Oh LazyWeb, I invoke thee

by Kieran Healy on December 13, 2003

Question: Is there a way to automatically close comments threads in Movable Type after a fixed period of time? I know this can be done when your MT installation runs an SQL backend, but ours doesn’t. I suppose we should have used SQL from the get-go, but what can I say?

Another bit of Sen

by Chris Bertram on December 13, 2003

One of the drawbacks of “Development as Freedom”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385720270/junius-20 is that it really is very repetitive and very similar points supported by the same examples and quotations recur less than 100 pages apart. In several places, though, he makes a good and important about markets and the freedom to transact:

bq. In recent discussions, the focus in assessing the market mechanism has tended to be on _results_ it ultimately generates, such as the incomes or utilities yielded by markets. This is not a negligible issue ….. But the more immediate case for the freedom of market transaction lies in the basic importance of that freedom itself. We have good reasons to buy and sell, to exchange, and to seek lives that can flourish on the basis of transactions. To deny that freedom in general would be in itself a major failing of society. This fundamental recognition is _prior_ to any theorem we may or may not be able to prove … in showing what the culmination outcomes of markets are in terms of incomes, utilities and so on. (p. 112)

Another Important Endorsement

by Kieran Healy on December 13, 2003

Dean wraps up the youth vote.

Horace in wartime

by Chris Bertram on December 13, 2003

William Dalrymple has “a review of a collection of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s writing”:http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/travel/0,6121,1105876,00.html — “Words of Mercury”:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0719561051/junius-21 — in the Guardian. This contains, for the first time, Leigh Fermor’s own account of the SOE’s abduction of the German commander on Crete, General Kriepe, and, within it, one of the best wartime anecdotes:

bq. … the climax comes not as the general’s staff car is stopped at night by a British SOE party dressed in stolen German uniforms, nor as the Cretan partisans help smuggle the general into the Cretan highlands and thence to a waiting British submarine; but instead as “a brilliant dawn was breaking over the crest of Mount Ida” : “We were all three lying smoking in silence, when the General, half to himself, slowly said: ‘Vides ut alta stet nive candidum Socrate’. It was the opening lines of one of the few Horace odes I knew by heart. I went on reciting where he had broken off … The General’s blue eyes swivelled away from the mountain-top to mine – and when I’d finished, after a long silence, he said: ‘Ach so, Herr Major!’ It was very strange. ‘Ja, Herr General.’ As though for a moment, the war had ceased to exist. We had both drunk at the same fountains long before; and things were different between us for the rest of our time together.”

If there were a list of Crooked Timber suggested Christmas presents, Leigh Fermor’s “A Time of Gifts”:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140049479/junius-21 , his account of his wanderings on foot across pre-war Europe (or at least the first volume of that unfinished trilogy) would be one of my recommendations.