Re: Unicorns, all the way down.

1

The new John Woo movie looks fresh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:22 PM
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1: I suspect you're lying to me.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:27 PM
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My poor step-dad got called in for THREE! Count 'em! Three! job interviews after two interviews in seven months.

max
['So that's good.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:31 PM
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I liked reading about reintroducing endangered tidewater gobies to their former habitat in Marin.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:33 PM
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3: Best wishes for him. That is happy-making.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:34 PM
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recipe from Sunday, came out very well, salmon poached in green tea served in miso-beef - mushroom broth:

Make green tea, pour into pan, add a few cracked juniper berries, some dried hot peppers, simmer. Add a bit of aged sherry vinegar and salt, set aside.

Take some beef broth, some miso, a bunch of dried porcini and morels, and a bunch of thyme, plus some water - simmer for a long time, strain, take bowl out of sink. Use some of the broth for your couscous. Discard porcini, chop the morels, set aside. Chop up a bit of tofu into small cubes, fry in a mix of neutral and sesame oil, set aside. Grate some ginger, set aside.

Chop up some endive and mince a tiny bit of bacon, saute.

Salt a salmon fillet and add to the pan with the green tea mix, poach uncovered at a very low heat. Meanwhile add the tofu and ginger to the broth, heat and simmer for a little bit. Add a bit of vermouth as well. Towards the end of the poaching process cover and cook just long enough for the top of the salmon to begin to turn colour. Take out the salmon, put in a big soup bowl, pour the broth over it. Put the couscous and endive on a separate plate. Serve with a dry riesling.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:35 PM
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Stacking unicorns is kind of dangerous.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:37 PM
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Awesome map showing where Great White sharks travel. Swimming 4,000 miles and coming back to within a half-mile of their starting location! I love sharks.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:38 PM
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I just exploded an egg. I got distracted while making hard-boiled eggs. One cracked in half and the yolk bulged out, and the very first thing I thought of was how much it resembled Humpty Dumpty, post fall. Not sure that's happy, but it made me crack up. (Har har.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:39 PM
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I won my most recent game of email chess despite losing my queen in an embarrassing fashion.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 9:42 PM
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If you upload a photo of a person's head to this site, it will produce a short film of that person being assassinated. I think it might be part of a movie promotion. It's all in French though, but the people I heard about it from are not French speakers and they figured it out.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:03 PM
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There is a proposal to build a Rockometer in Cleveland. This convention center will measure how much life in Cleveland currently rocks.


Posted by: Light Rail Tycoon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:13 PM
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13

I'm in first place in my fantasy football league.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:14 PM
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I got a job interview.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:20 PM
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The recovering dog had her first poop in a week last night.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:23 PM
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11 is great.

14: good luck!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:24 PM
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16: Thanks!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:25 PM
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I found some fantastic basil-scented laundry detergent.

One of my neighbors has a white whippet. When she prances in the leaves down below my window, she looks a little bit like a unicorn. You have to sort of squint to get the horn bit, though, since dogs are fortunately not among the horned species.

It is finally cold enough for my dog to wear her heavy winter coat! She is so happy when I put it on her and she can frisk around looking stylish. The only fly in that jam is that the poor dog doesn't realize her collar and her coat don't match, so she doesn't look as elegant as she could.

I learned that bubble wrap is a good insulator for windows, and is marginally more attractive than just plan plastic. I am going to get some of the big bubble kind tomorrow and test out its efficacy upon my windows.


Posted by: winna | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:31 PM
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14 Gratulacje i szczęścia!


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:32 PM
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I ate braised squirrel last night and it was very good.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:34 PM
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Now if I could only get the squirrels out of my walls and into a pot that would be an ideal solution.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:35 PM
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I hear that the laughter of squirrels is charming.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:37 PM
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21: shooting them is the first step.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:38 PM
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I don't think that's legal, though I admit the idea of getting a BB gun has crossed my mind. They keep running around the gutter in front of my windows - maybe some spiked nuts?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:40 PM
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Where'd you get the squirrel?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 10:59 PM
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A friend of mine shot four of them at his cabin in West Virginia, and brought them back to the big city to be braised.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 11:03 PM
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It's been one year on the nose since the US Presidential election, and not only hasn't there been three thousand civilian deaths, but a great majority of the world respects President Obama.

Also, the baseball season is almost over.


Posted by: Rob | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 11:42 PM
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There's a new season of Friday Night Lights on if you have Direct TV or a ship with a plank.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 11:55 PM
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26 to post title.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11- 4-09 11:57 PM
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Unicorn is best on the cob.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:07 AM
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The CIA agents who kidnapped an Italian resident off the streets of Rome back in 2003 to take him to Egypt to be tortured have been found guilty by an Italian court and face long prison sentences. They're safe in the US atm, but can never go back to Europe -- sort of a reverse Polanski.

More locally, it seems the sea eagle, a bird not seen in the Netherlands since the Middle Ages, has started to re-establish itself in the Lauwersmeer, a nature park in the north of the country, coming in to hunt from Sweden and Germany.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:29 AM
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Sort of good news that. As Kevin Drum pointed out, it would be more impressive if they hadn't decided to let all the Italians off scot free - prosecuting absent foreigners is a lot easier than throwing your own officials in jail. Plus, I don't like trials in absentia. Just having outstanding warrants would have accomplished the same thing without the due process problems.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:33 AM
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All the Italians?

An Italian judge has convicted 23 Americans - all but one of them CIA agents - and two Italian secret agents for the 2003 kidnap of a Muslim cleric


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:38 AM
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You're right, my bad. BBC seems not to be functioning for me, but according to Spiegel one American got eight years, twenty two got five years. Two low ranking Italians got three years. Three US citizens were acquitted due to diplomatic immunity (how were they even indicted - diplomatic immunity is a formal individual legal status, if you have it you can't be touched without the permission of your government, period.) Five Italians, including some fairly senior ones, were acquitted after the Italian High Court ruled that any evidence of official cooperation between the Italian and American intelligence agencies is impermissible on secrecy grounds.

So, still not that impressed. We had an illegal act approved at the highest levels of both the Italian and American intelligence establishment. Twenty two mid and low level Americans got convicted in absentia, to Italian grunts got convicted as well. Senior people got off scot free, and the Italian justice system ruled that it isn't even permissible to look at evidence of official Italian involvement.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:58 AM
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I liked reading about reintroducing endangered tidewater gobies to their former habitat in Marin.

Real tidewater goby nerds download the 200+ page recovery plan.

I grew up dragging seines for gobies. Dad is on the recovery team and the cover illustration is taken from his 1989 publication.

http://www.fws.gov/Pacific/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/documents/TidewaterGobyFinalRecoveryPlan.pdf


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:31 AM
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. Senior people got off scot free, and the Italian justice system ruled that it isn't even permissible to look at evidence of official Italian involvement.

At some point you realise that senior == immune; you do realise that Italy has had to put up with all sorts of CIA shit --- op. gladio etc. and so on; indeed, I dare say that Italy is far more years of leady than the USA (thanks to the US.)

In fact, Italy is notoriously dodge (the due process problems are pure bullshit) and biased towards right-wing extremists; the fact that non-lefties are getting fucked is very very impressive.

(wispa, do you follow giovanni tsio?)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 4:28 AM
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Rory isn't sick anymore. Also, I'm not *quite* sure this is good news, but Rory's teacher reports that she spends all her time in school paired off with the sweet young man to whom I was formally introduced Friday. This makes me smile, somewhat uneasily.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 4:33 AM
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"cute baby animals make you feel good"

And make you laugh... especially when the video montage is coupled coupled with this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcrbHYfgvVc&feature=video_response

it may not be good news, but it is hilarious


Posted by: speakeasy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:13 AM
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<obligatory>I just saved a bundle on my car insurance!</obligatory>


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:19 AM
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Also, I managed to not mess up the little bracket thingies in my comment above!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:19 AM
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Cool, gswift.

Very cute Di, though possibly disconcerting.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:20 AM
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If you come to Richmond, I'll buy you some pupusas to cheer you up.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:30 AM
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43

What grade is Rory in?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:01 AM
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5th.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:06 AM
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(And yes, I know 5th grade is a completely appropriate age for adorable little crushes. But [sniff] my baby is growing up so fast [sniff]. And also [sniff] my 10-year-old daughter has a more satisfying love life than I do [sniff].)


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:15 AM
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The IRS is not longer after me. And it only took five phone calls, two forms and a relatively small check to clear-up the matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:19 AM
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'no longer'


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:20 AM
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more satisfying love life than I do

Vicarious living is better than nothing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:25 AM
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I just shaved with a nice, fresh razor and had a cup of coffee. Now my dog has come to sit next to me.

That's really the best I can do.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:25 AM
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49: You could shave the dog.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:26 AM
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On a completely unrelated note, I am falling deeply in love with Black and WTF.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:26 AM
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Especially this photo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:30 AM
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This one shows a good tool for shaving a dog.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:33 AM
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Vicarious living is better than nothing

Apo articulates with uncomfortable clarity while I'm still hanging around here.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:38 AM
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The new Wheel of Time book is out. And so far, only 200 pages in, knock on wood, I'd say it's good.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:42 AM
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my 10-year-old daughter has a more satisfying love life than I do

That isnt such a bad thing.

I'd only get concerned when her love life gets more active than yours.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:58 AM
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Hey di, what happened with that nice man who spent the night a while back? (If you don't mind me asking.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:59 AM
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My 4 year old just explained to me that the hemispheres of the brain each contol their respective opposite sides of the body. She's 4!


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:06 AM
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The food stamp people haven't noticed yet that I'm finally earning enough money to live on. Given that I have 18+ months of family loans and high interest credit to pay back, this is a very good thing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:09 AM
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Our shorty is also feeling better, and looked very cute on Halloween, as documented in the Unfogged flickr stream.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:13 AM
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Oh, and Congress just extended unemployment benefits 14 weeks!


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:14 AM
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The new Wheel of Time book is out. And so far, only 200 pages in, knock on wood, I'd say it's good.

Awesome. I think I'm going to save that for Christmas break.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:18 AM
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Crazy people without lawyers who sue my employer call me and talk to me on the phone a lot. Wait, that's not good.

I do hate hanging up on people while they're still talking, but at some point, what do you do?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:19 AM
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55, 62: Did I not give Robert Jordan a fair test? Did he get better? Do you have bad taste? I haven't read him for years, so I don't really know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:20 AM
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My union reached a tentative agreement on which we will vote tomorrow. I wasn't able to convince them to email the whole proposal to the members, though.


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:22 AM
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I do hate hanging up on people while they're still talking, but at some point, what do you do?

This won't work at the office, but at home I dump ice in the garbage disposal, turn it on, and shout in pain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:23 AM
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I correctly predicted which picture would be linked in 52. The one just below it is pretty great, too.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:23 AM
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63:

arent those your favorite cases? I spent a summer in NYC working for the civil division of the US Attorney's office. We got to work on all kinds of crazy appeals from pro se plaintiffs sueing the govt.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:24 AM
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68: My sister used to be the one who had to bat away at all of the pro se lawsuits from prisoners in her particular state.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:26 AM
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I endorse 64.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:27 AM
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The one just below it is pretty great, too.

And quintessentially American.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:32 AM
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Did I not give Robert Jordan a fair test? Did he get better? Do you have bad taste?

I think he appeals to a certain niche of readers, but if you didn't like the earlier books you probably won't like the later ones either. I did just finish Brandon Sanderson's Hero of Ages trilogy and thought it was pretty decent so I have hopes for his finishing the Wheel of Time series.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:34 AM
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I had an opportunity to use the typeover function, on purpose.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:34 AM
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When The Wheel of Time is FINISHED, I'll read the whole damn thing. Same with George R. R. Martin's monstrosity.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:36 AM
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Dammit.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:37 AM
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68: I've got a few too many of them to really enjoy them -- they're probably almost half my workload, if you count cases (less than that if you count hours spent, of course, because the loony cases don't tend to be the ones that go very far). This particular guy is crazy enough to make me a little nervous -- he calls a whole lot, even though his case has been dismissed already.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:39 AM
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I get to read a book endorsed by Glenn Beck for my book club.

I'm kind of loving trashing it. One of my favorite lines so far is the description of the interior design of the company that the Evil Guy Who Needs Redemption runs. Favorite lines include: "There was nothing hanging on the wall. In fact, Keir was fond of saying, "Pictures don't make me money!" " and "Even though it was well past Thanksgiving, there were no Christmas decorations hanging up. Keir did not like Christmas decorations, and made it a point to belittle those who did."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:39 AM
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Glenn Beck is in my book club.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:41 AM
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Oh wow. You should really Tanya Harding his ass.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:43 AM
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You mean put a spagled unitard on him?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:44 AM
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'spangled'


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:44 AM
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57: The last man to actually spend the night would be ÜNG, but since you said "nice man" I'll assume that's not who you meant. The nice man with whom I went on a very lovely and lengthy first date with did not, alas, maintain the charm on subsequent dates. I've know for about two weeks that it didn't work out. Have to call him sometime today and fill him in...

63: I love the crazy pro ses. Indeed, we joke around here that crazy pro ses/batty opposing counsel is my subspecialty. But then, they don't usually call me up.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:47 AM
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I must be thinking of the long first date boy. Sorry it didn't work out.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:49 AM
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Crazy people can mean easy overtime. I got 6 hours or so on Monday from a guy who decided to fight his trespassing ticket, and tomorrow there's a jury trial scheduled for a lady who shoplifted like twenty bucks worth of towels and washcloths from Sears. I'm curious as to what her strategy is going to be. Security saw her take the stuff and she freely admitted to doing it post Miranda.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:49 AM
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82: Generally I'm amused by them on paper -- the guy whose argument was "If this isn't an injustice, then Moby Dick is a sardine," was awfully entertaining. But I've had to spend an awful lot of time on the phone with this guy, and he's not giving up even after his case was dismissed. (He has, in fact, filed a new proceeding against the state claiming damages for our temerity in defending and winning the old proceeding.) Dude's starting to make me a little nervous.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:53 AM
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84:

They listed her eye color wrong on the warrant!

Not guilty, baby!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:55 AM
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My dad (and a bunch of others) once received notice of $10,000,000 judgement against him, payable only in silver dollars, issued by a court created by the guys who were to receive all of the silver dollars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:56 AM
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I defended a case where a guy claimed that a governmental agency broke into his house and masturbated him so they could use his sperm to impregnate women around the world.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:57 AM
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87: And if that's not an injustice then you are a sardine.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:58 AM
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88: Don't leave us in suspense. Did you win?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:58 AM
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90: You would not believe how long the guy had to masturbate to pay off the damages on the counter-claim.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:59 AM
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88: You didn't tell him it was really me who did that, did you?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:00 AM
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Somewhat on topic:

http://www2.starexponent.com/cse/news/state_regional/article/five_correctional_officers_charged_in_dog_fondling/45964/

Maybe it should be an Ask the Mineshaft: Is masturbation cruel?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:03 AM
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Bus etiquette bleg: should I be doffing my felt fedora? I'm sitting.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:03 AM
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91:

I'd hate to be the lawyer to have to hold that in escrow.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:03 AM
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I've been trying to remember what the 'lawsuit' in 87 was about. I want to say it had something to do with the flags in the courtroom having (or not having) a border of gold fringe, but that may have been some similar thing that I read in the news. Anyway, dad (and myself) felt a bit sorry for the guys as they'd all lost farms (this was back in the Farm Aid days) except that you were always afraid somebody was going to get shot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:05 AM
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94: I believe public transportation is 'outdoors' for purposes of taking off your hat. I might be wrong, but that's my guess.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:05 AM
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I love the crazy pro ses.

You spelled "sex" wrong.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:07 AM
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96: Fringe on the flags is a common loony argument. I believe the claim is that a flag with fringe is a naval flag, which makes any court in which such a flag is found an admiralty court, which makes any decisions of such a court not binding on anyone who isn't a boat. I don't actually know enough about flag design and etiquette to trace the argument back to its roots.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:07 AM
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94: Remove your hat and put it on the seat next to you. If the bus gets crowded, offer your seat to somebody who looks like they could use it, but leave the hat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:08 AM
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98: Technically speaking, that is how I spell "sex" these days.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:10 AM
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97 was my guess, but I feel wrong wearing it. I prob wouldn't if I were standing.

The maybe-hipster in the driver's cap and tweed jacket has retained his hat fwiw.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:11 AM
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93: Wasn't there a case in Pennsylvania recently where the prosecution failed to prove that a man had harmed a calf by tricking it into fellating him?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:12 AM
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103: Yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:15 AM
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Except New Jersey, not Pennsylvania. Which almost explains the Corzine thing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:16 AM
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The maybe-hipster in the driver's cap and tweed jacket has retained his hat fwiw.

Stand in solidarity with your fellow hipster.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:19 AM
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83: Eh, that's life. What sucks is finally getting up the nerve to call the guy to say so and getting bumped into voice mail. It would have been wrong to dump him by voice mail, right?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:19 AM
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64, 70, 74:
Did I not give Robert Jordan a fair test? Did he get better? Do you have bad taste? I haven't read him for years, so I don't really know.

Well if you don't like massive fantasy novels with multiple plotlines and the fate of a meticulously developed fictional world in the balance, then you don't like massive fantasy novels with multiple plotlines and the fate of a meticulously developed fictional world in the balance. Dune? The Silmarillion?

As for the Wheel of Time specifically, it's entirely possible that I have bad taste. Or low standards; I'm a fast reader, so a 700-page tome just takes a couple day's worth of free time if I'm familiar with the story enough that I read quickly and don't need to backtrack. Even if it's a crappy book, that's not a prohibitive time investment if I just want to see how it all ends.

Now that excuses and caveats are out of the way, like I said, this is good so far. Stuff is getting done. On screen! By main characters! Intentionally! It's like they've gone back to the style of the sixth book!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:21 AM
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107: Not if you put it into poetry:

Roses are red.
Violents are blue.
Only as a friend,
Do I think of you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:21 AM
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109 should kick off a great thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:23 AM
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77: I enjoyed the excerpt on the book's page. The prose is really uniquely demented. Also, James Keir has a son named James Keir II? AFAIK, your son can only be a II rather than a junior if he has your own father's name, not yours. Is this some weird attempt to sound fancy? (To be honest, I don't know if that II thing is right, but my first bf in college was a II rather than a junior because, although he shared his father's first name, his first, middle and last were all shared with his grandfather.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:27 AM
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108: Dune? The Silmarillion?

I did like those. For Dune, I did not read the new books that aren't by Herbert, but I've read all of the original ones (though I thought the ending was weak). I've read LotR several times and the Silmarillion at least a few. I can, for example, speak intelligently about Glorfindel and how his example illustrates elvish mortality. And I still didn't like the Robert Jordan book I tried. (I can't remember which one.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:30 AM
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111: And amazingly enough, I think the excerpt is not nearly as bad as the book itself. I was totally unprepared for how schlocky the plot is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:33 AM
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OMG, the "Angel Statues" FAQ is... OMG.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:35 AM
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I have to ask. Why is your book club reading this? Is it a joke, like, after we tackle Finnegan's Wake let's do that Christmas book? Or is your book club inclined in the Prayer of Jabez, Tuesdays with Morrie direction?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:36 AM
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94: A gentleman may wears his hat in the corridor of the train, but removes it upon entering his compartment (etiquette lesson via James Bond movie). No one who matters gives a fuck what the losers with mere seats do (and by extension, those on buses).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:37 AM
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I ask not to judge, but to imagine how difficult it would be if you were the only one showing up to book club with hilarious one-liners about how shitty the books are while your clubmates talk about how they're thinking of pitching in for a $14,500 angel monument and paying to have Richard Paul Evans come and dedicate it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:38 AM
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From the link in 77:

He once said, "If you want to make friends, join a book club. If you want to make money, go into business. Only a fool confuses the two."

How nice of the book itself to give you an excuse to escape your book club.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:41 AM
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115: I don't really know - I only joined this book club two months ago, and I picked the second book myself. My doula introduced me to the book club, and I confided to her that I hate this book, and she said she had been dreading reading it. So I wonder if this host is known to pick terrible books. I know she wanted something holiday-themed.

I'm very curious to find out if everyone agrees that this book is a ghastly trainwreck or if some people like it. They have no idea how internally judgemental I'll be. Your character is on trial, and you don't even know! What fun.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:41 AM
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120

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Leaving you voice mail
to tell you we're through


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:46 AM
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121

I think that I shall never see
You on another date with me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:48 AM
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I have this problem that sometimes when I'm teaching my poetics class, I offer my students a few schlocky sentimental poems in order to demonstrate that the shittiness of them is usually not just the lack of interesting content, but also the the lack of sophistication in the form, rhyme, meter, imagery, etc. (I.e., one kind of bad poem can't do meter, but an even worse kind of bad poem does it slavishly.)

They admit fully that Sidney and Donne are like a billion times better poets, but it hurts them, personally and deeply, that I would criticize shitty Hallmark-type poetry. Do I hate love? they ask. I keep trying to convince them that love has nothing to do with it; shitty sentimental poetry is about selling crap.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:48 AM
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Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sometimes relationships form out of promising first dates.
But not this time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:48 AM
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77: For One More Day by Albom seems like a good next chocie.

For One More Day is about a son who gets to spend a day with his mother who died eight years earlier. Charley "Chick" Benetto is a retired baseball player who, facing the pain of unrealized dreams, alcoholism, divorce, and an estrangement from his grown daughter, returns to his childhood home and attempts suicide. There he meets his long dead mother, who welcomes him as if nothing ever happened. The book explores the question, "What would you do if you had one more day with someone you've lost?"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:48 AM
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121 is good.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:49 AM
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124. Wow. That may be the book that I least ever want to read, ever. Ever. Least. Least ever.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:50 AM
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Let us go then, you and I
When the evening is spread out against the sky--
No, on second thought, let's not.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:50 AM
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128

Thank you for being a friend.
Travel down a road and back again.
But not with me, thanks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:51 AM
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129

Roses are red.
Your ass is blue.
Please see a doctor.
I'm afraid to touch you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:51 AM
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130

Let us go no more a roving, so late into the night...

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:55 AM
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131

Glenn Beck has appendicitis! That's good news, right?


Posted by: Aaron Weber | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:56 AM
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122: My school has a program for over-60 people to take various liberal-artsy classes. I taught one once on Homer. My class was all very old ladies. When I told them that, no, actually, there was no guy named Homer who composed each word of the Iliad and Odyssey, they smiled politely and then told me in no uncertain terms that while I was adorable and modern, of course there was one guy named Homer who wrote them all, but it was very sweet and clever of me to insist otherwise.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:56 AM
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131: Depends -- did they get him to surgery in time?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:57 AM
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134

Had we but worlds enough, and time
but we don't, so NEXT!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:59 AM
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135

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
So a restraining order I take,
against your next text message.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:01 AM
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John Anderson, my jo, John.
When we were first acquent
Your hideous flaws were hidden,
You acted like a gent...


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:04 AM
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Roses are red
Violets are blue
My standards aren't low enough
To go out with you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:05 AM
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132: Huh. You know, while I have a vague idea that it's well known that the Iliad and the Odyssey were composed by different people, I'd probably get confused and push back if I thought you were saying that no individual person had composed either of them in any meaningful sense, which is what it sounds to me like you're saying. (That is, I can imagine a bunch of claims: they were both written by the same guy, but we know who and it wasn't Homer; they were written by different people, and we know who, and neither one was Homer; they were written by different people, but we don't know who; neither poem was composed by any individual in a sense that pakes it reasonable to talk about authorship. "There was no guy named Homer who composed each word of the Iliad and Odyssey" is ambiguous between the claims, but it sounds most like the last.) I mean, additions and changes through the oral folk process before they were written down, sure, but do extended narratives really emerge through mass authorship without some person primarily composing them?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:06 AM
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This is the way our world ends: Not with a bang but a message.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:06 AM
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140

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
Let's each take one, separately.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:06 AM
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141

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Um. This is awkward.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:07 AM
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142

Ear wax, Ear hair.
I can't get close,
without looking in there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:08 AM
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I mean, additions and changes through the oral folk process before they were written down, sure, but do extended narratives really emerge through mass authorship without some person primarily composing them?

I thought yes. I thought there was some extended triple feature of Lord of The Rings length memory that non-literate societies supposedly have for detailed narratives.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:08 AM
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144

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
It's not my fault,
She's hotter than you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:09 AM
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145

Good fences make good neighbors.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:09 AM
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146

For all this history of us
Just go away, without a fuss.
...
A breakup should be naught
But mean.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:10 AM
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147

this s/b the, dammit.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:10 AM
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148

Come to think of it, depending on how far the relationship got, Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote this one as a sonnet: I , being born a woman and distressed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:11 AM
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149

148: That is very good. I'd never read her.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:13 AM
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150

148 is great.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:13 AM
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151

Roses are red,
A fern grows green,
I'd dump you in person,
But I'm too mean.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:15 AM
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143: All of the repeated tags and such: "wine-dark sea" and so forth, are aids to memory so that someone can repeat the poem (or a recognizable version of it) without literally having it memorized word for word. But that's different from saying that no individual came up with the substance of it. I suppose if we're talking about literally 'each word', that's all oud was necessarily saying -- that whether or not there was a poet who composed the Iliad, that the version of it we have, while based on what he originally came up with, is what people remembered and repeated, not word-for-word his version.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:15 AM
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153

Edna is the shit.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:15 AM
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154

Roses are red,
The sun rises yellow,
I wish that you were
A more interesting fellow.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:16 AM
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148; Heh. Were there indeed "frenzy" or a "zest to bear [his] body's weight upon my breast," I totally would have dragged it out a few more months.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:16 AM
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149: I'm very fond of her, which suggests to me that on some level of literary value she's probably crap. But she's got a bunch of poems that have stuck in my head.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:16 AM
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SEX! Sex! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
So, after a drink and showering
On his message machine, I dumped him post-chime.


Posted by: mark f | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:17 AM
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153 has made me feel quite melancholy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:19 AM
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156: Why would ESVM be crap? She's a very good sonneteer, and I think a pretty innovative one. I suppose you could argue her form is a bit old-school for her era, but that doesn't bother me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:21 AM
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160

Rose are red.
Violets are blue.
She just dumped me.
Now I call you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:22 AM
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161

l(d

on
t
ca
ll

me)
one
l

iness


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:22 AM
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159: That's me being self-deprecating, and Edna getting slandered as collateral damage. I have a tendency to like poems largely because they rhyme or are funny (or are clever in some way that isn't exactly humor, but is related). The fact that I like a poet, then, I tend to take as evidence that they don't have a lot of serious value. But I'm probably wrong about that -- it's more likely not evidence one way or the other, rather than positive evidence that they're crap.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:24 AM
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No zest, no frenzy, no lust,
My hair stayed prim and unmussed,
Instead he'll receive
A voice-mail from me
His chances have turned into dust.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:27 AM
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Boy, you'd expect an electrostatic voltmeter to be ahead of its time, not old-school for her era.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:28 AM
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Isnt it best to announce the dumping via twitter or fb post?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:31 AM
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166

...
...
He wanted to meet,
Despite my last Tweet,
...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:34 AM
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165: Why cheap-out? Whenever you go on a date, you should just purchase the domain "Yourname"rejects"Date".com.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:34 AM
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Now I'll be doing this all day.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:35 AM
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169

Rejecting people or poetry?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:37 AM
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170

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Most unlikely!


Posted by: Crispix Attacks | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:38 AM
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171

There was an attorney named Kotimy
Whose post-divorce love life went rottenly.
Y'all went on a date
But she's sorry to state,
"You're nice, but you'll not get on top of me."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:40 AM
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172

What does a girl have to do?
I already de-friended you.
You keep wanting to meet,
Despite all my Tweets,
Saying our marriage is through.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:40 AM
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166: If you don't mind changing the sex for a rhyme's sake . . .

It was odd she was not at all bitter
When I gave her the shove using Twitter
She wanted to meet
Despite my last Tweet
Which had told the whole world I could quit 'er.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:42 AM
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Thinking in limerick meter.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:43 AM
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175

You get the car.
I keep the residence.
Nothing else will bar
me turning over the evidence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:45 AM
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176

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Turns out I'm the best.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! We didn't even get
To second base.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:46 AM
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177

This is just to say
I have eaten
the food
that you bought
at the restaurant

and which
you were probably
thinking
meant nookie

Forgive me
it was delicious
But rather than meet
You're out in the cold


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:47 AM
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178

For you to be with me
You would have to be
Someone else.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:52 AM
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179

Bye byebyebye
Bye byebyebye baby
Please forget my number


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:53 AM
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180

Would you? Could you? In a car?
Eat them! Eat them! Here they are.

Actually, that might send the wrong message.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:54 AM
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156: I love ESVM's stuff but really am not much for poetry in general so I entertain similar doubts. But I think "The Singing-Woman From Wood's Edge" is about the greatest poem ever (and I'm not even a womyns!). Not really relevant to Di's needs, but I suspect if you recited the whole thing on the phone he'd get the message.

WHAT should I be but a prophet and a liar,
Whose mother was a leprechaun, whose father was a friar?
Teethed on a crucifix and cradled under water,
What should I be but the fiend's god-daughter?

...

After all's said and after all's done,
What should I be but a harlot and a nun?

In through the bushes, on any foggy day,
My Da would come a-swishing of the drops away,
With a prayer for my death and a groan for my birth,
A-mumbling of his beads for all that he was worth.

And there sit my Ma, her knees beneath her chin,
A-looking in his face and a-drinking of it in,
And a-marking in the moss some funny little saying
That would mean just the opposite of all that he was praying!

He taught me the holy-talk of Vesper and of Matin,
He heard me my Greek and he heard me my Latin,
He blessed me and crossed me to keep my soul from evil,
And we watched him out of sight, and we conjured up the devil!
...

Sorry. Got carried away. Interesting life too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:54 AM
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|| Ok, I am asking the Mineshaft. A friend asked me for help, so now I'm going to ask you. Have you ever heard the lyric 'Sang strange in the desert every night at nine ...' ? If so, any ideas where it's from?

She asked me, since it isn't googlable (sp?), and she can't isolate the song it might have come from. I remember her using it back in the day but if it is from a song, I've got nothing, so far. I keep thinking Ellison or Bradbury or something, because it does seem familiar.

Anyways: help! Before she loses sanity.

max
['Might as well.']

|>


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:57 AM
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183

182: "Truckstop Cassettes" by Portastatic


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:00 AM
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152, etc.: Well, the point was more like -- As to the historicity of a dude named Homer -- no. As to the Iliad and the Odyssey being the complete and unified work of a single poet in the same way that the Oresteia is a product of Aeschylos, or, um, The Idea of Order at Key West is a product of Wallace Stevens -- no.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:01 AM
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182: http://www.tabstube.com/portastatic/truckstop-cassettes


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:01 AM
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182, 185: To be pwned by apo is no disgrace.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:02 AM
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Good news, everyone!</futurama> An old roommate and friend of Rah's won elected office this week, which has had a strong palliative effect on everything else in news of interest to us.

Also in the realm of distinctly happy-fun news, the comics blog targeted at queer readers which I joined finally made our logins and I've been posting there. I'm a little gun-shy on linking because I'd really rather not bring along a certain troll, so hit me via email if you want the link (pseudnospaces @ nc dot rr dot com).

Finally:

I sing the body electric;
The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth them;
But buddy, you've just gotten a dishonorable discharge.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:04 AM
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183: 182: "Truckstop Cassettes" by Portastatic

Thank you Apo! - it wouldn't drop via Google for me or her - what search string did you use?

max
['Scavanger hunt!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:24 AM
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When we first met, I eagerly expressed
Delight in sharing company with you.
And after drinks, not knowing what to do
I gladly pulled your chest against my chest
And kissed you gratefully. Request
To follow me up my stairs denied--"Pursue
That line of inquiry next time"--in view,
I thought, of tidying up my little nest.

But with the foamy headache of the dawn
Came happiness at waking all alone
Obscenely naked in my bed. A yawn
Spread over mouth and breast and bone.
By light of day, I cannot seem to care
If we contrive to lengthen this affair.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:26 AM
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As to the Iliad and the Odyssey being the complete and unified work of a single poet in the same way that the Oresteia is a product of Aeschylos, or, um, The Idea of Order at Key West is a product of Wallace Stevens -- no.

I'm curious, if you don't mind my keeping on probing here. Putting aside the Odyssey (that is, what I'm asking about doesn't have anything to do with whether the Iliad and the Odyssey were written by the same guy or two different guys), what's the evidence (and I'm just asking for a broad gesture at it, not footnotes) that the Iliad wasn't composed in recognizable form by one person at one time? I'm sure that it was altered to some extent by being passed on orally, but I find the idea that it sort of accreted through a folk process so that there was never any one person who it would make sense to refer to as an author bizarre, and I'm not clear if that's what the current state of scholarly opinion is or if I'm misunderstanding you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:26 AM
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I knew the song, actually. Portastatic are locals. For googly purposes, you probably need to change "sang" to "send".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:27 AM
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192

Once upon a midnight dreary,
my eyesight was really bleary.
After the full light of day,
I'm calling to say "No Way".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:27 AM
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190: If it matters for getting an answer, I'll second this question. I'm hardly an expert in pre-classical literature and cannot read Greek, but the Iliad certainly seems more thematically and stylistically unified than you would get unless there was one person doing most of the heavy-lifting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:37 AM
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As I understand it, a major breakthrough in the understanding of the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey took place when a guy saw that the structure of the repeated motifs matched mnemonics used by Yugoslav balladeers working in an oral tradition. This then gave us a model for a group of traveling poets improvising on common themes and plot lines to constantly create new stories.

The model leaves open the possibility that there was an editor who came in late in the tradition and wove together the works of the best improvisers into a single extended story. Part of the evidence for this is that the Iliad and Odyssey are both longer than any story an itinerant poet would tell in one sitting.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:41 AM
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193: Mmm. I'm coming up with possibilities like "There are identifiable chunks of the Iliad that show signs of having preexisted the rest of it; it was clearly written at least in part by binding together other poems about the Trojan war with bridging material." Which would seem perfectly possible. But I'd still think of the person who stuck all the bits together in some order he chose and composed the bridging material as an author.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:43 AM
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But I'd still think of the person who stuck all the bits together in some order he chose and composed the bridging material as an author.

So would I. But, and this is only speculation, if the person who did that was living in a literate society, I suppose you could argue that the author wasn't "Homer" in a sense.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:46 AM
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197

but I find the idea that it sort of accreted through a folk process so that there was never any one person who it would make sense to refer to as an author bizarre

Isn't this how the Old Testament was composed?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:48 AM
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The model leaves open the possibility that there was an editor who came in late in the tradition and wove together the works of the best improvisers into a single extended story.

Huh. Leaving aside the orality of it all, calling someone who did that an 'editor' to mean something significantly different than an author seems like a claim that T.H. White is the editor, rather than the author, of A Once And Future King, just as Tennyson is the editor of The Idylls of the King, because neither invented Arthurian legends themselves.

I guess I'm being defensive on behalf of the old ladies -- it seems perfectly reasonable to me that that their skepticism is (or would be, if probed) based on a defensible disagreement about what it means to have written a poem, rather than on flat historical ignorance.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:49 AM
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197: As I understand Old Testament scholarship, the Pentateuch can be disassembled into three or four (maybe five?) narratives that show signs of having each been composed by a particular author or coherent group working together. So, multiple authors writing narratives that were compiled together after the fact. But not no particular author at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:52 AM
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197: And that's kind of my point. The OT seems very much like it wasn't written by a single person, even within the same book (e.g. Genesis has contradictory bits, etc.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:53 AM
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Okay, then take Unfogged. Aren't we just a bunch of people repeating ourselves until we lose any sense of coherent individual authorship?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:53 AM
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202

198: I'm glad I hit 'refresh' before I made the same point more clumsily and using Harry Potter as an example.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:55 AM
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190: Short form: Basically it is linguistic evidence of oral composition over a period of centuries. There are a handful of dialects covering different time periods and different geographical areas that are consistently spread out over the entirety of the poem (that is, they aren't separated into discernible strata, which would be evidence of lots of separate stories being cobbled together) that argue against both a single author or (as I've already mentioned) lots of separate authors being merely tacked on to a pre-existing form. The many, many repetitions and formulae (for example, each major character has one [and only one -- almost always] epithet for each grammatical case in each position in the hexameter line) permitted convenient improvisation and are so numerous and extensive that they argue against being the work of one person. That's basically what is known as the Parry hypothesis. Other folks have argued that at the end of the process Parry describes A Great Man emerged and put his extra geniusified touch on everything and that is what caused the process of revision to stop. But even in that version, he isn't at the start of the process, but rather at the end sort of polishing it up.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:55 AM
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When we're talking about the Bible, don't we usually say "redactor" rather than "editor"?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:56 AM
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201, 203: Who wemerge as Unfogged's Great Man?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:58 AM
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But there aren't linguistically different layers in the Iliad, as there are in the OT. That's the whole point. Not a quilt. There are competing narratives and versions of tradition, but once they come out the other end of the oral composition process, they're linguistically like the rest of it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:59 AM
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205: Whoever can write the longest anagram that includes both a pun and a cock joke?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:59 AM
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There are a handful of dialects covering different time periods and different geographical areas that are consistently spread out over the entirety of the poem

So, to get simpleminded about it, it's as if "wine-dark sea" were in a dialect centuries and hundreds of miles removed from "laughter-loving Aphrodite" and "grey-eyed Athene" was in yet a third equally distinct dialect? Huh.

I must read about the Parry hypothesis now. To the Internet!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:00 AM
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203: I'm clearly rowing in deeper waters than I should.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:00 AM
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205: we[ ]merge as Unfogged's Great Man

Not a bad way of putting it.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:01 AM
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162: LB, I wonder if you'd enjoy George Starbuck, whom I often enjoy (and often feel silly for enjoying) for just those reasons.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:01 AM
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207: The person who can write "will emerge" as "wemerge" and still be understood.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:02 AM
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208: Read the intro to The Making of Homeric Verse, which is basically the collected works of Milman Parry -- the finest philologist of his generation who died at 33.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:04 AM
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No, now I've read 206, I'm confused again. So the whole thing was linguistically uniform? Or I'm still confused.

I guess I'd assume that all the mnemonic structures would be necessary to remember and deliver a poem of that length without writing, so evidence that it was composed in a tradition not relying on writing. But I don't get the evidence for the next step, that it was composed in bits by lots of people over a long time, as separate from the evidence that it was written to be memorizable/reconstructible through improv.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:04 AM
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Milman Parry -- the finest philologist of his generation who died at 33.

Just out of curiousity, who is the finest philologist of that generation without the qualifier?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:05 AM
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215: MH comfortably back in the shallow water.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:07 AM
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When I told them that, no, actually, there was no guy named Homer who composed each word of the Iliad and Odyssey, they smiled politely and then told me in no uncertain terms that while I was adorable and modern, of course there was one guy named Homer who wrote them all, but it was very sweet and clever of me to insist otherwise.

this came up the other night at dinner. Can you believe that neither English major AB nor her Latin scholarship-getting mother had been aware of the Homeric Question? I was stunned. For simplicity's sake I told iris that Homer had done such a good job of assembling the poems that people remembered how he told them and later wrote them down. She's really intrigued by the repetitive bits.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:09 AM
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||

Back on the bus. Doffed.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:11 AM
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214: Heh. My bad -- what I meant by uniform was that it's uniformly not uniform. So your "simpleminded" explanation is more or less correct (although not for those examples, of course, as you know). The poem is composed in a mixture of early and late Aeolic and Ionic (more or less). Long ago folks tried to explain this by saying it was written in Aeolic and translated into Ionic, but then some Aeolic forms remained because blah blah blah. But the mixture is too pervasive.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:12 AM
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In an utter failure of unfogged to serve as a distraction from work, Blume is teaching a class about this very issue in like a half hour.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:17 AM
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I'm supposed to be leading a discussion on The Singer of Tales in 30 minutes and haven't finished skimming it yet. Wanna skype-teach my class?!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:17 AM
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221 to, um, anyone who knows more about this than I do.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:18 AM
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221: Distract them with the cool poem at the end! "And he flew in an aeroplane and he smoked many cigarettes . . ." Or that all those guslars were Muslim and killed in the 90s . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:20 AM
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223: wasn't there a new yorker article or something about the guslars?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:21 AM
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Oudemia, this all sounds a lot like lateral gene transfer. Do people try to use phylogenetic trees for textual analysis?


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:24 AM
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Yeah, professor glossed over the 'everyone got killed' part this morning in lecture. Most of the students have only a pretty sketchy idea of the relevant history anyway.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:24 AM
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224: There was an article about epic composition based on rhapsode like dudes who perform these outsize epics at Indian religious festivals -- that was last year some time. And there probably was another article about the guslars, because I realize that I have no idea where I came across the factoid that they were all killed in the civil war.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:25 AM
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Distract them with the cool poem at the end!

Oh huh, hadn't even seen that. Look, cool poem! ParryKirklandHouseHarvardyou'resoimportant!!!1!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:25 AM
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We ate, we drank, we took a nice stroll, but,
The promise of that first encounter was
Never born out by later dates, so what
We two must do is to take a small pause.

Consider this fact: despite all my flaws,
You didn't get in to sit by my feet,
To lie on my bed, and that is because,
I just didn't find, your kisses that sweet.

Chaste were our embraces, and lacking in heat.
Your conversation was tepid, and bland.
I shan't lead you on, or practice deceit,
This brief affair hasn't gone as we planned.

You'll find someone nice, of that I am sure,
But more dates with you, I just can't endure.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:25 AM
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227: I believe I was thinking of the first article.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:28 AM
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This article!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:29 AM
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Here's the Making of Homeric Verse on Google books. On a quick read of the introduction, I wouldn't understand the argument that I think Parry makes to be equivalent to 'no one person wrote the Iliad'.

If I understand the argument, it's that there was an 'epic style', composed of a whole lot of formulae that were metrically and grammatically such that they could be easily assembled into hexameters; when composing you didn't need to worry about finding a word that fit the verse form because you weren't composing word by word, but phrase by phrase, and the pre-composed phrases were all such that they functioned easily as hexameter parts. And that the existence of this "system of epic language" was for the purpose of making oral impromptu composition possible, and it had developed over a long period of time through the efforts of lots of oral poets.

But I don't get the next step: therefore no poem composed in this "system of epic language" can be said to have had a particular author, if I'm understanding the argument correctly. If someone who the Greeks several centuries later referred to as Homer, whatever his real name was, put together a long narrative about the Trojan war using this "system of epic language", I'd still think that guy had composed the narrative -- helpful as the system of epic language might have been, it couldn't have been constraining to the point that a competent oral poet would necessarily improvise the same narrative if treating the same subject.

But I'm being ignorantly contentious. I should read much more before I argue any more at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:29 AM
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Wouldn't the argument be that the story was passed down in terms of the lexical framework, rather than in terms of the words per se, so that whatever got written down was just a particular iteration of the story?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:33 AM
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A jug of wine, a loaf of bread,-and you
Needn't even share, because we're through.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:36 AM
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the finest philologist of his generation who died at 33.

Oh, the perils of restrictive vs. nonrestrictive clauses!

As I understand it, a major breakthrough in the understanding of the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey took place when a guy saw that the structure of the repeated motifs matched mnemonics used by Yugoslav balladeers working in an oral tradition.

Everything I know about this I learned from Bernard Knox's introductions to Fagles' Iliad and Odyssey! He mentions this shee.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:36 AM
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[and only one -- almost always]

My intro to Fagles says different - it specifically says that this is what people used to claim, but that closer analysis has shown that it's not, actually, true.

Do I need to go into Iris' room for a cite?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:40 AM
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233: Well, but what's 'the story'? You could write/sing/orally compose about the Trojan War without focusing on Achilles, you could focus on Achilles without focusing on him getting piqued about being shorted on the captured-women distribution. There's some level at which the poet is making artistically important choices, even if they're treating a fixed general subject matter using formulaic phrases.

Like, the following conversation seems perfectly possible to me: "Hey, coming to listen to the latest itinerant poet tonight?"

"Nah, I'm really bored with Trojan War poems lately."

"No, I hear this guy is good -- he learned from the old blind guy who had that excellent one about Achilles. You never got to hear the blind guy, but his version was great."

"Well, if you say it'll be good, I'll come."

At which point you'd say that the old blind guy, in some reasonable sense, wrote a well-thought of epic about the Trojan War.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:43 AM
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Everybody likes you babe but me
I guess that proves how stupid I can be
Your father thinks it's swell, your mum hears wedding bells
Our friends all say we make a lovely couple we get on so well

People say that we're a perfect match
They don't realise that there's a catch
They don't have to live with you, forgive you for the things you do
There's just no ignoring, you're pretty but you're boring

Everybody likes you babe, but me
They just don't know how iffy you can be
I'd hate for you to go, before I let you know
That everybody loves you babe, but me

I'm begging you to stay out of my way
Cos everybody likes you babe, but me
Everybody likes you babe, but me


Posted by: Billy Bragg | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:47 AM
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237: but change the references to poetry in your exchange with references to (say) jazz improvisation, or, like, yodeling, and that claim doesn't seem to hold.

But I think I should stop debating something I know less than nothing about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:48 AM
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But I think I should stop debating something I know less than nothing about.

No, no, that's the only thing that lets me keep arguing. I think jazz works for me -- isn't there a point in jazz where improvisation turns into composition; where there's identifiable music that can be traced back to a particular composer/performer such that someone else playing it, even if not precisely note for note, is identifiably playing Miles Davis rather than improvising their own stuff?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:51 AM
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The maybe-hipster in the driver's cap and tweed jacket has retained his hat fwiw.

HE'D BETTER NOT BE INDOORS OR CONVERSING WITH A LADY!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:56 AM
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217 posted before I'd read past 132, incidentally.

I'm not sure why, once you get away from Homer as Wallace Stevensesque "author," you need to do away with him entirely (which is what I take "As to the historicity of a dude named Homer -- no" to mean). Whatever for the Great Man theory of composition, I'm not sure why the poems would be ascribed to Homer if no such person - in any form - ever existed. Other ancient epics survived without attribution, so it's not as if you can just say "people need to believe there was an author."

One thing I've noticed in this last reading of the Odyssey is just how sophisticated the foreshadowing/repeated themes are (like the accreting homecomings, some of the stuff leading up to the bow scene that I hadn't caught before) - it's making it very hard for me to buy a theory in which this random collection of old bits of oral tradition just happened to do things like that (emphasizing the sophistication, not just the presence - beginning and ending with a discussion of Aigisthos is easy (and a bit ham-handed), but threading that into scenes throughout the book seems a bit harder to pull of. I guess thats "geniusfication.").

Point being, I think it's pretty clear that Homer was neither the dude who put stylus to parchment nor the first one to sing Menin aiede, but I don't see any reason to insist that he cannot have existed at any point in the process.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:57 AM
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At which point you'd say that the old blind guy, in some reasonable sense, wrote a well-thought of epic about the Trojan War.

Yeah, if there's, like, writing, 'n shit.

but change the references to poetry in your exchange with references to (say) jazz improvisation

"So and so played/studied with Anthony Braxton" sure as shit doesn't mean that so and so sounds anything like Anthony Braxton.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:58 AM
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243.1: Dammit, I've been editing comments to change 'wrote' to 'composed' all along, and finally slipped. Curse you, Wolfson.

And 242 is about where I am. And not even that we can be absolutely sure that there was a person who you could be reasonably call the author of the Iliad, but that given that the nearest sources in point of time that we have thought there was, the evidence that there wasn't seems to be at most inconclusive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:01 PM
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but I don't see any reason to insist that he cannot have existed at any point in the process.

Ok, but all we know about Homer, if we know it, is:

(a) blind
(b) from one of seven cities
(c) compositor, author, compiler, or whatever of the Homeric epics

and if we take (c) out, who cares? I bet there was a blind guy from one of the cities that claims Homer, but where's the sense in saying that he's Homer?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:02 PM
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but where's the sense in saying that he's Homer?

I'd say the question was whether there was a single individual without which the Iliad would have been nonexistent or unrecognizable (that is, while we might have had an epic about the Trojan War, it wouldn't have been the same poem at all.) I don't see strong evidence that there was no such individual, and there's some evidence that there was (like, what JRoth's saying about the Odyssey; it's just awfully coherent. And of course Greeks only a few centuries later thought there was some such person.)

Going from "We don't know whether there was such an individual, and it seems possible there wasn't" to "We know there wasn't" seems like an unjustifiable jump.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:07 PM
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237: but change the references to poetry in your exchange with references to (say) jazz improvisation, or, like, yodeling, and that claim doesn't seem to hold.

I think this only reinforces LB's point: there are clearly jazz musicians today who play after the style of, say, Miles Davis. You can't see Miles anymore, but you can see sideman X perform "So What" in a way that will sound like the record - without being a tribute band, or trying to duplicate notes.

"Folk" music is an even more clear example - many of the guys on the Anthology were just one among many, many playing those old songs in more or less that style. But Harry Smith came along, said "these are the best recordings of this music," and suddenly Dick Justice's version of "Henry Lee" becomes definitive. In fact, I believe that there are a number of instances of songs that have been wrongly ascribed to musicians who made definitive recordings but didn't actually compose them (whether they were new or "traditional" compositions at the time).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:07 PM
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247 stupidly written without seeing 238. I could've at least used Coltrane, y'know?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:09 PM
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Everything I know about this I learned from Bernard Knox's introductions to Fagles' Iliad and Odyssey! He mentions this shee.

Yes. Thats where I got it. Oud and Blume are the ones who have actually read Milman Parry.

I really like the idea of a guy who comes in at the end of the process who edits everything into a coherent whole, not because I'm enamored of of Great Men, but because I really like the image of some ancient Hellenic Alan Lomax wandering from village to village, racking down the best story tellers and making mash ups of what he hears.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:14 PM
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One thing I'll note - since oud is probably doing something unproductive like teaching this topic to students for money - is that part of the problem with the framework that LB is suggesting - that Homer was the dude who decided to centralize the wrath of Achilles over the course of a couple weeks at the end of the war, and that all the rest is accretion or whatever - is that the bits that you could narratively say didn't need to be composed by Homer (e.g., Diomedes' and Odysseus' night raid is in no way integral to the Iliad - it could easily have been tagged on by a later rhapsode who was singing for descendants of Diomedes) are written in exactly the style of the rest.

People tried like hell to disassemble the poems into "Homer's Iliad" and "Homer's Odyssey", but it can't be done: there's no linguistic discontinuity. So you end up with a poem that, in one sense, is a cohesive whole but, in another sense, couldn't possibly have been composed/written by one person.

I'm liking my formula to Iris more and more.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:17 PM
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You'll be sorry when the other parents complain to you that your daughter told their children that Homer isn't real.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:19 PM
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Oud and Blume are the ones who have actually read Milman Parry.

Although, to be clear, Parry's work has been criticized and adjusted over the decades (as I noted in 236). But those two have presumably read that stuff as well.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:19 PM
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251: Very nice, neb.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:20 PM
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I wonder if the rosy-toed Alameida will have something interesting to say on this.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:22 PM
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To further the Homer/Alan Lomax parallel, I'm imaging that Homer was an early literate person, and so traveling around writing down the works of these poets is like Alan Lomax traveling around with primitive recording equipment.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:22 PM
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A good opportunity coming up next year to learn more on this (or to submit your own paper):

Call for Papers

Singers and Tales in the 21st Century:
The Legacies of Milman Parry and Albert Lord

December 3-5, 2010

2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Albert Lord's seminal Singer of Tales, and the 75th anniversary of the death of his mentor Milman Parry, the originator of what has come to be known as the Oral-Formulaic Theory. In honor of the work and continuing influence of these two pathfinding scholars, the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature at Harvard University will hold a conference from December 3-5, 2010, on oral studies and the Parry-Lord legacy at the beginning of the 21st century.

Milman apparently died "in a tragic accident with a firearm in December of 1935".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:22 PM
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Doesn't really work with the 'blind' bit, does it? Although finding a manuscript written in Archaic Braille would be very cool.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:23 PM
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I'm happy to drop the 'blind' part.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:25 PM
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||

What was "very nice" was the brilliant trap my email chess opponent just walked into! ha! fell for it!

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:26 PM
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258: You're no fun anymore.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:30 PM
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What if he agreed to put on a blindfold?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:31 PM
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I order lunch at Panera and the guy says "Would you like the up-sell?" without explaining that means I pay an extra dollar and get more soup. I think marketing is doing more to cloud human expression than Dorian invaders. Also, Panera has bad French Onion soup.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:33 PM
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262: I think he read you the wrong part of the script.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:34 PM
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263: Like when Lady MacBeth said "Out damn spot. Rub hands. Look tortured."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:35 PM
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262: Also, Panera has bad French Onion soup
La bienvenue avec du pain du Panera, vous aimera-t-elle examiner un certain oignon que le potage avec des vers il haut-sont vendus ?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:38 PM
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Go 'way from my chat window,
De-friend me with all great speed.
You're not the one I want, babe,
You're not the one I need.
I said I's lookin' for someone
Never dull but always fun,
To a-heat me an' to treat me
All day and all night long too,
Someone I'd want to quit reading blogs for,
But it ain't you, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't you, babe,
It ain't you I'm lookin' for, babe.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:43 PM
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Back to the post title, why are unicorns such an archetypal fantasy object anyway? They're just horses with pointy things sticking out of their heads, right? Who wants that so badly? If someone gave me a unicorn, my reaction would probably for the most part be, "What the fuck? And how much does this thing eat every day?"


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 12:58 PM
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Can't trust a unicorn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:01 PM
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Yeah, and what's the deal with fairy princesses? They're just women with crowns who can fly. Big whoop.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:02 PM
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268: Panel 2 is the first time I've seen Sheetz mentioned in literature.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:04 PM
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270 is confusing the hell out of me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:08 PM
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269: Nah, see flying is cool. I'd be genuinely impressed if a fairy princess flew up to my 8th floor office window. Unicorns, meanwhile, don't have any special abilities, AFAIK. They're just exotic and rare. Unicorn fetishism is just another form of Orientalism, really.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:08 PM
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Oh, page 2. I get it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:08 PM
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273: Yes. Sorry for the confusion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:10 PM
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OK, I'm wrong. Unicorns may in fact have special powers after all.

The unicorn is the only fabulous beast that does not seem to have been conceived out of human fears. In even the earliest references he is fierce yet good, selfless yet solitary, but always mysteriously beautiful. He could be captured only by unfair means, and his single horn was said to neutralize poison. [emphasis added]

Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:11 PM
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266: Speaking of I went to a Bob Dylan concert the other day!

And in the good news department, it was the first time in a long while old man peep has gone to a concert by himself and the old guy had a good time.

And the even older fella (dylan) is looking his age and can't sing (some people believe he could never sing...others believe he lost the ability to sing 10, 20 or 30 years ago...but, well,,,if you think he couldn't sing before...) - nevertheless he managed to put on an amazingly good show.

This review has all kinds of inaccuracies, but is pretty hilarious http://www.theotherpaper.com/articles/2009/11/05/music/doc4af1faa798ba5468620447.txt


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:12 PM
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But Harry Smith came along, said "these are the best recordings of this music," and suddenly Dick Justice's version of "Henry Lee" becomes definitive.

Please explain the term "reticulation" as it applies to folklore. Be sure to discuss folk, elite, and popular music.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:15 PM
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||
And to think all you skeptics mocked Ogged.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:15 PM
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the finest philologist of his generation who died at 33

While on a trip to Los Angeles for the MLA, I'm told.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:16 PM
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278: Can I just assume I shouldn't open the link at the office?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:17 PM
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It's been over for awhile now, guys. But I hesitated to tell you because, well, you seemed to be enjoying the poetic challenge and I truly do admire your creativity and wit. But I can't keep dragging it out. It's over, done. Oud came closest to the mark in 134. But many, many of you struck nearer the truth.

I felt bad for a little bit, thought it a little lame to say I was just too busy to think about dating now. And then I realized I had texted him over the weekend that I couldn't talk because I was taking care of a sick kiddo, and he never once asked how she was. Not one "Aw, poor kid." Just faint annoyance at my non-responsiveness. Harumph.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:17 PM
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Please explain the term "reticulation" as it applies to folklore.

Google's not immediately helpful. Help?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:19 PM
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280: Actually work-safe, though perhaps you don't want the URL showing up in your browsing history.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:21 PM
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Some of the other sites in their "family" are a little harsher, although all seem to be worksafe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:27 PM
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250: People tried like hell to disassemble the poems into "Homer's Iliad" and "Homer's Odyssey", but it can't be done: there's no linguistic discontinuity.

Delurking after years of silent reading to disagree a bit. My undergrad thesis research ended up uncovering one (though I wans't the first to notice this and I'm googleproofing for no good reason) "d@emon" is used in completely linguisticially and theologically different ways in the two books. That was lucky for me because it let me ignore the Iliad and write about what I wanted to anyway.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:30 PM
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Google's not immediately helpful. Help?

It's basically the way material can move around in culture, starting off as 'high' culture and ending up in folklore, or starting out in folklore and ending up in elite culture. As opposed to other theories that suggest things only go one direction or the other.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:31 PM
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And here I thought reticulation was when the wandering hero is given a magical purse that will never be empty of gold.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:36 PM
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LB, JRoth, etc.: Yes, I am desperately trying to finish something! BUT! In the beginning -- well, the 19th century -- there were Analysts and Unitarians (neither are what you think!). Analysts were keen on picking apart the Homeric epics to point up inconsistencies, difference in dialect, etc. (Hey! Melanippos dies three times!) and arguing that the poems were joined together folk lieder by whomever. The Unitarians argued -- based on ideas of unity of plot and action, but also just aesthetic "greatness" -- that the poems had to be the work of one man. Parry comes along with his theories of oral composition and causes them both trouble. Trouble for the Analysts because theories of oral composition can sort of explain how the poems could be the work of one person (in a qualified sense). Trouble for the Unitarians because of that qualified sense -- what at that point does it mean to be an (the?) author. The Analysts kind of lost the jump here because they were all German and in the 30s they had other things to do. Parry himself doesn't speak to the idea of a single author. Even if what was written down was the performance of one person -- that one person is unimportant; it's the tradition that matters. Lord, Parry's student, introduces the theory of oral dictation. He says that our text is the production of a special session where the bard maybe didn't sing and maybe went extra slow so that some fellow who could write wrote the thing down. Maybe we can call that special session singer "Homer."* Nagy, a student of Lord's, and pretty much the biggest aegis-bearer for the Parry-Lord hypothesis (and he was my adviser's adviser! what a sorry epigonos am I!) argues something much more complicated, known as the evolutionary model. (Now I will crib.) Basically, the idea is that there was (1) a very fluid period of no fixed text (way way way early to about 800). (2) Next the story starts to coalesce a bit in the Pan-Hellenic era (remember the Iliad is partly a story about a whole bunch of different peoples starting to think of themselves as one people "the Greeks"). We're now at something like 650. (3)Now we move into a time when the story starts to take fixed form. This is entirely Athens-based, public ritual performance and all that. (4) A true standardizing period under Demetrius of Phalerum -- he re-started official performances of Homeric epic in Athens. Look how late we are! Already circa 300. (5) Finally the period of the set text, brought about by Aristarchus, who edited critical commentaries on Homer and started the "search for the real Homer," which presupposes an understood fixed text, etc. This is like 200. So you have text and performance co-evolving for hundreds of years. At what point do you name an author?

*The name Homer is almost certainly back formation -- like Veronika with her true image of Christ. Nagy argues that it comes from "he who joins together."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:37 PM
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Cool. So if I were interested in pursuing this further, it looks as though Nagy and the evolutionary model are what I'm having trouble accepting, and should therefore read.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:41 PM
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285: Fascinating, and I'd love to know more.

Curious about one thing: are they consistent within each book? IOW, is this strong evidence that the two were composed (or whatever) by separate people, but that each book is reasonably cohesive (at least along this dimension)?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:44 PM
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288: Thanks, oud. I'm kind of stunned by the date of 300. Wasn't Plato talking about Homer as a known quantity half a century before that? I don't understand how you can even begin to argue that he was talking about nothing more than a fluid tradition that wasn't meaningfully ascribed to "Homer."

I suppose that, like LB, I need to read me some Nagy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:49 PM
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279: the finest philologist of his generation who died at 33

While on a trip to Los Angeles for the MLA, I'm told.

I guess that is where the "tragic accident with a firearm" took place?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:51 PM
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So is the pan-hellenic era the first time when the evolution of the poem interacts with writing?

Teach us, No Woman, teach us!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:52 PM
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I believe that there are a number of instances of songs that have been wrongly ascribed to musicians who made definitive recordings

I once owned an Elvis songbook that had "Amazing Grace" in it with the credit line "words and music by Elvis Presley." That was pretty sweet.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:53 PM
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291: No, no. Of course there was a poem ascribed to "Homer," just that the text of that poem wasn't entirely standardized until later. "Fluid tradition" is over by like 800 -- but there was several hundred years between that and the "you can't touch a word" period.

The books I'm cribbing from are Homeric Questions and Poetry as Performance.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:55 PM
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291: By "meaningfully ascribed" I don't mean that, if Plato says "Homer" we must believe that Homer was a blind man from Chios. I just mean that your outline suggests that the Homer industry really got settled in post-300.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:55 PM
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I ascribe to the theory that Homer's poems were written by Sir Francis Bacon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:56 PM
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290: Again, I have no good reason for google-proofing this since it's not as if I'll realistically ever go on to grad school in classics, BUT yes, each book is quite cohesive in terms of what case you'll find that word in and how it's used. For instance, in the Odyssey there's an ironic usage wherewhenever Odysseus is lying he says, "some d@emon" even though he knows exactly what god it was who said/did whatever as a way of professing false ignorance. Athena uses it the same way when she's disguising herself and talking to Telemachus. And you can see the usage of it in the way Socrates would talk about having a d@emon suggest things to him.

In the Iliad you don't really get any of that (as I recall these years later; I really just focused on the fact that there wasn't overlap in the cases of the nouns to get out of doing serious analysis of how they're used in this book) but they're just generic little divine-ish figures meddling in things.

Ire/ne J.F. d/e J/ong has probably written about this more, because she had a tiny tidbit about it I found at the end of my research, but Amazon isn't offering the option of the book I'd like to link you to for that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 1:58 PM
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296: Yes, ok. Basically that little outline from Nagy is the story of something moving from song to text. Song and text exist at the same time for quite a while, with song growing more and more deferential to the written form of itself as time moves on.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:00 PM
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"Fluid tradition" is over by like 800 -- but there was several hundred years between that and the "you can't touch a word" period.

Oh yeah, sure.

One question: the Dead Sea scrolls showed that scribe traditions could be incredibly faithful across time and space; is there any special reason to think that scribes of the Homeric epic didn't bother to be faithful? I mean, I know there's textual variants and the like, but my impression is that, in recorded history, they were a matter of limited incidences, not of reconciling divergent texts.

I'm more interested in discussing this wrt the Odyssey, not just because I prefer it, but also because there's less obvious opportunity for modification (the endless battles and one-on-ones of the Iliad really lend themselves to flattering whoever you were performing for at the moment).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:03 PM
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277: It's mashups all the way down?


Posted by: Anasta Moses | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:04 PM
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297: It's pure snobbery that leads people like you to believe that a simple man like Homer Simpson couldn't be the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:04 PM
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OK, 299 pretty much answers 300.

Kind of like musicians discovering across the 20s and 30s that people didn't want to hear their version of a song, but a close approximation of the popular recording of that song.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:06 PM
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303: And completely unrelated to musicians in the 80s discovering that performing with flower pots on their heads was just the thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:08 PM
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When a Trojan comes along, you must whip it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:20 PM
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Sir Francis Bacon

Incredibly interesting and contradictory dude. Would not have had time to write Shakespeare even if Elizabathan crank were available, though. Great biography


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:28 PM
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Late Romeblogging: the post-Pharsalos scene of Pompey showing how the battle went really cleverly and economically achieves several things at once. Nicely done


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:28 PM
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I miss Hermenaut. Blogs are not as good.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:32 PM
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This is a really interesting thread. I know next to nothing about Homer, but can go on at stultifying length about this kind of thing when the topic is the Hebrew Bible.

As to Robert Jordan, way upthread, I found the fantasy world he created really cool, but was completely put-off by his pervasive hangups about gender. It's like he wrote a 12-volume epic with swords and magic about how girls are icky.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 2:59 PM
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I did not know that there were so many different dialects in Homer. I just figured that it was its own dialect, since you had to buy a special lexicon.

Also speaking of advisers, a friend of mine (gm actually) was N's brother's graduate adviser.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 3:05 PM
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It's like he wrote a 12-volume epic with swords and magic about how girls are icky.

Cerberus?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 3:12 PM
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Cerberus

The three-headed dog that stopped tags from being closed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 3:15 PM
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Er, Cerebus.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 3:17 PM
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311: That is really a good description of a lot of fantasy novels out there.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 3:18 PM
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292: I understand that there was a heartfelt speech shortly before the incident with the firearm.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 3:19 PM
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309: It's like he wrote a 12-volume epic

Yeah, at least 9 volumes too many. And there's Donaldson, who didn't realize that life is too short and leprosy too slow.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 3:30 PM
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Stephen Donaldson? Wrote 12? Probably. The first couple were good. I remember the leprosy, but mostly the acrophobia.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 4:26 PM
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308 - I subscribed to that! I remember a really magnificent (fake) piece about Samuel Beckett's correspondence with Nancy scribe/artist Ernie Bushmiller.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:09 PM
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308: Oh man, that was great. I remember the slow-dawning realization that it could not possibly be real.

Boy, I loathe those Stephen Donaldson books. They were urged on me by someone trying to get in my pants. I'm not sure why I plowed through more than one, but I did.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:12 PM
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319.1 to 318.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:12 PM
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And, um, the person trying to get in your pants, did he plow through more than one?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:14 PM
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He plowed through many, getting infinitely more play than he deserved or doubtless would ever get again, once out of the hothouse of that campus social circle.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:26 PM
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Huh. I rather like Donaldson, so I guess you can take my Jordan-bashing with a grain of leprosy salt.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 5:58 PM
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LB, GB, you might like A. E. Stallings, too.

What I like about the coalescing-cultural-identity story for Homer is that (2) and (3) have a role for the audience; the story could have become fixed because the *audience* knew how it went.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:56 PM
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324.2: I'm picturing a toga-clad fan boy outraged and shouting "Paris stabbed first".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:01 PM
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||

OMG, JMM reminds me that Iris began, apropos of nothing, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance the other morning. With no prompting from us, and with no self-consciousness, she says, "One nation, under guard...."

I love this kid.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:04 PM
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ONE NATION, UNDER GOURD....


Posted by: OPINIONATED PURSUING CROWD (NON-SHOE DIVISION) | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:10 PM
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Boy, I loathe those Stephen Donaldson books. They were urged on me by someone trying to get in my pants

B-b-b-b-but, you are the white gold, RFTS.

Boy, I don't know why I read those Donaldson books. I can't even blame it on someone who was trying to get in my pants.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:45 PM
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I liked the Donaldson books when I first read them as a kid, I tried rereading them a couple years ago and hated them. I made it though one and a half of the WoT books before I gave up based on a toxic combination of uninspiring characters, boring cookie cutter plot, and bad writing. And I'm speaking here as someone who happily reads tons of poorly written F & SF with great enjoyment.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:09 PM
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Bujold's new series is truly horrible; it may have spoiled her earlier work for me.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:45 PM
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I bet there's someone out there talking about how the Iliad and Odyssey were crowdsourced. There should be a NatEpCoMo.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:08 PM
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Also, I'm going to start telling people that those epics were composed by Guy Incognito.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:09 PM
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330 If that's the one I'm thinking of I simply found it sort of blah - light romantic fantasy but not as annoying as the Donaldson or WoT. Those are part of that seventies eighties set of poor imitations of LOTR. Though I'll admit that neither is as bad as the Terry Brooks stuff that might qualify as the worst fantasy I've ever had the misfortune to read. That I even hated as a kid, while I'm pretty sure I would have liked WoT if I'd read it at the right age.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:05 PM
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Talking about fantasy, sort of, anyone here read the newest Mieville (The City and the City)? I just did and really liked it. Very different from the other books he's done.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:07 PM
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334: I did, earlier this year and loved it. Much less baroque than his earlier books, great central gimmick, good story.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:55 PM
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re: 240

I think jazz works for me -- isn't there a point in jazz where improvisation turns into composition; where there's identifiable music that can be traced back to a particular composer/performer such that someone else playing it, even if not precisely note for note, is identifiably playing Miles Davis rather than improvising their own stuff?

Not really. Improvising musicians quote each other all the time when soloing - they'll drop in half a dozen notes from someone elses, solo, for example; and some musicians completely change the improvising vocabulary for those that follow them, because they develop a new approach to particular changes, or a new harmonic language, or whatever. But I don't think you'd say that their successors were playing someone else's stuff.

Davis is a particularly strange example, as, for all his genius, he doesn't seem as imitated to me as lots of other players, although I suppose there are 'Davis-like' sounds that lots of trumpeters dip into. I suppose you are thinking of some of the compositional features if his late 50s 'modal' stuff, which has been widely copied. But I don't think you'd say that, say, playing quartal harmonies and sticking to single chords over long periods is "playing Miles Davis" any more than you'd say that any band using close harmony vocals was "playing the Beatles".


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:45 AM
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Meanwhile, I've read like ten Terry Pratchett novels in the past month. Something in me suddenly reared up and said: I WANT LIGHT READING AND BY GOD LIGHT READING I SHALL HAVE!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:35 AM
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I suppose you are thinking of some of the compositional features if his late 50s 'modal' stuff

Nah, I was more "naming one of the four jazz musicians I can identify." If he's a particularly good or bad example, it's not reflecting an actual thought process in any way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:55 AM
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As the other music dolt who cited Miles, I was in fact thinking of that stuff, and you can certainly hear musicians playing stuff that sounds like parts of "Kind of Blue," but I was also thinking, as I typed, that guitarists and pianists seem more often to spawn followers - Django, for instance, had a super-distinctive sound, and people still like to imitate it. But I lacked the courage of my convictions, and went with the super-famous guy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:36 AM
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283, 284: Sifu and apo have more tolerant, or more private workplaces than mine. I called up the link long enough to read the enormous headline, which I would not want to have read over my shoulder.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:03 AM
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313: Word. Future printings of collected Cerebus should say, on the title page, "WARNING: This kind of turns out to be a waste of a perfectly good comic book."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:44 AM
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