The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, May 22, 2016

William Bennett doesn't know what he's talking about

The Barnes & Noble had William Bennett's book Tried By Fire, on Christianity's first millennium. I checked its claims against the stuff I've studied, mainly over the first century(ish) of Islam. The book didn't impress me. (A lot of these potted histories don't.)

Bennett counts al-Walid II's persecution of Metropolitan Peter of Damascus (a Confessor) as a Muslim crime against Christians, where that jack-Muslim caliph likely cared much more about Peter's broadsides against Manichaeans. He takes Luxenberg's raisins at face value because of course he does. The 'Abbasids took over from the Umayyads because the latter "died out"; never mind what al-Saffah "the bloody" did to speed up matters (bro, do you even Mas'udi?). He even thinks that Methodius of Patara wrote (predicted!) that famous apocalypse ascribed to him - were I his grader I'd have failed his essay for that, alone.

By Gell-Mann Amnesia, I have to assume Bennett doesn't know much about the rest of Christianity's history either.

posted by Zimri on 12:24 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Meteor swarms 3.4 billion years ago

Areologists have found a tsunami on Mars. I found this from FOX - the anti-science network.

"Areology" is a word, and really should be A Thing as well. Lots of research is being done on the Red Planet. And it might have some relevance to our local "geology" ("gaealogy" might be better Greek) - as we'll find here.

It seems a meteor hit the Martian northern ocean (its own basin being previously carved out by another meteor) 3.4 billion years ago. This pushed 400 foot high ripples over that basin's coastline. Tsunamis.

Meanwhile here on Earth, around the same time another meteor whacked Earth. Unlike Mars, Earth has plate-tectonics so the site of the strike has moved about since then. The ruin of that meteor is currently on the continent Australia.

Wonder if they were shards from the same near-earth asteroid?

posted by Zimri on 18:49 | link | 0 comments

Smug CU professors can't see any bias here, nossir

Here's the conservative Newsweek found to explain to us why there are so few cons in academe: Jordan Boyd-Graber, just down the road. I am not here to argue with him. I'm here to decategorise him.

Jordan Boyd-Graber agrees with his left-wing peers on education, equal rights, immigration reform, how Trump is a buffoon. With Feingold (he says "McCain") on restricting campaign-finance to unions and the government, and on jailing D'Souza. With Obama (he says "Romney") on state-managed medical care (it was developed by the Heritage Foundation! - his exclamation-point). With pretty much everyone on the need for the state to drive the consensus on Global Warming, because to ask serious questions is pursuing witch hunts against climate scientists. And with the Christian-haters on John McCain's Running Mate Not To Be Named (what, saying "Sarah Palin" three times will suddenly make her materialise?).

Boyd-Graber pretends that most important to him is "intellectual consistency" against which the Repubs are "anti-science" (these are actually flipsides of the same thing). Honestly here he is just congratulating himself.

Boyd-Graber, the man of the hyphenated pretentious oh-so-feminist name, is not a conservative; he wasn't raised as one, and he's not one now. The most contrarianism he can gin up is to support genetically-modified food and nuclear power - and 'tis telling that here, he stakes out a position such that Leftists are not progressive enough. He is CU's village durak and really should quit posing as otherwise to the media.

posted by Zimri on 18:27 | link | 0 comments

What happened to male friendships, will happen to females

The actress Sophie Turner playing the girl tied to the railroad trackSansa Stark figures that Sansa needs to hook up with Margery Tyrell. h/t Yahoo (I really shouldn't click onto Yahoo).

The premise is worth pondering given how George "Rape Rape" Martin has been running this series. Margery is a schemer and she played to Joffrey's urges; I suspect she was there when her intended shot up that whore from Littlefinger's lupanar. Sansa, meanwhile, is ruined now and easy prey. "Shipping" those two would make sense in this world... if Margery and/or the other Tyrells had an angle. If you think this has a happy ending you haven't been paying attention. But let's for now pretend that Martin would play this, er, straight.

Turner is one who hasn't been paying attention, to anything. Turner is thinking let's strike a blow for SOCIAL EQUALITY JUSTICE! Turner is young, short-sighted, ignorant, and surrounded by biens-pensants. So she doesn't know any better.

Female friendships often strike Western males as overly close and physical, and definitely more emotional ("BFFs 4eva!!") But it's just agápē. Male friendships used to be like that too, which is why male philosophers had a word for it. Male agápē still survives in the Balkans and the Caucasus, or so I hear. Not so much in the tolerant virtuous West, though. The poofters ruined it for us. Now too many of us fear intimacy as That Kind of intimacy. Such men become atomised.

More public lesbianism in the West and in Western culture stands a real chance of ruining female agápē as well. That won't matter much for the beautiful people like Sophie Turner. But some dorky little girl in junior high? What's going to happen to her relationships in a (more) sexualised culture?

Probably something not too far different from what happened to the character Turner plays. Winter is coming, as they say.

posted by Zimri on 17:56 | link | 0 comments

Reading late Akkadian cuneiform

Cuneiform is a syllabary for the Sumerian language, secondarily adapted for other languages - none of which were like Sumerian in the least little bit. The commonest such secondary language was Akkadian (pdf), which is old East Semitic albeit under strong Sumerian influence. Later on other languages exerted some force on Akkadian: Aramaic pulling from the Semites, Hurrian from yet another non-Sumerian family. Cuneiform never did suit Akkadian very well. (As for Kneshian "Hittite", good luck with that.)

Cuneiform made up for that by adding ideograms wherever it could - rebus-symbols, basically Bronze Age emojis. Let's look at this example from Nabunaid's deserta-arabia province, which author Arnulf Hausleiter has helpfully uploaded. Start with "meš (mesh)" - this is the marker for a Sumerian plural. Often that would be attached to another Sumerian word, like "lugal" or "en" for overlord ("lugal" literally means "strongman" that is, tyrant, but nuance shifts over millennia). So "enmeš" would actually mean "kings" and would be read as, I dunno, maybe "bēlān" in Akkadian. Certainly ba'lūn in old unbroken Arabic. Assyriologists (well, Babylologists in this case) write it with roman for the concept and an uppercase superscript for the marker: "enMEŠ".

The Sumerian concept is often written uppercase too, especially in languages like Hittite which mix in Akkadograms with the Sumerograms. Ideally Hittologists want to preserve lowercase roman for the, um, Hittite. Here if there were any Arabic (more likely the related Taymanitic) in this inscription I'm sure Hausleiter would have uppercased the Sumerograms.

Later in this have a sequence "šàbi eri enútiya". This means nothing in anything - if sounded out phonetically. But it can be divided up, with italic for Akkadian and roman for Sumerian: šà-bi eri en-útiya. So it's actually libbi āl bēlūtiya, "in (or, into) the city of my palace".

The fun part comes in formulae like "lugal diĝirmeš en diĝirmeš" (ĝ = ng), "strongman of the gods, lord of the gods". Every character here is Sumerian. Hausleiter assumes this still to be read as Akkadian: šar ilānī, bēl ilānī. Or did our king just totally switch to Sumerian to deliver a prayer - like a priest switching to Latin ("pax vobiscum") or even to Aramaic ("maranatha")? Hausleiter doesn't give his reasoning here, so I'll hazard an argument on his behalf.

Now, I don't know how Sumerian grammar works. I also don't know Akkadian ... as such. But the overall inscription is Semitic and here being used among North Arabians at that. I can say that these Sumerioid words "lugal diĝirmeš" are laid out - coincidentally or not - in idafa, Semitic construct-state. I'll go for "not coincidental". Whoever cooked up the "Sumerian" phrase was a native Semite; the phrase is, at best, a calque of Semitic terms translated "back" into Sumerian.

UPDATE 4:10 PM - yep, this isn't Sumerian. Sumerian would be lugal diĝirmešak.

posted by Zimri on 09:24 | link | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Liberals pretend they don't like prisons

Remember Ray Liotta's inadvertent comedy, No Escape? I think it was supposed to be a parable about Marcionite Christianity: the lords of the heavens are evil, the Earth is their prison; but the Messiah (Liotta) has come with power sufficient to break the prison and to bring the wrath of the true gods upon the demiurge. But hey.

One thing I remember from this movie (apart from the head devil, Marek, who was hilariously hammy) is how they ticked the boxes on early-1990s "liberal" pieties: here is a war like Vietnam in the Near East; there is a Smurf Village run for everyone's commonweal. Oh and the prisons were Big Business, as the opening screen tells us... except that we don't spend much time in the actual prison and we spend NO time with the business side of things. We spend our time in "Absolom", that private island which the jailers own. So, since the movie didn't talk about its own opening screen, let's talk about that here.

I have very little patience with so-called "liberals" who claim they hate private prisons. (I am not here talking about civil libertarians, like Radley Balko. Those guys are fine.) "Liberals" like regulations, which means they like to penalise those who transgress them, which means they're going to be detaining non-"liberals". Which means prisons.

I know what "liberals" think of people like me. Look how they treated Dinesh D'Souza. "Liberals" don't like people like him very much. They'll like me a whole lot less. So they're not going to worry much about how poorly I'm treated if (probably when) they cook up some "felony" I've committed. Look at all the lulz the "liberal" Kevin Smith chuckled about prison-rape in Mallrats and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. They're also not going to care much if the bullies running that (presumably) governmental facility are skimming a little off the top. Hey, they have to deal with racists and cons; they deserve it.

If you're a civil-libertarian, then fine. But don't, please, complain about private prison companies if you are a Hillary-voting "liberal". Spare us at least that much.

posted by Zimri on 17:44 | link | 0 comments

Monday, May 16, 2016

TSA holds Americans hostage

The socalled Transportation Security Agency didn't get the budget they wanted, so they retaliated - same security measures, fewer people to carry them out, slowwalking the process.

UPDATE 5/18 - There's a counterclaim that it's just standard bureaucratic inefficiency. I note that this Administration is - still - making it harder for aeroports to use alternative, private security. In other words, Obama likes what's going on just fine. So does Clinton. So does Sanders.

posted by Zimri on 17:12 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why partyism

The sorting. And yes, it's happening.

Personal anecdote: the BWW across the highway, which I already knew was SJW-converged. The last time I went there, I listened in on a conversation between the young waiter and an older customer - both white, so, I'll take that off the table. The older guy was ardently anti-socialist; the waiter said muh denmark. Then the waiter went ugly: "it might be a generational thing".

Translated: when you up and die, old man, or at least when you give up; then we can have our Denmark right here. Now how can I spice up those wings for you?

I reckon BWW will die before I die, and before that other guy dies.

posted by Zimri on 10:58 | link | 0 comments

What Flint voted for, what Michigan paid for

Turns out that Flint wasn't a neocameral statelet after all. (Sorry, Phil Sandifer!) It still had a mayor during the crisis, one Karen Weaver; and the mayor was still responsible for directing funds to fix the problem.

Mayor Weaver stole it all.

Looking at Weaver's face, especially this picture of it, I'm thinking some dark thoughts. Like that she despises the local blacks more than Michigan whites do (which I've already conceded).

posted by Zimri on 10:51 | link | 0 comments

I see what you did there

Driscoll knows how to excerpt a title: Related: Facebook’s List of Authorized News Sites Includes Communist State-Run Media, The Onion.

(Style guide: 'round this House, since 2011 it's The Alligator. Well, it used to be. I hadn't bothered with it in three years.)

posted by Zimri on 10:27 | link | 0 comments

Billy Corgan goes to the dark side

I was always ambivalent on the Smashing Pumpkins. "Today" since it's come out has been my theme-song. But then there's all that filler, like "Zero". I saw his band in Houston 1994, and they were all right ("throw all the shoes you want!"), but they were a letdown given they came on after the, um, Beastie Boys. When Corgan went global-warmist in the mid 2000s and put out the useless "Zeitgeist" album I pretty much gave up.

Still, no-one could take away the songs from the Mellon Collie era. It wasn't just the album but also all those EPs, like the songs from the "Tonight" CD - half an album by itself. (I wish I'd seen them then.)

It looks like Corgan's gone hard right-libertarian lately.

posted by Zimri on 10:22 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Latvian Problem

Ekaterina Jung did raise one salient point, which is that Russia's Marxism - Leninism - was more Latvian than Jewish. I've known that for almost a decade; anti-Semitic sites like IHR when they quote contemporary literature on "gosh there are a lot of Yids here" often let slip that there were many many more Latvians here.

I haven't mused on why that should have been the case. So, maybe now's a good time.

First, we're (obviously) not dealing here with the Latvian state and are more concerned with the Latvian people. There are several Baltic languages, and last I looked they could be divvied up into three broad groups: Slavic, west Baltic (mainly Prussian, all dead now), and the surviving Baltic languages. The big ones of the latter include Lithuanian, which is spoken by citizens of Lithuania, historically landlocked; and Latvian, which is spoken by about half the people in Latvia, oriented around the Gulf of Riga. Latvia has lots of Russians too. Mostly in the southeast.

A glance at the map tells me that there isn't really a "Lithuania" and a "Latvia" at all. There's a common East Baltic nation, where originally "Latvian" was the jargon of the fishermen and the traders, and "Lithuanian" was what you spoke on the farm. No Anglophone would say that "sail" was in a different language from "barn"; they simply cover different fields. It was like that for Old East Baltic too. But now they're different languages. How'd that happen?

Keep in mind here I'm not a linguist. But I have a notion on what happened to Latvian.

The fishermen and the farmers didn't talk to one another. The traders talked to both, and to other nations - like those Prussians (when they were around) and the Slavs whom we just mentioned. They learnt to speak jargon so that the rubes up the farm didn't catch onto all the detail. The fishermen, sharing the same ports as the traders, kept up with the lingo. The farmers didn't. So Latvian diverged where Lithuanian has remained famously conservative.

Yiddish, in exactly the same manner, started as a dialect, became a jargon and ended up a language. The Yiddish-speakers were the traders of the Black Sea, "southern Latvians" if you like.

Latvians and Russian Jews shared the same economic niche in the region, first in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania once they let the post-Khazars in, and then in the Russian Empire which succeeded the Duchy. So whatever forces pulled on Latvians also pulled on Jews. If social-democracy was the going fad for one, the other nation was going to follow it.

posted by Zimri on 17:50 | link | 0 comments

Who is Ekaterina Jung?

Someone whose name is almost but not exactly "Cathy Young" is on the hot seat.

"Young" got onto my attention when she said some stuff about "the alt-right" to which group I am tangentially involved. Sandifer had tried this before, against the neo-reactionaries, to which group I'm a good deal more involved; which critique I mostly appreciated, if only because we need the exercise. But where I thought Sandifer left some gaping lacunae in the facts he marshalled, I hadn't noticed the same about "Young". If anything I thought she'd raised a good point or two here and there (UPDATE 5:45 PM - like on Latvians). Since I didn't have an argument at the time, and since it's not even (much) my argument, I held off on commenting. I wanted to see what would happen.

Since then Ms Jung has been losing friends all over the place, starting with Milo (Vox Day/Populi backup in case it's deleted again). Earlier Vox Day had called Jung out as anti-American, which shoe fits exactly for certain of her arguments.

Now the formidable Candace Owens thinks she knows this girl: That girl, growing up that never seemed to fit in with any group, and never could quite understand why not. That girl that would weave in and out of different social circles and cliques, never lasting long before latching on to another. By design, the girl with so many alternating faces, always unsure of which one to try on next. Given that Ekaterina Jung doesn't trust her own name, I think Owens is right.

I used to be in Ms Jung's position, although admittedly I'm ahead of her in figuring out what I'm good at and what I like doing (I was in my late thirties when I figured it out; she's in her fifties and still hasn't). So I think I can offer her some advice here: she needs to start with dispassion. I recommend she take some time off the Internet to learn (again) how to read and review essays without taking sides.

Jung can start with Nicolas Wade. She can't skate by with I see persuasive arguments on both sides. The alt-right won that argument. Or maybe not. Either way, that's on her.

posted by Zimri on 16:56 | link | 0 comments

Upload #132 - striving hard in the verses

I looked at the chart again and wondered about the 22/34 links. I vaguely remember last year musing on 34>22. But then I had decisively put 41>34. House of War as you see below goes 13, 14, 22, 41, 25. I can hardly say 22, 41 there and 41, 22 here...

So I had to revisit "The Qur'anic Culture of Sura 22". I found many places to improve its central argument, which was 5>22... well, 5:1-108 > 22. Hooray! But the one 22/34 link I found there was weak. I took that out, thought it over some more, and strengthened the link. But I now think 22>34 works better. So, off that link went to the sura 34 project, "What Waits Beside These Roads". It's still a tentative, dotted-line affair but that's all I can find for now.

"Musallun" has been tweaked in the meantime, since I've read sura 51 now, which I hadn't done (properly) last year. "Muhkam of the Wasiya" has a more-nuanced take on Q. 6:57, thanks to Sadeghi's corrective. "Against Jihad" has some little tweakages too.


posted by Zimri on 12:34 | link | 0 comments

Anshar, conqueror of the universe

Tom Holland yups this: Only Christianity & Islam have engendered movements that are committed to the systematic use of force to achieve universal goals. This is untrue.

The commenters immediately bring up Marxism, although that has problems too; commenters upon those comments point out that Marxism is a by-blow of Protestantism, the sort of bastard who won't acknowledge his father. A better example would be Zoroastrianism. The Persians from the start decided that Ahura Mazda was God and the guarantor of truth, and that all nations should bow to Him. And if we are talking crusade and jihad, we should start with Khusro II Aparvêz.

I'm surprised I even have to remind Tom Holland of this; he literally wrote the book on the subject. (Or, some might say, he rewrote Pourshariati's book on it. The point still stands.)

Also what about Assyria? Assyria had a universalist project too. As for the role of religion in what that empire did, once its armies had Babylon its scribes started spelling their local god Aššur as "Anšar", Sumerian for "whole heaven" and mythologically parallel to Uranus. Other gods to an Anshar would just be servants: angels and jinn, by another name. Then the Assyrians could pretend that they had always worshipped Anshar but that their language had slurred over the years of ignorance. (It might even be true.)

Holland's tweets are valuable, but I'm detecting a theme: "Islam is bad but Christianity is just as bad, and it wouldn't do to be a nationalist. I'm a moderate! Really!"

posted by Zimri on 08:19 | link | 0 comments

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mirror monster

Via ace's sidebar, Money Monster isn't very good. Quelle surprise. In this film Jodie Foster directs George Clooney and Julia Roberts. The end result is foreordained; Allah himself couldn't decree any good from that dross. But that's not what I'm here to discuss. I'm more interested in this: Maybe it was all of us who were to blame. Maybe it wasn’t high-frequency trading, or even this one corrupt guy. Maybe it was materialism. And… the media. Another form of the grammatical passive-aggressive voice; they say "we" when they mean "you right-wing greedy / racist bastards".

I got the same waft of smug from Mary Beard in an otherwise excellent "Rome" documentary. She was talking about how Hadrian down at the villa liked to keep his slaves in the basement, scurrying around service-tunnels so's they weren't seen. I had a bad feeling about this and sure enough - Beard mused about how invisible "our" own underclass was to "us".

As she jets around the Mediterranean taking extended selfies from Seville to western Turkey, she makes so very clear how much she cares.

And then I remembered what a commenter at ace's reminded us: Beard was among those who told Americans they deserved 9/11. Beard didn't say the same about her fellow Brits after 7/7. Better to insult others from across an ocean. Better to tilt one's head for the poor from a BBC expense-account.

Whilst Donald Trump is drawing up lists of people not to allow into the United States, he shouldn't start with Muslims. Someone who just happens to have an Arabic name poses less of a risk to us than someone who we already know would, in the cabin, sympathise with an ongoing hijacking and mass murder. Trump should start with all academics with comments like Beard's on their public record. Yeah, I know; "academic freedom" - like Leftists ever offer us any. Beard can attend conferences by Skype.

Not sure I really want anyone on the BBC payroll over here, come to that. Lock up the children.

posted by Zimri on 18:29 | link | 0 comments

This is what a sura-bundle looks like

I bin linkt, so I've tidied up the Segovia Noah review. You'll notice I also added this chart:

That's an expansion of the chart from House of War's conclusion. That book didn't get into suras 34 and 71 (nor 61).

As for my reasoning behind the chart... well, that's why I wrote so many essays, which - when they sift through 'oo quoted 'oo - I'll be first to admit are boring as h@ll. But someone had to do it. And no-one else was doing it right. (They still aren't...)

If my posts on this blog are getting attention (less boring, but also less well-thought-out); then it should help at least for what I've been saying about suras 7, 11, and 26 if I gave the background. When I say "Muh Prophetic Cycle" that's the chart I have in mind. Open your Koran to those three suras (especially) and you'll see.

The solid lines are those I'm staking my reputation on, such as it is. The dotted lines were tentative in 2012 and remain so.

Another point: I have lined up suras 13, 14, and - now - 71 because I (still) suspect they were composed at almost exactly the same time. Sura 13 was Syrian; sura 14 was Meccan. Sura 71 was I-don't-know; maybe Mawsili because, well, Noah (this is probably before actual Mosul was built). Anyway they weren't in communication and that's why they don't quote from one another.

posted by Zimri on 17:03 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Public piety doesn't win wars

I'm watching Mary Beard. I have to pause to say something.

Some bronze ship battering-rams have been brought up off the Med seabed from the First Punic War. The Roman ones say stuff like "Lucius Quintus in charge of quality at Ostia has approved this ram". The Carthaginian ram says "o lord Baal bless this ram to make holes in the enemies' ships".

I suggested that Carthage already had that "inshallah" mindset - "maybe if we prayed *loud* enough...". Then commenter 'iforgot' reminded us not to get cocky:

And 1000 years from now, archaeologists will be digging through the rubble of our battles. The enemy fuselages will say "This part has no flaws." The American fuselages will say "This craft runs on sustainable fuel and has a nursing station."

posted by Zimri on 19:09 | link | 0 comments

Monday, May 09, 2016

Upload #131 - gift from the host

Whilst we're about sura 11's parallels, some fine ones abound in sura 51. Sura 51 used sura 11 a fair bit, with a few more little shout-outs to suras 7 and 15. I ran across the parallels a decade ago but didn't know what to do with them. Now I think I do.

I still don't know exactly when sura 51 was composed. I do, now, know that it is post-Muhammadan - it's got those "don't seek to hasten the End" tropes about which Professeur Casanova taught me. That'll do for the moment.

I've whipped up a placeholder-essay: "Provision is from God". It's something of an "out take" from the Prophetic-Cycle essay on sura 11's connexions.


posted by Zimri on 21:54 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Throne of Glass in process

[BUMP: it's ready. Yay!]

This third edition of Throne of Glass is to be 126 pages of maintext where the final 2015 edition was 122. The first edition was 128 with more whitespace so I think we're now "even". But again: the focus is quality.

Out: sura 61 references, digressions on Kharijite (non)use of sura 12. In: a 67 > 32 link to that sura 32 appendix, emphasis on Qabisa bin Dhuayb, an Asha-Hamdan poem. (Again again: this edition is an improvement, not an overhaul...)

I'll let you know when it passes CreateSpace's inspection.

posted by Zimri on 01:00 | link | 0 comments

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