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Since I Never Get the Last Word

Monday, November 28, 2005
The Quirk in the Threads

This morning the QWERTY factor comes to mind. Paul A. David identified this phenomenon in a 1985 Article in American Economics Review. His principle states: the product that sets the de facto standard will dominate the marketplace whether or not it is the best one technologically. David was talking about keyboards and Apple and Microsoft but it occurs to me that this factor can be manipulated to apply to literature.

For example, J.R.R. dominates the fantasy field. Others come and go, some even rising to temporary stardom, but the field always resorts to its first superstar. Everything else suffers by comparison.

In science fiction, there are those who always revert to RAH and the Good Doctor. I, myself, am quite often a member of this majority.

In straight literature, who can top Willie the Great? Today is the anniversary of his placing a 40 pound wager on his relationship with Anne Hathaway. The fact she was three months gravid might have flavored the proceedings but I shall attempt to refrain from such gossipy speculations despite the fact that I have already here engaged in the practice. They were blessed with three children and I wonder if copyright laws lasted more than a twinkle in the universe’ eye whether or not there might be a helluva court battle raging over the proceeds from Bill’s scribbling.

With respect to the sffworld forums, there have been many starlets, stars, superstars and an occasional supernova. There is the occasional New Yorker who flashes brilliance but soon gets caught up gazing at navels. There is the Welshman and the bloke from the Isle of Man and the Mongollian Headhunter and The Troubador. There was the sad little sprite from Ireland, the imperious queen of Oz, the brilliant Troll and the Bladesmith from the Shire. There is the Fountain of Knowledge and the Guzzler but the all time standard for interesting posts is the Quirky One. No one else makes me laugh or think or curse as much and no one else draws my attention as quickly. Here’s a lift of the morning martini in respectful salute.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-11-28 08:30:34

Monday, November 21, 2005
Tidal Forces

It’s amazing to me how things seem to arrive in tides. I had heard of the Tuareg before though I do not remember where or when. But, I began to read a novel where they are major players and soon, much of what the novel speaks to begins to surface in the rest of my world.

We rented a movie this weekend, one I selected as the lesser of the many evils presented to me. There have not been a whole lot of good movies made recently.

Actually, I rented two movies. I was less certain of Kingdom of Heaven than I was of the other movie but The Lady Who Shares Her Life With Me likes Orlando so I thought” what the hell?!” and rented it. My suspicions were confirmed. Even The Lady could not sit through the entire mess just to watch Orlando prance about the screen. Still, early in the movie, Orlando found himself in Messina, a port first settled by the Phoenicians. That’s the same Phoenicians who could well be the ancestors of the Berbers, the same Berbers who may have been the ancestors of the Tuareg.

The second movie was Sahara. Of a sudden, I was thrust again into Algeria with discussion of the Tuareg, long lost rivers, and dunes. Here, in the movie, it is suggested the rivers disappeared no more than a hundred years ago whereas the novel puts their disappearance @ 4K years ago. I suspect that I’d go with the novelist’s view; I have too much difficulty understanding the appearance of the dunes in just a hundred years.

From having paid no attention to Algeria since I watched Patton so many years ago to all of a sudden being thrust into its history by novel and movie, I wonder what it is that guides these things, what universal plot arranges for coherent and related information to suddenly appear in my world as if by intelligent design. I suppose a force is with me.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-11-21 09:47:13

Sunday, November 20, 2005
Happily Ever After

So many people look around the worldfailing to see the fantasies that get enacted all the time. For example, consider this item:

“1947Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten

In a lavish wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London, Princess Elizabeth marries her distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten, a dashing former prince of Greece and Denmark who renounced his titles in order to marry the English princess.

Princess Elizabeth, heir to the British throne, was 21 years old. Philip Mountbatten, age 26, had fought as a British naval officer during World War II and was made the duke of Edinburgh on the eve of his wedding to Elizabeth. The celebrations surrounding the wedding of the popular princess lifted the spirits of the people of Britain, who were enduring economic difficulties in the aftermath of World War II.” The History Channel, 11/20/05

And folk tend to not want to believe in fairy tales. Here’s the princess wed for nigh on to 60 years and if that isn’t happily ever after – even if she did have to settle for a cousin – then I don’t know what is. But, I am curious. From what I have learned from a certain British matron, I have trouble seeing ‘the spirits” of British folk enduring hard economic times raised by spending a whole of money on a royal wedding. But, then us descendants of the colonists have always had trouble reading and understanding the British psyche.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-11-20 09:35:31

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I should have known better. Growing up in one desert, I should have had more respect for the other deserts of the world. It took an author, Katherine Neville, and a book, The Eight, to help me discover that deserts are places of life.

How is it, as much as I have read, that I had never heard of the rock art of Tassili N’Ajjer?


Here there is art 5000 years old, art of a style and grace to be comparable with anything created in the classical periods of western civilization. It is fantastic to me that Ur did not rise till a millennium after this art was first produced; Dysnasty 0 in Egypt does not appear for a millennium and a half. I assume too much, I suppose, of a people who can paint with this understanding of what makes a person a person. These are not stick figures, these are portraits.


Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-11-19 09:10:10

Thursday, November 17, 2005
The Number of the Feast

Maybe I should take up numerology. This morning I calculated that the number 447, when summed internally, equals 6, the first number of the beast. It can be described as a ‘double four natural’ and then become the designation to a counterpart and rival for the ‘four-oh-double natural,’ the greatest medical facility in literature. Or it can be subtracted from today’s date to discover the precise beginning - the feast day, so to speak - of the Elizabethan Age. From that we got Shakespeare in Love and Bette Davis as The Virgin Queen. She was ever so much better at playing Elizabeth than Kate Blanchette who is pretty damned good. And from that we got a certain British lady’s fascination with Bette Davis’ Eyes. That’s quite a number.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-11-17 08:23:01

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