politics as found in the “World Values Survey.”  I can recommend that post, and also those titled “Wheelchair Basketball,” “Birthdays are for Everyone,” and “Fun with Stats.”

I haven’t stirred up any great controversies in comment threads at other sites.   The only place where I’ve been commenting regularly is Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For blog; to the extent that I have role there, it is most definitely not that of provocateur.  In fact, on one occasion I was part of a successful effort to soothe an irritable discussion draw people out of the woodwork.   At Language Log, by contrast, I’ve apparently acquired such a reputation as a troublemaker that all I have to do is use the word “‘Tis” and parties form for and against “Acilius’ argument.”  A couple of months ago I left a comment on Steve Sailer’s blog in which I explained why I  no longer leave comments on Steve Sailer’s blog.

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New post on Los Thunderlads

Mrs Acilius has posted something funny at our parent site.

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The last six months on Los Thunderlads

Since I last posted here in July, over 180 posts have gone up on our parent site, Los Thunderlads.  Particularly busy categories include Periodicals Notes, Ukulele, and Current Events

I’ve also created a number of pages of links, as a way of keeping the blogroll manageable.  So we have pages devoted to Comic Strips, Ukulele sites,  News and Periodicals,  Filters, General Interest Blogs, Language and Linguistics sites, Pictures, Artists, and Art Blogs,  Political Blogs, and Reference resources.

The blog has been getting a record number of hits, about half of them from a weird Google images result that ranked us as the top result for “burqa” because of a June post by Cymast that included a picture of some veiled women and a chunk of the rest coming from other equally weird sources.  But we appreciate the traffic.  For a while I felt people looking for images of burqas might be disappointed finding a site with only that one picture, so I added a post that linked to lots of pictures of veiled Muslim women.   That one sank like a stone, but the post from June is still pulling them in.  That’s show business, I suppose.

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The last two weeks on Los Thunderlads

The last two weeks have been fairly active at our parent site.

I, Acilius, have posted about a BBC correspondent’s fanciful theory about Barack Obama; about Banana Art, both newsworthy and from miscellaneous places on the web; have posted ukulele videos to commemorate the Fourth of July and the death of Michael Jackson; and have made notes about points that interested me in recent issues of The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Conservative, and The Economist.

Cymast has posted about military robots; about Russian cat fancier Nina Kostova; about Pop, the Swedish baby whose gender is a secret; about a rich dude who is taking care of some ducks; and about a Chicagoland entrepreneur whose business model seems to consist of including the word “Ass” in the names of his startups.

Believer1 marked the Fourth by putting the Declaration of Independence on the site. She also put up links to video of Barack Obama’s humorous speech at this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner.

Blog founder VThunderlad has been silent lately; so too has LeFalcon. I alone remain of the original Thunderlads, at least for the moment. I’m in touch with the others, though, and I have hopes for their eventual return.

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A recent posting from Los Thunderlads

I’ve always read a lot of magazines.  Sometimes I’ve found myself trying to remember something I read in a magazine years before, and wishing I’d taken notes on it and preserved those notes in some readily searchable form.  So when I joined Los Thunderlads a couple of years ago, I decided to use it to post notes on magazines I’d read.  Below are my notes, posted there, on the 4 May 2009 issue of The American Conservative

mrhardingposterI’ve long thought that the last truly acceptable US president was Warren G. Harding.  He was virtually the last president not to have committed American forces to a new war.  On the contrary, President Harding pulled US troops out of Russia, where his predecessor Woodrow Wilson had sent them to fight alongside the anti-Bolshevik forces.  He negotiated a peace with Germany separate from the  Versailles treaty and free from that document’s vengeful anti-German provisions and its dangerously open-ended entanglement with the League of Nations.  He concluded the Washington Naval Convention, an agreement which staved off the kind of arms race at sea that had led to the First World War.  And while most other president’s have treated the other countries in the western hemisphere with barely disguised contempt, a habit which made it possible for Woodrow Wilson actually to say of his 1913 incursions into Mexico that he was going to use the US military to “teach the Latin American republics to elect good men,” Harding showed genuine respect for his countries neighbors.  In a 1920 campaign speech, he denounced Wilson’s intervention in Haiti, saying:

Practically all we know is that thousands of native Haitians have been killed by American Marines, and that many of our own gallant men have sacrificed their lives at the behest of an Executive department in order to establish laws drafted by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. … I will not empower an Assistant Secretary of the Navy to draft a constitution for helpless neighbors in the West Indies and jam it down their throats at the point of bayonets borne by US Marines. 

The Assistant Secretary of the Navy in question was at that time also the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.  This official had publicly said that “The facts are that I wrote the Haitian Constitution myself, and if I do say it, I think it’s a pretty good constitution.”  The man’s name?  Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  As president, FDR would speak of a “Good Neighbor Policy” toward the other states in the Americas, but as a party to the invasion and occupation of Haiti during the Wilson administration he was rather less entitled to be called a “good neighbor” than was Harding.    

Harding’s peaceful record in foreign policy was matched by his concern for liberty at home.  Unlike most of his successors, Harding did not increase the number of grounds on which Americans could be imprisoned; on the contrary, he released the political prisoners Woodrow Wilson’s administration had locked up during the First World War and the subsequent First Red Scare.  He even invited the most famous of these prisoners, Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs, to have Christmas dinner with him at the White House. 

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