Odious and Peculiar

Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.

O&P's Current Pick:

Forging the Sampo

Odious' Links:

The Little Bookroom
The Pumpkin King
Larissa Archer
Inverted Iambs
Eve Tushnet
Pamela Dean
Kambodia Hotel
Pen and Paper

Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary
Deep-Sea News
NASA's Mars Website
Classics Online
Perseus Digital Library

Nine Scorpions
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Letter from Hardscrabble Creek
Arts & Letters Daily
About Last Night



Chas Clifton's Nature Blog
Rock Art Photo Blog
Girl on a Whaleship
Nature Lyrics Languagehat
Jabal al-Lughat
Laputan Logic
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Vladimir Dinets: Polymath Russian Adventurer
Virtual Tour of Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aerial Landscape Photography
USGS Earth As Art
Panoramic Aerial Maps of the American West

The Internet Bird Collection
Bird Families of the World
Ancient Scripts
The Aberdeen Bestiary Project
The Cephalopod Page
The Ultimate Ungulate
The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
USGS Streamflow Data

Worthy Miscellany
Finno-Ugrian Music
Boojum Expeditions
American River Touring Association

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Monday, December 14, 2009
The rendezvous was at the famous Milan race track of San Siro. We were to fight in the paddock. Arriving there shortly after dawn with my seconds, I remembered that only a few weeks before the place had cost me money. This time something else was involved.

The first thing you forget "on the ground" is your fencing superiority. Your sensibilities increase tremendously. As soon as you are stripped to the waist, the chilly morning makes you think: "Even if I come out of this in good shape, it wouldn't be a bit funny to die of pneumonia."

A few yards away, you notice that your adversary talks leisurely with his seconds.
Aldo Nadi, On Fencing, here recounting his (only) duel, in 1923. A worthwhile read, particularly for his willingness to both support tradition: "It would be utterly ridiculous for anyone to ignore or change traditions which are centuries old" and to break with it: "If you hear tell of eight foil parry positions, from prime to octave, just say it isn't so. Do not lose your time: the overwhelming majority of the world's fencers, including the best, have never used more than six."

UPDATE: I should mention that while reading On Fencing, I came across mention of a fencing treatise by Descartes, and immediately thought, "Why haven't I read this?!" Oh--it's lost. Even with my suspicion that it wasn't very good (Descartes soldiering never struck me as wholehearted): melancholia.


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