October 3, 2007

All Along the Watcher Tower

Hatched by Dafydd

We didn't win last week's Council vote; which isn't surprising, as we plum forgot to send in any nominations. But in a cosmic irony, the Big Lizards post that the Watcher of Weasels nominated on our behalf, The Human Touch, was exactly the post that we would have picked ourselves (to clarify, you do realize, one hopes, that whenever we use the first person plural, we mean it in the royal, not "multiple-person" sense).

In a second cosmic irony, the Watcher's nomination from the Big Lizards pantheon of posts actually came in second.

And in the final cosmic irony, the actual winner was Bookworm's post -- titled "Cosmic Ironies." That's not just an irony... it's a synchronicity!


The winning entry is actually a quite charming story Bookworm's mother told her of the family history -- and more than a little lurid, what with her paternal grandfather marrying her maternal grandmother, and all. I very much enjoyed the historical soap opera:

(By the way... will somebody explain to us why, when we click on any Bookworm Room post, it spawns not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six (pause to breathe), not seven, but eight copies of itself in succession? Thus, after reading, if we click the "back" button, we're redirected right back to the page we started from. Heck, the actual previous page almost scrolls off the "go" button list of recent pageviews. "I, a stranger and afraid, trapped in a world I never made!" Exclamation point added.)

Alas, it begins with the following sentence: "Note: I originally posted this bit of family history in August 2006." And one of our stuffy rules is that we won't vote for a republished piece, no matter how great it is. Therefore, we voted for a couple of other, equally good pieces:

  1. Gates' Iraq Agenda Short On Democracy, by Cheat Seeking Missiles;
  2. Krugman Spews Race-Baiting Bile, by Rhymes With Right.

In the first (which came in third in the voting), Laer focuses on a recent list from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates of his priorities in Iraq -- which appear to conflict with the president's priority of transforming the region by planting a democracy in the heart of the Middle East.

The second post -- which, in a stunner, we were the only one to vote for -- is a good, old-fashioned Fisking of the eminently Fiskable Paul Krugman.


Naturally, we have no idea what Nouncil post the Watchthing nominated on our behalf... so let's just skip that part. It's a failure we're trying to forget. The winner, however, just happened to be the post that we voted in the top spot ourselves. (Another cosmic irony!)

We leave as an exercise to the alert reader the subject of this post...

Once again, our second-place vote flew solo:

The Council's neglect is inexplicable. The post illuminates yet another risible attack on President Bush: He stands (falsely) accused of being so stupid, he thinks Saddam Hussein had killed Nelson Mandela. In fact, what Bush actually said was perfectly clear:

Part of the reason why there is not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein's brutal rule. I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where's Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas. He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families, and people are recovering from this. So there's a psychological recovery that is taking place. And it's hard work for them. And I understand it's hard work for them. Having said that, I'm not going the give them a pass when it comes to the central government's reconciliation efforts.

Anyone with a pair of neurons to rub together should be able to figure out that "Mandela" does not mean the literal Nelson Mandela (who is still alive), but rather a metaphorical Mandela who could, one supposes, have led Iraq towards democracy; Bush says that all such possible leaders were killed by Hussein, hence they're not available to do all that Moses-like leading to the promised land.

Of course, the literal Mandela actually tried to lead South Africa towards Communism, not democracy -- which is my own beef with the Bush quote; I only defend him from the surreal charge that he thinks Nelson Mandeal is (a) an Iraqi and (b) dead.

Bog only knows why more folks didn't like the post.


If you want to read more, then look here.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 3, 2007, at the time of 3:11 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Bookworm

You're not a lizard, you're a duck -- 'cause I always heard that it was poor Howard trapped in a world he never made.

As it is, I'd like to say it's some vast bookworm conspiracy that has you trapped but, in fact, it's a WordPress conspiracy and one over which I have no control. Sigh....

The above hissed in response by: Bookworm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 3, 2007 4:20 PM

The following hissed in response by: Rhymes With Right

Thanks for that vote, too -- it was somewhat disheartening to only get one.

The above hissed in response by: Rhymes With Right [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 3, 2007 5:20 PM

The following hissed in response by: Jimmie

Thank you for your vote. It was nice to appear on a Council list once more!

The above hissed in response by: Jimmie [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 3, 2007 7:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Bookworm Room:

Actually, the line (except for "trapped") is from one of the poems in the A.E. Housman collection Last Poems:

And how am I to face the odds
Of man's bedevilment and God's?
I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 3, 2007 8:42 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bookworm

What! It's not Howard the Duck?! I'm shocked, so shocked that I'm barely embarrassed about having my illiteracy exposed. (And I will admit here that I'm a complete troglodyte when it comes to late 19th/early 20th Century British poetry. Or is he a Medieval poet? Elizabethan? Isn't Housman really a she? Whatever....)

Growing up in a humble hovel surrounded by science fiction nerds, I heard that phrase only about Howard the Duck, whose motto was described to me as "trapped in a world he never made." It staggers me that Howard was reading Housman when I wasn't. I'll get back to you one day when I stopped being shocked, staggered and, quite possibly, just a little bit, embarrassed.

Or, maybe, just maybe, you should be embarrassed for being so erudite. I hate to throw around nasty names, but there is something, yes, I'll say it, there is something elitist about quoting sophisticated poetry . . . without attribution! Clearly, it's not my ignorance, it's your snobbery that's to blame here.

I'm happy now, so I'm going home. I'll be back, though, but next time I'll come armed with my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Sigh.... I hate having my ignorance exposed....

The above hissed in response by: Bookworm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 4, 2007 12:48 PM

The following hissed in response by: exDemo

just wanted to say my paternal grandmother also wed my maternal grandfather after they were both widowed.
I also thought we were unique in being my own cousin as well as cousin to my siblings.

On reflection, perhaps it is not so unusual. The families know each other and the older family prefers being together, rather than separate and lonely...

Societal customs evolve to answer need...

The above hissed in response by: exDemo [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 4, 2007 4:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


(Pssst... I suspect that the line in Bookworm Room's post was a word-o -- the word-level version of a typo. But that's just my guess.)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 4, 2007 4:40 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


(I mean, she goes on to discuss how, after the marriage, her paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother gave birth to her father -- which would have to mean that her father subsequently married either his full sister or his step-sister, which I find not merely lurid but unlikely in the extreme!)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 4, 2007 4:43 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


(So unless she pops round to insist it's really correct, I'm going with "uncaught oopsie.")


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 4, 2007 4:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bookworm


I like "word-o." Over in my neck of the woods, I call that kind of thing a "think-o" and, I'm sorry to say that, the think-o problem is becoming endemic at my blog. It's something to do with the ten hour work days plus being a full time Mom. I can't seem to keep the typing and thinking synchronized anymore.

Anyway, I finally got around to correcting my think-o, along with a nice mea culpa. All I can say is that, though you may not believe it, sometimes I'm almost as smart as I think I am.

By the way, are you really Welsh? I had a lovely Welsh friend many years ago and, under her tutelage, I was able to thrill myself (while boring everyone else) by going around saying Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch with the proper Welsh accent. I can't do it anymore. With age, my tongue seems to have gotten arthritis.

The above hissed in response by: Bookworm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 4, 2007 8:21 PM

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