Happy Damn New Year!


Happy New Year! I’ve spent the day so far lazing around, eating leftover pizza and listening to music. And that’s about all I’m going to do, I think.

I’ll be back at work blogging tomorrow.

In the meantime, does anyone have any especially fond memories of Tom Martin and/or Steele from the past year?

Oh, and here’s a video from an Old School New Wave band called Polyphonic Size. It was 1983.  They were from Belgium.

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on January 1, 2013, in off topic, open thread. Bookmark the permalink. 482 Comments.

  1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Well, Guy Fawkes was an older contemporary, so not too far out.:)

    Ditto to that about fundies. Some of ’em … scary, scary people.

  2. Argenti Aertheri

    “Did you know, I once had someone refuse to call me male because dammit, that was encouraging my delusion of existance? True facts.”

    Fucking assholes.

    Quincy market is an easy enough mistake, had to google maps it to prove this to my mother!

    Pecunium — I hadn’t thought of that, or had and figured wooden buildings couldn’t last nearly long enough. I have no issue with believing a localized flood, those most certainly happen, it’s the world wide flood that I can’t resist mocking. Weird that it dates ca 7,000 years go though, the fundies in question were young earth-ers, ~5,000 years. So even that would prove that much wrong. (I enjoy batting our trolls about, he enjoys doing the same to fundies:) h

  3. Pecunium:

    We can date some buildings by tree rings.

    I literally read this three times, thinking to myself “no, we can’t have romantic relationships with buildings! They’re buildings, not people! I don’t see why their being encircled by trees should make the least bit of difference!”

  4. By localised I mean it covered 170,000 sq miles, and hasn’t receded yet.

  5. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    LBT – ditto about fucking assholes.

    Hope this isn’t oversharing or anything but I really enjoyed reading your blog and learning stuff. It’s partly because it gives me a new perspective on “Okay, what if Mr K is a mental construct rather than the soul of the person who died three hundred years ago?” but mostly because it gives me a totally new perspective on how MPD is not automatically the dreadful awful omgscarystuff we’re commonly given to believe. I really appreciate you putting that info out there just for its own sake.

    lowquacks – argh, all that “alert but not alarmed” BS. Howard’s whole reign was about alarming people about one thing or another. Say, have you ever read Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman novels? They’re set in Melbourne late in the Howard years and the narrator gets in some lovely digs at the gummint. Like saying her cats ran out of the building as fast as if they’d been trapped in a lift all night with Phillip Ruddock talking about refugees.

  6. Well there is a pair of islands in Japan which are married, so I presume buildings can date.

  7. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Viscaria – LOL! I read your comment and thought, “Well why shouldn’t trees and buildings have romantic relationships, dammit?”

  8. Argenti Aertheri

    “Well there is a pair of islands in Japan which are married, so I presume buildings can date.”
    😄 *dies* As for the flood, that’s large, but not impossible. A worldwide flood would require more water than there is on the planet.

    Kitteh — still, my apologies to Mr Kitteh / Louis, guessing is rude/wrong/something-like-that. (Louis or Mr Kitteh? Which do you and he prefer?)

    As for Take The Pill! I apparently need refills >.<

  9. @kittehhelp

    Nope, but I’ll take a look. I think my dad vaguely knows Kerry Greenwood though actually? Maybe? Not sure.

  10. Buildings can date if they want to I guess, though it seems weird to me that humans would date them. But then, I don’t think it would harm the building (like “dating” an animal would harm the animal) so who am I to poo-poo! Tree-ring adjacent building lovers for all!

  11. I thought Quincy market was in Quincy.

    I have a friend who thought Scotland Yard was in Scotland. He was 24.

  12. Argenti Aertheri

    Marrying inanimate objects and building? Yeah, that happens.

  13. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    At least if buildings and trees were dating the fundies wouldn’t get too upset. I mean, it’d be totally platonic.

    Hey, no probs about guessing or names. Mr K or Louis, either is fine. Mr Kitteh is apt because he acts like a cat on occasion, up to and including purring. (Hmm, wonder if there’s some lyrebird in his ancestry?)

    I should pinch what George III and Queen Charlotte did – they called each other Mr King and Mrs King, which I always think’s kinda sweet. :)

  14. RE: Argenti

    It was pretty special. That person was really invested in figuring out what gender we ‘really’ were. She then asked if I was a lesbian. When I reminded her I’d already said I was gay, with a husband, she said that she thought maybe I called my wife a husband to make it easier on my psyche. (???) It was… special.

    RE: Kittehs

    I’m glad you like! We definitely come from a sorta different ballpark than you, but there’re definitely intersections. And putting up our comics and stuff, sometimes it seems to help people. We definitely come from more the trauma model than the spiritual. (How hubby got here just confuses the hell out of me, so I’ve defaulted to, “there is more between heaven and earth than is dreamt of in my philosophy.”)

  15. Dammit, guys, Spinoza got EXCOMMUNICATED for this centuries ago; I thought this was settled!

    Spinoza! I’m kind of a huge Spinoza fanboy because my favourite prof in university was big on Spinoza. Also, I have to admire anyone whose approach to exegesis is “Well, all this stuff is obviously bullshit that didn’t happen, so the best explanation is that the people writing it were kinda stupid.”

  16. RE: Gametime

    My interest in Spinoza is less admirable. Not that many folks got cherems, and I needed to know about it for story reasons. Why people insist on thinking our ancestors were dummies, I’ll never know.

  17. Argenti Aertheri

    “It was pretty special. That person was really invested in figuring out what gender we ‘really’ were. She then asked if I was a lesbian. When I reminded her I’d already said I was gay, with a husband, she said that she thought maybe I called my wife a husband to make it easier on my psyche. (???) It was… special.”

    I don’t even…WTF? Really, wtf? She thought you must be biologically female and thus if you think you’re male but are married and gay you must be delusional about being married to a man and thus really be married to a women who you call a man because it’s easier?!

    I’ve had an “oh right, that’s what’s in your pants” moment, and that sentence I just tried sorting out hurts my head so much more. (Genderqueer dating genderfluid equals confusing sexytimes, and not remotely in the “so how does that work sense”!) Frankly, you and your husband make so much more sense…though his name is the only one I’m blanking on currently! Bad Argenti, go to the corner of shame!

    Love that quote though, particular its Doctor Who appearance (Dickens told The Doctor that about The Doctor’s philosophy…some one really needs to remind 11 of this)

    Kitteh — Louis, around the same time as Guy Fawkes, father’s a king…Louis the 8th? Definitely had some nifty facial hair that one… Wouldn’t that make you Mrs King then?

    Katz — this friend was British I assume? I’ve had fellow Americans ask what country Connecticut is in >.< I could forgive a non-Brit making that mistake, sort of.

  18. American friend. We were playing the game Scotland Yard, the board for which is a map of goddamn London, and he goes “So is this really a map of Scotland?”

  19. Argenti Aertheri

    “American friend. We were playing the game Scotland Yard, the board for which is a map of goddamn London, and he goes “So is this really a map of Scotland?””

    Geography, we Americans are apparently pretty bad at it!

  20. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Argenti – change the Roman numeral V for an X and you’ve got it. Louis XIII, Louis Thirteenth. He became king in 1610, his father was Henri IV (who has also been suckered by Katie, heheheh. My inlaws are way cool these days, though I had decades of side-eyeing them for what they were like then).

    This is a then-and-now pic – the painting was by Philippe de Champaigne. Seeing it in the Louvre was one of my OMGTEARSOMG moments.

  21. @Kittehhelp

    Seeing that name reminds me of seeing it on a ludicrously expansive bottle of brandy named after that monarch in a glass display case at a bottle shop I went to once.

    I didn’t know whether it was technically a Cognac or a Bourbon.

  22. Argenti Aertheri

    Lol, best part here? My search history says Louis XIII, my brain is apparently dumb! Love the beard/goatee/thing! Of course, 17th century French fashion is just stunning in general (social acceptance of men in heels!)

    Today in would be hilarious headlines — King of France attacked by cat!

  23. Argenti Aertheri

    Lowquacks — google says cognac, brain says WTF? That shit looks silly expensive (of course, I drink Jameson’s, so yeah, cheap booze for me!)

  24. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Yeah, I boggle at the price of that stuff too. It’s a type of cognac. Silly thing is it has zip to do with him – I think it was named for the style of bottle, or an actual bottle from around his time. I’ve never asked if he drank that sort of fortified wine at all. I know Normandy cider was his preferred drink then, and he wasn’t a big drinker anyway.:)

  25. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    LOL Argenti! Though it’d be down to a small column on page four by now. “King of France gets bitten by cat for third time this week.”

  26. @Argenti

    17th century French fashion is just stunning in general (social acceptance of men in heels!)

    Indeed it was, though I feel the men got a better deal; the odd necklines and big sleeves on the dresses of the time look simultaneously restrictive and prone to malfunctions.

    Definitely a fan of the mens’ stuff though – my daily outfits tend to involve Cuban heels (not the nifty three-inch mitred ones Louis and court used to wear, and boots rather than pumps, though I totally would wear ones with the Louis heel shape), long hair parted at the side, a handlebar moustache and beard (previously a small one much like Mr Kitteh’s and now the standard full young-hipster thing), blousy shirts, and tightish to very tight pants… no doublets, breeches, ruffs, or frock coats though.

    There’s some really cool and very rock-n-roll silhouettes from the era if you ignore a lot of the slit puffy bits, whether the sleeves on those dresses or the breeches popular at the time.

  27. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Speaking of heels on men, have a look at this tapestry of Louis XIV meeting his soon-to-be wife. Louis’s heels are high and solid, but get a look at his brother Philippe’s right behind him, and a couple of the courtiers – their heels are almost into stiletto territory.

    It was Philippe who did the Highand fling at our place the other night, btw.:)

  28. @kittehs

    Brandy isn’t a fortified wine – fortified wine is a mix of ordinary wine and brandy, basically. I was joking about a cognac being named after a Bourbon monarch. Brandy didn’t exist back then, but I doubt the level of thought and preparation that goes into that stuff did, and the old French grapes would’ve been quite different to modern French grapes grafted with American grapes after the Great French Wine Blight.

  29. Do you have any idea why all the courtiers on the right are in flats? Love the various Bourbons’ shoes – funny, I’d always associated that era with the heels named after some Louis or another, but most of the broader heels there look much like more modern mens’ Cuban heels.

  30. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    I just ADORE men’s clothes from that century, particularly the styles of the 1630s. Falling bands with that rich, rich lace, bucket-top boots, the plumed hats, OMG DIES. Not that Mr King was a fashion leader, anything but, he dressed very plainly whenever he could. It was fascinating watching him play with different styles when we got together. He went slightly 70s for a little while before settling for a basic jeans, tee shirts and lots and lots of knitwear look. Funny thing is I never cared for knitwear, or thought it made a guy look good, but I’ve revised my opinion there.😛

    Geez, lowquacks, I would totally have embarrassed myself staring if I saw you in the street! And then had to go to the Creepy Person’s Corner of Shame.😀😀😀

  31. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Whoops, I misunderstood what I read about cognac! Not to mention missing your pun ::slaps self on forehead::

    The courtiers on the right are Spanish. French and Spanish fashions had diverged sharply by about the 1620s, and this is in 1660.

  32. Argenti Aertheri

    *joins kitteh in the corner of creepy shame*

    And yeah, panniers look down right painful. Or I guess, those things that became panniers, not sure what they were called in the 17th century.

    “It was Philippe who did the Highand fling at our place the other night, btw.”

    Not in those shoes I hope! That seems downright dangerous!

  33. Spaniards definitely lost the plot on shoes then, though the plainer/more natural hair is nice. I assumed the possibly the contingent on the right were poorer or of lower status, hence a less dressed-up appearance, or they’d just arrived and were in riding/outdoors gear rather than court gear.

  34. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Yeah, that woman’s shoe from the 1760s is more what I’d think of as a Louis heel, much more exaggerated in its curve. Did you get the pic from the Wiki page? It says there that the heel’s shape developed over that century.

    It looks like the exaggerated height came in with stepson’s reign, too. Certainly boots and shoes had lower (though not low) and very chunky heels earlier, as here: http://s229.beta.photobucket.com/user/LouisLouise/media/CouronneparVictoire2_zps68150f14.png.html

  35. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    LOL no, he didn’t try it in those shoes!

    I think they still called those types of frames farthingales, then, in English, anyway. The French could hardly help tittering at the Spanish fashions; they were like a throwback to the sort of thing their grandparents wore. The English court had the same reaction when Catherine of Braganza arrived from Portugal a couple of years later. I wonder what they’d have all thought if they could look ahead to see what their own granddaughters and great-granddaughters would be wearing? For all its beautiful materials and workmanship, this court mantua is possibly one of the ugliest historical fashion items I’ve ever seen. I call it the sofa dress.

  36. Yeah, that’s from the wiki page. Young Mr Kitteh has a definite glam-frontier-cowboy vibe going on in that picture – crop it just below the armour and just above the Latin and you could definitely mistake that for an Old West scene! Love that even plate armour gets little lacey bits too, though I scarcely imagine that suit was commissioned for actual combat.

  37. And that angel demonstrates my point about dresses of the time being of a neckline and sleeve design uniquely prone to malfunction!

  38. Lol’d at the mantua. Loved reading about Mme. Leconte – dad’s side of my family were probably a little less rich than that but were Huguenots who left France at around the same time and ended up mostly in lace-making and other arts and crafts in the Midlands.

    if that sort of embroidery’s in my blood somewhere it could explain my loud shirts/Liberty of London obsession.

  39. Argenti Aertheri

    “…I call it the sofa dress.”

    What is that abomination?!

    And thank goodness about the shoes, I can walk in 4″+ stilettos but I wouldn’t try dancing in them! (Gender neutral heels really would make me happy, I’m short!)

  40. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    ROFL about the Victory and her dress malfunction! I always like the fact that Louis is looking away from her. Of course he needs to be looking at the viewer, but he got really squicky about low-cut dresses in general.

    Love glam-frontier-cowboy. That’s not a phrase I’ll forget in a hurry.

    Yeah, I would imagine the armour he’s actually wear in battle would have been a bit plainer, though I’m not sure how often he’d have needed to wear 3/4 armour at all. He was only in one battlefield-type battle, to the best of my knowledge; mostly the fighting in France was siege warfare, and I’d imagine he was in a pot-and-back over a buffcoat for the most part. Now that’s one sexy lot of fighting gear.

    I’ve got the coolest video that the Royal Armouries put out in the 1980s, called How a Man Schall Be Armyd. It shows the process of putting on 16th century full plate armour – a reproduction, I presume – and also just how flexible and easy to wear it was for a man trained to it from youth. It also shows what a load of twaddle the ideas that a man in armour couldn’t get up if knocked down, or mount his own horse, or that his horse was like a Clydesdale, were. The horse they used for this was a heavy hunter type.

    The thing I really like about that video (well, another thing) is that it shows not only how easy it was to put armour on someone, but how easy it was to take it off …😉

  41. What’s a pot-and-back? Everything I can find seems to be about smoking weed to relieve back pain, adding quotes just gets a bunch of out-of-context stuff, and adding “armour” after just narrows that down to far fewer irrelevant results.

  42. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Back and breast plates. I think it was the slang of the time.

  43. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Lookit what I found! I was chasing pics from the Musee de l’Armee in Paris and found this – armour made for Louis when he was about eight or nine.

  44. I know I would’ve loved that at age 8, and know quite a few other people who would’ve! Probably not as exciting if you know you’ll have to wear the real thing and be in danger of actual warfare eventually.

  45. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Oh, he was champing at the bit to go a-soldiering. He was learning to use guns from early childhood and was the first major gun collector – his collection’s scattered but still identifiable. He’d been brought up in the expectation of being a soldier like his father, and didn’t change once he experienced it; he loved being on campaign and kept to it even at the end of his earthly life when his health had almost collapsed. There was one time when he was about twelvish, I think, when one of his half-brothers started a rebellion (total fizzer as most of ’em were) and Louis fought a losing battle with the people in his household – doctor, tutors and the like – to be allowed to sleep with his helmet on.


  46. Argenti Aertheri

    Oh great, the cat’s investigating my 55 gallon tank whil the fish have breakfast, this is about to get interesting >.<

  47. Not acceptance of of such shoes, created by/for men.

    Cognac isn’t fortified wine,it’s distilled: whisk(e)y/brandy are the same drink, one from beer, the other from wine.

    It was invented in Holland, ca, 1300s, so it was extant by the time of Louis XVIII.

  48. “Not acceptance of of such shoes, created by/for men.” — I’m short! I want to wear heels without in being a statement of gender, just fashion!

    Not sure where Louis XVIII came into this, did you combine my idiocy with VIII and the proper XIII? (Though, technically, VIII + XIII = XXI)

  49. Gah…. I am still ear-plugged. I meant XIII.

    Louis XVIII was the last of a long line (the Capetians were the longest unbroken royal line in Europe… 900 years, or so, one has a lot to keep track of).

    Mea culpa.

  50. RE: Argenti

    Yeah, that person was pretty interesting to talk to. Then again, he whole thing was that multiplicity didn’t exist, and ergo I didn’t exist, and therefore to accept my existence was to DISRESPECT ME, no matter how pissy I got about her misgendering me and constantly telling me I was a “personality.”

    Also DEAR GOD that’s what a mantua is! I knew those kind of dresses, but never knew the name for them. Fucking HIDEOUS. (Then again, one of my random sadnesses is that due to my complete disinterest in fashion, my medieval Jewish story, when it eventually becomes a comic, will be completely uninteresting to fashion mavens. If only I were more of a clotheshorse.)

  51. You’ve probably tried it already, but soak a cotton ball in oil (I use olive oil) and stick it in your ear. YMMV.

    Good luck!

  52. LBT — sounds “fun” alright! Next time you get called a personality you could just retort with how you at least have a personality, seems like thee assholes could stand to grow one!

  53. I am plugged because my a eustachian tube is inflamed/clogged.

    I did the peroxide and hot water pressure wash. My ears are clear of wax (though I have narrow ear canals, and pretty heavy cerum, so I have to be careful with things like earplugs).

  54. Idk if it’s a viable idea given your previous nearly SJS scare, but NSAIDs should help inflamed anything. But definitely into things you know already territory, sorry!

  55. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    “LBT — sounds “fun” alright! Next time you get called a personality you could just retort with how you at least have a personality, seems like thee assholes could stand to grow one!”

    Seconding that!

    Pecunium – that’s a total bummer about that ear inflammation.😦 Thanks for the info on cognac, I did a minimal search yesterday and was under the impression it was only coming about in the early 1600s in the Netherlands. Certainly time for Louis to have known it either way.

    LBT – mantuas actually started as much more comfortable garments, essentially like a very long kimono or dressing gown, in Louis XIV’s reign. Court dress for women had a rigid bodice, low cut all around so very restricting on arm movement, and the mantua was an informal garment for private wear – you’d still have a corset on but it was still much more comfortable. It took off as a fashion item and the shape just changed along with whatever shapes the skirt was taking – dome-shaped or flattened hoops during the 18th century. Full formal court dress tended to fossilise fashion rather than lead it, by then, especially if the monarch(s) weren’t much into fashion. Probably the daftest example is late in George III’s reign, when fashions were of the Empire style – the very high-waisted, narrow dresses (think Jane Austen). Queen Charlotte insisted that hoops still had to be worn for formal occasions, so you’ll see pictures of women in hoops that spread out from right under the breast, because that’s where the fashionable waistline was. Reeeally bad look.

  56. Kitteh’s: With the discovery of distillation (probably Arabic, but perhaps parallel), in the 1100-1200s, most of the basic distilled drinks (whisk(e)y, cognac, grappa, arack) were discovered in short order.

    The increased variety (rum, cachaça Cynar, pai-chu {one of the harsher drinks of widespread fame… we called it, “Essence of Burning Village” before we learned its name} tequila, potato vodka, et al), is just people taking expertise to see what else could be fermented.

    As a rule, of it can be fermented (somehow) someone will distill it.

    Somethings shouldn’t be fermented, much less distilled (my list of those things includes artichokes and blue agave), but each persons list of those things will be different.

  57. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    I don’t even want to think about fermented or distilled artichokes!😀

  58. There is a liquer, Cynar, which is quite popular in Armenia, and environs, which is distilled from them. Looks like Nyquil.

  59. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    ::does quick Google of Nyquil::


  60. So, the flood I was talking about, was the infilling of the Black Sea. When it took off the shoreline moved about three miles a day, and it took at least a month to stabilise on the southern side (one of the other things which came of that flood was probably the arrival of Indo-European to the area which is now Ukraine.

  61. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    I’ve read about that one too. There was also an interesting article recently about the loss of what they call Doggerland, in what’s now the North Sea (the area is named after the present-day Dogger Bank). There was far more land there during the Ice Age, a bigger area than the UK and Ireland combined, stretching up to Norway. The land was slowly inundated as the climate changed, and about 8200 years ago, a huge release of water from a North American glacial lake, and a tsunami from a submarine landslide off Norway flooded what was left of it.

  62. Why people insist on thinking our ancestors were dummies, I’ll never know.

    I mean, it seems pretty justifiable in Spinoza’s case, given that he was writing commentary on things that literally do not make sense, like that whole bit with the sun standing still. There are parts of the Bible that are just entirely inexplicable except in the context of misunderstanding.

    But it’s definitely true that people underestimate how advanced our understanding of things was even thousands of years ago.

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