January 21st, 2008


A post fit for a king

I finished reading The Once and Future King yesterday. I'd actually read The Sword in the Stone as a stand-alone some years ago. There are at least two versions of Sword, and I had both an earlier one and the revised one that's also the first part of King, so I made an effort to read all of the episodes that were in one version and not the other (Madame Mim, Galapas, the different takes on Morgan's castle, the ants and geese, etc.). I think I liked the earlier one better. Anyway, I didn't bother re-reading Sword, but I did read the other three parts of King for the first time. I found it to be an interestingly philosophical and sometimes humorous (much more so in the earlier parts than the more tragic later ones) take on the Arthurian saga. One thing that particularly struck me is how White played with the anachronisms in earlier versions of the story, not just with Merlyn's ability to remember things from the future (and I must say I missed Merlyn in the later part of the book), but by claiming that Arthur's father Uther had ruled from 1066 to 1216, making him sort of a parallel-universe version of every English monarch from William I through John. Arthur and Uther are even specifically referred to as Norman kings. Some of the actual kings from this period are also mentioned, but usually as fictional or legendary. Another thing I noticed was how much effort White puts into trying to defend Guenever, who really does not come off as very likeable.

I've also gone back to trying to finish reading the entire Bible. I've now finished with the Histories, and I have to say the Chronicles were pretty difficult to get through. While the author(s) of the books of Samuel and Kings seemed to be primarily interested in stories, the Chronicler just kept spewing out a bunch of names, only being of much interest to modern readers when you get one along the lines of "Elhanan, son of Dodo" (who's also mentioned in 2 Kings). I must say I found the description of Solomon's wealth to be somewhat amusing. The guy apparently had 700 wives, and all of his utensils were made of solid gold. (Whether he also had any of the golden hemorrhoids mentioned a few books previously is never specified.) And speaking of Solomon, the whole story about the baby is pretty crazy by today's standards. I mean, could you imagine someone actually recommending that an official kill a baby, whether or not it's hers? Come on, even Ann Coulter at least pretends to care about babies. Or maybe that's only before they're born. I'm not sure.

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The State of Modern Beverages

Happy Martin Luther King Day to everyone! This entry has nothing whatsoever to do with Dr. King, but I still thought I should acknowledge the day.

They recently replaced the vending machine at my current workplace that had apple and grape juice with one that no longer has those things, but does have enormous quantities of Vitamin Water (which "contains no juice," according to the nutrition information on the side) and energy drinks. I realize that I, with my penchant for sweet beverages (albeit mostly fruit juices, which are probably healthier than sodas and punches, but are much more expensive), am in no position to criticize other people's choices of drink. And hey, I've never tried those things. Maybe they're actually great. But could anyone possibly come up with a blander-sounding product name than "Vitamin Water"? And energy drinks kind of frighten me for some reason, even though there have been plenty of times when a quick burst of energy would have useful.

Speaking of things with disturbing-sounding names, I saw a sign today advertising an Infrared Body Wrap. Wasn't that a psychedelic band from the sixties? :P

Aside from buying a few things at the store, I haven't really accomplished all that much of actual consequence today. I did, however, organize the songs on my MP3 player so that it wouldn't list so many different names for the same artists. I mean, for Frank Black, I had:

Frank Black
Frank Black & Gary U.S. Bonds
Frank Black & Teenage Fanclub
Frank Black & the Catholics
Frank Black & They Might Be Giants
Frank Black + TheC's
Frank Black - Live w/TMBG
Frank Black and the Catholics
Frankus Blackus

And that's not even counting the stuff he released as Black Francis or Frank Black Francis, which I kept separate. I also removed the word "the" from the beginnings of band names, because apparently adding an algorithm to disregard leading articles is too complicated for the makers of modern machinery. I should probably do some physical cleaning in addition to the virtual stuff, but I'm lazy. Besides, I still have to finish reading my friends page. Okay, I don't actually HAVE to, but I like to read everything and I don't like falling behind, you know?