Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Archaeology Blogging

Well, more like Friday Ancient History Blogging this time around.

Publius Cornelius Tacitus is generally considered to have been among the very best of the ancient Roman historians. Born c. A.D. 56, he composed a number of historical works, including a biography of his father-in-law, the Roman general Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Agricola is primarily remembered for having carried out a successful series of campaigns in what is now Scotland, culminating in a decisive victory at the Battle of Mons Graupius, the actual location of which is unknown.

The Roman military bathhouse at Bearsden, Scotland, just to get some archaeological material in here!

Agricola carried out these campaigns during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, and this fact put Tacitus in a bit of a quandary, for he loathed and despised everything about that emperor. So how then was Tacitus to write the biography of a man he idolized, but who happened to be carrying out the policies of man he abhorred? Well, Tacitus took the tried-and-true path, and put his own feelings about Domitian, and about Roman imperialism in general, into the mouths of Rome's enemies. In particular, he "recorded" the speech of Calgacus, Chief of the Caledonii, to his warriors immediately before the climactic battle at Mons Graupius. In this fiery speech, Tacitus searingly criticizes Roman greed and imperialism through the mouth of the Celtic warlord. Particularly fierce is this portion:

"But there are no tribes beyond us, nothing indeed but waves and rocks, and the yet more terrible Romans, from whose oppression escape is vainly sought by obedience and submission. Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a desert and call it peace."

On a related note, have I mentioned how irritated it makes me when people question whether there is anything still relevant in Classical literature?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kickin' The Kids Around In Sherwood Park

Ok, I was going to write a long, ranty, piece about the new youth curfew in Sherwood Park, but upon reading the article here, I woke up to the fact that it was a very small minority of councillors who voted in favour of the ludicrous bylaw, and that actually probably a majority of Sherwood Parkers are opposed to it. What offended me mostly was the rampaging dishonesty of it; the measure is nothing more than taking out the illogical and unfounded fears of a small group on people who can't vote, yet it is being passed off as some sort of "Save the Children" campaign. Selected quotes from the article:

“Council supported me and I appreciate it,” said Coun. Peter Wlodarczak, the former RCMP inspector who originally proposed the curfew. “I’m trying to protect our youth and that is why the bylaw was put into place.”

See above.

“It’s a very sad and dark day for me,” said Mayor Cathy Olesen, who has opposed the bylaw since it was proposed. “We’ve done nothing but alienate youth.”
She said the bylaw was a “smack in the face” to youth in the community.

Well put, and unfortunately true.

Kriti Dixit, student council president at Salisbury high school, says she was very disappointed with the decision and council's lack of movement on the issue. She said the public input sessions, which brought out 18 people who were opposed and 13 people were in favour of the bylaw, were a good indication of where the community stood.
She said she will be part of the group who will challenge the bylaw in court.
“This bylaw will be repealed. We’re not going to give up until it is,” she said.

Kind of ironic that the youth of Sherwood Park are showing more restraint and maturity than the people who are so terrified of them.

Before the bylaw was passed, [one of the councillors who voted in favour of the law] made an amendment to the preamble. She moved to have the word “protective” added so it now reads, “A bylaw of Strathcona County for the purpose of imposing protective curfew regulations.”
She said the amendment would help keep the purpose of the bylaw on target.

"Keep the purpose of the bylaw on target"? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? And in fact, the amendment is specifically designed to hide the purpose of the bylaw. In other words, to lie.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Archaeology Blogging

On coffins, etc.

Ancient Coffin Depicts Scenes from Homer's Odyssey, Iliad
By George Psyllides
Associated Press
posted: 21 March 2006
11:07 am ET

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- A 2,500-year-old sarcophagus with vivid color illustrations from Homer's epics has been discovered in western Cyprus, archaeologists said Monday.

And there it is (click on it to see a bigger version). You can quite clearly see a chariot containing two warriors, with the man in front driving, and the fellow behind him carrying a bow. The horse appears to be trampling somebody, and there's another chariot coming up behind the one shown. There's no telling which bit of the Iliad or Odyssey it's depicting - people riding around in chariots form a big part particularly of the Iliad. Here's a sample:

Aeneas answered, "Say no more. Things will not mend till we two go
against this man with chariot and horses and bring him to a trial of
arms. Mount my chariot, and note how cleverly the horses of Tros can
speed hither and thither over the plain in pursuit or flight. If
Jove again vouchsafes glory to the son of Tydeus they will carry us
safely back to the city. Take hold, then, of the whip and reins
while I stand upon the car to fight, or else do you wait this man's
onset while I look after the horses."
"Aeneas." replied the son of Lycaon, "take the reins and drive; if
we have to fly before the son of Tydeus the horses will go better
for their own driver. If they miss the sound of your voice when they
expect it they may be frightened, and refuse to take us out of the
fight. The son of Tydeus will then kill both of us and take the
horses. Therefore drive them yourself and I will be ready for him with
my spear."
They then mounted the chariot and drove full-speed towards the son
of Tydeus. Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, saw them coming and said to
Diomed, "Diomed, son of Tydeus, man after my own heart, I see two
heroes speeding towards you, both of them men of might the one a
skilful archer, Pandarus son of Lycaon, the other, Aeneas, whose
sire is Anchises, while his mother is Venus. Mount the chariot and let
us retreat. Do not, I pray you, press so furiously forward, or you may
get killed."
Iliad, Book V.

Homeric scenes are not especially rare on sarcophagi, which is not surprising considering the popularity of the works in ancient times. Here's another example (once again, click on it to see the bigger picture), showing a scene from the Odyssey.

"I had hardly finished telling everything to the men before we
reached the island of the two Sirens, for the wind had been very
favourable. Then all of a sudden it fell dead calm; there was not a
breath of wind nor a ripple upon the water, so the men furled the
sails and stowed them; then taking to their oars they whitened the
water with the foam they raised in rowing. Meanwhile I look a large
wheel of wax and cut it up small with my sword. Then I kneaded the wax
in my strong hands till it became soft, which it soon did between
the kneading and the rays of the sun-god son of Hyperion. Then I
stopped the ears of all my men, and they bound me hands and feet to
the mast as I stood upright on the crosspiece; but they went on rowing
themselves. When we had got within earshot of the land, and the ship
was going at a good rate, the Sirens saw that we were getting in shore
and began with their singing.
"'Come here,' they sang, 'renowned Ulysses, honour to the Achaean
name, and listen to our two voices. No one ever sailed past us without
staying to hear the enchanting sweetness of our song- and he who
listens will go on his way not only charmed, but wiser, for we know
all the ills that the gods laid upon the Argives and Trojans before
Troy, and can tell you everything that is going to happen over the
whole world.'
"They sang these words most musically, and as I longed to hear
them further I made by frowning to my men that they should set me
free; but they quickened their stroke, and Eurylochus and Perimedes
bound me with still stronger bonds till we had got out of hearing of
the Sirens' voices. Then my men took the wax from their ears and
unbound me.
Odyssey, Book XII

Anyway, there's not too much to this week's Friday Archaeology Blogging; I really just wanted to show some nice pictures of sarcophagi (the word, incidentally, literally means "flesh-eating," and refers to the limestone commonly used in their construction, which caused the bodies within to decompose rapidly). I would point out that they are intrinsically interesting as objets d'art, in particular those made by the Etruscans. For one thing, early Etruscan sarcophagi are our only real source of information on what Etruscan houses looked like:

For another, they occasionally included detailed, life-sized, representations of the people buried within:

I will close this brief digression on sarcophagi by saying only that I would very badly like to know the story behind this one:

Oberg Walks The Plank

Alta. cabinet minister kicked out of caucus for leadership remarks
Last Updated Fri, 24 Mar 2006 00:53:57 EST
CBC News

Cabinet minister Lyle Oberg was suspended from Alberta's Progressive Conservative caucus on Thursday for comments he made about an upcoming leadership review of Premier Ralph Klein.

I have never really liked Lyle Oberg; he's always come across as an arrogant jackass. However, I have to say he got it exactly right on this one, and it's telling that he got booted out of caucus for doing so. It appears that Ralph, who's losing his temper with alarming frequency these days, gets particularly snitty when it's pointed that he's not wearing any clothes... (and, having invoked that charming image, I now need to go and scrub my brain).

The Shorter Charles Adler, The Better

Shorter Adler: "Oh Stephen you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, Hey Stephen! Watch out Afghanistan, Stephen Harper is in da house, and he's gonna kick your judicial system's ass, right Stephen?"

Note: The above should not be construed as any kind of endorsement of executing people for their religious beliefs. The official Oi! Thump! position on Abdul Rahman is that he ought to be left the hell alone. However, we find the idea of Stephen Harper dispensing morality to the people of Afghanistan rather funny (also sad, but mostly funny).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Whoa, Nelly

Oh, so this is how Harper's gonna get us into Iraq.

Harper mum on Canadian special forces role
Won't confirm reports JTF-2 helped in rescue

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper won’t confirm or deny reports that Canada’s elite JTF-2 special forces helped rescue two kidnapped Canadian aid workers in Baghdad.

He'll just send Canadian troops there unilaterally and not tell anybody! Wheeeee!! (Note to Mr. Harper: You are Prime Minister, not President. Learn the difference, please).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

In Which We Feed Off The Hard Work Of Others, Being The Pinko Socialist Canuckistanians That We Are

First off, from WTF Is It Now?, we learn that South Dakota's abortion ban is apparently unpopular with some of the locals. Not enough of them, mind you, but some.

Next up, CathiefromCanada mentions that Bush was asked a question that, in a sane world, would be considered ridiculous.

Finally (for now), Canadian Cynic is being cynical.


Oh, what the hell. Here's a bonus track from the dark side. Shorter Paul Jackson: Bush's only mistake so far has been nominating Harriet Miers. Everything else has been a glorious success. CBC=bad.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Todays picture is not of a punk rock band. It is of a sugar glider. This is because my brother's sugar glider (not pictured above) died yesterday, causing much sadness (What's not to love about a carniverous flying squirrel?).

Anyway, off in search of a wingnut to abuse, and, well, lookee here! A mighty conservative icon has fallen from grace...

Wal-Mart No Longer Worthy of Family Trust?
By Randy Sharp
March 9, 2006

(AgapePress) - Late last fall, I got a voice-mail from a fellow stating he represented Wal-Mart as an agent of the giant Edelman Public Relations firm. I returned his call several times, to no avail. I finally gave up. I presume he wanted to talk about ways Wal-Mart might be trying to stop the bleeding of consumer dissatisfaction with the company.

Advertising Age, a huge marketing industry trade publication, confirmed my suspicions when they recently wrote the retail giant was desperate to clean up their reputation, tarnished by repeated desertions of its historically moral values leanings. It hired Edelman to try and smooth the rough seas created by unions and groups like, who rankle over health care, poor wages, and the company's "Not Made in America" love for Chinese products.

Right, so those "moral values" so leaned on by Wal-Mart in the Golden Ages of Yore included letting its workers get ill, fucking them up the ass when they tried to make a living, and buying from countries whose records on workers' rights were, if anything, worse. Swell morals there, Randy.

To the typical Wal-Mart consumer, these issues are non-intrusive to our shopping habits. A decent product at a decent price is what draws our attention. And the clean stores, well-stocked shelves, and friendly associates are a far cry from the distracting noise being directed at the Bentonville corporate office.

Maybe those issues are non-intrusive to you, Randy, but some of us have been paying better attention. We were staying away from Wal-Mart, and publicly decrying it, when you lot were sighing and gushing over the fucking store because it didn't sell music that made you feel uncomfortable.

But now, Wal-Mart is raising the ire of the shopper segment of the retail industry. No longer is Sam Walton's legacy of homespun marketing the driving force. The changing of the guard has replaced common-sense values and decency with corporate greed. Wal-Mart no longer considers the common working family its foundation for success. All eyes are now fixed on money and power.

Randy, you stupid, easily-led, gullible fuckup, since when was Wal-Mart about anything but grinding its competition into powder and then pissing on the remains? When did Walmart ever see the "common working family" as anything but a source of money and a dumping ground for its shitty merchandise? And, speaking of "common working families", don't try to convince me that you yourself view them with anything but contempt and fear.

Those who built the empire were working-class folks, such as the stocker who worked his way up to district manager because he understood the business from the inside. Walton was no stranger to work. Until his death, he made daily trips to his stores to meet the people who traded with him. It wasn't uncommon to see him stocking a shelf or gathering shopping carts from the parking lot.

And there was no chance whatsoever that he was doing that to support some sort of folkesy, down-home image, while in fact he was getting richer than God by ripping the hearts out of communities in the name of greed. I mean, nobody would be dumb enough to fall for... Oh, wait, never mind.

The business is now run by "educated elite" gurus of business who live in big houses and host dinner parties. These socialites now make decisions without taking time to "greet the folks" and learn what makes the working family want to come to their stores. They trust public relations companies to tell them what to do.

And it's backfiring on them.

Wal-Mart used to stay away from violent and profanity-laced music. It felt it had a moral obligation to avoid profiting from the promotion of anti-social behavior. Go in Wal-Mart today and you can purchase "25 to Life," the blood-bath cop-killer video game.

Really? The game that received such a glowing review here? Ok, bad example, what about here? No, ok, here? Here? The point here is that the only people likely to be buying "25 to Life" at Wal-Mart are obsessed conservatives hunting for evidence to support their paranoia about all things youth-related.

Wal-Mart used to reject magazines that contained scantily-clad photos of women. Now they stock the Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit" edition in the check-out lane. The current magazine cover featuring eight topless females confronts your sons and husbands, begging them to lust.

And in Massachusetts the magazine cover is probably confronting your daughters as well!! Run for the hills!! However, I'll go easy on you for this paragraph Randy, because the comic relief broke up the general awfulness of your article nicely (by the way, I think you meant "photos of scantily-clad women").

Wal-Mart aggressively supports the promotion of homosexuality. Last December, corporate headquarters issued a staff memo inviting home office associates to a seminar entitled "Why Market to Gay America?" Earlier last year, Wal-Mart established a "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender" (GLBT) group within the corporation.

So, to sum up, a perfectly normal person who even sets foot in today's Wal-Mart is likely to come out a horny, cop-killing, homosexual. I see...

The latest escapade proves Wal-Mart no longer respects the sanctity of life, as evidenced by their corporate decision to begin offering "Plan B," an abortion pill, in its Wal-Mart and SAM'S CLUB stores. They say they will not force pharmacists to dispense the pill if they feel uncomfortable doing so. My guess is that this mindset will last about a week. That's how long it will take some promiscuous feminist to file a lawsuit.

Because of course, "promiscuous feminists" are the only people who ever get involved with problem pregnancies. Scared kids? Rape and incest victims? Naw...

Wal-Mart continues to abandon the principles of common decency and morality that made them a household name. I think I've had enough. Let's review:

Wal-Mart stocks music that sexually denigrates women

Stop right fucking there, asshole. When you were complaining about the Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit" Issue, you were worried about its effect on men. Then you wet your pants over the possibility that women might be able to receive timely and necessary medical care. Fuck you, don't you dare now turn around and try to convince us that you give a flying fuck about the denigration of women, except insofar as you work to encourage it.

...promotes violence, and blasphemes the name of God. Wal-Mart sells "entertainment" that rewards players for killing police and innocent bystanders. Wal-Mart advances an unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle, whose members fight for homosexual marriage. Wal-Mart profits from a product whose sole purpose is to stop the beating heart of an unborn child.

Wal-Mart, if you're listening: Before making a trip to your store next time, I'll take a moment and ask myself, "Is there an alternative place to shop?"

And because of people like you, who sat back and watched as Wal-Mart rolled over your communtities, the answer to that question in too many places is going to be "No."

And to the retailer's corporate executives, let me offer a bit of advice. Get out of your plush office and away from the "professional advisors." Try spending a little time in your stores and talk to your customers to see what they think about your direction. Sam Walton did. As a result, he learned how to build a successful empire, rather than hiring outsiders to tell him how.

Sam Walton built his empire by telling his customers what they wanted, not the other way around. And I can't see that today's Wal-Mart executives are going to be terribly worried about losing your business.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Church Shopping

Notable twerp Mike S. Adams is looking for a new church! He is basing his search on exactly one criterion. Betcha can't guess what it is!
Friday Archaeology Blogging

Bangla citadel found
Wari (Bangladesh), March 15 (Reuters): Archaeologists in Bangladesh say they have uncovered part of a fortified citadel dating back to 450 BC that could have been a stopping off point along an ancient trade route.

So far, a moat round the citadel has been uncovered along with parts of an ancient road at Wari, 85 km northeast of the capital Dhaka.

Nifty! The archaeology of that period and area is not well understoon, and any addition to the body of data is very useful.

[Sufi Mostafizur Rahman, head of the department of archaeology at Jahangirnagar University] said the citadel was believed to be a part of Harappan civilisation and a prime trade centre might have flourished there, possibly serving as a link between contemporary South Asian and Roman civilisations.

Ok, this may be a bit of a stretch, especially given the early date of the citadel. Rome in 450 B.C. was a small, relatively insignificant farming town, although it had recently begun to flex its muscle on the Italian peninsula, against the Samnites, Etruscans, Celts, and others. Rome had only recently thrown out the monarchy, and was still trying to settle a fairly chronic class war. So, the likelihood of their trading with South Asia at that time is remote, although such trade certainly did occur in later times.

Nor should the citadel at Wari be construed as having anything to do with the famous Silk Road from China to the West. As can be seen from the map below (click on it for the full-size version), the silk road passed well to the north of what is now Bangladesh.

So what is this citadel? Well, in my opinion, if it had anything to do with long range trade, it was as waystation on a north-south overland trade route (Wari is nowhere near the sea) originating at the Bay of Bengal. Goods would be brought from the West (Egypt, say, or the Greek cities), shipped by sea via the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean to the mouth of the Ganges, and from there by river or overland to Wari. From the East the route would be similar in nature, involving a sea voyage followed by overland travel. Where the route went after Wari (or before, for goods being exported), I couldn't say, although it is entirely possible that it diffused into the surrounding area, leaving Wari as a sort of emporium city. All very interesting, in any case, and I'll be very interested to hear if they find material from other cultures in this citadel!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Oh For Fuck's Sake

I suppose this was probably inevitable (originally seen on The Woodshed):

Parents, Students Outraged As School Board Bans International Program
Posted on Tuesday, March 14 2006 00:14:36 PST by Intellpuke

A U.S. school district in Pennsylvania has banned the International Baccalaureate program after officials condemned it as "un-American" and Marxist, sparking outrage among pupils who are studying the increasingly popular diploma.

Now, The Rev.'s article at The Woodshed deals with the issue far better than I possibly could, especially given the advanced level of bile I am experiencing right now. However, allow me to add merely that the level of xenophobia, incompetence, self-righteousness, religious bigotry, disregard of children's well-being, and outright, simple, cowardice displayed by the people who voted to ban the IB program is simply astounding. I mean, fuck, people, what's next? This?


Ok, I'm probably over-reacting, but not by much if those assholes get their way.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hopes Cruelly Dashed

Somedays, I have to admit to wondering whether the Edmonton Sun isn't actually getting its shit together (Not the Calgary version however; when your starting lineup features Byfield, Levant, Byfield, Corbella, and Henry, among others, you're past hope). However, whenever I start feeling too warm and fuzzy towards that rag, they run another Michael Jenkinson column, and order is restored. I will spare you most of the gory details, but I need to address a couple of points directly to Mr. Jenkinson.


1. Do not try to be funny. You will fail, and make yourself look like an even bigger prat than you actually are, which is difficult thought apparently not impossible.

2. You may just have won some sort of award for the lamest attempt to refute global warming. Congratulations.

3. As a corollary to point 2: While it is indeed ludicrous to think that the wood fires of prehistoric human beings caused episodes of global warming in the distant past, that does not mean it is similarly ludicrous to attribute modern global warming to human activity. For one thing, there are more of us now, and for another, we have more cars.

4. Go away.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday Archaeology Blogging

New archaeological finds stir Baptist scholars’ interest
by Brent Thompson

JERUSALEM (BP)--National headlines announcing three recent archaeological discoveries not only reaffirm the historical trustworthiness of the Bible’s narratives, they also highlight the important role biblical archaeology plays in Old and New Testament studies, according to Southern Baptist scholars Eric Mitchell and Steven Ortiz.

Wince. Ok, let's see what these recent discoveries are, and then we'll discuss whether or not they actually "reaffirm the historical trustworthiness of the Bible's narratives." First up:

-- The New York Times reported Nov. 7 that prisoners digging foundations for the expansion of Megiddo Prison north of Jerusalem in the Valley of Armageddon uncovered ruins of what might be the earliest Christian church discovered in the Holy Land. Intricate mosaics dating to the third century A.D. bear inscriptions in Greek. The Israel Antiquities Authority has preliminarily rendered the translation of one inscription as reading, “The God-loving Aketous has offered this table to the God Jesus Christ, as a memorial.”

Ok, but the existence of Christians in the Middle East in the third century A.D. was not in doubt. What is interesting here is that this Aketous apparently had a pair of big brass ones, to so openly display his Christian faith at this time. This, of course, depends on the exact date of construction. If carried out under the reign of Trajan Decius (A.D. 249-251), who was a noted persecutor of Christians, then it was indeed a bold move. If, on the other hand, the mosaic was laid during the time of Aurelian (A.D. 270-275), then perhaps it would have been more acceptable. Despite almost universal bad press, some of it from the pens of Christian apologists, Aurelian had enough of a reputation for restraint that a Christian community in Syria turned to him for mediation of an internal matter, and got it. However, there are other possibilities as well:

For example, in its report about the discovery of the early church in Megiddo, The New York Times quoted anthropologist Joe Zias as doubting whether a Romanized mosaic would have been found in a church in that location in the third century A.D.

“My gut feeling is that we are looking at a Roman building that may have been converted to a church at a later date,” Zias told The Times.

Anyway, to get back on track, this discovery does squat to confirm the historicity of the Bible. Next:

-- On Nov. 9, The Times reported came from the site of Tel Zayit, just south of Jerusalem, about the discovery of some scribbling of a scribe who was practicing writing the Hebrew alphabet -- an abecedary -- on the wall of an ancient building. By analyzing stratification, the position and depth of the writing, archaeologists have dated the abecedary to the 10th century B.C.

The issue here is the start date for widespread literacy in the Middle East, and yes, this discovery seems to suggest that it was earlier than previously thought. Once again, though, does this in any way confirm the historicity of the Bible? Not so much. And lastly:

-- Also on Nov. 9, The Jerusalem Post reported that “a very small ceramic shard unearthed by Bar-Ilan University archaeologists digging at Tell es-Safi, the biblical city Gath of the Philistines ... contains the earliest known Philistine inscription ever to be discovered, [and] mentions two names that are remarkably similar to the name Goliath.”

And, um, so what? A graffito of a name "remarkably similar" to the name of somebody in the Bible does not, in fact, actually confirm that particular Bible story. And claiming that it does drives legitimate archaeologists absolutely nuts. Further comments on the issue:

The recent archaeological finds, [Eric Mitchell, assistant professor of archaeology and biblical backgrounds at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary] said, “are only small pieces of evidence. But when we start adding up all the small pieces like these that support the Bible’s narratives, it becomes more and more difficult for doubters or unbelievers to argue against the accuracy of Scripture.”

But none of those discoveries actually support the Bible's narratives! Please do not inflict your religious agendas on actual scholarship, thank you very much!

Mitchell pointed out that it is important to respect the opinions of field archaeologists, even if they cast doubt on the discovery’s connection with events described in the Bible.

For example, when reviewing reports about the apparent “Goliath” inscription from Gath, Mitchell gave credence to the field archaeologist, professor Aren Maeir, chairman of Bar-Ilan University's Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology. Maeir told The Jerusalem Post that “we cannot know for sure that the inscription belongs to Biblical Goliath.”

Of course we cannot know for sure! And Maeir actually went further than that:

Archaeology professor Aren Meir, who found the inscription on a shard of pottery in the ruins of the ancient Philistine city of Gath, said the chance that the name is a reference to the Goliath of the biblical account is "small if not non-existent."

Finally, the voice of sanity is heard in the land. The unfortunate thing is that there is quite a lot of legitimate work to be done in biblical archaeology, and plenty of respected archaeologists doing it, but that their discoveries tend to be seized upon by the fundy set, stretched far beyond what the evidence actually shows, and then used to perpetuate the sorts of unpleasantness that the fundy set likes to get up to.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Out To Pasture, Or Lunch, Or Both

No deKlein

King Ralph doesn't want to abdicate just yet. After all, he needs time to collect his things.

"I'd hate to be defeated and try to deal with all the good stuff I get. I have to look after the condo, all the clothes I have here, the furniture," says Ralph, referring to the stuff in his place in Edmonton.

"We have to find out where I'm going to put all this stuff."

The scary bit is that Klein probably actually said that.

Ah, yes. That's a good reason to stay. It will take awhile to organize a garage sale or book some movers. Then again, who gives a whatever? Ralph and the people behind the premier are happy these days. Why wouldn't they be happy? Three weeks before the premier faces the possibility of being embarrassed out of office, new poll numbers shout out the news.

Incredibly, Ralph has a better approval rating than any leader in the universe except Kim Jong Il of North Korea, and Kim the Commie's numbers are cooked.

That's just sad. For those of you haven't been following along, last week Ralph Klein, faced with the unthinkable possibility that the opposition was, you know, opposing him, threw a hissy fit (and a book) at a 17-year-old girl. And yet, this does not seem to have dismayed the average Alberta voter, picture below:

People, try and remember that Ralph balanced the budget, not because he is a financial genius, but because the price of oil has gone up. He couldn't help balancing the budget! I could balance the Alberta budget! George W. Bush probably couldn't, but that's another matter. The point is that we do not have to accept this sort of behaviour from our elected leaders. For fuck's sake, Alberta, grow a spine.

Help Required - Punk People in Edmonton

I there is anyone out there who has access to a copy of the album We Want Your Beer, by seminal Edmonton punk rockers LAMS, please drop a line to Her copy was stolen from a, and I quote, "shitty Whyte Avenue basement apartment," and she's very eager to find another copy!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

First Comes The Outrageously Dumb Statement

Then comes the martyr complex (with a healthy dose of "I was taken out of context! Pity me!").

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I thought I asked you to water the plants!

Anyway, I'm back. I gave my first ever academic conference paper yesterday, and it seems to have gone well. With that out of the way expect more here.