July 11th, 2009


Nine Years

I don't think bethje and I really did anything for our dating anniversary last year (hey, it was only four months since we'd gotten married), but this year we exchanged gifts. Beth gave me three CDs (Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense, Frank Black's All My Ghosts EP, and Robyn Hitchcock's Luminous Groove box set) and a copy of Robert Rankin's The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. How did she know I wanted those things? Oh, right, my Amazon wishlist. {g}

At night, we saw Brüno, which we both enjoyed. I didn't like it as much as Borat, maybe partially because it was much the same, only with gay jokes added in. Still definitely worth seeing if you enjoyed Borat, though. I did have to wonder how much some of the people who conversed with Brüno were playing along. I can believe that those gay converters were totally clueless, but the part where he was interviewing the parents of infant models was a little harder to believe. But then, I guess that was the point.

And since it's now technically the eleventh, happy birthday to therealtavie and her twin sister Kirsten, eagledna, and (even though she said last year that she doesn't celebrate her birthday) dragonxbait!
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From Twitter 07-10-2009

  • 00:16:40: The headline at the top of my Gmail says that Anna Kournikova got in a fight. Those wacky Russian women and their overdoses of testosterone!
  • 00:20:50: Happy dating anniversary to @NowIsStrange!
  • 08:09:59: I hardly ever wrap presents anymore. Does that mean they don't count as much?
  • 08:10:37: While we were at a stoplight yesterday, some guy gave us a menu for an exercise-themed restaurants called Muscle Maker Grill.
  • 08:10:52: The appetizers there are called "warm-ups."
  • 08:12:13: @eehouls Makeup? Nah, he's a real vampire now.
  • 08:13:05: All right, Lady Gaga, I'll grant you that "disco stick" isn't a euphemism I've heard before.
  • 08:14:33: I'm not sure Alan Jackson quite understands how time zones work.
  • 11:00:21: In my dream, @NowIsStrange had two babies, and named them simply Eighteenth and Twentieth after the dates when they were born.
  • 11:00:36: Don't ask me how she had two babies two days apart.
  • 11:02:49: For whatever reason, I kind of wanted to name one of them Lucretia.
  • 12:53:44: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fablesto/2671624471/ The owner of this van was in the booth behind mine at Pizza Hut today.
  • 12:55:40: One of the trending topics is "Soho." Do they mean the one in Manhattan or the one in London?
  • 12:56:14: Soon after learning that "Soho" (in NY) meant "south of Houston Street," I had a dream that the Emerald City had a district called "Soban."
  • 12:56:49: It was supposed to be south of Banana Boulevard, but the problem with that is that Neill presumably thought of the blvd as circular.
  • 13:00:28: I'm worried that I won't ever get a job again, even a temporary one.
  • 13:11:18: Selling acid was a bad idea. Selling it to a cop was a worse one.
  • 13:12:16: @JaredofMo I thought the cheapest gas was nitrogen.
  • 13:12:43: @nancybabe03 No, I don't think I'll be doing that. My wife might not appreciate it.
  • 13:13:03: @sexyarmpit Maybe it does, but I don't want to be reminded of gym class when I'm dining out.
  • 13:17:41: More salads need to have fruit in them.
  • 14:29:40: Where's Neil when you need him? I think he's probably inside @amandapalmer, Tori.
  • 14:46:59: Laughter is the very best medicine. Remember that when your appendix bursts next week.
  • 14:47:50: @TarynAria That sounds pretty good. Anything to distract me from the vegetables. {g}
  • 15:09:00: Why won't the "More" button work for me?
  • 21:17:46: Why does CNN report on psychics discussing Michael Jackson? http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/07/10/michael.jackson.psychics/index.html

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Riffin' on Griffins

The griffin, that majestic beast that is part lion and part eagle, is one you might recognize from architectural representations, or from heraldry. Or, if you're like me, you first came across the animal in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, under the alternate spelling of "Gryphon."

While there are some variations, the best-known image of the animal has the features of an eagle (including wings) in the front, with the hindquarters of a lion. Greek mythology said that they guarded treasure in India and Scythia, and griffin figures were commonly placed in positions in which they appear to be guarding something. Griffin myths are thought to have originated with the Persians, and later spread to other parts of the world. This page refers to them as having been known in Egypt prior to 3300 BC. There are also some definite similarities in the Jewish Cherubim, which are sometimes depicted with features of both lions and eagles. Winged lions were common in statuary in those parts, and the Wikipedia article suggests that the immediate predecessor of the Hebrew Cherub was the Phoenician Lammasu, a sort of human-headed winged lion.

In medieval times, the griffin came to be regarded as a symbol of Jesus, as its dual nature as lion and eagle is similar to Jesus' as both God and man. A bit of a stretch, I'd say, but maybe they just wanted an excuse to keep making griffins because they looked cool. It was also the Middle Ages that produced the idea that griffins are monogamous (which is kind of weird, as I don't think either lions or eagles are), and they came to represent that as well.

One common older myth about griffins was that they hate horses, and regard them as prey. The hatred is sometimes regarded as a result of the horse-riding Arimaspians trying to steal the gold that the griffins guarded, but I have a feeling that the idea of the enmity came before this explanation. I know that weasels are regarded as the enemies of basilisks, and there might well exist similar enmity between other fantastic beasts and ordinary animals. Regardless, the idea of mating griffins with their equine enemies eventually came into play, quite possibly inspired by a line in Virgil's Ecologues. And that was the origin of the hippogriff, which combines features of the lion, the eagle, AND the horse. They're supposedly faster and easier to tame than pure griffins, and they commonly appear in fantasy bestiaries alongside their more ancient parent species.