July Pieces Of My Mind #2

  • Jrette wandering around watching TV on the iPad, overturning and breaking things in the kitchen. *sigh*
  • Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.
  • Jrette stole my zombie novel -- Carey's 2014 Girl With All The Gifts -- and proclaimed it to be the best book she's read in ages. Now I am bookless.
  • Mistakenly read two global catastrophe novels in a row. Now everything around looks temporary.
  • Jrette is twelve today! I asked her if she doesn't find the Vampire Diaries scary. "I would, only with a dad who's a scientist, I'm not afraid of supernatural things."
  • Pittentian in Perthshire is a fine place name. Means "Willie No 10" in Swedish.
  • No, Google Music's randomiser, the fact that I like Queens of the Stone Age and a few tunes by Eagles of Death Metal does not mean that you should play me lots of songs by the various bands that Josh Homme sings in, and little else.
  • The vagueness of Medieval land ownership is infuriating. You could buy a farm, then years later for some reason receive a document from the former owner emphasising again that you did indeed buy the farm, and then his cousin would show up and demand that you hand the farm back because it used to belong to his granddad. Or the Crown. Or a bishop's see. It had to do with ancient ideas about land belonging to lineages, where one's relatives could have right of first purchase, or where land could simply be inalienable.
  • Jrette wore my denim jacket to the movies!
  • Check out my guest entries in Swedish on the Östergötland County Museum's blog about the Stensö and Landsjö digs.
New kitchen finally almost done after over two months of awkwardness! New kitchen finally almost done after over two months of awkwardness!

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In the Americas, many places derive their names from the various First Peoples languages. This sometimes produces unintentional entendres, such as a certain village in Washington state. There is disagreement as to what the native phrase means (either "hard to pole", referring to the nearby river, or "chilly region"), but it is generally rendered in English as Humptulips.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

Erik, it can be worse than that. Some of the early British settlers gave places in the Appalachians names which people with Anglophone middle-class taboos have had trouble repeating ever since. See (I think) "How the Scots Invented the Modern World."

Northern Sweden is full of place-names that try to sound like the original sami names, and they make no sense at all.
Speaking of kids: -I just watched a crappy B film on channel 6 and realised every horror film featuring teenage school kids is a clone of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. No one cares about logic. Lost in a forest full of mutated crocodiles? No one thinks of climbing up those woody things with green stuff. And the non-promiscuous girl survives. I ended up rooting for the crocodiles.
Pittentian in Perthshire is a fine place name. And, as Swedish comic writer Martin Kellermann recently noted, Jack Shit would be a cool name. "Freeze! Jack Shit, agent, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms!" (pounces on a drunk smoking a cigarrette)

By birgerjohansson (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

Birger@4: There is a minor character named Jack Schitt in the Thursday Next novels.

Some trees are not so easy to climb. Many pine species have their primary branches well above ground level, so unless you are skilled and/or in possession of climbing equipment, you won't be getting very far up one of those. Some of the maple trees I can see from my kitchen window don't look very climbable, either. And some tree species have poisonous bark--OK, maybe that's more survivable than mutant crocodiles with a taste for human flesh, but it's still unpleasant.

Also on the topic of things not to do in movies: If it's a murder mystery and the person who just walked into the room is not within view of the camera, do not say, "Oh, it's you." The person will inevitably turn out to be the killer, and you will be the next victim.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

Suggested reading: "Killer of Little Shepherds"
it is about how Alexandre Lacassagne almost singlehandedly created modern forensic science in France a century ago, -often only having skeletal remains- and helped convict one of the worst serial killers in history.
A true science hero, and this non-fiction work is much better than the many novels and Tv shows about forensic science.

By BirgerJohansson (not verified) on 03 Aug 2015 #permalink

Maja Francis' "Last Days Of Dancing" has a lot of DNA from Kate Bush.
Headlines found at British satire sites:
"Neighbour celebrates 10 years of hammering the shit out of something
“Sniffer dogs ‘being set up as migrant crisis scapegoats’
Summer confirms ‘bold, original’ ending
“Cheaper to commute from Moon than live in London”
Nazis ‘furious’ over links to British Royal Family
Also: “Resolution of Minaj-Swift crisis beamed to Kepler 452b

By BirgerJohansson (not verified) on 03 Aug 2015 #permalink

Your kitchen looks great! Love the stories today about the reading and scary books. Hilarious!

I am still working on the ideas that we once discussed. I'm not much closer to proving my systems of time, however, I haven't let that stop me from submitting a paper to a conference LOL

I am a presenter at the upcoming Cormac McCarthy Conference in Memphis this October. The name of my paper is "The Human Clock". I may not be able to meet the level of evidence I need to convince you of the system I propose (yet!)....but nonetheless, you have influenced my attitude and style. I am very grateful for for minds like yours to keep me struggling to write and argue.

I hope all is well with you.


By Candy Minx (not verified) on 03 Aug 2015 #permalink

Sorry Birger, the seer stone only works on a certain angelic dialect from the time of the second fall (the less well known one, it gave rise to Cleveland).

the seer stone only works on a certain angelic dialect from the time of the second fall

Is there any evidence that an angel other than Moroni could write in this script?

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

I always thought that was a hell of a name for an angel. I mean Gabriel, fine. Michael, OK. But Moroni?

By John Massey (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Well, in Joseph Smith's day, "moron" either didn't exist as an English word or didn't have the meaning it does today. I suspect that, if Smith were alive today, the angel would have some other name.

And no, I don't know where Smith got the name. It doesn't even sound remotely like a Hebrew name (whence Gabriel, Michael, and many other Biblical names, including John and its many variants in other European languages, came). Martin's theory is as good as anything I could come up with.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

If the major religions allowed us fantasy fans to do "retcons" of their teachings, the results would be much more logically consistent, and more interesting....

By birgerjohansson (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

" the time of the second fall (the less well known one, it gave rise to Cleveland)."
-By this time it was obvious Yaweh was in over his head, and the stress manifested as multiple personality disorder, which accounts for the contradictory statements in the Bible. One divine fragment triggered the Flood in a fit of rage. This god-shard was evicted from heaven, and the scandal was glossed over. The ex-god got named Sauron, which explains a lot. The name could not be written in ancient hebrew script, hence the incorrect spelling "Shaitan".
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"Now I am bookless". -I am expecting a copy of the latest "Laundry" novel. I can send it once I have read it.

By birgerjohansson (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

multiple personality disorder

People who know more theology than I tell me that, in one of the two versions of the Creation story in Genesis, the Hebrew word rendered in English as "God" is elohim, which is the plural form. YHWH got where He is today by signing an exclusivity deal with the Israelites. But traces of their polytheistic past remain in the Old Testament.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

is there any possibility the indo-europeans mentioned in the abstract might be affiliated with or identical with the Kurgans? OK, I am speculating too much from too little data.
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If Juniorette is developing along a Lisa Simpson trajectory, I can see this in her future: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3371

By BirgerJohansson (not verified) on 10 Aug 2015 #permalink

#25 - Birger, yes, absolutely. There is now a large and growing collection of genetic and linguistic evidence that cultures like the Yamnaya who built very richly furnished kurgans were close to the original Proto-Indo-Europeans.

It is looking like a certainty now that Proto-Indo-European originated on the West Eurasian steppe - and that you, me and Martin are all partly descended from those people.

I was particularly taken by the idea that the 'white race' is just a social construction, and that the white skinned (and sometimes blonde and blue eyed) Kalash, a pagan tribe in northern Pakistan, are a case of convergent evolution - they have no 'European' ancestry at all, although they have an origin myth (not true) that they are descended from Alexander the Great and his army:


By John Massey (not verified) on 10 Aug 2015 #permalink

I'm currently watching the series "Spartacus" on Netflix, basically because I am a sucker for anything to do with ancient Rome. Plot spoiler/warning to anyone thinking of watching it - it is basically soft pornography, verging on the not so soft in places, the dialogue is full of vile language (I don't know how realistic this is - I imagine gladiators might have used pretty lurid language (actually, I imagine gladiators were not big talkers, but then there wouldn't be much of a series), but a constant stream of the most extreme expletives from the Roman elite seem unlikely), and the fight scenes are ridiculous - hyperviolent, and there is such a ludicrous amount of fake blood being thrown around that the combatants should all die of blood loss long before anyone actually gets killed. They tolerate injuries that no human could tolerate, get up and go on fighting - just ridiculous stuff.

I'm finishing it because I started it, but I wish they had made it much more realistic, instead of taking everything over the top.

By John Massey (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

They tolerate injuries that no human could tolerate

"It's only a flesh wound."

Of course Monty Python played that for laughs, but could that movie have been a serious influence on "Spartacus"?

(Remember, it's because of a Monty Python sketch that we call unsolicited commercial e-mail "spam".)

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink

It is beyond Pythonesque, but too visually gruesome to be funny. Although, having now sat through umpteen episodes (some of which I admit to fast forwarding through due to both tedium and disgust), I think I detect some progressive moderation of the grotesque extremes; maybe in response to viewer feedback. I don't know.

By John Massey (not verified) on 11 Aug 2015 #permalink