Silliness is Golden

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Sat, Aug 06, 2005

Summum!

Yesterday, at the very good Shakespeare on the Common production of Hamlet, Andrel mentioned having read recently about a sect in Salt Lake City that was suing to get their seven additions to the Ten Commandments displayed on city property next to an existing display of the biblical ten-or-so.

A little Googling on my Hiptop produced first the name of the sect (Summum), then a page detailing how Summum's Seven Aphorisms were originally revealed on the tablets that Moses destroyed in his snit about the whole Golden Calf business.

Now, let me just say that I never really got into psychoceramics (the study of cracked pots) as a hobby. There's something that tends to leave a bad taste in my mouth about sustained study of kook literature. So many kook writers are bitterly angry at the world for rejecting their revelations, and kook afficionados tend to take a sadistic delight in baiting these often miserable people. Occasionally, though, a work of writing is so transcendently demented that I can't help but love it.

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Wed, Mar 09, 2005

Yet More Autism Links

I remain fascinated by autistic activism, in particular the strain that says that autism is not a disorder, but simply another way of seeing the world. On the one hand, I tend to think that a way of seeing the world that is incapacitating can reasonably be thought of as a handicap. On the other hand, the passion and authority of these autistic writers is hard to deny.

When digging up an Amazon link for my previous post on the subject, I found these book reviews by D. M. Degraf, an autistic woman in California who is fiercely angry at neurotypicals who call autistics 'incapable of empathy' and then display the same lack themselves:

At one point, for example, his mother decides she wants to be cuddled. She shows no awareness that her son might not WANT to cuddle her. So she wraps herself around him like a boa constrictor, holding the terrified, screaming, panicked boy down until he goes limp from sheer exhaustion and falls asleep! She is then blissfully happy that she can cuddle her little rag-doll all she wants, and *she* enjoys it so much, she does it to the poor kid every day for hours.

Wikipedia's Autism Rights Movement article links to several scenes of autistic activists and parents of autistic children in bitter conflict over what's in the best interests of autistic children. They make for fascinating, uncomfortable reading.

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Sat, Mar 05, 2005

More Oosiky Goodness

Redbeard posted a traditional poem about the oosik in the comments for my previous post on the topic. Said poem, it turns out, also comes free with your every order of actual oosik, which, the Boone Trading Company assures us, is "an excellent conversation piece" and "great for scrimshawing" (the bone, that is, not the poem). Hey, Spike--I hear you're looking for a new hobby...

Google fame is fleeting--I'm no longer a prominent hit for "silliness." However, this diary is currently #12 for "raccoon baculum". Furthermore, Ebay wants me to know that they also have Raccoon Baculum for Sale, an assertion which turns out to be false as of this writing.

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Tue, Feb 15, 2005

More Autism Links

Fascinating profile of an autistic savant in the Grauniad this week. Apparently he's particularly interesting to researchers because he's unusually articulate about the synasthetic experiences that accompany his feats of arithmetic.

Since his epileptic fit, he has been able to see numbers as shapes, colours and textures. The number two, for instance, is a motion, and five is a clap of thunder. "When I multiply numbers together, I see two shapes. The image starts to change and evolve, and a third shape emerges. That's the answer. It's mental imagery. It's like maths without having to think."

Also, while I'm on the subject, I must plug The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a recent novel whose narrator is an autistic teenager. I thought it was funny, thought-provoking, and immensely engaging.

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Gettin' my Bone On

I think my first awareness of baculums came at that dinner during commencement weekend. It must have been in, what, '95? '96? We went to the Providence Bookstore Cafe, back when it actually included a bookstore. Betsy Scharf, a name from my fraternity's past, was there, and she was very proud of her raccoon baculum earrings. Up to that point, I hadn't realized that most mammals (our own species excepted) had a penis bone.

Now, sometime in the intervening decade, I believe I had a chance to examine a walrus baculum, or oosik, and it's a formadible implement, with with a combatant of reasonable strength could clearly brain his foeman. Somehow, however, bizarrely, I can't remember what the circumstances of my scrutiny were.

The image came to mind, though, when The Salty One described her recent workplace, and impelled me to do the web searches that discovered Boneclones.com. If you follow none of the other links in this piece, do follow this one, dear reader. It's a hell of a site, with a lot of stuff on it. Replica skeletons of neanderthals, >saber-toothed tigers, platypuses, and komodo dragons, for prices reaching up into the low five digits. as well as the formidable reproduction walrus baculum. Well, maybe I can afford a t-shirt.

And finally, in honor of the day, let me close with the Valentine's Day Achewood episode from 2002, which touches on related themes.

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