Friday, January 30, 2004

There's a board game based on The Name of the Rose!

From a review of the game:

So, while Mystery of the Abbey might seem a lot like Clue, it plays as if Mrs. White has spiked everybody’s drinks and relocated the crime scene to the Winchester Mystery House. Although the rules are simple to learn, there’s a surprising amount of complexity to actual game play, and the environment can shift at the flip of a card – whether or not that means one player may suddenly get to raid your stash, or the entire room is forced to sing “Frere Jacques” in rounds, it’s sure better than prying that fourth railroad from your vindictive spouse. I only hope that the game designers at Days of Wonder aren’t currently reading Foucault’s Pendulum....

The thing about making a Foucault's Pendulum game is that there already is a bizarre conspiracy theory game out there, although I suspect it lacks the Italian publishing company and the ruminations on the Balance of the Universe.

Link, of course, from Bookslut.
Edited for minor typo correction.

Watch Out, O'Reilly, Al's the Real Deal

Here's what really happened on that fateful day between Al Franken and the LaRouche wacko.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Just read Elf's new site.. posted on the most recent Heresy..

Hey, they just uncovered a tin of ointment in London, from 43-410 AD. Actually ointment! A mix of animal fat and starch.. so its really past its freshness date..


And the winner is.. Kerry! I think he had a little minor surgery around those eyes. He was talking about giving a whole lot of states a whole lot of lovin'.. sounds like fun!

But lets get to the important stuff:

Top Ten Books of 2003(in no particular order, because I love them all too much)

1. HP5

2. Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde (close runners up: Dragon's Bait and Heir Apparent. I recommend all of them!)

3.The Book of Three, etc. by Lloyd Alexander

4. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin

5. The Masqueraders, by Georgette Heyer

6. Sir Gibbie, by George MacDonald. I actually read an edited version without the scottish dialect and philosphical tangents, but I want to read the original. Its a beautiful story!

7. The Eternity Code, Book 3 in the Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer

8. The Changeling Sea, by Patricia McKillip (see also: The Riddlemaster of Hed)

9. The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket by.. well you know..

10. And finally, to demonstrate that I am an adult, my final pick for the top ten is Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand..

11. (oops) Beauty, by Robin McKinley.. just because~!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I would like to welcome Elf to the universe of bloggers everywhere. Elf's blog, Apikorsus Today, promises and delivers "Occasionally Heretical Musings on Judaism, the Bible, and Food." She's even got a Heresy of the Week, currently describing the Book of Esther as inspired by the story of Joseph. Shocking.

Another recent discovery is the word-hoard of a blog belonging to Tanya Brolaski, experimental poet. Swimming for Dummies is full of passages that are either extremely elegant dictionary entries or extremely erudite poetry:

misericord or misericorde – ME “pity” from Lat misericordiamisericors, merciful: misere, to feel pity + cors, heart. 1a. modification of monastic rules, as an exemption from fasting. b. The room in a monastery used by monks granted such an exemption. 2. a bracket attached to the underside of a hinged seat in a church stall against which a standing person may lean when the seat is turned up. 3. a narrow dagger used in medieval times to deliver the death stroke to a seriously wounded knight.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

William of Norwich and My Shameful Lapse into Non-Objectivity

I am a scholar. I study medieval anti-Judaism from a neutral and unemotional position. I am supposed to study medieval anti-Judaism from a neutral and unemotional position.

Why, then, do I have the urge to find the grave of one Thomas of Monmouth (no, not Geoffrey of Monmouth, Thomas of Monmouth), and stamp on it?

Stamping on his grave is far too good for this man, actually. In some two hundred pages of hagiography of William of Norwich, Thomas repeatedly expresses logic thus:

1. The body of little William (age 12) shows wounds in the hands and side, as well as a crown of thorns and some random torture devices.

2. Only Jews could possibly torture a child in this way.

3. Obviously, Jews tortured William of Norwich to death.

While the holes in the logical structure are large enough to push an oliphaunt through (sorry, been watching the extended edition of The Two Towers lately), I didn't really get angry enough to start beating on eight-hundred-year-old archaeologically interesting tombstones until I got to the part where Thomas announces that anyone who disagrees with him is the type of person who is "sad" when "there is a lack of material for slander," and that Thomas is "a second David" fighting "the abusive Philistines" with "certain spiritual weapons of reasoning, as it were, stones." Hmm. The stones David threw were small and puny. Thomas's logic is small and puny. Therefore... QED.

The Life of St William of Norwich does bring up an issue of the day, though, that being Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ. Jews are nervous about the rhetoric the movie will bring up because of the ways in which this rhetoric has been used over the last twenty centuries. Thomas describes William's martyrdom as mirroring Christ's passion; the crown of thorns, the nails, the crucifixion, and even the wound in the side repeat the wounds of Christ, and Thomas repeatedly announces that the murder took place on the Wednesday of Holy Week, during the Jewish Passover. Thus, in Thomas's narrative, the Jews who kill William of Norwich are repeating the actions of the Jews who killed Christ - and therefore deserve to be, in Thomas's word, "exterminated." Bringing back the slander that Jews killed Christ, which slander the Catholic Church repudiated in 1965 in the document Nostra Aetate, might bring back associated slanders, blood libels, and horrors I, for one, would be quite pleased to leave in the Middle Ages.

One last thought: Thank goodness, I am not the only person ever to be utterly horrified by the Life of William. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on William of Norwich has a note, after the name of the man who transcribed the article for the Web: "Dedicated to all who are falsely accused."