Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Ever create an entry of such staggering genius that it left you stupified beyond expression? Have you ever lost said entry by some mechanical glitch in the blog program, your genius melting into the depths of cyber-space never to be seen again?

The universe gave an insufferable cosmic groan as I attempted to publish my intellectual acumen only to have the sheer brilliance of it overload the simplistic brain of blogger.com. A server went down somewhere in Seattle and hordes of computer nerds rushed to figure out exactly how their supposedly flawless creation had been bested by the super-intellect of some sort of blogging deity. Somewhere on Wall Street a cyber-stock went down ten points and a sweaty, corpulent stock-broker broke down and cried. A small fissure opened in the fabric of space and time and the entire universe threatened to collapse on itself at this profound and awful injustice. The foundations of MENSA were shaken and the supposed intellectual giants resident there were reduced to shivering, crying, jealous children, screaming like spoiled three-year-olds in the candy aisle at Wal-mart. Somewhere in heaven, Solomon removed his mantle of wisdom in anticipation of handing it down to me.

Well, ok, it wasn't that good, but I'm not too happy.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Monday, December 08, 2003

I doubt the veracity of this, particularly because of the last paragraph, but it is interesting nonetheless.

The following is a reprint from The Madison Institute Newsletter, Fall Issue, 1894:

INSTRUCTION AND ADVICE FOR THE YOUNG BRIDE On the Conduct and Procedure of the Intimate and Personal Relationships of the Marriage State for the Greater Spiritual Sanctity of this Blessed Sacrament and the Glory of God by Ruth Smythers beloved wife of The Reverend L.D. Smythers Pastor of the Arcadian Methodist Church of the Eastern Regional Conference Published in the year of our Lord 1894 Spiritual Guidance Press New York City

INSTRUCTION AND ADVICE
FOR THE YOUNG BRIDE

To the sensitive young woman who has had the benefits of proper upbringing, the wedding day is, ironically, both the happiest and most terrifying day of her life. On the positive side, there is the wedding itself, in which the bride is the central attraction in a beautiful and inspiring ceremony, symbolizing her triumph in securing a male to provide for all her needs for the rest of her life. On the negative side, there is the wedding night, during which the bride must pay the piper, so to speak, by facing for the first time the terrible experience of sex.

At this point, dear reader, let me concede one shocking truth. Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! A selfish and sensual husband can easily take advantage of such a bride. One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.

On the other hand, the bride's terror need not be extreme. While sex is at best revolting and at worse rather painful, it has to be endured, and has been by women since the beginning of time, and is compensated for by the monogamous home and by the children produced through it.

It is useless, in most cases, for the bride to prevail upon the groom to forego the sexual initiation. While the ideal husband would be one who would approach his bride only at her request and only for the purpose of begetting offspring, such nobility and unselfishness cannot be expected from the average man.

Most men, if not denied, would demand sex almost every day. The wise bride will permit a maximum of two brief sexual experiences weekly during the first months of marriage. As time goes by she should make every effort to reduce this frequency. Feigned illness, sleepiness, and headaches are among the wife's best friends in this matter. Arguments, nagging, scolding, and bickering also prove very effective, if used in the late evening about an hour before the husband would normally commence his seduction.

Clever wives are ever on the alert for new and better methods of denying and discouraging the amorous overtures of the husband. A good wife should expect to have reduced sexual contacts to once a week by the end of the first year of marriage and to once a month by the end of the fifth year of marriage.

By their tenth anniversary many wives have managed to complete their child bearing and have achieved the ultimate goal of terminating all sexual contacts with the husband. By this time she can depend upon his love for the children and social pressures to hold the husband in the home.

Just as she should be ever alert to keep the quantity of sex as low as possible, the wise bride will pay equal attention to limiting the kind and degree of sexual contacts. Most men are by nature rather perverted, and if given half a chance, would engage in quite a variety of the most revolting practices. These practices include among others performing the normal act in abnormal positions; mouthing the female body; and offering their own vile bodies to be mouthed in turn.

Nudity, talking about sex, reading stories about sex, viewing photographs and drawings depicting or suggesting sex are the obnoxious habits the male is likely to acquire if permitted. A wise bride will make it the goal never to allow her husband to see her unclothed body, and never allow him to display his unclothed body to her. Sex, when it cannot be prevented, should be practiced only in total darkness. Many women have found it useful to have thick cotton nightgowns for themselves and pajamas for their husbands. These should be donned in separate rooms. They need not be removed during the sex act. Thus, a minimum of flesh is exposed.

Once the bride has donned her gown and turned off all the lights, she should lie quietly upon the bed and await her groom. When he comes groping into the room she should make no sound to guide him in her direction, lest he take this as a sign of encouragement. She should let him grope in the dark. There is always the hope that he will stumble and incur some slight injury which she can use as an excuse to deny him sexual access.

When he finds her, the wife should lie as still as possible. Bodily motion on her part could be interpreted as sexual excitement by the optimistic husband.

If he attempts to kiss her on the lips she should turn her head slightly so that the kiss falls harmlessly on her cheek instead. If he attempts to kiss her hand, she should make a fist. If he lifts her gown and attempts to kiss her anyplace else she should quickly pull the gown back in place, spring from the bed, and announce that nature calls her to the toilet. This will generally dampen his desire to kiss in the forbidden territory.

If the husband attempts to seduce her with lascivious talk, the wise wife will suddenly remember some trivial non-sexual question to ask him. Once he answers she should keep the conversation going, no matter how frivolous it may seem at the time. Eventually, the husband will learn that if he insists on having sexual contact, he must get on with it without amorous embellishment.

The wise wife will allow him to pull the gown up no farther than the waist, and only permit him to open the front of his pajamas to thus make connection. She will be absolutely silent or babble about her housework while he's huffing and puffing away. Above all, she will lie perfectly still and never under any circumstances grunt or groan while the act is in progress.

As soon as the husband has completed the act, the wise wife will start nagging him about various minor tasks she wishes him to perform on the morrow. Many men obtain a major portion of their sexual satisfaction from the peaceful exhaustion immediately after the act is over. Thus the wife must insure that there is no peace in this period for him to enjoy. Otherwise, he might be encouraged to soon try for more.

One heartening factor for which the wife can be grateful is the fact that the husband's home, school, church, and social environment have been working together all through his life to instill in him a deep sense of guilt in regards to his sexual feelings, so that he comes to the marriage couch apologetically and filled with shame, already half cowed and subdued. The wise wife seizes upon this advantage and relentlessly pursues her goal first to limit, later to annihilate completely her husband's desire for sexual expression.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

A Rob Joustra Post in Cockney

After intermission at the concert last night the choristors were makin' their way hammer and tack to the bloody black box. As we were walkin' I seen Guvnor Dijkema and promptly gave 'im two good luck slaps on the buttox. Unfortunately 'arry Vandyke were similarly waitin' there wishin' the choristors a good second 'alf and wen 'e witnessed this 'e muttered in some shock, right, "Robert... behave yorself!", right, wiv all the bloody eye-brow raisin' we've come ter know and luv.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Phobias for Everyday Use

Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing.
Alektorophobia- Fear of chickens.
Allodoxaphobia- Fear of opinions.
Anthrophobia or Anthophobia- Fear of flowers.
Anuptaphobia- Fear of staying single.
Apeirophobia- Fear of infinity.
Asymmetriphobia- Fear of asymmetrical things
Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks.
Bibliophobia- Fear of books.
Caligynephobia- Fear of beautiful women.
Chorophobia- Fear of dancing.
Coprastasophobia- Fear of constipation.
Coprophobia- Fear of feces.
Dendrophobia- Fear of trees.
Didaskaleinophobia- Fear of going to school.
Dutchphobia- Fear of the Dutch.
Epistemophobia- Fear of knowledge.
Euphobia- Fear of hearing good news.
Francophobia- Fear of France or French culture. (Gallophobia, Galiophobia)
Geniophobia- Fear of chins.
Genuphobia- Fear of knees.
Hedonophobia- Fear of feeling pleasure.
Heresyphobia or Hereiophobia- Fear of challenges to official doctrine or of radical deviation.
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- Fear of long words.
Homilophobia- Fear of sermons.
Ichthyophobia- Fear of fish.
Ideophobia- Fear of ideas.
Isopterophobia- Fear of termites, insects that eat wood.
Kathisophobia- Fear of sitting down.
Leukophobia- Fear of the color white.
Logizomechanophobia- Fear of computers.
Mageirocophobia- Fear of cooking.
Melanophobia- Fear of the color black.
Melophobia- Fear or hatred of music.
Metrophobia- Fear or hatred of poetry.
Mnemophobia- Fear of memories.
Nephophobia- Fear of clouds.
Nostophobia- Fear of returning home.
Nudophobia- Fear of nudity.
Oneirogmophobia- Fear of wet dreams.
Papaphobia- Fear of the Pope.
Papyrophobia- Fear of paper.
Peladophobia- Fear of bald people.
Pentheraphobia- Fear of mother-in-law. (Novercaphobia)
Phobophobia- Fear of phobias.
Phronemophobia- Fear of thinking.
Pogonophobia- Fear of beards.
Proctophobia- Fear of rectums.
Theologicophobia- Fear of theology.
Urophobia- Fear of urine or urinating.
Zemmiphobia- Fear of the great mole rat.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Jack Van Impe

On Sunday I watched Jack Van Impe's enlightening program Jack Van Impe Presents. The show masquerades as a World News program. A waifish-looking woman with a thin head, big blond hair, and a high pitched voice presents news items and then Jack Van Impe, a jolly beefy fellow with a big smile and a tidal wave of hair parted to the one side, presents "Biblical prophecy" on those events.

As I watched the show I grew increasingly confused (well, more amused than confused.) At one point the woman read a news item about the European Union, after which she read news items on Crucifixes being banned in Italian schools, and the pope condemning this. Then Jack Van Impe began to tie this all into Scripture. It really is amazing how much Scripture Mr. Van Impe has memorized - he punctuates his sentences with Scripture references with machine-gun rhythm. Basically the conclusion that Mr. Van Impe came to was that the antichrist was going to rise out of the European Union which was going to begin the one-world nation and force everyone to wear some sort of repetitive three-digit number on their forehead.

According to his website, Russia is still a force of evil (I thought that ended when Gorbachev, with that mark on his head, lost power), and the nations that oppose Russia include "Tarshish and the lions thereof" - namely Great Britain, the USA, Canada, and Australia and their possessions (I suggest calling it the Anglo-Protestent Union) and the EU (which confused me because Great Britain is part of the EU, no?) who will then set up the antichrist on the throne in Jerusalem and all that jazz.

Citing Jermiah 31:5, Mr. Van Impe claimed the Bible contained airplanes. Jeremiah 31:5 reads: "Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield and deliver it, he will pass over it and will rescue it." Perhaps if you read "like" as "with" than you can have some sort of interpretation of prophecy where the USAF has jets hovering over Jerusalem protecting it from the EU.

I'm sure he had a heyday with Iraq being the site of ancient Babylon, there's a lot you can do (read "do" as "abuse") with Biblical prophecy there.

Oi vey.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

My Disorganized Thoughts on Terrorism

When I hear the phrase "War on Terror," I cringe. My mind wanders and I begin to think of other cliches such as "War on Drugs", "War on Poverty", "War on Violence", and "War on AIDS." I don't just think of these phrases because they have the same grammatical structure as "War on Terror", but also because they bring to mind the same problems.

For example, the "War on Poverty" is a noble war, a war which should be fought. I, for one, would love to see the poverty problem defeated but I know that this is an impossible dream. This doesn't mean, however, that we shouldn't try to reduce poverty and help the needy. Far from it, we should do all we can to help those afflicted with poverty. We should realize, though, that the "War on Poverty" is an ongoing battle that we must fight until Christ returns. Poverty will never be defeated until sin is completely annihilated from Creation. As such, we should never have a false hope that a certain program or societal structure will eliminate poverty, but we should have a true hope that we can greatly reduce poverty through a certain programs.

Furthermore, the war on poverty needs to be fought correctly. This means that the causes of poverty must be addressed rather than having poverty itself smothered. It's all fine and dandy to talk about the pseudo-Biblical platitude "God helps those who help themselves" - or, wait, I mean it's not. This psycho-blather completely ignores the human reliance on community. No individual can truly make it on their own, and those who claim that they have made it on their own steam are not only blessed with remarkable talent but are also lying. Should we not help those who are underneath the burden of poverty rather than smiling and congratulating those people who are standing on them?

Before I wander off too far and forget that I'm supposed to be talking about the "War on Terror", I'll get back to that topic. The problem with the "War on Terror", for me, is that it is such a mercurial phrase. Who are the terrorists? If there can be no differentiation between those who attack the American military and those who attack civilians, then we have a problem. What is terrorism? If terrorism is the targetting of civilians than the United States is just as guilty of terrorism as those it labels terrorists. In that case, the US should be attacking its own military and the various militias scattered throughout the US (remember Oklahoma? I do, they blamed Islamic fundamentalists at first.) Of course, that would mean that the US would have to admit terrorism is much more complex than they're willing to do. Either that or find some sort of link between the Al Queda and Timothy Mcveigh.

In the same way that the "War on Poverty" needs to address the causes of poverty, so too does the "War on Terror." When American pundits reduce the causes of terrorism to fundamentalism and hatred of freedom it never ceases to irk me. Sure, fundamentalism can be a factor (a generic term if there ever was one) but hatred of freedom? C'mon, people fall for that?

When phlegmatic propogandists make these claims they are ignoring any actual concerns those attacking American imperialism might have. Maybe some of these people actually don't like having their country bombed, gutted, and occupied. Maybe they don't like having someone else imposing their value system or plundering their country's wealth. In attacking terrorism it simply doesn't do to attack terrorists. For every wedding blown apart, for every guerilla fighter mowed down, and for every neigbourhood destroyed by a "smart" bomb there are dozens of new recruits, full of hatred. Can I blame them? Would I reacte differently in such a circumstance? Attacking terrorism in such a way is like a farmer running around his field chasing field mice with a pitchfork . . . at night-time. It's war that simply can't be won if it is waged that way. Of course, I'm assuming that the US actually wants to win the "War on Terror", which I probably shouldn't do.

Now if the US wants to win the "War on Terror", they're going to have to go after the causes of terror. The cause of terror, unfortunately, is not terrorists. It's much more complicated than that, and I feel the US would have to do a lot more than they're willing to do to begin to remedy the situation. I don't think terrorism will ever be eliminated, but we can try.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Anne of Green Gables, the Abridged Version
as told by my thirteen-year-old sister, Rachel den Boer

Matthew Cuthbert stared in horror at the girl before him, “You? You’re to be our adopted child?” Yes!” Ann said a little too cheerily. But then again, everything Ann said was a little too cheery. (Notice there is no “e” on the end of “Ann”. This is for purely unromantic reasons.) Matthew shuddered, wondering what in tarnation to do. He couldn’t take the child home to Marilla, could he? She’d throw a fit! Ann’s lower lip trembled, “You don’t want me, do you? Oh, I knew this would happen! It seems to me that whenever someone is perfectly happy, riding on top of the world, flying with the moon, drinking in the sunlight, they wake up. Oh, I know it’s a perfectly pessimistic view, but it seems to always be true, and that perfect happiness is only an illusion, just a dream, and then something happens to shatter it, like a crystal vase breaking before your very eyes. That happened to me once, did you know? During my traumatic youth- I have no idea what traumatic means, do you? But it sounds so perfectly romantic, don’t you agree? I just must use it, even though my life is not at all romantic. People always poke fun at me for using such big words, but I simply must, because there is no other word to use, and I think it’s downright mean to laugh at a child for merely attempting to talk. But back to what I had been saying, during my traumatic youth I was dusting in one of the houses that took me in and I accidentally- accidentally, mind you- knocked over one of the most prized possessions, the crystal vase that was positioned on the coffee table. I felt like time froze in that horrible moment when the vase was in the air. The lady there could simply not stop yelling, she said that’s what she got for taking in a redheaded orphan. Red hair shall be my end, I feel like I could be in the depths of despair over simply being born with red hair. But still, I did feel glad that the vase did have one moment of perfect freedom, before it shattered into a million pieces. It looked so calm and serene there, flying through the air with not a care for the world. Yes, it’s last moment was it’s best moment, and I feel perfectly romantic that I could have a hand in bringing it about. Though no one could feel perfectly romantic when one has red hair of course. Red hair and freckles, which I think is perfectly awful and I feel most doubly cursed.” (This is only the abridged version of Ann’s speech, I took out about 23 pages worth of other stuff.) It was at this moment that Ann paused for breath, and Matthew, although not at all outspoken, decided that he’d better say something before any more cobwebs grew on his chin. “Well, now, I reckon that is a story, but I guess we had better get going, afore the sun goes down.” “Oh! You mean I am staying with you? How perfectly lovely! I do feel almost truly happy now, Prince Edward Island is such a lovely place to live, and I’ve always wanted a real home!” But before Ann could say anymore, or Matthew could come to adore her, or Marilla could let her stay at Green Gables, or she could have a real home, or meet Diana, or eat ice cream, or go to school, or fall in love with Gilbert Blythe, a huge crystal vase came flying out of the sky and conked her on the head. Ann keeled over, a look of horror (an extremely unromantic one at that) etched in her face. Matthew stood uncomfortably for a minute, then feeling awkwardly that nothing could be done, decided to go back to Marilla and tell her he hadn’ t found anyone at the station.

Moral: No one can be almost truly happy when they have red hair and freckles. They always meet their end early.
I was just finishing up my paper for Early Modern History in preparation for my presentation on Monday when I found out that my Post-Soviet Politics paper is due on Tuesday, not Thursday of next week. Well, at least I have the consolation that by Tuesday at eight o'clock, when I see Rob Joustra's smiling face, I will only have half a paper left.

Papers are really fun in hindsight, but right now I can't truthfully say that I'm enjoying myself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I took my research books for my Post-Soviet Politics paper to the public library today to have them renewed but they were confiscated by a lazy-eyed librarian reading a pulp-fiction novel. Grrrrr.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I presented on the topic of the Scythians today in Ukrainian History. True to his word, Rob Joustra sat front and centre. Unfortunately for him, the question he intended to ask was stolen by another student. That didn't phase brother Joustra, he just came back with two new doozies. Later he commented that he could have kept me there all afternoon. I don't doubt that he could.

When I speak I often have trouble because my mind blocks out certain words when I seek them or my mind will abandon my mouth to wander off in a different direction when a thought is only half-way out of my mouth. I often have trouble formulating sentences without some sort of mental preparation and this is why I rely heavily on texts. I'm sure with practice I can begin to fix this problem. For now, however, if I want to remain coherent I'll have to rely on pauses half-way into my sentences or reading what I've already written down.

All in all, the presentation went well. I wasn't too nervous (I had Rob Joustra's smiling face to comfort me) and I was confident that I knew the information. I was almost stumped a couple of times on some questions, but I was able to remember what I had read. I think the humour in my presentation helped a bit. Of course, if no one had laughed I think I would have trailed off into a mumbling monotone.

The following is one of the best stories I have found about the Scythians:

The mobility of the Scythians was extremely frustrating for their enemies. In 513 B.C., the Persian king, Darius the Great, raised a force of 700,000 men to crush the Scythian horde as punishment for their raids into the territory of the Medes. He marched into Scythia from the West, fully intent on destroying the Scythians with his superior force. The Scythian tactics were simple, to retreat while the Persians advanced and to attack while the Persians retreated. The Scythians continued to draw the Persians further and further into the steppes, often leaving cattle behind to instill a sense of accomplishment in their enemies hearts. Soon, however, Darius grew tired of chasing the Scythians and sent a messenger to the Scythian king, Idanthyrsus, inviting him to battle and condemning him for his continual retreat.
Idanthyrsus, according to Herodotus, replied that the Scythians only continued to live as they always had. As for their alleged fear he said, “we have the graves of our fathers; come, find these and try to destroy them; then shall you know whether we will fight you.” Finally, the Scythian army approached the Persians and it appeared a battle would occur at last. Suddenly, Herodotus reports, a loud whooping arose as Scythian warriors broke their battle lines and galloped impulsively after a hare. “These fellows have a hearty contempt for us,” Darius is said to have muttered to an aide. Alas, Darius withdrew, and it was not the Scythians, but the Greeks who were to have the historical distinction of soundly defeating the Persians.

Apparently the Scythians had ADD.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Dracula

I'm currently reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. While I suppose it's not a good idea to watch the film before reading the book, I did watch Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 take on the Dracula story yesterday night. The film was far more blatant in its sexuality than the book, but I still thought that Anthony Hopkin's turn as Dr. Abraham Van Helsing was well-done. Equally brilliant was Gary Oldman as the count himself ("I understand you to be a man of good . . . taste".) I laughed out loud at the dialogue between Dr. Seward and Dr. Van Helsing:
Doctor Jack Seward: "You want to autopsy Lucy?"
Van Helsing: "No no no, not exactly. I just want to cut off her head and take out her heart. "
Perhaps some will think of me as no better than Vlad the Impaler, but Anthony Hopkins delivered that line perfectly.

The book is still far better and I don't recommend the movie.

Why is Keanu Reeves the same befuddled character in every movie?
You waan fi know Keanu's best line? "I have offended you with my ignorance. I am sorry."

Even though I haven't finished the book yet, I did come across an interesting quote which relates to the limits of empirical science and, yes, also (unintentionally?) the danger of rejecting that same science. Dr. Van Helsing (a Dutchman!) is confronting Dr. Seward's inability to account for the strange blood loss of Lucy Westenra:

"`You are a clever man, friend John; you reason well, and your wit is bold; but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men's eyes, because they know - or think they know - some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it want to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new beliefs, which think themselves new; and which yet but the old, which pretend to be young - like the fine ladies at the opera. I suppose you do not believe in corporeal transference. No? Nor in materialisation. No? Nor in the reading of thought. No? Nor in hypnotism -'

`Yes,' I said. `Charcot (the teacher of Freud) has proved that pretty well.' He smiled as he went on: `Then you are satisfied as to it. Yes? And of course then you understand how it act, and can follow the mind of the great Charcot- alas that he is no more! - into the very soul of the patient that he influence. No? Then, friend John, am I to take it that you simply accept fact, and are satisfied to let from premise to conclusion be blank? No? Then tell me - for I am student of the brain - how you accept the hypnotism and reject the thought-reading. Let me tell you, my friend, that there are things done today in electrical science which would have been deemed unholy by the very men who discovered electricity - who would themselves not so long before been burned as wizards. There are mysteries in life. Why was it that Methuselah lived nine hundred years, and "Old Parr" (Thomas Parr, said to have lived between 1483 and 1635) one hundred and sixty-nine and yet that poor Lucy, with four men's blood in her poor veins (from transfusions), could not live even one day! For, had she live one more day, we cold have save her. Do you know all the mystery of life and death? Do you know the altogether of comparative anatomy, and can say wherefore the qualities of brutes are in some men, and not in others? Can you tell me why, when other spiders dies small and soon, that one great spider lived for centuries in the tower of the old Spanish church and grew and grew, till, on descending, he could drink the oil of all the church lamps? Can you tell me why in the Pampas, ay and elsewhere, there are bats that come at night and open the veins of cattle and horses and suck dry their veins; how in some islands of the Western seas there are bats which hang on the trees all day, that those who have seen have describe as like giant nuts or pods, and that when the sailors sleep on deck, because that it is hot, flit down on them, and then - and then in the morning are found dead men, white as even Miss Lucy was?'"

Oh, and a word of advice. If you are going to read Bram Stroker's Dracula, and you're a sensitive fellow like me, you might want to read the book while you're wide awake. I had a fairly strange dream after falling asleep reading Dracula. I'd elaborate, but I don't really remember the dream's plot (if dreams can have plots), I just remember seeing the count and he's not the nicest guy.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Scytho-Amazonian Possibilities

"The role of women and family is largely a mystery. A tale passed on by Herodotus recounted how a marauding band of Amazons clashed repeatedly with a Scythian contingent near the Sea of Azov. Discovering their foes were female, the Scythians dispatched their most virile young horsemen to make love, not war. The goal, according to Herodotus, was to breed new warriors. The women were easily seduced but not so easily domesticated. Rebuffing the Scythians' marriage proposals, the Amazons explained: `We are riders; our business is with the bow and the spear...but in your country...women stay at home in their wagons occupied with feminine tasks, and never go out to hunt, or for any other purpose.' Ultimately, Herodotus reported, the two groups rode off together and founded their own tribe. The women continued to dress as men and to hunt and fight. Although Herodotus' tale has long been taken as fiction, archaeologists in recent years have found the remains of a number of heavily armed Scythian women. Their weapons could be ceremonial, yet the graves are numerous enough, writes Esther Jacobson of the University of Oregon, a leading expert on Scythian art, `to allow one to conclude that there was in Scythian society a place for women to take up a warrior's role.'" - Smithsonian, March 2000 v30 i12 p89.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Update:

Laurianne has officially been declared a non-visitor.

Dr. Koyzis should not mention the word Confederacy in Political Science anymore, it only encourages Jake.

Someone said my fingernail needs vitamins, why is only one fingernail effected then? Huh?! Genius?!

I'm sleepy and my feet are cold.

I officially love Redeemer (the institution.)

I love the other Redeemer, too.

My forehead's itchy, but I'm typing so I won't scratch it just now.

My forehead is no longer itchy.

Jake Belder should be commended for confronting the "Rock of Gibraltor." Although I don't believe speeding between bumps will solve anything and I think the letter will only further encourage mean-harted attempts to further damage the bottoms of small cars, I do believe that mound of concrete has to go.

I saw a massively obese squirrel yesterday eating pieces of a smashed-up pumpkin. This squirrel didn't run away as I approached, he waddled. HE WADDLED!

Rob Joustra, thanks so much for the rides. I'll buy you a coffee some day, and we can discuss the tribes of Central Asia.

Richard Greydanus, we should take the bus ride together sometime. We both have an appreciation for the scenery.

I like pizza.

I don't have a favourite movie.

Well, see ya later.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

In the spirit of Dr. Koyzis' Atlantis posts:

Afro-Atlantean Theories

Colonel Braghine also believes that the ancient Ethiopians were in some way related to the lost continent of Atlantis. This is by no means a novel hypothesis, and we shall have something to say about it. The Greek historian, Proclus, tells of the the visit of a certain Krantor to the Temple of Neith in Sais, a famous Eyptian city. The priests showed Krantor columns of hieroglyphs telling the story of Atlantis and its peoples. Proclus cited as another authority on the history of Atlantis, The Ethiopian History of an ancient writer named Marcellus. Skylax of Karyanda, a famous Carian navigator, told of how Phoenician mariners traded with the Ethiopians of the Island of Cerne, in the Atlantic Ocean. At a later time Diodorus Siculus specifically stated that western Ethiopia was inhabited by Atlanteans. The German scholar, Eugen Georg, a keen student of the Atlantis question, seems to think that the Atlanteans were Ethiopians, for he tells us, "The new age that began after the disappearance of Atlantis was marked by the world-wide dominance of Ethiopian representatives of the black race. They were supreme in Asia and Africa . . . According to occult tradition, Semitic peoples developed wherever the immigrating white colonists from the north were subjugated by the black ruling class, and intermixture occurred, as in oldest Egypt, Chaldea, Arabia and Phoenicia." (The Adventure of Mankind, pp. 121-22, by Eugen Georg.)

Professor Leo Frobenius held that there was an ancient Atlantean culture, but he did not believe there was actually an island in the Atlantic Ocean, known as Atlantis. Frobenius located Atlantis on the West Coast of Africa; for he unearthed ruins of palaces and beautiful statuary in Yorubaland, a territory between the Niger River and the Atlantic Ocean; and he heard among the Yorubans legends of an ancient royal city and its palace with walls of gold, which in the long ago had sunk between the waves. "Yoruba, with its channeled network of lakes on the coast and the reaches of the Niger; Yoruba whose peculiarities are not inadequately depicted in the Platonic account - this Yoruba, I assert is Atlantis, the home of Poseiden's posterity, the Sea God by them named Olokun; the land of peoples whom Solon declared: `They had even extended their lordship over Egypt and Tyrrhene!'" (The Voice of Africa, Vol. I, p. 345, by Leo Frobenius.) This learned Africanist also speculated that the ancient Yorubans had cultural links with the ancient Mayas of Central America. "I cannot finish," to cite his own words, "without devoting a word or two to a certain symptomatic conformity of the Western Atlantic civilization with its higher manisfestations in America. Its cognate features are so striking that they cannot be overlooked, and as the region of the Atlantic African culture is Yoruba . . . it seems to be a present question, whether it might not be possible to bring the marvelous Maya monuments, whose dates have been deciphered by our eminent American archaeologists, into some prehistoric connection with those of Yoruba." (The Voice of Africa, Vol. I, p. 248.)

It has been suggested by the editor of the revised edition of Donnelly's Atlantis tha thirteen thousand years ago, before the destruction of the Atlantean continent, "the West and Central African civilization must have been a magnificent spectacle." (Atlantis: the Antediluvian World, p. 223, by Ignatius Donnelly, edited by Egerton Sykes.) If the conclusions of Frobenius have any validity, ancient West Africa was Atlantis. "This tradition of western situation of Ethiopia survived into the Middle Ages," Colonel Braghine notes, "at least we observe that one of the medieval maps calls the Southern Atlantic Oceanus Ethiopicus." (The Shadow of Atlantis, p. 214, by Colonel A. Braghine.) That this is a fact, we have no doubt, for on page 16 of Africa's Gift to America, the author has reproduced a copy of a map published in 1650, which shows the South Atlantic as "The Ethiopic Ocean."

- From John G. Jackson's Introduction to African Civilizations

Sunday, November 02, 2003

My girlfriend recently complained that I don't mention her very often on my blog. I am still under the impression that she doesn't even read my blog, but to test my hypothesis I will dedicate this entire post to her. If my girlfriend has a mixture of rage at the mention of her middle name and joy at my sweetly sentimental sap then I will know that she actually reads my blog. Otherwise I can continue to leave her conspicuously absent from this area of my life . . . If you just read that, Laurianne, I was joking.

Laurianne Armel Munezero was born on August 16, 1983 in Bujumbura, Burundi, the eldest of four children. As a child, Laurianne grew up speaking Kirundi, a Niger-Congo language spoken by both the Tutsi and the Hutu in Burundi (who, incidentally, also share the same culture.) When she began school she learned French, a Romance language spoken by Francophones. This means that Laurianne is tri-lingual and that her boyfriend, John Paul den Boer, must suffer in monolingual agony while she chatters away with friends and family, his name popping out recognizably every few minutes.

I will learn French.

I met Laurianne when my mother asked if I could give my sister and another girl a ride to their youth group. One thing led to another, and eventually I was a permanent volunteer for that particular job. I thought Laurianne was beautiful and I enjoyed talking with her. After several months of having known eachother, Laurianne asked my sister to subtly hint that she was interested in a date.

Here is my sister being subtle: "Hey John, Laurianne wants to go on a date with you!"

I said yes and began brainstorming for the perfect date. A good friend from work gave some valuable advice. He knew me well and told me that if I didn't want an awkward date I would have to keep talking. Now, that means saying intelligent things, not the first thing that pops into my head so I knew it was going to be difficult. Fortunately, the only thing that went wrong on that date was that I locked my keys in the car and had to force the window open while Laurianne stuck her arm in an attempt to unlock the door. Now, that mistake would have been understandable if I had not left the car running the whole time. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! (picture Chris Farley hitting himself in the forehead a la Tommy Boy )

Not a good start to the first date but Laurianne laughed it off and we've enjoyed three years and four months of eachother ever since.

Laurianne is about a head shorter than me. She has a beautiful smooth face and gorgeous brown eyes. When she walks, she walks with dignity and pride, with the regal bearing of a princess. Although she humbly dismisses it, her great great grandfather was a king of many lands in Burundi. What a wonder that a woman with such good posture would deign to give her attention to a man with such bad posture.

Laurianne's voice is soft and kind, like a warm gentle breeze. Her attitude is often the same, a gentle warmth and friendliness that extends to every person she meets (unless they prove themselves unworthy.) Don't be fooled into thinking Laurianne is all sugary sweetness because there's a spicy side to her. Laurianne once kneed a fellow in the balls when he got too fresh with her. And never ever think she's soft because she's far from it. That warm gentle breeze can become a torrential downpour of righteous rage. The thing that sucks is that she is, in fact, hardly ever in the wrong (I'm not saying that because I'm whipped, I'm saying that because she is, in all actuality, usually in the right.)

Laurianne, ndagu kunda cane.

Friday, October 31, 2003

In addition to being the official Cathedral Door-Nailing Day, today is also Halloween.

This is the time of year when many Christians sit back and remember the days, not so long ago, when their ancestors were pagans. Frantically trying to blot out such horrid memories, they will retreat to their darkened homes and write furiously against Satanic revelries while they tremble every time the dreaded voices of greedy children emanate from behind their closed door.

Druids once remembered the beginning of winter on this date. Druids! Forget Getafix from the beloved Asterix and Obelix comics and think more along the lines of a cackling evil-eyed old man with a penchant for spitting and collecting odd pieces of animal anatomy.

Druids not only remembered the beginning of winter on this date but also gave ANIMAL SACRIFICES. No doubt goats were involved because when people sacrifice goats, that means they're EVIL. Make no mistake, druids were entirely EVIL because they invented Halloween.

Thus, it is rather obvious that this particular day, October 31, is an evil one. This is the one day of the year when Satan works his hardest to destroy little children by attacking them with all manner of devices - demons, razor blades cleverly hidden in apples, Satanic ceremonies, and far too much sugar. By celebrating Halloween, Christians are celebrating pure unadultered EVIL as the druids did so long ago.

Christians, I'm afraid, will just have to wait patiently until the virtuous holiday of Christmas approaches. That glorious day when Christians remember Mithras . . . er, Christ, and all of society unites to celebrate by purchasing so many useful things for themselves. Christmas is truly the last defensive barrier against the encroaching pagan influence. Thank mammon!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

I wore a shirt my mother bought me once which said "Yo Quero Jesus!" Just like the Taco Bell commercials. I thought the shirt was hilarious, and since I didn't take Christianity seriously at the time I didn't mind comparing Jesus to fast Mexican food.

My sister has a shirt with a UPC label underwhich it says, "Jesus Saves."

Makes me think of Jesus clipping coupons, or using some sort of points card.

I always cringe at "Jesus slogans" thrown carelessly across shirts. My mom bought me a shirt that says, "I may be having more FUN than you are. John 10:10."

The shirt doesn't have the actual verse on it. What the brilliant designers of this shirt are hoping is that I can wear this shirt and be walking down the street when suddenly an unbeliever, struck by the slogan will angrily query, "What do you mean you might be having more fun than me?"

Once this has occurred I can carefully recite, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full." Then I can proceed to explain to them why my life is so fun because Jesus came to give me a full life. Then the unbeliever can be saved because he wants to have fun like me.

Designers like this never think that maybe their shirt will be worn by a mopey Christian, a Christian, like me, who looks more like he's taking it easy than having a blast, or maybe even a Christian who will wear their shirt and proceed to run the Muslim infidels down with his longsword (slaughtering a few Jews and Byzantines along the way.)

My point is, Jesus shouldn't be a trite slogan thrown across a shirt with some flashy graphics, but he should be your whole life.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Suffering
*warning* some readers may find this disturbing. I hope they do. *warning*

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of visiting my good friend, Michael*, who also happens to be my girlfriend's uncle. I had intended to visit another friend but since he wasn't home I dropped by Michael's house instead. Laurianne's entire family is extremely hospitable and Michael is no exception. I always feel a genuine warmth when I arrive at his apartment and the hours fly by as we visit eachother.

Yesterday, after discussing several other matters, we began talking about suffering. Michael recounted how, just the day before, his friend, an unbeliever, had asked him the age-old question, "why does God allow suffering?" His friend then launched into a story of how his friend, a Tutsi, had suffered greatly when he was hung upside-down by his ankles, forced to watch his wife and daughter raped and brutalized, and, finally, left hanging until he suffocated to death.

I could tell Michael had a difficult time retelling the story, but he continued. He had told me previously how he had been part of a group in Burundi which sought justice and peace. Whenever there was a report that a slaughter of Tutsis or a slaughter of Hutus had occurred, the group Michael belonged to would go to the scene of the crime to record how many had been killed and who had committed the killings. This might seem like an ineffective way to combat genocide but it wasn't. With the documentation which the group was creating, those who committed the crimes or considered committing crimes grew fearful. Now that their crimes were recorded, they were no longer faceless criminals but could be charged for their misdeeds someday. The group was comprised of both Hutu and Tutsi and sought to bring both sides of the conflict to justice.

This organization continued to operate as usual. Michael was invited to a conference in Kigali, Rwanda. Just before he arrived, the entire group he was travelling with was gunned down. Although Michael's leg was shot and mangled, he manage to survive by pretending to be dead. He was the only survivor.

Michael was eventually transported to a hospital in Brussels so that his leg could be operated on. There were a number of Tutsis in the hospital with him, most of them former soldiers. Michael continued by telling me some of their disturbing tales.

One soldier told him how he had been chasing a Hutu woman who had led the slaughter of Tutsis. She had committed many crimes but in perhaps the worst one she had gone to a school, separated the Tutsi children from the Hutu children, and had all of the Tutsi children shot. This particular soldier had, with his comrades, been pursuing this woman for years when they finally caught her. There were many soldiers who wanted to kill her as they had anticipated bringing her to justice for quite some time. Finally, a man whose brother and sister had been killed under her direction convinced everyone he deserved the chance.

This man had her put in an oil drum, the insides still slick with oil. Carefully, he had the drum heated so that it did not catch fire but caused the woman much suffering. When they finally removed her from the barrel she was so burnt that she had swollen to an impossible size. Then he told her to run, but as she ran he lit a match and tossed it at her. She literally exploded.

I'm sure most people are familiar with the typical action movie where the villain receives an extemely painful death as recompense for all of his crimes. These scenes are designed to thrill the viewer into saying, "Yes! Justice has been served!"

The empty feeling I had in the pit of my stomach after hearing the story of the exploding woman was likely just the opposite effect directors like Paul Verhoeven desire in their films.

I could tell Michael, too, was disgusted at what had been done to the woman. Yes, she was a criminal who had done horrid things and yes, she probably deserved much worse; but justice had not been served. There was no restoration, there was no joy, there was no judgement, there was no true justice. She had been made to suffer in a way that few people ever have to endure, and she was still a human being who deserved a fair trial.

Another story Michael had told me previously involved a friend who had served in the government army. His friend was on patrol with his fellow soldiers when they spotted a sack hanging from a tree. As they approached they noticed this sack was soaked with blood which was dripping slowly into a puddle on the ground. Apprehensively, the soldiers cut the sack down and opened it up. Inside was a pile of bloody babies. Some were dead, some were writhing in pain. Hutu soldiers had tossed the babies into the sack, hung it from a tree, and beat it with their rifle butts until the grotesque sport no longer satisfied their hatred.

To hear or even to read about such a horrendous act cannot possibly compare to actually seeing such a nauseating spectacle. Michael's friend, out of his mind, picked up one of the living babies from the pile of infant corpses and placed it in his jacket. For the next three days, with blind madness, he sought revenge with the baby tucked into his jacket. Finally, on the third day, the baby died and Michael's friend went truly insane. For the next six months he was confined to a psychiatric hospital.

The capacity for truly grevious atrocities that the human being possesses never ceases to amaze me. When I hear of the brutality, the pain, and the suffering imposed upon and endured by so many people throughout the ages, I can't help feeling a certain sense of despair. I despair at the hatred and the sin which fuel so many horrors throughout the world. I despair but I have hope. I know that my Redeemer lives and I know he is alive in people like Michael.

Despite losing family members, despite all the horror he experienced and heard of, Michael is not at all bitter. I am extremely conscious of his pain when he recounts the horror he knows of . . . but he told me yesterday that he cannot hate because of that pain. Michael has told me many times that he finds comfort in his Christianity. He says his real desire is for peace with his Hutu brothers and true justice for Burundi.

When Jesus tells us to love our enemy, I think of Michael's forgiveness and desire for reconciliation in his country.

*Michael is not his real name.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Today I read a little bit about the Ethiopian famine and then I ate a humungous mound of back ribs at Montana's.

I felt somewhat evil.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Today in Ukrainian History Dr. Payton mentioned that the history department at Redeemer is going to go through some changes. They're looking at the possibility of a HIS 103 and HIS 104 hybrid which would be a sort of super-Western history course. HIS 107 would still be an option and there'd be a new offering - HIS 105, World History.

The world is quite a large place and the amount of information the history of the world covers is dauntingly massive and complex. Therefore, a course which purported to cover the history of the world would either have to delve deeply into a few interesting civilizations or give an extremely superficial treatment to world events. (A course on European history is already complex, the world is that much larger) Whatever the case, I don't envy the person who has to attempt to create the outline for that course. Although I was thinking that a world history course could be tied together by an examination of the impact of European colonialism. This, of course, is still a Eurocentric way of looking at the world but it would help make the course easier (but still daunting) to organize. Also, such a course would help students see the historic roots of many of the developing world's problems.

I've always wanted more variety in Redeemer's history courses but I've also realized that Redeemer's size limits that possibility. While it would be superb to have entire departments dedicated to African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Meso-American history, Redeemer just doesn't have enough students for those tantalizing departments. Besides, even if Redeemer were large enough, I would not be able to take all of those lovely courses. Hopefully Redeemer can begin to have sporadic courses in some of these areas as I'm sure they've attempted to do. For now, however, I'll just try to educate myself.

Dr. Payton mentioned that Redeemer is also considering hiring a historian to lead the study of North American history. Excellent. I may have to adjust my schedule.

Now, on a more somber note, Dr. Payton said that Dr. Van Dyke will be retiring at the end of the next school year. I could dedicated a whole blog to that professor, but I would feel like an apple polisher. Nevertheless, Dr. Van Dyke has become one of my favourite Redeemer personalities and a man I have a deep respect for. Fortunately, he's not gone yet, but Redeemer won't be the same without him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I'm in the process of writing a paper on European views of non-whites in Early Modern Europe. While it can be extremely disheartening to read about racist imperialism and slaughter, there are many moments where a European displays genuinely humane actions or when the tide turns, so to speak.

I came across a "turning tide" today while I was skimming Noel Mostert's monstrous book Frontiers: the Epic of South Africa's Creation and the Tragedy of the Xhosa People. I've barely made a dent in the book but I did come across a story I found very intriguing.

In 1510, the Portuguese were stopping for water near modern day Cape Town. Some of these Porguese went to a Khoikhoi (or San, Bushmen, or derogatory Hottentot) village in order to obtain fresh meat. The Khoikhoi felt they deserved more in the barter than the Portuguese were willing to offer and so the Khoikhoi helped themselves to what they felt was fair. There was a small skirmish which saw some of the Portuguese receiving bloodied faces and some broken teeth (I'm not sure how hard it is to knock out the teeth of a man with scurvy, but it dented Portuguese pride nonetheless.)

This humiliation was more than the Portuguese could bear. They were soldiers and sailors who had just finished displaying their predominance over powerful Middle Eastern and Asian nations and they weren't going to allow themselves to be bullied by a bunch of "ignorant savages." Around 150 Portuguese set out (without armour or firearms) and raided the Khoikhoi village, seizing cattle and children. Unfortunately for the Portuguese, a wind had sprung up and their boats had moved further along the beach, lengthening the distance they had to cross.

The Khoikhoi cared little about their cattle, they could call them back using various whistling signals, but when the Portuguese stole Khoikhoi children . . . well, you know how parents are about their children.

The Portuguese, armed only with their lances and swords, were no match for the angry Khoikhoi with their trained war oxen. The Khoikhoi attacked "so furiously that they . . . came into the body of our men, taking back the oxen; and by whistling to these and making other signs (since they are trained to this warlike device), they made them surround our men . . . like a defensive wall, from behind which came so many fire-hardened sticks that some of us began to fall wounded or trodden by the cattle."

Approximately half of the Portuguese force was killed by the rampaging war cattle and the furious Khoikhoi. In the words of Noel Mostert, "Fallen at the hands of those they considered the least of men, they were victims of their own contempt."

I know I shouldn't laugh, but . . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Sufferer

The man’s face is pale and blank,
his hollow eyes strain to see
and I smell the odorous rank
of human mortality.
Emaciated ribs jut
from the man’s sunken chest;
crimson blood drips from a cut
which yellow gangrene congests.
His thin body convulses
as his swollen belly gasps.
His weak heart barely pulses
as his swollen throat rasps.
I watch him with contempt
but his face reveals no shame
as his bony arms attempt
to support his rakish frame.
The man’s anaemic lips flutter
and his mouth it forms a word
which his voice quietly mutters
. . . but the man cannot be heard.

(c) John den Boer, 2002
I'm back from O-dot. I tried to write a little bit of an update from there but my girlfriend's keyboard has some crazy French thing going on so that my punctuation was all messed up. I'm not claiming to be some sort of punctuation expert or grammarian, but it is nice to have the feeling you're typing like a professional Englishman. I suppose I could've attempted some sort of French-language blog but it would get a little redundant with me repeating my age, how I'm doing, and my name. Besides, I don't know the French word for fingernail.

I drank Heineken from a can for the first time ever.

Anyhow, I had an excellent time in Ottawa. Somehow, my girlfriend suddenly learned how to cook. Her earlier claims to an aversion towards cooking gave me the impression that the extent of her culinary expertise didn't go beyond Kraft dinner and omelletes. She cooked me pasta with shrimp and she shelled the shrimp herself. Removing the guts from those underwater creatures made her vomit, but she did it anyway. She didn't just vomit because she was disgusted, she vomitted because she loves me. Oh, and the food was excellent.

I went to a Burundian festival on Saturday night. I wouldn't say it was as much of a festival as it was a exposition of African music. I enjoyed mixing with my friends, eating, drinking, and boogeying like a man who's ancestors have been rhythmically repressed for four hundred years.

My good friend, John Luimes, gave me a ride home. He drove all the way from Renfrew to Ottawa and back to Renfrew just for me. How much did the whole trip cost? One coffee and a junior bacon cheeseburger from Wendy's. Pretty good.

Oh, and the Confederates are losing the fingernail war to the Union troops, which is a bad thing (in this case.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I've just added Chris Crookall's blog to my linked blogs. I had the indistinct pleasure of living with Chris during our first year. I'd like to say that we hit it off right away but Chris really didn't seem to notice that I lived in the same dorm as him. I was referred to as, "that poofy haired guy" and when someone phoned or rang for me Chris would yell out, "Is there a guy named John who lives here?"

Then we put some boullion cubes in Dan Vanhartingsvelde's juice bottle and Chris has remembered my name ever since.

The count is going up.

Monday, October 06, 2003

I'm horrible at mathematics but I've just come up with a word problem.

John is about to head to Ottawa for a pleasant weekend with his girlfriend. Assuming that John is a typical student at Redeemer University College, how much work will he be assigned just because the homework gods are angered at him abandoning them for three whole days and finding pleasure elsewhere?

Equation: W = C + BP (G x D x A)

W = Work (measured in hours, multiply by 1.5 if individual is a slacker like John)
C = Classes
B = Books
P = Pages
G = Angry gods
D = Days away
A = Anticipation (measured in litres)

Sunday, October 05, 2003

The following is a song from one of my favourite dancehall reggae artists, Bounty Killer. Those of you who listen to popular radio may have heard his song with No Doubt called "Hey Baby," which basically is a song about . . . nothing. Anyhow, I find the following song a lot more meaningful giving voice to the frustrations of the man dubbed the Poor People's Governor.

Look
Bounty Killer

Intro
People are dead!
People are dead!
Dead, that’s what I said
the plan must be led
the hungry must be fed
Hey yo, ya lo, I be looking
through all the despair over here.
Hey yo . . . nobody cares
take a look in my house
would you live in there?
Huh, hey yo, ya lo
look at my shoes can you see my toes?
Well that’s how this trouble goes,
nobody knows.

Chorus>
Look into my eyes,
tell me what you see?
Can you feel my pain?
am I your enemy?
Give us a better way,
things are really bad,
The only friend I know
is this gun I have.
Listen to my voice,
this is not a threat
Now you see the nine
are you worried yet?
You've been talking 'bout'
you want the war to cease .
But when you show us hope,
we will show you peace

Verse I
Look into my mind
can you see the wealth?
Can you tell that I
wanna help myself?
But if it happen that
I stick you for your ring
don’t be mad at me
it’s a survival thing.
Look into my heart
I can feel your fear
take another look
can you hold my stare?
Why are you afraid
of my hungry face?
Or is it this thing
bulging in my waist?

Verse II
Look into my life
can you see my kids?
And let me ask you this,
you know what struggle is?
Well in this part of town
survival is my will
for you to stay alive
you’ve got to rob and kill
Look into my house
would you live in there?
Look me in the eyes
and tell me that you care.
Well, I made up my mind
to end up in the morgue
I know I’d rather die
a man than live like dog!

Look down at my shoes,
can you see my toes?
this struggle that we live
nobody really knows
stop and ask yourself
would you live like that?
And if you had to then
wouldn't you bust gunshot?
Look into the schools
tell me how you feel,
you want the kids to learn
without a proper meal
then what you have in place
to keep them out of wrong?
If them drop out of school
dem a go bust them gun.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Over the summer I slammed my finger in the door. It was one of those moments where you know it doesn't help to bash your wounded finger against the wall but you do it anyway. Several days later my fingernail fell off. I had always wondered how a fingernail looked without a nail but when it finally happened to me I wasn't so much fascinated as I was worried that I might have scurvy.

After consuming copious amounts of fruit I proceeded to wait. It was then that I noticed that there was a thin layer of fingernail still attached to my finger. This fingernail was so thin that it, in fact, looked like skin. I was happy to know that I was not completely without my beloved fingernail but I was still slightly disappointed to find out that I had not actually viewed that finger in its full naked glory.

Over time, my fingernail began to grow back at its original thickness. I was pleased until I noticed that it was no longer the pleasant pink of my other fingernails but more of a pinkish-red. I decided I would allow this fingernail to express its individuality so that it could serve as reminder of the physical superiority doors have over fingers. I proceeded with my day-to-day activities until I suddenly noticed that my fingernail was 4/5ths of the way back to normal. Then, without warning, disaster struck. The northern region of my fingernail rebelled, turning from that beautiful pinkish red colour to an off-white. I briefly thought of my confederate friend, Jake, but then I recalled that it was the southern region that had rebelled and not the northern one. I realized there was no parallel to draw from, and I despaired.

Lately, I've noticed the advance of the southern reddish-pinkish front against the off-white menace and I rejoice. Someday my fingernail will be restored to its former glory. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Seems like every day there's another moody musician trashing his hotel room, beating up his girlfriend and then driving wildly around in his car while he is entirely drowned in some form of illegal drug. Usually, the man's irrational behaviour is thrown onto some sin-bearing beast such as the battered scapegoat of traumatic childhood. The truth is, you'll rarely find an artist worthy of veneration for both his music and his life because so many musicians shoulder the misfortune of having been deprived of pudding cups in their lunch as children.

Robert Nesta Marley was born out of wedlock and into poverty on February 6, 1945; a son of a loving woman and an absentee father. Bob's was a decent childhood until his white father, Norval Marley, urged his wife to send his son to the city for a better education. Norval received Bob and then left him under the care of an elderly and infirm woman. This left Bob, at the age of five and a half, wandering the streets of Kingston for eighteen months before being found and sent home to his mother, Cedella. During his early teens, Bob Marley lived in the poorer housing projects of St. Anns, Jamaica, and found himself often rejected by his peers because of his light skin; an early romance was shattered by the girl's brothers who said they didn't want," no white man screwing up our bloodlines." Marley had to work to establish himself as a musician: his first two songs were major flops, around a hundred of his early Wailers songs afforded the group only three pounds a week, and their crooked producer kept back the hundred and thousands in royalties they had earned. Still Marley continued to do what he loved, playing music.

Bob Marley sang to improve a chaotic world, singing of hope, world peace, and love for fellow man. Some would say that these songs are sung by many musicians. This is true, but Bob Marley is better.

During the late seventies Jamaica was in turmoil. Michael Manley, leading the Jamaica's left-wing socialist party, and Edward Seaga, leading the country's right wing Jamaica Labour party, were in fierce battle for election as Prime Minister. Brutish gangs from both parties wandered the street bullying their constituencies into submission. Bob Marley was put under tremendous pressure to headline a "Smile Jamaica"concert by Michael Manley, the campaigning Prime Minister. Marley finally gave in and was put under the protection of a group of vigilantes called the Echo Squad. Oddly enough, the usually obsessive guards melted into the night one Friday. In their stead, two carloads of gunman poured out into the compound and shot Marley's manager in the groin five times, his wife in the head, and Bob himself in the chest and arm. All three survived (did they function? Well, I don't know) and Marley bravely sang in front of the throng, reciting, "Puss and dog, dem get together/ what's wrong with you my brother/ puss and dog, dem get together/ why can't we love one another?" After the concert, Marley went into a fourteen month exile which ended when a temporary truce was reached between the two warring Jamaican parties. Bob came home to lead the "One Love Peace Concert" with both Seaga and Manley attending. At the end of his last song he boldly cried out for "the two leading people of this land to come up here and shake hands, show the people that you're gonna unite, show the people that you love `em right." Edward Seaga and Michael Manley, the two warring leaders under whose power thousands had been slaughtered, were made to shake hands in front of the nation of Jamaica. Bob Marley had accepted two men who had been responsible for his near death experience and had convinced them to take the first step towards Jamaican peace.

Bob Marley's dedication to music and his determination in the face of devastating odds can be witnessed throughout his life. His commitment to peace is equally apparent and his songs have touched everyone from South American Indians, to African tribesmen to the citizenry of North America to the world. How many other modern musicians have the United Nations Medal of Peace? Bob Marley remains a true legend on a stage of talented but truly unworthy musicians.

*disclaimer* I have ignored the prodigious smoking by said rockstar of Cannabis Sativa L. his visits to whorehouses, his fathering of at least 14 children by seven seperate women, his marital infidelity, and his thievery of a guitar. Why? Because I want to make him look good.

Monday, September 29, 2003

I was led to the site of the man who saved us from the Y2K bug, the time-travelling John Titor. John Titor Any thoughts?





Omaha, Nebraska? *snicker*

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I was sitting in my room reading the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and listening to some chunes when suddenly Holmes became a far more complex character. I was just marvelling at Holmes' know-it-all arrogance and apparent lack of emotion when I began reading of Watson's apprehension over Holmes' cocaine and morphine abuse.

My ignorance of the use of illicit drugs is greater than my knowledge of their use, and so I was surprised to learn that Sherlock injected a seven-per-cent solution into his arm. I was under the impression that cocaine is only "snorted." Of course, Sherlock knows best and I'm sure his method reflects this.

Anyhow, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries cocaine was considered relatively harmless. Sigmund Freud recommended its use as a tonic to relieve depression and sexual impotence. Sarah Bernhardt took pride in her cocaine use and who hasn't heard the infamous use of cocaine in Coca-Cola? The former use of cocaine in coke is well known but it isn't often you hear about Thomas Edison's invention of a special tonic made with cocaine . . . Ok,well, he didn't invent the tonic, but he certainly recommended it as "miraculous."

This makes Dr. Watson's reaction all the more interesting to me (and no, Watson is not the bumbling idiot I came to believe he was after watching a few old Sherlock films.) Dr. Watson condemns the use of cocaine despite the fact that there seems to have been no widespread condemnation of the drug at that time (cocaine cough drops, anyone?) Sherlock seems to realize his abuse of the drug is wrong which is why he answers, "On the contrary . . . it would prevent me taking a second dose of cocaine" to Watson's questioning if Sherlock minded having his theories to the test.

Sherlock Holmes needs mental stimulation and when he doesn't receive this from his work he lapses into cocaine abuse. I never though I'd read Sherlock Holmes saying, "It is cocaine . . . a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?" Even a seemingly dogged rationalist can have lapses of irrationality.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Bullets

The bullets whined and whistled
dashing through the air
The bullets bounced and fizzled
in a bumping, grinding scare
The bullets fought and flew
in a biting, bloody brawl
The bullets struck and slew
in a torrid, squelching, squall
The bullets cried and screamed
in a carousing drunken fling
The bullets smoked and steamed
in furious swarming stings
The bullets boozed and bit
on a banquet of blood
The bullets swore and spit
in a puddle of earth and mud
The bullets won a war
shredding through the skin
The bullets are a whore
scarlet in their sin.

(c) John den Boer, 2000.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Ethiopia: Part I, Beta Israel

There are a number of theories on the origin of the Falasha Jews of Ethiopia. According to the Kebra Negast, an ancient Ethiopian book, the Queen of Sheba was the Ethiopian Queen Makeda. When she visited Solomon she had a child with him named David who ruled Ethiopia as Menelik I. According to Falasha tradition, they are the retinue of Israelites who accompanied Queen Makeda back to Ethiopia after she had lain with him. Other theories claim that the Falashas are the lost tribe of Dan or that they are the Israelites who fled to Egypt following the destruction of the first temple in 586 B.C. Significantly, the Falashas observe a remembrance of the destruction of the first temple but not of the second temple. This is a powerful argument against those who dismiss the Falashas as Christian and Jewish remnants who fled the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

As the Falashas have not adopted the talmud, many scholars assign them a place before the 2nd century B.C. Having no talmud, the Falashas retain the ancient customs of the Israelites, priests rather than rabbis, animal sacrifice, the original dietary laws, and circumcision. The Falasha have an Ethiopian version of the Pentateuch and follow the Sabbath religiously, believing the Sabbath was created before the heavens and the earth. Christians, of course, can remember the story of Philip's conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. Clearly, the eunuch was reading the passage from Isaiah for a reason. Perhaps he was merely interested in Israelite customs or perhaps he was influenced in some way by the Falashas.

Ethiopian Jews prefer to be called Beta Israel (the house of Israel) rather than Falasha, which is a term given to them by their ethnic neighbours meaning "outsiders." Beta Israel has endured much persecution over the centuries. Christians, during the kingdom of Axum, eyed them with suspicion and attempted to force them to convert. Falashas claim that they therefore fled to the mountains until Queen Judith led them in a popular revolt against the ruling dynasty. There was 350 years of relative peace for Beta Israel until the kingdom of Axum rose once again in 1270. For the following 400 years the Falasha fought for their freedom. It wasn't until 1624 that Portuguese-backed Ethiopians finally defeated the Falasha. Beta Israel endured hundreds of years of horrendous persecution, forced conversions, land confiscation, and repression.

The chief rabbi of Egypt had ruled in the 16th century that the Falasha were certainly Jewish according to the Jewish legal code but it wasn't until the early twentieth century that European Jews finally took notice of their Ethiopian brethren. There were drives to support the persecuted Jews of Ethiopia and to recognize them as legitimate Jews.

When Ras Tafari Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974, the new Marxist government came down hard on the Falasha who were seen as "Zionist conspirators." The government of Israel began to airlift the Falashas to safety in the early eighties. There are presently around 25,000 Falasha in Israel. In 1997, Benjamin Netanyahu disallowed the immigration of Falashas. Approximately 22,000 Falasha remain in Ethiopia (most of these are Falashas who were forcibly or willingly converted to Christianity.)

In Falasha culture, men and women are equal and they carry out their occupation together.

"Praised be Thou, God of Israel, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God of the whole earth. God, give us Thy blessing. Bless us with the blessing with which Thou didst bless Abraham. Bless us as Thou didst bless the storehouse of Abitara [a charitable woman]. Keep our going-out and our coming-in, Thou who art the keeper of Israel. Keep us in peace. Praise the Lord, O ye heavens. Let the whole earth praise Him. Amen!"

- Falasha prayer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I'm currently writing my book report for early modern Europe on Japan: The Dutch Experience. Well, I'm not writing it just now but I am in the process of writing it. Right now I'm just interrupting the process for one of my frequent breaks in which I can gather my thoughts and . . . in which I can just not work on a book report.

Speaking of my book report I thought I'd share an interesting quote written from the perspective of a Japanese observer. Apparently, the Dutch had not impressed this particular scholar with their Protestant work ethic, "Content to waste his days and nights, [the Hollander] lolls in a large chair, smoking a long pipe and looking very bored. A table loaded with food is before him, a decanter and glasses at one arm and a fawning geisha at the other."

Perhaps, the lack of industry on the part of the Dutch had more to do with the severe limitations placed upon them by the Japanese than actual laziness. Or maybe, just maybe, the Dutch have historically been lethargic fornicating gluttons, and Calvinist scholars have seen fit to reform history.

That was a pseudo-break, I had absolutely no respite from my book report and thus I shall take another break involving a certain flakey pastry (no that was not a metaphor for anything, I'm actually going to eat a flakey pastry.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

I'm very sleepy right now so I'm hoping I'm no more ubiquitous than usual. That's right, I used a word without knowing what it means.

Hmmmm, I've looked the word up in the dictionary and apparently it's some sort of synonym for omnipresent. Obviously being sleepy has nothing to do with being present in all places at once. Furthermore, while sleepiness might occur in degrees, omnipresence does not. Either you're everywhere at once or you're not.

I suppose one could be in most places at once. Or in several places at once. Clearly, however, in order to be ubiquitous one must be everywhere at once. Therefore, the very premise of this entire post is flawed and the information consumed herein by my non-existant readership is entirely devoid of reason or purpose.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Confronted with a fellow student's admiration of the confederate flag, I've began to think about symbolism. Now, there's books upon books upon books written about symbolism so my ideas on this subject are hardly necessary but, in the words of another infamous boor-- frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

To the unapologetic southerner the confederate flag represents the fight against tyranny, heroism, and the defence of their valued traditions. To most African Americans the confederate flag represents an infuriating promotion of the heritage which historically enslaved, segregated, and depreciated their humanity.

The League of the South's website argues that the confederate flag is a symbol just like the Celtic cross is a symbol and that both symbols are used by racist groups to promote their hate. The argument is that while the Celtic cross is not often viewed as hateful (unless it is tattooed onto the burly arm of a snarling bald-headed inmate) the confederate flag is viewed as hateful, which doesn't promote the just equality we should impose upon symbols.

I'm reminded of the continuing debate over the swastika. The swastika is a symbol which is over 3,000 years old and has been used to symbolize good luck, life, love, power, and the sun. Ancient swastikas can be found in New Zealand, America, Japan, China, India, southern Europe, England, Greece, and southeast Asia. The word swastika comes from the sanskrit svastika which means "to be good/well/fortunate." The Finnish Air Force, and the American 45th division used the symbol until WWII (for obvious reasons.) Rudyard Kipling employed the swastika on his coat of arms, Carlsberg beer had it prominently displayed on its label, Jackie Kennedy wore a sweater with the swastika on it (conspiracy theorists . . . eat that up!), and Tsar Nicholas II's daughters embroidered lucky swastikas on their scarves before they were executed in 1917. Apparently there was at various times Canadian hockey teams named the swastikas. There's even a town in northern Ontario called Swastika. In an ironic juxtaposition, one can apparently find an ancient Jewish grave with a Swastika carved into it.

Unfortunately for the swastika, German nationalists appropriated the symbol from the Aryans of northern India as a claim to direct descension from the Aryans. The symbol came into common use in a large variety of places throughout Germany for nationalistic and anti-semitic purposes. In 1920, when Hitler needed a symbol for the Nazi party the swastika was an obvious choice. Clearly the symbol was something which could be used to stir fire in the German people's souls.

The swastika may have had a long history before WWII but Hitler truly corrupted the world's perception of the symbol into something truly abominable. The statues dedicated to the founding fathers of American towns and etched with the swastika were now looked on with horror, the government tried to impose a new name on the town of Swastika in Ontario, and wherever people saw this symbol they were reminded of the great horror which Nazism had brought.

So should we go about waving the swastika proudly about our heads and declaring that it is merely a good luck symbol? I'm not convinced. While we can perhaps understand the Hindus, Buddhists, and indigenous tribes which still use this symbol, I believe the reinstatement of the swastika is a long time coming in the West. The best policy is to be sensitive to the deep-seated feelings of those who suffered under the Nazi regime.

Now, it's a certainty that the confederate flag has not resulted in the same level of bile among Western society as the swastika, but I believe the same degree of sensitivity should be applied. What does a confederate flag rally do but stir up anger? If southerners are so eager to celebrate their anglo-celtic heritage why don't they use a picture of the celtic cross or a leprechaun? Yes, the confederate flag is not intended to symbolize hate, but to many it does.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

I finished Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart yesterday night. The narration was excellent, the story was thought-provoking and the plot, though simple, was superbly crafted.

The story follows Okwonko, a proud man of tradition, and his reaction to the decay of these traditions and all he holds dear as the British impose their laws and culture on his people. Achebe himself was not a Christian but I appreciated his sympathetic portrayal of one of the missionaries, Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown treated all of the Africans with respect and he, in turn, received respect back. He did not zealously trash the Nigerian culture and religion, but taught his faith and actually dialogued with the people. Mr. Brown actually bothered to learn about the people and their culture. This, I think, is the best way to preach the gospel - as good news rather than some sort of divine punishment.

"Anyone who would undertake heretics' conversion must possess an accurate knowledge of their systems and schemes of doctrine." - Irenaeus.

Mr. Smith, on the other hand, is the polar opposite. "He saw things as black and white. And black was evil." How much dignity can a man have when he is told that the entire history of his people is rubbish? How much self-respect can a man have when his entire identity must be wrapped up in a culture that is not his own? One of the reasons Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart so his people would understand that they did have a heritage worth remembering and that to be African did not mean to be inferior.

"We were called primitive, uncivilized or shenzi. To the arrogant mind of the British imperialist, there was only one civilization and that was European and colonizing. Because we stood outside European culture, colonialists claimed we had no civilization. But we had our own civilization that to us was more advanced than the European one because it gave us land, food, freedom, identity, spiritual peace and happiness. To the extent that our civilization met our needs, we were not primitive. Europeans considered themselves more advanced because they could conquer, kill and rob more efficiently. Black people could not possibly prefer a civilization that killed and colonized them to their own.
More incomprehensible logic was to come. Having judged us as primitive, the white man proceeded to tell us, The reason I have killed and conquered you is not because I want to steal your land, minerals, timber and labour but because I want to civilize you (or turn you into what I am). In other words, I want to turn you into the one who kills you, transform you into your own enemy!" - Koigi Wa Wamwere, I Refuse to Die

Anyhow, it was an excellent book and I recommend it to anyone who would be interested.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

I've just finished reading Grant K. Goodman's Japan: the Dutch Experience for the book report I have to write for Early Modern European History. The book deals more with the Japanese than the Dutch but my professor said that this book was fine to do my report on.

I found the willingness of the Dutch to jump through numerous hoops in the name of trade most amusing. Relegated to a small Island in Nagasaki's harbour, the Dutch had an overgrown bureaucracy assigned to them by the Japanese which the Dutch were financially responsible for. All Dutch property was subject to search and seizure at any time. When the Dutch entered the harbour, their rudders, guns and ammunition were removed while their ships were "inspected" by officials (in other words, officials took their cut.) Religious services were forbidden (kinjuru - a word I remember from James Clavell's Shogun yay!) Perhaps feeling sorry for the Dutch, the Japanese did allow them use of the local prostitutes. No church services? Prostitutes Galore? All of this makes me think these particular Dutchmen weren't your strict Calvinists. An account of the yearly Dutch visit to the shogun is even more amusing, "Soon after we came in, and had, after our usual observances, seated ourselves in the emperor's (sic) name, he then desired us to sit upright, to take off our cloaks, to tell him our names and age, to stand up, to walk, to turn about, to sing songs, to compliment one another, to be angry, to discourse in a familiar way like father and son, to show how two friends or man and wife compliment or take leave of one another, to play with children, to carry them about in our arms, and to do many things of a like nature . . . Then they made us kiss one another like man and wife, which the ladies particularly showed by their laughter to be well pleased with."

Incidentally - kissing was unknown to the Japanese until the Europeans introduced the practice. Perhaps the Japanese women were not laughing out of pleasure, as suggested, but rather over how ridiculous kissing looked. Anyhow, the capacity of two Dutch men to engage in homoerotic behaviour all in the name of trade is most amusing. I also read that at one point the shogun asked the Dutchmen to demonstrate their method in urinating. I'm not sure how much cultural variety there is in urinary methods but perhaps the shogun gained some insight into that.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Hurricane Isabel arrived today. The paper claimed she would arrive at 2:00 pm here in Southern Ontario. Isabelle was either incredibly early or she was incredibly late for her appointment because at 2:00 it was decidedly calm. The furious wind I witnessed this morning gave me the feeling that by the time Isabel arrived she'd be tossing little old ladies through the air. Isabel, you suck.

The last big hurricane to arrive was Hazel and she did significant damage to this area. My grandfather lost his nursery business to her when she swept through and killed all of his young trees. I'm sure he'd own a large business now if Hazel hadn't graced Ontario with her presence. He owned a greenhouse for a while after he "retired." I wish he still had that place, it made him so happy. Now all he can do is putter around Tillsonburg re-reading all the books in the local library.

I began reading Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" yesterday. I find the book most interesting. Perhaps I'll write an analysis of that book once I've read the entire thing. Black Thought, of the Roots, led me to the book in an interview in which he explained why he had named his 1999 album "Things Fall Apart." While the book follows the negative influence colonialism had on one village in Nigeria, the Roots' album explores the negative influence commercialism has had on hip hop. However, instead of dwelling on this influence, the Roots seek to move their artistry past all the negatives in the same way Chihua Achebe sought to revitalize the arts in Nigeria.

Oh, and a clarification. When I declare with pride that my last name is "den Boer," I'm not condoning the behaviour of the truly boorish boers of South African fame. Although they may be my distant cousins, I despise all they did to Africa. Perhaps you find it odd that I try to distance myself from the Afrikaaners when its a certainty that I had ancestors who engaged in behaviour which was just as horrible. Well, everyone has horrible ancestors somewhere down the line and I'm sure everyone who despises racism as much as I do would wish to distance themselves from the Nazi-sympathizing Apartheid regime.

On that note, Mandela was just recently removed from the U.S. list of terrorists. Thanks America! Now maybe Cheney can apologize for voting against Mandela's release. Not likely, Cheney claims he still would have voted the same way. Now he says the ANC has mellowed and Mandela has become an admirable man. Suddenly Mandela stopped being a terrorist and became a statesman. How convenient. Only the extreme right believes Mandela was ever a terrorist. Everyone else realizes he was a political prisoner. Inability to connect the repressive nature of Apartheid with ANC's freedom fighting . . . perhaps this has something to do with Cheney's immediate inability to connect today's terrorist with anything other than a hatred for freedom.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Well, I've decided to begin a blog. Whether I can keep this up is a question that remains to be answered. If this whole blogging experience becomes a tiresome chore then I will, of course, quit. However, if this becomes something I enjoy then I may just continue blogging.

My decision to begin blogging was one which happened rather randomly, like most things that I do. I'm not keeping a blog to impress anyone, although that would be an agreeable side-effect; I'm keeping a blog because I enjoy writing and this is much easier than attempting to write the quintessential Canadian novel. I probably will never write such a thing, I lack the necessary vision. So, because my blogs will always be published no matter how poorly written they may be, the blog was the obvious choice over the novel.

The name I've chosen for my blogspot, boerishbwoy, is the fifth attempt at a clever monicker for myself. The four before that must not have been so clever or they wouldn't have been taken already. Either that, or there's four people who are more clever than I. Not likely, but plausible.

The name itself is taken from my last name den Boer, which means "the farmer" in Dutch. This last name is not to be confused with de Boer which is a younger form of the same name. Clearly, my ancestors tilled the soil for a much longer period then the upstart de Boers and therefore my name carries with it much more pride and dignity. Either that, or my ancestors were so simple-minded that they forgot to change the spelling of their last name when "den" was becoming obsolete. I have brilliantly taken a section of my last name, Boer, and added a simple "ish," thus rendering it "boerish." Boerish sounds much like boorish, a word which brings to mind a clumsy ill-mannered fellow with large shoes. Interestingly enough, this word was first used to describe my very people - the peasant farmers -in 1562 as a derogatory meaning "clownish rustics." Although I can be clownish, I could hardly be described as a rustic being a city-boy through and through. Therefore, my last name is slightly ironic except that I can be rude, uncultured, and oafish and generally looked down upon by the well-heeled aristocratic types. I don't know any aristocrats or aristocratic types but I'm sure if they knew me they'd look down on me.

The "bwoy" part of my blogspot's name comes from my gender. I am a male. You may be thinking that this is an odd way to spell "boy" but I have rendered the word boy thus on purpose. Why? Well, perhaps as my blogs begin to increase you'll notice my obsession with reggae and Jamaican culture. Bwoy is boy in patois. Thus the name - boerishbwoy.

Hopefully this blog can be a place where I can develop my thoughts on a number of topics. Being a student I may digress into pseudo-intellectual rants about politics, history, and book prices. Bear with me, I'm a boor.

Who deh?

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