Details Add Verisimilitude… or Not

In fiction, the less descriptive details detract from creating suspension of disbelief, the less they might drag a reader out of the story to say, “Nuh-uh! No way! Not so!” and so getting the little things right can make a difference in verisimilitude and suspension of disbelief, let alone simple enjoyment of a story well told.

Let me offer a very small example (one of, sadly, more than a few from a book now in hand):

Speaking about an event in Atilla’s life tied to a specific town in Italy in 452 A.D., a learned gentleman intones,

“The town was founded in the first century, so it was already three hundred years old when Atilla arrived.”

Really? Any (and I do mean ANY) literate person knows that the first century A.D. began with year 1 and went through 100 A.D. 452 A.D. was squarely in the middle of the FIFTH century. It would have made sense to have said, “The town was founded in the first century, so it was already FOUR hundred years old when Atilla arrived.”

When a novel that relies heavily on historical citations (and legends tied to history) begins to pile up errors like that, it starts to seriously detract from the story.

No, before you ask, it’s not a book by Dan Brown. It’s not within several orders of magnitude of being THAT bad. In fact, apart from niggling little things like the one noted above, and quite contra a Dan Brown prose atrocity, it’s actually pretty good reading, which is what makes these niggling little problems… problems.

Continue reading “Details Add Verisimilitude… or Not”

Eureka!

[N.B. Added link to one example–of many, many examples–of behaviors in support of my thesis below. ;-)]


The Zero has been an open book enigma, wrapped in a con man’s smile, covered by a flack industry’s hand-waving distractions and outright lies.

All this stuff we’ve been seeing from The Zero, his fellow travelers and cronies–the gutting of the economy and building of “golden Solyndrachutes” for the Crony Class, the bowing and scraping and (at least metaphorical) bending of knee to all sorts of foreign potentates and outright enemies of the US, the shredding of constitutional guarantees of fundamental human rights, and on and on and on: it’s all about Moochele’s campaign to combat her childhood nemesis. Yep, her childhood obesity is driving all this.

Oh, I have no picture of her as a fat child, but her psychological derangement is blatantly apparent, and its most likely cause is her own self-image, formed growing up as a fat kid.

And how does this explain The Zero’s (and his fellow travelers, etc.) behaviors? Think about if for a nano-second (that’s about all it takes, of course, to understand so simple a set of minds).

  • That Moochele drags Barry around firmly by the one ball she has let him keep is pretty much a given, taking even a brief glance at their respective public behaviors. One shudders to think what that emasculated quasi-male suffers in private (but then, considering who and what it is, notsomuch with the shuddering, ya know?)
  • That EVERYTHING Barry (and etc.) has done is aimed squarely at enfeebling the US is obvious to anyone with active brain cells numbering greater than that found in the average used Kleenex.
  • That this enfeebling of America has resulted and continues to progressively result in a cancelation of the “super-size” menu plan for Americans is also obvious. Just take a look at that package of bacon you’ve been buying for years. It doesn’t cost a LOT more (in increasingly worthless fiat dollars) now than when the Zero took office, true, but have you stopped to look closely at why that is? Yep. It’s now 12 ounces instead of 16. That package of cookies that’s only a “little more expensive” than in 2009? Yep. Smaller.
  • And as “the little people” have less and less to spend on smaller and smaller portions, Moochele’s dream from her childhood will come to pass. It’s almost biblical in scope. Or Greek god-like in petty, childish arrogance. (Those columns: whose idea were they really? Hmmm?)

And so it goes. Genius! It’s all about slowly weaning Americans from food entirely!


Continue reading “Eureka!”

I Really Need to Ameliorate My Tinnitus

Sometimes it’s so distracting I mishear background stuff. For example, a TV commercial I heard as,

“Introducing the evil 4G

The sheer noise level of the tinnitus is really that distracting a times.


I don’t watch much TV. This was while sharing some “being there” time while my Wonder Woman was watching one of the (very, very) few TV shows she watches via our cable subscription.

Evo 4G

Timeless Wisdom

I don’t know who first said it (and am not even sure where I last saw it *heh*), but this ranks up there with, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia,”* as timeless wisdom:

“A human without at least one sharp pointy thing and the ability to start a fire is just whining hairless ape in most survival situations.”

Yeh, I feel naked without at least two or three “sharp pointy things” on my person at all times, and since I can start a fire with my burning gaze of scorn… *heh*

Continue reading “Timeless Wisdom”

Those Frustrating Brit Mystery Shows

You know the ones I mean: generally well-acted, pretty darned good (as in superior to most cable fare on US TV) production values, great music and sound, scenery and settings to die for, interesting faces and voices, etc. OTOH, pretty predictable plots, lots of evidence why Britain used to be “GREAT Britain” (with tons of pointers for those who want to emasculate the US as well *sigh* ) and far too much use of “classic” whodunit camera techniques. And what’s with the stupid four-episode “seasons”? That’s pretty crappy, guys. Just sayin’.

So many good things hampered by a few glaring faults. Better than what I can find on cable TV, though.


Still… Positives include Inspector Lewis, the spinoff from the long success of the Inspector Morse books and the series. Sometimes I want to say, “Take Inspector Lewis, PLEASE,” but usually it’s really quite good on the whole. An example: the theme music. Just wonderful stuff, but I could swear one motif in the theme is outright “borrowing” of a Beethoven motif. That in itself is only to the good, of course (heck, I’ve “borrowed” a motif here and there for development into something else, myself), if I am correct (just noticed it–yeh, I’m kinda slow *heh*–and haven’t replayed the section I’m thinking of in my mind’s ear, but it seems so at first thought), but, regardless, that it even evokes such a thought is an indication of the quality of the music.

And that reminds me: it’s probably time for my quarterly refreshment of Beethoven’s oeuvre in my mind’s ear (it used to need refreshment less often for memory replay, but my mind’s ear just ain’t what it used ta be, ya know? :-)). Fortunately, just about every recording of every Beethoven work I’ve been able to lay my hands on is now stored on my Amazon Cloud Drive (as well as available to load en masse onto a pocket-sized mp3 player) and accessible to listen to almost anywhere on multiple devices.

So, thanks to the prod from Inspector Lewis, I’ll be “seeing” the aural landscapes of Beethoven’s mind’s ear a bit more directly over the next couple of weeks’ time. Thanks, Robbie.

I Wonder…

…why it is that some people who just “can’t stand” to watch TV or movies on their laptops or desktops nevertheless find squinting at TV or movies on an eeentsy-weensy 3″-4″ smartphone’s screen to be da bomb?*

…why some people call their desktops their “hard drives” or think referring to their hard drive as “memory” is appropriate? These are often the same people who think that turning off their desktop’s monitor=turning off the computer.

…how some people confuse “upload” with “download” with “install”.

…how some people can use computers for years and not even know what OS they have installed or the names of the programs they use most OR that “program” and “application” are essentially interchangeable terms.

Just stupid, I guess, ignorant savages who think electricity and everything connected to it is just magic.


*Note: when I find some TV or movie worth watching, the only technology I prefer to avoid using to watch it is a typical big screen theater. Wastes of money on many levels, IMO–particularly in being crammed into audiences increasingly filled with yahoos, boors and “idjits”. TV (big or small screen), desktop, laptop, tablet: all fine with me, especially since in the last three formats I can have volume levels controlled to my taste and in the latter two formats I can use really, really good ear buds or earphones for surprisingly accurate sound reproduction and in the desktop format, my very good surround sound system really makes for great listening in my office. TV? Notsomuch, as its sound is shared (and that’s enough of that story).

My Skin’s Different From Your Skin…

I have a little ditty that uses the old Kennel Ration commercial, “My dog’s better than your dog” tune, but I’ll not inflict it on you now.

The point, though? Different does not necessarily mean better. We are all different from the skin all the way to the bone and blood and meat and sinew, heart and soul. Different in composition, talents, abilities, outlook, desire, understanding, etc.

We are also all the same in many ways. Some of the most important ways we are the same include that we all have the same opportunities while at the same time we all have different opportunities.

*huh?!?*

Let me repeat that.

We all have the same opportunities while at the same time we all have different opportunities. We all have the opportunity to choose to be useful. We all have different opportunities (and different kinds of opporunities) to be useful. Some, sadly, choose to be useful in the least positive way, viz.,

“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning”–Catherine Aird

And remember,
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, the graphic and attendant caption misses the simple fact that there can be many uses for such a distorted, mangled tool, but of course, none of those uses fit within its original design parameters…

Another opportunity that everyone has is the opportunity to be just. Everyone can choose to be fair in dealing with others… or to be hypocritical, applying standards–if any–differently to different classes of people: the very essence of unjust behavior.

“Those children are noisy and rude, while my children [who are engaging in exactly the same behavior] are simply being [enthusiastic, exuberant, creative–pick your own fav hypocritical lie].”

All of us have the opportunity to choose to be grateful… or to be whiners. If you’re alive, know that you don’t deserve to be. It’s a gift. Start there. I like the way Joe Sobran put it,

As one of the characters in Lear tells his father: “Thy life’s a miracle.” Of whom is that not true?

The more we reflect on the sheer oddity of our very existence and, in addition, of our eligibility for salvation, the deeper our gratitude must be. Amazing grace indeed! To call it astounding is to express the matter feebly. Why me? How on earth could I ever have deserved this, the promise of eternal joy?

And given all this, in comparison with which winning the greatest lottery in the world is just a minor fluke, how can I dare to sin again, or to be anything less than a saint for the rest of my life?

I suppose I could continue, but you get my drift, I trust. I’ll leave the other ways we are “the same” (and different in ways that make little difference at all, really… and all the difference in the world, as well) as an exercise for the reader.

“Through a glass darkly… “

In case the source of the post title or the King James English is a puzzle to some, here’s a quote (and reference to the context) and brief commentary before I get to the substance–whatever there may be–of this post:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. From 1Corinthians 13

Of course, the “glass” seen “through… darkly” referred to above is a mirror. The “through” instead of “in” (as we would have it today) reflects both changes in language and a particular view of the world–and mirrors ion particular–common for millennia up through at least the time of the court of King James, a view common enough even in the 19th Century to make Lewis Carroll’s use of it immediately accessible to his readers. The “darkly” is a common (in the day) reference to a cloudy mirror whose silvering has become delaminated or tarnished, reflecting *cough* the Greek passage’s reference to a tarnished mirror made of polished metal.

So, “Through a glass darkly” refers to an imperfect reflection of reality.

Simple, right? It ought to be obvious from context, but many people seem today to make the silly assumption that it refers to looking through a window in some manner.

Sidebar: I view anyone who cannot read and grasp the language of the KJV Bible or Shakespeare’s plays and poems in (close to*) Shakespeare’s language to be at best semi-literate. At best. These two bodies of work are simply the best literature in the English language and worthy of being grasped on their own terms.

Now, to whatever scraps of meat there may be in this post.

I was treated this AM to a brief glimpse–on two levels, which led to more that aren’t germane to this post–into the meaning of this excerpt from the famous Pauline passage. First, from this post at Ann Althouse’s blog (go ahead and read it for context if you will), two comments:

Oh, and by the way, as you sit at your COMPUTER to read this, remember what conditions it was produced under & think again about those evil, slave-holding, cotton producing, antebellum Southerners.

That’s you in the mirror.

And

Your computer comes with a mirror?

Strangely, the computer I was sitting at when I read the second comment was–dimmly–acting as a mirror. A 15.6″ glossy notebook screen in a room well-lit by direct sunlight? Mirror. *sigh*

And yes, I could see the semi-validity of the first comment, although the commenter’s analogy was seriously flawed. I’m more in the position of those (often British and Northern) consumers who wore cotton clothing made from slave-produced cotton exported for manufacture into other goods than the position of a slave-owning Antebellum Southerner (of whom the South had relatively few compared to its general population of free persons).

Yes, I benefit from the “Made by slave labor in China” effect, though the computer I was having my face reflected by was not produced with very many “made in China” parts and pretty much contained only a few materials derived from Chinese slave labor–mostly the rare earths materials exported by China and used in products used in America primarily because the “feddle gummint” makes mining and refining our own resources prohibitively expensive.

Still, what are my choices?

Well, at least I won’t be buying any Apple products. *heh*


*OK, so what’s the deal with “Shakespeare’s plays and poems in (close to*) Shakespeare’s language”? Simple. We have editions of Shakespeare’s plays which may or may not reflect accurately what was originally written, and though we have substantial evidence of Shakespeare’s work to go by, even less evidence of his actual work than we have textual evidence concerning differing versions of biblical works. “Close to” is good enough, though, to let us benefit from the richness of Shakespeare’s work, regardless of who the author was (another can of worms that doesn’t matter any more than it matters “which” Homer–if any–wrote Odysseus *heh*).

Petty Puny Peccadillo

(Yeh, yeh, one more example of scesis onomaton, as if anyone really gave a rat’s patootie. ;-))

Sometimes I am more than a wee tad irritated by otherwise literate folk misusing the first (and third) person singular past tense of “be” when the speaker or writer obviously means to express the subjunctive mood.

Irritating? Yes. *sigh* Just one more erosion of useful language by acquiescence to the lowest common denominator of society, more evidence that the least fit are shaping our culture.

Ah, well. At least I might not live long enough to witness the complete, absolute and utter collapse of civilization… (But it’s looking more and more as though my grandchildren almost certainly will.)

Stuff From the Voices In My Head

Usually, several years go by before someone brings up the “family group” of nudists that lives [in an undisclosed location here in America’s Third World County]. For some reason, [a person who shall not be named] brought the group up in conversation this a.m…. about 9 years early. *heh* Not relaying the context, but the comment had to do with imagining living next door to the group for 20 or 30 years…

Madge: Henry, I just can’t enjoy my morning coffee on the front porch anymore. I mean, when [unnamed nudist] was in his 20s, it wasn’t all that disturbing when he came out to get his paper *wink-wink-nudge-nudge*, but now… OK, his beard covers the worst parts, so that’s not so bad; it’s just the ugly crack he always makes now as he turns to go back inside…

*pa-dump-bump*

(TYVM. I’ll be here all week. Be sure to try the buffet.)