Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 985)

"Horatius" by Thomas Babington Macaulay

Me, reciting "Horatius" by Thomas Babington Macaulay. Feedback welcome. Hope you enjoy it.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/262147.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-01-14 23:26:11 from Monument

The Great Millipede

The millipedes tell one another a story of the Great Millipede. She has a body with segments that go on for ever, so she can be in all places; she has feelers that go on for ever, so she can hear all things; and when she laid the eggs that made the world, she created millipedes in her own image, for she loves them best. I did not venture to disagree.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/262050.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-01-13 12:02:24 from Monument

Hymn to the Great Green Arkleseizure

(Tune: Abbot's Leigh)

Lo, the Great Green Arkleseizure
Forms the world from what is not! [*]
To the stars that from each nostril
Flew to their appointed spot
Still must every Jatravartid
Sing the songs of their belief
From the sneeze until the coming
Of the Great White Handkerchief.

[*] This line may have been mistranscribed

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/260250.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2012-12-21 06:22:50 from Monument

First world problems are problems

There's a Ralph McTell song called Streets of London where the chorus goes:

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind.
Read that again carefully. You may think you're sad, but there are people living on the streets of London who are worse off than you are, so you're actually mistaken about being sad.

I'm not in any way trying to minimise the terrible problem of homelessness. Go to Shelter now and give them some money, OK? But the trouble with the song's argument is that it's bollocks.

Firstly: trying to police another person's feelings is a fool's game. Everyone who's suffered from depression has had some patronising bastard come up to them and tell them that everything would be all right if they just got a sense of perspective. Don't be that person. The last thing we need is Ralph McTell singing about it to warmed-over Pachelbel.

Secondly: suppose the song's argument was valid: you can't be sad, because there are people on the streets who have it worse than you do. Well, is there a human situation worse than living on the streets of London? Maybe being tortured in Libya is worse? Well then, we should be able to go round all the homeless people in London telling them all that they're not allowed to be unhappy because they're not being tortured in Libya. Eventually you find the person who's having a worse time than everyone else in the world, and you tell them that they're allowed to be sad, and nobody else is. This isn't the Depression Olympics.

You often see this argument in the guise of "first world problems". Sometimes, yes, people do have to get a sense of perspective. But often this is just a derailing technique. Criticism of almost anything can be belittled this way. And you know what? Maslow's hierarchy is a hierarchy. It has more than one level in it.

OK, end of rant.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/259944.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2012-12-19 13:36:43 from Monument


A year ago last Thursday I was looking for some gold, when I met a dwarf who thought he knew the best, for the map I'd made said northwards was the way back to the house, but he followed me insisting it was west. So I turned off to the west, but straight away it all went dark, and I stood a moment thinking what to do, when all at once a hollow booming voice beside my ear said in a sort of whisper: "I'm a grue."

Syndicated 2012-12-11 19:15:56 from Monument


“Fools!” said the man, stamping his foot with rage. “That is the sort of talk that brought me to Toronto, and I’d better have been drowned or never born. Do you hear what I say? This is where dreams—dreams, do you understand—come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams.”

Coat-wearing monkey found wondering around Toronto Ikea

Syndicated 2012-12-10 02:46:37 from Monument

Facebook, writing, etc

If any of you use Facebook, you might enjoy becoming a fan of my regularly updated writing page there:


If not, as you were.

Syndicated 2012-12-08 22:26:59 from Monument


I walked into a room at Book End the other day. My mum sat at one end of a sofa, and the dog Alfie, the old wise head of the pack, was lying across all the rest of it. My mum looked up and said, "There's plenty of room on the sofa, if Alfie moves up." Alfie obligingly got up and sat down next to my mum so there was room for me.

I am not claiming, of course, that Alfie understands English syntax. But I believe he knows enough keywords to have a fair understanding of most everyday conversations.

Syndicated 2012-12-05 00:02:25 from Monument

What is it?

While tidying the flat, I found this attempted sculpture I'd made in Year 7. *I* know what it's supposed to be, but what do you think?

Anyone who wants it who can take it off my hands is welcome to it :)

Syndicated 2012-12-02 16:40:19 from Monument


When I was six, my class was given an arithmetic test at school. One question said:

"Write a story about the sum 12+4=16."

And I was confused about this, because it happened that I'd been away on the day when they explained about word problems. I had no idea at all what the question could be asking for. After several minutes of thinking, I wrote:

"One day, the sum 12+4=16 went out for a walk. Then it came back. The end."

Syndicated 2012-12-01 03:03:22 from Monument

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