f . . . muttered the ogre
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Friday, 2015 May 29, 23:28 — cinema

were-worms?!

Watched The Battle of the Five Armies. How many ways would the author be appalled?

Puppy-love between a canonical Dwarf and a non-canonical Elf. Their pheromones cannot be compatible.

There’s a Laketowner named Percy, a family name from France. (The other Laketowners at least have Nordic names, consistent with the author’s usage for Men and Dwarves of that region.)

The Orcs sneak up on Erebor using tunnels bored by non-canonical sandworms “were-worms”. Etymology time, since etymology was very much Tolkien’s thing: the first element of werewolf does not mean anything like ‘magical’ or ‘demonic'; it means ‘man’ (cognate to virile). Do these monstrous worms turn into men at other phases of the moon?

Friday, 2015 May 22, 10:41 — politics

belief in one’s own immortality is immature

Would not a government prudently looking to the wellbeing of its people, like a prudent parent, encourage the people to learn to provide for themselves in its absence – i.e., encourage private provision of vital services – rather than risk sudden failure of those services in some political crisis?

Saturday, 2015 May 9, 19:24 — games, mathematics

alternate poker

Suppose your deck had more than four suits, or some number other than thirteen cards per suit. What happens to the ranks of poker hands?

              1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3
    5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2

 4  F F F * B B B * O O O A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 
 5  F F F F F F F B B B B B O O A A A A A A A A A A A D D D 
 6  F F F F F F F F F F F B B B B B B A A D D D D D D D D D 
 7  F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F B C C C C E E D D D D D D 
 8  F F F F F F F F F F F F F F G G G G G C C C C C E E E D 
 9  F F F F F F F F F F F F F G G G G G G G G G G C C C C E 
10  F F F F F F F F F F F F G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G 
11  F F F F F F F F F F F G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G
12  F F F F F F F F F F G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G
13  F F F F F F F F F F G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G
14  F F F F F F F F F G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G
15  F F F F F F F F F G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G
16  F F F F F F F F F G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G G

O: the familiar case: straight flush > four of a kind > full house > flush > straight > three of a kind > two pair > one pair.
A: four > full house > straight > flush.
B: four > flush > full house > straight.
C: four > flush > straight > full house.
D: four > straight > full house > flush.
E: four > straight > flush > full house.
F: flush > four > full house > straight.
G: flush > four > straight > full house.
*: surprisingly only two cases where two of the scoring hands are equally rare: with four suits and twelve ranks, flush = full house; with four suits and eight ranks, flush = four.

Sunday, 2015 May 3, 13:24 — language

place-names and personal-names

In my county there’s a village named Van —–. I think that if my name had a Van or equivalent, and someone proposed to name a town for me, I’d prefer they drop the particle.

On another hand, Jan van Steenbergen has said he finds it odd to be referred to as “Steenbergen”.

An old book on place-names mentions a patch of London that has (or had) a street for every word of the former owner’s peerage title(s), including Of Alley.

(Websearch for “Couver” turns up only the French verb.)

Thursday, 2015 April 30, 12:20 — psychology

how {e|p}lastic was my valley?

If you had never seen a nonhuman mammal, would a dog’s face fall in your uncanny valley?

Monday, 2015 April 20, 11:15 — economics, politics

I’m just sayin’

A free market would not say to the poor, “It’s cute that you want to earn money by providing a service, but first we need you to save up for a license.”

Wednesday, 2015 March 11, 09:34 — prose

adrift in a sea of time

In Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (1992), the narrator says or implies that the events happened many years ago; so I’ve been watching for details that date it. Oprah Winfrey, whose show premiered in 1986, is mentioned; I think that’s the terminus post quem. More than anything else I’ve been struck by names of cigarettes: Silva-Thin, Vantage, Kool. Maybe these seem dated to me because I’ve been less exposed to tobacco advertising since ~1981.

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