Preview: Diplomacy (Chapter 10)

“We’re starting the human to object transfigurations today. Can anyone tell me why we’re doing objects before animals? Yes, Miss Forbes.”
“We’re doing objects before animals because animals are sentient beings. Transfiguring yourself or another person into an object doesn’t add any other instincts, you just have to make sure that you’re able to change yourself back both wandlessly and nonverbally. In contrast, when a person transfigures themselves into an animal, they gain animal instincts in addition to their human ones. Though there are advantages to this, such as the ability to communicate with other animals—”
Caroline stopped abruptly, the solution to Klaus’s problem hitting her at once. The entire class was staring at her, though, confused by her abrupt self-interruption.
“Miss Forbes?”

If a man is to spend his life under the checkrein of anxiety and in obedience to a sick woman’s whims, he must have work to keep him sane. McKinley found his release in his political career. He escaped from his personal tragedy on the floor of the House, sparring adroitly in debate, and on campaign platforms, preaching Republican doctrine. He learned to put aside his worry and heartache, and absorb himself in the world of public affairs, the exercise of diplomacy, the plotting of policy, the chess game of strategy. In committee rooms, he was attentive and vigilant, a rather noncommittal man in a tightly buttoned frock coat, with a cigar between his fingers or a quid bulging his cheek. Possibly because of his wife’s dislike of cigars, McKinley had formed the habit of chewing or, more accurately, mouthing tobacco. He did not use a plug, but the broken half of one of his favorite imported Garcias. Young James Garfield noticed that his aim was remarkably good, as he sat after lunch in the House restaurant, listening more than he talked.

McKinley enjoyed to the full the social hours of this masculine world: the anecdote, the laughter, the company drawing on their cigars and turning to the next man who was “reminded.” He was not much of a hand at telling a story himself, but he relished the savor of a joke, if there was nothing vulgar about it. He had a quiet irony and a graceful lightness of touch that made him an agreeable companion, smiling and responsive in the blue haze of smoke. McKinley was more than popular — he was beloved. Scores of his associates were his friends, and many of them held him in worshipful admiration. Even his political opponents were attracted by the peculiar sweetness of his personality. He was never effusive. His reserved manner restrained but did not conceal the sentimentalism of his heart. It glowed in words and acts of friendliness, in the light that kindled his eyes, in the way he had of throwing his arm across another man’s shoulders.

As McKinley’s reputation grew, he became a figure of great public interest, and thousands of Americans flocked to meet him and hear him speak. His short, dignified stature and pale, resolute face earned him the newspaper sobriquet of “the young Napoleon.” He became a practiced orator, learning to cast over his audiences the spell of his vibrant voice, which, like his ideas, had a harmonious monotony. He was an indefatigable handshaker, using the technique that Hayes had taught him, a quick grasp that anticipated a crippling squeeze on his own hand. But the cordiality of his greeting was not studied or perfunctory. He communicated a warmth as positive as sunlight. A word from him at a reception could win a stranger’s loyalty.

—  Margaret Leech, on William McKinley, in her Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, In the Days of McKinley (BOOK | KINDLE), 1959.


“Well then, that’s enough of that.” A woman clasps her hands together and smiles a smile so used to being in front of others that unless you squinted hard enough, you’d know it wasn’t real. Her mask of diplomacy is strong and you are much, much weaker than her. “I think we’ve waited enough, right?”

“We?” A man scoffs, him standing at her side. His stance is significantly more casual than her; her with her back upright and shoulders back, him more relaxed, more… in his element. 

Ah, you think to yourself. She’s nervous.

“…Moving on,” her tone is still even enough, however. “Welcome, all of you - to Idol Party, we are your representatives from Bintang; I am Hera-”

The man does a twirl with much finesse. “And I’m Zeus. But you all can call me tonight.” He winks. You’re a little repulsed. 

She rolls her eyes. “Moooooving on. I am Hera, he is Zeus. You might know us from Zuzu’s… misfired text from earlier. Good to know you all ‘got the deetz’ and could join us today.” In the back, you can see Zeus mouth ’deetz nuts’ and you’re just… very conflicted over this man’s professionalism and if he’s a capable host. 

“But first… some, er. Announcements.” She clears her throat and sets her eyes on the cat boy and the quiet girl.

Tagged by kant-stop
Name: Sam
Nicknames: Sam
Birthday: August 13th
Star sign: Leo
Favorite color: Blue
Time and date now: 11:36 June 29
Average hours of sleep: I’ll go with 7. It varies.
Last thing I googled: “ben carson war crimes”
Last book I read: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan 
First word that comes to mind: free trade
Most used phrases: freedom, the american people, my constituents
One place that makes me happy: debate
Favorite fictional characters: Sloan Sabbith, Ben Wyatt, the Underwoods
Favorite famous people: Bernie Sanders, Jon Stewart
Celebrity crush: Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Favorite game: Diplomacy
Favorite food: mac & cheese
Favorite beverage: sweet tea
Favorite book: The Constitution 
Favorite anime: Spongebob
Favorite manga: Pearls Before Swine
Favorite movies: In The Loop, The Princess Bride, The Emperor’s New Groove
Favorite musicians/bands: Kacey Musgraves, Jason Isbell, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker
Favorite TV shows: The Newsroom, House of Cards, Hannibal, Parks & Rec
Last movie I saw in cinema: Jurassic World (twice) 
Dream pet: The second President Adams had a pet alligator, regifted to him from the Marquis de Lafayette, that he kept in the White House and occasionally fed his political opponents. That is the lifestyle I aspire to.
Dream holiday: DC
Dream wedding: The Underwoods
Dream job: The bench or academia, maybe
What I am wearing: t-shirt and shorts

In honor of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, here are some inspiring words from Mia Hamm. What would you say (or do!) to encourage and empower girls around the world?

Learn more about the U.S. Department of State’s commitment to supporting women and girls through sports diplomacy by checking out the Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative: http://globalsportswomen.org


Charter of the United Nations 

From the series:  Treaties, Agreements, and Other International Acts for Which the United States is the Depositary Government, 1943 - 1984

On June 26, 1945, in San Francisco, the United Nations Charter was established. It was created at the end of World War II in an attempt to maintain international peace and security and to achieve cooperation among nations on economic, social and humanitarian problem. The required number of nations ratified the charter on October 24, 1945, which is now celebrated as United Nations Day. 

History of the United Nations Charter (via UN.org)

(The united-nations is also on Tumblr!)

How’s your Russian or French?  Help Transcribe the United Nations Charter in the National Archives Catalog!

Deed of Gift for the Statue of Liberty, 7/4/1884.

From the series:  Collected Manuscripts and Papers, ca. 1789 - 1918. General Records of the Department of State, 1763 - 2002

Maybe you noticed today’s Google Doodle celebrating the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York City Harbor on June 17, 1885?  Take a look at the  original deed, presenting the statue as a gift from the French People.

How’s your French?  Help out and transcribe the deed in the National Archives Catalog!

(H/T to coolchicksfromhistory!)

Why I Love Cesar Milan Fans | Dog Star Daily
It happens about once a month. Some enthusiastic student keeps punctuating my opening remarks to a new class with that “tsst!” sound popularized by Cesar Milan. The dog on the receiving end of this “correction” seldom seems to notice. He has usually learned to tune it out completely. I envy him. That sound travels up my spine like nails on a chalk board. Somehow it taps directly into my frustration over the fact that - in spite of all that we have learned in recent decades – the public face of dog training in the US relies on confrontation and pseudo-mystical ideas about projecting the right energy towards the furry Machiavellis who allegedly spend their lives like Pinky and the Brain, plotting to take over the world. Fortunately, I am able to take a deep breath, ignore the sound, and remind myself that I LOVE it when new clients are Cesar fans. I honestly do, and for many reasons.

A rational, diplomatic approach to converting Dog Whisperer acolytes to positive dog training methods.

consider this

- Bilbo living in Erebor with Thorin and discovering again the childish part of himself 

- Bilbo having a lot, a lot of boisterous and loud people around everyday and realizing he doesn’t mind.

- Bilbo re-learning to loosen up in intimacy, for the first time since his parents died. 

- Bilbo allowing himself to drop the respectability mask and be himself without fear of being judged, but using it to slay enemies and allies with the power of diplomacy.

- Bilbo being surrounded by friends who love him genuinely for who he is, and don’t get offended if he needs sometimes to be by himself. 

- just, basically, Bilbo finding himself again and not being forced to hide anymore.

the Twelve Olympians



God of War, Violence; son of Zeus and Hera



God Vine, holidays, Folly, the drunkenness, Drugs and Ecstasy. Son of Zeus and Semele, a mortal.



God’s Travel, Communications, Commerce, Thieves, Dodge, Language, of Scripture, of Diplomacy, messenger of the gods; son of Zeus and Maia



Goddess of the Hunt, of Wilds, Animal, Youth girls. Associated later to the Moon; daughter of Zeus and Leto, twin sister of Apollo



God of Light, Sun, Music, Arts, Care, Prophecies, Poetry, of Purity, Sports, male Beauty; son of Zeus and Leto, twin brother of Artemis



Goddess of agriculture and harvest. Daughter of Cronus and Rhea Titans. Mother of Persephone.



Goddess of love and sexuality. Wife of Hephaestus



Wedding Goddess, guardian of the fertility of the couple and of women in labor. Wife of Zeus, jealous and vengeful



Chief of the gods, god of Heaven, Climate, Thunder, Lightning of. Youngest son of Cronus and Rhea, brother of Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia and Poseidon; husband of Hera.



Goddess of Intelligence and Ability, the warrior strategy, Crafts and Wisdom, combined with the art of weaving; daughter of Zeus and Metis



Deformed God of Fire, the Forges and Volcanos, divine inventor and creator of magic items. ; son of Zeus and Hera



God of the Sea, the Floods, Earthquakes, creator of the horses; son of Cronus and Rhea, brother of Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia and Zeus

In October 1954, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru set off on what was described as the “most important foreign mission of his life.” He was visiting China, which had ended its civil war just three years before. To read about the historic rapprochement between the two up-and-coming Asian powerhouses, check out my latest post at historical-nonfiction

The Battle of Waterloo, as Reported by John Quincy Adams:

June 18, 2015.  The bicentennial of the battle of Waterloo, one of the most important events in early nineteenth century European history.  At that battle, an Anglo-Allied army commanded by the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard Blucher and defeated the French army commanded by Napoleon.  The battle put an end to the so-called “Hundred Days” marking the period between Napoleon’s return from exile on Elba to the restoration of King Louis XVIII on the throne of France.  It also marked the end of twenty years of European conflict in which the United States was both directly and indirectly involved.

Recently staff at usnatarchives and colleagues at historyatstate located  American diplomatic reports about that event.  One of the documents they located in the series, Despatches from Diplomatic Officers, 1789-1906 (NAID 603720) is the July 25, 1815, despatch by U.S. Minister to Great Britain John Quincy Adams (this document can be found on roll 15 of National Archives Microfilm Publication M30).  Adams had only recently presented his credentials as the new U.S. diplomatic representative in Great Britain when the United States and Great Britain renewed diplomatic relations after the War of 1812.

Among other things, the report, in Adams’s distinctive handwriting, includes brief mentions of the defeat and the battle, notice of Napoleon’s surrender, a comment on the powers performed by Louis XVIII, and reaction of the French people to the restoration:

  • The external combination against Napoleon has again overpowered him, probably as before with the assistance of internal treachery.”
  • After having been defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, he abdicated again the Imperial dignity, and finding it impossible to escape, surrendered himself by going on board the British Ship of War Bellerophon, Captain Maitland.
  • ”Louis 18th has again been restored, or rather permitted by the Allies to issue Proclamations and Ordinances as king of France – In other respects the allies treat France as a conquered country – levying contributions; taking possession of public property; and appointing Governors in the Provinces overrun by their arms.
  • No act of any sort, expressive of the consent of the French People to be ruled by the Bourbon family has appeared. On the contrary manifestations of the strongest repugnancy against them are daily occurring under the half a million of foreign bayonets by which they have been restored.

Read more at  The Text Message » Waterloo!

Our group comes across bandits. As the bard with crazy diplomacy, I decide to do my thing and go talk to them. It doesn’t go well. The bandits see my group and get ready to attack. There’s a lot of them. I look around at my group.
Me: ok, I’ll take one for the team. I run into the middle of them and scream “WHO WANTS TO FUCK ME?”
DM: roll for each one
In the end, I had half the bandits drooling over me, which gave us a chance to kill the hostile ones first.

Today’s tarot tuesday is card #11, Strength. Another pretty straightforward card, this card represents fortitude in the face of adversity. Tarot enthusiasts will be quick to remind you that it need not stand for merely the physical kind - the card’s traditional image further enforces this, depicting a beautiful woman taming a lion, not through physical force but by petting it (I’ve made the relationship a little more antagonistic for effect).

Strength is just as important a quality as diplomacy or compromise - often moreso if the odds are already stacked against you. Don’t give up!!

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