It is 12:41pm here in Seal Beach, California, socked in with the dreaded ‘June Gloom’, aka the Marine Inversion Layer, and it is chilly for a mid-summer day at 66F/18C and there is a bit of wind. The Sun has made no effort to come out for a visit. Hopefully, old Sol will burn the clouds soon.
In the meantime, here a few nice links for your Fourth of July reading enjoyement…
How America got its name: The suprising story of an obscure scholar, an adventurer’s letter, and a pun
When Ringmann read this news, he was thrilled. As a good classicist, he knew that the poet Virgil had prophesied the existence of a vast southern land across the ocean to the west, destined to be ruled by Rome. And he drew what he felt was the obvious conclusion: Vespucci had reached this legendary place. He had discovered the fourth part of the world. At last, Europe’s Christians, the heirs of ancient Rome, could begin their long-prophesied imperial expansion to the west.
Nick Patrick on Did Americans in 1776 have British accents?
Reading David McCullough’s 1776, I found myself wondering: Did Americans in 1776 have British accents? If so, when did American accents diverge from British accents?
The answer surprised me.
I’d always assumed that Americans used to have British accents, and that American accents diverged after the Revolutionary War, while British accents remained more or less the same.
Americans in 1776 did have British accents in that American accents and British accents hadn’t yet diverged. That’s not too surprising.
What is surprising, though, is that those accents were much closer to today’s American accents than to today’s British accents. While both have changed over time, it’s actually British accents that have changed much more drastically since then.
Nonetheless, in addition to a regular circuit of dinners, drinks, and fishing outings, the Tyburn Angling Society is committed to resurfacing the ancient stream — still theirs to fish, they argue, by a never-repealed royal decree. “You could have people fishing by the river in the middle of Mayfair,” Jim Bowdidge told the Evening Standard, “We would get the Wild Trout Trust to get the habitat right for small wild brown trout. Properly done, we could have salmon.”
John Scalzi on Status Check, Re: USA:
The 234th birthday of the United States of America is a fine time to check in with one’s self about how one feels about being a citizen of this country, so today’s question: Am I proud to be an American?
I am. The United States, like so many things, is better as an idealized concept than it is as an actual entity, on account that the nation is made up of people, and while most people mean well, in a day-to-day sense they struggle with their ideals, which are often so inconvenient to their desires. And so, like a married family-values politician with a Craigslist personal ad, or a vegan Febreezing the apartment so no one will catch the smell of bacon, America often finds itself failing its own expectations for itself and others.
Last but not least, the quote of the day from Kevin Lawver:
Happy “Crap, We Lost Some Colonies” Day, Brits!
Update! 12:54pm on 07.04.10 – The Sun is doing his job & is burning through the clouds, Seal Beach now has some sun, some clouds, and is still chilly. Wahoo.
Happy Fourth of July!