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Arthur C. Clarke
Fidus
malkhos

Over the past week, I've had occasion to go over Childhood's End and 2001, and Clarke just did not understand anything about evolution. Those books are pure religious eschatology. His grip on evolutionary science was looser than Ken Ham's.

He also didn't understand anything about magic.


Bible Stories
Fidus
malkhos

My daughter Madeline has been volunteering to watch children at a daycare center run by the Episcopal Church (its the kind of thing you need to do nowadays to get into the National Honor Society, and eventually into college). Today the children watched a television show called Veggie Tales in which cartoon vegetables (a cabbage, a carrot, broccoli, etc.) visit various Bible stories. The one they watched was Daniel and the Lion's Den.

"I suppose the vegetables were as safe from the lions as Daniel. But did they also see Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego?"

"Who?"

"The three Jewish youths who stood up against Babylonian paganism before Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar put them into the fiery furnace, a giant pottery kiln, but Jesus or the Holy Spirit, or the Ancient of Days or someone like that came and palled around with them and it was just like a nice spring day in there."

"No."

"That's too bad, because one of the ways they shunned paganism was refusing to eat meat sacrificed to idols; in fact the book makes a point of saying they became vegetarians. So when they saw the vegetables..."


(no subject)
Fidus
malkhos

What did President Trump say during his D-Day commemoration speech?

"There were good people on both sides."


Voynich Ms.
Fidus
malkhos

The Voynich Manuscript may have been translated.




(no subject)
Fidus
malkhos

Two years ago, I bought a package of three pairs of socks, consisting of 6 identical socks. Within a month, 5 of the socks had disappeared. For reasons that probably can't be explained, I saved the last one, letting it lurk in the back of the sock drawer. Today, one, and only one, of the missing five reappeared in the laundry basket. The return is just as mysterious as the disappearance.

At least when the toy shopping basket disappeared from the back patio table and turned up a year later in a creek bed a quarter of a mile away, raccoons were to hand as an explanation, but where has this single sock been for two years? 


Lovecraft
Fidus
malkhos

I am reading Leslie Klinger's annotated edition of some Lovecraft stories, which I have not looked at since early in high school. I notice in The Nameless City there are some of the usual unspeakable monsters. Klinger has no idea what they are, but they are pretty clearly Telchines. There are a race of magical smiths that Vernant and Detienne figured out were more or less seals with hands. I suspect Lovecraft wouldn't have had the depth of classical learning to know about Telchines on his own, but one could look through the reference works he would have had access to. I suppose I ought to write an article about it, but there is too much paying work, and every other spare moment is spent on the Percival project (there is a vorlage for it under consideration at the Journal of Indo-European Studies). 

I just this minute finished reading The Festival, in which the evocation of some demons at Christmas transform the town of Marblehead into a relic of antiquity with no electricity and no houses younger than the seventeenth century--when the narrator recovers from his swoon (in the mental hospital) its a normal modern town; this is an idea I had developed on my own (I never read this particular story in that epoch) when I was bout 14, but never did anything with it--Klinger doesn't seem to understand what is going on with this very clearly either.


(no subject)
Fidus
malkhos

For the second time in three months, the new neighbors cut down a tree and knocked down the power line for the whole neighborhood. The incredible thing is that this happened after it was already dark, which means that the idiots were out there cutting down trees in the dark.

This is on top of the dogs running loose and terrifying the children and the innumerable pick up trucks constricting the road.


(no subject)
Fidus
malkhos

At dinner, my daughter said, "I thought I died in class today. I was just sitting there and suddenly I head the kind of music you'd hear in heaven." 

I asked, "Was it Beethoven?" 

Her uncle immediately chimed  in, "That would make it hell!" 

You don't get to use the Philistine much in ordinary conversation, but I didn't say it aloud.


Commiserate
Fidus
malkhos

I just heard an interview with one of the protest leaders. When he wanted to say the commensurate, he said "commiserate." I don't mean he said the word commiserate, but there is no other way to spell what said, although it had a short a and the same accent as commensurate. I've always had a tendency to pronounce it the same way. When I first thought about this (in high school) I guessed that I was somehow confusing the two words, or saying one when I meant the other. But its perfectly clear that nothing like that is going on and the tendency is to pronounce commensurate "commiserate" (eliding the n) and has nothing to do with the actual word commiserate. Really it ought to be "commeserate." It must be part of the St. Louis accent (a bold deceleration to make on the basis of 2 examples).


(no subject)
Fidus
malkhos

Madame Malkhos just said the following sentence:

"Stop it! You're not tired because you got up at four!"

It struck me as remarkable because it could have two completely different meanings:

A. "You're not tired like I am because you got up at 4:00 PM." (which would be true because of the horrible sleeping habits Andrew falls into during the summer).

or

B. "You're not tired because you [generalizing from the specific I] got up at 4:00 AM the way I did."

Andrew took it in sense A since, being more critical of him, it gave him better scope for martyrdom (he's 14). But I asked which she meant and she replied, "Both", which, given the size of her brain could well be true.

Also, she just posted this to her facebook page, which caused something approaching a riot, 50 years old or not: