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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Matt Rosenberg, on Naveed Afzal Haq.

Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership is the first website I thought of when I heard what was happening.

A relatively large amount of sanity on this subject over at Democratic Underground. Sporadic bouts of self-caricature toward the end of that first part, responded to pretty much as you'd expect from normal people. In the second thread, they seem a little eager to forget that he proclaimed himself to be a Muslim during the attack.

Friday, July 28, 2006

There's just been a shooting at the Jewish Federation Of Greater Seattle. According to King 5's TV reporting, three women were shot.

UPDATE: Here's the KIRO 7 coverage, with pictures and video. Sounds like they have one shooter in custody, and he'd tried to take hostages.

Here's the KOMO 4 story.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

THE ICONS OF THOTH, parts One, Two, and Three.

Here's a great song that mentions Ammon, and I'd been meaning to put it up, so now it's TOPICAL.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Someone from Bane's sent me an email explaining how to fix the "bottom of long posts chopped off" bug, but I've already started posting this story in three parts, so I'm going to finish doing it this way. I'll try what he suggested later, because it'll prevent this from happening in the future, and I think it'll fix some things that have been bugging me in the archives.

I hate the way they just talk right past each other in this story, just like in every conversation I've ever had. Literature ought to be an improvement on real life in areas like that.

(Here's Part One and Part Two)


Ammon debated with Thoth until the phoenix returned to it's nest
for the long sidereal evening. Then it was decided that Thoth would decend
to the earth and impart his gift. Shortly he and Ammon (along with a third
of the celestial host) would be rotated onto the front lines of the Cosmic
War, to serve their next tour of duty fighting the Unutterable Enemy.
Before returning to mount Ohmjeguk, they would again be rotated to the
terrestrial rear guard. There they would meet with the lesser gods who
remained on Earth full time, monitoring Thoth's experiment while they
guarded the mortals from Enemy infiltrators. After being breifed by these
observers on Earth, Thoth would then decide whether his experiment was a
success, and if not, to take the appropriate action.

The campaign was brief. In Ammon and Thoth's unit, the only gods
killed were Thunderbird, Baldur, Tetuna, the Great Cave Bear, and several
minor Celtic water spirits. Despite the brievity, Thoth found time to work
on his plan for recinding the gift of literacy should Ammon's assesment
prove to be correct. So little resistence was encountered in the heavens
that leadership began to suspect that Enemy forces had deviously been
concentrated somewhere on Earth. Thus, the unit was moved back there early.
Thoth and Ammon stood upon the Earth either two months or 3,462 years
later, depending on whether one follows the straight arrow of thermodynamic
time, or the meandering curve of astral time (taking relativistic dialation
into account would complicate the story to an extent that would make it
unsuitable for mortal readers).

Instead of being met by Mercury, as planned, the duo (Thoth now in
the form of a large, anthropomorphic baboon, and Ammon an immense
translucent man of the same blue color as before) was greeted by the
elephant headed Ganesh.

"Outside of my principality, the Ganges Sector," Ganesh explained,
"very few gods remain alive on Earth."

The returning gods expressed emotions that men could never conceive
in ways that men could only have perceived as a chill in the surrounding
air and a slight numbness in their extremities. Implicit in this response
was a request for explanation, which Ganesh then embarked upon.

"Most of us have been starved to death. Others were merely weakend
by being deprived of the worship we earthbound deities have become
dependent on for our sustenance, then finished off by the Cults of the
Word, who smashed our effigies, burnt our temples, and razed our sacred

"Starting in the Mediteranean Sector shortly after your departure, the
Cults sprang up around certain bits of text that humans find persuasive."
Ganesh continued, "These texts have seduced many mortals into redirecting
their worship toward one another, themselves, the State, nothing at all, or
even the Unspeakable."
"My Self!", exclaimed Ammon, "I never imagined that such catastrophe could
happen so quickly!"

"The Ganges Sector divinities, and a few others, survived only by adapting
ourselves to the new, literate society. The Cults of the Word that started
in the Mediteranian Sector spawned technological nation states that spread
throught the earth, slaughtering Baal, Thor, Quetzocoatl ..." , Ganesh
continued his report in a telepathic form that allowed his guests to
converse with one another while listening to him subliminaly.

"What will you do now Thoth?" There was no question in the mind of Ammon,
or anyone else in telepathic rapport with Ganesh, that Thoth would be
allowed to proceed with his recall plan. Even though it was his meddling
that had precipitated the catastrophe to begin with, there was no one left
alive as resourcefull as Thoth who had devoted the past several millenia to
planning for such a contingency.

Thoth had remained silent all of this time, resembling a statue except for
the twiching of his prehensile tail.

"I'll fashion them a new divine image. A new set of symbols, more
persuasive and seductive even than the written word. This will take awhile,
you should go back to Mount Ohmjeguk and wait."

This Ammon did. Thoth would be too busy to explain thoroughly, and Ammon
had learned not to expect to understand what was to be done until after it
was done.

Thoth met him again, at the summit of Ohmjeguk, after a surprisingly short
interval, and in high spirits.

"To the viewing chamber friend!", he exclaimed, "I want you to see this
right away, before it is all over."

They proceeded to the immense jade oblisk that housed the crystal used to
view the mortal realm. There, Ammon's companion showed him the image of a
human family gathering around a peculiar fetish.

"It looks like the hearths used to house your first gift.", observed Ammon,
"Or like some sort of household altar."

"I drew upon both of those for inspiration.", explained Thoth, "I inspired
this invention in the minds of certain ones among the nations ruled by the
Cults of the Word. They're technologically advanced enough to mass produce
these, which will at first serve as altars in their households. Later, the
new Cult will spread further and faster than accursed literacy ever did."

"How will this fix our problem, exactly?" Ammon was beginning to become

"The device is a means of transmiting information, just like my last gift.
It is however, superior in many respects. It acts upon the users without
any effort on their part. It speaks direcly to them in the picture language
of their own minds without being translated into and out of some other
medium, rather like telepathy."

"You frighten me, Thoth."

"This will correct my mistake, Ammon. The new Cult will erase all traces of
the Cults of the Word. The humans will learn again to worship images. Our
children will again memorize simple rhyming chants, and learn to believe
what they chant. Worship will fill every hour not spent on essential work,
and will even be offered to us by those too sick to stir from their beds.
They themselves will invent new incarnations for us that we could never
have imagined!"

The eyes of Ammon were not upon Thoth. They were not upon the image of the
humans in the magic crystal. They were upon the image within the image that
the mortals themselves adored.

For within the altar was the image of a man. The image of a man with the
bulk of one of the Bulls of Apis, and the swift grace of a sparrow. A man
with a face like that of the moon. The man strutted and cavorted through
the steps of some exhausting war dance as if weighless, his moon-face
contorted in a rictus of inhumanly passionate rage. His face expanded
untill it was all that could be seen, and as it expanded, it was
transformed. The face melted into an image of greif, of remorse, then
adoration and gratefull joy. And the man spoke these words:

"Baby ... You're the greatest!"

Friday, July 21, 2006

The story I posted yesterday was apparently too big to fit on this page, so here's part two. I'll put up the last part tomorow. Seems like someone who's been blogging as long as I have should know a better way (and should also have gotten past the stage of using other people's comments as tech support). Incidentally, I didn't re-read it yesterday. My main excuse for how it's written is that I was trying to copy the style of it's inspiration, Phaedrus.

(Here's Part One)


"Thoth, this could be the most dangerous innovation yet! In your
eagerness to win the love of your pets you seem to have stumbled upon a
loophole in the very limitations that make them our servants. Most likely
this system of yours will simply interfere with the natural functioning of
their minds, reducing their faculties and rendering them virtually useless.
But on the off chance that your plan were to work perfectly, the humans
would be started on a path toward equality with us. If they could still not
challenge our authority, they might be able to imagine doing so, which is
bad enough for creatures who's worship we are accustomed to!"

"Really, Ammon, such hyperbole is quite uncharacteristic!" The
feathers at the scruff of Thoth's neck stood on end, "At worst, my plan
would be no more harmful than fire, which has on the whole proved to be
beneficial after all."

"Only after considerable effort on our part to foster a reverence
for fire among the nimbusless defecators, and incorporate it into their
rituals of worship. It took you, with considerable help, several centuries
to deal with the unintended consequences of the gift you bestowed in an
instant, in a flash of lightning."

"Fine then", Thoth thrust his curved beak upward, "You tell me what
could be so harmful about making our subjects more educable and fit for
more sedentary and meditative lives, and I'll get started on an antidote.
If I put my plan into effect, then in a few millennia we'll see if it's
really as bad as all that."

"To be really safe, your precautions should include a way of
eliminating the knowledge entirely if it should prove as harmful as I fear
it may." Ammon paused interminably for 1/68th of a second, celestial time
(eight decades, terrestrial time), and embarked upon the exposition of his
specific objections.

"This innovation would disrupt the normal operation of their

"As does every one of our interventions, usually to our benefit.
This will make our servants wiser and give them better memories, for it is
the cure of forgetfulness and of folly."

"To the contrary; this will create forgetfulness in the learners'
souls, because they will not use their memories. Instead, they will trust
to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. You have
found a specific not for memory but for reminiscence, and you give your
disciples only the pretense of wisdom. They will be hearers of many things
and will have learned nothing. They will appear to be omniscient and will
generally know nothing. They will be tiresome, having the pretense of
knowledge without the reality.

"What matters it whether they engrave the knowledge into the
gelatinous creases of their cerebellums or elsewhere, so long as they are
able to retrieve it? They will be able to recall all of our names, without
always forgetting them and making up new ones. New names which WE are then
obligated to learn to respond to, like dogs!

"Children will no longer be taught to memorize the great epics and
recite them on command. Chanting will lose its appeal. What devotees now
sing, and engrave upon their hearts, they will write down and be content to
read at their leisure a few times a year. Worship will become a thing that
can be done at their own convenience."

"We would no longer have to keep our commands short and simple."

"Even if we do, they will complicate our directives and obscure
their intent. Once our words are transcribed into a tangible form they will
become irresistably malleable. Generations of well intentioned scribes will
try to clarify the meanings of our pronouncements, thus, piece by piece,
their own thoughts will be substituted for ours."

"As their whole civilisation is advanced, so will be that which we
gain from their worship. Our temples will be that much more lavish, the
prayers offered to us that much more well thought out, the sacrifices that
much more plentiful and daintily prepared."

"They will keep records of our promises, and of the outcomes of all
of our dealings with them. Their worship will loose it's naivete, and
gradually cease. They will credit themselves for what they attain, and
these temples, prayers, and sacrifices of which you speak will be
accomplished for the glory of the humans rather than ours."

"Their worship will be of a more consistent nature; their
grandchildren will know as well as they what victuals each of us prefers,
and not frustrate us with substitutions."

"They will gain the pride to attempt more of such substitutions,
and (learning from the experiences of their ancestors) they will become
skeptical in general. People who are not directly and completely dependent
on our favor (and forgetful of the inconsistency of our graces) can hardly
be expected to slaughter their own children to satiate the appetites of
such vague rumors as us! I hope you like chicken, Thoth."

(Here's Part Three)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Here's a story I wrote quite awhile ago. It's too long, and I think a lot of the middle part should be cut (especially where I try to be C.S. Lewis), but I'm not sure how much of the middle to cut, or what to put in it's place if I cut it all. Not that the rest of it is perfect by any means, but you officially have my blessing if you wish to skim the middle.


Ohmjeguk is the name given to the mountain by the beings who
inhabit it. Mortals have confounded it with those features of their own
mundane topography which it sometimes overlaps and called it Olympus,
Ararat, Rainier, Fujiyama, Everest. It's summit is located approximately
3.14 miles from the surface of the Earth, in a direction that can thus be
thought of as "up", although it is in fact perpendicular to each of the
three dimensions humans typically take into account. At that point it
flattens out into a plateau, upon which lie the palaces of the gods, and
the sacred grove in which they recreate. Here the gods Thoth and Ammon (in
the forms of a man with the head of an ibis and a ram of cerulean hue,
respectively) discuss their plans for their worshipers.

"Father of the Four Winds", Thoth began, "I have purposed in my heart this
day to bring down to my children a new gift, one which shall make them more
like ourselves than they have ever dreamt of, and their love for us that
much purer and more intense."

"Again?", Ammon replied, "Thoth, your eagerness to intervene personally in
the daily lives of these creatures is a peculiarity that we've all learned
to appreciate. Not only has it been productive, but it also spares less
terrestrially inclined Etherials such as myself the necessity of doing so.
But the eccentricity of yours that I least understand is your compulsion to
present all of your ideas to me before putting them into practice."

"Your wisdom is incalulably boundless." Thoth paused to shoo away a small
griffin that had landed on his elbow. "Also, what I bestow upon my own
children usually ends up in the hands of yours as well."

"True enough, on both counts, but your wisdom is such that you are able to
see all of the advantages of a proposition, while I see the more numerous
unintended consequences. If I'd had my way, you'd never have bestowed the
gift of fire on the little dung beetles, and we'd never enjoy the sweet
savours of incense and burnt offerings as we do now. You generally proceed
despite my objections, and all of us reap the blessings."

"I concur, Horned One, but I would hate to do without your insights. Absent
your warnings, I would never have suspected that fire could have any
disadvantages. I would have been completely unprepared to deal with them
once they arose."

"You've persuaded me, Thoth, that though my advice is not often followed by
you, it is nevertheless of value. What sort of boon do you propose to
lavish upon the humans this time?"

"A shockingly simple means of supplementing their mental capacities without
altering their physical natures at all!"

The absence of any visible response on the woolly blue face of his
audience reminded Thoth (whom the Greeks called Prometheus) that he would
need to be prepared to answer a demand to know how his plan would benefit
the gods.

"I will teach a few of my worshipers an elementary means of storing
information outside of their temporal minds. The means are so
straightforward and concrete that they will be able to teach it to each
other. Since mortals universally communicate vocally, all they should ever
really need to commit to memory is a set of symbols. Each symbol would
stand for one of their speech-sounds. Then they could record any speech (or
any thought that they can express vocally), simply by engraving or painting
the proper characters sequentially on whatever medium they may choose -
stone, wood, vellum, papyrus..."

Ammon interrupted with an elaborate expletive involving the Enemy
Who's Name Must Not Be Uttered, a powerful egomaniacal entity that had been
at war against the celestials of Ohmjeguk for several eons, attempting to
establish an absolute dictatorship over every aspect of reality. Having
mentioned this being, he was obligated to curse it for five minutes. He
then gathered himself and began to articulate his objections.

(Here's Part Two and
Part Three)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Only as he dies do I learn the reason why Pink Floyd used to be cool. I think the main reason why so much music is so little fun in such similar ways is that whenever songs have the nerve to sound distinctive and have chord changes and stuff, they're labeled as novelty space music for stoners. Here's Piper At The Gate's Of Dawn.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A non-exhaustive list of actresses who are ugly according to Evan "Pantsfish" Wade's movie reviews on Something Awful:

Julie Strain and Clea Duval, from How To Make A Monster

Sam's wife from Las Vegas Bloodbath

This chick from Hard Rock Zombies

The ugliest girl in the WORLD from The Hillz

Jenicia Garcia from Zombiez

OK, maybe that WAS exhaustive. Now I don't get a gay or "woman named Evan" vibe off of the Pantsfish, and this could be some kind of sarcasm or a running joke or something. Otherwise, he should really consider learning some phrases like "not my type, but quite likely yours" or "attractive in a way that has since become less fashionable" or "cute, as opposed to movie star glamorous".

Thursday, July 06, 2006

This dosen't seem very timely, but SondraK might still like this Lootieworld game.

UPDATE - I almost forgot to include this Bjork video for no reason:

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why Celebrate The Fourth Of July? by the Man himself.

Because you can never have too much Thomas Sowell, here's another of his July 4th columns.

Here's his most recent - Is Patriotism Obsolete?

This, on the other hand, sucks. But not this.

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