A to Z 2022: The Snackable Renaissance

It’s coming. The blogger’s A to Z challenge for 2022 starts tomorrow, and I’m going all in! Well, partly in. Get ready to learn a little bit about history for the next 26 days…

…the Renaissance!

Close-up of Raphael’s School of Athens, photo by kajmeister.

Why the A to Z Challenge?

Phew! It’s been a busy time here for kajmeister. I know the blogs have thinned out recently. I haven’t been writing much here because I’ve been writing as a student and on my part-time job. Both are things that have emerged because I’ve been here, and because you’ve been reading these blogs. So, Thank You! If you’d like to hear about the Civil War (one of my history classes) or need suggestions for how to make a career change (my writing job), let me know… I’ve probably written something.

Meanwhile, it’s about to be April, and the blogosphere has this crazy challenge called A to Z. Write 26 posts on a theme. It starts off fun, gets a little grueling around L and M, hard to figure out X, Q, and J, and even if Z doesn’t make sense is exciting to write that last letter! It requires both the strategy of how to generate the challenging letters and the stamina of writing a marathon.

Two years ago, when the world shut down for all of us, the A to Z challenge was a sanity check for me. I didn’t know what I was getting into but tried it out using one of my favorite topics. Those 26 posts on the Olympics turned into a mini-book. That, in turn, helped me pitch a longer book to a real live publisher (my book on women at the games, coming this summer, *shameless plug*), and teach two short classes on the subject. I’m also now in graduate school because of that experience, learning how to write history better.

Last year, I wrote about Accounting–my previous career–and had a lot of fun exploring the background of something I knew well technically. This past January, when my first major school project required a research topic, I turned to those accounting blogs. As a result, I’m writing an accounting history paper which I’m to broaden into a thesis and another book. How can accounting history be fascinating you say? Wait two years, and we’ll find out together.

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How to Harness the Wind (Crossing the Pond I)

Sailing is a prime form of technological magic that we take for granted. You stick a boat in the water with a standing sheet of cloth or plastic and expect it to start zooming wherever you like. Pretty miraculous, though. Like flying, it’s not just going fast and having wings, but how the wings are shaped. In the same way, sailboats move because of how the sails are shaped, and how they’re allowed to move.

Phoenician ship
Phoenician ships ruled the Mediterranean 3000 years ago, photo by Jennie Hill

Human cultures have a lot of coastlines, so for eight millennia, those cultures learned how to navigate long distances–without computers, electricity, steam power, sextants, or even nails. The Portugese, Phoenicians, Vikings, and the Chinese all created distinct seafaring dynasties, each in their own turn. As I’m about to start a journey across the Atlantic on a boat, I decided to try to understand exactly how they did it.

If Square, Add Oars

The oldest known ship, the Pessoe canoe in the Netherlands, dates back to 8000 BC. From Easter Island to the fertile crescent to the Inuit, people have been hollowing out a tree or lashing logs together, raft-like, in order to move across the water. Many added a bit of cloth mounted on a stick to move away from the wind, plus some oar power to keep going when the wind was in the wrong direction or nonexistent.

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Reblog — Food & Ireland — a beautiful combination

I received a near-record number of views for my “Avocado Toast” commentary last week; thanks for viewing! I am hard pressed to think of something so extraordinary but will have something by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in a combination of posts about food and about Ireland, my most recent topics, my spouse has written a most excellent entry herself. If you hadn’t seen it yet, you will likely enjoy it:

Tatyo Cheese and Onion Crisps

Click here and start fantasizing about cheese and onion potato chips…

via A Yank’s Opinion of Ireland’s Crisps | Kallmaker.com