Back when I took Sanskrit, our professor mentioned other related languages in the Indo-European language family, and my interest was piqued. I picked up a copy of Baldi’s book on IE languages, and one of the ones that came up that I had never heard of was Tocharian, a language with some documentary evidence in Central Asia. A guy from my class actually ended up taking Tocharian, masochist that he is. I always wanted to learn more, but was too lazy to do the painful linguistics paper reading until this essay came to my attention. It’s worth a skim, just to learn something about ancient Central Asia, a subject which is rarely dealt with in general history courses.


where there’s a will

George Will, alumnus of my high school, Pulitzer prize-winner, and conservative jerk, is undoubtedly a good writer. Consider this piece from the Post:

Being steadfast in defense of carefully considered convictions is a virtue. Being blankly incapable of distinguishing cherished hopes from disappointing facts, or of reassessing comforting doctrines in face of contrary evidence, is a crippling political vice.

It has the comforting cadence of a proverb, is wittiy, and cuts deep. The whole essay is worth reading — he takes Bush to task for his “us-white-people” comment.