Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 943)


During a conversation with a friend this evening, I discovered we were using the word "believe" at cross-purposes. When I said "believe", I meant having any internal perception of an external fact, whether or not accurate (e.g. I believe that my desk is in my room since I can currently see it). But she meant having a hypothesis about something which has not yet adequately been confirmed (e.g. I see the desk and now I know it's there, I no longer believe it's there). I wonder how common this difference is, and how much disagreement it causes.

Syndicated 2012-08-03 21:05:56 from Monument

Seven Standing Stones

I've been looking through old school exercise books. This is from June 1986; I was eleven.

Seven standing stones are under the sky,
seven standing stones shall never, ever die.
Clouds blow, grey, white, or black,
and the wind shall blow, blow through the stones,
and memories shall fade and die,
and nobody shall know, know the reason why
seven standing stones are under the sky.
Seven standing stones--
years shall pass, and grass will grow,
around the stones, and groans of lonely stones
who know why--
they know why who toiled to erect them under the sky,
and the wind shall whistle through the trees,
and the wind shall whistle through the trees.

Syndicated 2012-07-21 12:00:11 (Updated 2012-07-21 12:00:38) from Monument

Leda and the swan

The only excuse I can give you for the following is that I dreamed it last night. It's a filk of the signature tune of the Disney film "Beauty and the Beast".

Tale as old as time
Walking through the heath
Thought she saw a goose
Doesn't know it's Zeus
Leda's underneath
Wings around her heart
Then the bird is gone
Feel a little joy
Start a war in Troy
Leda and the swan.

Syndicated 2012-07-17 08:46:21 from Monument

Hans von Pillow

Today we remember Hans von Pillow (1784-1860) who was the first to say "Mein Gott! People are lying on their beds without anything to rest their heads on. Let me invent a bag filled with duck feathers. Jawohl!" (None of this is actually true.)

Syndicated 2012-06-29 08:53:34 from Monument

Double-dactyl: Godfey of Boullion

Gallantry, gallantry,
Godfrey of Bouillon
Founded a kingdom, which
gave him a shock:
Being a king would seem
Thus you may see that he
came of good stock.

Syndicated 2012-06-22 10:20:18 from Monument

Exeter Book

In the Exeter Book, which is in the possession of Exeter Cathedral and was written around the year 990, there are many riddles. Here is one.

"I am a wonderful help to women, the hope of something good to come. I harm only my slayer. I grow very tall and erect in a bed; I am shaggy down below. A very comely peasant's daughter, a proud maiden, dares sometimes that she grips at me, rubs my red skin, plunders my head, confines me in a stronghold. She soon feels
my meeting, she who forced me in, the curly-haired woman. I bring tears to her eyes."

The answer is of course "an onion". From this we can surmise that the English sense of humour has changed very little in a thousand years.

(Original text: "Ic eom wunderlicu wiht wifum on hyhte neahbuendum nyt; nægum sceþþe burgsittendra nymthe bonan anum. Staþol min is steapheah stonde ic on bedde neoðan ruh nathwær. Neþeð hwilum ful cyrtenu ceorles dohtor modwlonc meowle þæt heo on mec gripe ræseð mec on reodne reafath min heafod fegeð mec on fæsten. Feleþ sona mines gemotes seo þe mec nearwað wif wundenlocc. Wæt bið þæt eage.")

Syndicated 2012-06-07 21:26:29 from Monument


"We should be taking steps to celebrate Easter in creative new ways: in art, literature, children’s games, poetry, music, dance, festivals, bells, special concerts, anything that comes to mind. This is our greatest festival. Take Christmas away, and in biblical terms you lose two chapters at the front of Matthew and Luke, nothing else. Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament; you don’t have a Christianity... This is our greatest day. We should put the flags out." -- Tom Wright

Syndicated 2012-04-07 11:52:00 from Monument


This email about the BBC interview says: "Morning or early afternoon is best for us as we would have to travel back in time for it to be on our 6.30pm programme."

I have just realised it means: "We would have to travel back... in time for it to be on our 6.30pm programme" and not, as I've been thinking for hours, "We would have to travel back in time... for it to be on our 6.30pm programme."

The funny thing is that I wasn't awfully surprised by the misreading. I mean, Doctor Who works there and all.

Syndicated 2012-04-04 14:37:02 from Monument

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