All The Languages Of The World

I am so glad that my blog-buddy, BrainRants made me aware of The Expanse series.  I have been reading the books and, not quite as quickly, watching the TV programs for several years.  It is a great epic series, not just because I love Sci-Fi, but because the writers provide tons of eclectic detail to flesh out the story arc, and the characters.

Two male writers, taking a cue from their mentor, George R. R. Martin – he of Game Of Thrones fame – and/or J. R. R. Tolkien, publish as James S. A. Corey, when neither of them is James, nor Corey.  As male authors, they have created at least four powerful, well-defined female characters.

The depth and breadth of their knowledge, which they work into the books is awe-inspiring – especially (for me) the linguistics.  Millions have gone into space, and many are mining the asteroid belt.  People move around on Earth, and the language where they migrate to slowly changes, but remains basically the same.

There was no Native Tongue in the Belt, so a new language, called Belta, has come into existence.  It includes some sign language, for folks encased in space suits, who can be seen but not heard.  The spoken language is mostly English, with additions and admixtures of American Spanish from Pittsburgh to Patagonia, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Maori, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more.

Every chapter brings examples of words and expressions that impress the Hell out of me, or drive me to dictionary or search-engine sites.  Remember, Belta is like Star Trek’s Klingon.  It is a non-existent language that these two are completely creating themselves.  The fact that I’m at least a year behind the avid fan readers, means that I sometimes reach a site where others have gone for explanations.

Recently, I hit four words on two pages that I needed to research.  One of the asteroids described, was not an asteroid, but rather, a collection of rocks with enough common gravity to hold them together, but not enough pressure to coalesce into a single unit.  Like a bag of giant marbles – without the bag.

The writers described it as a Duniyaret.  The Hindi word duniyah means ’world,’ and the Hindi word ret means ‘sand, or gravel.’  They had created a neologism in a foreign language, to describe this conglomeration of rocks.  A habitat had been created on the biggest chunk, by welding together, what were essentially steel shipping containers, at a slight angle to one another, to bend around the curve.  The authors called this “town”, Nakliye, a Turkish word that means ‘shipping.’

On the next page, I found a blazon – from heraldry, a patch or badge, often worn on lapel or sleeve, indicating owning or belonging, especially with good qualities.  When we affix such a marker, we use the slightly more-common word, emblazon.

The residents drank water that was hyper-distilled.  At first, I thought it might be like double-distilled whiskey, but the Hyper, in this case, refers to Hyperion, the Titan that the Greeks believed was the father of the sun.  They didn’t waste precious power, but used a large parabolic solar-collector, aimed at the distant sun.  I had trouble researching this term, because the search engines kept throwing up an American company named “Hyper Distillation,” which is not the same thing.

The UN Space Navy had an Admiral named Souther.  I was reminded of J. D. Souther, a singer/songwriter from Detroit, who influenced Glen Frey of The Eagles, to compose country-lite style.  I had assumed that the basis for the name was someone originally from the South of England – a southerner.  Imagine my surprise when I found that the name is occupational, coming from old English/old French soutere – a boot or shoe – therefore meaning a cobbler.

I have cobbled together a little more click-bait to lure you in.  Drop by in a couple of days, to see where my mind has gone without me.  😎  🌯

Flash Fiction #260

                        PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

FLYING CAR-PET

I can’t believe that this van is flying.  There must be some kind of technology involved.  Anti-gravity is tough enough to accept – but MAGIC??!

It’s not MAGIC magic.  It’s just that some of us have learned to harvest and direct cosmic radiation.  Harry Potter’s car flew.  I often wonder if Rowling is one of us.

But people must be able to see us.  I’ve never heard even nut-case reports.

The diffraction field makes people view us as birds, or distant airplanes.  We might even be some of those government UFO reports.  We’ll need to wash the unicorn shit off later.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Book Review #24

I just read the most sumptuous book.  It was as rich and satisfying as a slab of red velvet cake.

The book: The Boat of a Million Years

The author: Poul Anderson

The review: There are only seven story plots.  All of the millions of novels are just variations and combinations on those themes.  This one is a reworking of the movie Highlander, which was released 2 years before this was published in 1989.  I got a cheap 2004 Kindle re-release, while I was COVID-isolating.  The immortals can be killed.  It’s just that they heal quickly and totally.  They survive and recover from, wounds that would slay a normal person.

It’s ‘like’ a time-travel novel, but the travel is all from past, to the future.  Perhaps once per century, a person is born who does not age and die.  Unlike the Off With Her Head movie story, this book is about survival.  The author wants to show that, while these people are different from the rabble in one way, they are quite the same in others, and different from each other.

It is not at all like several other ‘ray-guns and space-ships’ books of this author’s that I have.  He treads lightly, but shows the historical foolishness of religions, when viewed over hundreds, or thousands of years

The most common, though not universal, drive is to find others of their kind.  A Turkish trader in post-Roman Britain spends parts of several decades finding an immortal Norse warrior.  When he finally locates him, he offers him partnership in a safe venture and way of life that will guarantee them both great wealth and political power.  The Viking turns him down, and walks away.  Several years later, he hears that the berserker died in an epic battle.

It takes over a century for a Mesopotamian ship-fleet owner to locate another male.  When he does, the outgoing extrovert is dismayed to find a reclusive milquetoast who is content to follow, and allow someone else to make decisions and take care of him.

Some of the men make the obvious search for females of their kind, for wives/companions, and to find if two immortals would produce immortal offspring.  They don’t.  After several more centuries, the pair locate an immortal woman in Rome.  Pointing out the gender inequality, she has advanced from prostitute, to madam, to courtesan, where she creates great wealth through pillow-talk investments.

Even before computers, birth certificates or accurate census forms, it was not a good idea to remain in one location with one name, for more than a couple of decades, lest the superstitious populace grow suspicious.  The trader suggests that they move back to Nineveh, or Tyre, and sells off his ships and cargoes, converting them to a more easily transported chest, full of gold and jewels.  Her history made her distrust all men, so she betrays them.  The two men escape with their lives, but lose the fortune which takes the one a century to recoup.

This is a psychological and sociological account.  With no ‘action’ to spur the plot, there is no urgency to rush this deep and lengthy book along.  The author has the time and opportunity to compose it like a story from the Golden Age of Literature, of a hundred or two-hundred years ago.  It is rich, luxurious, and full-bodied.

The construction was intriguing and complex, occasionally non-linear.  The history and geography were informative, well-researched, and wide-ranging.  The words were substantive, and often archaic.  There was hardly a page where I wasn’t poking the Kindle screen for a definition.  Words and phrases like, limned, bedizened courtesan, uxorious, an austere magus, lineaments, indolent insolence and caparisoned, peered from almost every page.  For a word-nerd like me, it was Nirvana.

Reading this book was like wearing a silk shirt and walking barefoot across a Persian carpet, while eating a filet mignon.  It was rewarding and satisfying on several simultaneous levels.  I was delighted with the social and personal insights that the mere-mortal author provided.

WOW #63

Someone is always trying to control you.  It has been going on for millennia.  I recently came upon an even-rarer-than-usual word which proves it.

ATHANATICS

The use of the word is so uncommon, that it is almost impossible to find in a dictionary or search engine.  The concept has been around for as long as there have been alpha-males who want to inflict their views on others.  The term seems to have arisen about 400 AD, based on Athanasius of Alexandria.

As the Bishop of Alexandria, he used social, political, and religious power to eliminate heresy, and enforce his beliefs about Christian Orthodoxy.  The definitional value is to create an ideal world, although your definition of “ideal” probably greatly differs from whoever seizes the right to impose theirs.  Athanasius’ idea of ideal, was blind obedience, uniformity and conformity – no free thinking allowed.

In Poul Anderson’s World Without Stars, the antithantic prevents age and disease but memories must be artificially edited. In Anderson’s The Boat Of A Million Years, eight mutant immortals survive through history until the athanatics are developed.

In Larry Niven’s Known Space future history, ‘Boosterspice’ extends life indefinitely, and protectors, who have eaten “tree of life,” live until killed.

1970Nigel CalderTechnopolis: Social Control of the Uses of ScienceSimon and Schuster

If only a minority of the athanatic technologies summarized in this book comes to practical fruition in humans — and some of them are mutually contradictory — there will be plenty of moral, legal and political issues to perplex us.

England is perhaps the most athanatic country in the world.  “The Wild” has almost completely been eliminated.  There are still stands of (hardwood) forests, but they are open and welcoming, with paths, trails, tiny roads, and bridges over streams.  It is almost impossible to get lost, in any dangerous sense.

In the developed world, science and technology have done much to make life ideal, but the more we are protected from harm, the more freedom and control of our lives, we lose.  When motorized vehicles were new, they were cumbersome things that required training and knowledge, care and control, to safely operate.  Many attained all of these, but quick and handy transportation meant that far more did not.

In 1906, there were only 8 motor-cars in the entire city of Cincinnati, yet somehow, two of them managed to crash, head-on, into each other.  Soon came control – the requirement for driving licenses, speed limits, stop signs and traffic lights.

Early cars had manual transmissions.  Drivers had to understand gears and clutches.  I very much liked the feel of controlling a ‘standard’.  I did so until cars with gearshifts became so rare that buyers had to pay a premium for them.  All of my motorcycles had gearshifts.  Now, even many motorcycles are equipped with automatic transmissions.  It just takes away the fun, the thrill, of doing it yourself.  I was recently passed by a large motorcycle with its radio blaring, so that the rider could hear it over the wind noise.  I was almost surprised that the rider didn’t have Wi-Fi direct to built-in earphones in his helmet.

The flying cars that we have been promised for almost a century have failed to emerge, because technology has not advanced far enough.  We’ve seen what destruction and chaos inattentive fools can create in two dimensions.  I hate to imagine what they might accomplish in three dimensions.

AI, and self-driving cars are almost perfected.  When that is accomplished, we might move on to individual, self-flying cars.  They might satisfy the general population, who just want to get from place to place.  For archaic fools like me, who still want the feel of doing something, AI is a smothering pillow.  I want to control what my vehicle is doing.  With self-drivers, I can’t start, stop or steer.  I can’t drive 10 MPH over the speed limit if I’m foolishly late.  Even if I could override the controls, the manufacturer put in a black box that will tell Big Brother, and my insurance company, if I did.

The world continues to be safer, tamer, more ‘ideal,’ but, more and more, we end up swaddled in Amazon bubble wrap, protected, but divorced from reality and any chance of adventure.  This may be acceptable to a large percentage of the population, but we still need some who dare, who search, who triumph.  The New World was not discovered or conquered by a boatload of chartered accountants.

’20 A To Z Challenge – H

A To Z ChallengeLetter H

I never forget a face, but for you, I‘ll make an exception.
You look familiar.  Have you visited my site before?

I’ve got a word all picked out for the letter H.  It’s……. Uh…. around here somewhere.  Now where did I put it??!

Memory Loss

Ah yes, I wanted to tell you about

HYPOMNESIA

noun: Impaired memory.
Abnormally poor memory of the past. As compared to hypermnesia and amnesia. From hypo- + the Greek mneme, memory.
Excessive deposits of copper in the brain may cause neurological disorders such as Parkinson-like symptomsincluding bradykinesiatremor and dystonia, or neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as hypomnesia, dysgnosia, and personality abnormalities.

This is the ‘Learning Disorder’ that I’ve been fighting all my life, complete with essential tremor and lack of social connection.  I can forget someone’s name, while I’m still shaking hands with him.  It’s why I did not go far in school.  I’m not stupid, far from it.  I can understand complex concepts, but I just couldn’t remember them for exams.

I envy people like my son.  I have an extra 25 years of experience, but our heads are both stuffed with about the same amount of trivia.  Where he can recall an esoteric fact at the drop of a pun, I’m like Rain Man, from the movie.  Three days too late it’s, “Qantas!  Definitely Qantas!”

While good, he does not have my opposite, hypermnesia.  Some people mistakenly call that ‘Photographic Memory.’  That term only applies to things which are seen, like text, or pictures.  Eidetic Memory is a better name.  That includes sounds, physical and emotional feelings, aromas, and tastes.

It’s too late in my life to be successful, even with their help, but I adore the advent of computers.  I often use mine to be my memory for me – if I can just recall where I cached my list of passwords.  Even with their assistance, I will never have Total Recall, like the movie title.  I prefer We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, the title of Philip K. Dick’s book, that the 2 movies were named from.

Forgetful

I recently ran into a man I worked with for 15 years, up till 15 years ago.  Use It Or Lose It!  We chatted for ten minutes about the bad old days.  I knew that he was from Uganda, 30 miles north of the equator, but it wasn‘t till after he’d walked away, that I finally remembered his name – so good they named him twice – Karim Karim.

Thoughts, memories, ideas, blog themes – as fleeting and ephemeral as mayflies, or moths around a porch light, I have learned to jot them down, or enter them into an electronic file WHEN they happen – or I lose them.

I’m sure that there were a couple, or several, other points that I wished to add to this post.  They are gone like dew on the grass on a sunny morning.  I forgot them.  Please, don’t you forget to stop by again in a couple of days.  When I do finally remember to compose something, it is often interesting and informative enough to be worth reading.

Book Review #22

Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

Mark Twain, making fun of Christians’ beliefs about heaven. 

The book: Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven

The author: Mark Twain = Samuel Langhorne Clemens

The review: This is a short story written by Mark Twain, about 1868. It was not published until 1909 – 41 years later – because it was thought to insult all the Good Christians.

The story follows Captain Elias Stormfield on his decades-long cosmic journey to Heaven; his accidental misplacement after racing a comet; his short-lived interest in singing and playing the harp (generated by his preconceptions of heaven); and the general obsession of souls with the celebrities of Heaven such as Adam, Moses, and Elijah, who according to Twain become as distant to most people in Heaven as living celebrities are on Earth (an early parody of celebrity culture). Twain uses this story to show his view that the common conception of Heaven is ludicrous, and points out the incongruities of such beliefs with his characteristic adroit usage of hyperbole.

Much of the story’s description is given by the character Sandy McWilliams, a cranberry farmer who is very experienced in the ways of Heaven. Sandy gives Stormfield, a newcomer, the description in the form of a conversational question-and-answer session. The Heaven described by him is similar to the conventional Christian Heaven, but includes a larger version of all the locations on Earth, as well as of everywhere in the universe (which mention of, albeit as a backdrop, is the last science fiction element).

All sentient life-forms travel to Heaven, often through interplanetary or interstellar space, and land at a particular gate (which are without number), which is reserved for people from that originating planet. Each newcomer must then give his name and planet of origin to a gatekeeper, who sends him in to Heaven.

Once inside, the person spends eternity living as it thinks fit, usually according to its true (sometimes undiscovered) talent. According to one of the characters, a cobbler who “has the soul of a poet in him won’t have to make shoes here,” implying that he would instead turn to poetry and achieve perfection in it.

On special occasions a procession of the greatest people in history is formed; on the occasion of Stormfield’s arrival, this includes Buddha, William Shakespeare, Homer, Mohammed, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah plus several otherwise unknown people whose talents far exceeded those of the world’s pivotal figures, but who were never famous on Earth.

As Stormfield proceeds through Heaven he learns that the conventional image of angels as winged, white-robed figures bearing haloes, harps, and palm leaves is a mere illusion generated for the benefit of humans, who mistake “figurative language” for accurate description (the wings are part of their uniforms, and not functionally wings); that all of Heaven’s denizens choose their ages, thus aligning themselves with the time of life at which they were most content; that anything desired is awarded to its seeker, if it does not violate any prohibition; that the prohibitions themselves are different from those envisioned on Earth; that each of the Earth-like regions of Heaven includes every human being who has ever lived on it; that families are not always together forever, because of decisions made by those who have died first; that white-skinned people are a minority in Heaven; that kings are not kings in Heaven (Charles II is a comedian while Henry VI has a religious book-stand), etc.

Making fun of slavery was one thing, but making fun of people’s cherished Christian beliefs was something else entirely. This book never did well, and even many Twain aficionados are not aware of it.

 

No Sleep For The Wicked

Bed

“How do you sleep at night, knowing people don’t like you?”
“With no underwear, in case they want to kiss my ass.”

I always sleep with a knife under my pillow. You never know when someone will break in and give you a cake.

The worst thing about adulthood?? I used to pull all-nighters. Now I can barely pull all-dayers.

People in sleeping bags are the soft tacos of the bear world.

Any job is a dream job…. if you fall asleep during staff meetings.

There are many theories about why humans even need to sleep. I’m pretty sure it’s to charge our phones.

I accidentally fell asleep while smoking an E-cigarette. When I woke up, my whole house was on the internet.

Until I started experiencing insomnia, I didn’t realize that it was possible to be this furious at each of my pillows, individually.

Start every day with a positive thought, like, “I’ll be able to go back to bed in 16 or 17 short hours.”

If teleportation ever becomes a real thing, I’m gonna use it to zap myself into a different time zone, and get an extra three hours of sleep each day.

ME: I’m tired from all that CrossFit this morning.
MY CO-WORKER: It’s pronounced ‘croissant,’ and you ate four of them.

All my childhood punishments have become my life goals:
Eating vegetables, having a nap, staying home, going to bed early.

Why do seagulls fly over the sea?
‘Cause if they flew over the bay, they’d be bagels.

***

A man applied for a job as an insurance salesman. Where the form asked for ‘Prior Experience,’ he put down Lifeguard – that was it, nothing else.

“We are looking for someone who can not only sell insurance, but sell himself.” said the interviewer. “How does being a lifeguard pertain to selling yourself?”

The man replied, “I couldn’t swim.”

***

Marriage is like a public toilet.
Those on the outside want in.
Those on the inside want out.

I have to stop saying, “How stupid can you be?”
I think some people are taking it as a challenge.

Seamus tells Connor that he’s thinking of buying a Labrador dog.
“Don’t be daft, man! Have you noticed how many of their owners go blind?”

Insanity does not run in my family. It strolls though, taking its time, getting to know everybody.

 

’19 A To Z Challenge – Y

AtoZ2019Letter Y

Yahoo, cowboy! Saddle up that magnificent steed, and…. plod off into a cloud of dust and tumbleweeds. Today’s yewsless…. uh, useless word is

Yaud

noun Scot. and North England.
a mare, especially an old, worn-out one.

1350–1400; Middle English yald < Old Norse jalda mare

Don Quixote

It is matched with another, taken from Spanish, rocinante.
Rocinante is Don Quixote’s male horse in the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. In many ways, Rocinante is not only Don Quixote’s horse, but also his double: like Don Quixote, he is awkward, past his prime, and engaged in a task beyond his capacities.

Perhaps, between failing mental abilities and failing eyesight, Quixote winds up tilting at windmills, thinking that they are dragons, and that he is protecting the populace. Since he is a minor noble, like the problem of the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes,’ no-one tells him, or tries to stop him.

Bay

The original Spanish term was rosinante, (rosy) a red-colored horse, what in English, would be called a bay.

Abaddon's Gate

It is because of the above description, that the authors of both the books, and the TV series, The Expanse had the captain rename the “inherited” space cruiser, Rocinante. While formidably armed, it was a bit past its prime, and the small crew desperately used it for tasks that should be beyond its capabilities, tilting at interplanetary, and eventually, interstellar windmills.

Distracted

If I have been successful, most of you will have been so distracted by horses, TV space series, and classic literature, that you will not have noticed that 95% of this post is not about its stated subject. Instead, I have veered off at a strange angle – just like my favorite Y-shaped bridge in Zanesville, Ohio.

Y-bridge

2019 List Of Books Read

Take Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,, stir well, blame it on Shakespeare, and claim you read it all, last year.

In no particular order:

Abaddon's Gate

One of the big books that ‘The Expanse’ TV series is based on. They broadcast one book per year, so I have to read two, to get ahead of the story arc, and stay ahead.

 

A Brief History of Time

It’s been available for several years, so I thought that I would educate myself. It’s not Dr. Seuss level, but Hawking does a good job of making a complex theory comprehensible to non-mathematicians.

 

alien-earth

Possibly only ever published as a pulp fiction, not paperback, I didn’t have a copy of this, along with my other Hamilton books. I found this, perhaps inadvertently attached to another article that I was researching..

 

Ballistic

A men’s’ action/adventure book, good for passing time in retirement. This is the third in a series. The first was terrible. The second was so-so. The story arc is improving. If I hadn’t already bought this one, I might never have.

Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

Mark Twain, making fun of Christians’ beliefs about heaven. I’ll post a book-review later.

 

Chromosome 6

Like John Grisham’s work, Robin Cook’s is also dense. I read Coma, and liked it, but this one took me a while to struggle through.

 

Cibola Burn

This is the second of the Expanse books that I read last year. The next TV series became available on December 18/19, but I’m saving it till summer.

 

Duty And Honor

Tom Clancy’s ghost keeps pumping these out, and I keep reading them.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions &amp; the Madness of Crowds

I’ve already done a book-review on this one. Interesting enough, but too old to be relevant.

 

Fledgling

Fun but formulaic Science Fiction. The daughter of a University professor grows up with enhanced cognitive powers.

Galileo Goes to Jail, And Other Myths

Gilileo Goes To Jail

Research into Christianity vs. Secularism.

 

Jesus Interrupted

more research into Christianity vs. Secularism. The author has more than 20 books about the New Testament. I just can’t believe that he points out all the mistakes and contradictions…. yet says that he still believes.

 

Magic Stars

One of two I that I read, that are the last in this series. Magic in Atlanta. I’ve already started on another series by the same authors, Magic in Red Deer, Texas.

 

Monster Hunter Memoirs Saints

One well-known author butted into another’s series, and wrote two books. It took the first as much time and effort to edit them, and assure that they fit in the canon, as if he’d written them himself. The other title is Sinners, which I’ll read this year.

No Middle Name

A collection of Jack Reacher short stories.

 

Origin

Dan Brown’s latest – unless he’s released another one while I was publishing this list.

 

Paradox Bound

This author likes to play with alternate timelines & realities.

 

People Named Smith

It wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped – but then, perhaps people named Smith just aren’t interesting.

 

Recruit

A story about space marines. The blurb sounded good, but the book was Young Adult – nothing wrong, just nothing right.

Redshirts

A book about how the original Star Trek was real…. or was it??!

 

Small Magics

The last in this sword and werewolves series – unless the rabid fans convince the author couple to write another. They are quite prolific, with four concurrent series, and a couple of stand-alones.

 

The Bone Labyrinth

Not “Great Literature,” but a great time passer.

The Midnight Line

I’m reading these faster than Lee Child can write them. I will regret when the series ends. There are still two more ahead of me.

 

The Psychology Of Time Travel

Science Fiction and time travel from a woman’s point of view. More suspense than action, but interesting.

 

True Faith And Allegiance

I started this in Dec. but the need to read and return that next big Expanse book to the library in Jan. means that I’m just finishing it now.

Why Are You Atheists So Angry

Yet more Christians vs. Atheists research. Christian Apologists can be so irritating – unintentionally amusing and interesting – but irritating.

Even if you don’t have the time/energy to list all the books you read last year, do you have any specials that you’d like to mention?

WOW #52

Dictionary

The United States, and Canada – two counties, separated by a single language.
If you think that’s a problem, compare either country’s speech/writing, with Britain’s. If only they’d all speak the Mother Tongue. Instead, most of them speak in some Motherf**king tongue. It’s like the bloody tower of Babel.

I recently had my ears assaulted from the TV, by the word

MANKY

It was used by the narrator on a (Would you believe it?) BBC archeology show. From context, I knew what he meant – scanty, paltry, mere. It’s a very British, English word. Since I live as near to (almost)French-speaking people, as they do there, I thought that it came from the French word, manqué – lacking, or needing. When I checked, I found
slang:  worthless, rotten, or in bad taste

dirty, filthy, or bad

Word Origin for manky

via Polari from Italian mancare to be lacking

So, I got the lacking, or needing right, but not from French. Polari??! What in Hell is Polari??

A distinctive English argot in use since at least the 18th century among groups of theatrical and circus performers and in certain homosexual communities, derived largely from Italian, directly or through Lingua Franca.

The show I was watching was called Time Team. When the wife first found it, I hoped that it was a paradox-laden Sci-Fi program. Only the Brits could make a series about archeology, interesting. Using actual archeologists to explain what was going on, would be as dull as the dirt they were excavating.

To make it interesting, they added a perky little narrator who runs his own little production company, doing little historical satire films. Suddenly, I understood the homosexual reference.

There is a core group of 10 or 12 experts. They are each the best in their respective fields. Some of them are professors at prestigious universities, with doctorates, and letters after their names. They are not all archeologists. Some are historians, or geophysical investigators, or pottery experts, or a landscape analyst, who knows how the presence of humans alters the scene over centuries, or eons. They all have their regular “day-jobs.” The show began when BBC convinced a bunch of them to rush away from those jobs on long weekends, or what the English call Bank Holidays, and spend three days digging at various sites.

There are only 8 or 9 ‘Bank Holidays’ per year in England, but the series increased to 12 or 13 episodes a year. They did this for 20 years, stopping in 2014, but there have been several ‘Making Of….’ specials produced since. 20 Years??! This show lasted as long as Gunsmoke.

They dug mostly in England and Scotland, with a couple of trips over to Ireland. They did a dig in the Channel Islands, the only portion of Britain that the Nazis invaded and occupied. They did one in France, one in southern Spain, and managed to get all the way to the Caribbean island of Nevis, to investigate 400 years of British sugar plantations.

Check it out! Give it a try. It’s a great idea in the spring, when regular network shows all become reruns – of reruns – of reruns. Caution – you may learn something interesting.