Monthly Archives: April 2008

Easter Eggs, Trees, and Bavarian Welldressing

I’ve always associated the custom of decorating wells, or holy wells, with the Celtic countries. I also had no idea that it was associated with anything practical. This wonderful article on Franconian “Easter wells” has proved me wrong on both counts.

Apparently, one of the spring chores was to go to the well and clean out the algae and gunk with long rakes. After that was done, you cleaned up the gunk that was on the rakes and well (and probably took it out to the field or garden for extra fertilizer). Then, after the well was clean, you decorated it — often in a spirit of gentle competition with the neighboring farms and villages.

In Franconia, apparently the time for well-cleaning and well-dressing was Easter. The oldest way to do it, accordingly to the article, was to tie Easter eggs to an egg tree near the well. (If you scroll down through all the pictures, there’s an example of such an Easter well egg tree.) Nowadays, it’s not done as often, but the people who still decorate wells for Easter seem to throw out all the stops. Pretty!

And now, I finally know why we were always making egg trees out of pussywillows and dead branches! It was our country’s German side coming out!

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Vin du Pape

What kind of wine is fit for the Pope, and what goes with the food they’re been serving him in New York? This Wall Street Journal article lets you know!

Of course, if you hire an Italian cuisine and regional wine expert to cook the man’s food, you’re probably going to get all Italian all the time. Fair enough, since the food in DC seems to have been more German, for his birthday. But there are of course many good, pleasant German wines, and Rieslings are finally popular again. But there is also a small Bavarian wine-growing area: Franconia. Its products are known in German as “Frankenwein”. Note the traditional, highly distinctive round bottles! More from I Love German Wine.

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International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day Is Coming!

There is currently a battle going on, among writers and publishers, between two different schools of thought. One holds that giving away free samples of writing is madness. The other claims that it is free advertising, and makes money.

And thus emerged into the world a phrase of fated significance.

And thus emerged a movement, a festival, and a lot of free stories and stuff from your favorite writers.

Read about April 23rd, International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, where it began.

Read last year’s postings.

This year isn’t likely to be as big, but it’s still going to happen.

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Usenet Isn’t Dead Yet

Sign of life #587. The scene is rec.arts.sf.written; the date is April 17, 2008.

Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.written
From: Graham Woodland <>
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 21:38:10 +0100
Local: Thurs, Apr 17 2008 4:38 pm
Subject: Re: The Esoterrorists


Graham Woodland wrote:
> David Goldfarb wrote:
>> In article <fu5s36$>,
>> Tim McDaniel <> wrote:
>>> Worse, is there ichor involved?  Ichor is the infallible touchstone.
>> Actually, “ichor” was what the Greek gods used instead of blood.
>> See book 5 of the Iliad.

>> (I hope you’re not going to try to claim that the Iliad is
>> Lovecraftian horror….)

> A Mr Laocoön on the phone for you, sir.

…Alright, it’s been a hard day, okay?  I have now smacked my
own head, thus saving anyone else the need to.  In my sober
senses I am well aware that Homer stopped short of describing
that unspeakable, annihilatingly blasphemous violation of our
quotidian dimensions by *the venom-dark fanged cilia of THE BIG C

It is slurred amongst the unhallowed dwellers in _The Freemason’s
Arms_ at Battersea that the middle volume of Homer’s blockbusting
trilogy was actually completed and performed, with the
Laocoön-scene and the subsequent Catalogue of Unnameable Things
representing new high-water marks of poetic power.  The psychic
destruction wrought amongst the audience proved such, however,
that _Horsey to King’s Prawn Four_ was swiftly and permanently
retired from the repertoire.

As to the mentally shattered bard, a public appeal on his behalf
to the Asklepion evoked the cryptic divine response, “The best
cure for morbid fancies is fresh sea air and plenty of exercise!”
Homer dutifully took this cure – and indeed his twenty-year
Mediterranean cruise so far restored his health that he was
eventually able, not only to forget the unhallowed horrors of the
wossname, but also somewhere to find the inspiration to finish
his trilogy.

Many competent authorities have considered this theory to be
complete bollocks.


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A Hero You Should Know

Once upon a time, there was a 22-year-old stewardess named Neerja Bhanot.

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Welcome, New Visitors

I like to talk to strangers. After all, I’m stranger than most.

Mostly I talk about science fiction and fantasy, anime, gaming… or Catholicism. But you’ll find a little bit of everything, and a lot you might enjoy. So spend some time poking around.

If you like audiobooks, you might like to visit my podcast, Maria Lectrix. I specialize in reading public domain literature of all kinds.


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Have You Noticed This?

Maybe it’s just me. I’m not particularly good at interpersonal interaction. But I thought the idea of conversation was something like this:

Person A advances a comment. “I like burgers. They’re meaty and juicy.”

Then Person B either agrees, disagrees, or expresses neutrality on the point, first providing a segue:

A. (Smile) “Yeah, burgers are yummy!”

B. (Frown) “I’m sorry, I don’t agree. Burgers are yucky. Hot dogs are much better.”

C. (Horrified look of disgust) “Are you nuts? Burgers are cruel to cows!”

D. (Shrug) “Aeh. I could take or leave ’em.”

The thing I think I’ve noticed is this: Person B doesn’t feel any need to segue into a contradiction of Person A’s point. But he usually doesn’t provide a flat contradiction, either. In other words, Person B doesn’t scream, “Burgers are murder, you daft carnivorous monster!” Person B says something like this instead:

(smile and nod) “Oh, yes, I agree. Burgers are bloodsludge on a plate that only a serial killer would eat.”

This messes Person A up. Person A is busy listening and nodding to the nodding, agreeable Person B, who then delivers what can only be described as a direct contradiction right in the face, like a cut direct. No warning, no gear change at the natural places for it in a conversation.

Do people do this to you all the time, or is it just me? Why do they do it?

Is Person B trying to trick me into agreement? Is Person B so sure I must agree with their point of view that she didn’t actually hear what I said? Is Person B overly reluctant to contradict me, and only throwing in her actual opinion at the last second? Or am I missing some obvious non-verbal clue of disagreement that took place earlier?

Comments are earnestly elicited.


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