July 20th, 2007

Party Guy

Happy Birthday, cooner!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

--Edward Slow's Glossary of Wiltshire Words, Used by the Peasantry in the Neighbourhood of Salisbury, c. 1900

Feast Day of St. Wilgefortis
(meaning "strong virgin"), whom women invoked for protection against "troublesome husbands," earning her the nickname St. Uncumber. According to Church legend, Wilgefortis was a bellibone (a sixteenth-century corruption of the French belle et bonne, "beautiful and good") who prayed for and apparently received a beard, helping her to avoid suitors and lead a life of minimal temptation. Ivor Brown wrote in Chosen Words (1955) that she "seems to have had a curious and somewhat farmyard appetite since the usual offering, made by wives in search of conjugal relief, was a gift of grain." According to this legend, if an unhappily married woman left a peck of oats at one of St. Uncumber's shrines, the saint would provide a horse upon which the evil husband might ride to the devil. Brown's sketch concluded, "The functions of St. Uncumber have now been largely taken over by those legal gentlemen who cumber themselves with wigs."

Man, how specific a book is Glossary of Wiltshire Words, Used by the Peasantry in the Neighbourhood of Salisbury?

-The Gneech
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Conan Civilization Sucks

Conan & The Songs of the Dead: Very Disappointing

(Reprint of my review on Amazon.com)

Conan and the Songs of the Dead -- Bad (And Often Inappropriate) Script; Mediocre Plot; Decent but Not Great Art

You'd think that a comic featuring Conan against a wizard who can forcibly shapeshift other creatures, leading up to the bringing of a Lovecraftian nasty into the world at the climax, would be a great ride.

Alas, this one isn't. Besides being pretty much a retread of a hundred other bad Conan pastiches, "Songs of the Dead" suffers under a painfully bad script full of lame locker room humor. Yes, Conan has descended to poop jokes and verbal pissing-contests. Not pretty.

The few things that are good about "Songs of the Dead" are quickly disposed of (most notably an intriguing djinn character who sadly gets reduced to just another cheesy babe for Conan to have sex with, and a wizard with some interesting moments of characterization who is killed in short order once he gets within reach), and the rest never really manages to get better than "mediocre and done better before by other people".

"Conan and the Songs of the Dead" was a real disappointment, and should be shunned by Robert E. Howard fans.

-The Gneech
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