Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 8, 2012

Dear Sis~

I've just finished reading A Byzantine Journey, by John Ash, which I've been determined to read for almost two decades when a 1995 book review caught my attention and I scribbled a note to myself to find the book, a note I squirreled away and carried around in my files ever since until I finally got tired of seeing it and, through the gracious help of a friend, I was able to make the desire manifest itself.  You don't have to be a history buff, as I am admittedly am, to appreciate this lively and well-written book, a combination travel-guide and history review of the mysterious and enigmatic Byzantine empire.  The author began (and ended) his journey in Istanbul, traveling from historic town to town across modern-day Turkey, visiting the medieval sites, ruins and architectural wonders of the ancient Eastern Holy Roman Empire, recounting the history and long-forgotten battles at each stop.  This is not a dry, historical tutelage; it's a lively and beautifully written account of a thousand-plus years of remarkable history, covering everything from art and architecture to the religions, cultures and ways of life of the countless exotic peoples who fought and died over Cappadocia and the Anatolian plateau, a vast struggle between east and west, between Muslim and Christian, and two different ideas of civilization and life itself.  This is a book that invites reflection and will make you think.  I thoroughly enjoyed it...

I may have already told you how this new, very confrontational and punitive-minded administration has recently banned chicken from our menu.  We used to get a baked chicken thigh about every two weeks, which was the last "real" meat left on our entire menu (all other "meat" has long ago been replaced with an inedible soy-based patty).  The new warden deemed that the tiny bone in our tiny chicken legs (they look like pigeon legs already) are a "security threat" since, in his view, someone may use such a bone to fashion a weapon.  This ridiculous assertion is simply a pretext for him to continue to impose his draconian will upon us and to make our lives even more miserable.  This guy has serious issues and he's been taking them out on us since he arrived here...

That's it for now, Sis, from the (very hot and stifling) Big House where global warming is not an imaginary and liberal scam to us!  I'll write again soon.
Light & Love,