Archive for November, 2011

15 June 763 B.C. (the Bible & the Z Revolution, Part 4)

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Plagues and an eclipse of the sun…such were the attendants of Asshur-Dan III, a minor Assyrian king whose reign may nonetheless have marked a turning point in the fortunes of his kingdom–and the entire region.

To call Ashur-Dan’s reign inauspicious might be an understatement; Assyria suffered not one but two outbreaks of plague (in 765 and 759 B.C.), and in the summer of 763, a portentous eclipse darkened the skies–an astronomical event that set off a revolt that lasted until 759. Things got so bad that in 764, the king was unable to carry out a military campaign (something expected of Assyrian monarchs each year). Assyria’s lingering weakness ended only in 745 B.C., when Tiglath-Pileser III seized the throne and instituted a thorough reform of the army and bureaucracy, thus setting the stage for rise of the House of Sargon.

Disaffected Assyrians were not the only people watching the skies in 763. Hosea began his prophetic activities in the 760s, followed by Amos in about 750. Both were active in the Northern Kingdom (Israel)–the fortunes of the Assyrians and their tributaries were in decline.

At bottom, we must ask–did the Assyrians view this eclipse as a signal that their traditional policy of indirect rule through tributary nations (and a loose, semi-autonomous bureaucracy) was inadequate? Did the appearance of first the “E” Source and then the “J” Bible send shock-waves through the Mesopotamian priests and bureaucrats? After all, saddled with the unwieldy cuneiform writing system, they were incapable of producing masterworks of prose literature themselves–and the Israelite documents certainly challenged the Assyrian worldview. Could the Assyrians have construed the Israelite bibles as serious acts of rebellion that had to be dealt with forcefully? If so, the power of these first biblical texts was felt early on.   RT


Map: Total and Annualar Solar Eclipse Paths, 780-761 B.C. NASA. WikiCmns. Public Domain.

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!

November 19, 2011 10 comments


I continue my slow, wending journey through Emily Dickinson’s Collected Poems, and what discoveries I am making! Her technique, range, and intensity are breath-taking. And did I mention her intensity?? Sequestered as she was, Ms. Dickinson was hardly a monk. Her passion, intellectual and otherwise, bursts forth from her quatrains–not the verse form I would choose to express my passion for nature, life, and writing–and those individuals lucky enough to be the subject of poems such as the one that follows. Yes, among other things, she was an outstanding love poet! I doff my hat to such intensities!


Wild Nights! Wild Nights!

Were I with thee,

Wild Nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile the winds

To a heart in port, —

Done with the compass,

Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden!

Ah! the sea!

Might I but moor

To-night in Thee!



Photo: Fair Copy of Wild Nights; WikiCmns; User: EAmezaga; Public Domain.

One Tough Moon

November 16, 2011 5 comments

Figuring out what happened to Uranus’s moon Miranda is going to keep astrogeologists busy for some time. A close encounter with another moon? Some cataclysm early in the moon’s history? A cold and battered moon, a distant planet, something to ponder in the quiet of winter…  RT

Flowing Water

November 9, 2011 1 comment

something to lift your mid-day spirits… RT

Poetsandall's Blog

By:Ashlee Zlotnick

Isn’t nature just mysterious?
To think that everything has a purpose.
Nothing was created to look good only
but also complete its job.

We as humans take things for granted.
We do not always see the beauty in flowers
and how many methods and processes it had to go through
to become that gorgeous flower you throw on your wedding day.

We get irritated with the noise of nature.
Getting woken up by birds singing
and the feares sounds of an African storm.
Without these things, life would be silent.

We take for granted our privileges.
The fact that we have an education and
a small thing like a roof over our heads.
Without this we would be homeless and uneducated.

The ability to see and hear
we feel we have the right to such powerful advantages.
some people have never had the ability to complain about such beauty

View original post 39 more words

Categories: 2. Unknown Poems Tags: , , ,

How perfect everything is

November 9, 2011 Leave a comment


just when you thought you might get depressed, fellow blogger x-ties strikes again!   RT

How perfect everything is.


November 9, 2011 Leave a comment


The days (and leaves) are falling fast in (mostly sunny) Martinsburg, and RT has been busy arranging further linguistic and grammatical explorations for friends and followers… in particular, set aside a day on your calendar for Tea-Time with the Dragons of Grammar, which promises to be a most illuminating (and mischievous) event…but for those who can’t wait for the latest hit from the Dragons, here is something feisty and fiery.


In linguistics, a segment is any discrete unit that can be identified in the production or reception of human speech (for instance, a phone or phoneme). Suprasegmentals are phonemes that cannot be easily broken down into segments. For instance, the segments of sign language are visual–hands, face, eyes, and body gesture. Vowels and consonants are also segments, that is, discrete speech units.

On the other hand, some speech units do not exist independently from others; these are the suprasegmentals, and include such items as tone and secondary articulations (for instance, co-articulated consonants). Suprasegmentals are in essence additional and simultaneous speech information that augments or completes a speaker’s meaning or articulation.

Just imagine Mandarin Chinese without its tones; the language has been robbed of most of its articulation. That’s how important suprasegmentals are.


As far as charting and scribing these erudite beasts, patience is in order. For English speakers, stress is a familiar concept (especially if you’re a poet) and helps structure the sound of our speech. On the other hand, no adult English speaker will be able to master the subtleties of the Chinese tones. The other marks fall somewhere in the middle in terms of familiarity…but more on that from RT in the next little while…


Chart: WikiCmns; Authors: Grendelkhan, Nohat; Licence: CC 3.o Unported.

Confessions of a Disorganized Poet

November 9, 2011 5 comments

Defining moments, at least in my life, often arrive by way of a cluttered apartment. Projects draw me inward, I work on and finish them, and am faced by new projects and the debris of my earlier work. Stacks of paper on my “junk” ironing board, my desk covered in an unseemly number of scraps and bits and full pages and bills and advertisements…bring out my clean-up-the-mess champion, Confessions of an Organized Homemaker. Toss the odds and ends out, clean your space up!

And here’s a sure-fire tip: Clutter does not encourage creativity!

It’s an uphill battle, of course–I find an intriguing bit of writing I thought I had abandoned or (worse) something I thought I had lost. My answer: put it all in a special folder to be sorted through later. Much more is involved than that, but even so, at times I’ve gotten close to an organized and attractive space…

RT’s advice: keep working on it!


Photo: Postit; Author: Nevit Dilmen; WikiCmns; Licence: CC 3.0 Unported.

New Member of the Family

November 3, 2011 Leave a comment

About three weeks ago, I decided to accept a stray cat that had been living in the parking lot across the street from my apartment. The cat is female, white, and (I’m pretty sure) pregnant. I’m also pretty sure that she had a former owner–she is housebroken and polite (as well as being absolutely charming :)).

I’ve named her Czarina.

Czarina is gradually adjusting to my apartment with its cluttered spaces and its (at least occasionally) uncluttered living room and kitchen. She is proving a loving companion, expert at sending me positive energy when I need it.

The photograph isn’t of her; I’m working on getting a good one for the net. BTW, Czarina has one blue eye and one green eye.

Any ideas for what to name the kittens?   RT


Photo: White Cat; Alex Hockenberry; WikiCmns; Public Domain.