Rest in Power, Helen Reddy and Mac Davis

Yesterday, we lost two amazing performers. Both Helen Reddy and Mac Davis were 78 years old. Their genres were different, but they were powerful in their own ways. Reddy was best known for her anthemic “I Am Woman,” but she was also an actor (she was in the original “Pete’s Dragon” as well as several other films). Davis was a noted singer-songwriter (“In The Ghetto” and “A Little Less Conversation” were just two of his works).

Music Monday, Anniversary Edition

Eighteen years ago today, I stood in the English Garden at what was then the Lake Tahoe Fantasy Inn (it’s changed hands and no longer has the fabulous theming) and said “I do.” I married into Clan Cathcart, which also makes me a Wallace. Thus, our choice for a recessional: “Scots Wha’ Hae.” World-renowned Celtic harpist Anne Roos played it for us; this version is by Alex Beaton.

Renovations at Historic York Guildhall Reveal Human Remains, Roman Artifacts | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine

As BBC News reports, the team’s other finds include a well-preserved hairpin, a copper stylus, and pieces of roof and floor tiles tentatively dated to the Roman period.

“It is therefore possible that the medieval Friary was built over the ruins of a Roman building that once occupied the riverfront,” says Tom Coates, project supervisor for the York Archaeological Trust, in the statement.

York—then known by its Latin name, Eboracum—was established as a Roman settlement around A.D. 71, according to the Yorkshire Museum.

The latest finds are far from the first ancient discoveries at the Guildhall site: In February, archaeologists uncovered a cobbled Roman road buried some five feet below the ground’s surface, reported Mike Laycock for the York Press.

Renovations at Historic York Guildhall Reveal Human Remains, Roman Artifacts | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine

Suetonius, one of the characters in Pompeii Fire, is from Britain. In fact, his gladiatorial nom de guerre is Britannicus. Click through to read more about the excavations at York.

Sample Saturday, with Bonus Track: “Pompeii Fire”

Hi, everyone. This week’s sample is, again, from my work in progress entitled Pompeii Fire. As always, the final product is likely to differ from the current draft.

Music was a regular part of gladiatorial games, played during and between bouts. The cornu referred to in the text is a brass instrument. You have probably seen images of them in frescoes and so on. Two examples of the instrument were excavated from Pompeii during the 19th century. The cornu in the video is a reconstructon. We are very fortunate to have an opportunity to hear this ancient horn played.


After his bout ended and the cornu signaled the next event, Drusilla met Suetonius in the quadriportico. “You must come to the praedia. I have arranged for us to have the baths to ourselves, so that you may bathe and I may dress your wounds in myrrh.”

“Drusilla, this is a dangerous game for you to play. There is still time for you to change your mind.”

“I am not playing, Suetonius.”

“I will be there within the half hour, then. Kiss me, my princess, and let me count the minutes.”

Weekend Reads: “The Jane Austen Society”

The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once upon a time, I was a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Austen’s books, though they are few in number, are some of the most splendid social commentary of their time. Her works give us an intimate view of life in Regency England.

This novel takes place during and shortly after World War II, in the town of Chawton (Austen lived there toward the end of her life). Frances Knight, a descendant of Austen’s brother, is living a reclusive life in the ancestral home while village life goes on around her. We get to meet Adeline Grover, the school teacher, Dr. Benjamin Gray, attorney/solicitor Andrew Forrester, and many other denizens of the city. We also meet American film star Mimi Harrison. What eventually brings all of these characters, and a couple of others, together is their love for Austen’s novels.

Ultimately, the book is a highly fictionalized telling of how the original Jane Austen Society was founded. While none of the characters are real people, they *feel* real all the same. Their foibles and desires are revealed throughout the book; no one is flawless, but all of them are believable.

I finished this book in just three sittings because I didn’t want to stop reading. Janeites (as fans call themselves) are sure to love it, but those who enjoy good historical fiction will be just as delighted.

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