Friday, August 31, 2007

The Further Adventures of Lucius Vorenus & Titus Pullo

Netflix has at last delivered the first disk of Rome's second season. I will admit it: I go into happy fanboy mode at the receipt of new episodes.

It's like The Sopranos for Pagans. There are no really sympathetic characters, but you can't take your eyes off them.

Especially Lindsay Duncan's Servilia--perhaps because she resembles the former provost of my university, whom we used to refer to as the Dark Queen.

I asked my rhetoric class yesterday if any had seen it, and only one hand went up. (Just as well, perhaps. Our textbook talks about Cicero, but he doesn't come off all that well in the series.)

Likewise, when I used a clip from The Sopranos to illustrate Machiavelli's maxim for rulers that it is better to be feared than loved for a class of freshmen, many had never seen the show. Kids these days! I thought everyone but us got HBO. But getting it does not mean watching it, I realize.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Most Advanced--But Vanished--Pagans.

Everyone has their favorite vanished Pagan civilization, I suppose. The Minoan civilization is one of mine.

Tropaion links to a Discovery Channel video about the destruction of Atlantis. The basic idea -- that "Atlantis" was Santorini (Thera) and Crete -- is not new, but the computer recreations of their cities is excellent. (Bonus: Greek subtitles.)

The Egyptian material at the end is most interesting as well.

A volcanic eruption bigger than Krakatoa, tsunamis, and earthquakes. How well could we handle that combination?

Bonus: This Flash animation shows all the empires and nations of the Middle East. The Minoans don't appear, but they would be contemporary with the Egyptian empire. (Via Hecate.)

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• Get your fringe archaeological theories here, including a study how Pagan uses of megalithic sites compares to the "postprocessual" trend in archaeology. Maybe academic jargon does get the better of her at the end, when she refers to Paganism as a "discipline."

• The Boston Globe describes "The Age of Steampunk,", following up on Wired's piece. You can go straight to the workshop.

• The Red Witch blog is posting old photos, book jackets, etc., of interest to those following Craft history. (Some photos NSFW.)

&bull Jason Pitzl-Waters discusses new releases in "dark" and Pagan-esque folk music. I am playing some sample cuts right now.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bog Bodies

I was shelving library books for my college work-study job when I saw it: "The Bog People Glob," the spine announced. After rolling that around in my mouth, "bog people glob bog people glob," I had to check it out.

And so the Danish archaeologist P.V. Glob introduced me to some dead people who were sort of time capsules from the late Neolithic to the Middle Ages.

Northern Path links to a National Geographic article that updates some of those stories. It turns out, for instance, that "Windeby Girl," supposed to have been executed for adultery or some crime, was actually a boy. Oops.

Wikipedia explains the preservation process.

I am waiting for someone who proudly follows a reconstructionist Pagan path to commit their body to a few centuries of tannic acid bath.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

About That Previous Post

If I am posting blogger quizzes, you know something is amiss. Other than the stresses of completing a home-remodeling job and getting ready for the new semester, I have also been posting more on my other blog, and I still have a lot of material waiting for that one.

But the pendulum will swing. Call it Gemini syndrome.


Oh really?

You're The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!

by C.S. Lewis

You were just looking for some decent clothes when everything changed quite dramatically. For the better or for the worse, it is still hard to tell. Now it seems like winter will never end and you feel cursed. Soon there will be an epic struggle between two forces in your life and you are very concerned about a betrayal that could turn the balance. If this makes it sound like you're re-enacting Christian theological events, that may or may not be coincidence. When in doubt, put your trust in zoo animals.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Purging books

M. and I in the middle of some home remodeling, just painting and staining after the contractor has finished, and otherwise putting things back together.

In the past, when we moved into a new house or apartment, we claimed our territory by first doing a fire-bowl purification, followed by building brick-and-board bookcases.

Yep, here we are, still decorating in Early Grad Student Style, more timeless than Colonial or Mission or Louis XIV.

Now we have a new panoramic view of the Wet Mountains, spread across two walls -- and less room for bookcases. The purge is on, and it ripples from the livng room through the bookcases in the study and the bedroom too.

I stand in front of a bookcase with cardboard cartons at my feet. The books by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whom I quote in everything I write -- those stay. The books by the Pulitzer-winning poet whom I admire but never really "got" -- they go into the box for the student literary club's fall fund-raising book-sale.

A friend who shares the "small house, many books" situation says "No extra space, and no books I want to purge!" There is defiance for you. But he is a writer in a tiny town, thirty miles from a half-decent library. And he wants to keep his rectangular friends close. I understand.

Maybe getting rid of books makes room for new books: new friends, new ideas, new experiences.

But it is a sad process too. It is realizing that I will never make time to learn XYZ or that technological changes have made my books on EFG obsolete. It is saying farewell forever to the me who was interested in PQR.

So far I have filled two cartons for the university literary club's fund-raising book sale, one our little two-room public library, and one of the university library, if they want them.

And then I sit on the sofa and watch a distant thunderstorm flicker on the ridges through our new double-glazed casement windows.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Deities Scramble after Bus Crash

This puts a new spin on the phrase "rush hour of the gods."

In the gods' haste to resolve the matter, some of the souls were apparently misplaced. In one instance, an adherent of Buddhism slated to be reborn into an Ohio family was temporarily reincarnated as a tree sloth. And as of press time, a self-avowed atheist who at the last minute took God into his heart has yet to be retrieved from the void and placed among the faithful.

Hat tip: Victoria Slind-Flor.


Friday, August 03, 2007

And the Corn Palace Too

Victorian Slind-Flor puts the "Loaf" in Lammas, with photos of the Palouse region and, even closer to my heart, the sacred Corn Palace of Mitchell, South Dakota, one of the great Roadside Attractions of the northern Plains.

A quick flashback to a 1980s cross-country drive with M.: camping in the Black Hills and the Badlands, Wall Drug, and then showing her the Corn Palace--all memories of boyhood years spent in Rapid City.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Witchcraft on the Screen and on the Page

Pagan performance-studies scholar Jason Winslade is interviewed at the TheoFantastique blog on Witchcraft and the entertainment industry:

Let me first say that I have a hard time coming up with any examples of “real witchcraft” or “real magic” in television or films. As you rightly state in your blog, any portrayals of these phenomena are inevitably fantasy with fancy special effects and things flying around. Any practitioner will tell you that this does not happen. At least they do not in the waking world. (Of course, this begs the question what “real magic” actually is – ask 3 practitioners and you’ll get 5 answers. Certainly "real" magic, with the exception of ritual, is much more of an internal process, and thus doesn’t lend itself to special effects extravaganzas). Some programs may incorporate sound magickal philosophy and metaphysics but their application is ultimately fantastical.

TheoFantastique is written by John Morehead, who also writes Morehead's Musings, where he has a special interest in Christian evangelism to new religious movements.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Chutch" - now on DVD?

When I mentioned Ward Churchill, I forgot the TV series that he inspired. But I have forgotten a lot about the Seventies.

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