4.15.2016

Rewarding Nonsense

Mulla Banna'i:
I have neither grain on which to be nourished
Nor grain sack which with to be clothed.
How can he who has neither food nor clothing
devote himself to learning or art? 
Babur:
All things will be as your heart desires,
Stipend and position will both be commanded.
That grain and sack of which you spoke - I know
You will fill a garment, and grain will fill your house. 
Mulla Banna'i:
My prince, who will be shah of land and sea,
Will be legend throughout the world for virtue.
He has shown such favor in rewarding nonsense:
Were my words reasonable, what all would there be? 
 Baburnama

The Affair of the Khwaja

After Sultan-Ali Mirza was was killed Jan-Ali too was dispatched after his prince. Since Shaybani Khan was in some fear of Khwaja Yahya, he dismissed him and his two sons, Khwaja Muhammad Zakariya and Khwaja Baki, to Khurasan. A few Uzbeks followed behind them, and in the vicinity of Khwaja Kardzan they martyred the khwaja and the two young boys. Even worse, Shaybani Khan claimed that the affair of the khwaja was not his doing, that it had been done by Qambar Bey and Kopak Bey. As the saying goes, "The excuse is worse than the crime."  
Baburnama

Wormwood in Samarkand

Shaybani Khan responded to [Zuhra Begi Agha's] promise and camped in the Bagh-i-Maydan. At noon, [Zuhra's son] Sultan-Ali Mirza, without informing any of his begs or warriors, and without consulting anyone, went out through the Charrah Gate with an insignificant few of his immediate retinue, headed for Shaybani Khan in the Bagh-i-Maydan. He was not well-received by Shaybani Khan, who seated him in a less honorable place than himself after the interview. When Khwaja Yahya learned that the prince had gone out, he was upset. There was nothing he could do but go out too. Shaybani Khan received him without rising and spoke somewhat reproachfully. However, when Khwaja Yahya rose to leave, Shaybani Khan rose respectfully. 
Jan-Ali, Khwaja Aki Bay's son, was in Rabat-i-Khwaja. When he learned that his prince had gone out to Shaybani Khan, he went too. In her lust to get a husband, that wretched, feebleminded woman [Zuhra] brought destruction on her son. Shaybani Khan paid her not the slightest attention and regarded her as less than a concubine.
Sultan-Ali Mirza was at a loss and regretted having gone out. Some of his retinue understood what was up and thought they could get the prince out. Sultan-Ali Mirza refused to consent. Since his time had come, nothing could save him. He stayed with Temur Sultan, and four or five days late they executed him in the Qolba Meadow. For the sake of this transitory life he departed with a bad name. By listening to the words of women, he removed himself from the circle of those of good repute. Of such a person no more can be written; of such horrible acts no more need be heard. 
Baburnama 

4.13.2016

Rhinoceroses

[Rhinoceroses] wield their horns in an amazing way. During hunts they gored a lot of men and horses. On one hunt a page named Maqsud had his horse thrown a spear-length by one. Thereafter he was nicknamed Rhinoceros Maqsud.
Baburnama 

3.31.2016

Edged Tools Given to Children

Isaphaena, you tell me to break myself of swearing, and not to spend my time about different professions of religion; that it will make enemies, &c. Now listen to me while I speak the truth, for on this subject you know that I always do speak what I think is true. I never did swear much, and I have quit it almost entirely, for nobody would understand me, and it would be useless to waste breath when I know I can put it to a better use. As to religion, there is not much here of any kind, and I assure you I have not said ten words on the subject since I left, nor do I expect to; and here, where Voltaire, Rousseau, and the whole constellation of mighty-minded men lived and wrote and died, I feel— Isaphaena—not so much an infidel as when at home surrounded by church-going people. Why is this? I have never for a moment doubted the sincerity of my immediate friends, but at home I looked into the evil more closely than the good effects—there I saw ignorance, bigotry, and deceit ever foremost; they were the most prominent, therefore the most likely to be seen. Here I still look on the evil side and find it terrible. God save me from a country without religion, and from a government with it—I know you will say Amen also to the next sentence—and return me safe to a country with religion and a government without it. I am convinced that the evils of infidelity are worse—ay, much worse— than any religion whatever. 
Had I the talents of the above-mentioned men I would not spend it as they did, nor would they, could they see the effect produced. Their object was good—to correct the evils of a corrupt priesthood—but their works were like edged tools given to children. Human nature is not perfect, and their refined and perfected systems of morals will not apply, and if we were perfect we would not need them. I speak the words of truth and soberness.
 - Dr. John Y. Bassett in a letter to his wife from Paris, 
quoted by Sir William Osler in An Alabama Student  

2.15.2016

Medical Evidence Pyramid

The medical evidence pyramid is much like all pyramids, in that the bottom levels are infested with snakes and booby traps and vengeful medical evidence mummies.

Secret Sauce

My personal experience tells me that the common observation that long-lasting love does not exist simply isn’t true. I know, and I suspect you know, old couples that have been together for decades that demonstrate the opposite. You might call that rare — I might agree — but “this good thing is rare” and “this good thing doesn’t exist” are very different statements with different intents. The former inspires you to work harder; the latter excuses you for not working at all, which I suspect is the secret sauce in this genre.