Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The inspiration provided by Carrie Frances Fisher

I used to have a small pile of yellow-bordered Topps Star Wars cards that had stayed with me through the years (alongside zillions of baseball cards), traveling from Clayton to Montoursville to Largo to Wallingford to State College to Gettysburg to York to Spartanburg and back to York. These were the "Series 3" cards that were first issued in 1977. (I also had a couple red and orange cards — Series 2 and 5, respectively — but most of mine had the yellow border).

My cards were in rough shape, with rounded corners and plenty of edgewear and scuffing; not nearly as nice as the example shown above. I finally gave most of mine away a few years ago, forgoing any remaining sentimental attachment. But I couldn't remember whether I gave them all away, so I spend last night doing a light search to see if I still had one or two around. No dice.

While there was a lot of focus yesterday, in the wake of the death of Carrie Fisher, on the thoughts and memories shared by her Star Wars co-stars and Hollywood friends, the tweets that I found the most interesting came from everyday people who shared what Fisher meant to them and how their lives were inspired by her. Here's a sampling...

Monday, December 26, 2016

Book cover: "Lost Tribes & Sunken Continents"

  • Title: Lost Tribes & Sunken Continents
  • Subtitle: Myths and Method in the Study of American Indians
  • Author: Robert Wauchope (1909-1979)
  • Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
  • Date of publication: 1962
  • Price: $3.95, per the dust jacket
  • Pages: 155
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust-jacket excerpts: This entertaining book reports on a longstanding feud over the ancestry of American Indians, between the anthropologist Ph.D.'s — the "Phuddy Duddies" — and Atlantis, Mu, Kon Tiki, and similar enthusiasts — the "crackpots." ... Mr. Wauchope considers particularly the "mystic" jargon of some of the starry-eyed laymen, but concludes to that, while they have been too lyrical, the professionals have no been lyrical enough.
  • First two sentences: When Columbus discovered the natives of the New World in 1492, there was no doubt in his mind that they were east Asiatics, and he promptly began referring to them as Indians. He is said to have carried this belief with him to his grave.
  • Last two sentences: However, the scientist has not competed seriously for the reading public; the average professional anthropologist cannot or will not write the kind of book that people in any great numbers will want to read. For the most part he has surrendered this function, usually somewhat condescendingly, to the journalist, the travel-book writer, the sensationalist, and the devoted mystic, all of whom will prefer, any day, a lost continent, a lost tribe, or a lost city, to Lo the Poor Indian plodding through the snow and the centuries to his cultural destiny.
  • Random sentence from middle: There is something vastly amusing to professionals in this implied picture of anthropologists surreptitiously passing secret papers to fellow conspirators in order to guard the Fearful Truth of Wheeled Toys from a brain-washed public.
  • Review from In 2013, "Dixie" wrote: "Entertaining and enlightening. A very fun book to read and debunks some of the downright dumb theories still being presented in mainstream media."
  • Notes: Wauchope was the director of the Middle American Research Institute and a professor of anthropology at Tulane University when this book was published. ... The original price of $3.95 in 1962 would be the equivalent of about $31 today. So this was a pricey volume, especially considering how slim it is. I would guess that price was geared toward it being purchased only by libraries and academics. In good news, there are plenty of copies now available on Amazon for less then $2. If only those libraries had waited! ... During his career, Wauchope was the author or editor of a number of other books related to archaeology and anthropology, but I also came across this title in his bibliography: Invisible Inzi of Oz. A mistake? Nope. And it's a hell of a story. Here's an excerpt from a 2012 post on Hungry Tiger Talk:
    "In 1919, sometime between May and December, a sister and brother, Virginia (age fourteen) and Robert Wauchope (age nine), began playing with their Ouija board. They were also big Oz fans. Well, the Ouija board started dictating an Oz story which Virginia dutifully wrote down sentence by sentence. There has always been an implication that the story was 'dictated' by L. Frank Baum to the children shortly after his death. In 1923 the children's mother typed up the story from Virginia's penciled manuscript and the kids sent a copy to Baum's widow. Maud Baum responded kindly and suggested the children submit the story to the children's magazine A Child's Garden, which they did. It was accepted for publication and serialized in the magazine from February 1925 through March 1926."
    So, a crazy little slice of Oz fan-fiction (or is it?) was brought to the world by a child who would grow up to become an Mu- and Atlantis-debunking archaeologist. You can also read a little bit about this tale on The Royal Blog of Oz.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and, as Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller wrote...

Bydded heddwch ar y ddaear.
A gadael iddo ddechrau gyda mi.

Es werde Frieden auf Erden sein.
Und fange mit mir an.

يجب ألا يكون هناك سلاما على الأرض.
والسماح لها تبدأ معي.


Пусть будет мир на земле.
И пусть это началось со мной.

اجازه دهید وجود داشته صلح بر روی زمین.
و اجازه دهید آن را با من آغاز خواهد شد.

Hebu kuna amani duniani.
Na basi ni kuanza na mimi.