Re: A continuación del "found" theme

1

It's el tema? Huh.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:35 PM
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Greek origin. Gets you every time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:35 PM
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Like idioma.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:36 PM
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Atlantis may be undisprovable, but other lost cities are all too real.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:38 PM
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And mapa, planeta, programa, among many others. Words that end in -pa, -ma, and -ta. Watch out for 'em.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:38 PM
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Let's not get carried away. The scientists discovered no traces of human habitation in the Lost City, let alone a Patrick-Duffy-lookalike sub-species of homo sapiens, but it must be more than a coincidence that they discovered something deep under the Atlantic that looked to them like a 'lost city' in a place known as 'Atlantis'. Perhaps some time from the ninth to the seventh century BC, some ancient Phoenicians had got blown adrift as they tried to circumnavigate Africa and someone had fallen overboard and been sucked down to the deepest depths by a freak current during a freak tsunami, and had briefly seen the white chimneys and imagined it was a lost city, his imagination somewhat disorientated by the intravenous bubbles of the bends.
Perhaps with his last gasp, this hypothetical Phoenician deep-sea-diver-despite-himself had described what he had seen to his shipmates, and they had passed the information on to the Egyptians, who wrote it up in hieroglyphs. And perhaps the Egyptians had passed it on to Solon of Athens (flourished c.600 BC), and perhaps Solon had passed it on to Critias the Elder, who passed it on to his grandson Critias the Tyrant, just as Critias' cousin Plato insisted. After all, have scientists not discovered just such grains of truth in the stories of the Flood (the creation of the Black Sea) or of Exodus (a reddish algal bloom that might, had it occurred, have been misinterpreted as blood, and have driven out the frogs to produce a salientian plague and an explosion in the fly population; volcanic activity leading to an opportune parting of the Red Sea or of a similar-sounding stretch of water)?
(from)

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:46 PM
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Or, perhaps, not.

I'm always very wary of theories that purport to find "the Real Flood" or "the Real Atlantis". If you live in a river valley, floods are the main disaster you experience, so it doesn't take much to make up stories about a REALLY BIG flood. One sent by God because people had been REALLY WICKED - what Terry Pratchett memorably described as "the sort of 'if you don't stop it you'll go blind' legend common to every civilised culture".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:03 AM
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I knew a guy in Ukraine (American) who had seen the Yeti in Nepal. So.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:49 AM
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Hey, Ajay, should I expect something any day now, or not?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 7:05 AM
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I know someone who didn't stop it and went blind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 7:38 AM
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Don't stop believing about tomorrow.


Posted by: Fleetwood Journey | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 7:47 AM
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10: They're talking about masturbation, Heebie, not sticking a fork in your own eye.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 7:55 AM
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Man, David Attenborough is da bomb.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 8:01 AM
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12: But that's how I masturbate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 8:33 AM
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Deep Socket


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 8:35 AM
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Have they shown Attenborough's latest, Nature's Great Events, in the US yet? It's spectacular.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 8:36 AM
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There have been a certain number of events historically when inhabited land was drowned by the sea. Various of them have been suggested as the real Atlantis. There's no special reason to conclude that none of them were, and that the mythi is from the whole cloth.

The "Prester John" legend lasted several hundred years, and Prester John has been located in Central Asia, India, and Ethiopia. These were all areas where Eastern Christianity (non-Chalcedonian, for you theology buffs) survived in separation from Byzantium and Rome. Probably the original Prester John was one of the Mongol Christians who attacked the Muslims in Samarkand and Bokhara several different times between 1141 and 1221, perhaps the Christian or maybe Buddhist (or both) Naiman refugee from Genghis Khan's horde Küchlüg who practiced an aggressively anti-Muslim policy during his brief reign in Samarkand in the 1210s. there's a verified line of transmission via a Christian Armenian prince allied both to the Mongols and the the Crusaders.

Or maybe H=Genghis Khan's son in law, except that his name was George. Fact.

Of course, the nugget of truth is always encrusted with a lot of legend, projection of conventional believes, and titillating anecdotes, so you end up about where you started. But there's no need to deny that there was any instigating event at all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 8:37 AM
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There's a small but interesting community of cryptozoology researchers and fans who actually do deal with evidence, and in fact include some of the sharpest debunkers of fraud I know of. They do write things like "there simply doesn't seem any room for X in these circumstances, and until and unless someone comes up with actual new evidence, we're closing the file on this one". And they get press coverage exactly like people presenting useful scholarship in lectures without funny names at MLA conventions.


Posted by: Paige Morrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 8:51 AM
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Likewise, I'm prepared to consider a folk memory of the Santorini eruption as the basis for the Atlantis legend, but I won't countenance all the new age crap.

(I actually think the most likely explanation in that instance is that Plato made it up out of whole cloth to illustrate a point. Much as I hate him, he was a good writer and perfectly capable of it.)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 8:53 AM
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17: Likewise great flood myths (duh), particularly given that rising as they do in temperate highlands with relatively variable rain/snowfall in areas far from the main populations centers, the Tigris and Euphrates were prone to floods that were somewhat unpredictable.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 8:54 AM
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Does anyone else have a vague suspicion that there's something pernicious about Attenborough's programs, with their attention-deficit skipping through ecosystems, their focus on "pristine" (really just pristine-looking) landscapes, and their downplaying of the effects of human actions on the systems they show? Or have these defects been corrected in his latest stuff, which I haven't seen?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:00 AM
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Was it the Attenborough bird thing that featured the Fabulous Interior Decorator birds? All the guy birds decorate their little cave apartments fabulously and invite laydeebirdz over to admire their mad skillz. The fiercest decorator gets the nookie.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:06 AM
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22: probably referring to Bowerbirds. And yes, Attenborough did a segment on them (Youtube here).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:10 AM
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22. Yes.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:12 AM
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Damn


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:12 AM
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25: No need to pout. Yours was much pithier, and that counts for something.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:14 AM
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17
But there's no need to deny that there was any instigating event at all.

There's no need to deny that there may have been an instigating event, and I don't know of anyone who is denying it. But picking out this or that possible naming event as the naming event requires stronger evidence than "well, these volcanic formations look like buildings and they're within a thousand miles of what Plato described, so they're probably Atlantis. Never mind the multiple miracles needed for him to find out about them, or the many parallels to a contemporary conflict that create a much simpler explanation of the myth."

Barring the discovery of a missing link in the historical record - some stone tablet that describes the Phoenician explorer, say - trying to identify instigating events of various myths seem more like wishful thinking than definitive.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:14 AM
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and their downplaying of the effects of human actions on the systems they show

The lyrebird segment has that really poignant reference to habitat destruction, with the birds making the sounds of chainsaws. I don't know about the rest of the series (but will soon).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:20 AM
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18. Paige, do you know Darren Naish? He's a legitimate palaeontologist (was a scientific consultant on Walking with Dinosaurs), but he also does exactly the sort of cryptozoology you're describing, and blogs it from time to time.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:27 AM
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Englishmen hate Plato? Whom do Scots hate?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:40 AM
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Not all Englishmen hate Plato. I do because basically I'm an Epicurean.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:43 AM
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16: Nature's Great Events

Chapter N+1: A Smaller but Wiser Global Ecosystem: An example of complex system self-healing after removal of a short-lived, but very disruptive element.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:43 AM
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Yes, Stanley, you are off your rocker, but I don't think this particular issue is evidence of it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:44 AM
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Englishmen hate Plato?

Plata-hatas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:50 AM
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re: 30

Englishmen.


Posted by: OPINIONANTED McPLATO | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:50 AM
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I asked, and foreign-language books are acceptable, and so are "so bad it's good" books. You just have to rouse their curiosity.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:54 AM
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Wrong thread, but it will still give you something to think about.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:56 AM
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Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as others shall come to see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us, And foolish notion.


Posted by: PLATO BURNS | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 10:00 AM
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33: An inspiring vote of confidence!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 10:11 AM
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Further to 17 & 20: Flood narratives are common in Native American folklore. In the Northwest, some date back to the Bretz floods, and I've read that others similarly originated in floods resulting from the drainage of glacial lakes. There were many such events at the end of the last ice age, and while they weren't as catastrophic as the Bretz floods, they were still huge. When the valley where you live is essentially your world, and it floods, the world has flooded. Tell the grandkids!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 10:14 AM
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There's no need to deny that there may have been an instigating event, and I don't know of anyone who is denying it.

Lots of people deny it, because there is plenty of reason to believe that Atlantis was purely Plato's invention. He portrays his (well, Critias') account as relaying a tradition, but there's no independent evidence of that tradition at all. And if there was no tradition, no "instigating event".

I used to work with the author of this book, otherwise a very smart geoarchaeologist, but boy was this topic maddening.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 10:16 AM
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41: Fair enough, I spoke too broadly, I should have said "no one here" or "is denying it in the case of the Atlantis myth."


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:01 AM
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Atlantis may not have been real, but Drexciya is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:07 AM
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There's no independent evidence of that tradition at all.

How much of the discourse of that era survives? Where the data are scanty and have been mostly destroyed, the "where's the evidence" zinger stops investigation short. Exactly that happened to archeology for about 20-30 years, possibly because of McCarthyism. WHole books would be written not even mentioning the thesis that the Hallstatt Culture was the Celts. You'd just get enumerations of kettles and brainpans and femurs and arrowheads and torcs and other durable remains.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:09 AM
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Speaking of the Hallstatt Culture, WANT.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:14 AM
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It's not really all that crazy to suppose that if you want to claim that there was One Instigating Identifiable Event behind the Atlantis legend (as opposed to the claim that it developed out of lost cities) that claim is justified to the extent that you have evidence for the claim.

I suspect something like ajay's thesis is right. It's not surprising that there are myths about the world flooding in places where there are regular floods, or evidence of one big flood. (II used to know some evangelicals who would insist that the fact that there were flood myths in every river culture meant that the Biblical flood was literally true.) There isn't enough evidence about Atlantis-the-legend to say what would count as evidence that we'd found the city.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:30 AM
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Not that I can't see the plausibility in the "local floods" origin, but how many of these myths were reported by Christian missionaries and explorers?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:38 AM
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Shhh, Eggplant!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:39 AM
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47: None that I've read about.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:42 AM
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Why on earth would McCarthyism make it hard to discuss the Hallstatt = Celts hypothesis? Cannot compute.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:43 AM
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I just want to give those missionaries their due, is all, for helping the natives discover the true stories hidden within their mythologies.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:43 AM
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51: I'm not an expert in the literature, but the ones I have in mind were collected by folklorists and linguists in the early-to-mid-20th century, and are generally straightforward stories of the common landscape-explaining type. I can think of any with an identifiably Christian spin.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 11:59 AM
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In the case of my high school evangelical acquaintances, "X is a myth with a giant flood" was sufficient evidence that X referred to the Biblical flood.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:01 PM
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[of floods and glaciers]

Louis Agassiz was an interesting guy; he was the first to really pull together the evidence and vigorously push for the concept of an "ice age" with continental glaciers (first published on it in 1840). This was placed him in head-to-head opposition with those seeking to scientifically confirm the Biblical Flood myth, since the Floodites pointed to many remnants of glaciation as evidence of inundation. However, Agassiz later fought against Darwin's theory and, Agassiz replaced the Flood with his glaciers, which he thought had been formed instantaneously all over the world; he called glaciers "God's great plough," and tried unsucessfully to find evidence of glaciation in Brazil.

If odds bodkins is arguably "God's short sword", then what would be a corresponding phrase for "God's great plough"?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:01 PM
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52: But many of these would have been recorded after decades, if not centuries, of contact with a dominant Christian culture, right?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:05 PM
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I've actually wondered about Samoa -- it converted to Christianity very quickly and easily, and the story I was told was that the local religion included a prophecy that "White people will come from over the sea and explain the true religion to you. Do whatever they tell you," and so when John Williams got there the locals said "Ah, it's you, is it. So, what should we be doing worship-wise?"

But of course the historical record of that prophecy comes through a totally Christianized culture. I've always wondered if there's any way to tell if it's actually true.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:11 PM
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50: Some of the archaeologists ca. 1930 were Marxists (V. Gordon Childe, IIRC) and others had other weird ideological beliefs. A very constrained "just the facts, ma'am" science became prudent.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:12 PM
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56: Aren't there similar stories told about the conquest of mesoamerica?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:15 PM
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58: I believe so. For the Mayans, anyway, if I recall, though (again, as I recall), just the white man part was expected, not necessarily the 'now show us how to worship' part. I'm at work and can't really look it up right now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:19 PM
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Archaeologists, particularly Iron Age folks, impute way too much significance to recovered jewellery. If you ask me, it's way past time for serious torc reform.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:23 PM
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Doing a search for info on flood myths, I found this great listing of flood myths broken out by region at the TalkOrigins site. Nice quick overviews of each story.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:23 PM
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45: sure, I'm not suggesting it's impossible that Plato is relaying a preexisting tradition. But there's zero reason, other than what he puts in Critias' mouth, to suppose that he is, and plenty of reason to believe he isn't. The relevant record is better than scanty: no mention in epic, in the surviving logographers/geographers/historians (in some of which you'd have reason to expect it), in vase-painting (where we sometimes get otherwise unattested scenes), etc. Yes, many sources have been lost, but Plato's use of the "tradition" would have exerted a preservative influence on related material, in compendia and commentaries. And my recollection, possibly mistaken, is that there is evidence to suggest that near-contemporaries regarded the story as Plato's invention. (I also like to think that making Solon the supposed conduit of the "tradition" constituted a big wink on Plato's part, but I admit that's not really likely.)


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:24 PM
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58: Not terribly similar, if I'm thinking of the same thing - Cortez reported the locals in Mexico thinking he was a god, which seems like the kind of thing anyone might think about weird people being inexplicably successful at killing people. The Samoan story was specifically that there was a prophecy from before the arrival of missionaries saying that people from over the sea would arrive and tell people how to worship. This is a possible incredibly lucky coincidence for the missionaries, but it could also be sheer fiction made up after the event, and I have no idea how good the historical record of it is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:25 PM
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This is a possible incredibly lucky coincidence for the missionaries

Or so the Bene Gesserit would have you believe.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:32 PM
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Now I have to give you the poison needle, potchkeh.


Posted by: Turgid Jabbar | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:34 PM
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Not so lucky in the long run, of course. I know I've told the story here fairly recently, but google's not finding it: after the incredibly easy conversion of Samoa, Williams went on to Fiji, figuring it would be just as easy. Sadly, they had no such convenient prophecy, and ate him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:35 PM
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63: Well, a similar dealio worked for Moses and any number of other Biblical figures, so it was in the tradition.

Actually, I would not be surprised if there was some pre-existing mythical element that was "close enough" to be embellished and promoted. Once again, a gambit with a long history in the usurping religious traditions game.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:37 PM
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Athens was pretty international, though the Greek cultural tradition tended to be closed. It didn't need to have been a Greek tradition.

On Samoa-like traditions, Sahlins' "Islands of History" tells about how the Samoans regarded Captain Cook, and it's different than you'd think. Succession in Hawaii consisted of one strongman killing another and taking over, and the Hawaiians generally admired the winners and forgot the losers. And strangers coming in by sea were part of the tradition.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:38 PM
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A very constrained "just the facts, ma'am" science became prudent.

Actually, my sense (within Mediterranean archaeology anyway, which is the only part of the field I know anything about) is that much of the trend toward this kind of archaeology came from (arguably marxist-influenced) concerns with basic material culture, in contrast to a historical focus on finding pretty things to put in museums and digging up footnotes to Homer.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:39 PM
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63: The wiki article on Quetzalcoatl describes the Cortez's fulfillment of legends about Quetzalcoatl's return as likely being invented after the fact by Europeans. It also mentions a possible Hopi legend counterpart.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:42 PM
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Huh. My memory is at fault -- I could have sworn not only that Williams was eaten in Fiji, but that I'd seen relics of the eating in a museum while I was there, but Wikipedia says it was Vanuatu. I must have seen something cannibalism related in Fiji and conflated it with the Williams story.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:43 PM
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In Oregon there's been discussion of the native traditions of the formation of Crater Lake (5700 BC). They weren't detailed but described a mountain destroyed by a battle between two gods laving a lake behind. I don't regard it as impossible that there was a continuous tradition; the area was inhabited then, and for such a prominent geological feature, once an origin story was fixed (for example by contemporary observation and deduction) there'd be no special reason to change it.

There's a passage in Kripke relating this, about the person-to-person passage of direct experience for a long period.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:53 PM
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69: The stuff I read refused to reconstruct the culture at all. Marxists would be attentive to material culture, but they'd also want to reconstruct the class system.

It's very possible, however, that these were indeed Marxists, and that they realized that there were certain kinds of things they could no longer say, and who wanted to keep their jobs. This happened in philosophy: Copi, for example, was a CP member, but kept his job under McCarthyism and wrote almost exclusively (to my knowledge) about technical questions of logic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 12:59 PM
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Found: Ridiculously cute leopard cubs not killed by mother!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:00 PM
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Ooooooo. Baby leopards.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:07 PM
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Complete this sentence:

Back on the veldt, male leopards who routinely killed prospective mates, and and females who routinely killed their offspring, gained an evolutionary advantage because....

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:08 PM
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But many of these would have been recorded after decades, if not centuries, of contact with a dominant Christian culture, right?

Depends on the place and time. In the Northwest, for example, people were gathering folklore around the same time that the aggressive dismantling of native culture was just beginning. And contact didn't necessarily rewrite (or re-speak) oral tradition; the stories in, say, Stories that Make the World or Coyote Was Going There, to the extent that they reflect religious worldview at all, are essentially animistic, so it's hard to argue for any Christian influence.

John, have you read Time in the Ditch? Seems up your alley.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:13 PM
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Great, now Emerson's moved on to archaeology.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:15 PM
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Yeah, and I've corresponded with McCumber, at a fairly shallow level.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:16 PM
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Ah, now that I go to the third Google link, I see that you have.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:16 PM
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gained an evolutionary advantage because

The article says that's what happens in captivity, so it was only a problem in the veldt zoo.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:17 PM
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No, I love new archeology.

I also love much contemporary history, though Ari will never believe me on that because, you know, tough love.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:17 PM
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Yeah, like they know what the cats do in the wild. Just making shit up.

Maybe it's the God's continuous creation of uxoro- and infanticidal murderous cats, just to make evolutionists look bad.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:20 PM
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I love new archeology.

How do you feel about post-processualism?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:22 PM
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McCumber was one of my teachers in grad school. He was a really enjoyable teacher, and this drew me into taking three separate courses which were mostly based on reading Hegel's *The Phenomenology of Spirit."

Now ask me what I know about *The Phenomenology of Spirit."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:26 PM
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Interesting punctuation system you've got there, rob.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:30 PM
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That wasn't what I wanted to you to ask me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:32 PM
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I was just wondering -- what do you know about *The Phenomenology of Spirit.", Rob?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:37 PM
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88: Nothing! Zero! Zilch! My knowledge of Hegel is a gaping void. A naked singularity. A black hole that devours other knowledge I may have once had. My knowledge of Hegel destroyed my knowledge of punctuation. Today in logic class I set a problem for the students that I couldn't solve myself. Why? Because of Hegel. More specifically, the weird anti-knowledge that Hegel created in my brain. New logics must be devised to model that abject negation that is my knowledge of Hegel.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:43 PM
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Teo: I don't follow archeology closely, but processual archeology is probably the stuff I like, and what came before (cataloging and dating artifacts) was what I don't like. Post-p. archeology looks pomo and might be good or bad.

I suspect that the Wikis are badly written.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:53 PM
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Hegel ate my brain!

I think that explains a lot of 19th century philosophy, but those chumps were unaware of it, unlike Rob.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:54 PM
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We should probably drive the stake through Rob's heart anyway, Peep.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 1:57 PM
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78: Great, now Emerson's moved on to archaeology.

Is no field of study safe from triggering the "Emerson Effect"?

I'm amused that there is abook titled The Emerson Effect: Individualism and Submission in America (from Ralph Waldo). The "Emerson Effect" also appears to be the name of a frequency-dependent effect in photsynthesis and this painting.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 2:12 PM
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Is no field of study safe from triggering the "Emerson Effect"?

Sports medicine?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 2:31 PM
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95

All the business about so-called electrolytes is BS.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 2:34 PM
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Since we are speaking of floods it seems like there is enough of a chance of Fargo being inundated at this point that I am thinking
about putting together an emergency to go bag in case I need to move in a hurry.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 4:36 PM
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96: If things are bad enough that you're thinking about it at all, probably makes sense to go do it. After all, once you've got it packed, you can leave it in a closet in case something really unexpected happens.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 4:52 PM
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98

Was your area flooded in the two recent floods? It looks pretty bad at the moment.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:27 PM
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Was your area flooded in the two recent floods? It looks pretty bad at the moment.

No, Fargo came out of it OK in 97 and 2001(not 100% sure on that last year). They are predicting a historical record crest of 41 feet on Saturday morning though and it is supposed to stay at that level until next Wed. In theory the dikes are now up to 42 feet and they are hoping to get most of them to 43 by Saturday. There is a good chance that everything will be fine, but if something gives a good portion of the city is going to be under water pretty quickly. Also most of the main overland routes into and out of the city are probably going to be cut off very soon do to overland flooding of the surrounding area.

I don't think my house would get hit by the initial flooding, but at minimum I would probably end up with a flooded basement do to seepage, possible sewer backup, and loss of major municipal facilities.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:36 PM
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100

Based on my brother's report, that would be three fifty year floods in 14 years. That's quite a few for a period that brief.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:39 PM
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It's a good thing you're all honkies up there, because if you weren't, you'd have to prepare yourself for a shitstorm of ridicule and blame immediately after the flood.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:41 PM
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Based on my brother's report, that would be three fifty year floods in 14 years. That's quite a few for a period that brief.

I am pretty sure that 97 and this year are at least 100 yr floods if not 500 year floods.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:44 PM
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It's a good thing you're all honkies up there, because if you weren't, you'd have to prepare yourself for a shitstorm of ridicule and blame immediately after the flood.

If we don't pull some more permanent flood plan out of our ass after this I think we deserve some of it.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:47 PM
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You know, if there was a betting pool on this, someone could be rich.

Winnipeg is the farthest downstream of all, and IIRC they solved the problem decades ago.

But against that you have to balance the gulags, the secret police, the shoddy consumer goods, the boring public service announcements, the tacky public art, and all the other terrible realities of Canadian Communism. SUre, the trains run on time, but the parasitic robber baron state also leeches the blood out of hardworking citizens while smashing their faces with the fascist octopus jackboot.

There's no free lunch. Thank God we live in a free country.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:55 PM
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Winnipeg is the farthest downstream of all, and IIRC they solved the problem decades ago.

Grand Forks also solved this problem after 97. I am hoping we can learn from example rather than experience, but I wouldn't put any large sums of money on it.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:01 PM
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when we were young, my sister and i, she was i think around 6-7 , me 4-5 yo or a little younger, our parents were both working, so we used to stay home, by ourselves, as it was usual for kids at that time
so my mom of course told us how to behave in the case of some disasters, flood, fire, earthquake, any emergency
we were told to pack what was valuable into two suitcases, the most important things were our parents' passports and partbilets
if the building would collapse b/c of the flood, the ping-pong ball on the floor should move to the collapsing side, my sister thought, so i remember we spent one day staring at the ping-pong, sitting on the suitcases ready to be dragged downstairs


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:06 PM
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Grand Forks solved it by having been destroyed, and not rebuilding everything afterwards, IIRC.

In the Strib there was this story about a gritty, determined guy who still lived on the floodplain. He was going to tough it out and do what had to be done, by golly. He sounded so heroic, an example for us all. I didn't read past the first paragraph but the possibility of his being a self-destructive moron didn't seem likely to be part of the story.

For all I know there was also something about his brave defiance of the fancy-pants overeducated gummint bureaucrats who tried to force him out of the home he loved.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:12 PM
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Grand Forks solved it by having been destroyed, and not rebuilding everything afterwards, IIRC.

To some extant I think they probably did leave some spots unbuilt, but they did put in some major dikes and flood walls as well to divert flood waters away from the town. Although not building in a horrible flood plain is a perfectly valid solution to the problem of getting flooded. There are portions of Fargo that probably shouldn't get redeveloped if they are wiped out.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:19 PM
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Speaking of floods and other natural catastrophes, I just caught most of The Day After Tomorrow on TV, and my God, I did not realize what an incredible howler of film that was, from the science to the incredibly bathetic trek through the instant new Ice Age by a guiltified "must make amends because I was absent from some vacations with my kid while doing potentially world-saving research" Dennis Quaid. I could not look away, each plot element and situation was more insulting than the one that came before it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:01 PM
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For all I know there was also something about his brave defiance of the fancy-pants overeducated gummint bureaucrats who tried to force him out of the home he loved.

Soon to be a film starring Montgomery Clift.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 9:11 PM
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One Fat Englishman: Yes, I like Naish's blog a lot. He's like the lucid half of Loren Coleman. :)

CJB, and everyone else: Take heed of EMT veteran Jim Macdonald's advice on to-go bags for emergencies. I put it to use in a lengthy blackout a bit back, and it really helped my comfort and well-being.


Posted by: Paige Morrow | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 12:23 AM
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So this living in a frozen lake thing is good because?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 1:01 AM
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re: 109

That's one of my 'so bad it's good' guilty-pleasure films. Pure stupid entertainment.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 1:18 AM
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"I did not realize what an incredible howler of film that was, from the science to the incredibly bathetic trek through the instant new Ice Age"

But he had a magic tent!

TDAT isn't quite as bad as The Core in the science stakes, but it's up there. Unfortunately it's nowhere near as entertainingly bad as The Core.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 2:57 AM
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76: Back on the veldt, male leopards who routinely killed prospective mates, and females who routinely killed their offspring, gained an evolutionary advantage because....

See Sarah Hrdy, "Mother Nature", for an explanation of the second point. Basically: because the offspring were the wrong sex, or were undersized or sickly, or because continuing to feed them would have overstressed an already undernourished mother. Maternal infanticide is really common across all mammals, including humans, because post-natal investment is so much bigger than pre-natal.

As for the first: possible territorial infringement.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 4:24 AM
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On Attenborough, his Life on Earth bit about mountain gorillas, which he revisited a few years ago, was very explicit about the devastation of their habitat by turning forests into farmland, and the impact of poaching. And a couple of years ago he did a documentary series on climate change.

But it's true that in general he previously avoided talking about the human impact on ecosystems, believing that it might put some people off the communication of natural history.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 5:03 AM
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Wasn't there an old guy who refused to budge when Mt. St. Helens was looking like it might go?

Where were you living in the spring of 80, John?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 6:35 AM
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Yep, named Harry Truman no less.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 6:48 AM
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Harry Truman is a wonderful story. The old-timer says more or less "I've lived on this mountain all my life, and I know more about it than any of you arrogant big city scientists - it's not going to erupt" and sure enough, the gut instinct of the cantankerously lovable wise old man in touch with nature is completely shite, and the scientists are bang on, and the old man gets vaporised. Hollywood needs more stories like that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 7:07 AM
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I was in OR then and remember the HT story. His message may have been more like "I'm past 70, I'd be miserable anywhere else, if you gotta go you gotta go".

But there was at least one logging company, probably Weyerhauser, which ignored the warnings and sent workers in to be killed, including some who were reluctant to go. Te once-famous Dixey Lee Ray blocked the investigation. Many day-trippers who resented the government telling them what to do also went on to their eternal reward. About 60 people in all, at least half because of ignoring the warnings.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 7:18 AM
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In my remark I was thinking more of the earlier Mississippi Valley floods. As I remember there was intense resistence to the idea of no rebuilding certain unprotectable areas, and plenty of showboating homeowners being tough and feisty and complaining about the gummint telling them what to do, even though they were getting gummint money.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 7:23 AM
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115
Maternal infanticide is really common across all mammals, including humans, because post-natal investment is so much bigger than pre-natal.

To start off, mammals need to get several times as much energy from food as cold-blooded animals because it takes more energy to keep our body temperature relatively steady. Live birth is also a severe strain on most mammals, and now you tell us that taking care of the kid afterwards is even more work? I think we need to give a reptilian lifestyle a second chance.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 7:35 AM
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122: I heartily concur, and plan to go find a sunny rock to bask on immediately.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 7:40 AM
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I remember "the sow eating her farrow" in Joyce, I think, but I just assumed it was an Irish thing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 7:56 AM
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122. Marsupials have a nice compromise position. They only gestate for a few days, and they give birth essentially to a barely viable foetus which lives in a bag. So during the good times they can carry the kid around with them (advantage over sitting on eggs, more mobility), and if things get rough they can just dump it (if chased by a dingo, kangaroos sometimes throw their joey out to lose baggage and move faster).


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 8:02 AM
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(if chased by a dingo, kangaroos sometimes throw their joey out to lose baggage and move faster).

It's only a matter of time before some maternal infanticide invokes the "kangaroo defense."

From Carlin, never-heard phrases: "Do what you want with the girl, but leave me alone!"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 11:26 AM
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"Please hand me that piano."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 11:40 AM
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126: I read this one way too early and it haunted me.

Now his middle horse was being almost dragged by the other two. Pavel gave Peter the reins and stepped carefully into the back of the sledge. He called to the groom that they must lighten-- and pointed to the bride. The young man cursed him and held her tighter. Pavel tried to drag her away. In the struggle, the groom rose. Pavel knocked him over the side of the sledge and threw the girl after him. He said he never remembered exactly how he did it, or what happened afterward. Peter, crouching in the front seat, saw nothing. The first thing either of them noticed was a new sound that broke into the clear air, louder than they had ever heard it before--the bell of the monastery of their own village, ringing for early prayers.
Pavel and Peter drove into the village alone, and they had been alone ever since. They were run out of their village. Pavel's own mother would not look at him. They went away to strange towns, but when people learned where they came from, they were always asked if they knew the two men who had fed the bride to the wolves. Wherever they went, the story followed them. It took them five years to save money enough to come to America.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 11:50 AM
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Apparently somebody called Willa Cather. Has one heard of her if one grows up in America?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 12:00 PM
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Somewhat well known here, maybe more so back when I was a lad and maybe more so in the Midwest. It was a story that had apparently made a big impression on my mother, so she felt compelled to have us share the experience at an early age. Despite the wild sensationalism of the wolves episode, her novels on pioneers were generally down-to-earth. I quite liked them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 12:14 PM
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From Carlin, never-heard phrases: "Do what you want with the girl, but leave me alone!"

Rich Hall, aka Otis Lee Crenshaw, has a song called 'Do Anything You Want To The Girl, Just Don't Hurt Me'.

We go out walking, just me and you
Ain't much much in this world I wouldn't do for you
But if a man with a knife said "Your money or your life"
I wouldn't think twice
I'd stand my ground, not give an inch
Coiled like a spring I wouldn't even flinch
I'd stare into the eyes of that sonofabitch
And this is what I'd say:

Do anything you want to the girl just don't hurt me
I might be crazy, but I ain't reckless
She's got a diamond ring, she's got a necklace
Look in her purse, she's got keys to a Lexus
Me, I'll be on my way

Do anything you want to the girl just don't hurt me
What a funny old way to measure love
Find out where you stand when push comes to shove
Right now it ain't you that I'm thinkin' of, it's me, it's me, me, me, me
I love me!

Do anything you want to the girl just don't hurt me
Two's company, three's a crowd
I was thinkin' maybe we should break up anyhow
I could use some space from you, especially right now
So help yourself mister, I ain't no hero
Her bank card pin number is 4 - 1 - 3 - 0
Do anything you want to the girl just don't hurt me


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 12:58 PM
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Apparently somebody called Willa Cather. Has one heard of her if one grows up in America?

Yes. One's opinion of her will vary depending on where in America one grows up.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 5:11 PM
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One's opinion of her will vary depending on where in America one grows up and what one had to read in high school.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 5:33 PM
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That too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-26-09 5:59 PM
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Live birth is also a severe strain on most mammals, and now you tell us that taking care of the kid afterwards is even more work? I think we need to give a reptilian lifestyle a second chance.

"But crocodiles don't sit on their eggs," said Theodore, amused. "They just bury them in warm sand and leave them."

"The ideal way to bring up children," said Mother, unexpectedly but with immense conviction. "I wish I'd been able to bury you all in warm sand and leave you."

-- Gerald Durrell, "My Family and Other Animals"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-27-09 9:58 AM
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