The character of the crafty Odysseus is well-known to all readers of Homer. He was a major supporting character in the Iliad, and then took a star-turn of his own in the sequel, the Odyssey. As the Odyssey closes, Odysseus has reunited with his wife Penelope and regained the throne of Ithaca after a twenty-year absence. Did you know that there is more to his story? Upon reaching retirement age, Odysseus and Penelope moved to Florida. While Odysseus quickly adjusted and discovered a love of golf and sports cars, he was deeply confused by certain other aspects of American life. My poem, “Odysseus, Retired to Florida, at the Mall,” which has just been published in the wonderful literary humor magazine Defenestration, takes a sympathetic look at the old man as he struggles to navigate his way through a food court in a suburban shopping mall. Please give it a read.
There are only a few things that fascinate me as much as military history, and one of them is the history of words. So I found a way to squish both interests together, and the result, like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, is a delight in which the combination is even better than each part on its own. For a little over a year now I’ve been writing a short column for Military History Monthly titled War of Words in which I examine a word or phrase that we know well from ordinary English and explain its origin in, or relation to, military history. In previous issues, I’ve looked at first rate, knight, and ironclad. For the August 2017 issue, the word is panoply, the full set of equipment carried by an ancient Greek hoplite. Take a look at it if you find yourself in a bookstore soon.