Friday Varia and Quick Hits

While the first day of winter is still a week away, it feels like winter right now here in North Dakotaland. With temperatures around 0 and flurries in the air almost every day.

There are plenty ways to keep warm, of course. Holiday parties, books by the fire, hot cups of coffee and stiff belts of whiskey, and layers of clothes under a warm blanket. If that’s not enough, the boys of Australian summer are playing in the first test of the Trans-Tasman Trophy, the Sixers vanquished their hated rivals, the Boston Celtics, and one of the best fight nights of the year is happening Saturday with Bud Crawford, Mick Conlan, and Teofimo Lopez sharing a card at Madison Square Garden.

There’s also a gaggle of good things to read these day, if you haven’t checked out Shawn Graham’s Failing Gloriously and Other Essays (Grand Forks, ND 2019) you really should! And if you’re looking for something a bit more literary, do check out what we’re doing over at North Dakota Quarterly!

If that’s still not enough (and when is enough, really enough?), here’s some more quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It’s hard to believe that this is the first Friday in December. Winter is here. There’s a nice blanket of snow and the skies alternate between a opaline grey and a brilliant light blue.

There are plenty of reasons to mostly stay inside in my cosy chair with my annoying dogs. First and foremost, this is new book week from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. Do check out Shawn Graham’s Failing Gloriously and Other Essays (and, if you don’t believe me read what some very smart people are saying about it here and here). Most people should also be receiving their copies of the latest issue of North Dakota Quarterly. If you haven’t received yours, it might be because you don’t subscribe

Next, there’s a fight for the heavy weight championship of the world on Saturday between the former champion Anthony Joshua and the current champion Andy Ruiz. If the pundits are right, it should be a brilliant contest. There’s also a gaggle of quality college football games including Ohio State versus Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. In other words, there’s a lot going on!

If you have find some time this weekend, maybe there’s something to enjoy in my quick hits and varia:

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Some Friday Varia

I’m traveling today, so the the picks are a bit more spartan than usual, but there are always things worth reading on the so-called internets.

At the end of the page, you’ll find the program for today’s colloquium at Dumbarton Oaks. You can read my paper here.

IMG 4463Bargepole at The Beach
Here’s the rest of my day:

The Insular World of Byzantium

Friday, November 15

8:30am                        Morning registration and coffee
9:00                Welcome (Anna Stavrakopoulou, Dumbarton Oaks)
9:15                 Introduction (Luca Zavagno and Nikolas Bakirtzis) 

Chair: Luca Zavagno

9:30-10:00       Salvatore Cosentino (Università di Bologna)
Pillars of Empire: The Economic Role of the Big Mediterranean Islands from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages

10:00-10:30     Sarah Davis-Secord (University of New Mexico)
Encounters on the Edge of the Empire: Muslims and Christians in Byzantine Sicilian Hagiography 

10:30-11:00     Q&A Session
11:00-11:15     Coffee Break 

11:15-11:45     Joanita Vroom (Leiden University)
From Euboia to Cyprus: Byzantine Trade in Context

11:45-12:15     Nikolas Bakirtzis (The Cyprus Institute)
Islands as Deserts: Monastic Practice, Patronage, and Control

12:15 – 12:45  Q&A Session
12:45 – 2:30     Lunch Break 

Chair: Nikolas Bakirtzis

2:30 – 3:00       William Caraher (University of North Dakota)
An Island Archaeology of Early Byzantine Cyprus

3:00-3:30         Luca Zavagno (Bilkent University)
“A Lost World That Never Died”: Urban Landscapes in the Byzantine Tyrrhenian in the Passage from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages

3:30-4:00         Q&A Session
4:00-4:15         Coffee Break 

4:15-4:45         Jonathan Shea (Dumbarton Oaks)
Ruling the Islands of Byzantium: Evidence for Administration and Government in the Sigillographic Material

4:45-5:00         Q&A Session 
5:00-5:30         Final discussion and concluding remarks 

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It’s a frigid Friday here in North Dakotaland with temperatures nestling down into the single figures at night. In fact, last night while walking the Bargepole, I actually felt COLD.

Fortunately, I have a gaggle of new books on their way over the weekend and a warm laptop. There’s also some good college football, the NBA getting its early season feet, and a trip to San Diego in a couple of weeks to keep me toasty.

As I weather the adjustment to winter, enjoy a little flock of quick hits and varia:

IMG 4430The Bargepole is sick so he’s conserving this strength.


Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It’s chilly here in North Dakotaland with the first “hard frosts” of the season turning the spongy ground into a wintery crunch. The chilly weather is making it just a bit harder to get out of bed in the morning to make the hard slog down to the comfy chair by the fire and the work blanket and the first cup of coffee. I’m almost looking forward to another winter.

This weekend has plenty to keep us warm from the big Alvarez-Kovalev fight to the Formula 1 boys on U.S. soil. There’s also NFL, NBA, some college footballing to enjoy. Out here at least, we have the last of the leaves to attend, a few good books that are sitting barely touched, a book to finish, and a bunch of little tasks that need doing.

It should be a good weekend, filled with left-over Halloween candy, and to share my bounty, here are so quick hits and varia:

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Friday Varia and Quick Hits

Another fall weekend is almost here and an obliging wind storm earlier in the week removed most of the leaves so that the ever weaker sunlight can warm us just a tiny bit more. Today, highs will be kissing 50 and maybe a little higher on the weekend. Just in time for one last garden clean up, a short run, and some lazy walks with the Bargepole Brothers.

The Aussies are playing some T20 cricket against Sri Lanka to get the summer international season underway, Shakur Stevenson fights for his first title on Saturday night, and the Formula 1 guys are in Mexico to christen Lewis Hamilton champion yet again. The NBA season has started as well, with the Sixers making their start as the Eagles bow out of their latest effort to make the playoffs.

I have plenty of odds and ends to take care of this weekend. Books to read, books to make, articles to finish, and the usual scurrying around at mid semester. 

While I scurry, enjoy some quick hits and varia:

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

Apparently, we’re going to enjoy a few days of “fall” in North Dakotaland this weekend. It’ll give our community a chance to clean up branches broken from the heavy snow last weekend and try to get their gardens into shape for their long winter nap. Hopefully the nice weather will give us a chance to take leisurely strolls along the banks of Lake Agassiz and to enjoy the foliage. If the weather isn’t as autumnal where you are, I hope that the weekend brings calmer weather. 

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Whatever your situation, enjoy some quick hits and varia:

In their comfort zones:

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Friday Quick Hits and Varia

We have an official snow day here at UND, but even I celebrate over my morning cup of coffee, I know that if this storm doesn’t deliver, this will cost us a snowy commute in the future.

In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’m hunkered down with my laptop and coffee by the fire and looking forward to some decent football (Eagles versus Vikings, and Penn State playing an always pesky Iowa team), a slightly disrupted Formula One weekend, the NASCAR boys at Talladega, and some decent, boxing. Plus I have some books to read, papers to grade, and a few other things to putter around with until the weather clears. I’ll post an update to my “first snow” snapshot from yesterday when there’s a bit more light.

In the meantime, enjoy a short list of quick hits and varia:


A Milo Story: Yesterday, in the sleet and rain Milo and I were playing “stick” in a local park. A swarm of deer caught his eye and in a wink, he was gone after them. I figured he’s circle back around after he gave up on the chase, but 20 minutes later, he was still no where to be found. After an hour of increasingly desperate searching in the rain and some kind of pellet sleet, he reappeared, drenched to the bone (which is quite a feat for a yellow lab), covered in burs, and clearly rattled. We got him home, dried him off, and he’s recovering from his adventure. It was a scary evening for all involved!  

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

The mighty Red River of the North keeps rising and the rain keeps coming, but at least it’s giving me an excuse not to mow the lawn!

Instead I’m going to hunker down with a couple of thesis drafts, a book, and a few articles and make the best of a rainy weekend.

I might even find some time to dredge up a few more reads for quick hits and varia, but until then here’s something to get us started:

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

I missed a blog post yesterday and I still feel a bit guilty about it. I was on the road and had an early panel at a conference and excuse, excuse, excuse, excuse. I probably missed writing more than posting to my blog, to be honest, but today is a new day and I have things to do and I’ll shake it off.

Plus, this will be a good weekend with the Eagle’s big win last night, Penn State playing on Friday night, Ohio State on Saturday night, the F1 show in Russia, and the NASCAR guys at the Roval in Charlotte. Plus, I have a table of contents to produce and a couple of books to finish reading. It should be a good weekend!

I hope that these quick hits and varia make your weekend good too:

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