regarding “Lost” and books

Three Percent has a nice post up on the fourth season of Lost coming up. I’d be hard pressed to think of another television series that pillaged from literature as much as it has, without being a direct adaptation or a one-off homage. It was very odd to have The Third Policeman in stock when the creators hinted that it was important in some aspect of the show, and placed it in a scene in the Hatch. People actually bought the book, and in numbers that i didn’t see bought even when Lost tried to cash in on that buzz with in-house pulp The Bad Twin.

Now The Invention of Morel is being tapped as another book important in interpreting Lost. I only read that book in the past year or two, not realizing that i was preparing myself for Lost. It didn’t wow me as much as Borges did, but i was probably being too harsh. I was already excited about some Bioy Casares books at my local library, and was planning to check them out on my next trip. Now i just need to re-read the book that i already had.

Their touting Valis is just pure, delicious icing. I love these guys. Even if this is pretentious misdirection, it might push some of the lazy sci-fi fanboys into doing something other than bitching about Cloverfield.

Still waiting for the writers of Lost to reveal there is a connection to Damaul’s Mount Analogue.

Olympia in the Age of Titans

Last week i glimpsed some story about some ceramics found at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Mount Lykaion in Greece, but i didn’t expect much. Now it seems that the site was used 1,000 years prior to the introduction of the worship of Zeus to Greece.

Zeus’s famed alter at Mt. Lykaion may not have always been his, according to recent archaeological findings from Greece.

A team of Greek-American archaeologists working the famed Sanctuary of Zeus have discovered pottery remains that indicate the site was a place of worship long before the early Greeks began offering sacrifices to their most celebrated god.

Instead, archaeologists now believe the site was used for ancient dedication ceremonies as early as 5,000 years ago – at least 1,000 years before the known worship of Zeus began.

At Zeus’s Altar

Situated at 4,500 feet above sea level on Mt. Lykaion, the site offers one of the most famous Zeus shrines in ancient Greece. It features an ancient hippodrome (an open-air stadium with an oval course for horse and chariot races), and buildings related to the ancient athletic festival that rivalled the neighbouring sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia.

The site provides a picturesque view of Arcadia, thought to be Zeus’s domain, and is known to have served as an important Pan Arcadian as well as Pan Hellenic sanctuary that attracted pilgrims, athletes and dignitaries from all over the Greek world between 700 to 200 BCE.

“Mt. Lykaion, Arcadia is known from ancient literature as one of the mythological birthplaces of Zeus, the other being on Crete,” says Dr David Gilman Romano, a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and a co-director of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project.

“The fact that the ash altar to Zeus includes early material dating back to 3000 BCE suggests that the tradition of devotion to some divinity on that spot is very ancient. The altar is long standing and may in fact pre-date the introduction of Zeus in the Greek world. We don’t yet know how the altar was first used, and whether it was used in connection with natural phenomena such as wind, rain, light or earthquakes, possibly to worship some kind of divinity male or female or a personification representing forces of nature.”

These finding creates a vastly different account of the history at the Altar and the site.

It’s childish, but i hope that it’s discovered that there was indeed a personified god attached to the site prior to Zeus, specifically Cronos. It’s the mythology obsessed six year old in me that craves that.

Saint Glinglin

With unemployment looming only days away, it’s been hard to focus reading.

One of the books that i picked up from the library last week was Raymond Queneau’s Saint Glinglin. I’d been intending to tackle Queneau for awhile, because the Oulipo group is a favorite literary circle, and it was Dirda’s Bound to Please that had me fix upon Saint Glinglin. The comparisons to Joyce’s Ulysses and Mann’s Magic Mountain intimidated me a little, but Saint Glinglin is not nearly as daunting as those works.

Again, i’m only halfway through the boo, but i don’t much care. The first section of the book, with its near-insane, but unsettlingly persuasive, obsession with life in the depths of the oceans, has been one of my favorite things that i’ve read in months. It delves into biology and philosophy so entertainingly that i forgot occasionally that it was more than a pulp horror in the fashion of H.P. Lovecraft. A favorite sentence is, “It’s not the eclipse of the human I seek across species, but the dawn of the Inhuman.” The meditations on consciousness are weird and familiar.

Ron Paul might have won Louisiana

The dearth of posting is from my mind being elsewhere. I’ve written partial posts, but they dissolve into nothing that i want to complete.

Just so you folks know that my obsessive fear of a grassroots groundswell for Ron Paul was not completely unfounded, it’s worth posting this story to explain how that came to be. From Business Wire:

Yesterday, the Ron Paul presidential campaign filed a letter with the Louisiana Republican Party to contest the credentials of delegates to the state convention.

Under state party rules, campaigns have 72 hours from the end of the caucus to file such a contest. This contest was filed in response to multiple problems with the caucus process.

The initial failure of the Louisiana GOP to properly determine who was and wasnt eligible to vote threw this entire process into disarray, said Ron Paul campaign manager Lew Moore. However, voter eligibility was just one of many irregularities with the caucus process. We are filing this contest to ensure that we can challenge the results if it appears that delegates were improperly selected.

The Louisiana State GOP changed the rules at the eleventh hour to allow other candidates to file more delegates, even though there were plenty of delegates to compose full slates in each congressional district. At the time of the original January 10 deadline, Ron Paul had the largest number of delegates pledged to him. The party then changed the rules to give other candidates until January 12 to file more delegates.

In addition, due to mistakes by the Louisiana GOP, hundreds of voters were forced to file provisional ballots, including nearly 500 that could change the outcome of the election. According to the LA GOP, caucus locations relied on a voter list from November 1, 2007 or perhaps earlier despite the fact that under the caucus rules, voters need only have registered Republican before November 30, 2007.

There were even instances at the caucuses where state-certified Ron Paul delegates appearing on the ballot were forced to file a provisional ballot despite the fact they were pre-approved as delegates.

Essentially, Ron Paul’s support here is so strong that the Louisiana Republican party had to rewrite the rules at the last minute to block him from taking all 30 delegates. Ron Paul scares the hell out of me, but that’s bullshit. If he wins legitimately, he wins. Rigging the caucus is disgusting. I confess that i rarely watch the local news on television, but i saw little mention of the Louisiana caucus in the local papers.

It’s unlikely that Paul supporters will be able to overcome the way that the Republican party has rigged Louisiana, in my opinion. The entire mess gives me a nasty, oily feeling. However, although no one has actually called me out on my paranoia of Paul, now it’s documenting why i saw something very different locally than what was happening nationally.

H. Bustos Domecq

Instead of focusing on Daniil Kharms, i paid the alumni dues, and went to SLU’s library. Browsing was out of the question, as there is some major remodeling going on up there. I had to write down the call numbers, and hand them to some poor bastard to fetch them for me. Although i can check out ten books at a time for three weeks, i kept myself under control.

One of the books that i borrowed is Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi, which i haven’t read until now. Awhile back, there was a mild controversy over the publication of Adolfo Bioy-Casares’ diary entries concerning Borges (which has yet to appear in English translation.) Someone was in a huff that Borges would not have been so petty as to have sat around with Bioy-Casares and Silvina Ocampo talking trash about their contemporaries. Borges was too great of a man to have been so childish, in this writer’s mind.

For some reason, when i picked up Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi, i thought that it was going to be a cerebral genre exercise. Instead, it’s a scorching broadside on the pretensions of the cultural elite, mocking their preening superficiality. The only book of Bioy-Casares that i’ve read before is The Invention of Morel, and i don’t remember him being so prickly in there. Together as H. Bustos Domecq, he and Borges were having a great time mocking fools.

(I’m only halfway done with it.)

Court of Appeals reverses local court ruling on Pamuk case

The circus begins again. I don’t know why this is starting again. Here’s a clip from the story to explain:

Istanbul’s ?i?li Third Civil Court of First Instance dropped the case in a 2006 ruling on the grounds that there had been no violation of the individual rights of the plaintiffs in Pamuk’s remarks. The plaintiffs appealed the court decision.

After reviewing the local court’s ruling, the Court of Appeals nullified it on the grounds that there was no definition of individual rights in the Turkish legal system and that the scope of individual rights was not definite.

The civil suit is entirely separate from the charges levied against Pamuk under Article 301.


“It has been left to the judiciary to decide on what goes into the definition of individual rights. Both in legal doctrine and judicial rulings, it is acknowledged that individual rights include individuals’ physical, emotional and social values as well their profession, honor and dignity, freedom, health, race, religion and bonds of citizenship,” read the court ruling. The court noted that the plaintiffs had a legal right to file a complaint over Pamuk’s remarks because they were linked with citizenship bonds. The court asked for the review of the case in consideration of the fact that the plaintiffs had a legal right to file such a case.

It sounds like awful reasoning on the part of the Court of Appeals, regardless of my partiality to Pamuk. It opens the door for all kinds of specious claims. Some ultra-nationalist judge with a personal grudge against Pamuk is setting aside common sense just to attack him.

Betcha this ruling won’t stand.

I’m now in the process of trying to convince Bill to record for YouTube a video of himself shrieking hysterically, tears and snot dripping from his cheeks, howling, “Leave Orhan alone!”

possible site of “lost city” of Patiti in southern Peru

Last week, there was a story about a “lost city” being found in southern Peru, in an area called Lobo Tahuantinsuyo. The city might be Paititi. One blog mirrors the whole story, but has more photos of the site.

Might as well copy the story too:

Ruins recently discovered in southern Peru could be the ancient “lost city” of Paititi, according to claims that are drawing serious but cautious response from experts.

The presumptive lost city, described in written records as a stone settlement adorned with gold statues, has long been a grail for explorers—as well as a lure for local tourism businesses.

A commonly cited legend claims that Paititi was built by the Inca hero Inkarri, who founded the city of Cusco before retreating into the jungle after Spanish conquerors arrived.

On January 10 Peru’s state news agency reported that “an archaeological fortress” had been discovered in the district of Kimbiri and that the district’s mayor suggested it was the lost city.

Mayor Guillermo Torres described the ruins as a 430,000-square-foot (40,000-square-meter) fortification near an area known as Lobo Tahuantinsuyo.

Few other details about the site were offered, but initial reports described elaborately carved stone structures forming the base of a set of walls.

The state media report quotes Torres as saying the area will be “immediately declared” a cultural tourism site.

Officials from the Peruvian government’s Cusco-based National Institute of Culture (INC) met with Torres on Tuesday, according to Francisco Solís, an INC official.

“It is far too early to make any definitive judgments,” Solís told National Geographic News. “We are going to dispatch a team to investigate.”

Officials expect more details to emerge in the coming days, he said.

In 1600 a missionary reported seeing a large “city of gold” in the region where Paititi is believed to have been built, according to archival records discovered by an Italian archaeologist in 2001.

However, the location of the newfound site falls counter to where historical records indicate Paititi should be, Solís said.

Officials were nonetheless intrigued by the possibilities, he added.

The first task will be to determine if the newfound ruins are the work of the Inca or pre-Inca ethnic groups, Solís said.

Gregory Deyermenjian, a U.S.-based psychologist and explorer who has led many expeditions to investigate the Paititi legend, said many people in the tourism-rich region of Cusco have embraced the legend as a business promotion.

But he said the claims could have merit, as there are still many important sites to be found.

“It is a bit off the beaten path but still within the Inca’s reach,” Deyermenjian said. “I’m very interested to know more.”

Daniel Gade, professor emeritus in geography at the University of Vermont, cautioned about jumping to conclusions.

“Paititi is frequently the first thing people mention when something like this is found,” Gade said, adding that there are many ruins in the jungle regions of the area.

Daniil Kharms

Today I Wrote Nothing seemed like the book to dive into last night. Like a fool, i dove straight into his actual writings, and not the introduction. Kharms is superficially a very easy read, but the further that i waded in, the less that i understood. After awhile, i had to put up my hands in surrender, as i had to admit that i no longer knew what i was reading. I didn’t buy into any theories that his absurdism was a direct assault on Soviet society, but there is definitely an assault going on, more than the usual reality dismantling. Absurdism is quite rarely a barrel of laughs, but i felt like most of the context had been stripped away.

So i restarted the book, reading the introduction. Kharms is a far more bizarre character than i imagined, and while i’ve come across far more disconcerting writers, he has turned out to be extremely enigmatic for me.

January 08: already behind in my reading

Two books came in last week, Daniil Kharms’ Today I Wrote Nothing and Michael Dirda’s Classics For Pleasure. I wasn’t in the mood for Kharms last week (although i am now,) so i shuffled through the Dirda book first. He’s turned into a comfort for me, not so much of a challenge. Most of his recommendations are things that i know that i will never tackle, but it’s been fun to make connections in literature that i probably wouldn’t have made independently, like what writer admired another, and how this influenced him. This isn’t the book that Dirda was trying to write, but eh… it works for me. No matter how many books i read, it always feels as if i am lacking the context for most of them.

It’s hard to tell how the flow of books is going to continue if the employment situation gets too gnarled. The obvious thing to do is slap $30 that i have handy now on alumni membership to SLU. Even if i am missing my degree, through my hours accumulated, i still easily qualify as an alumnus. So far, i’m eying a couple of Raymond Queneau books, a collection of Alfred Jarry plays, and Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi. There is some nasty little materialist part of me that wants to own every book that i read, but i really need to cram more into my skull than onto my shelves.

Grant Morrison @ DisinfoCon 2000

I’d read most of this stuff before, long before i ran across Morrison actually (as i too had a teenage obsession with Robert Anton Wilson,) but this is the first time i sat through this entire video. It came at a time when i needed to see it, and be reminded of a few concepts that can put a few material troubles back into proper perspective.