Friday, February 08, 2013

There and Back Again, Random Maundering Edition

My son recently discovered a game called Minecraft.
It's actually a pretty cool game. You have to run around this bizarre-sort-of-8-bit-looking cubic world assembling resources and building stuff. You are - depending on the level you play - menaced by creatures like "creepers" and "spiders" and confronted with the need to find food, build shelter, and sleep.

He finds this terrifically fascinating. I thought that it was a pleasant alternative to his usual digital enthusiasm, which is shooting the hell out of stuff.

Mind you; nature finds a way to defeat nurture. Tonight he was bludgeoning digital swine to death with objects ranging from a fishing rod through raw meat to a rose.

While his sister bounced on the couch chanting "Kill the pig! Kill the pig!"

Sigh. That's not the fictional place I really want them to go...


Nothing in particular on my mind tonight, so let's see if the spirit bloweth where it listeth.

Turns out that Richard Plantagent died about as hard as a man can.
That's his brain housing group up there. Note the big hole in the lower right rear; forensics people in the UK seem to think that was made with a damn big blade; a halberd, war axe, something of that sort. The other view is a depressed fracture of the skull, and he had about a total of six other facial wounds, including a swordcut straight-on into the face. Apparently there's some evidence that he was Gaddafied, too; some joker shoved a dagger up his backside, hopefully after the poor SOB was dead.

Hard death aside, years ago I had the occasion to read two books in the same year: Bill Shakespeare's Richard III and Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time. They're both fairly straight-up partisan tracts, one agin, the other for, the last Plantagenet ruler of England. Not sure which teacher assigned them, and whether they came as a set, or whether it was coincidence, or what. They're both good reads, though you'd never know they were talking about the same guy.

The one thing, though, that Tey brings up in her story that does make sense to me is the whole business of The Princes in the Tower.

You know that one, right? Poor little fellows, done to death by their wicked uncle Richard? Classic sort of bwa-ha-ha over-the-top mustache-twirling Bad Guy stuff that gives ol' Richard his eeeeeeevil rep.

Thing is, Dick (not being British and at this remove I think I can get away with calling the subject by his nickname) got to be king through an Act of Parliament titled Titulus Regius. You can read the whole thing at the link, but the nitty is that his brother's kids (and heirs) were legally decreed bastards. Not in the "You little bastard!" sense; no, actual bastards, illegitimate kids, because his marriage to their mother Elizabeth Woodville was bigamous.

So Dick takes over as the Plantagenet heir, stashes the kids in one of the royal castles, and goes on to get kacked in a pretty gory fashion at Bosworth.

His successor, Henry Tudor, has the Act repealed. And destroyed; every extant copy burned: "...said Bill, Act and Record, be anulled and utterly destroyed, and that it be ordained by the same Authority, that the same Act and Record be taken out of the Roll of Parliament, and be cancelled and brent, and be put in perpetual oblivion." One of the first acts of the new Tudor Administration was a "destroy without reading" for ol' Titulus Regius.'s the thing; if you repeal that Act, then Edward Plantagenet - Edward V, the delegitimized nephew of now-dead-Dick - becomes king.

Kind of a good reason for Henry Tudor to make sure that young Ed never turned up...alive. No?
So while it appears that Dick WAS a hunchback and may well have been other things he might not have been the original Wicked Uncle.

...and then says "You know, this is going to hurt you a lot more than it's going to hurt me." and knees his balls up through his diaphragm.

You can learn from adversity.

But it doesn't make it any less painful.
Speaking of learning from adversity, my friend Talyssa over at the Hidden Thimble asked me about books recently. I have a very catholic taste and my reading tends to vary quite a lot, but I've been enjoying several of my gift-books lately, and they're

John Scalzi's Redshirts: If you haven't found Scalzi's blog Whatever you're missing a good thing. He blogs as well as he writes, and that's very well indeed. His latest story is a fascinating combination of science fiction, metafiction, the television business, actors and acting and screenwriting...and also a thoughtful look at love and loss, fate...what the author of Proverbs might well have summed up as "...the way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid."

Anyway, Redshirts is one hell of a good tale.

In something of a weirder and darker note is The Last Light of the Sun by a Canadian author by the name of Guy Gavriel Kay. It's set in a thinly disguised early medieval Wessex with scenes set in Wales, and in the norse lands to the east, probably Norway...but one where the legends of the spirits of earth and air are, well, not. It's not a particularly original tale, but one well-told and with a good eye and ear for the period.

And I've got Summers' On Strategy on the nightstand, again. I've been slagging off on him over at MilPub and need to re-read him to see if he is as louche' as I recalled. Ah, the things I do for blogging...


Let's see if there's anything else rattling around in here.

Did I mention that we have a new team in Portland?

The Portland Thorns F.C. is our entry into the new women's pro league. The army is already sold on our Thorns, and with old favorite Chris Sinclair returning to Portland, exciting young players like Allie Long and Tina Ellertson, USWNT stalwart Alex Morgan and CWNT keeper Karina leBlanc we're looking forward to a hell of an exciting first season for the Rose City women. PTFC!

In "News of the Weird", Fourth Grader Edition, my Little Guy's best pal is leaving his classroom for our local Catholic elementary school this coming Monday.

Now I had a bit of exposure to parochial school as a kid and, generally, I have no real issues with the way the local diocesan schools work. There's a bit more religion but I never encountered the "jesus-on-a-dinosaur" sort of bone-stupid back-to-the-13th-Century sorts of instruction that the local fundie "schools" deal in. understanding is that the main reason is because my son and his pal both have one of the old-school teachers this year. Mister (Name Redacted) is a sort of crusty old guy who seems mostly concerned with keeping the kids sat down and working and, frankly, I think he's kind of burned-out. He's not a fun, bouncy, peppy, imaginative sort of guy which is what the boys have been lucky enough to have up until now.

But...the thing is...what I remember from parochial school were lots of that kind of guy. Not burned-out necessarily, but strict and all about the rules.

We're not talking Miss Dove here.

So...I really wonder what the hell is going on. Unless there's some sort of problem with Peep's Pal needing more structure...

I don't see how he's going to get more out of Our Lady of Pain Elementary.

And, sadly, the Boy is heartsick at losing his best pal. He knows what's going to happen, and though his mother and Pal's family have sworn great swears that Pal and the Boy will get lots of time together and can continue to be Best Pals, well...

He knows better, and so do I.

There's a special place in social Hell where friendships go to die, and I think my little man can smell the whiff of brimstone. I wish I could make him feel more optimistic, or at least more sanguine, but I can't. I moved too many times when I was little. Friends move, or go away, and never come back, and there's a special sadness there that can never be undone or made better.

Poor little guy.

Almost out of gas here. But, pictures! I got pictures. From deviantart, a "harajuku cat".
Well, okay, then!

And I love this one, from Amy Mebberson, all of the Doctor's "companions". I'm embarrassed to admit I only know Sarah Jane Smith and Leela, from the old Tom Baker version of the show...
Okay. I'm done. Gotta go home and see if my in-laws have been buried under immense snowdrifts.


Leon said...

Even if Uncle Dickey offed those two kids, that's kingship for ya. It's messy, dirty, and you have to do unpleasant things to stay in power. Pretty much every king/queen had to darken their hands to keep their bum on the throne. I do regret that he got shanked out back by the propaganda of Willy Shakes, but it did leave us some amazing quotes (his opening soliloquy is so badass).

Also, if you haven't seen the very first Blackadder, it has a wonderful alternate vision of what happened to the two princes.

FDChief said...

There's some question about whether Uncle Rick was ambitious, or whether he and many of the other nobles were worried about the dangers of a young teenager on the throne. And the Wars of the Roses really were a dirty business overall. For all that I'm not a Tudor fan the dynasty did provide England with relative peace and prosperity for over a century.

And I love Blackadder, but I'm embarassed to admit that I've forgotten that episode. But surely he manages to kill them in some pointless and mistaken way whilst plotting some idiotic cunning plan...

Leon said...

That's "Uncle Dickey" Chief.

The first Blackadder was sort of the reverse of all later ones (except Percy was still an idiot) in that Baldrick was the clever one and Edmund a twit. Though the 2nd series is probably overall the best the 1st should get more love.


Edmund shows up late at Bosworth and kills king Richard (played by Peter Cook!) by accident. The crown then passes on to Richard IV (who hadn't been killed by Richard III, it was all a dirty Tudor lie! played by the insane Brian Blessed).