Re: Howard Johnson's again, hooray hooray!

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For quite some time now, the main audience for advice shows and columns is there to see the questioner get bullied. It is a weird, distinctly American, ritual that affirms our fundamental conviction that any problem we have must be our own fault.

I blame Dr. Phil.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:59 AM
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Polly and Sparkless are both too wordy to read.

This may well in fact be a fundamentally sexist attitude on my part.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:14 AM
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The kids watched Peter Pan (again) yesterday, and I was struck by what an utter asshole Peter is. I do not find him endearing at all. In the very first scene he appears, where he's trying to retrieve his shadow, Wendy is keeping up this nervous excited girly patter, and he grumps "Girls sure do talk too much." I wish Wendy had said "Oh? Fuck you!" but instead she looks momentarily wounded and then goes back to tending to sewing his shadow on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:19 AM
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I'm not saying you're worse than Peter Pan, Stormcrow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:20 AM
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Stop trying to be what other people are supposed to wildly love.

Isn't this sort of the opposite of the advice that the Internet gives nerdy Poindexters who are tempted by the pickup artist alpha/beta/Yokohama Zipper Company rubbish? Something along the lines of "Don't sexually assault the women that you want; cultivate a more attractive person and personality through study, work and exercise toward finding a woman whose physical attractiveness is roughly comparable to your own"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:24 AM
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Nerdy Poindexters and Overachieving Young Women generally have very different pathologies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:27 AM
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Yes, Overachieving Young Women are never nerdy.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:30 AM
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The commenter to the linked article who wants to post it in men's room is really overestimating how long it takes to pee


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:32 AM
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Well, generally they're incredibly attuned to what others want them to be, and expend a crapton of effort towards becoming that person. Nerdy Poindexter, stereotypically, is not at all attuned to what others what him to be, even if the emotional pain of not being attuned is quite severe.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:33 AM
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Polly and the questioner ignore the effect of Mid-30s Shit or Get Off the Pot Syndrome. A common symptom is breaking up after 12-24 months because you're not ready to make babies.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:36 AM
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9 to 7.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:39 AM
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The "love yourself more" advice, and any kind of advice to just be a healthier person and then you'll find love always seems kind of cruel -- "No one loves you? Guess you're not healthy enough yet." I mean, being healthier is always a good thing, but I don't think it has that much to do with being lovable.

Reading the initial letter, what pops out at me is the mention that the writer's ex consistently wouldn't clear space for her to sit down in his apartment. That sounds to me as if her error isn't being not lovable enough, but in continuing to date people who don't like her enough to be minimally polite to her -- I don't know how she should find the next guy, but she shouldn't have been dating that one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:49 AM
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I love Havrilesky, but this was a poor effort. You obviosuly write for all your readers, but in this case you couldn't make any reasonable guesses about the letter writer, so she shouldn't have answered it.

Surely people submit via email. Does she have some kind of rule against asking followup questions?


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:54 AM
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And this, from the advice columnist, seems very dead-on:

Okay, this is where the record screeches to a stop. You seriously didn't know if he was going to say "Let's be together forever!" or "I like you bunches, but I never want to see you again!"?

You're dating someone for eighteen months and don't have a strong opinion about that kind of thing? You're either incredibly insensitive and inattentive, or you're in denial about your boyfriend not being happy with you. (Not saying no one gets surprised, but you really should have a belief about how things are going.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:56 AM
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Well, she was doing the infinite-ruminating-loop where she exhaustively circles around all options until she's dizzy. As a stalling mechanism and preserving some denial.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:00 AM
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And he was probably equally complicit on the mixed signals, so she could find evidence to support either position, depending on her mood.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:01 AM
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A commenter at the Viking link clarifies that women were, from what we can tell, rarely, not often, warriors, but that they were apparently warriors at all is significant.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:02 AM
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Viking warriors were never women. There are plenty of written sources.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:04 AM
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12.2: There's some ambiguity there between "inconsiderate jerk who wouldn't move a stack of books to make some room" and "oblivious slob who's apartment never felt cozy."


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:04 AM
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And the study claims nothing of the sort. God, I hate nerds.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:04 AM
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15, 16: Yeah, l don't have much sympathy for the infinite rumination loop. If you're in a years-long relationship with someone and there's room for honest confusion about whether they want to be with you, that's enough of a reason to end it right there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:07 AM
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If you go to Blenheim Palace, you can see the amazingly frilly, amazingly girly white lace frock which Winston Churchill wore for most of his infancy.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:08 AM
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10 to 14. If there's a continuous spectrum of how much they might like you, and you have no idea where on that spectrum they are, that's telling. On the other hand, if there's some threshold where above it means get married, have babies, etc., and below it means break it off, and you're pretty sure they're right on the cusp, it's reasonable to obsessively wonder about whether they're slightly above it or slightly below it.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:09 AM
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And we all know written sources never downplay women's roles.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:10 AM
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Written sources downplay women's roles and exaggerate how healthy they need to be for somebody to love them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:11 AM
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white lace frock which Winston Churchill wore

There are pictures of Sartre in an outfit like this, too, if I recall.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:12 AM
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19: I really don't have an opinion about the boyfriend, good or bad, at fault or innocent -- there's not enough information to say. But if she's talking to her therapist about the problem with there being no place to sit in his apartment, either he's being really rude to her or her biased perception is that he's being really rude, and either way something's not right in the relationship.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:12 AM
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I guess it was more the hair.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:13 AM
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I assume the boyfriend was himself on the fence, and she was accurately picking up on that. Of course, per LB, being on the fence is a reason to break it off, but that's probably easier to see in hindsight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:17 AM
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23 has it. And one thing about Shit or Get Off the Pot Syndrome (SGOPS) is that it tends to shift the threshold down for women and up for men, leading to increased uncertainty even if one is confident about where one is on the spectrum.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:20 AM
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A Viking warrior woman never asks if she can sit down.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:20 AM
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There are more than zero women fighting in Viking sources.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:21 AM
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Is David ironically trolling or troll-trolling? I don't get it.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:22 AM
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And one thing about Shit or Get Off the Pot Syndrome (SGOPS) is that it tends to shift the threshold down for women and up for men,

Women shit like this, men get off the pot like this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:26 AM
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I shouldn't have said they were never warriors so conclusively, but I find it hard to believe hirdsmen or vikings (ie pirates/marauders) were women to any meaningful extent. Female warriors would have been strange and noteworthy for the christians. They would have written about it.

Women being buried with weapons doesn't prove anything. Maybe (probably) they were part of the aristocracy and commanded warriors, or maybe they had picked up a weapon when they had to, when their community was attacked.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:31 AM
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OT: One is struck, when peripherally involved in the process of chlid birth, at how often the nurses resort to taking a shit as a point of reference.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:32 AM
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Troll-trolling!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:32 AM
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35: The archaeologist commenter from 17 notes that "buried with sword" does not imply "warrior," just as "not buried with sword" does not imply "not warrior."


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:34 AM
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"The cafe is down that hall. Turn left at the pile of shit."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:35 AM
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but I find it hard to believe hirdsmen or vikings (ie pirates/marauders) were women to any meaningful extent.

Probably just the vagina-having extent, but not the whole writing-in-to-ask-Polly shebang.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:36 AM
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The Polly letter made me feel awful. I wonder how the letter-writer took it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:38 AM
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CAN WE JUST AGREE THAT IT'S EVERY WOMAN'S RIGHT TO BE A VIKING WARRIOR IF SHE WANTS TO?


Posted by: OPINIONATED PEOPLE'S FRONT OF SCANDINAVIA | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:40 AM
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|| In other Knifecrime Island-related news, I just read about the shift in the polls in the Scottish independence vote. What's the word on the street, Islanders, and how much do you care? |>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:50 AM
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It seems "buried with sword" is apparently not enough of a indicator. "Buried with sword and obviously died from wounds suffered in battle" would be a clincher, but that wasn't mentioned.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:54 AM
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While singing "Shooting at the walls of heartache..."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:57 AM
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"There are more than zero women fighting in Viking sources."

There are no viking sources. There are female warriors in norse mythology, and a handful of instances where women are reported to have participated in defending against an attack, something women would never have done in various other cultures, so OK, that's noteworthy. I was already grumpy when I read the link, which was certainly shitty journalism. I'm not offended by the idea women warriors, I promise!


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:00 AM
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The anthropologist dude basically says, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Let's not get hysterical, ladies." Apparently we don't have enough physical evidence to say one way or another whether there were women Viking warriors. I don't know anything about the textual sources.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:00 AM
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Bang bang!


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:00 AM
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The Sarmatians (probably) had lots of female warriors.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:04 AM
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Women as viking warriors would corroborate something I heard ages ago on the archeology DL, which was of an early genetic study of Irish(?) people, which found Norse heritage from the mitochondrial DNA, but Celtic heritage from the Y DNA, which would point to female Vikings as being part of the Irish invasion.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:09 AM
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female Vikings as being part of the Irish invasion

Which anthropologist dude basically acknowledges, with the caveat that they were settlers and probably not warriors.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:16 AM
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43: I obviously don't really have a stake in it, but we're going to be on Islay on voting day. It'll be interesting, I think.

For purely selfish reasons of not wanting to deal with increased bureaucracy, I'd prefer they stayed - I still fantasise about moving up there at some point and I'd hate to have to go through immigration stuff all over again. But that's not fair! The overly practical person that I am just shudders at all the things to think through with separation, and at what will probably be a very large cost. The occasionally nationalistic person can totally understand wanting to be independent.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:18 AM
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The comment thread on the Viking article is moderated, and so there's some value in a good 15% of the comments. It's pointed out quickly that these are the graves of settlers, so we're not talking about marauders anyway.

It seems that the marginal significance of the finding has to do with the debate between those who thought that the settlers were marauders who hooked up with local women* and settled down, and those who think couples arrived from Scandinavia intent on settling. Calling the Norse women buried with swords 'warriors' seems to be the folks in the first group trying to cling to their view, despite the fact that having Norse women at all make the second group seem to have the better of it.

* How could they tell if their Viking really loved them? Burying them with his sword?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:19 AM
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53.*: Evidence that their Viking had cleared some space on the couch.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:22 AM
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Burying them with his sword?

I've never heard it called that before


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:23 AM
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52. I don't see an independent Scotland as being a viable nation unless 37 impropable things happen. Still, it's up to them if they want to give it a try.

The part that mystifies me is why the Labour Party is collaborating in its own suicide. They are quite dependent on Labour MPs from Scotland. Can anyone explain this?


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:27 AM
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35: Your instincts are precisely the same instincts that led to bodies traditionally being identified as male purely because they had weapons, and failing to record women fighters in writing. See the cannibalistic llamas essay (which incidentally links to this same Viking paper) and just generally educate yourself, please.

53: I don't think such a hard line can be drawn between marauders and settlers. God knows that's the case in US history.

56.2: What collaboration do you mean? Labour is running a No campaign.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:42 AM
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56: to the first, I don't see how it can be seen as "collaborating". Labour is supporting the No campaign, which is led by Alastair Darling (Brown's chancellor). Miliband has made a couple of speeches supporting the Union. Scottish Labour (which of course hates the SNP with a passion) is against independence too.

To the second, it's actually not really psephologically obvious how "dependent" Labour is on Scotland. There are comparatively few Labour governments where the majority in Scotland has been bigger than the majority nationwide in terms of MPs. When they're in opposition they tend to look quite Scottish-dominated because Scotland (and Wales, but it's much smaller) are much safer Labour territory. When they win, they tend to win in England too.

It might be argued that Labour is disproportionately dependent on Scottish Labour for high quality cadre and ministerial-calibre individuals (I can see two sides here) but I don't think that was the point you were making?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:42 AM
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Of course, if you look at the modern decedents of the Vikings (Scandinavian democracies + the Red Army), those have certainly upheld a tradition of relative sexual equality. Maybe that tradition goes way back.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:47 AM
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Those Vikings, always with the killing, even centuries after ceasing to exist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:56 AM
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||

Somebody is so full of bullshit on the internet:
http://idiotblogger.blog.com/2014/08/21/artists-against-admin/

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:06 AM
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57.2 -- ?? Obviously the line is permeable, but, as a general matter, I don't think it's that difficult in American history. Who are you thinking of?

Other than, I guess everyone: Vermont farmer's son joins the Union Army in 1862, does some marauding in Georgia under Sherman in 1864, returns home after the war, marries and farms until he dies. As to Georgia, I guess we'd say marauder. As to Vermont, we'd go with settler.

Story is the same with his ancestor who emigrated from England with wife and 3 children, left Mass with Hooker to become one of the founders of Wethersfield Connecticut, and later spent 2 months, along with his eldest son, fighting well east of town as a militiaman in the Pequot War.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:20 AM
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On the OP, it has always seemed to me that advice columns exist in a perpetual tension between the fact that the columnist can really only (maybe) affect the behavior of the person who choose to write to him/her -- but almost every advice scenario involves more than one actor.

So most of the time, the columnist's answer pays lip service to BothSidesDoItIsm in a way that focuses on the advice-seeker -- he did this, but you did that, and you should work! on! yourself!

And while Americans love the idea of individual autonomy, and our locus of control is firmly located within the individual, there are situations in which one person is really unable to singlehandedly change things.

Loyalty, voice, exit, sure -- but advice columnists end up giving a lot of "exit" advice because it's the only thing that ONE person can fully control.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:27 AM
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61: Arts administrators vanquished at last! Let the arts flourish. Great idea.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:28 AM
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Also, knowing literally nothing about the referendum in Scotland, the American in me says independence is better.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:28 AM
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61:

I don't know, the phrase "will no longer deal in future tenses." has a certain charm. I mean the whole thing is silly and self indulgent, but you do have to admire a manifesto about how, right now, they've decided that in the future they're not going to talk about what they're going to do in the future.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:30 AM
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I'm speaking specifically to your "It's pointed out quickly that these are the graves of settlers, so we're not talking about marauders anyway." Our history shows that marauding was usually part and parcel of settling (although not necessarily vice versa). Best exemplified by militia in your second example, which I gather was also pretty common in the West. Go out homesteading or cowboying or whatever opportunities avail, then when called for spend a few months in a militia keeping 'em down, then back to your settlement.

Yes, with us the marauding was perhaps most commonly done under formally separate organizational structures (army, militia), but that's a more modern bureaucratic folkway. I could very easily imagine a mixed-sex-and-age Danelaw settlement deciding the natives are restless and rounding up able-bodied men and women for a punitive expedition. Or a group bent on pure viking still appropriating choice land, livestock, and other resources for associated settlers.

We may be talking past each other here.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:38 AM
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67 I was thinking of marauding as leaving Scandinavia with a boat full of people for the purpose of going some where -- England, Ireland -- stealing everything you can carry (including some people to sell in slave markets) and then heading home.

Settling would be more like let's go somewhere, steal some land, and make a life on it. We'll steal more land if we need it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:44 AM
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On Scotland: I'm torn on it, leaning towards staying in but not strongly so. The main thing going against it is that the Yes campaign is magically waving away the economics--they assume things will go their way on a lot of things that just aren't guaranteed. (And I feel for Alex Salmond on this--if the Euro crisis hadn't happened, he'd be in a lot better state). It seems like it'd be really bad for the Scottish financial industry. I understand the desire to get rid of nuclear weapons, but said weapons will still exist and Scotland will (assuming it's part of NATO, which the Yes campaign has said it wants to be, and really even if it isn't) still be benefiting from the existence. On the other hand, the Tories exist, which is a pretty big reason for wanting to be independent.

On Vikings: the horrible British DNA book I read noted that there was probable Scandinavian mitochondrial DNA in a bunch of places where the Norse settled (Orkney, Danelaw) so it was clear that women came, too. (And when the women come, you know it's a big deal--they're really serious about sticking around.) This isn't anything new. I don't see that as strong evidence that the Vikings raiders--which really was a separate activity from settling--were gender balanced. Scandinavian women in Orkney doesn't mean Scandinavian women butchering in Lindisfarne. (But it's really interesting that we, for some values of we, want that to be true!).

Anyway, for progressive, gender balanced Nordic warriors slaughtering their enemies, I recommend Skyrim.

(Also, viewing the Red Army as in any sense the descendants of Vikings is really weird, so I'm going to assume that was a joke wizzing past my head.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:15 AM
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It's also really interesting that the reason everybody is talking about this is due to a sci-fi/fantasy publisher using it to justify and promote modern genre fiction (as with my Skyrim reference). Hrm. Which is a not unreasonable thing to do--people (males) can be pretty shitty with their "[mildly progressive thing in historicalish fantasy] wasn't realistic!" claims. I find the "if we squint and turn our heads and ignore the evidence, it can almost look like our fantasies" responses pretty annoying, but I'm probably punching down and should stop.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:19 AM
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OK, I see. I was reading you in the context (viz. my troll-feeding above) of whether/how often women were warriors historically. So I reacted to your "these were settlers, not marauders" as moving the goalposts from "were they warriors" to "were they warriors-and-nothing-else [marauders]". But you were talking about the scholarly debate this pertains to.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:21 AM
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Also, viewing the Red Army as in any sense the descendants of Vikings is really weird,

Vikings -> Kievan Rus -> Catherine the Great -> Red Army

Is possible that connection doesn't hold up well to scrutiny.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:32 AM
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We don't have immediate Viking sources, but we have sources that aren't very removed -- the Icelandic sagas. In those, women occasionally pick up swords and start stabbing guys.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:36 AM
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72: Figured, and yeah, 72.3. My understanding is that some stuff happened in Russia.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:41 AM
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I found that advice hit pretty close to home. I don't want to get married, but I have been in that relationship over and over, and wondered why my partners rather blithely abandon me and then fall insanely, madly in love with people who are (or seemed to me to be) super-demanding and selfish. But with the few people I had the chance to do a post-mortem with, they told me they just thought I wasn't very into them--not because I was impolite, but because I was *never* impolite. (In both cases I'm thinking of, my expression of anger at having been suddenly abandoned came as a great surprise. "You should have told me our relationship meant something to you.") But in retrospect, I don't think those relationships did mean much to me, which is the part the letter-writer can't accept yet.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:48 AM
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Everyone in Wales is a descendant of Cynan ab Iago's wife. Thus, by the logic of 72, probably Communist.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:50 AM
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Anyway, for progressive, gender balanced Nordic warriors slaughtering their enemies, I recommend The Shield Ring, by Rosemary Sutcliff.

It's amazing how well she gets you to sympathize with the Vikings, who were, after all, just about the least justified invaders after the Romans. And, I suppose, the Normans. Plus whoever came over in prehistory and killed off the Goddess religions.

Vikings fara heim!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:04 PM
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||

A better example for police use of force, surprisingly. Among other work:

Magnus has done something in Richmond that he believes is not done enough in other departments: He's been willing to second-guess the deadly force used by other cops.
"We use a case study approach to different incidents that happen in different places. When there is a questionable use-of-force incident somewhere else, we study it and have a lot of dialogue," Magnus said. "It's a model that is used in a range of other professions, but in some police circles, it's seen as judging in hindsight and frowned on. In my mind, that attitude is counterproductive."

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:05 PM
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Blue-sky, unsupported speculation about medieval women warriors here -- just thinking about things. I wonder if the possibility is slightly less unrealistic than it sounds. In a well-nourished, healthy, modern population, women fighting with low-tech, pre-gunpowder weapons (other than in immediate self-defense) sounds unlikely in the same way that women playing professional men's sports sounds unlikely -- the physical dimorphism means that the overwhelming majority of women couldn't compete.

On the other hand, in a malnourished, unhealthy, medieval population, you've got a much larger range of physical variation than we have now; most of the population is stunted by malnutrition, but the occasional person who was well-fed and healthy through all of their crucial growing periods gets to the full height they would have attained under modern conditions. There would have been a small, but substantial fraction of the population that's was much, much bigger and stronger than the average in a way that doesn't happen in the same way anymore.

Pull a big healthy woman out of that small fraction, and while she still probably can't physically compete with an equally well-nourished male counterpart, she's much more competitive against the male population as a whole. (I really have no idea if this stands up up at all -- I'm making up theories rather than watching Newt's soccer team get destroyed.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:09 PM
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77: I will give that a look. Thanks.

I enjoyed Guy Gavriel Kay's Last Light of the Sun, which did a good job of showing Vikingness in an economic sense, portraying it as a colonial/extractive enterprise that was a good way for second sons to get enough capital to own land.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:11 PM
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The Icelandic sagas make Viking raiding sound like something that you did for a while before settling down to a life of farming. It was the medieval junior year abroad.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:16 PM
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Is there still a possibility of a meetup with CCarp in DC this week?

Sorry I've been away from the blog, and will be offline for a couple more days, but if there is a meetup, I'll try to come.

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Posted by: t0rrey p1ne | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:33 PM
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Oh shit! I was supposed to post that!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:36 PM
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75 reminds me of a very misery-inducing breakup in college. The fellow dumped me for an insanely needy/crazy girl, and I just couldn't figure out why. In a moment of frustration with me (navigating the let's-be-friends stage), the painfully recent ex complained, "You never seemed like you needed me." I replied, without thinking, in a moment of unconscious honesty, "I didn't." That was when I started feeling a bit less mopey and a bit more reasonable about the whole thing.

I think it was interesting that the poor letter writer wanted to absolve herself of blame. She'd been perfect! Even her therapist said so! I think anytime someone is convinced that they aren't doing anything wrong but aren't getting the results they want, it's very difficult to give advice. It's sort of smart to suggest a change of behavior in a way that suggests they were too perfect, rather than suggesting they might have been at fault. In person, I usually just shrug and listen sympathetically, since giving advice to someone who thinks they've done nothing wrong is pointless for everyone concerned.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:39 PM
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82: Perfect timing. Not to scoop heebie, but Wednesday is the day, probably in Dupont.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:40 PM
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You didn't. My post totally pwned your comment.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:42 PM
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57 just generally educate yourself, please.

This sounds kind of assholish, especially since the "half of Viking warriors were women" claim seems to have been manufactured by whoever wrote the Tor blog post. David's 20 looks right to me: the paper they cite only uses the word "warrior" in reference to men, and suggests that the men came to England with their wives and children looking for a new home, not that the wives were involved in fighting. (I mean, sure, they could have been, but the claim that they were seems to appear only on the blog of a publisher of fantasy literature.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:47 PM
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86: Winner and still champion.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:49 PM
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I know the Tor headline was bullshit. Was pushing back against the general incredulity against the concept and immediate move to downplay any evidence for the proposition and elevate any absence of evidence.

I suppose a bit assholish that I didn't register the first sentence of 35.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 12:55 PM
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I think 79 is probably right, but also I suspect that while size probably matters a bit it's not hard to find (not crazily large) women who are physically larger/stronger/etc. than (smallish) men. And the benefits of size would have more to do with holding the line in a shield wall than actually slicing away at people with swords, so it's not hard to see where women could play a role even if they were smaller.

Swords, battle axes, war hammers and that sort of thing aren't that heavy, and speed is probably more important than strength in most cases. I mean, both are nice but actually hitting someone is more important than missing really, really hard. It's kind of funny how often the women in historical movies/television/books/etc. end up being given bows, which actually require an awful lot of upper body strength (100+ pound draws in some cases!), whereas your average broadsword was somewhere in the vicinity of 3 pounds, a decent chunk of which was in the handle for balance.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:11 PM
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Just skimmed the thread, so maybe pwnd, but my general recollection is that women warriors existed but were unusual and remarked upon in the sagas. Not like a regular part of the raiding armies or whatever. Not that the sagas are contemporaneous but they're not that far off either.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:11 PM
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Was pushing back against the general incredulity against the concept and immediate move to downplay any evidence for the proposition and elevate any absence of evidence.

I don't think people here are dismissing the entire idea. It's just that the way the Tor folks jumped straight to "So it was just like in the latest fantasy novel I read! Cool!" is lazy and annoying.

Anyway, here's what I was able to come up with without much looking:

"Few historical records mention the roles of Viking Age women and warfare. But a Byzantine historian by the name of Johannes Skylitzes, records a battle that took place in 971 in which the Scandinavian ruler of Kiev attacked the Byzantines in Bulgaria. The Norsemen suffered a crushing defeat, and the Byzantines were shocked to find amongst the fallen Norse were armed women."


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:15 PM
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84: Yeah, I caught myself saying that quite a few times, that I did everything "right," so why would this person disappear on me? As I certainly know from my friendships, intimacy isn't about being objectively the most thoughtful and mature person in the world. I'm intimate with people I don't have to be on best behavior with, and vice versa. I don't "deserve" love from the people who actually do love me.

One of the breakups that hurt the most and the longest was with someone who, as I found out later, was cheating on his real girlfriend with me. He said that, unlike her, I was never jealous or suspicious about where he was or who he was with. I was like, uh, we've only been dating a few months; what do I care who else you're sleeping with? A lack of jealousy is no reason to treat me like shit. It's still a matter of entirely intellectual reflection that I really did not actually like him very much, and if I had, I might have at least been interested in knowing who else he was sleeping with.

I don't really date anymore until I can figure out why my feelings and ideas are so at odds.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:15 PM
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Werewolves exist in the sagas.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:16 PM
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Freydis came out and saw how they were retreating. She called out, "Why run you away from such worthless creatures, stout men that ye are, when, as seems to me likely, you might slaughter them like so many cattle? Let me but have a weapon, I think I could fight better than any of you." They gave no heed to what she said. Freydis endeavoured to accompany them, still she soon lagged behind, because she was not well [pregnant]; she went after them into the wood, and the Skrælingar directed their pursuit after her. She came upon a dead man; Thorbrand, Snorri's son, with a flat stone fixed in his head; his sword lay beside him, so she took it up and prepared to defend herself therewith.

Then came the Skrælingjar upon her. She let down her sark and struck her breast with the sword. At this they were frightened, rushed off to their boats, and fled away. Karlsefni and the rest came up to her and praised her zeal.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:16 PM
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That was supposed to be posted by Opinionated Saga of Erik the Red.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:17 PM
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94 to 93.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:22 PM
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92: Sorry for the inclarity, by "general" I didn't mean "general among people commenting here".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:22 PM
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79 : as well as this, there were figures like Queen Boadicea ( or hundreds of years later Jeanne d'Arc), who might not have planned a military career but circumstances led that way.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:36 PM
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Setting up the chariot with the scythes on the wheels does argue for a certain amount of premeditation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:45 PM
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Story is the same with his ancestor who emigrated from England with wife and 3 children, left Mass with Hooker to become one of the founders of Wethersfield Connecticut, and later spent 2 months, along with his eldest son, fighting well east of town as a militiaman in the Pequot War.

Where they'd probably have known my ancestor, just off the Planter from England and 21 years old, who received his grant of land for his service in the Pequot war, about 1636 I think.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:58 PM
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100: not really. If the Britons did use scythe wheeled war chariots (for which the evidence is surprisingly weak), it would just have been a normal Iceni war chariot, of which there would have been a supply due to the war. Despite what loads of British textbooks say, Boudicca didn't invent the war chariot.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 1:59 PM
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||

On the worst parenting days, you wonder if you're raising complete shitheads. Fortunately all three fell asleep on the way to Jammies' soccer game, so maybe they'll be less goddamn grumpy when they wake up.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:09 PM
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On the worst parenting days, you wonder if you're raising complete shitheads.

Have you been regularly searching their rooms for hidden copies of The Economist? If you find any, that's a pretty serious danger sign.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:14 PM
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When Sally was five or six, I wondered if she was going to be too paralyzed by nervous perfectionism to ever do anything without having a breakdown about it. This has not proven to be a problem at all. I wouldn't worry.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:14 PM
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Does responding to chronic grumpiness with equanimity make me the parenting equivalent of the woman in the OP? Should I throw a tantrum back at them? Not that I never yell, but does it need to have more teeth?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:15 PM
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They're just jerks! Hey sweetie, that hurts. I asked you to stop. Stop now. STOP. Okay go to the couch. (As the kicking/pinching/etc escalated in intensity through all the noes.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:18 PM
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Well, generally they're incredibly attuned to what others want them to be, and expend a crapton of effort towards becoming that person. Nerdy Poindexter, stereotypically, is not at all attuned to what others what him to be, even if the emotional pain of not being attuned is quite severe

Do you think this is because they're less likely to receive advice, and if so is it because they don't ask for it or it's less likely to be forthcoming, from men or women?

I know that I fit this stereotype in my early 20s. Some of the suggestions I did receive to make myself more attractive, such as growing my hair longer, wearing more fashionable clothes, pretending to like movies and music I didn't, annoyed me, and struck me as essentially fake, and focused on the superficial. But I was told by those who did get close to me that I read as "conservative," which was far from the case politically or socially, although I was skeptical about then-common hopes in a way that might have disconcerted people.

So I knew what many others wanted me to be, and didn't want to be that.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:19 PM
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I would be cheerfully calm (while still trying to enforce good behavior) or terrifying if cheerful calmness doesn't work. The intermediate stages of irritation don't get you anywhere and just train the kids to disregard your feeling annoyed. Gradual escalation is for chumps.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:21 PM
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Partly that men get told less often how to be, partly that boys aren't encouraged to be reading other people to the extent that girls are, similarly that boys aren't trained to be people-pleasers to the same degree, and so on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:23 PM
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Hmm. That's actually a good description of how Jammies handles it. I tend to be more of a creampuff and then I just make myself scarce, which doesn't leave me feeling warm-fuzzy towards my family but rather "screw you guys I'm outta here" and sort of trapped.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:27 PM
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110 to 108, 111 to 109.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:29 PM
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106: Buy them a kitty and threaten to "send it to a farm" if they keep behaving poorly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:30 PM
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One of the big lies of misogyny is that women overreact with emotion in response to every goddamn little thing, so some of us grow up thinking of ourselves as unfeminine because we don't flip out and make crazy demands all the time like bitches do. But that equanimity and responsiveness tends to make one into a big target for men who are selfish, emotionally mercurial, needy, easily offended, etc. (Gender fairly unimportant here; it often works the other way too, and in same-sex couples, but in my case I never thought of my willingness to give way to other people's eccentricities as "feminine" pleasing behavior. In my family, rage and hypersensitivity were stereotyped as bad female traits.)


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:33 PM
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The poor kitty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:33 PM
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115: Right. Once they're thinking that, they're ready to listen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:37 PM
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In your specific situation, you could start with "Remember what happened to Mommy's pet spider that lived behind the picture? "


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:38 PM
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107: Don't hit Mama in the face with the block. Ow, that's Mama's nose. Gentle. Gentle with Mama's face. Gentle.

He whacked shiv in the face with a toy last night, shiv said Ow, and rubbed his nose, and the baby burst into tears of remorse.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:39 PM
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Oh boy, an archaeological epistemology thread!

Basically I think all this particular study (which is actually from 2011, so it's not clear why it's suddenly news now) seems to show is that some women of Norse origin but living in Britain were buried with weapons. As others have noted, there are many reasons this might have happened, and it doesn't necessarily imply that they were warriors in life. The fact that there is apparently at least some textual evidence for Norse women occasionally fighting does strengthen the theory that the swords in burials do indicate women who fought, but it's still hardly an open-and-shut case.

My main takeaway is that this indicates a really striking prevalence of sexist assumptions in the traditional approach to Viking-era archaeology, if it really is true that archaeologists had previously assigned sex based purely on grave goods even when that conflicted with osteological evidence. That seems like a seriously crazy thing to do.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:43 PM
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Perhaps they used a cut-rate osteological service and didn't trust the results or have money for some quality osteological work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:46 PM
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I'm with LB in 109. Be nice or be terrifying.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 2:48 PM
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Anyway, there's a reason that Montessori rooms always have a class pet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:02 PM
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partly that boys aren't encouraged to be reading other people to the extent that girls are, similarly that boys aren't trained to be people-pleasers to the same degree, and so on

My capacity to read other people, and my interest in doing so seem to have grown continuously, slowly and steadily, all my adult life. No breakthroughs, just maturation.

Were I to realize that persistent fantasy of living my life over again, even though I feel like I'm the same person, I also suspect every encounter would be likely to take a different course because of this.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:11 PM
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I feel for Alex Salmond on this--if the Euro crisis hadn't happened, he'd be in a lot better state

Yeah. If the Euro crisis hadn't happened, "small Europeriphery state with big banks and self-satisfied pols who suddenly get to the big time" would be as sweet a deal as it looked in 2004.

But that's only true in the same way invading Iraq might have looked do-able in 2002. If it hadn't turned out to be a disaster, it would look a better idea! Well, yes. Or rather, no.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:30 PM
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I vaguely disagree with 109, on the basis of finding it terrifying when I have no cues about whether or not someone is still joking around, until it's clear that they weren't. (and remembering feeling that it was unfair when adults did this to me, as a child).

This would not be an issue with some people, who don't do the kinds of joking around (=lying for comedic effect) that my family is really into. I personally have an intermediate stage that is calm and not angry, but not at all cheerful. Just very, very, serious.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:41 PM
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But if not for Euro crisis, no austerity, not as much alienation from Westminister, possibly Brown does better as PM, who knows.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:42 PM
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Jammies got kicked out of the game, so we drove home and went to Taco Cabana. Everyone's a bit more mellow now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:49 PM
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118: unfortunately, the baby isn't the one who's doing it. Or rather, she does, but it's age-appropriate and not antagonistic. With the five year old, it takes on a different tint.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:53 PM
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Tinge? Tint?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:54 PM
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Slant? Edge? Color? What do things take on?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:55 PM
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125: Oh, you're right -- there's an important distinction between calm and cheerful but serious, and we're all still kidding around having fun here. The step I'm advocating skipping is "I'm irritated and unhappy and upset and I really want you to stop doing whatever it is", but you do want to get across "I seriously mean it" before you go nuclear.

I think I know the kind of behavior you're talking about -- people who joke around and get kids revved further and further up, and then the kid crosses an invisible line and suddenly the adult is scary angry? That's bullshit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:56 PM
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Timbre.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:57 PM
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Me.


Posted by: a-ha | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:57 PM
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Dye? Bob? Swing bob with layers?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 3:57 PM
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People see things in different lights. The things themselves, I don't think, take on any one thing more often than another.

Flavor? Color? Kettle of fish?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:02 PM
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58 et al.: I guess what I was really wondering about is how Labour was willing to put forward a rather weak spokesperson and a "platform" that pretty much seemed to say "Hey, the NHS is awesome so you should stay in the Union." Maybe that's just bad play calling rather than an actual collaboration.

If I was running the campaign I'd talk about how England and Scotland in combination dominated the world culturally, scientifically, economically and imperially. Neither could have done it alone, and they both should understand that. Scotland will become at best a sort of chilly version of Denmark, England will be a nation of Camerons.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:17 PM
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I like that: "Don't leave us alone with ourselves! Without the Scots England will turn into an unrelieved mass of Oxbridge blowhards, and no one wants that." It's an abject kind of campaign, but might be effective.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:21 PM
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127: Jammies got kicked out of the game

! What happened?


Posted by: remy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:21 PM
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He's the goalie, and I guess he leveled another player against the wall? It's indoor. He generally plays ridiculously aggressively, and was sort of surprised that this merited a red card, compared to all his normal shenanigans.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:29 PM
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Are there genuinely well-behaved kids? Three-year-olds? Ours is pretty good, but we let him get tired today, and he just threw such a tantrum on a walk that a cop stopped to see if we were ok. We could have all been killed.

On telling them to stop, what I've heard is don't say "don't" more than twice before doing something to stop the kid. We try to stick to that, but...police.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:29 PM
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I generally believe in one warning and then a consequence, and not to play counting to five games or anything. I'm great at that when it's clear cut. The kind of thing that I don't know how to handle is endless grumpiness: "I wanted DADDY to make my sandwich. This is gross." and "I said FIND MY BALL!!!" and just endless low-grade hostility for no apparent reason. (I mean, in both those specific examples I know what I'd do - for the first, I'd say "sorry," flippantly and walk away. For the second, I'd make them re-ask politely. Still, I grow weary.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:35 PM
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On the weekday evenings, I'm happy to attribute it to exhaustion and superego fatigue, and just let the kids be a bit grumpy. But on the weekends it just wears me down, especially if the day is unstructured.

And it's also aimed between the two of them, so the ridiculous incessant sibling rivalry is in full effect.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:38 PM
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I guess he leveled another player against the wall? It's indoor.

God I hate indoor soccer. Hockey boards + no pads = horrible idea. Plus there's something about the enclosed space that seems to make people assholes.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:40 PM
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He's sort of the non-angry but way too aggressive type, as opposed to the guy who gets furious and starts playing to kill everyone. He's never particularly worked up about the people on the other team, but they sure inevitably get angry at him. About the same in indoor and outdoor.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:51 PM
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There isn't a wall outdoor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:53 PM
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There's a wall between out and indoor.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:53 PM
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Also a door.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:55 PM
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Relatedly, do you all know how a mathematician catches a tiger?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:56 PM
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Not very hilariously, I'll tell you that much.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 4:57 PM
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If I ever get kicked out of a soccer game, it won't be for tripping a five-year-old. At least not again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 5:01 PM
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148: Is it some tactic that involves telling half a joke and then withholding the punchline?


Posted by: remy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 5:58 PM
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I just assumed someone would prompt me for the punchline, eventually. I guess 151 counts, but I was picturing the more canonical "I don't know, how DOES a mathematician capture a tiger?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:03 PM
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I don't know. How DOES a mathematician capture a tiger? Tell us!

(151 was indeed intended to be your prompt.)


Posted by: remy | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:06 PM
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Anyway, they build a wall around themself and define the inside to be the exterior.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:06 PM
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Thank you, I'll be here all night.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:07 PM
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103: I caught Mara basically beating up a girl twice her age and size at the park today, which implies that eventually the fight would have turned against her. Admittedly the girl had taken her stupid beanie baby horse and wasn't giving it back, but fuck!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:13 PM
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I was hoping for something more specific to tigers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:13 PM
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I generally root for small states to secede peaceably, for no very good reason. I'd like to see Scotland go. I also root for Quebec secession and would like to see Catalonia go as well. None of this is justifiable really except on "that would be cool" grounds.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:15 PM
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I assume all secession will be outlawed under Halfordismo, right?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:17 PM
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True, no one leaves, and no correctly educated person will want to leave.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:21 PM
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Small states seceding and actual world government is the obvious way to go, right? Nominal federalism to keep the funny-talkin' locals happy and a toothed EU-type deal to keep the big states in line.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:21 PM
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136 --- They've got Brown out of retirement now. A large part of the No campaign's problem is that it has had to keep Labour and the Lib Dems (& the Tories, to a lesser extent) in the same tent. Now that it's the last few weeks, and it looks so close, I suspect that Brown will be let off the chain and told to go medieval on the Tories/Liberals. He'll be relying on his strong Scottish Labour anti-tory cred to defang the "fuck Cameron" vote, which Better Together hasn't had the cover of necessity to do until now.

Also at this point it's down to get out the vote, which is basically to say "can Glasgow Labour knock on enough doors".


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:37 PM
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I confess to hoping for "No" basically because all my ties are to England and I feel England is plainly served well by being diluted with Scotland. Build a better England with Scots!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 6:40 PM
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My ancestors made all their riches on border reiving, so clearly I am pro the reëstablishment of a border.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:02 PM
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61, 64 et probably seq: Oh, Jesus. I went to this documentary about the artists who used to have free studio apartments above Carnegie Hall and one of them who left poems with a very "I am a precious soul" air about them on the answering machine of another had a verse about arts administrators, "sad soulless people at rows of desks" or something. Ok, fine, answering machine poet. Let's all just everybody show up and do stuff onstage at Carnegie Hall like free spirits and leave the front doors open and see how that goes.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:11 PM
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He was probably just upset because his rent was too damn high.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:27 PM
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OTOH, I could get behind mission statement abolition. And "simple applications" wouldn't hurt. (The LA2050 thing re which I bade you vote for Mrs. K-sky had a reasonably straightforward application.)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:50 PM
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The economist and iconoclast Leopold Kohr had a series of arguments against bigness and against big nation states in particular. A major influence on 60s/70s thinkers like E.F. Schumacher, Ivan Illich and Kirkpatrick Sale. Most critiques of bigness, using terms like "human scale" can be traced back to his ideas.

A great favorite of the Anarchists.

My problem with Scottish and Quebec nationalism isn't the idea of devolving nation-states, it's that nationalism is the wrong reason to do it. I think nationalism has been obsolete for a long time and was never a good thing.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 8:00 PM
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||

NSFW:

Lesbian Psychics.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:35 PM
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That is quite the image.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:45 PM
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Anyway, they build a wall around themself and define the inside to be the exterior

Wasn't there some similar but better reverse-eruv joke involving spherical geometry conceived on this very blog?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 9:50 PM
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endless low-grade hostility for no apparent reason.

That sounds awful. On the bright side, only about 18 more years of it, maybe 20! At least you have Taco Cabana.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:48 PM
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On telling them to stop, what I've heard is don't say "don't" more than twice before doing something to stop the kid. We try to stick to that, but...police.

Don't worry, we do the same with suspects. Tell them your cop buddy told you to use "ask, tell, make" on your kid. Probably get a laugh.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 10:55 PM
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Or maybe he'll taze your brown ass and turn your kids over to the state. Chicago's a dirty town.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:00 PM
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On the Viking thing, this article from 1993 has a lot of examples of women acting as warriors and in other "masculine" roles in the Norse literary and historical sources. It also briefly refers to burials of women with weapons and other "masculine" grave goods, so whatever this phenomenon means it's not a new discovery.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 11:49 PM
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Without the Scots England will turn into an unrelieved mass of Oxbridge blowhards, and no one wants that."

Suggested spokesmen for this putative campaign; Niall Ferguson, Michael Gove, Hugo Rifkind?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:13 AM
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Swords, battle axes, war hammers and that sort of thing aren't that heavy, and speed is probably more important than strength in most cases.

Go get ahold of a replica and swing it around for ten or twenty minutes. You might reconsider the importance of strength.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:31 AM
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Yeah, I was puzzled by that comment. Broadswords and battle-axes are really heavy!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:33 AM
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For things to be swinging around a bunch, that is.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:38 AM
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I like that: "Don't leave us alone with ourselves! Without the Scots England will turn into an unrelieved mass of Oxbridge blowhards, and no one wants that." It's an abject kind of campaign, but might be effective.

I have been using a similar argument myself: when people ask me which side I support, I say I would vote No, because while I have a great deal of respect for the plucky English natives, there is just no way that they're ready for self-government yet.

if it really is true that archaeologists had previously assigned sex based purely on grave goods even when that conflicted with osteological evidence. That seems like a seriously crazy thing to do.

a) It's not always easy to identify sex from bones, and I suppose it's not a skill set that all archaeologists will have?

b) Archaeologists do seem to get blinkered by their own favourite ideas. Lawrence Keeley had the story about how the sharp wedge-shaped bits of copper found in a lot of burial sites were firmly identified as money, rather than (what they looked like) axe heads. Then they found Otzi, who, unhelpfully, had three of them on him, all hafted to axe handles. "He also carried two small copper knives. Presumably these were his small change."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:00 AM
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90, 177 et seq: yes, true. I mean, it's kind of true that for certain sorts of sword fighting you need speed more than strength. Smallsword fencing, from my experience, doesn't give much of an edge to the strong, though it is still a help to be tall and lanky (which men are more likely to be). It really is more about speed and dexterity.
But battle axes? War hammers? Swinging an axe and cutting things for a living, or a hammer and hitting them, requires a fair amount of brawn. Not many small weedy lumberjacks or blacksmiths out there. A war hammer was for battering on armoured men to stun them (maul), or for battering through armour or helmets with the beak end to kill.

Bows, on the other hand: some bows are 100lb draw, but not all. The English longbow was. But IIRC smaller bows, especially horse archer ones, were 50-70lb.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:09 AM
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do you all know how a mathematician catches a tiger?

Via Standpipe's blog, the canonical list: http://www.anvari.org/shortjoke/Science_Humor/784_problem-to-catch-a-lion-in-the-sahara-desert-hunting-lions-in-africa-was-originally-published-as-a-contribution-to-the-mathematical-theory-of-big-game-hunting-in-the-american-mathematical-monthly-in-1938-by-h.html


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:12 AM
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re: 181, 90, 177, etc

I've mentioned this before, but there was one of those archaeology/forensic anthropology Meet the Ancestors type programs on the BBC, where they dug up a knight from Stirling Castle. 14th century.

The guy was massive. Not particularly tall [5ft 10 or so], but built like a rugby league forward. Hugely muscular. Massive shoulders. Some asymmetry, too, iirc. From weapons training with his dominant hand, presumably.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:35 AM
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re: 176

You know what, looking at that list, I think we [the Scots] have done something dreadfully wrong somewhere.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:42 AM
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Not sure that the weight of a sword would really be outside the range of female accomplishment; splitting firewood and using a mattock as an agricultural implement are also big-heavy-thing-swinging activities and these are often considered womens' work in tribal societies. And Vikings tended to fight against unarmoured peasants, didn't they? Unless the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Manual has misled me completely, effective plate armour for the common man came along quite a while after the Vikings' heyday.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:43 AM
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re: 185

Yeah. Viking heyday is what, 8th to about 11th centuries? So yeah, gigantic knight skeleton is a good few centuries later.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:45 AM
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184: we sent all the wankers off to other countries. Sounds like we've been doing something right.

splitting firewood and using a mattock as an agricultural implement are also big-heavy-thing-swinging activities and these are often considered womens' work in tribal societies.

Splitting firewood with a hatchet, or doing hoe agriculture, are not really comparable to fighting with an axe or a hammer. There are actual existing hitting-things-with-big-axe-or-hammer jobs (smith, lumberjack), and they tend to be male-dominated. Hoeing a field is hard physical work and it tires you out but you don't need strength in the sense of being able to lift very heavy things or strike hard. It needs endurance.

Vikings fought mostly against each other. They tended not to wear metal armour because it was very expensive by Viking standards - maybe a helmet or a mail shirt or a lamellar (fishscale). Otherwise, probably leather or quilted armour, and a wooden shield with a metal boss (also heavy!).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:05 AM
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re: 187.1

Heh, hang on ... _I_ live in another country.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:09 AM
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188: er, yeah... we were hoping that you wouldn't make that connection.

Shit, wait a minute, I live in another country too. DAMN YOU SCOTLAND.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:11 AM
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England will be a lot less funny without the Scots. Tragedy.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:18 AM
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It's occurred to me recently, that if Scotland does go independent, I might not get citizenship.* Which would be ... tricky.

* born in England, live in England.**

** my Dad was stationed near London when I was born, we moved back to Scotland when I was about 4 weeks old.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:21 AM
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There will probably be an awkward-turtle-like gesture meant for situations like 191.1 if independence does get voted through.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:33 AM
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192 made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:36 AM
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191.1: I had actually wondered about cases like yours. Hopefully, they'll include children of citizens born elsewhere in the citizen category?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:40 AM
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Scotland wouldn't have been driven to pursue independence if it wasn't for shitty voice recognition technology.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:46 AM
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re: 194

No idea. I presume I would actually qualify somehow. Both my parents live in Scotland. I grew up there. I expect any post-independence government would probably want to encourage diasporic Scots to come back. But I don't know about xelA.

We have friends who are both Irish citizens who are finding it quite hard to get citizenship for their kids, for similar reasons.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:56 AM
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Huh. My mother keeps telling me that one Irish citizen grandparent gets you Irish citizenship, and trying to get me to cash mine in. But I've never actually checked -- not that easy, is it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:01 AM
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re: 197

I think it used to be, but I'm not so sure now. Both of my friends have Irish citizenship, but neither were born in the Republic. Their kids do have Irish grandparents [2 of 4, I think], but I think there's possibly some issue there, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:09 AM
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Anyone born in the island of Ireland is a citizen.
Anyone with an Irish citizen parent at the time of their birth is an Irish citizen. But they'll need to register in the Foreign Births Register- it isn't automatic. Nor is it retroactive; you aren't regarded as always having been Irish, you're only Irish from the moment you register.
Wiki explains, in a slightly Gilbertian tone:
"In practice, anyone with an Irish citizen grandparent born in the island of Ireland can easily claim Irish citizenship. His or her parent would have automatically been an Irish citizen and their own citizenship can be secured by registering themselves as in the Foreign Births Register. In contrast, those wishing to claim citizenship through an Irish citizen great-grandparent would be unable to do so unless their parents were placed into the Foreign Births Register. Their parents can transmit Irish citizenship to only those children born after they themselves were registered and not to any children born before registration. Citizenship acquired through descent may be maintained indefinitely so long as each generation ensures its registration before the birth of the next."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:10 AM
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But if your friends are both citizens, whether born in Ireland or not, the kid should just need to be registered. Maybe registering is difficult?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:11 AM
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Huh. So I could register myself, but not my kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:16 AM
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re: 200

I'd guess there's some issue with the Foreign Births register. Maybe it's only some minor annoyance. It's possible my friend's parents aren't on the register. They are from the north [he's from Belfast]. He has mentioned that the kids don't have citizenship yet, and there was some issue around the process.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:22 AM
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201: correct.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:24 AM
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But LB could have if she had gone through this process before having kids, right? And theoretically an Irish diaspora family on top of things could do that indefinitely, no?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:27 AM
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LB could have registered her kids, that is.

My nearest Irish ancestors are great-grandparents or great-greats, so I'm out of luck unless I want to pay up.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:30 AM
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My Dad wouldn't automatically be a citizen of Scotland: he was born in England and doesn't live in Scotland at present. Mum would be though, and both his parents would, but.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:33 AM
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204: correct, and correct. As long as you are born to an Irish citizen, and you are registered, you are an Irish citizen. None of you ever have to go anywhere near Ireland.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:40 AM
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My ex is Australian, with an English grandfather. His father has UK citizenship, but not from birth. His sister was born in London when the family lived there for 3 years and automatically got UK citizenship at birth. At some point in the 80s or 90s the law changed and UK citizenship for Australians became much harder to get, so my ex and his brother would have to put in significant effort to get it. It's weird in a family where half the family has dual citizenship and the other half doesn't, for no particularly great reason.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 5:16 AM
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Thinking about it, there are female blacksmiths; I saw one on BBC Wales' coverage of the Royal Welsh Show last year. She was a fairly big lass but she wasn't a circus freak or anything; less obviously muscular than, say, the javelin contestants in the Olympics. I would have guessed that the real physical challenge in being a member of a Viking war band would be handling the rowing rather than the fighting; I reckon I could probably swing a sledgehammer around for half an hour if I really had to but I couldn't row to Norway.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:04 AM
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I'd love to jump on your bones


Posted by: OPENMINDED ARCHAEOLOGIST | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:05 AM
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177/8; 181

Your average viking broadsword weighed about three pounds, a decent amount of which was behind the hilt for balance. Battle axes were either very long (like shorter halberds) and had carpenter axe sized heads, or about the same weight as swords and much smaller ones. War hammers were about the same as the axes, if slightly heavier. None of these things actually looked like the illustrations from D&D novels, and a lot of modern replicas aren't that accurate either.

So, yes, strength is still important. But someone who regularly does farm work would probably be fine handling these things for the most part, even if they weren't particularly talented/practiced at it. The real professional warriors (if there were any at the time) would have still probably been huge professional-athlete sorts, if only because of their diet and constant fighting practice. And that would have been useful for them too in fights (if only because, well, shoving was a big, big part of combat at the time). But it wouldn't have been necessary for effectively handling the weapons themselves.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:08 AM
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3lbs is less than I'd have thought, actually. I'd probably have guessed nearer double, but I suppose most of the swords I've seen tend to be later.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:13 AM
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Isn't the strength issue for someone fighting with a sword/axe/whatever much more about defense than about the size of the weapons? As a not-particularly strong person, I could lift most weapons, and would bet that I could hurt people with them without too much difficulty, so long as the people I was trying to hurt were unarmed and not doing anything in return. Where I'd expect to notice a severe strength deficit would be in trying to keep the other guy with the sword/axe/whatever from hurting me, an issue which is much less about the weight of the weapons and much more about how strong the other guy is and how hard he's hitting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:18 AM
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I'd think that stopping a blow from a weapon with another weapon (as opposed to a shield) would be almost totally a matter of technique. What with leverage and all, if you do it wrong, I don't think you can compensate with strength.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:21 AM
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If you do it wrong, you're probably screwed regardless of strength. But even doing it right, I would expect that you need an awful lot of strength to back up the technique.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:22 AM
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The point of being in a raiding band is to try to attack places where the people you're fighting against don't also have swords. In general a big part of nearly all kinds of warfare is the assiduous avoidance of anything remotely resembling a fair fight.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:23 AM
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I don't think you really parry with an axe or a hammer. That's what the shield is for. I don't even know how much you parried with a sword if you had a shield as well. Parrying isn't great because it notches and blunts the blade.
Plus, just because you can lift a weapon doesn't mean you can use it effectively. Flesh and bone are pretty tough. Ask any butcher or knackerman (also male-dominated professions!)

209: I think they sailed most of the way.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:26 AM
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Well, right. If Viking warrior means murdering unarmed, malnourished peasants with an axe and taking their stuff, this seems like a profession that could perfectly plausibly be open to women. Once it gets into mixing it up with other well-fed/armed/and trained people with axes, less so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:27 AM
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I'm not sure 215 is right. I think the parrying sword is really supposed to be more like a deflecting surface that changes the path of your opponents sword ever so slightly so that you can get out of the way. That stopping a sword outright by hitting it with another sword business is, I think, bullshit. One of unfogged's many competitive fencers can presumably weigh in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:27 AM
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If Viking warrior means murdering unarmed, malnourished peasants with an axe and taking their stuff

And if it doesn't mean that, what does it mean?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:28 AM
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217.last: Those ships only sailed downwind. Anytime you wanted to go upwind, you're stuck with the oars.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:28 AM
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215: it depends on the type of sword, really. Smallsword, it's all about technique because you aren't trying to bash the other blade right out of your opponent's hand, you're just deflecting it a little out of line to let you get in. It might be a bit different with heavy swinging-type weapons like longswords or claymores. Any kendokas here?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:28 AM
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My son's karate teacher keeps saying something about defense as being using a small force to deflect the larger force of the attack. It seems to make sense, not that I've tried it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:29 AM
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re: 219

I don't think fencing is a good guide, as the blades are so light and flexible. Even epée, relative to a broadsword. But yeah, fencing is all little sideways deflections.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:30 AM
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re: 223

Yeah, except that a lot of karate styles use very 'oppositional' hard limb-against-limb blocks, which are kind of the opposite of that.

Boxing parries are very small low force movements, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:33 AM
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I think the typical way to stop one would be to sort of slide the blade against the striking blade to deflect it up/to the side/down, which wouldn't require a direct smacking together of swords (which is good because if you did knock them together more than once or twice you'd have to find another sword). But people generally avoided doing that in the first place - it's what shields are for. And when fighting against a set of armed warriors it's likely it wouldn't be your shield anyway. War works better as a cooperative exercise than as a series of duels. (Vikings! An occasionally historically accurate show!)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:33 AM
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Maybe nobody wants a bunch of eight-year-olds doing that to each other for insurance reasons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:34 AM
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That stopping a sword outright by hitting it with another sword business is, I think, bullshit

Looking at the state of the blades in the link above, someone has clearly been using them for some purpose which has created massive great nicks and dents in them. Also the "glancing deflection to allow you to skip gracefully out of the way" thing certainly isn't going to work if you're fighting with an axe on a pole. I think ajay's first guess was right, and it's the shield which is for defence, and this would require quite a lot of strength, although I still don't agree outside the range of possibility for women.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:34 AM
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227 to 225.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:35 AM
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According to the internet, Viking ships could only sail within 60 degrees of the wind. That compares very poorly to the rental catamaran on which I've recently taken a ride. However, the rental catamaran had to place to hand a shield.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:37 AM
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228: Viking shields especially, with that great big metal boss in the middle. Basically it's more like a buckler with a wooden rim, it's clearly meant to be a light wave-it-around sort of shield rather than the Roman scutum or Norman kite shield, which was more a sort of portable wall to hide behind.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:38 AM
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re: 228

although I still don't agree outside the range of possibility for women.

I suppose when you think about the strength of female Olympic lifters or throwers -- i.e. significantly higher than the average man -- there's not really a lot that's out of the range of possibility.

I guess it's whether it's outside the range of practicality when faced with men of equal experience and ability, using the same techniques and equipment that's the question.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:42 AM
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The face-to-face-over-crossed-blades thing is common in the movies but the sword fighting stuff I see in weapons classes is almost entirely get-out-of-the-way-and/or-parry-and-counterattack. There are some clashing-blades moments, but I think a lot of those in training occur because we move slowly in practice; in whatever "reality" might be, the faster person would be over and through the other person's guard before a clash could occur.

And you take that back about the accuracy of D&D illustrations. I don't want to live in a world in which elf-ladies don't wear chain mail bikinis while fighting dragons that are confused combinations of European and Asian dragon attributes.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:42 AM
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228: Or possibly they're just really old, which they are.

In the video, by the way, you can see that they shuffle the little people off into the back to stab at people from behind the shield wall, so there probably was still an easy role for people who could sling around a shield but didn't have the mass to shove back really hard against another army. I'm guessing that a reasonably fit woman could handle a shield without too much trouble, but would probably still be better off avoiding going up against someone significantly larger than them.

Also the wooden part was the especially useful bit because swords would get stuck in there.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:43 AM
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Looking through collections of medieval weapons, as I did through a childhood in the Welsh tourism industry, I took away the general message that you used a sword if you wanted to cut a dash with the ladies, while if you were serious about doing some conquering, you used some sort of pointy-thing-on-the-end-of-a-long-stick (with optional hooky-thing-attachment, of which there were a bewildering variety, almost like stand mixers), and got together with a bunch of your mates.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:43 AM
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233: Oh I just meant with regards to the size of things like battle axes and war hammers mostly. As far as I know the dragons are scrupulously accurate. Anyway I haven't heard of any historians disputing them.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:44 AM
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235: You know you could have just made up a word or two there and we dumb Americans would have believed you, right?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:45 AM
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235: You would want to use pikes, etc. for set-piece battles, particularly against cavalry, but would you want to use them for raiding?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:46 AM
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some sort of pointy-thing-on-the-end-of-a-long-stick (with optional hooky-thing-attachment, of which there were a bewildering variety, almost like stand mixers)

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0136.html


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:49 AM
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Gary Gygax knew that glaive-guisarmes are really where it's at, weapons-wise.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:53 AM
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The axe-on-a-pole had a slight advantage over the pike, if I recall my childhood exposure to the Scottish tourism industry, because if you were an English footsoldier with an axe on a pole you could simply chop the point off a Scottish pike, leaving you with your axe on a pole facing a startled Scottish pikeman with nothing but a sword and a fifteen-foot-long stick. The strong implication was that this was cheating.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:54 AM
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238: well, if you were raiding you'd want to be on a pony (like Sifu's ancestors). Or a ship. Neither exactly conducive to pike use.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:55 AM
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It can't be particularly easy to chop through a sturdy pole while holding at axe at the far end of another pole. I'd think something like one of those tree-trimming saws would work better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:55 AM
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243: true. The halberd is on a fairly short pole, so it's more like a long axe really. Still, good point.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:57 AM
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242: Lances seem to meet the 'long stick with a pointy thing on the end' description...


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:01 AM
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241: I read "English footballer", which seems an unconscious updating of the notion of an burly and aggressive peasant.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:10 AM
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Yes, a bundle of spears surely wouldn't have taken up much space in the longboat, then everyone could have had one handy for the occasions when you rocked up at a harmless village and found you'd been unlucky and there were done soldiers stationed there.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:10 AM
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The trick described in 241 was later countered by the technological advance of "metal pointy bit extends further down the stick". It was the equivalent of the stealth fighter in its day.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:13 AM
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First it's a bundle of spears, then somebody wants to bring his ballista and before you know it, you're shipping a full-on siege train.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:14 AM
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Pikes are different from spears and lances because they're much longer. A pike was anything up to 20 feet long. Which makes sense when you think of how they're used: you line your pikemen up several ranks deep and the pikes form a sort of instant cheval-de-frise fence against cavalry. You don't want to be defending yourself against a cavalry charge with something only six or seven feet long. Secondary use is standing at the bottom of the wall and poking at the people on top.
Later, you put the pikemen in the rear ranks and the muskets in front; the pikes still came out far enough between the musketeers to protect them. You wouldn't want the muskets in the rear and the pikemen in front because the musket balls tended to rattle about as they went up the barrel and came out anything up to 5-10 degrees off line to one side or the other. You might shoot a pikeman in the back of the head.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:16 AM
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250: But pikes and Vikings are anachronistic, no?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:28 AM
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I know three pounds of steel doesn't sound like a lot but neither does a one pound boxing glove. But throw a pair of those on and start flailing at another person who's trying to hit you back and you find out that three minutes is a really long time. Now do it against someone has an additional 30 pounds of muscle over you. Bad times.

I've got to get to work but throw "John Clements" into youtube and you can see a lot of the sword techniques. Jump to about 14:50 in this one to see him doing Viking sword and shield work on the Nova special.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FsfV5A6ktk


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:28 AM
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251: the general "point and stick" concept came in a variety of lengths to suit different purposes. Another thing you tend to find is that when looking at the development of weapons over time, the most popular technological improvement is "add a spike at the end" and the most popular refinement is "make the spike a bit longer". This certainly applies to halberds. You get the strong impression that " poke opponent with spike " is just one of those all time classics that it's difficult to improve on.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:32 AM
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Whether or not they could wield a sword female warriors would clearly be less nimble with a siege codpiece.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:38 AM
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You get the strong impression that " poke opponent with spike " is just one of those all time classics that it's difficult to improve on.

No doubt. But in terms of tactics, a pike is very different from a javelin or a lance or an iklwa. The pike not much use outside the context of either massed forces or very well-drilled small units.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:45 AM
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re: 252.1

I'm quite familiar with the boxing glove thing, yeah, with 9 years or so of boxing/kickboxing. I can't ever remember particularly finding the weight of the gloves tiring, so much as just the general anaerobic/aerobic demands that sparring puts on you.*

* which, these days, I still do a few rounds a week, but I'm not in the greatest of shape, for, tbh. I've gotten quite good at conserving energy via movement, though, and letting the fitter person rope-a-dope themselves out a bit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:48 AM
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The "moving fortress" idea is also one that seems to recur over and over again throughout history. In the various early modern Europe stuff I've bee reading, the Tercio rules the battlefield for much of the period. Then later on you've got the vaunted "British square" of the 19th century.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:50 AM
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I just saw an interview with Gwendoline Christie on Craig Ferguson. I don't think that she'd have much trouble with a 3 pound sword.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:53 AM
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256: And if what you're doing is mostly swinging it around with your hand at the fulcrum the weight is going to be even less important.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:56 AM
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Gswift's video there is pretty cool, by the way. The fact that the armorer they have describes the weight of the sword he's making as equivalent to a baseball bat does give a nice feel for what's involved in swinging it around. You have to imagine that you're holding the bad somewhere around the middle of it, though, when swinging it, because of the balance of a sword.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 8:02 AM
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I'm firmly in the No camp as far as Scottish secession goes. I have UK citizenship through my mom, whose parents were one each of Scots and English. In the event of secession I guess I'd try to go Scottish due to the fact that that's where my grandparents ended up living (after a long time in England). Scotland is where I've spent the most of my time in the UK, and I like the place, but I am certainly no true Scotsman. I'm even less of an Englishman though.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 8:27 AM
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Gary Gygax knew that glaive-guisarmes are really where it's at, weapons-wise.

As memorably parodied in Space Gamer

Random Polearm Generation

3) Ox Tongue

4) Bill

5) Bill Hook

6) Glaive

7) Guisarme

8) Voulge

9) Guisarme Voulge

10) Glaive Guisarme

11) Glaive Voulge

12} Guisarme Glaive

13) Voulge Guisarme

14) Voulge Glaive

15) Glaive Glaive

16) Glaive Guisarme Voulge

17) Voulge Glaive Guisarme

18) Glaive Glaive Glaive Guisarme Glaive

Jim Simons
Littleton, CO


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 8:38 AM
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iircaitid, "Voulge" means the axey bit, "glaive" is the spike (ie the important bit) and "guisarme" is one of a variety of hooky bits that people tried adding from time to time.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 8:41 AM
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239 to 262.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 8:53 AM
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(I'm about to go use a chisel, which I haven't done before but otherwise the stupid doorknob/lock I put in won't be in a door that can close. Maybe should have crowdsourced since people who know how to use pokey sticks can also do basic home stuff, but I'm a maverick!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 8:54 AM
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I'm not sure I understand what you are doing, but if I do, then let me suggest sand paper as a better thing to start with.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 8:57 AM
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265 is clearly a trailer for the forthcoming "Thorn/Urple Show".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:04 AM
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Yeah, I did end up just sanding. Lee was insistent it should be a chisel since that's what the instructions said, which is why I didn't do it while she was home.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:04 AM
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Not to imply that women don't have the strength to use a chisel properly. It's just much harder to make a big mistake if you aren't experienced. Though it does make more dust, if the house is from the lead paint years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:09 AM
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As the least handy person around, if I were thinking of hand tools to make a door fit, I'd be looking vaguely for a plane before I did anything with a chisel. Although sandpaper does sound even easier to not screw up with.

In reality, all such problems are handled by Tony the Hereditary Super and his variously irascible and felonious minions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:15 AM
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Unpainted wood, so no big deal, and I try to follow lead-safe cleaning techniques for dust anyhow. I just owed her trying with the chisel because she was kind enough to use a screwdriver for her screws yesterday rather than a hammer (and nails with a hammer the time before) and so I said I'd humor her by trying it. And I did try it, decided it was bullshit, and got the project done the way I'd planned to while she was supervising. I'm not sure why the way I want to do things is automatically suspect when I've never fucked up anything we own that I can recall and it generally gets the job done, and much cheaper than hiring someone like she wants to although certainly not with that degree of professionalism. Oh well, this is also the thread about how I should be cherished for my stupid little home repairs and am so not, except that I don't think I deserve to be either.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:16 AM
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Tony the Hereditary Super

So much more reliable than Supers who rely on our yellow sun.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:17 AM
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He's the third generation of supers in our building. He has two kids, but I don't think they're being groomed as replacements.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:21 AM
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I'd be looking vaguely for a plane before I did anything with a chisel.

To flee the country?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:22 AM
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"Anyone born in the island of Ireland is a citizen."
Nope, not after 31st December 2004. There was a referendum ( I voted against) and legislation to take away those rights. Full details at http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/irish_citizenship/


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:23 AM
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Alexander the Second emancipated the supers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:24 AM
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she was kind enough to use a screwdriver for her screws yesterday rather than a hammer (and nails with a hammer the time before)

Blimey.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:25 AM
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Cutting a mortice with a chisel is no easy task. Depending on what you're trying to accomplish, a drill with a forstner bit could be easier.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:32 AM
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Or a mortise.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:33 AM
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Consult your local mortisian for advice.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:34 AM
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It was a half-assed mortise and so sanding was sufficient. It's a lot nicer than the crappy-but-better-mortised one the previous owners made, presumably before realizing the door didn't hit where they'd put it. I even stained the wood when I was finished. But I'm not putting any pics in the pool because it's crummy compared to what anyone competent would do and only worthwhile because now it's trivial to lock the baby out of the downstairs bathroom.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:38 AM
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Speaking of baby locks, xelA has had a weekend of Houdini practice. In the space of 24 hours he worked out how to:

Open the childlocks on our kitchen cupboards
Open the bedroom doors
Open the cupboard that contains the vacuum cleaner
Open the car door

and he had a good go at the lock on the door to our balcony. He managed to turn the key, but doesn't have the strength to lift the handle when he's on tip-toes.

So I can foresee the purchase of more advanced child-locks in my immediate future.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:43 AM
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Scotland is where I've spent the most of my time in the UK, and I like the place, but I am certainly no true Scotsman. I'm even less of an Englishman though.

Genetically, or whatever you want to call it, I'm far more Scottish than English, ie some rather than none at all, but I doubt I'll qualify under any likely citizenship rules.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:46 AM
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re: 283

Ginger-ish. Check.
Hates sun. Check.

You're in! Do you have a propensity for violence?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:47 AM
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FWIW, I'd be a 'No' on the referendum.

'Tories be gone!' has a lot of emotional appeal. But, I'd prefer a more federal UK, or devo-max type option. And the specific independence proposals the SNP are campaigning on are stupid.

I can only hope that if 'Yes' wins it, that something more sensible emerges from the constitutional wrangling and if the Tories or Labour [if they win] don't decide to be difficult.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:50 AM
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That seems pretty non-specific. I'd qualify on those grounds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:50 AM
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devo-max type option

This is with those hats shaped like flowerpots?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 9:55 AM
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You will be surprised to hear that joke has been made before!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:01 AM
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Ginger-ish?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:01 AM
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To go to something way above, knocking an opponent's blade isn't a parry, it's a beat (or "battement"). Still a very commonly used technique, and IIRC it's big in Kendo as well. Though modern fencing has approximately zero to do with whatever the Vikings were doing. This is a great thread btw.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:08 AM
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Mr. 2 figured out how to open the front door this morning, which was exciting.

I'm very fond of these cabinet locks, since they're invisible from the outside and require an out-of-reach object to open them, not just some cognitive ability and dexterity.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:39 AM
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Re: 291

Those are the ones I looked at online, actually. Good to hear you like them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:47 AM
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And fuck, the UK price is 10x that!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:49 AM
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Not me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:52 AM
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So I can foresee the purchase of more advanced child-locks in my immediate future.

Ankle? Or wrist?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:53 AM
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291, et seq: I also used those; it was great


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:55 AM
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SO glad that neither of my kids required safety measures. AB insisted on those stupid outlet covers, but otherwise I don't think we did anything at all for Iris, and for Kai we merely relocated the stemware out of the open-front base cabinet for a few months. But neither kid was a hellion, so we didn't have much to worry about.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 11:11 AM
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I'm reliably informed there are now helicopters circling the Squirrel Hill.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 11:13 AM
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298: Lovely. Perhaps I will work late tonight.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 11:19 AM
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Apparently, the lock-down on the schools is lifted.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:09 PM
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I heard that also. I'm interpreting it as "the man with the gun has clearly communicated that he means no malice to students and only intends to terrorize residents."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:16 PM
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It doesn't look like they found anyone with a gun.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:20 PM
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I'll check my back yard.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:21 PM
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So...he's armed, and good at hiding.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:22 PM
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Or it was a guy holding a cell phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:24 PM
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304 With a glaive-guisarme or a voulge? Sadly I missed most of this thread in RT and I'm too busy to comment much now but I have done kendo a very long time ago. Some of the women who did it were very good and could deliver a nice beat down.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:26 PM
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305: If I have a neighbor or neighbors that can't distinguish between a shotgun and a cell phone, I'm even more worried. Even worse if they can't distinguish between a cell phone and a glaive-guisarme.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:29 PM
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Wasn't there a story about some guy on a campus who got SWATed for carrying an umbrella?

This thread reminds me of this, this and this.

(Will three links go to moderation? We shall see...)


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 12:50 PM
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Sword fights of Errol Flynn: http://vimeo.com/m/1937576

The standing candelabra take it in the neck, every time.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 1:39 PM
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Somewhere there's a quote from Basil Rathbone, who was a very good (Olympic?) fencer, saying that the worst thing about consistently playing villains was having to lose swordfights to incompetents onscreen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 1:43 PM
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Errol Flynn's fencing coach was an Olympic fencer. Also my own first coach, though I only had a few months of lessons from him before he died. At that point he was legally blind and only had his peripheral vision left, and taught in an insanely run-down and junkie-filled part of Hollywood, but could still fence.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 1:54 PM
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I'm thinking of crashing the reception for CMU's business school since they set up a bar outside and in view of my bus stop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:50 PM
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They were all wearing suits and my bus arrived anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:53 PM
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There's a bunch of traditional theatrical swordfighting craft that is very unrealistic (to the extent that is a thing) and also unlike fencing. Safe and easily teachable, but mostly consisting of everyone hitting each other's swords. One secret: if you want a big battle scene onstage, you can choreograph the one between main characters in the foreground and have a couple of pairs in the background just going back and forth switching off the same three moves - nobody will notice.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 2:59 PM
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This is the thread closest on topic: the US Open final is a slaughter.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:02 PM
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I guess "slaughter" is a little premature, but Nishikori looks completely outmatched.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:04 PM
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I was trained by the UK Olympic foil coach for a while. Not because of any special skill on my part, but he taught internediate and advanced foil classes in Oxford. Not fenced for 12 years, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:06 PM
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Oh, yeah, I should add that me training with Ralph Faulkner had nothing to do with any particular skill on my part, at all. He was just the guy who taught classes that were the closest when I was 13, and he happened to be a 90 year+ semi-blind guy who had taught Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks. His studio was pretty amazing, too, totally falling apart but full of memorabilia that was probably worth zillions.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:09 PM
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Tragically, i failed utterly to interest the kid in either fencing or theatrical sword fighting. Succeeded with tap, though!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:27 PM
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Jeez, my fencing instructors were just the local SCA dorks with foils instead of their usual wooden swords and mail.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:27 PM
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I'm amazed at the number of child-proofing that people are suggesting here. From what I can remember of the later bits of poking-at-things-childhood my parents mostly just let me learn from my occasionally painful mistakes. In case anyone was thinking of trying it, by the way, you should never stick your finger in an electrical socket (it hurts). Also the things under the sink with the Mr Yuck stickers smell kind of foul, and things left over after fires have gone out are sometimes hotter than they look.

Then again my brother managed to break at least three bones before he learned to walk so maybe that wasn't necessarily their greatest parenting choice. He was a particularly talented child when it came to injuries though. I'm not sure there's much you can do about a kid that manages to fracture his skull by crawling into a table leg really hard.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:47 PM
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We had the cooking knives on a counter where our tall three-year-olds could reach them. The worst thing that happened was that Newt tried to make himself breakfast before we woke up, and used a chef's knife to spread jam. But he reassured us when we woke up that he'd been careful with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 3:51 PM
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It's mostly poisoning with cleaning chemicals and breaking things we either don't own (we rent) or can't afford to replace that are a worry. At 17 months xelA can do most things (open bottles, etc) but has no sense at all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:15 PM
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I'm certainly not suggesting that our habits were well-advised. We got away with it, but out of luck more than good sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 4:24 PM
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In ill-advised habits, I went to Home Depot today and decided I'd take the bus back. But as I'm not familiar with that particular bus and I missed the one I knew, I ended up walking back (a couple of miles). When I got into my neighborhood it occurred to me that, as a socially inept looking white male carrying a new broom and a container of deck stain that looks like nothing but a jumbo can of lighter fluid, somebody was going to decide that I'm shotgun dude and it'd all end poorly. No incident, though.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 5:58 PM
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321.1: We've already had to pay to get the toilet fixed when Mara flushed an apple down it for no apparent reason. Now that Selah is really into flushing, the bathrooms are off limits until she's ready to use them properly. Beyond that, hazardous chemicals and medicines are put away but it's basically only to the extent mandated by fostering law.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:00 PM
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Now I'm trying to figure out what an apparent reason for flushing the apple down the toilet might have been.

Our babyproofing is basically slapdash and ad-hoc; cabinet with the cleaning supplies is bungied shut, gate at the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor, some outlets covered but most not, records tie-down-strapped into place so Zardoz can't pull them off the shelf. Basement door locked. Everything else we basically try to keep an eye on her or, occasionally, hear a thud. We would like to do more, in theory. I would like it if she didn't pull out a large subset of the bathroom supplies every morning, and it would be swell if she didn't play with the trash.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:13 PM
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Well, I meant that I told her to throw it in the bin when she was done, not meaning take a few bites and then flush the rest. It's not like the periodic confusion kids have had about whether toilet paper goes in the toilet or the garbage.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:21 PM
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We did very little babyproofing for one. A few outlet covers. It's easy to just keep an eye on one kid, and he was good about stopping when told "no." Second kid, different story. First, he's a typical kid in that he hears "no" and interprets it as "game! do faster!" And it's impossible to keep an eye on both well enough for safety's sake, so we got locks for the cabinets and the stove and the garbage can and we have gates up at all the stairs, and have clips to keep cords out of reach.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:45 PM
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325: The Trib story now says they were looking for a guy with a shotgun that had a scope mounted. That's either a confused witness or an Ohio deer hunter moving in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:49 PM
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330: These combos are a pretty cheap way to have an all around deer and bird gun.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:57 PM
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Not much bird hunting here that I've ever seen. Shotguns are for skeet and beer cans.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 6:59 PM
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The Trib story now says they were looking for a guy with a shotgun that had a scope mounted

It's even more confusing than that. It says, "[...] neighbors in the area reported an unknown man walking through the area with a shotgun equipped with a scope that was in a carrying case."

Is it just the scope in the carrying case or both the gun and the scope? And if it's both items in the carrying case, is it possible to tell the specific type of firearm based solely on the case it's in? Or that anything's actually in the case at all versus, say, empty case?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:18 PM
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It could just be poor writing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:23 PM
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Oh!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:24 PM
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It also says "four Squirrel Hill schools" but only three of the schools are in Squirrel Hill.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 7:40 PM
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It's not always easy to identify sex from bones, and I suppose it's not a skill set that all archaeologists will have?

Very true, and in fact it's a highly specialized area that most archaeologists have little to no expertise in at all. The osteology sections of archaeological reports are often written by specialists who may not have been part of the original excavation team. And even those experts aren't always able to determine sex from the remains that are found.

That said, in my experience they tend to be conservative about their conclusions, and when it's not possible to determine sex osteologically they just say so. "Adult, sex undetermined" or the like is a very common way to see remains described in published reports. (Children can't be sexed at all so they don't even bother.) That's why it's so weird to see sex being determined on the basis of grave goods, especially when there is osteological evidence pointing in the other direction.

Now, this is based on my experience with North American archaeology, and it's quite possible that European archaeology is just different and there are good contextual reasons for associating gender so strongly with types of grave goods. I think it's more likely, however, that to the extent this is a real phenomenon it's driven by bad reasons related to European archaeology's history of association with various types of nationalist ideology and ideas about gender roles that may pattern with them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-14 10:22 PM
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295 is a good Google-inverview-style lateral-thinking answer. Why bother putting locks on EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD to keep your child away from them? Just get one lock and put it on the child.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-14 1:48 AM
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Gah. As someone who has done 200 interviews for Google, can I kill the idea that we ask "lateral thinking" trick questions? We don't.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09- 9-14 7:53 PM
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339: Sure, that's what you WANT us to think, but that's probably just another trick!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 9-14 7:55 PM
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The greatest trick Google ever pulled was convincing the world the trick didn't exist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-14 7:57 PM
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More typically, they're like this one, which I used for several dozen interviews.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09- 9-14 8:07 PM
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The Vatican asks Lateran thinking questions.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 9-14 8:08 PM
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Laterite thinking is mostly found in tropical areas.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 9-14 8:42 PM
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