Saturday, June 30, 2012

We are too cute!

Now if you came across these cuties, wouldn't you AWWWW...?

Lydia and I brought Anastasia and Ilyana out to Egils Tourney for the day on Saturday that weekend. They saw many sights, tasted grass, ran after puppies... and refused to nap. But they were cute! This picture was take by someone who didn't know them, but thought that they were cute. And they were, in their little tunics, coats, and caps.

Here Ilyana is checking out the food Miriam is putting out on the table. (I think that pot was the black-eyed peas.) Sorry Ilyana, that mead is not for little girls!

Anastasia climbed into Mistress Yseult's pretty chair, and then couldn't get out. Her mommy is working on that... Meanwhile, Ilyana is wearing her HEY! face.

The day was interesting, but Lydia and I decided that unless their daddy could come along with (and we had a second porta-crib), they were really too little still. Maybe next year.

We had a lovely feast (though the girls weren't interested. They spent most of the day overstimulated), and I took notes on several dishes.

I did another feast at June Investiture for the new Prince and Princess, and the Crown Princess was also a guest. I was too busy cooking and serving to get pictures, sadly. I did get a couple of shots of the investiture:

Aaron and Telisia. She made their clothes, and they were lovely. She's asked me to make her step-down garb.I'm looking forward to that.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I have the most wonderful granddaughters EVAR!

So I went last week and visited ze little girlieez. We did many things. We even went to lunch!
<--- there they are in their chariot, two little princesses!

Here is Anastasia at the table, waiting for her macaroni and cheese with ham bits. Her sister was goofing around too much and I couldn't get her to sit still for a picture.

Here they are at the park with their mommy, bouncing on the bouncy thing.

And playing another round of "...HEY! DON'T EAT THAT!"

Bouncy bouncy bouncy!

I'm told that they eventually sleep.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Call it by another name,


Beginning on April 4:

-Wilfried Merki at (return mail just says "Have a business suggestion for you Please if you are capable of maintaining confidentiality and standing as the next of Kin to a late partner please do get bck to me so i could give you more details"

Well, there goes confidentiality... :-) has a 3% loan opportunity for me, if I'll only click on the handy link... hmm... anyone got some bug spray?

-Mrs Malak Ali at (return mail says that she has a bank transaction that she needs a foreigner to transact, and she'll give me 30% of $6.2 Million dollars if I'll help her: " by indicating your interest on assurance of trust, i will send you the full details and how this business will be executed.

Please keep this proposal as a top secret between both of us because the secret of this transaction is as well as the success of it, and if you are really sure of your integrity, trustworthy and confidentiality reply back to me immediately to prove your integrity, And if you are not interested about this business delete it immediately in your email box.

I will be looking forward for your urgent response

Regards, in sincerity,
Mrs Malak Ali. (BOA)
My private contact number: +22674861084.

...Guess what! I'm not interested! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! (Wait, that sounds a bit like Dr Bronner...)

-Mr LAMIDO SANUSI at (return mail writes to tell me that his bank has some part of $10 Million in an unclaimed fund for me, but: "yesterday two foreigners (Mr. Tim Parker and Mr. Rowland Gulf) visited my office in your stead to inform me that they are your Representatives from United State,whom you send to collecting your Funds for you. We in this Bank do not understand why you sent these men to come and Collect your Funds on your behalf. If actually you want them to help you Collect your Inheritance Bill Sum,at least you should have informed me as the Executive Governor of this Bank. They actually tendered some Vital Documents which Proved that you actually sent them for the Collection of this Funds. Honestly, it really baffles me that you took such decision without my consent. Here are the Document which they tender to this Bank today:1. LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION.2. HIGH COURT INJUNCTION.3. ORDER TO RELEASE.Actually, these Documents which they tendered to this Noble Bank is a clear Proof that you sent them to Collect this Funds for you. Finally,I told them to come back tomorrow morning and they promised to come back.As the Governor of this Noble Bank, I was supposed to Release this Funds to them but I refused to do so because I wanted to hear from you first.Due to the Nature of my job, I will not want to make any mistake in Releasing this Funds to anyone except you whom is the Recognized Bonafide Beneficiary to this Funds.Kindly clarify us on this issue before we make this Payment to these foreigners whom came on your behalf. In receipt of this confidential Letter, you are required to email this Bank immediately you receive this Confidential Letter.OFFICIALLY SIGNED.MR LAMIDO SANUSI.GOVERNOR CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA

Ah, so Mr Vito and Mr Guido did not convince you, hmm Mr Lamido? Ah, dose kneecaps look so purty... would hate for sumfin ta happen to them...

-Helen Williams at writes saying that she is Mrs Sarah Henson, a widow dying of cancer, and she has a charitable offer worth 22 million pounds. I just have to write her by clicking the linky... looks legit, right?

-I might have won money in a lotto draw, according to They'll be drawing on April 7th. Oh, I'm so excited! I can hardly wai- er... I guess I didn't win. :-(

-Oh dear! Mrs Tracy Williams at (return mail is dying of cancer and has just pots of money! "I am a dying woman who have decided to donate this money to a reliable individual that will use this US$10.5M[Ten Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollar] to build orphanage home,help the poor and less privilege." I just have to contact her, at yet another email address, to set this up. But hurry, because she's having another surgery and she's not expected to survive!

Well, bollocks. I let it sit in my inbox and now it's probably too late. *snif!* Those poor and less privilege! Well, maybe Mitt Romney will help them out?

April 5:

-Oh my! Mr Lamido Sanusi again! This time writing from (return mail, and he says "Attention beneficiary, this is to notify you that your diplomat JOHN BENARD has now arrive with your cash consignment box loaded with $usd1.5m at John .F.Kennedy international airport new york city, United State of America from Dr.sanusi lamido the Executive Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.Contact him now with your full Name home and address also your valid phone number through his email ( for the release of your fund and also to give you more details about your fund.


Wow! At JFK! I suppose Annie or Phil could go pick it up for me, right? Poor John Benard. He's only been sitting there in Arrivals for two weeks. Maybe they should take him a sammich.

-Mr John Williams at says that thanks to my diligence, he has that money for me! "I have left a certified international bank draft for you worth of (USD$1.800,000) cashable anywhere in the world for your compensation. Contact: Ms. VIVIAN OBASI my secretary in Nigeria. Her email address is: Therefore you should send her your full Name... and telephone number.../your current address... where you want her to send the draft to you. Presently I'm in INDIA for investment projects,Thanks and God bless you. (Senate President) JOHN E WILLIAMS."

If I've helped him diligently, doesn't he already have my name?

-Reginard Adams of Millvahills Madson Land Pack UK at (return mail has a bank draft of $800,000 waiting for me in a FedEx office in West Africa. I just have to pay some fees, etc... Cool. Just take it out of that check, will you Reg?

-MRS. MANUELA JOHNSON. (DIRECTOR OF ONLINE LOTTO AND GAMING CORPORATION) informs me AGAIN that my email was drawn to WIN WIN WIN! I have until April 20 to claim it. That is, if I keep it confidential.

No big party? Dang.

April 6:

-Mr. Hyo Keun Lee writes from (return mail is a humble Korean oil man who left Libya (keep up with me here) for my country. "I have US$3,000.000 ( Three Million United States Dollars) for investment purpose. I want you to receive this fund on my behalf and invest on a profitable business venture on an agreed terms. If you are interested I will offer you 35% of US$3,000.000. please get back to me with the following details.
A. A Beneficiary name and contact address, in order for me to prepare the document for transfer of the funds in your name.
B. Direct Telephone.
C. Age and occupation."

Dude, NOBODY gets my age that easy... claims to be the FBI in Washington DC (hey, there might be more than one!) and they're informing me that I won the lotto! They just need $96 for some fees, and I should "CONTACT AGENT NAME: Mr Henry Ben
PHONE NUMBER: +22996499818

You will be required to e-mail him with the following information:


In Italy? At that number?
. . . maybe I'll ask J. Edgar. I'll have to dig him up first of course...

-Mirian Awad at (return mail wants to be very good friends! Would I please send her a picture! How about I send her the same picture on my Facebook, yes?

-Well, Barrister Chong Ng Lee at (return mail Has some money left in a bank account by someone with my last name, and he wants to give it to me as next of kin. Really? And not my ex? I would think he's nexter of kin...

-Mr Louis at (return mail claims to be Sir.Paschal Ed Coordinator Online Promo Programmed at UK NATIONAL FREELOTTO INC, and is happy to tell me that I've won 850,000 Pounds, and would I please contact Mrs Elaine for details. Right. I'll also ask her why no one in their office can write the Queen's English properly?

April 7: has a business offer worth $30.5M. Short and sweet. And the answer is still no.

-Hubba hubba! Janet at says "Hellooooo

It is a pleasure to fond your profile on the web that seemed interesting so I decided to know more by sending you a message.I'm Janet McDavis a brilliant lady, full of emotion.

I love people for who they are and not for what they are not.So here is my personal profile if you wish.

Name: Janet McDavis


Height: 174 cm 5 '6?

Weight: 60 kg 148 pounds

Size: 24 "

Eyes: blue

Hair: blonde



Language: English and French



Admin, eh? Hope you're not in proofreading.

-Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde at (return mail says I've been scammed! Oh no! But he adds: "This mail is been directed to you because your email address was found in one of the scam Artists file and computer hard disk in our custody here in Nigeria. You are therefore being compensated with $2.5 Million Dollars. Who claims that they are barristers/bank officials Lottery Agents who has money for transfer or want you to be the next of kin of such funds which do not exist.

Since your name appeared among the beneficiaries who will receive a compensation of $2.5 Million we have arranged your payment through our swift card payment center, Feel free to contact the processing officer Mr. Mark D Law the swift card has been specially prepared to enable you withdraw your money in any ATM machine in any part of the world, but the maximum is Five Thousand Dollars Only per day."

I just have to send them a bunch of personal information- including PINs, and of course a fee to release the ATM card.

Let me guess- the 'you've been scammed' was precog, and not a statement of fact?

Enough for tonight. More of this exciting stuff later!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some musings on fertility and the 'place' of women-

I was just browsing through a bunch of photos of various historical 'fertility objects' when it struck me how so many of them had malformed or completely unformed faces. Sexual characteristics are in full display- huge breasts, small waists, wide hips, and occasionally lewdly displayed pudenda. Yet so many are faceless. Even headless. It's really eerie.

In a tribal, primitive society, thousands of years ago, representing women without faces might not have seemed strange. Their role was to produce and nurture children. There really was no place for them outside of it. They were merely vehicles, vessels. What did they need faces for?

I'm not sure that things have changed that much. Earlier last week Mitt Romney, heir presumptive to the GOP throne, was huffily defending his wife after a Democratic operative suggested that his wife, Ann, knows nothing about today's women because she's never worked a day in her life. Well, the op was likely right, though she went about it the wrong way. However, Mitt's response was to say that his wife worked very hard raising their family, and that he thought that we should honor women who make the choice to stay home with their children.


He turned around only a day or two later and said (I'm heavily paraphrasing here- I just finished a rather strong beer) that poor mothers should get up off their fat asses and go to work and that the children of those who don't will grow up to be lazy pigs.

Or maybe I'm not so heavily paraphrasing...

It seems that respecting the 'choice' to stay home only applies if you are wealthy. If you are poor- too bad.

Which brings us to my next point. Pull back the curtain and TA-DA! "The status of women is directly related to their degree of control over their fertility."

All things being equal, the #1 factor affecting economic security in a woman's life is her age and marital status when her first child is born. Her ability to postpone that event until she is done with her education, has established a career, and has a social/familial base to raise a child in (face it- guys don't always stick around), makes all the difference in her life for the next couple of decades. And in that of her child too- having a stable home and enough to eat matters a lot!

Being able to postpone or prevent a pregnancy is paramount in this. Not being able to prevent a pregnancy means that any time a woman has sex, consensual or not, she runs the risk of changing the path of her life and the choices she's offered in it. And if she doesn't want a child, and gets pregnant, well, I can offer you a choice of ketchup or mustard to go with it, but a shit sandwich is still full of it...

So, one might think that contraceptives would be pretty high on anyone's list, even if only for the purpose of raising the socio-economic levels of the children of our society. Well, you might be wrong.

"I don't think it works. I think it's harmful to women. I think it's harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young. And I think we've very, very harmful longterm consequences to our society. Birth control to me enables that, and I don't think it's a healthy thing for our country."

"The whole sexual libertine idea; many in the Christian faith have said, well, that’s OK, contraception is OK. It’s not OK, because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

Both of these came out of the mouth of Rick Santorum, former presidential candidate. He apparently thinks that controlling their own bodies is harmful to women, that timing their pregnancies hurts our society, AND THAT ANYTHING BUT PROCREATIVE SEX IS WRONG.

If that's the case, then God need only have made it simple instinct, like the animals. Only get the urge when the time is right, yes? But he didn't. He made it fun. Which tells me that it was meant to be recreational as well as re-creational. So Mr Santorum can go pee up a rope.

Things is, women are more than the sum of their parts. We're more than our lady bits, and we're more than our brains. Yeah- brains. We've got some of those too, and I'd guess that we wouldn't have them if God didn't think they were necessary...

We're not hunter-gatherers anymore. We have brains. AND WE HAVE FACES. And we aren't going back.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spamitty spam!

So it's time to clean out the old mailbox! And what to we have here? A great deal of spiced meat product!

on March 28-

-two pleas for 'assistance' from Mr Kim Wong at (return mail at in Malaysia, with a novel offer. Apparently Mr Kim Wong is an artist in the textiles industry, and has a good business going, but finds that Americans always want to pay him in cash or checks (!) and he has difficulty with this, and wonders if I'm be interested in a business opportunity of cashing checks and then sending him money orders...

Odd. Isn't that called money laundering? Think I'll pass.

-A Mr Gregg Isaac at (return mail at has for me a " PAYMENT OF ($5,8M) TWO MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS THROUGH SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTER ASIA PACIFIC", via ATM card. After, of course, I send them a bunch of information, including my NAME... funny, if they have this money for me, how can it be that they don't have my full name?

-Mr Morris Campos at (return mail has a similar offer for me, but this time the "ATM Card worth of $1.3m has less than Seven days to expire"! He has helpfully paid some fees to keep it from expiring so far, and would I please recompense him for them? As soon as I do that he'll see to it that the card is sent to me. Of course he does need some information, such as my NAME... uh, maybe not.

-Mrs Liza Wong at, who is still holding $8.5 million from the estate of "a billionaire Business Mogul Late Mr. Moises Saba Masri, a Jew
from Mexico who was a victim of a helicopter crash since 2006 year" (Since? You mean it's still crashing? Oh my!) and she's willing to share it 60/40. of course, I need to provide a deposit for the transaction process, and they need my NAME...

March 29-

-An Interpol agent (!!!) named Scott Iverson, at (He has the worst grammar I've ever seen from an Interpol representative.) Apparently something has happened with IMF debt relief, and someone is holding $6.5 million dollars for me. (That would certainly relieve a lot of my debt! It might even cover my student loans!) They money is being held in HSBC Bank (odd, that's who Liza Wong works for. I wonder if she knows anything about this?) but "Meanwhile those people that you have been dealing with are not from the right office, they are only using you to make money for their own benefit. You are therefore warned to stop any further communication with whosoever that you have been dealing with." Ahh... I see... and of course, he needs some information, including my NAME...

-Brigadier General Nana Tennyson at (return mail says that some smugglers were caught with some lotto funds that were supposed to have gone to me, but were being stolen by them. Apparently my name was on the labels. All I have to do to have these funds released to me is to provide them with some information, including my NAME...

-Larisa Sosnitskaya at (return mail needs help with "partnership in re-profiling funds in the amount of US$46 Million" that may or may not have been legally appropriated from the Yukos Oil Company in Russia. All I have to do is open an account with their offshore bank, and then they will let me 20% of the money they move through it. Great deal, right? Oh, and Please keep this confidential as we cannot afford more political problems.


Well, it seems that they don't have my NAME, so I ok, right?

-Mrs Helena Johnson at writes to tell me that somehow there is a package waiting for me at a FedEx in West Africa. They say they didn't open it, but were told that it contains a bank draft worth $750,000.00. They'll be happy to ship it, but I have to pay various and sundry fees and charges involved. And of course I have to provide them with some information, including my NAME...

March 30-

-Wow! An email from (return mail says: "Congratulation for your name were among the list to be paid us$6,220,550 compensation payment.View this website to know more about me: will tell you what to do to receive your payment without further delays immediately i hear from you."

You know, it warms my heart to see that so many people in Africa know my name and want to give me money. If only that happened here!

March 31- says that my email account has exceeded the storage limit, and I needed to go to this website (not repeating the URL here, as I'm not entirely stupid) to reactivate it. Well, I might fall for that if I had an email account at RSU, but I don't. And I download stuff from the server, so it would be hard to exceed storage anyway. Come to think of it, how would going to a website change the storage limit?

-Raymond Taylor at (return mail sent me a densely-packed email with no paragraph breaks. Very hard to read. (I HATES DEM, I DOES.) He claims to be the son of Charles Taylor, who was caught trying to leave Nigeria. Raymond has some $600 Million dollars he needs to get out of the country, and would I please help him? Gosh, he didn't ask for my name. Maybe I should write him back?

April 1-

-Yay! I won the Yahoo Lottery! I got mail from the Vice President of the Yahoo! Lotto Org., at (return mail saying that I'd been chosen from among a number of international emails to win one million dollars! They have my numbers- Ticket number.....................154-12872774-09
Serial number.......................21370-7
Lucky number...................27-50-23-94-66-40
Ref number...................Y.TILB/6362362114/26

but they need info from me, such as my sex and marital status, occupation, NAME... Hey, if they have my email from something I sent, they have my name already...

-Poor Raymond Taylor is still begging for my help...

-Mrs Kim James at has some really great online loans for me. Looks legit. Just one question- if you don't pay up, do they break your keyboard?

-WOW!!! I got mail from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, at (return mail and he says that my name came up on a list of contractors in West Africa (but of course!) and they have $2.5 Million dollars waiting for me! But wait- there's more! "However, it is our pleasure to inform you that your ATM Card Number; 5428 0500 1100 4432 has been approved and upgraded in your favour. Your pin number is: 2020."

Great. Just great, dude. Give away the bank, willya?

Oh, and he needed my name too...

April 2-

-from comes a message from Richard J. Reagan (return mail who tells me that they are working to privatize the four (four?) International Airports in Nigeria, and in the process they need to move US$48,231,000 out of the country. Would I please help? They'll give me 30% of it, out of the goodness of their hearts. All they need is: (1)Your company name and full addresses, Telephone and Fax Number (2)Your bank's name, Address, phone and fax number, Account name and Account Number, also your Bank Swift Code, IBAN or ABA Numbers.

Right. And do you have some oceanfront property in Arizona? I think I'll be needing some of that too!

-Oh, Poor Princess Fatima in Libya, still needing my help! Guess she'll have to wait some more.

-Dr Abiola Richard, at (return mail, who has an unclaimed inheritance fund left by an American named John Richardson. He's figured out how to claim it, and will split it 55/45 with me if I'll help him. All he needs is my:


What's a 'routine' number? Is that like a bad habit?

April 3-

-SHELL FEDERAL CREDIT UNION at (return mail has great loan offers! I'll pass- they smell like sharks. Or seafood of some sort at least.

-from comes a plea for help, from Ghana. It seems that he lost a reelection bit for his senate seat, and needs help getting $19,500,000 out of the country... he provided a weblink for me to go to for more information (for this 'private and sensitive transaction' that he needed to do through a foreigner so it couldn't be traced- and he sets up a weblink?). I'd bet he wants my name there...

-The United Nations Investigations Office writes from (return mail "Dear Funds Beneficiary

I am Mrs Joan Melvin by name, a United Nations senior investigation officer. The UN Director has instructed me to investigate your inheritance contract sum of $2.5 million united states dollars that you were supposed to have received on the 15th of Nov, 2011.

The affiliated paying bank is HSBC BANK and from my findings, i was convinced that your wire transfer did not get to you due to the corrupt officers at the paying bank you were dealing with. In fact, it was revealed that you were frustrated by the top officials of the bank, at the end you gave up.

I am here today to inform you that your funds is 100% legitimate. You did not receive your funds because you tried to claim it through the wrong channel/process. The only fee you are legally required to pay before receiving your funds is $480 Usd which is a fee required for your FINAL RELEASE ORDER before your funds could be transferred to you.

You must get back to me immediately by completing the requested information Below:

FULL NAMES: :.........
EMAIL ADDRESS:........."

I have to admit, this was a new one. I wonder if she's talked to the Secretary-General about this?

Must note- they sent me an email requesting my email address. (return mail says that I have won on million Euros from ONLINE LOTTO AND GAMING CORPORATION! I just can't tell anyone about it. Cool. Fine by me. :-)

That's enough for tonight, kiddies. More next time!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


These two little goofballs are coming home on April 1st!

In other news, Phil and Annie are flying out on the 5th, to make Mad Planz for the wedding in September. Much running around town and planning stuff, including dress fitting. Busy busy busy!

And on to the fun: the Spam Report!

March 15:

-a 'loan offer' from at 'Ascent Global Finance AGFi International'. (what domain is at 'vc'?)

- a notification of money to recompense scam victims, from (_Mr_ Joan?), at the 'OBAMA FOUNDATION'. Really! From Obama! Of course I will send him my bank information! :-)

- a notification that I'm an 'email winner!', from It seems that my email was drawn at random for the UK NATIONAL LOTTERY PROMO. Riiiiight. A reply to of course, with a bunch of my personal info...

March 16:

- a duplicate of the UK lottery post. In case I deleted the first one, I suppose?

- a duplicate of the Obama Foundation post. The President is nothing if not persistent!

- from, from a bank official in Nigeria who wants to give me $1.8 million dollars for my past efforts to assist him, if I'll contact his secretary at, with my personal info, of course. It seems he has a new partner in India who is helping him out. Uh-huh...

- from Duke Gyan at, with a reply email at (Uraguay? This is a new one.) He is "a politician and a previous member of Ghana's executive committee on contract awards.

My purpose of connecting you is to crave your indulgence to assist me in securing some funds abroad for safe keeping which I incidentally kept to help me finance my senatorial elections campaign under the party umbrella of National Patriotic Party (NPP) this year December 2012". It seems he has some kickback funding from China and Malaysia that he wants to hide abroad, and is willing to cut me off a chuck of it if I'll help him. Would I please give him my bank info so he can make the deposit? Oh, but of course I'll help smuggle funding out of the country! It is what I live for!

On March 17:

- another loan offer from

- Whoa! The offer of a BMW from someone at From an email lottery that I've never heard of. They even offer a phone number to call and verify! Yes, I'll call +447024016394... wait, where is that? And do they really want to give me a BMW in exchange for a bunch of personal info?

- a Dr Raymond CH'IEN Kuo Fung at (return address: is a bank official- "There is the sum of $550,000.000.00 in my bank, there were no Beneficiaries stated concerning these funds which means no one would ever come forward to claim it and That is why I am asking that you be my partner and we work together as partners so as to have the sum transferred out of my bank into Your Account." Why, how generous of him! "Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue. Once the funds have been transferred from my Bank to your Nominated Bank Account,We shall then share in the ratio of 60% for me, 40% for you." And he has a website where I can confirm this, at Of course, he needs to know my personal info, as well as " Your Level Of Investment". Oddly, I don't think I'm interested in this offer...

- a MRS SUSAN ABDEL-HALIM at (return address: is a widow with cancer and no heirs. She has a substantial amount of money in a London bank, and " I want this muslim organisation or individual to use this money in all sincererity to fund mosques, orphanages,widows and also propagating the word of ALLAH and to ensure that the society upholds the views and beliefs of the holy Quran." She doesn't want the money to fall into the hands of her family, who are Christians, and she wants me to help her hide it overseas... Hmm... think I'll give it to the Diocese...

- a letter from Mr Dom May at (return He has "funds total US$7.5 Million and you were made the beneficiary of these funds
by a benefactor whose details will be revealed to you after handing over the
funds to you in accordance with the Agreement I signed with thebenefactor when
he enlisted my assistance in delivering the funds to you." Funny, I don't remember discussing an inheritance with him.

- another note from Raymond CH'IEN Kuo Fung. Hmm. Must have slipped my mind.

- another note from Duke Gyan, who is apparently still unemployed.

- yet another note from Raymond CH'IEN Kuo Fung, who still wants to give me money.

March 19:

- Wow! Mrs. Suha Tawil Arafat, the wife of Yasser Arafat, at (return address: She says that "Since the death of my husband I have been humiliated by the present leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. I have been subjected to physical torture." And of course there's secret money hidden abroad and she wants my help... and please to reply at Gee, she has a lot of email addresses. How does she keep up with all that spam?

- wow, loans at 3% from! (return address at I've never heard of the J.M.C. Loan Finance Company. Have you?

- another loan offer from Ascent Global Finance AGFi International

March 20:

- from (return address: "The treasury directorate division of the UK Financial Monetary Service
Authority writes to inform you that we have credit advice documentary
evidence in your favor to authorize the release of
GBP3,500,000.00(Three Million Five hundred Thousand Pounds Only) to
you being an outstanding payment accrued interest on your
contract/inheritance payment." Hmm. why does HM Treasury London
1 Horse guards Road, London
SW1A 2HQ; London UK have a return address in Japan?

- a Miss Liza Wong ( have an inheritance for me from a billionaire Business Mogul Late Mr. Moises Saba Masri, a Jew
from Mexico. Of course, this $8.5 "can be paid to your account.this transaction will be share 60/40 by both of us". Not a bad split, eh?

March 21:

- from, a Powerball Lottery with a return address of: has an attachment for me to open to contact them for my claim. Right, accompanied by your virus...

- Oh no! Princess Fatima from Libya needs my help! Email (return address: She has US$7.1m left by her father, in a secret fund, and she needs my help transferring it... Gee, a Princess! She wants me to contact her at, to her her get the money out of Ghana. I never knew that Ghana had such a thriving banking industry!

- and Google has an office in Lagos, Nigeria, email address (return address: They have $500,000 dollars for me just for using Chrome! I received this on email I read using Thunderbird, and I'm currently typing this on Firefox...

- Well! A Yahoo! office in Bangkok (, return address: has$1 millon dollar prize for me! My "fund is now deposited with our Bank/Security Bangkok Bank of Thailand and insured in your name. Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award from public notice until your claim has been processed". Fair enough. I just have to contact to verify all of my information. Hmm. Why are all of the reply addresses in Hong Kong?

- Mr Raymond Kuo Fung , Executive Chairman, Hang Seng Bank wrote me from, which showed up ion my as from lydia- which I'd thought was from my daughter. Well, he has $550,000.000.00 for me if I'll invest in his trust. Return address is Huh. Haven't I already gotten something from Hang Seng Bank? I seem to remember that the other offers were better.

March 22:

- a personal memo from (return address: Someone who did not offer a name "won a Jackpot Lottery of 318 million dollars($318 million)
and have voluntarily decided to donate the sum of 159 million
dollars ($159 million) last year to 100 people as part of a charity
project to improve a lot of 100 unknown lucky individuals all over the
world." They'll give me $1 million pounds if I'll go to this web address to verify: Wow. Grace of God? That's a new one.

- the BBC FINANCE DEPARTMENT at (return address: has £18,000,000.00 for me as a lottery promotion part of the 2012 Olympic Games. Gee! I wonder if it would cover tickets to the Games?

March 23:

- an American soldier in Libya writes from (return address: that he and two buddies found $32million dollars hidden in "Muammar Ghadafi's secret house" and he wants to give me $7 million if I'll send him contact info. Hmm. Why would an American want to route money through Russian conduits?

March 24:

- Mr.Zuman Balanji writes from (return address: "We have concluded to effect of your payment through western union $5,000. Daily
until the total sum of $9,500,000.00 is completely transfered. The Western
union Agent: is Mr.Yoyo Babayalian." Cool. Although, I don't remember sending anyone $5000. "But you will not be able to pick it due to that your transfer was stopped by
the I.M.F demanding tax clearance of $160usd please try as much as you can to
send to them their tax clearance fee in order to release your fund." Well, I guess I'm stuck. I don't have that much in the back. Might if I hadn't sent them five grand...

- another from Mr. Balanji. I guess they really need that $160.

- from (return address: Mr.Roy Walker who says that in thanks for my help securing a new partner in South Africa, he has made a deposit of $500.000.00 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS) in addition to my lottery winnings of $5.5m now amounting to $6,000,000.00 (Six million United States Dollars) with the Mr.FrankHarrod. Of course I need to give Mr. Harrod my bank info to make the transfer...

March 25:

- Well. is James Roberts,Fund Manager/Account Officer to embattled Former President Of Egypt Hosni Mubarak, and he has $5 million that he needs help to get out of Egypt. He'll give me 40% to help him out. Sounds like a deal, eh?

- 3% loans from (return address: I'm not sure how international loans work. Hmm.
- a second one from springer_efinance. In case I lost the first one.

March 26:

- from Mr Van Hugo at Apparently I helped him out for something, and am due some compensation. But "Having reviewed all the obstacles and problems surrounding the transfer of
your compensation payment of US$2,500,000.00 and your inability to meet up
with some charges levied against you due to the past transfer options, I
have concluded an arrangement with the Board of Directors of Bank Of
Africa (BOA) to issue you an ATM CARD where your payment will be uploaded
and mailed to you through courier service." It appears that I took care of that, but now they need $255.99 to cover customs. So I need to contact in Benin to make that arrangement. UPS is in Benin?

March 27:

- Mr. Samuel Kofi at, and he has $7,500,000.00 on the books at the bank he's manager of, that is in excess of their profit, and he wants to get it out of Ghana without a trace. And he'll give me 40% to help... what happens if we get caught, Samuel?

- a second one from Mr. Kofi. Someone stuttered.

March 28:

- BBC FINANCE still has money for me. Would I please reply? I might, but it's the end of the month and I'm broke...

See how much money I could have if I just had some to send to all of these people?

And of course, a couple of emails a day from people who think I need to increase my 'size and longevity'... for an organ that I don't have. Guess I can just dump those in the trash...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A recurring post!

Ok, just because I find them amusing, and because I can, I'm going to start posting my Nigerian scam spam here, for your amusement and for mocking material. :-) The first editions!


I need your assistance to transfer an abandoned $22.5 Million Dollars from Hong-Kong to your country. You will get more info when i receive a positive reply from you.  Best Regards, Mr.Leung Cheung


From Mrs Susan Albert:

Mrs.Susan Albert. 31, Springfield Crescent, Camden Town, London, MH1 9NP, England.  Here writes Suzan Albert, suffering from cancerous ailment. I am married to Albert Bradly an Arabian who is dead. My husband was into private practice all his life before his death. Our life together as man and wife lasted for three decades without a child. My husband died after a protracted illness. My husband and I made a vow to uplift the down-trodden and the less-privileged individuals as he had passion for persons who can not help themselves due to physical disability or financial predicament.  I can adduce this to the fact that he needed a Child from this relationship, which never came.  When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of Two Million Great Britain Pounds Sterling which were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market with his bank here in UK. Presently, this money is still with the Bank. Recently, my Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems I am suffering from. Though what bothers me most is the stroke that I have in addition to the cancer. With this hard reality that has befallen my family and i,  I have decided to donate this fund to you and want you to use this gift which comes from my husbands effort to fund the upkeep of widows,widowers, orphans, destitute, the down-trodden, physically challenged children, barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely handicapped financially.  It is often said that blessed is the hand that giveth.  I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and I do not want my husband's hard earned money to be misused or invested into ill perceived ventures. I do not want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner, hence the reason for taking this bold decision.  I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going.I know that I am going to be with the Almighty when I eventually pass on.  It is often said that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband's relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and I do not want my husband's hard earned money to be misused or invested into ill perceived ventures. I do not want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner, hence the reason for taking this bold decision.  I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be with the Almighty when I eventually pass on. The Almighty will fight my case and I shall hold my peace. I do not need any telephone communication in this regard due to my deteriorating health and because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me.I do not want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible.  As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of my attorney who will instruct you on how to contact the bank in UK. I will also issue you a Letter of Authority that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this fund. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Please always be prayerful all through your life.  Please assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein. Hope to hear from you soon and God bless you and members of your family.  Send your response to my email address:  Yours Faithfully in Christ  Mrs. Susan AlbertBradly.

Uh-huh. God told me to hit *delete* on this one...

The next one was from Mrs. Judy at

Our Ref: FGA /SNT/STB  This is to immediately inform you that your email address with MICROS ID (BKX-321AQ-5HR) has won you $750,000USD (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars) ; All beneficiaries were selected randomly from Wenzhou Ourvis online networks of Marketing lists Worldwide, Verify your datas; via email: (Mrs.Judy Walter via Email:  FULL NAMES / COUNTRY/ DIRECT PHONE NUMBER / OCCUPATION / AGE / SEX) MEANS OF IDENTIFICATION(SCANNED ID)/  You are to choose from the below options by ticking  1.) Courier Delivery Option [  ] 2.) Bank Wire Transfer [  ]  Congratulations

Interesting how the email address of origin is different from the email address she offers to contact her.

I'm not giving her my bank or address info. Guess I'll have to pass up the cash.

And last for today:

This is from and they offer a reply to address of

Hong Kong And Shanghai Banking Corporation From: The Desk of Miss. Kim Ho . Managing Director,                RE: PAYMENT OF US$800,000.00 INTEREST INTO YOUR ACCOUNT:  I am Miss. Kim Ho , Managing Director, Corporate Services Division and Head of Swift Transfer Unit of Hong Kong And Shanghai Banking Corporation. Sometime ago, in our bank your inheritance fund was brought to our bank from National Lotto Group here in Asia and after some period, the money was taken back to their treasury. But for the period of time this money was in our bank, it generated an interest of US$800,000.00 which we are about to pay you Via International Certified Bank Draft  through our bank in Bangkok Thailand Asia. Hong Kong And Shanghai Banking Corporation. (HSBC) Bank Plc.  For your information and advice, you need to hasten up to pick this Fund because from time to time the National Lotto Group auditors do come to our bank to cross-check our files and our financial update, the earlier you comply with the demands of the delivery of the Draft the faster the action, because when the auditors arrive and find out that this interest fund is still in our bank they will call back the accrued interest to the lotto treasury account.  What we need from you now is any form of your identification for example; Your International passport or your driver license, your telephone and fax numbers for easy communication to you with your mailing address where this DRAFT/CHEQUE will be delivered.   As a matter of fact we don¦t have enough time to waste since we have wasted time in contacting you through phone, so try and comply with the entire necessary requirement for the transaction.  CONTACT:  Mr. China Boyanchai   E-Mail:  Tell: (+66) 823-430-482   Note I have attempted to call you but all effort failed and I had to send you a mail on this email address, which I guessed belongs to you. Expecting your immediately response.   Yours Sincerely,  Miss. Kim Ho  Managing Director. ********************************************************************* Hong Kong And Shanghai Banking Corporation. Asia. CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This transmission may contain confidential information protected by state or federal law. The information is intended only for use consistent with the state business discussed in this transmission. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or the taking of any action based on the contents is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please delete this email and notify the sender immediately. Your cooperation is appreciated. ********************************************************************* 

Wow. Who could have left me money in Hong Kong? Maybe is was Mrs. Judy, or Mrs. Susan's husband. I'll get right on it. :-D

Edited to add:

From, with a return address of

Reference Numbers:FREE0985430UK
Serial Numbers :4589012 Winning Numbers :5-24-34-25-49-8-55
Ticket Numbers:1144 Amount Won :2,500,000.00GBP
File Number :EU4589L
If you wish to claim your winnings contact your assigned claims agent as follows
Name: Mr.John Peterson
You will receive further instructions on your acknowledgment of this email notice.
Send the Following information to commence the immediate processing of your
Your Full Names:
Your Age:
Country of Resident:
Privileged and confidential
This message and any attachment thereto are confidential and may be privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure.
If you are not the intended recipient, please telephone or email the sender and delete this message and any attachment
from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you must not copy this message or attachment or disclose the
contents to any other person.

Gee, I won the lottery! And one I never entered!

Oops! I disclosed it! So sad...


Monday, March 12, 2012

Short note on the cries for war...

About Iran, I think the President is quite aware of the drumbeating going on. He's also aware that: 1) Iran is a LOT bigger than Iraq, and has a LOT bigger, better equipped, and much more disciplined military. We'd be walking into a buzz saw. 2) The Iranian people are not anywhere near as dissatisfied with the current government as Iraqis were. They are also much more culturally unified, and better educated. There would be no Quislings.

The average American has no idea what Iran is about. All they remember is the overthrow of the Shah, Khomeni, and the hostage crisis. That was 30+ years ago. We have not adjusted our view of them since, and if we don't it could be very bad. Very bad indeed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I cannot stop hitting replay on this...

It is way too cute!

Not-So-Super Tuesday...

It makes as much sense as the current GOP race.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rick Santorum versus College Education

There's several stories (including here: about Rick Santorum's recent remarks about the President's push for college education. Several of them are accompanied by comments from people who seem to think that college just makes socialists/communists/fascists/whatever out of young people. And liberal pundits are amazed that he's getting away with this, and keep referring to the Republican mainstream, and how they can't possibly support this guy.

Got news for them: he's not appealing to the rational mainstream voters- the sort of people who have historically been in charge of the GOP. He's appealing to the whackos- the ones who are swayed by simplistic, reductionist, narrow arguments. I know these people- I was one for way too many years than I'd like to admit. They get a set of jingoistic phrases and rattle them off, but they haven't the faintest of a flying fuck of an idea what our government actually does, much less how to do it. These are people who seldom travel, don't know anyone in another country (and here I must add Gay Country), and probably couldn't point out Iran on a map. They don't know what GNP stands for, or who's the head of the Fed. They also probably don't know that Rick Santorum was named as one of the most corrupt Senators in 2006.

These people are the modern incarnation of the Know-Nothings. Except it's not Catholics they're against now. It's anybody brown, or gay, or educated, or not very very very conservative 'Christian', or female, or 'Librul'... heck, a gay Latina Episcopalian with a graduate degree who votes Democrat would be a perfect storm for them- someone would surely have a stroke!

Maybe not everyone will want to go to college. But they need to be given the opportunity. Because the numbers are VERY clear- earning capacity for someone who had a high school diploma are higher than someone who dropped out, and someone with a college degree much higher still. If someone is going to have a job good enough that they can have the life Santorum says they should- with an at-home wife and enough kids to field a baseball team, they HAVE TO BE EDUCATED. The jobs you can do as a high school grad are not going to be that kind of income. Period.

And you know what? In Oregon you have to have a two year college degree with some serious math and engineering before you can even APPLY to the plumber's or electrician's apprenticeship program.

So Santorum can go suck it, because HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lenten Practices in Medieval Western Europe

(at left: some cooking not in Lent...) The Basics of Medieval Lenten Dietary Practices Historical Background Language- The Teutonic word ‘Lent’ meant ‘Spring Season’ The Latin term was ‘quadragesima’, the Romance language descendents were the French ‘carĂªme’. Italia ‘quaresima’, and the Spanish ‘cuaresima’, meaning 40 days or fortieth day. The Germanic term was ‘tessarakoste, meaning fortieth. Early Customs There were Biblical precedents for an observation of forty days, of a 40 day fast or a trial of forty days. They include: -the 40 days and 40 nights of rain during the Flood; -the 40 days that Moses spent on Mt Sinai with God (returning with the two tablets of the Law); -the 40 days that Jonah gave Nineveh to repent (which they did); -the 40 days and nights that Elijah spent on Mt Horeb, in fasting and prayer; -the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert in fasting and prayer (culminating in the Great Tempation). Tradition holds that Jesus spent 40 hours in the Tomb after his death, and then was present for 40 days between the Resurrection and his Ascension, followed by 40 days before Pentecost. For the first Christians there quickly became a 40 day observance, with 40 hours of fasting before Easter. The Early Church Observances The first three centuries show diverse practices of pre-Easter observances. There was a gradual development in the length and expression of the Lenten observance. Eusebius quotes St. Irenaeus’ letter to Pope Victor regarding a controversy in the timing of Easter and in the length of the fast– some observed 1 day, some 2, others several, and others 40 days and 40 nights. Rufinius’ translation (late 4th c.) claims that Irenaeus insisted on a fast length of 40 days. (Modern criticism suggests that Rufinius’ translation and views were fairly accurate; however, it appears that Irenaeus knew that there was no Apostolic origin to these traditions.) A few years later a controversy arose between Tertullian, who declared a light Catholic observance– “days on which the Bridegroom is taken away”, that is, Friday and Saturday of Holy Week; and the Montanist strict observance for a fortnight– xerophagiae– a ‘dry fast’ (though there is no indication of a 40-day fast). It appears that there is no 40-day fast previous to the Council of Nicaea, and no mention of Lent per se in St. Dioysius or Didascalia; there was Pascal fasting but not 40 days. The Apostolic Church apparently observed a weekly commemoration, not yearly– Friday of the Death of Christ, and Sunday of the Resurrection. This may have contributed to the wide divergence in practice through the end of the 2nd. Century. A yearly vs. weekly observance developed over time, with some fasting being shorter, but more strict and severe. The first mention of a 40-day fast is at the Council of Nicaea c. 325. There was still some question as to the time of observance, but Easter was definitely a moveable feast. St. Athanasiusin 331 entreated his flock to observe Lent for 40 days preliminary to Holy Week, with strict fasting during Holy Week, possibly a dry fast. (This was possibly as early as the 3rd c. as per Dionysius.) In 339 he noted that the fast of Alexandria suggested fasting “to the end that while all the world is fasting, we who are in Egypt should not become a laughing-stock as the only people who do not fast, but take pleasure in those days”. This was backed up by the alleged ‘Apostolic Constitutions’ and St. John Chrysostom, and is generally followed in Eastern tradition. As early as the 5th century, the Church Fathers were claiming Apostolic origins to their practices. St Leo (d. 461) declared that abstention would “fulfill with their facts the Apostolic institution of the forty days.” (“Ut apostolica institutio quadraginta dierum jejuniis impleatur”) Socrates Scolasticus (d. 433) and St. Jerome (d. 420) used similar language. (Modern scholars don’t agree with these Church Fathers regarding the origins of the observance.) In Rome in the 5th c. Lent was observed for 6 weeks, three of those actually fasting, exclusive of Saturday and Sunday. This seems to have not been continuous, but was the 1st, 4th, and 6th weeks, and may have been limited to baptismal candidates– a had a possible role in the development of the 40 day fast. The application of the number 40 is itself murky. It may have been a 40-day fast, or it could have been 40 fast days. In Egeria’s Peregrinato, Lent was observed in Jerusalem for 8 weeks, with Saturday and Sunday exempted, leaving five days a week x 8 weeks = 40 days. Yet many localities held to six weeks of fasting, Saturday and Sunday still exempted, as in St Ambrose’s “De Elia et Jejunio”. Pope Gregory the Great (c. 590-604) declared that in Rome there would be 6 weeks of 6 days = 36 days = a ‘spiritual tithing’ (10% of 365 days). Later desires for 40 days of fasting leads to the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday rather than the following Sunday. Apostolic observance of Holy Week is unclear, but an observance was present in Jerusalem at the end of the 4th century, and Egeria leaves a detailed account of that week. The official ending of Lent is not Easter Sunday, but after the Easter Vigil service on the previous night. The Basics of Fasting The Teutonic roots of the word ‘fast’ principally mean to hold, keep, observe, and to restrain one’s self. The early Latin term for Lent- ‘jejunium’, refers to an animal intestine which is always empty. Thomas Aquinas claims in his Summa Theologica that fasting is in opposition to the Fall, a sin of Gluttony. Fasting was seen through history as a signifier of purification, mourning, and penitence. It was an act of self-discipline– a private mortification, but also a public expression of the sins of society. The act of fasting and abstinence varies. The basic definitions are these: -a ‘natural fast’– fasting before communion; -a ‘moral or philosophical fast’, which an individual disposition but can include fasting as self-control in religious communities; the strictest use of the term denotes abstinence from food as fulfilling the dictates of natural law and the full perfection of ecclesiastical legislation. The Nature of the Lenten Fast The specifics of the act of fasting is as divergent as the dates of the Lenten traditions. The primary and most important abstention is from meat. Meat is tasty, and giving it up is a particular reminder of the Fall, and of God’s subsequent anger. A theologian named Socrates tells us of the 5th century practices: -abstention from the flesh of every living creature; while others refrain from all but fish, others eat birds as well as fish; -others abstain from fruit that has a hard shell, and eggs; -some eat only dry bread, others not even that; -some fast to the ninth hour (nones– about 3 pm), then partake of various kinds of food; -some eat uncooked food only. Epiphaniu and Palladius say that ordinary Christians sometimes have 24 hours without food, especially during Holy Week; those more austere pass Lent with only one or two meals a week. The ordinary rule for Lent was one meal a day in the evening (eventually settled at nones), with meat entirely forbidden, and in the early centuries wine was also forbidden. During Holy Week, or at the least on Good Friday, xerophagiae, as ‘dry fast’ was practiced– that is, dry food, bread, salt, and vegetables. In the early years there seems to have been no dairy prohibition, and occasionally eggs were allowed. However, Pope Gregory wrote to St Augustine of Canterbury in the early 7th century that Christians were to abstain from flesh meat and all things that come from flesh– milk, cheese, eggs, etc. This was later codified in the Corpus Juris. In the 8th century Theodulphus of Orleans declared that there was an abstinence for eggs and cheese, and not eating fish was a mark of exceptional virtue. There were occasional exceptions from the dairy restriction, in exchange to for contributions to the Church, particularly for building projects. This was sometimes known as the ‘Butterbriefe’ in Germany, and the ‘Buttertower’ in Rouen. The prohibition on milk and eggs, expressed modernly in the pancakes eaten on Shrove Tuesday, and the giving of eggs on Easter. Odd loopholes appeared, most notably the eating of ‘barnacle geese’, which supposedly grew on trees and were therefore fruit, and the eating of beavers, which some thought to be a kind of fish. It must be noted that Church authorities generally weren’t fooled by these claims. There were some relaxations of the fast. The basic list (no meat, eggs, milk) continues to be out of bounds, with only one evening meal, but the hours were somewhat flexible. Charlemagne ate as early as 2 pm, but some put off eating until Vespers (sunset). The introduction of the ‘collation’ in the 9th century (so named because the monks would snack while listening to the Collationes or ‘Conferences’ of Abbot Cassian read aloud, and the name stuck) allows the concession of a draught of water after manual labor, and then becomes the ‘parvias materiae’– a small snack that is not taken as a meal and did not break the fast (was adopted by Aquinas, etc.). Small quantities of food, up to 8 ounces or so, were permitted after the midday meal. However, Micrologus insists in the 11th century that eating before evening is not keeping the fast. From the 13th through the 15th centuries categories of exemption from the fast increased. Children, the old, the ill, pregnant or nursing mothers, pilgrims, beggars, and heavy workers were allowed allowances and were able to eat some forbidden foods. St. Clare, in the 13th century, was known for her especially rigorous fasting, but she did note that it significantly undermined her health. By that time the basic feeling was ‘don’t be stupid’– don’t compromise your health. It may be noted that beyond the theological implications of Lent, there were some basic issues of animal husbandry. In the early spring, much of the livestock was pregnant or nursing newborns– not a time to kill them for meat or to milk them for human consumption. Birds that laid eggs would be allowed to set a clutch and hatch them, providing the next year’s birds. The prohibitions on the consumption of meat, milk, and eggs indeed was a matter of practicality. The Food So what did they eat? FISH. A LOT OF IT. Grains, fruits and vegetables, and nuts. Soy was not yet known in Western Europe, and was not part of their diet. The consistent source of protein is fish and seafood. Careful planning was required to make the fast the least onerous as possible, but even the best planning could be disrupted by war, and Lent was especially difficult during those times. The great lords often had fish ponds on their estates; the common men had to rely on trade, fishing in streams, lakes, and from boats in the ocean. Most fish were harvested and preserved over the autumn and winter before the prices went up. There was active trade in fish, particular from coastal regions to the inlands, were fresh fish was less available. As an example, there was a brisk trade in the 15th century between England and Iceland– mostly cod, both salted and dried, which was known as stockfish. The herring fleets would return in the autumn full of white herring, which was salted, and red herring which was salted and smoked. The economic impact of the fisheries during Lent and other fasting days was considerable, particularly in England. (When the Protestants attempted to ban fasting during Elizabeth I’s reign, she was forced to declare that Friday would remain a fasting day, to save the industry.) The feasting on Shrove Tuesday was partly social, and partly economy– foodstuffs that would not keep 40 days needed to be used up, hence the traditions of pancakes and pain perdu, a kind of French Toast dish. Lent was a great strain on the nerves, and there was much complaint everywhere. The ubiquitous red herring seems to have been the most hated. Young clerks would walk in procession on Maundy Thursday dragging red herrings on strings– they would try to step on the herring of the man in front of them, while at the same time attempting to keep the man behind them from stepping on theirs. Those living near the sea were lucky, as they had a greater variety of fish and other seafood and weren’t as reliant on herring. There were also many attempts to find loopholes in the restrictions. Sweetmeats (little candies and cakes) and candied spices were allowed, and these sweets and dainties brightened the fast a bit. Figs and dried plums were especially popular. Fruits also helped to fill in for recipes as a substitute for meat, such as in fritters. The most common ‘fill-in’ food was almonds, which were beaten into a paste to make illusion food (our Cadbury eggs are a remnant of this tradition), or pounded and drained for almond ‘milk’ or cream, which was substituted for dairy products of all sorts. And wine and beer made these things a bit more bearable. Lent ended with much feasting on Easter– if you’d set aside for it, otherwise you were at the mercy of the suddenly inflated food prices. And care still had to be taken, as the harvest was yet several months away. And example of a recipe for use in Lent is found in the English cookbook Curye on Englisch, from the late 14th century. This translation and redaction are done by David Friedman and are found in his Miscellany, which is webbed at Frytour of Erbes Curye on Inglysch p. 132 (Form of Cury no. 156) Take gode erbys; grynde hem and medle hem with flour and water, & a lytel yest, and salt, and frye hem in oyle. And ete hem with clere hony. 3 c flour 2 1/4 c water 1/4 t yeast 1/8 t salt oil honey fresh herbs: 2 1/2 t sage 1 1/2 t thyme 6 T parsley 1 T oregano Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c water, add salt to flour; when yeast is foamy, add yeast and rest of flour to water. Let sit while herbs are chopped and ground; note that quantities of herbs are after chopping. Divide batter in 4, add one kind of herb to each; or add four times as much of any one of the herbs to the whole batter. Fry in 1/4" deep oil by 1/2 T spoonfuls. Made about 3 dozen 2.5" fritters. Bon Appetit!

The faces of poverty and crime

I came across this site last night ( and clicked through them with a peculiar mixture of fascination and sadness. The faces show emotions from hardness to despair, and overwhelmingly the grind of poverty- and many of them children. The grime, the rags, the destitution. And 140 years later, I feel an incredible pity. Did anyone care about them then, when they needed it?

(Up next: Just for Mardi Gras, info on the dietary practices of medieval Lent)

Friday, February 3, 2012

And now for some poetry...

I have two reasons for making another post so soon after the last one: Firstly, I was shuffling some papers around next to my desk, and came across something I wrote several years ago, and thought "Hey! This was pretty good!" And second, having Keith Richards staring at me every time I pull up my home page... is a little frightening. This poem is written in a medieval style from about 1400 CE, using a form I lifted from something by Thomas Hoccleve.  

Fly, My Words  

Fly, my words, to whom I love 
for I would my affections prove 
lest he should think my feelings false 
or feel my protestations else 
 Fly, my pen, and petals write 
of such a flower that brings delight 
the soul of one who sees or smells 
a burst of joy within them wells 
Sing, my heart, of joy's embrace  
envision my beloved's face 
those eyes that hold me in their gaze 
do warm desires within me raise 
Sing, my heart, of longing's pain 
of time and miles that are our bane 
to look at sky and stars above 
and feel them closer than my love 
 Of these I then must make complain: 
 of Presence's pleasure, and absence's pain 
of these this hand is bound to write 
 to thee, my Joy, and my Delight!  
Written by Laura Minnick, 2002 Ok, typing it out I'm no longer sure how good it is, but I do remember how difficult it was to not only use the period form, but to also to write in a sort of language style that you might find in something written in the early 15th century. Certainly a good deal more difficult than "There was an old man from Nantucket..." (I also had trouble getting the formatting right on this page. If it looks wrong in your browser, sorry...)

Monday, January 30, 2012

You just know that somewhere,

Keith Richards has a portrait in the closet, and it looks FAAAAABULOUS!

(I've been listening to a lot of Rolling Stones lately...)

Ok, really I just put this up because he makes me feel so much better about my looks, you know? I haven't been well and I'm tired and I just look older every time I look in the mirror. And I had another birthday...

Could be worse I suppose. I could have *not* had a birthday!

Quick recap- Thanksgiving kinda didn't happen, for a variety of reasons. So instead of cooking all day for hordes, I made a nice dinner for James and myself, Cornish hens with a wild rice pilaf, and a pear tart for dessert. Pretty tasty!

Went to Summits 11th Night, and was honored to speak for Tadgh at his elevation.

That Sunday James and I went to breakfast with Wanda and Karl and Linda, and I managed to fall down the very steep and narrow stairs to the ladies' room. It being narrow, allowed me to catch myself so I didn't fall far, and avoided what could have been disaster. I did however break the heel off of one shoe, and caught the other big toe and bent it toward the sole. This did not feel good. By the time I got undressed that night, it was black. So off to the doctor I went. Verdict: broken. There's not much you can do with a broken toe, and they said as much, but that one is really necessary and gets used a lot. And then said that they could fit me with a walking cast, or I could wear hard-soled shoes, such as clogs. Well I wear them quite a bit anyway, so this was not a problem. More about that later.

And I went to see Annie for Christmas! I flew out on the red-eye Christmas Eve, arrived in New York with the milkman. Annie and I goofed off and did nothing all day. The next day we had a party- Phil the Younger brought his mom, Phil the Elder (we have to differentiate them somehow...) and Susan came, and brought Evil Spawn (Brennan) with them, and Eric and Andrea, who are Baron and Baroness of Long Island (can't remember the SCA branch name, and yes, you have to say it Long͜͜͜͜͜geyeland). PtE and Eric and I had an impromptu Laurel meeting (and chased PtY out with a "You can't be in here! This is Sooper Sekrit meeting!" after which we discussed Ovaltine, of course) which was mostly Inter-Kingdom Anthropology. "No really, that's how you have candidate discussions? How weird." PtE made meatloaf, because Annie decreed that there must be meatloaf, and I made Chicken Saupiquet and a pear tart. There was much dessert and lots of booze and we had a lovely time.

The next day PtY and Annie and I had a lovely lunch at a place called Lillie's ( which had a lame beer selection (I'm spoiled, being from Portland Oregon) and then his mom met us at the Met, and we attempted to tour the museum. Attempted being the operative word here, because every other vacationing family also attempted to do so. It was PACKED. I only barely got to see the Frankish/DarkAges jewelry and the Byzantine textiles and a little more of the medieval stuff before they chased us out again. When we came out the weather had changed and I believe we found Texas' missing rain. A couple of years' worth. We waded home and had leftovers. And my foot swelled a bit, which I expected. The next day PtY came over and Iso and I watched Phil and Annie make soap. And then they took me to the airport. It was much too short a visit. :-(

On the plane naturally I was seated next to Incredibly Obtuse Woman, who had to leave her seat and return twice during the last half hour of the film that I actually paid cash (first time!) to see, even spilling my drink on me. I was also in close proximity to three families with small children, two of whom appeared to had the crud. Two days later, so did I.

And a week after that it was clear that I had a bacterial infection, so I went to the doctor, and came out with a scrip for BIG BAD ANTIBIOTICS, because I had a sinus infection, both ears infected, and a bit of pneumonia in one lung. Hey, when I get sick I don't do a half-assed job of it!

I was well enough by Midwinter's to drive down to Adiantum and go to the event for a couple of hours. Took a new formal Student- their Baroness, Morrghan. She is a lovely woman and is motivated and is NOT LIKELY TO DROP OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH, and I think it will be fun working with her. We plan to revisit in a year to see if she wants to be an Apprentice.

I've been mostly really not feeling well since, sleeping weirdly and cranky and groggy the rest of the time. I even overslept and was late for church last week, which I never do.

And after six weeks, my foot still hurts. It should be better by now, I'd think.

I got a new hat- a vibrant red, and a new pair of brown shoes and a new pair of red shoes. Well, all these are resale, but they are new to me! Both pair of shoes are much more comfy than some I have, which are going back to Goodwill as they kill my feet.

I finally broke down and got a cell phone. I did not want to, but it really has become necessary. If you aren't living with me, descended from me, or sleeping with me, you don't get the number. So if you don't already have it, don't bother asking.

I of course have a Harry Potter ringtone. :-)

The latest reading has been Dark Ages theology, in which I discovered a guy who got in trouble and was confined to a monk's cell for the crime of preaching pre-destination. This shocked me- I had not realized that pre-destination was preached until Calvin. Our Priest, Caroline, is a History and Theology professor at PSU, so I asked her about it, and it surprised her too. She said that Augustine sort of talked about it, but I haven't read Augustine for ages. She laughed and admitted that she hasn't either. But now I have to go back and read Augustine, and I am not looking forward to it, as it was a real slog last time. Tolle lege! Tolle lege! Well Tolle yourself, bub! :-P Next up (after Augustine) is more womens' history, I think. Trying to get a bead on how much freedom an unmarried or widowed woman had, outside of the royal family or a convent. Also looking at how much education a woman might have outside an abbey, and how she might exercise it. (How much trouble *can* Liutgard get into, anyway? :-))