Vox et praeterea nihil

Proving Plutarch Prescient

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Ho Cubed

First things first, at this “festive” time of year, I’m with Ricky Gervais.

Now that we have that out of the way, and at least somewhat in the spirit of the season, here’s my trinity of favorite Christmas songs:

#3–“Christmas in Prison”, by John Prine

#2–“Christmas Must Be Tonight” by The Band

#1–“Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues (with Kirsty McColl)

And a bonus for any Tom Waits fan who stumbles across this blog by happenstance.

And to all a good night.

What’s It All About, Alfie?

Welcome to Vox Et Praeterea Nihil. The insufferably pretentious name comes from Greek historian and essayist Plutarch. More specifically, it comes from item 15 of the “Various Sayings of Spartans to Fame Unknown” (Apophthegmata Laconica, for all the Latin fans). This in turn can be found in Essay 16 in Volume 3 of the Moralia. The generally accepted literal English translation is, “A man plucked a nightingale and finding almost no meat, said, ‘It’s all voice ye are, and nought else'” (“vox et praeterea nihil”). The generally accepted interpretive meaning is something like, “The nightingale talks or sings a lot–and beautifully–but ultimately offers very little for consumption”. It may be pleasant or even charming to listen to in the moment, but ultimately there really isn’t much substance to it at all. Or, to distill it even further, it’s full of empty blather.

And isn’t that what most blogs–including, in all likelihood, this one–are? A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square, indeed.

I am very much a latecomer to the world of blogs, blogging, social media, etc. In fact, I have been deeply cynical about and resistant to this entire universe. So why start now? The answer to that question is not yet fully formulated in my own mind. Perhaps it will emerge autochthonously as this blog continues–if it does. There is no comprehensive theme or purpose for this blog. It will be a somewhat random and motley collection of posts reflecting my interests in politics, current affairs, culture, science, and whatnot. Think of it, if you will, as a modern-day virtual Wunderkammer. (I’m a big fan of the Museum of Jurassic Technology and the book about it.)


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