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The Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time #193: Plus Ultra

04.3.13

One or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations,
their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the
encounters they find there.

It's a bike ride.

Started by user nathansnider and user theroyalacademy.

It meets every Wednesday at 8:30pm at California Donuts #21.
We ride at 9pm.
We'll endeavor to return before the last red line trains (around midnight).

On the fourth year of this bike ride, you might expect:
- more inconvenient passageways
- more full moon picnics
- perhaps more "cover" versions of other people's rides, performed with amateurish enthusiasm
- certainly more amateurish enthusiasm
- disorientation
- reorientation
- pool halls
- bowling alleys
- dance parties
- karaoke
- imaginary histories
- scavenging for fun and sustenance
- more geocaching
- more oblique strategies
- more Oulipian constraints
- traffic median tea parties

Furthermore:
- A medium pace (maybe not for beginners; certainly not a hustle)
- We're not in a rush; we don't need to run every light.
- Maybe some distance;maybe some hills
- Victory donuts!
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This week:

Plus Ultra



At one time, it was said that the rocks at the outlet of the Mediterranean were the remains of great pillars that had
marked the furthest reaches of Hercules' explorations. Tradition held that the columns had been engraved with
the words "Nec plus ultra" - nothing further beyond - as a warning for sailors to turn back, lest they fall off the
edges of the earth or be swallowed by monsters. So it was that in 1515, Charles V, not to be outdone by some
mere hero, adopted as his royal motto "Plus Oultre" - there is more - which was later* taken as an aspiration to
reach beyond the Mediterranean and explore the newly discovered lands across the Atlantic.

While we are not in the business of establishing overseas colonies through bloody conquest, we do agree with
the sentiment that there is more out there and that we should go see it. This week, we will pass through some
lands of appropriately Greek appellation and also visit some columns we've seen before. Our destination,
however, is less important than the conviction that drives us. There is more. That is all we need to know.

...well, that, and maybe the fact that the ride is 30 well-paved miles, with no hills to speak of. Yes, that should do
it.

*It is unlikely that the motto was actually chosen with overseas exploration in mind. In 1515, the conquest of the
Americas was certainly underway, but still a rather minor concern compared to other affairs of state (mostly
having to do with crushing the French, warring with heathens and thwarting the political maneuverings of various
German princes). Indeed, no sources from the time of Charles' ascension to the throne make any mention of
overseas exploration, when discussing the motto. Mostly, it seems that "Plus Oultre" was an expression of his
aspirations to be greater than Hercules. Being Holy Roman Emperor will do that to a person.

Talk, talk, talk...
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The hacienda must be built.
 


Posted by nathansnider