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Annotations and comments

Todd Bernhardt has posted 946 annotations/comments since 8 January 2003.


First Reading

About What to do about plot spoilers...

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

No need for defense, David!

I had read your annotations as considerations of the subtleties involved, not as an attempt to set down rules, but I wanted to make sure that others didn't get put off by the whole spoiler issue by thinking that it might get too complex to follow or "enforce."

Again, thanks for bringing the issue up, David, and for your other contributions to the site. As others have said more eloquently than I, it's really nice to vicariously experience Sam's life day by day. I know there will probably be times when I won't be able to fight the temptation to "skip ahead," but at least the warning of a spoiler gives me that choice.

About What to do about plot spoilers...

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

I'm afraid we might go too far if we try to set rules or parameters.

I appreciate David's efforts in bringing this issue up, and in trying to anticipate the subtleties and exceptions involved, and in trying to alleviate any problems that might occur as a result, but I wonder if we might be expecting too much if we expect people to consider multiple guidelines as they post spoilers.

It'll be interesting to watch the growth and development of this group of Pepysophiles over the next decade -- we might stay stable and small, and "rules" (such as they are) will generally be followed. But given the anarchy of the Internet, I don't expect that to happen, and so things might work best if they're kept as simple as possible -- i.e., if you can remember to do it, please put "spoiler" in the heading of your annotation if you're going to reveal something *now* that is talked about *later in the diary*. That then gives people the choice to read or not and, as David rightly brings up, will not stop people from posting valuable info.

Does this sound reasonable, or am I off-course?

About What to do about plot spoilers...

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

I think the question's easily solved...

From my experience on various music discussion lists, where some people get access to albums or attend tours before others, the solution comes down to simply putting the word "spoiler" in the heading of the post (in this case, annotation). That way, people who care about "reading ahead" (I'm with you, LH!) can choose not to read the annotation, while those who don't care can read and discuss "future" events freely.

What say ye?

About Tuesday 31 January 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Excellent suggestions, PHE and Laura. And Django, thanks for the kind thought. I'm a bit of a science nut and have been following this mission closely ... they were doing a lot of very interesting experiments, and the mission was getting more press than shuttles have lately. It's a horrible loss, and I'm still stunned almost beyond words.

About Wednesday 1 February 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

What's the difference between a counsellor and attorney?

I know that in the U.K. there is a difference in the roles these two play in the legal system, but can't remember what it is ... in the U.S., the two terms are pretty much used interchangeably.

Also, who's getting what done to her neck?

About More footnote pages?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

'swhat I figured (and feared) ... thanks for the quick response, Phil.

FWIW, I wouldn't mind making the list of recent annotations longer.

About More footnote pages?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

The amount of footnotes are good for me, but I have a modest proposal about the annotations:

Phil, is it possible (here I'm showing my ignorance of the technology behind blogs) to allow the user to specify the number of "results" they get when they "request" a list of recent annotations? My language in quotes in the previous sentence shows that I realize that's not how the annotations page works now ... rather, it seems to comprise a certain number of annotations, with the most-recent pushing the least-recent from the list. But is it possible to have the user specify how many recent annotations they want to see? I ask because I can foresee times when I won't be able to read the diary for a day or two (horrors! :^) and am afraid I'll miss a useful annotation that someone has posted.

As usual, many thanks for the site. You've turned me into a Pepys junkie, ya bastard!

About Thursday 26 January 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: When were mealtimes?

From my reading of the diary so far, it seems the substantial meals of the day are dinner (i.e., lunch, the noontime meal) and supper. Pepys often speaks of his "morning draft," and I remember an earlier annotation in which someone (sorry, I forget who) said that it was not common back then to eat breakfast, but instead to drink it (keeping in mind earlier discussions about how beer could be much weaker back then, and was used as an efficient way of preserving the nutritional and caloric value of the grains that went into making it).

Look at the entry, and you'll see that Sam and his wife had a light supper ("ate a bit and so home") after their "very fine dinner" earlier.

About Friday 27 January 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Not to worry, Bonny!

I do the same thing, only three hours later than you (are you in my future, or am I in your past? 8^) ... I'm on the East Coast of the U.S., but always try to sneak a look at the day's entry before I leave work (as I'm doing now) ... as you say, thank goodness for the "Recent Annotations" link!

About Saturday 21 January 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"Black" as adjective or noun:

Glyn's post above points, I suspect, to a clue we can use in the future -- when Pepys uses "black" as an adjective (as he does in describing "poor Mr. Cook"), then it seems to refer to someone of European descent with dark complexion/hair color, while when he uses it as a noun, it refers to someone of African descent.

Not to start a new thread or anything, but this use of black as a adjective (and I, like David, appreciate and have learned from the discussions around this) has brought back to mind the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets, whom many have argued was of African descent ... perhaps they were ignorant of the other connotations of the word in his day?

Finally, it's nice to note the high level of civility in these discussions. One more reason why this site is on my must-visit-daily list.

About HTML changes... CSS guru needed

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Happy to help where I can, Celeste! I don't have the history chops of the other folks on the site, so I try to add value where I can...

BTW, the Ctrl key/scroll wheel tip above only works with IE. To quickly resize text in Netscape (in 4.x, anyway), hold down the Ctrl key and use the left bracket ( [ ) to make things smaller, and the right ( ] ) bracket to make things bigger.

And I'll gladly add my voice to the chorus of huzzahs for Phil and the other annotators ... you rawk!

About Friday 20 January 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Come, all ye who call yourself Gourdenes:

An unbeliever!! Persecute! Kill the heretic!

But seriously folks, I think Mick has a point. This probably is a colloquialism that, unfortunately, we may never know the meaning of.

It's fun to speculate though, ain't it?

About Thursday 19 January 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Excellent! Thanks, Susanna and David.

Despite my initial reluctance to encounter "spoilers" by glimpsing into Sam's future (through bios like Tomalin's or through other means), if I want to get the contextual info I need to fully understand each entry, it looks like I'll have to.

About HTML changes... CSS guru needed

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Using IE6 on Win2k, with text size set to "smaller," the text is pretty unreadable. Knocking up the text size to "medium" makes the text display about the same as it was (11 or 12 px, mebbe?) before you converted to ems. It's no big deal from my perspective ... it's easy enough for me to change (holding down the Ctrl key and using my mouse's scroll wheel does it), and I'm sure you have the greater good of accessibility in mind when you decided not to lock down the text size.

FWIW (I'm no CSS expert ... I don't even play one on TV), my experience looking at the pages with Netscape 4.76 (again, on a Win2k machine) gives the same results that you describe above. Sorry I can't help.

About Thursday 19 January 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link


So much happened "today" that I need some assistance with it all.

-- Did Downing fire/sack Pepys in a de-facto manner by finding him a new position as "one of the Clerks of the Council"? (It seems so, since it would enable him to "ease himself of the salary which he gives" Pepys.)

-- What do the Clerks of the Council do? Is this a lateral move, a demotion, or is Pepys getting bumped upstairs?

-- As J.A. asked, what does "all the rest of the Clerks of the Council, who I hear are all turned out, only the two Leighs, and they do all tell me that my name was mentioned the last night, but that nothing was done in it" mean? Has there been a purge, which is possibly the reason for a space opening suddenly for Sam? And, do I read the above correctly in that it looks like Sam's future employment there isn't exactly set in stone yet (meaning that Downing may have really screwed him)?

-- As David asked, what's the deal with Cooper and the lodgings? It sounds like he's the landlord or somehow responsible for Montagu's lodgings in London, and the fact that they will be able to retain these lodgings while Montagu is in the country enables Sheply to go back to the country, too ... correct?

I thank you in advance for your annotating assistance. And so, back to work.

P.S. Anyone else notice the change in font size on the site today? Things look much smaller...

About Thursday 5 January 1659/60

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

I'm not the only one who found the sunspot connection counterintuitive!

Here's a quote from the article Language Hat referenced:
"Another possible explanation concerns the number of sunspots during the year. The year 1816 was one of a weak sunspot maximum. This climate theory related to sunspot numbers suggests an increase in sunspot numbers results in a decrease in energy released by the sun, thus reducing the solar radiation incident upon the Earth and the planetary temperature."

That would make sense, wouldn't it? But, they've gotten it switched around. As the NASA article says, increased sunspots actually translate into hotter temperatures on Earth, while fewer sunspots (except for the single-sunspot phenomenon mentioned above) translate into colder temperatures.

Sunspot activity was low throughout the early 19th century, and it looks like that, along with the volcanic eruptions that Susanna and LH (among others) have talked about, combined to create some cold times for our ancestors all over the world.