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Journeyman note

Another 2000 words yesterday on "The Journeyman: In the Great North Wood," and rolling up on the climax. Huzzah!

Today's quote:



(Teodorq sunna Nagarajan) “How many arrows yuh got left, Ptarm?”
Chorchi did not bother counting. “Five,” he said. “You?”
“Seven.”
Chorchi studied the forestmen, who were massing for another assault. “Gonna be some left over."

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Quote of the Day

Take your eye off Western Civilization for just a moment and it will be swinging from the rafters with its own belt around its neck...
-- Bruce Charlton
Here’s a Secular Alternative to the Ten Commandments
Lex Bayer and John Figdor (Time Magazine, Dec. 21, 2014)

“Pics or it didn’t happen,” the mantra of the Snapchat generation, is a simple but profound reflection of how we think.

The fact that the authors consider this to be a "profound reflection" bodes ill for how the authors think. There are no "pics" for a great many things, including the rest of their article, so they appear willing not only to toss out most of history but also to overlook such things as Photoshop. There are not many "pics" of Hannibal and his elephants; but otoh a local restaurant had "pics" on its walls of white-bearded farmers standing beside ears of corn as tall as they or pumpkins the size of a farm wagon. That is:

  • No "pics" but it did happen; and

  • "Pics" but it did not happen.

What the slogan does reflect is our tendency to demand evidence only for that of which we are personally incredulous.

So here are the Ten Secular Commandments, as detailed in Time, formerly a news magazine.

On the decline and fall of discourse

Do not get this man mad at you.
While browsing the web the other day on the TOFian Geburtstag, we revisited the delightful Underground Grammarian (left), who is no less delightful for being dead. His works can be found for downloading and also for reading.

It was in his collection Less Than Words Can Say that TOF found his discussion of "The Two Tribes" and the distinction between the snakes made of flesh and bone and the snakes made of discourse that so wonderfully informed his classic post "Adam and Eve and Ted and Alice."

So for today mot justes,we will quote from his 1978 collection The Leaning Tower of Babel and his discussion of what was then only a possibility: the creation of a federal department of education. First, the Underground Grammarian cites a passage in a report from what was then the Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW)


The findings suggest that psychosexuality constructs of agency/communion can be meaningfully operationalized to reflect the degree of psychosexuality integration, with different modes of manifestations and different correlates of interpersonal behavior associated with various levels on the integration continuum.


To which he comments thusly:

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Chasing the Phoenix

Chasing the Phoenix

by
Tor Books, 2015
TOF is unsure of the publication date for this gem, he read it in prepublication proofs. The web says August 2015. However, Faithful Reader ought to reserve a copy as soon as he, she, or it is able. Everything in this noble novel works -- from Surplus, the genetically-engineered dog, to the Hidden King who wants to reunite a a far-future, post-tech China, to even the office-names of supporting  characters. (One general is named Powerful Locomotive.) The dialogue is entertaining, the plot twists clever and supple, the narrative voice perfectly tuned, and the whole story suffused with sly Swanwickian humor.

There seems more than a touch of R. A. Lafferty in the thing, for those whose tastes run in that direction.

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Duhem on Physical Theory and Experiment

which outlines Pierre Duhem's takedown of falsification and positivism.

Sisters of the Sacred Heart

This was one of the toughest stories to move. It was written originally in June 1989, and Gardner Dozois said it was a perfect story for The Twilight Zone magazine. Alas, TZ magazine had folded, and Gardner wasn't looking for that kind of story. Also, it was too long. I shortened it and tried some more. KK Rusch did not like the original ending. Neither did some others who looked at it. It was substantially revised in 1991, 1992, and 1997. Along the way, it got tightened, rewritten, re-ended. The version posted here at the STORY PREVIEW PAGE is like rev.5 or something. It is, however, substantially the same story of 1989.

Eventually, it found a home in the magazine Dappled Things (Easter 2010)

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On This Day in History

The estmable Dr. Boli tells us that...



On this day in 627, the Roman Empire in the East finally broke the power of the Persian Empire after more than seven centuries of nearly constant conflict—the longest, and therefore most profitable, war in human history. It was the greatest triumph of the Roman Empire, and it lasted for about half an hour, after which the Caliphate obliterated Persia and reduced the Roman Empire to a state about the size of Delaware.

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Flynncestry: Ragtime Flynns

Daniel Joseph Flynn goes to Phillipsburg

Daniel Joseph Flynn
(1871-1944)
This account is based on sundry documents in hand and on a transcript of a conversation with Francis Joseph Flynn, Sr (Pop-pop), May, 1976.  At the time of the recording, he was 76 years old and was talking about when he was a kid.  Those who remember him are welcome to supply his vocal mannerisms and to make metronomic hand-chopping gestures as they read his words.
After John Thomas Flynn was crushed in the railroad repair yards in Washington NJ in 1881, his oldest boys, Martin (12) and Daniel (10) had to go to work to support the family. According to TOF's grandfather, they would hop the freight train when it slowed down through the Yards and ride it through the tunnel to Oxford Furnace, where they worked in the Nail Mill. In the interview taped in May 1976, Pop-pop remembered:

Oxford Furnace, late 1800s
"My dad first worked... he worked in Oxford. They made steel, or rather iron. They cooked up the ore and made ingots, pig iron, until that ore played out. It was the Oxford Iron Mills."

The Merriam Shoe Co. had relocated from New York City to Newton NJ in 1873, and "attracted to the novelty, townsfolk peered inside and wondered at the mechanical wizardry of the modern factory system." Modern, indeed. A steam engine powered the belts that moved the machines. The Sussex Register thought that “the only question that remains to be settled is, will Mr. Merriam be seconded in his efforts by a competent corps of women and children from this county, who are willing to become his employees?” This was just in time for Martin and Daniel to become two of those children, for in...

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