July 12th, 2009


From Twitter 07-11-2009

  • 00:48:58: If I'm supposed to beware of Greeks bearing gifts, why shouldn't I look a gift horse in the mouth?
  • 01:30:04: Happy birthday, @therealtavie!
  • 01:31:12: So Robert Downey is playing Holmes because they're both drug addicts, and Jude Law is Watson because they can't commit to relationships?
  • 01:33:48: @JaredofMo But are you truly LIVING Oz?
  • 01:36:44: @NowIsStrange thinks I've become much raunchier online as of late. This worries me somewhat.
  • 03:01:52: I just saw a semi-local car lot commercial with a really bad Obama impersonator.
  • 03:02:37: I love how, at the end, there's a disclaimer: "Obama look-alike, not the actual president." Uh, no, he looks nothing like Obama.
  • 11:44:26: Why is there a travel agency commercial that uses the same tune as the Moldy Peaches' "Anybody Else But You"?
  • 11:45:31: If I already have a complete TV series box set, why would I want a collection of episodes?

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We Germans are not all smiles und sunshine

Okay, so, yesterday was therealtavie and Kirsten's birthday, and bethje and I went up to North Jersey for their party, which was held at a beer garden in Jersey City called Zeppelin Hall. It must be one of the most uptight restaurants in the country, because it had its own security team, who absolutely refused to let us bring in a birthday cake, allegedly for health code matters. I guess it makes sense that this would have happened at a GERMAN restaurant. :P Also, it was pretty difficult to find a table, as people stuck around and played cards and such, with no sign of anything to eat or drink. We ended up sitting outside, where they didn't serve as much in the way of food. So I don't think I'd recommend the place, even though the sausage sampler I got was quite good. I'm not sure I could taste much difference between the varieties of sausage, though. I get the impression that the Germans basically sit around drinking a lot of beer, and then come up with different names for what's basically the same collection of pig organs in a casement.

But enough about German cuisine. The party itself was fun, although we didn't know all that many of the people there. Tavie seems to have more social networking skills than I do, especially considering that some of her co-workers showed up, and we visited her old boss's apartment after leaving the restaurant. I will say that her networking skills apparently work particularly well on Stephanies and Andrews. But anyway, the fact that we were invited means a lot to me, as someone who usually feels like a social outcast. And we got to hear Tavie and Kirsten sing together, which was something that Gina had built up for me, and turned out to meet expectations. They have the ability to harmonize that can only come with having been in the womb together. {g}

We finally got home a little before 5 AM, and I went to sleep pretty much immediately, only to have dreams involving skyscrapers, alternate universes, amusement park rides featuring the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz, and a power outage at a bookstore.

Live Long and Prosper

Continuing from where we left off last week, we now come to Enoch's son Methuselah, whose claim to fame is that he's the oldest person mentioned in the Bible. He made it up to 969, while his next closest competitors, his grandfather Jared and his grandson Noah, only reached 962 and 950, respectively. While these lifespans certainly seem long, they're nothing compared to those of their counterparts on the Sumerian King List, whose reigns lasted between 18,600 and 43,200 years (I'm not sure there's any record of how long they lived before ruling). En-men-lu-ana, the fourth king and first to rule from Bad-tibira, was their record holder. Since the list of antediluvian patriarchs seems to largely derive from the King List, it's quite likely that the authors of the Bible gave them lifespans that were somewhat more realistic, while still maintaining the idea that people before the Flood lived really long lives. Interestingly, this does suggest that some people in the ancient Middle East realized the world was at least tens of thousands of years old, while adding up the numbers in Genesis suggests that it was only a few thousand.

One odd thing about Methuselah's lifespan is that, while the Masoretic text (the standard Hebrew text nowadays) says that he died in the same year as the Flood, the Septuagint claims that he lived for fourteen years after the Flood. Was this a mistake in the text translated for the Septuagint, or did the transcribers of the Masoretic text correct what they saw as a mistake in earlier versions? I guess there's no way to tell anymore, short of Enoch coming down from Heaven to provide the answer.

Methuselah's first-born son, Lamech, didn't live anywhere near as long as his father, with the Bible reporting that he died at the age of 777. Still a long time, but shorter than any of the other recorded antediluvian lifespans except for that of Enoch, who apparently never actually died. But I suppose the significance of the number seven means that SOMEONE had to die at that age. Seth's descendant Lamech is not given much background in Genesis, but his counterpart in Cain's line is. This Lamech had two wives, killed a man for hitting him (so much for "turn the other cheek," although in fairness Jesus wouldn't be around to tell anyone that for another 4000 years or so), and claimed that he would be avenged seventy-seven times if anyone killed him. His children were Jabal, Jubal, and Tubalcain, whom I mentioned in an earlier post in this series.

In Genesis 6:3, God limits the lifespan of humans to a mere 120 years, which is actually a pretty good guess. According to Wikipedia, there's only human who's been recorded to have lived longer than that. This person would be Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days, which would still round down to 120 if you're going by tens. Nonetheless, the limit doesn't seem to take right away, as there are plenty of characters in the early books of the Bible who live considerably longer than that. Lifespans do decrease gradually, however, and I don't believe anyone after Moses (who is said to have lived exactly 120 years, while his brother Aaron died at 123) is said to have lived that long. I've seen some apologists suggest that 120 years is actually the length of time that Noah spent preaching the coming flood and building the ark, which makes him seem rather pathetic. I mean, 120 years as a prophet, and not a single convert outside his immediate family? Well, we'll see more of Captain Noah and his magical ark next week. Maybe he'll sing a rainbow.
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