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Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Time Event
  • 06:21 @NowIsStrange I'll bet some people do. #
  • 06:23 I'm a little unsure as to how whether or not global warming is man-made is even relevant to what should be done about it. #
  • 06:24 Then again, an "if nature did it, we don't need to bother cleaning it up" attitude would explain the slow reaction to Hurricane Katrina. #
  • 16:32 Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. And the very next day, you gave me your gallbladder. #
  • 16:38 In the meadow we can build a snowman, then pretend that he is Bobby Brown. #
  • 17:36 Tig
    er Woods won't be seeing Santa Claus. Somebody snitched on him. #
  • 19:57 @eehouls I would imagine that anyone who knows one probably also knows the other, though. #
  • 19:58 @eehouls @NowIsStrange Who? Strawberry or Rainbow? #
  • 22:52 I thought I'd appreciate "Rent" because my great-grandfather was from Bohemia. Then I found out it was about the OTHER kind of bohemian. #
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Less Deadly Deserts
Whatever you wish to call it, the Deadly Desert is not the only sandy desert environment on the Ozian pseudo-continent. Ruth Plumly Thompson was especially keen on creating desert domains, pretty much inevitably inspired by the Arabian Nights. The first clear example of this is the southeastern Munchkin kingdom of Mudge in The Cowardly Lion of Oz, a land of silvery sands and date palms. The people dress in turbans and live in tents that they move around a lot, and the men have blue beards. The Mudgers used to make their living as raiders, but Ozma and Glinda put a stop to this by making them stay within their own borders under threat of decapitation. The book reports that the ruler at that time was the grandfather of the king in the story, so there must have been some turnaround at a time when death was practically unheard of. Maybe it wasn't uncommon for princes of Mudge to take walks alongside the Deadly Desert with their fathers. Regardless, at the beginning (and end) of Cowardly Lion, the country is ruled by the hot-tempered King Mustafa and absent-minded Queen Mixtuppa. When Mustafa grows restless, his chamberlain Tazzywaller suggests hunting lions. This eventually turns into an obsession for the monarch, and he has 9999 and a half lions in his royal enclosure. The half is due to Tazzywaller being forced to cut one of the lions in half with his scimitar in order to save his own skin, which resulted in the front half escaping. With no more lions in Mudge, Tazzywaller's rival Panapee (what an unfortunate name) advises capturing the Cowardly Lion, and Mustafa ropes the newly arrived Notta Bit More and Bob Up into helping him with this. Mustafa's folly results in his lions being turned to stone, and a giant stone man ending up in his makeshift garden. And that's the last we see of him in the series, although we're told that he sold a lot of his stone lions for use throughout Oz.

Hungry Tiger not only gives us the Evian desert dominion of Rash (described in some detail here), but another desert area within Oz itself, where the winding road deposits Betsy Bobbin and Carter Green after dragging them around the land. This area has a patch of quicksand, and is where the Quick Sandals are kept. It's in Yellow Knight that we next see another significant desert country in Oz, however. This is Samandra, located in the small stretch of Winkie Country to the east of Oogaboo. Samandra is a prosperous and well-established country, with some of its inhabitants being over 700 years old, but it is perhaps best known as the only part of Oz in which animals are unable to talk. It was also the original home of the Comfortable Camel and Doubtful Dromedary. As far as its history goes, the Sultan of Samandra allegedly feared an alliance between his two neighboring countries of Corumbia and Corabia if the prince of the former married the princess of the latter, so he transformed the Corumbians into trees, and the Corabians into fishes and frogs. They remained this way until the events of Yellow Knight, and after they were restored, Ozma stripped the Sultan of his sorcery.

Wishing Horse once again uses a desert monarch as its main villain, but at least this time he's somewhat more sympathetic. King Skamperoo of Skampavia, a country adjoining Noland, tires of his dull and barren homeland, and uses some magic that he comes across to declare himself Emperor of Oz. He is eventually persuaded to return to Skampavia, only this time he has more sense, a talking horse to advise him, a greater willingness to listen to his prime minister, and some magic left to improve the climate of his own country.

I suppose it's also worth mentioning Enchanted Island, which not only mentions the Desert of Ho-Taro as one of the neighbors of the wool-producing Gillikin kingdom of Kapurta, but also that the camel Humpty Bumpty was originally the favorite steed of the Shah of Hah Hoh Humbad. This place is described as a lazy desert city in the Munchkin Country, not too far from another city called Drumbad. It seems that many of these Ozian desert countries are located along the edges of the Deadly Desert, which would make sense. Kabumpo even comments in Silver Princess that "[a]ll the countries bordering on the Deadly Desert are queer no-count little places." This isn't entirely true, however, as the quite pleasant Jinxland also borders on the desert. It doesn't appear that the destroying sands have the power to enter Oz, but they can perhaps affect some (but not all) of the nearby climate.

Current Mood: sick of coughing
Shock and Awww
Okay, I think I've had enough of the media covering the reactions of the old ladies who gasp, "Well, I never!" while their monocles fall into their tea. Obviously I'm stereotyping, but I hope you know what I mean. The news will tell us some anecdote that there's really no reason for most of us to care one way or the other about, like Adam Lambert grinding a backup dancer's face into his crotch or Tiger Woods cheating on his wife, and the media highlight the reactions of the sanctimonious busybodies who still bother getting indignant at such things. Come on, if you want to overreact to everything you see on TV, that's your prerogative. But why encourage such people? We already have Fox News for that; the other networks don't need to join in. Hey, you know what I'm indignant about? That homophobia is still so accepted that politicians have to claim to be against gay marriage to be able to win in what we tend to consider our LIBERAL party. But I get the feeling that a lot of the "well, I never" crowd is all in favor of homophobia.

As for Adam Lambert, though, I'm sure he's glad to have gained some notoriety. When you're a pretty generic theater kid who got famous through a televised talent show, it's probably pretty hard to distinguish yourself from the rabble. Oh, and I'd also say I have to wonder how somebody could possibly be on a show like American Idol and be anti-gay (Jordin Sparks allegedly is, and I don't think she's the only one), but then I've also heard that there are homophobes in the International Wizard of Oz Club. Some friends of Dorothy they are!

Another thing that I've been meaning to rant about recently is...well, a few days ago, bethje and I were listening to the car radio, and they were playing sound bites of kids saying what they thought was in fruitcake. So, was it automatically supposed to be funny because the kids got it wrong, and since they were kids, their being wrong was just adorable? I'm not really sure I get it. I have to say I don't know a whole lot about kids (even when I WAS one, I didn't understand any of the others), but it seems to me that no children like to be patronized. And isn't an "aww, everything these little tykes do is so cute" attitude somewhat patronizing? I guess I also feel bad for the kids when parents think it's cute to take pictures of them with their pants down or spaghetti on their faces. Maybe I'm just projecting my own childhood insecurities onto the world, though. By the way, I also don't know what's in fruitcake, although I believe they generally contain brandy.

What else? Well, Beth and I watched the movie version of Rent last night. Not being a teenage girl or someone who remembers seeing the play when I WAS a teenage girl, I don't think I got a whole lot out of it. I guess I'm not quite sure why being loud, obnoxious, self-righteous, and unemployed is supposed to be a GOOD thing. I mean, I've been all of these things before at some time or other, but I don't brag about it. Or am I missing the point?

Current Mood: ranty

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