sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
[personal profile] sovay
In about an hour, I am going to see Howard the Duck (1986) on 70 mm at the Somerville Theatre. It's part of their second annual 70 mm & Widescreen Festival, which started this Wednesday and runs through the rest of the month; last year it offered me such superlative viewing experiences as Lord Jim (1965), Spartacus (1960), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Tron (1982), and this year I am starting with a duck from another planet. We're meeting my parents for it. My father unironically loves Howard the Duck. He ranks it with '80's cult classics like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) and has always felt it deserved a sequel. I have not seen it since high school at the latest and have peculiarly fragmentary memories of the plot. The opening sequence is picture-clear: Howard on his home planet greeting a Playduck centerfold with "My little airbrushed beauty!" before being sucked through space and time into Cleveland, Ohio where he rescues a new wave chick from some lowlifes with the ancient martial art of "Quack Fu." She has a band. I want to say he ends up managing it. After that things start to break up. I remember that an eldritch thing possesses Jeffrey Jones—and that it happens for the decently Lovecraftian reason that it is never a bright idea to open a door at random into the deep reaches of space when you don't know what might be on the other side—but I don't remember the mechanism or the immediate consequences, except that I have the vague sense of a road trip. I remember that Chip Zien voices Howard, when I know him much better for his work in musical theater. IMDb tells me that this movie was also the first place I saw Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins. I'm really looking forward. Other films I am planning to catch on 70 mm include Wonder Woman (2017) and Cleopatra (1963), which should really be something on a big screen, as should an IB Technicolor VistaVision print of North by Northwest (1959). I am a little sorry to have missed The Dark Crystal (1982) earlier this evening, but it has been a long and stressful day. There's always the matinée repeat on Sunday if I really feel like it. In the meantime, there's a space duck.

[edit] Yeah, sorry, haters. Howard the Duck is a delightful sci-fi comedy. Lea Thompson is a surprisingly credible new wave frontwoman. Tim Robbins is so young and so gangly. Jeffrey Jones is no Emilio Lizardo, but he does a good possessed scientist. There are practical effects. There is stop-motion. (There are too many fight scenes and things blowing up, but I feel this way about most movies with any action quotient.) And there is a road trip, with a pit stop at a nuclear power plant. The script is sweet and full of consciously comic-book dialogue and it plays its interspecies romance straight; the only joke that really pulled me up short was a tossed-off sex-change line which mercifully goes by fast. I can't imagine swapping out any of the actors, especially Zien. I had completely forgotten about Richard Kiley as the introductory narrator, B-movie style. I don't even think it's an enjoyably bad movie: I just like it. No regrets of any sort.

Coming Soon!

Sep. 22nd, 2017 04:29 pm
[personal profile] herooftheage
This is just a reminder that the mini-gaming convention I'm holding at 3 Trolls Games And Puzzles begins in just seven days! I've fleshed out the scheduled events a bit, but don't let that fool you - games should break out spontaneously whenever folks like. Here's what we have so far:

Friday evening The Hardest Arkham Horror game you've ever been in
Saturday day 3rd Reich
Saturday evening Blades in The Dark one-off scenario
Sunday morning Advanced Civilization
Sunday evening Large scale D&D session (a regular at the club, so this is more of a spectacle than something newcomers should do

In addition, I'm hoping the miniatures players will run some Bolt Action, Konflict '47, Warhammer 40K and Check Your Six as time allows. And of course, I'm hoping to play a bunch of shorter games myself.

We'll kick things off Friday at 14:00. We'll go until the last game ends on Sunday night.
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
[personal profile] sovay
Even if the rest of the film were forgettable, Howard Hawks' Red River (1948) would be worth it for the climactic fight scene where Montgomery Clift and John Wayne are tragically and brutally and patriarchally beating one another's brains out and just as the audience, consisting in this case of me and [personal profile] rushthatspeaks, decides it cannot take another second of this senseless macho bullshit, Joanne Dru can't either and not only says as much, she holds both combatants at gunpoint until they cut the machismo and admit they love one another. It was a thing of beauty. ("You'd better marry that girl, Matt.") Factor in the gun-comparing scene between Clift and John Ireland and other not infrequent moments of no heterosexual explanation and the whole thing was a nice break from today's otherwise relentless grind of work, even if we weren't totally sure at the outset. It is not easy to watch a movie in the company of an active and presently tired and cranky eleven-month-old, but we managed. In other news, Fox these days is freestanding, fast-moving, can hang upside down by the knees if an adult holds them, and appears to be taking against the entire concept of pants. They like honeycake, though.

Autolycus is being heartbreakingly plaintive right now. He has a vet appointment early in the morning and it requires fasting, which is an impossible concept to explain to a cat. I let him graze all day and gave him a proper dinner at the absolute last moment, but he is attempting to convince me that, actually, in point of fact, he starved since then. We should find him some kind of special treat after the appointment, for being so brave and honest. Last night he and his sister shared in the Rosh Hashanah chicken. All cats are lunisolar.

In honor of the High Holidays, here is a post on Jewish superheroes and here is a brilliant riposte to the rather short-sighted question "How can you be Black and Jewish?"

Back to the relentless grind. At least it is almost autumn.
[personal profile] somervilleplanning posting in [community profile] davis_square
Monday, September 25, 6-8 p.m.

Tufts Administration Building (TAB), 167 Holland Street, Senior Center, 2nd Floor

Join the City Planning Department for a special update and discussion on the Davis Square Neighborhood Plan. We’re excited to present this meeting with the help of a facilitator who specializes in a meeting format designed to give participants control of the discussion topics. First, city staff will offer an update on the plan started in 2013/14 as well as a look at next steps. Then, to address outstanding topics and ensure that any new ideas and goals are identified, our facilitator will use the Round Robin meeting format, which asks participants to bring up topics for small-group discussions. In short, participants will set the agenda for the night and also shape topics for the next meeting.

At the second meeting in this series on October 19 (at the Community Baptist Church, 31 College Ave. 6-8 p.m.), we’ll take a deeper dive into the community-selected topics and identify action steps to address the goals and needs related to each. City staff will bring in resources and experts on the topic areas selected in the first meeting to serve as a resource during discussions.

Whether your concerns are open space, traffic, parking, streetscape, bicycle infrastructure, housing or more, we hope you’ll join us.

Unfortunately we cannot monitor this page, so if have any questions or need any more information, please contact us at

For more information about Davis Square Neighborhood Planning visit
sovay: (Rotwang)
[personal profile] sovay
Erev Rosh Hashanah: I misplace the keys to my parents' house and cannot help with the cooking as early in the afternoon as planned, but my brother and his family turn out to have been laid low by some opportunistic bug (the preschool year has started) and don't make it for dinner after all; my father drives their roast chicken and their challah and their honeycake out to them in the evening. We eat ours after I light orange taper candles that technically belong to Halloween because that's what's in the house. The chicken is brined and stuffed with lemon halves and fresh rosemary; the huge round challah with honey drizzled lightly over its egg-washed crust is from Mamaleh's; the honeycakes are homemade and the twice-baked potatoes were introduced by [personal profile] spatch and me. I know it is not precisely the customary use of the Shechecheyanu, but I find it useful to have a prayer thank you, God, that we've made it this far. The year starts anyway, ready or not. I'd rather recognize it as it goes by. L'shanah tovah, all.

The naming of hurricanes

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:50 pm
negothick: (Default)
[personal profile] negothick
Just wondering what genius decided it was a good idea to have Jose and Maria in the same year.
I've been told solemnly that Trump won't let them into the US mainland. . .

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:14 pm
bitterlawngnome: (Default)
[personal profile] bitterlawngnome

Budapest / Bullet Holes; 6774
© Bill Pusztai 2017

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:41 am
bitterlawngnome: (Default)
[personal profile] bitterlawngnome

from the train window between Munich and Saltzberg; 6553
© Bill Pusztai 2017

from the train window between Munich and Saltzberg; 6629
© Bill Pusztai 2017

from the train window between Munich and Saltzberg; 6722
© Bill Pusztai 2017

First 100 mile week in a while

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:25 pm
nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
[personal profile] nosrednayduj
I haven't had a chance to ride to or from work in ages, due a combination to meeting schedules, weather, and evening conflicts.

Jocelyn has a new circus class on Sunday mornings in Somerville, and needs to be driven there, because there's no train. So, this week I had the plan, drive her to Somerville, continue on to work, and then bicycle home! It was eerie at work -- I was the only car in the parking structure (thus scoring a parking place closest to the gym entrance), and there wasn't anyone in the building (I stopped in to use the restroom and put my lunch for Monday in the fridge).

It was cold and clammy at the start of the ride; wearing my fleece turned this into hot and muggy. Bleah. This may have contributed to my lame performance.

Today I rode in after an early morning meeting. (I'm kind of getting tired of all these morning meetings with Europe and Asia... Oh well. Gotta finish this before sleeping for tomorrow's early morning meeting!) More ordinary performance. I had a bit of a problem after a pit stop -- something I did in locking or unlocking the bike or moving it into or out of the bike rack disengaged the chain from the rear derailleur in a weird way that was really hard to disentangle. I was concerned at first that I'd completely broken the bike and would need to call for rescue, but I managed.

I added up my previous week's exercise mileage (with increasing size of error bar, since I hadn't recorded it, and had to just remember), and it got me to a hundred! Yay! Haven't had one of those in a while either. I'd wait and get accurate mileage for later, except we're getting a visit by the remnants of Jose and it'll rain all week.

Tuesday: 7 RT to bank
Wednesday: 13.8 RT to new yoga location
Thursday: 5.8 short exercise loop
Friday: 9.81 RT to other bank and store
Saturday: 14.48 RT to Mansfield library
Sunday: 25.64 in 2:28 for an average of 10.3
Sunday: 0.75 dorking around after adjusting front derailleur
Monday: 25.82 in 2:23 for an average of 10.8
Total: 103.1
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
On the one hand, A Matter of Life and Death (1946) is my least favorite Powell and Pressburger. It's a superlative afterlife fantasy in the tradition of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), which is the problem: it's the Archers doing, excellently, a kind of story other people do. I don't hate it. I like the premise, which flips the opening glitch of Jordan so that instead of snatching a man untimely into the afterlife, a psychopomp lets his assigned soul slip away into the world; I love its filming of Earth in color and the "Other World" in black and white, whence Wim Wenders and his Berlin angels; I really love its double-tracking of the plot in both mystical and medical registers and the way it refuses to resolve one over the other, eventually, rightly merging the two. I have always suspected that after the credits roll, somewhere among the stars Marius Goring's Conductor 71 and Edward Everett Horton's Messenger 7013 are gloomily comparing notes on their respective balls-ups and wondering if Alan Rickman's Metatron was right that angels can't get drunk. It has one of the great escalators of cinema. It's objectively good and I know it's widely loved. But it's easily the least weird thing the Archers ever committed to celluloid. I can't tell if its otherworld is deliberately dry or if my ideas of the numinous just for once parted ways with the filmmakers', but I found more resonance in the real-world scenes with their odd touches like a naked goatherd piping on an English beach, the camera obscura through which Roger Livesey's Dr. Reeves watches the town around him, or the mechanicals within mechanicals of an amateur rehearsal of A Midsummer Night's Dream, than I did in the monumental administration of heaven and the courts of the assembled dead. I watched it in the first rush of discovery following A Canterbury Tale (1944) and as many other films by Powell and Pressburger as I could lay my hands on; I was disappointed. It didn't work for me even as well as Black Narcissus (1948), which I want to see again now that I'm not expecting real India. On the same hand, the Brattle is showing a 4K DCP rather than a print, which means that I'd be settling for an approximation of the pearly Technicolor monochrome of the Other World, which is still astonishing enough in digital transfer that I really want to know what it looked like on the original 35 mm, and the same goes for the rest of Jack Cardiff's cinematography.

On the other hand, the screening will be introduced by Thelma Schoonmaker and this is how Andrew Moor in Powell and Pressburger: A Cinema of Magic Spaces (2012) writes about David Niven as Squadron Leader Peter David Carter, the pilot hero of A Matter of Life and Death (look out, textbrick, for once it's not me):

Never an actor of great range, Niven came instead to embody and to articulate a rather out-of-date ideal: gentlemanliness – or 'noblesse oblige'. His light tenor and gamin beauty are those of the nobility: he reveals, if provoked, the upright steeliness of a man with backbone, but this grit often shades over into a likeable, smiling insolence. Though we knew he could be naughty (and the actor was a noted practical joker), it was the forgivable naughtiness of a well-liked schoolboy It is usually his graceful amusement that impresses, rather than his physicality or intellect (to talk of 'grace' might seem antiquated, but old-fashioned words like that seem to fit). He could be the younger son of a minor aristocrat, at times silly but always charming, and in the last instance gallant, gazing upwards with a sparkle in his eyes, a light comedian who, through sensing the necessity of nonsense, is perfect as Phileas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days (Michael Anderson, 1956, US). He is fittingly dashing in The Elusive Pimpernel (Powell and Pressburger, 1950), where as Sir Percy Blakeney he embraces foppishness with gusto. His 'airy' quality is winning, and his poetic virtues shine in AMOLAD. He may be well-mannered and eloquent but, as charmers go, his 'classiness' sits easily . . . He is undoubtedly an affectionate figure. Unkindness is not in him, and he is important in our gallery of heroes. But he is never like John Mills, the democratic 1940s ' Everyman'. Mills is the boy next door to everybody and, while that is a nice neighborhood, we really aspire to live next door to Niven. Is it a question of class? We suppose Niven to be a good host of better parties. Mills is like us; Niven is exotic. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and during the war Niven stood for some of the most valued of principles, but his quality (or was it just his prettiness?) seemed the stuff of a previous, and probably mythical, time. Niven himself was a Sandhurst-trained army man, who joined the Highland Light Infantry in 1928 and served in Malta for two years before drifting towards America and into film acting. In 1939, when he left Hollywood for the army, he was a star, and managed to complete two propaganda films during the war while also serving in the Rifle Brigade . . . In the opening sequence of AMOLAD, it is hard to think of another actor who could mouth Powell and Pressburger's airborne script so convincingly. Bravely putting his house in order, saying his farewells and leaping from his burning plane, he is ridiculously, tearfully beautiful. Notably, it is his voice, travelling to Earth in radio waves, which first attracts the young American girl June, not his looks, and later it is his mind which is damaged, not his body. It is difficult, in fact, to think of the slender Niven in terms of his body at all. We remember the face, and a moustache even more precise and dapper than Anton Walbrook's (which was hiding something). Like Michael Redgrave in The Way to the Stars, he is the most celebrated man of war – the pilot who belongs in the clouds.

So I'm thinking about it.
[syndicated profile] ekgazette_feed

Posted by East Kingdom Gazette

Unofficial Court Report
The Court of Their Majesties Ioannes and Honig
Held at A Funny Thing Happened to St. Andrew on the Way to the Forum – An Investiture
On September 16, A.S. 52, 2017 C.E.
In the Barony of An Dubhaigeainn

In the morning Court, the following items of business were conducted.

Lord David Vazquez de Valencia stepped down as Baron of An Dubhaigeainn.

Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres stepped down as Baroness of An Dubhaigeainn.

Lord Titus Aurelius Magnus was invested as Baron of An Dubhaigeainn. He was given a scroll created by Mistress Catarina Giaocchini.

Lady Sorcha of Stonegrave was invested as Baroness of An Dubhaigeainn. She was given a scroll calligraphed and illuminated by Lady Magdalena Lantfarerin, with words by Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte.

Lord Peter of Hawkwood presented a hand-crafted wooden footrest to Her Majesty.

Lady Sofia Gianetta di Trieste was inducted into the Order of the Maunche for her excellence in costuming. She was given a scroll calligraphed by Lord Vettorio Antonello and illuminated by Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres.

Lady Sofia Gianetta di Trieste was then sent to Vigil to contemplate induction into the Order of the Laurel.

Lord Vettorio Antonello was also called to sit Vigil to contemplate induction into the Order of the Laurel for his excellence in calligraphy and illumination.

In the afternoon Court, the following items of business were conducted.

Lord David Vazquez de Valencia was given a Court Barony with Grant of Arms for his service to the Barony of An Dubhaigeainn. He was given a scroll crafted by Lord Vettorio Antonello.

Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres was given a thank you scroll, calligraphed by Master Jonathan Blaecstan and illuminated by Mistress Kis Marike, for her service as Baroness of An Dubhaigeainn.

The children of the East were called forward. Their Majesties offered them toys from the Kingdom toy chest if they could capture its bearer, the Court’s newest Baron, David Vazquez de Valencia.

Her Majesty presented Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres with the Queen’s Order of Courtesy for her graciousness while serving as Baroness of An Dubhaigeainn. The Queen did the embroidery on the glove.

Their Majesties called for Mistress Jadwiga Zajaczkowa. She was made Guildmistress of the established at the newly re-established East Kingdom Herbalists’ and Apothecaries’ Guild. The Guild’s charter was calligraphed and illuminated by Lady Sarah bas Mordechai.

Genevieve Velleman was called before the Crown. For her work as an archer, and her contribution to the arts and sciences and service in kitchens and at events, she was Awarded Arms. Scroll forthcoming, words by Master Rowen Cloteworthy.

Their Excellencies An Dubhaigeainn presented gifts of welcome to Their Majesties and Their Highnesses.

The Crown called for those newcomers attending their first Royal Progress. Those newcomers were given tokens from the Crown in welcome.

Monkey Makgee was called into Court. For her work in the kitchens, as event steward, and for her work with the arts and sciences, she was awarded the Order of the Silver Wheel. The scroll was created by Lady Onora ingheann Ui Rauirc.

Lady Sláine Baen Ronáin was also called forward to take her place in the Order of the Silver Wheel for her work as an MoL, royal retainer, chatelaine, event steward, and dishwasher. She was given a scroll crafted by Baroness Mari Clock van Hoorne.

Their Majesties called for Barone Francesco Gaetano Gréco d’Edessa. For his work as seneschal, herald, webminister, and chronicler, he was inducted into the Order of the Silver Crescent. In recognition of this, he was given a scroll made by Baroness Aesa feilinn Jossursdottir with words by Master Erhart von Stuttgart.

Conrad Järnhand was called before the Crown. For his contibutions as a fighter, teacher, and combat archer, he was Awarded Arms and given a scroll with calligraphy and illumnation by Lady Triona MacCaskey, words by Master Toki Skaldagorvir.

The Crown next called for Louis of House Three Skulls. For his work as a kitchener and feast cook, he was Awarded Arms and presented a scroll with words and illumnation by Lady Triona MacCaskey and calligraphy by Master Jonathan Blaecstan.

Their Majesties summoned Baroness Sorsha of Stonegrave. For her work as an herbalist, teaching at scholas and demos and running workshops, she was inducted into the Order of the Maunche. She was given a scroll crafted by Pan Jan Janowicz Bogdanski.

The Crown called then for Lady Onora ingheann Ui Rauirc. For her work as a calligrapher and illuminator, she too was inducted into the Order of the Maunche. She was gifted a scroll calligraphed by Lord Vettorio Antonello and illuminated by Vicereine Lada Monguligin.

Emperor Ioannes and Empress Honig then thanked Their event steward, Lord Ronan Fitzrobert, for his work.

Their Majesties requested the attendance of Lady Bianca Anguissola. For her services to the Crown as a retainer and aide, she was presented with a Court Barony and Grant of Arms. The scroll was crafted by Queen Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt with words by Nicol mac Donnachaidh.

Their Imperial Majesties then called for the answer to the question set before Lord Vettorio Antonello. Lord Vettorio was released from his fealty to Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte. Words of support were offered by Sir Antonio Patrasso for the Chivalry. Mistress Nest verch Tangwistel spoke for the Pelican. Sir Antonio read the words of Master Donovan Shinnock for the Defense. Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres presented the words of Duchess Thyra Eiriksdottir. Master Ateno of Annun Ridge read the words of Master Alexandre St. Pierre, then spoke words of his own. The scroll was crafted by Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte, with words by Mistress Kay Leigh and Master Ryan McWhyte. Master Vettorio was presented two medallions, two cloaks, and a wreath, then offered his fealty to the Crown.

Lady Sofia Gianetta di Trieste was then called before Emperor Ioannes and Empress Honig to accept her place in the Order of the Laurel. She was released from her apprenticeship to Master Jose Felippe Francisco el Sastre de Madrid. Sir Donnan Fitzgerald came forward to speak on behalf of the Chivalry. Master Philip White spoke for the Order of the Pelican. Master Jean Xavier Boullier offered words for the Order of Defense. Duchess Isabella of York spoke for the Order of the Rose. Lord Ervald LaCoudre Edwardson the Optimistic offered words on behalf of the populace. Mistress Caterina Gioacchini spoke for the Order of the Laurel. The scroll was created by Vicereine Lada Monguligin with words by Master Jose. Mistress Sofia was given several medallions, a mantle, and a wreath. She then offered her fealty to the Crown.

Their Highnesses and Their Majesties offered final words of thanks and appreciation to the Barony of An Dubhaigeainn, then Court was concluded.

These are the events of the day as I recall them. My thanks to the Barony, all the guards, retainers, heralds, scribes, and those others who made the day possible.

For Crown and Kingdom,
Pray know I remain,

– Master Rowen Cloteworthy

Filed under: Court

The Epilogue

Sep. 18th, 2017 06:42 pm
[personal profile] herooftheage
Today I got a guided tour of the new Arms & Armor exhibit at the Chicago Institute Of Art from the associate curator for Arms and Armor, Jonathon Tavares, who is a friend of the Chicago Swordplay Guild. With the demise of the Higgins, Jonathon claimed this collection was probably the 3rd largest in the country.

If I understand things correctly, the presentation of the collection was designed by Jonathon, and is stunningly well done. It starts with several paintings and sculptures with ecclesiastical themes, moving on to secular ones, and ending up with several rooms of magnificent arms and armor from the Viking Age through the Late Renaissance.

Jonathon talked about practically every piece we walked by. His knowledge of what he has is encyclopedic. He talked about the individual pieces, their origins, history, construction, materials, why he put them on public display, and some of the ongoing projects to recreate techniques of construction using the raw materials the armorers had available to them - down to ore from the mines they got their iron and silver from.

I generally don't take pictures of things, because (a) it distracts from my actual viewing of the piece; (b) the person who did it for the book/postcard/print in the gift shop will do a much better job; (c) I'd rather just go back and look at it again. But this time I did take one picture, of a painting depicting St. George and the Dragon. St. George is in armor which was done in silver leaf, and has tarnished to black over time. My plan, when I get home, is to photoshop the armor back to some version of silver, and then show the results in a side by side comparison. Don't know when I'll get to it though - probably not before October sometime, I imagine.

I also learned that Dr. Helmut Nickel, former curator for arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, is still alive. Jonathon says he's 96 now, and so doesn't get out much. I met him once, when Patri arranged for him to come to Boston to give a talk to the SCAdians here. He brought examples. It was glorious. I didn't realize what a wonderful thing I'd attended until years later.

And now, I'm spending one last quiet night recovering at Rick and Libby's place, thinking "There's no place like home".

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 05:49 pm
choco_frosh: (Default)
[personal profile] choco_frosh
I have just realized what Trump's real motto is.

"The last man nearly ruined this place
He didn't know what to do with it:
If you think this country's bad off now,
Just wait 'til I get through with it!"

(Why yes, I just heard that Grabbers Of Pussies were making a last-ditch effort to repeal the ACA: why do you ask?)

The Myth of Mithridate

Sep. 18th, 2017 02:52 pm
[syndicated profile] saltatiomedica_feed

Posted by Slow Blink

During the first century BCE, Mithridates VI, the King of Pontus combined medical knowledge of antidotes of the time, he brought forth a preventative antidote dubbed mithridate.
Nearly a century later, Celsus recorded the formula in his De Medicina, which included 36 ingredients. These ingredients were primarily flora derivatives. According to the recipe, in completed fo rm the antidote weighs ~ 3 pounds and will last for six months if a dose the size of an Egyptian bean (approximately the size of an almond) is taken daily. (University of Chicago)
Named after its creator, various recipes for the antidote have appeared throughout time. Around the same time that Celsus’ De Medicina recorded the 36 ingredient form of mithridate, Pliny wrote his Cassius Dio, which is a book of Roman history. In it, Pliny describes that in order to avoid capture, Mithridates poisoned himself and his family.
While his family died from the poison, legend has it that it had no effect on Mithridates who, in the end, was killed with a weapon of steel. (University of Chicago)
Sadly, Galen’s second century CE translation for Mithridate’s original recipe as well as Andormachus’ recipe, which was expand to include 57 ingredients, including viper venom has not been translated into English as of this time. (University of Chicago)
According to W. G. Spencer’s translation of Celsus’ De Medicina, the 36 ingredients in mithridate are costmary, sweet flag, hypericum, natural gum, sgapenum, acacia juice, Illyrian iris, cardamom, anise, gallic nard [valerian], genetian root, dried rose leaves, poppy-tears, parsley, saxifrage, darnel, long pepper, storax, castoreum, frankincense, hypocisitis juice, myrrh, opopanax, malabath rum leaves, round rush flower, turpentine-resin, galbanum, Cretan carrot seeds, spikenard, opobalsam, shepard’s purse, rhubarb root, saffron, ginger, and cinnamon.  These ingredients are then put into honey and castor is added to entice a more pleasant scent.
While it was a regular ingredient in many Renaissance and Baroque era medicines, it is difficult and expensive to recreate modernly. For a few years, I tried to gain funding to create Mithridate.  Unfortunately, this is complex as several of the genus’ of these plants are no longer grown, or they are only available in certain countries, or they will make the DEA look at me funny.  There are currently two Ivy League History of Medicine programs that are looking to recreate Mithridate.
Sometimes it’s best to leave these things to the experts.

University of Chicago. (n.d.). Encylocpaedia Romana. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from Mithridatum:

When the screams rage, shake it off

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:33 pm
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
I have just learned that Stanislav Petrov died in May and I feel this is a bad year to lose a man who knew how not to blow up the world.

The Finale

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:43 pm
[personal profile] herooftheage
It was a great last day. I've loved the whole thing. I'm coming back in two years (next year we're cruising the Eastern Med.) I can recommend this event to anyone with a serious interest in European weapons fighting. While HEMA uses its own rules set to play the game they play, the classes all have adaptability to varying rules sets in mind, even when that wasn't built in explicitly, so far as I can tell.

9:30 Armizare Free Expression: Working across the System. Greg Mele may well be the finest martial arts teacher I've ever encountered - and I say that even though I'm not really a Fiore guy. He is certainly a far better teacher than I am. In this class, he didn't teach plays or techniques, though both were in the class - he taught ideas, and used the techniques to explicate them. It was a tour-de-force, and I'm glad I got to see it.

13:00 Pole Arm fighting in the Leichtenauer Tradition. This was pretty much the class that I came to WMAW for, and it didn't disappoint. Even though Christian Tobler gave a very basic class, I got to practice a thing I'd seen in passing and never gave enough credit to.

There are generally two pole arm grips people use - thumbs in the same direction for distance work and powerful oberhau's, and thumbs pointing at each other for close work. Ideally, you'd like to switch between the two.

The problem is that in gauntlets, it's generally difficult to do so, and transitioning from one to the other really can only happen when you are not at hazard. But having one or the other grip telegraphs your intention. It's basically why I always try to fight in close - I pretty much always use a thumbs pointing at each other grip. It's a weakness, and at my age, weaknesses magnify.

But there's a solution to the problem - instead of gripping the pole arm with your leading hand at all, you can let the shaft sit along the palm of your hand. It is easy to shift from this to either of the other two grips, and so if you take that initial neutral grip, you can make your entering move without your opponent having a preview of whether you're going to come fight in or out.

I've done that in practice now, and I'm going to try to do it in tournament at the next convenient opportunity. If I like it as much as I do now, I am going to incorporate it into my teaching.

Monday morning I get a private tour of the armor collection at the Chicago Art Institute, sponsored/arranged for by the Chicago Sword Guild. I expect it to be grand.

Tuesday I get to come home again. I love traveling, but I love coming home just as much.
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