Friday, November 09, 2007
1. When it appears that you have killed the monster, never check to see if it's really dead.
2. Never read a book of demon-summoning aloud, even as a joke.
3. Do not search the basement, especially if the power has gone out.
4. If your children speak to you in Latin--or any other language that they should not know--burn them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. This also applies to children who speak with somebody else's voice.
5. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.
6. Never stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.
7. If appliances start operating by themselves, do not check for short circuits; just get out.
8. Do not take anything from the dead.
9. If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. Don't stop and look around.
10. Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you're doing.
11. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, burn them immediately.
12. Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), anywhere in Texas where chainsaws are sold, the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Maine.
13. If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, do not go to the nearby deserted house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange you ran out of gas because you thought you had most of a tank, shoot yourself instead. You are going to die anyway, and most likely be eaten.
14. Beware of strangers bearing tools. For example: chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any devices made from deceased companions.
15. If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, now is the time to take advantage of the real-estate bubble and move in with the in-laws. This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible, unusual fashion, or who performed bizarre rituals.
16. Dress appropriately. When investigating a noise downstairs in an old house, women should not wear a flimsy negligee. Additionally, carry a flashlight, not a candle.
17. On a related note, DO NOT under any circumstance have sex. Virtuous girls have a chance. Guys, I'm sorry, but you're probably dead-meat regardless - particularly if you are a side-kick.
18. Do not go looking for witches in the Maryland countryside.
19. If you're searching for something that caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, GET OUT!
via The Speculist
Money may be the root of all evil, but what is the root of money? It exists in a strange gray zone between reality and illusion; the definitive token of worth, it is intrinsicall y worthless. Unraveling the dizzyingly complex mechanics of money is not easy; indeed, like a car or a computer, as long as it continues to work properly, most people feel no need to even try. I certainly never had—until recently, that is, when a friend introduced me to an obscure little piece of Americana called the Hobo Nickel. What started as a glancing interest in a modest, oddball collectible ended up provoking profoundly tangled questions about what money is and how it functions. Now I fear I will never be able to look at my pocket change in the same way again.
First minted between 1913 and 1938, the "Buffalo" or "Indian Head" nickel was designed by James E. Fraser, a former assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The coin's obverse, or "heads," side featured a Native American profile that was said to be a composite of three individuals from three different tribes—an Ogalala named Iron Trail, a Northern Cheyenne known as Two Moons, and Big Tree, a Seneca that had a brief career in 1920s silent movies. The reverse side of the coin was an image of a bison named Black Diamond, who then lived in New York's Central Park Zoo.
The coin was relatively plentiful—over 1.2 billion were minted during the 25 years of its run. However, a small number of them were adapted by the nation's then-significant population of itinerant workers, both as a mode of craft and a kind of parallel currency. (During the Depression as many as one out of every five able-bodied individuals was idle; thousands took to riding the rails in search of temporary work as a way of life.) Often using little more than a pen-knife, many of these drifters pain-stakingly altered the extremely hard copper-nickel alloy, transforming the Indian's head into profile portraits of friends and loved ones (both male and female), of other hobos, or of themselves. Rare examples also feature alterations of the "buffalo," typically into donkeys or elephants. These "Hobo Nickels" were a way for the vagabonds to increase the value of the coin so that it brought a more advantageous exchange when used to barter for food and drink, or for lodging or transportation.
Antioch regularly turned out graduates who went on to become stellar public figures, writers, and scholars: Coretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, anthropologist Clifford Geertz, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, the District of Columbia's Democratic congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and, most recently in the news, Mario R. Capecchi, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology for his work on embryonic stem cells in mice. (This was Antioch College's second Nobel; José Ramos-Horta, president of East Timor, who had received a master's degree in 1984 in a peace-studies program now incorporated into Antioch University, won the Peace Prize in 1996.)
Not to mention The Wife, class of '97.