Good News for Pilgrims

April 9, 2007

Years ago, when my ancestor, the noted industrialist and equestrian, Aga Hammerskjold accompanied T. E. Lawrence on his vainglorious missions about The Orient, journeying through the Arabian was the purview of men. Now: monorail enthusiasts. In an effort to improve transportation for the 800,000 pilgrims who annually make the Haj, the Saudi government has decided to follow Herzl’s dreams and build a monorail. I’m of two minds about this. Obviously, as an advocate for urban rail transport, I’m in favor of just about any electrified railway. On the other hand, the ability to travel by monorail negates my reasoning for taking Richard Bulliet’s “Domestic Animals and Human History,” as I no longer need to know everything there is to know about camels. Sigh, it appears as if the hours I spent in his office preparing a microfiche of Le Chameau by Commandant Cauvet were for naught.

A quote, directly from the ‘About’ page on

In 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Brewery, went on a shooting party and became involved in an argument. Which was the fastest game bird in Europe – the golden plover or the grouse? He realized then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular. He was right!

He was right! High five to Sir Beaver!