Dredged from 2016:
Life in my household:
Dementia was getting ready for bed. She asked, "What's the difference between and algorithm and a logarithm?"
Hyena blinked a few times. "An algorithm is a cleary defined operation, process, or routine for dealing with a specific situation. A logarithm is..." A quick discussion of significant figures, scientific notation, slide rules, exponentiation, and finally logarithms followed.
We have well over a hundred years between us. It amuses me greatly that this kind of discussion still takes place...
I have been aware of Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" for more than forty years, and have always been aware that my failure to have read it was a hole in my background as a folklorist. I tried to read it twice, and was defeated by the rage it inspired in me. As a folklorist, it offended me as gross fraud; as a trickster, it offended me as inept fraud.
I finally got through it recently as an audio book, and have realized that my initial reactions were based on a misunderstanding of Campbell's intention, a misunderstanding based on the popular presentation of his teachings.
The thing is, Campbell didn't DISCOVER the monomyth, and didn't claim to, which is why he defends it so badly. He INVENTED it, nearly from whole cloth, and imposed it on the crazy quilt of world myth for the express purpose of illustrating a universal need for myth. The case he makes is strong but not compelling, a noble pursuit of a noble but impossible goal.
So... A hole in my education has been filled, at a price of 14 hours of my life. Was it worth it? I'm not sure. Without the "bucket list" cachet, I am not convinced it pays the freight on the time invested. It might.
In the beginning, it was always a busker, sitting behind his hat, working the crowd, trying to get the next coin to drop. It doesn't matter that neither hat nor coin would be invented for thousands of years; the situation holds. The moral and political and metaphysical overtones were corruptions that would be added later, after a hundred generations of buskers had learned how to tell a story that got inside the audience, CHANGED them. From the beginning, it has always been a busker.
Dredged from 2017:
It's towel day, two weeks after the anniversary of Douglas Adams' death in 2001. I am going to take a moment to revisit a bizarre bit of surreality involving one of his creations. Adams would certainly have enjoyed the surreality; he may not have enjoyed being misunderstood quite so much.
I read Adams' "Dirk Gently" books in hard cover, a rarity for me, because I didn't want to wait for the paperbacks. The main character was a con man who was absolutely cynical about humanity, whose self-honesty enabled him to perceive the otherworldly when he encountered it, and who had made something of a cottage industry out of spinning acceptable lies around the otherworldly that allowed those who had seen but did not wish to believe to forget. He had a line of patter about the interconnectedness of all things that enabled him to ask for money without the inconvenient necessity of actually producing results. He occasionally saved the world because it was the most efficient way to save himself, and make a profit in doing so. He is absolutely and in all ways a Trickster character.
Apparently a significant percentage of Dirk's fans managed to completely miss the cynical self service, drank suspiciously laced Kool-Aid that Dirk was serving at the moment, and BELIEVED. They think that Dirk believes the sewage he sells. This group of deluded fans has managed to produce two different television series, and a comic series, and there is no indication that any of them have the first clue of what a Trickster is, or that they are dealing with one.
Ah, well, people have been falling in love with fiction while completely missing the point since the invention of language.
I know I have done it a few times, myself...
Poverty is a chronic and incurable disease from which humanity suffers. But like any chroic disease, it can still be treated, and it can be ameliorated.
Dredged from 2012:
The world according to Dementia: "Real" means ANYTHING that can be looked up on Google or Wikipedia. (I love my wife...)
Dredged from 2016:
A voice with a Russian accent said, "Is hydraulic press. It will drive a knitting needle through someone's head. Is great fun." And then the alarm went off, and now you know as much as I do.
And today I learned the etymology of "Cajun", which kind of amazes me. Turns out it is a corruption of "Acadian," History takes a lot of odd bounces...
Dredged from 2013:
It occurs to me that R2D2 might just be a deep cover Dalek...
Assuming you were starting a LEGITIMATE business, who would you rather have as a partner: Someone who was Lawful Evil, or someone who was Chaotic Good?
It occurred to me this morning that one of the most affectionate things that *I* can say to a person is to call them an idiot to their face. It doesn't happen often. First, of course, the recipient has to do or say something really stupid to trigger the remark. But I will only say it out loud if I am absolutely secure in my relationship with the person, AND I am absolutely secure in the person's fundamental mental resilience so that I know it won't be a problem AT ALL. Which is to say, you have to be someone for whom I feel both affection AND respect.
The list of people who are eligible for this particular award is REALLY short.
The list of people who have actually received it is even shorter, because, you know, you have to screw up first.