THE CUTEST FUCKING CUPCAKE EVER

IF YOU DISAGREE YOU ARE FUCKING WRONG.

Kroger Alien Cereal is AWESOME

Seriously, this cereal is awesome. It tastes great, and it looks awesome. I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere online. I would take a picture of it, but the box has got it spot on. It looks just like that. The oat pieces, which are okay in Lucky Charms, actually have some flavor to them. Plus, you can usually get 3 boxes for $5. You can buy it at any Kroger owned store (Fry's here in Arizona, may be named something else where you are.) I love this cereal!

Christianity and Homosexuality - Proposition 8 got you down?

Originally written as a response to http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=37702 - where, hilariously, the moderator only allows messages to be posted by people being obvious idiotic trolls, but denies posts that are thoughtful and reasoned. Which, of course, mine is. Don't worry, I never let good arguments go to waste.


Ezekiel said:

"I'm grateful for Deacon Fournier's ongoing coverage of this story. His commentary on the subject matter has consistently been among the most well-reasoned and articulate available in 'the press'. Judge Walker's Prop-8 ruling represents a huge victory of emotion over ontology in today's culture war, and a new threat to people's right to hold and express beliefs consistent with traditional Christian moral teaching. "

How does this in any way require you to recognize their marriage? They can't force anyone in a church to perform these marriages. You can go on believing as you'd like. So someone down the street wants the same civil (meaning it's a legal process, not a religious one) and legally-binding rights that any other married couple can have. These rights are completely non-religious in nature. You're basically saying that these people can make a contract. That is all civil marriage is at its core. Certainly, if you don't think these rights are important or part of a marriage, I welcome you to have your marriage performed at a church and not have your marriage certificate signed, as all that truly matters is having God witness and bless your marriage, correct?

If I remember correctly, any marriage performed on a Catholic outside of a Catholic church is not recognized by the church. So why worry about a few more marriages you consider shams?

As for people saying it's sanctified (it isn't, it's a contract) perversion, why would you encourage gay people who are going to be gay anyhow to decide on the opposite alternative - that is to say, instability, promiscuity, and so on? That is, unless, you want an excuse to point your finger at them and say "I'm better than you because I don't do this. You've faced a lifetime of getting treated like second-class citizens, and this is the best you can do after being treated badly your whole lives? This is why you don't deserve marriage."

For those crying out about democracy, let us not forget the lessons that history has taught us about mob rule and its effect on groups of people who are in the minority. Our founding fathers were wise to choose a representative democracy with a system of checks and balances to protect a capricious populace that changes its opinions often based on fashion, politics, and anecdotal evidence.

Those who are crying out wishing to die because they feel our society is morally bankrupt, remember suicide is a sin as well. Speaking of sin, the Old Testament focuses on a multitude of sins. Most of them we don't even consider sins today, but most of us are guilty of them all the same. Homosexuality was mentioned as one of them. So are laws against:

-Following the laws and procedures of infectious skin diseases (Leviticus 13)
-(For women) Basically isolated yourself for 7 days during the culmination of your monthly cycle, and following the proscribed rituals in case you accidentally contaminate someone? (Leviticus 15:19-30)
-Wearing clothing of mixed material (Leviticus 19:19)
-Divination and sorcery (Leviticus 19:26) - Have you read a horoscope lately?
-Cutting hair at the sides of your head or around the edge of your beard (Leviticus 19:27) - Do you remember this at the barber?
-Tattooing (Leviticus 19:28)
-Mistreating foreigners in your land - in fact, not treating them in a friendly, welcoming, and hospitable manner (Leviticus 19:33)

Notice that I didn't mention keeping the laws of kashrut as they apply to food. The reason I don't include these is because in the New Testament, there is some scriptural basis for saying that those who follow Christ's teachings do not have to follow them, specifically at Mark 7:14-23. In the rest of the Bible, there is nowhere that Christ says that some, but not all of the sins in the Bible are no longer sins.

He certainly doesn't say, "Well, now that I have come, you're free to pick and choose which sins are actually sins." Nowhere does Christ speak about homosexuality. In fact, he chose to hang out with prostitutes and thieves - the very people who needed him the most, and not to point out their sins and condemn them, but to spread the message of God's love. Keep in mind that these are the very people who would be condemned by the laws of Leviticus. He chose to spent time with them rather than the contemporary self-anointed guardians of morality, from religious personae to the first century equivalent of a soccer mom.

Paul, in Galatians 2:16 stated "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justfied." This seems to me to be the statement of a man who agrees that the laws of the Old Testament had already been invalidated, yet in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul mentioned the effeminate not inheriting the kingdom of God. First, why the sudden change of heart? Christ had no known law about cross-dressing or acting womanly. Why must the effeminate mean a homosexual? I have known plenty of masculine homosexual men and plenty of effeminate heterosexual men. The original word "Malakoi" that Paul used means exactly what effeminate means - soft, weak, and generally feminine. Paul was warning here against overly indulging in worldly pleasures, and women at the time were considered more prone to falling prey to them. I agree that moderation is important in all of life's pleasures. Paul also mentions that thieves, adulterers, drunkards, and fornicators (this includes prostitutes) are with the effeminate ones in not inheriting the kingdom of heaven. Curiously, many of those who Christ ministered to would fall in with those terms, and he never condemned them for their behavior. It seems to me that it's possible that Paul had lost some of Christ's message.

And what was Christ's message? If you consider that he was simply an addition to the Old Testament scriptures, then it's possible that only the Messianic Jews and similar groups have gotten it right. If not, what is the new convenant with the people of the world? Christ preached love. Christ preached acceptance that all of us are sinners. He didn't want us to count sins, and he certainly didn't want us getting involved pointing out the sins of everyone around us, which modern Christianity seems preoccupied with. He definitely did not say that certain things that God had said earlier were still sins and certain things no longer were - with the possible exception of the laws regarding food. Love God, love your neighbor, and have faith.


Teach Yourself Old English by Mark Atherton - A Review (and then some!)

I originally posted a review for the book Teach Yourself Old English by Mark Atherton on Amazon a long time ago. I went to do a moderate-sized edit recently by adding an additional section about how much the book affected me and how refreshing it was to see understandable information about our own language's most ancient recorded form. I basically let it get uncontrollably huge, yet I think all of it needed to be said. I just kept writing, eventually making the case for universal Old English education at a basic level. The thoughts here have not been proofread much. Please feel free to make me aware of any grammatical errors. I tend to use parentheses and dashes far too much, but this is simply a reflection of my conversational style.

Note: This was written in a flurry of madness, but my feelings still ring true. The fact that we learn Latin and Greek in exponentially greater numbers than Old English shows that Old English still suffers from the negative view of the language originally forced on the Anglo-Saxons by the Normans over 800 years ago. Take the following thoughts with this in mind.

Dang it, I can't even head this with an appropriately long and descriptive title for something as large as this. Here is the full title it deserves:

Finally! A Book that Teaches Old English to the Everyman: An Exhaustive (and Amusingly Long) and, I hope, Very Informative and Persuasive Review about an Unassuming Book in a Rather Unspectacular Series about Language Learning that Will Surprise You and Take you on an Adventure through Time and Wherein I Will Also Make a Case for Old English as a Part of a Standard Education and Which Finally Will Allow you to Connect the Warrior Kings of England with You Right There Eating Hot Pockets in your Living Room at 4am and Could Potentially Revolutionize Modern Language Education if We Would Consider It

OR

Hot darn! This book helped me learn to read English stuff from a real long time ago and took me places I'd never thought I'd go to boot!

OR - yes, it needs three because I wrote such a long, heartfelt review - and most honestly


Buy this dang Old English Book and Read It! It Changed My Life and Could Change Yours and Potentially the Course of English-speaking Civilization! (I'll beat it into your Thick Head if it's the Last Thing I Do and I'll Abuse Syntax, Parentheses, and Dashes in the Process)

Section 1
THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE ACTUAL BOOK REVIEW

The short version (not recommended - especially if you're doing research on which book to buy for a class or for language learning):

If you're interested in the topic and history of the language from casual skimming to serious student, get the book. If you aren't you probably won't be interested, but the thing is YOU SHOULD BE if you at all want to connect with your legacy in history as an English speaker.

If you're interested in knowing why I believe you should be, read on. I promise I won't be upset if you hate my article and get sick of reading midway through or even don't read it at all and mark it as bad!

The always wordy, seemingly overly long (but I do believe every word is necessary in conveying my thoughts, though I do repeat myself when making a point), wholly unsponsored essay explaining all the benefits of this book and giving a lot of additional background knowledge explaining the full benefits of using this text over others:

To begin with, I would like to preface this by saying, if you start, try to bear with my somewhat rambling style. I have several points and several things I have to impress on people with factual historical information which I think is both interesting and relevant.

If you have a child and you feel his or her abilities (or if you've just noticed in general an increased lack of familiarity with English grammar, rules, vocabulary, and so on, read on, I have a theory about how to help. Nothing reasoned or tested, mind you. I'd have to do that scientifically. I support that, however, and think it should be tried first in test groups with controls if it were to be done.

This book is great. Better than great, it's simply a revolution in teaching Old English. This book brings the teaching of the very Germanic extinct-in-form but living-in-spirit language that forms and contains our (and I believe this includes the whole English-speaking world's) cultural, historical, and linguistic roots. I've tried unsuccessfully to pick up books on the subject in the past and quite honestly had issues with them as they all generally come in one form. Basically, what these books often provide a student with are a technical pronunciation guide, a similarly technical grammar, selected readings of primary sources, and a glossary in Old English to Modern English at the end, and if you've gotten extremely lucky, a Modern English to Old English reverse glossary. It's very likely if the book has one that someone has bribed the author. From here on, I will refer to these books as Grammar/Readers, because that's basically what they provide. A Grammar of the subject and reading. Usually these books separately are called Grammars and Readers, so why not combine them with a slash.

While those types of technical books may have an opportunity to be useful in what is usually a graduate-level classroom filled with high expectations, deadlines, and most importantly a professor who is knowledgeable in the subject and will provide an introduction to the material, supplement it, and give out the grammatical ideas as necessary, they almost entirely rely on the teacher to set the pace and fill in details; if the teacher is poor, the class is left to founder. They are also useful as self-study and reference books to students of a language who are already familiar with almost all of the grammatical concepts of a language. They are also useful for the study of linguistics for quick pre-categorized knowledge about a language. Surprisingly, this does not include the vast majority of us who would be picking a book up from Amazon or the corner bookstore or library to read and learn more about the subject without a instruction. I really do think this book could be used more than effectively as a primary textbook in classrooms with greater success than other methods.

What's so wrong with these books I have labeled as Grammar/Readers? This book is a stark contrast to these books, which is why I bring them up so much. Well, let me tell you why I personally think people interested in self-study should avoid them in the beginning. These texts are the most common texts one will find on any sort of book search and in addition being the most common in classrooms as introductory textbooks to many ancient, extinct, classical, and archaic languages. These books are as I have said before written for linguistic interest and with the serious student with a teacher providing supplemental material in mind. I know that if there is any sort of other option, anyone who wants to genuinely learn the language should stay clear of Grammar/Readers as their source of language learning until they are of at least have a solid grasp of the grammar of their language of study. Personally, I understand the differences between nominative, genitive, dative, vocative, accusative, ablative, locative, and would be able to add further concepts if necessary, and know generally how to apply these concepts to noun and adjective declension in another language, In addition I understand the concept of grammatical gender, know the difference between the different verb moods, and know what the difference between a present, present progressive, future perfect, future, future progressive, and so on verb tenses are, and yes, I can at least supply minimal definitions for far more linguistic concepts and terms, but even with a relatively good grounding in grammatical concepts from study of Latin I still do not learn very easily from a Grammar/Reader. I will admit there are terms I do not understand, namely technical phonetic descriptors used to identify sounds in the language. The only (rare) person who should consider buying one as a primary text for self-study is someone who both has a strong handle on all of these terms and their accompanying ideas and is extremely deterimined to learn a language through charts and can handle few accompanying examples. The person who starts with a Grammar/Reader outside of a classroom has his first experience reading the language basically plunging into a primary source without any aid other than the grammar, with no specific information about how to apply it to the text being read.

This book has the power to undo the damage that the Grammar/reader I so often malign have done those who have an interest in self-teaching the basic concepts of Old English. It could bring Old English studies down from the lofty Graduate Studies sections, as it already certainly has made the subject accessible to anyone who has a firm grasp on English. It could be easily understood by anyone who can read English at a relatively fluent level. I really do think this book is a revolution in the subject. All of this from a simple Teach Yourself series text, which is the series I would never have expected to do something exemplary.

Basically, the reason why this book should be considered revolutionary in the subject, is that this book catches up Old English education to the point that Latin Education was at in the 50's and 60's with the introduction and popularization of the classic, quite excellent, still revised for modern readers, and quite importantly (and speaking volumes of the method) still used today book series known as Wheelock's Latin and Latin for Americans. These marked a radical departure from the previous approach to a Classical Latin education, which was with Grammar/Reader style books. They gave these Grammar/Reader books to what were quite probably 9 year old boys, quite possibly younger, and expected them to learn how to read Latin (and Greek, with the same method) fluently. They did learn, but could not the language have been acquired in a better way, only teaching one grammatical idea at a time as well as providing a small but important amount of vocabulary per lesson? Of course it could, and this is the approach these books used, and Latin pedagogy (had to use it) has never looked back. Unfortunately, Old English has never been considered a part of a Classical Education, but, as I will reason later, I think it should be included as a part of a sort of Neo-Classical Education where fluency isn't the focus, but learning for what reason your own language forms ideas in the manner it does and the historical basis for this and also for a grounding in the languages, and by extension, culture and history of the past. History is always more interesting when you can read the words as they were written by those who made, and also if you can read and understand the same exact words that both entertained, educated, and inspired those very same people into action.

It's basically going to be as if the first time you rode a bike you had to ride 20 miles across hilly terrain and succeed. If this does not sound enjoyable, do not buy a combination Grammar/reader as your introduction to any ancient, classical, extinct, or archaic version of a language. Languages that are mostly of academic interest more often than not will have the vast majority of introductory texts written to the academic reader, and that means a Grammar/reader. There have been a few good texts that have come out recently for beginners in a few older languages, and I applaud authors who make these languages available to everyday people. If you are serious about the study of old languages, you will come across these some time in your quest for knowledge.

The opportunity to learn the most original form of one's language and read actual words as they would have been understood naturally by your if not actual, at least cultural, ancestors is something that any thinking, reasoning person ought not turn down lightly. The ability to understand one's own language better and use their own language knowing the reasons behind its grammatical constructions is a huge bonus that shouldn't be turned down, either. The amount of time a regular person would have to invest in reading this and getting a working knowledge is probably 30-50 hours. This wouldn't provide for knowing everything, but a good grasp would be had by that and possibly less of an investment. I know it seems like a lot, but a couple of hours a week doing what is basically learning to understand a very similar (quite different in others) language to your own. Since it doesn't focus on production that often, just to reinforce concepts, and since there are no native speakers, you will not have to learn to properly conjugate and decline nouns and adjectives without assistance. The endings on everything you read are all there, you just have to decipher what they mean as you read - and the word order is usually similar to modern English. You will have few Latin-derived loan words, basically all loan words commonly used at the time were religious terms

In addition to the language learning, there's also occasional historical and cultural tidbits to keep the book interesting and the reader reminded of the fact that these were living people using a living language. I tend to notice that I have looked forward to these bits, because it tends to put some context around the words in the unit and the textbook as a whole.

This book more or less does what a teacher would do, at least as far as a book can do this. It's divided into units that contain bits of vocabulary, explanations of one or two new grammatical points (which are taught in a very easy to understand way.) Interspersed in the units are various readings from real Old English texts. These are generally pretty interesting readings, as well, so at least you're not reading something dull like inventories or records of family lineage. At the end of each unit you'll have questions to quiz yourself over. There's an answer key in the back as well to allow you to figure out how well you did.

I doubt that at the end of the book (which I have reached) that I am considered fluent in the Old English language, at least I definitely do not feel fluent. However, I do know I have would have a rather good grasp on the basic grammatical concepts and have built up a somewhat decent vocabulary. From here, I feel confident in picking up a primary source reader for the student, and have felt able to work through it with a dictionary and this book in hand. I might benefit from one of those often maligned Grammar/Readers as a next step, but only for reference and possibly to read the primary sources. I do not feel comfortable at all writing, or heaven forbid, speaking in grammatically Old English, though this would just be of novelty value as I don't have anyone I know to share these hypothetical written or spoken words with. I do think if the language is taught in the classroom these should be included and emphasized so that students gain speed and get more of a native speaker's association and feeling, for lack of a better word, from the words and grammar. I do feel like my grasp of my native English has vastly increased, and most importantly from how I can form grammatical constructions. I am far more familiar with the long-ignored and rarely-taught English subjunctive mood, and while I've always been excessively wordy when I have an opinion on a topic, I think learning some Old English has helped me avoiding run-on sentences. Unfortunately, my major obvious problem with proper writing can not benefit at all from additional grammatical knowledge, it can only benefit from being slower and more careful in typing out my thoughts. Unfortunately, I have become quite impassioned in this topic and I have typed a mountain out of a molehill.

Unlike a lot of modern language books in the Teach Yourself series, this really does put emphasis on proper grammar and learning how to properly decline and conjugate properly from basically the beginning. Unlike some of the older Teach Yourself books written for classical languages, Teach Yourself Sanskrit being the most memorable for me as it started off with descriptions of the Devanagari (the Sanskrit Alphabet) letters with what were basically linguist's phonetic descriptors. To all writers of instructional language texts: please do not tell me a letter is a voiceless coronal sibilant, rather, tell me it is like the s in the English word set and then tell me I can use the Latin alphabet letter s if necessary to represent it. The Teach Yourself series is remarkably unpredictable and they generally tend to focus on conversational knowledge, but this book is a diamond in the rough. It does not bog you down and confuse you with overly scholarly terms that only a linguist or a student of classical languages would know. If you know how to read and write English fluently, you can use this book.


Primary sources (original texts written in the historic period of Old English, in this case), almost all in original form, and very rarely simplified, start as soon as the book and the sources available allow it, basically from the beginning, and increase in percentage as you learn more concepts and more sources become available. Unlike a lot of those extinct language grammar/readers you get it while learning and when it's appropriate and demonstrative rather than just getting a huge plop of prose and poetry in the second section of a combination grammar/reader that hasn't been updated significantly in nearly a century.

That segment of Old English books are great for reference and getting good exposure to primary source material, but definitely not very helpful when you're trying to acquire a second language whether it be extinct or in current use. This exposes you to the basics and important rules of the language simply, at the right pace, and with just enough explanation to make the concept sink in as easily and painlessly as it is possible too. It reinforces them with translation AND production exercises so that the concepts stay as firmly as possible in the head.

This is an Old English book that a junior high classroom could learn out of and a 80-year-old historian adding Old English to his repertoire could learn quite a bit from. Yes, I even think this would be appropriate in grad school classes, though your grad students might be disappointed that learning the basics of a long-language could be done so painlessly. You can assign them extra TA duties if they seem disappointed, trust me.


Section 2:
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE - A BACKGROUND FOR THE EVERYMAN

Understanding Old English will leave you poised to explore (almost always from your favorite comfortable reading spot) first-hand the full transformation of a language and a people from long ago and give you the knowledge that will connect them with you in the present day. The English Language's origin as a distinct language begins with Germanic groups known as the Angles and Saxons that settled in England and formed kingdoms in seperate regions that warred amongst themselves. England was not united until a warrior king named Alfred - whom history would call The Great - in the first golden age of England and the English Language. It's important to note that English was one of the first European vernacular languages to develop a body of written literature outside of Latin and Greek. The language first appeared in written form with runic writing much like Old Norse, but they quickly adapted the Latin alphabet as standard for all writing. They incorporated a few runic letels to represent sounds Latin didn't have, namely the th and the gh which sounded like the guttural "ch" in loch. The language was an inflected language, which means that nouns had suffixes in place of using word order as in modern English (this is referred to as declining a noun) along with matching declined adjectives to provide grammatical understanding. In this language, new words were rarely formed by loaning (the majority of loan words were from Latin and were foreign concepts brought by Christianity) and more often filled by making compounds out of existing thus forming a brand new word. This concept is not foreign to English, but the length of words that are experienced in Modern German which retained this feature is quite surprising to a speaker of English. If English had not evolved to accept loan words routinely, a computer could very well have been called a Metalandsiliconaddingboxwithavisualizationboxontop. Focusing further on the history of the language, written Old English had four main dialects, but most of the work was language of Winchester, the first capital of England reigned by King Alfred, who spoke in the Wessex dialect. It is most commonly known as the language of the epic poem Beowulf, known to us as Old English, and also referred to as Anglo-Saxon by historians in its very earliest forms. This is also the language of the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a history of the British Isles commissioned by the selfsame Alfred the Great. It was started in this age continued to be updated through the beginning of the next stage of the language, which began with the Norman Conquest, when England was conquered by William, the Duke of Normandy, off the northern coast of France. From there, you'll go to the subjugated people ruled by the Norman French who struggled to sustain an identity as English people, where various regions attempt to assert control and chaos and change ruled the language until one region took charge. This is how our language truly learned to borrow what it needed rather than use the old Germanic way of compounding words. By doing this, it may have given the people of other language backgrounds the ability to still have something that felt like home in their language - words that were easily recognizable - a very important thing in the creation of a modern tongue. The people who did this managed to reforge and also importantly simplify the language and make it ready for its future trials as an international, scientific language. At this stage the English language transitioned and rapidly evolved and then finally began to come into focus as a recognizable ancestor of our language. The literature from this era is largely ignored, except by scholars, for whatever reason, but what work has survived shows the people are vibrant and very human. This is the language which includes, the epic poem Brut by Layamon, which retold the history of England based on an earlier chronicle, but for the first time in its country's native tongue. It's also the language of the moderately well-known debate poem The Owl and the Nightingale, and the language that saw the first English versions of the Arthurian legends, of the foundations of chivalry and courtly love. This language, which was known as Middle English, is most famously known as the language that Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his works in, including the most well known of Middle English literature, The Canterbury Tales. Some works, of which Chaucer's are the most well known example, from the later part of the Middle English period, hold up as relatively recognizable and understandable to modern English readers with only some minor alterations in spelling and the addition of a supplemental glossary. It was at the end of this period that English was finally reigned in and given a standardized form under King Henry V under what was known as the Chancery Standard. It was intended for use on all official documents, and it was basically widely accepted by the time of the invention of the printing press - the printing press basically cemented the Chancery Standard as the basic form from which Early Modern English could be created. One should note, the only official bodies in England at the time which persisted in not using the Chancery Standard was the Catholic Church which used Latin on all of its official documents, and some legal documents, for which Law French, a pidgin of French and English used only for legal purposes, was still considered acceptable for use.

From here you move to the language of a people coming into their own in the region and then the world, asserting their dominance. You truly at this age lay the foundations of England's and their language's rule over an empire that the sun truly never set on. This second golden age was of a language showing its strength not only over their own area of the globe but also over continents and people recently unknown with a language that was reforged and afterwards fully capable of change with the times, places, and situations required. This is also the language that is most often incorrectly thought of as Old English, because it uses archaic language which is still more or less understandable. The spelling and predominant form of the printed language reached its more or less modern form because of the introduction of the printing press and by consequence vastly increased literacy at this time. It's for this reason that spellings that do not reflect the true pronunciation of words have continued to persist. The "gh" in Night, Knight, Through, Though, were once pronounced something akin to the ch in Scots "loch" - the pronunciation fell away but the spelling stayed due to the spelling standardization that was caused by the printing press. This is the now fully recognizable (to us) English language of Shakespeare, The King James Bible, and so on, Early Modern English. The pronunciation of English evolved during this time through what is known as the Great Vowel Shift to its mostly modern pronunciation (I rarely don't expound, but do a web search for it for more information.) And finally, the language continues on through the end of a golden age and on to a Renaissance of sorts as our language struggles to adapt to being the living primary language of several hundred million people around the globe and also the by far most common second language taught and spoken in all of the world. This is the language of To Kill a Mockingbird, of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, of almost every international news organization, of the BBC and MTV, of what some would say is the language of the Internet or at least the largest part, and which has done what no lingua franca before has done, which is to penetrate nearly ever corner of the globe fully. Honestly, if Alfred the Great could see what his language has done now, I wonder if he would be surprised at it's reach or disappointed at its loss of its character. This is the adventure that waits for you by learning to understand the older roots of your language, and Old English is the most logical first step.

One surprise you may have if you are unfamiliar with Old English is that Old English will first appear and sound to you nearly as foreign as Dutch or Frisian may sound. Once you get used to the sounds and do a bit of common-sense association (Old English daeg becomes Modern English day, morgenne became morwen in Middle English, then became morning in Modern English, etc) you will begin to see how some parts of Modern English formed from Old English and also start to appreciate how you are linked with a long-extinct but yet at the same time still-surviving, living language, culture, and history. You'll be reading the English of an age which begun what was basically little more than warring tribes, then at the end of the age newly-united England had its capital not in London but Winchester, and as it follows the perceived proper and educated dialect of Old English, and therefore, the most common one by far, came from the capital of Winchester instead of from the London area. Logically, this makes for an additional step of removal as modern UK English is the language of Southern England in general and the received pronunciation of the upper class of the so-called London-Oxford-Cambridge triangle. This is a language where the French had not taken over the country and begun the now ongoing transformation of English into one of the first world-wide living language that absorbs, augments, and sometimes replaces the old with the new, fashionable, and sometimes more descriptive.

Section 3:
HOW DOES THIS HAVE THE POWER TO BENEFIT SOMEONE?


Let me start this section with a question that I will pose to you. Why is it that the earliest version of English most students are exposed to is a modified form of the late Middle English of Chaucer for the rare student but most often a play or two by Shakespeare? Even when we study that, the grammar is assumed to be so similar as to need no addition but footnotes about vocabulary. Why is it so rare to learn the history of one's own language, in the English-speaking world, I wonder, when it permeates who we are and how we are formed. How is it that we learn older, more distantly removed languages far more commonly and that Old English is considered basically a subject appropriate for graduate students? Why do we disregard our own linguistic heritage in favor of others? It seems like a terrible thing to do.

Extremely importantly, and of primary benefit, through learning Old English you will finally get the answers to "Why does this happen, and why can't it be regular?" as it relates to many of those nagging quirks and inconsistencies about our current modern language that at least in my primary and secondary school years no teacher was ever able to answer to my satisfaction.. Why is are boats, countries, and other inanimate objects traditionally referred to as she instead of it? Why do we say verbs in what sounds like commands in the Lord's Prayer (and many other traditional places) "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done" when we're not ordering God (blasphemy, after all, to most Christians) to do those things, but rather expressing hopeful possibility, but without saying it thusly "Thy kingdom will come, thy will be done"? Why did English speakers once say "thou" and "thee" instead of just saying you as we do today for everything? What did you mean that thou and thee could not convey - to modern readers they just sound like an old way to say you - and why did the language evolve to not include them?

On a related note, English speakers of the far future may wonder why we say he, she, and it instead of they and them for every person and thing regardless of gender or number as we often do now informally in what is known as the "Singular They." I'll go out on a limb here and conjecture that it's very commonly accepted in informal situations simply because it's far less cumbersome than saying "he or she" (or a variant) yet still maintains gender neutrality and therefore politically correct speech, which is another very recent development in the language. If you are interested in the changes of the language, I strongly encourage you to look up these topics and learn. Your language is very much still evolving and every one of us plays a part in keeping it alive and changing it for better and worse, especially because English has no existing body similar to the French Academy that standardizes the language, but rather several bodies that influence the standard form of the language. Today's slang and common vernacular will be tomorrow's accepted standard if and when it gains acceptance. The same thing happened to thou and thee.

On the same vein that thee and thou share, have you ever wondered why they said ye in Shakespeare's time as a version of "you" but also occasionally ye is used in place of "the" as in "Ye Olde Shoppe" in old forms of English? Why do we change certain pronouns such as "he" versus "him" versus "his" based on their position in the sentence - and not with other words? Is this related, and if so, how, to the straggling -e's and -em's and other seemingly random suffixes showing up at random on Early Modern English nouns and adjectives (ye Goode Booke "The Good Book") (Gretes Smythes "Great Smiths")? Why are double negatives considered grammatically incorrect, and if they were correct, why must two negatives used together mean a positive? I will tell you the answer to this, because it requires a fuller knowledge of the language's history. This was a product of the Age of Reason where mathematical and scientific concepts were applied to language, and the double negative, previously fully acceptable from Old English down to Early Modern English, used to emphasize the negative statement: "I'm not never going to the store" would just mean you're really quite definitely not going to the store - it would be a welcome addition to ears so accustomed to hearing profanity used to emphasize statements (often negative) if we could restore this nuance of our language to acceptable vernacular use. This is just one short example of how our language has lost something in the name of progress - a lot of those changes are good, but must we follow that to its end and lose every quirk that could color meaning, replace it with words borrowed, and force our common language to be a halfway artificial construct that no one man truly thinks and speaks in?

Why do we say "If I were going to the store" versus "If I was going to the store" when they seem to mean the same thing? Why do some people say "To Whom am I speaking?" and others say "To who am I speaking?" - when is it appropriate to use whom and why? Why are some verbs considered "irregular" and change for example like "teach-teaching-taught" and other verbs considered "regular" as in "paw-pawing-pawed"? If you've made it this far, it's pretty much assured you are interested in these questions and more, so I'll give you some background on the last. The reason is that the vast majority these sorts of so-called irregular verbs were originally considered "strong" regular verbs - the others are called regular "weak" verbs - and do generally follow a set pattern and that there are only a very few truly irregular verbs in the English language. These verbs are the most very common and also the oldest. Most - perhaps all? I'm not sure and can't say for sure - Germanic languages retain the strong and weak verb classification and teachers continue to use it when teaching their students the rules of conjugating verbs. These are all unanswered questions to most students of the English language. I could also bring up all sorts of questions Middle English raises, such as why is it that we use beef for cow, pork for pig, mutton for sheep, and so on but only when we use the words for food. The answer for the curious who do not know is that French words replaced the English and by proxy Germanic roots but only when used in the more refined context of dining and cooking. Learning Middle English in addition to learning Old English can even have unintended consequences because a number of our profane terms come from germanic roots that became profane simply because the common people used them. Consider piss which was acceptable enough even for the King James Bible (see Isaiah 36:12 in the KJV) in place of urinate - most younger students would get a detention for using piss even today. There are other words, such as the one the Latin word vagina replaced, that are probably even too vulgar to write here.

Most teachers have never had the opportunity nor proper motivation to learn the original forms and history of their language, so they know that the rules of the English language are so because they are so, they do not regularly know the reasons, and anyone who has been around kids or even remembers being one themself knows that when you cannot provide a statement and then expect "because that's how I say it is" to be a reasonable answer. Kids thrive when they know the full reason behind things, even if they cannot grasp every nuance - that comes with time and age. In addition, and to the detriment of students, the teachers are ignorant of the roots of our language, and the vast majority of English textbooks understandably rely on teachers to provide the instruction in the language, no additional knowledge is imparted from textbooks to students about the history of the very language that they form their thoughts and feelings in. The textbook, which could be a vehicle for supplemental learning, is generally used in the best classrooms as needed for reference and to provide exercises. Basically, what I'm saying is that neither textbook nor teacher is doing anything to explain the origins of the language and this is basically failing the student in giving them no true understanding of the material. It's important to at least learn the basic history of your own language and the culture around it and learn the most basic forms of the history of your language to understand how our language and we ourselves, as English speakers, got to where we are today in a global culture where our language and culture has risen to dominance and we are considered, however falsely or truly it may be, the shining beacon of prosperity, knowledge, science, and all that is true and good in the world, and also the source of all of the evil and sin in the world by some.

Seriously, without reserve, and even using a double negative to show emphasis, I never-ever cannot stress enough the potential value this book may have in your and your children's lives. I could go on for ages about this book and why it is more than what it appears to be by having the power to enrich so many people's minds if we would allow it to do so. Quite succinctly, this is as close to learning Old English for the everyman I have seen. This puts it in the grasp of everyone, which is something it hasn't been in for several hundred years.

Just because I say everyman doesn't mean the book holds no scholarly merit, mind you, and despite any possibility of the book having a few spelling errors, as one guy said on Yahoo, (which will eventually be corrected in the newest editions) it more than makes up for it in potential benefit. Definitely buy it if you're interested in the topic, whether you want to fully understand Old English or are just looking for some really basic knowledge and some interesting history and culture lessons. You'll soon find yourself fascinated by the very ancient Germanic roots and the general foundations and changes that have transformed our language into the conglomeration of vocabularies with a Germanic backbone it is today.

I'll even be so bold as to say that any English speaker would know far more about how to use their own language's grammar appropriately and with a fuller array of meaning, and alsobe less likely to need a dictionary to decipher unfamiliar words if they had "Neo-Classical" education that started around a good basic grounding in Old (and Middle) English and followed with the addition the classical languages of Latin and Greek. You would quite literally have the source, reasoning, and history of our grammar and a huge percentage of our vocabulary's root words being taught. If I had my druthers, it would preferably happen around the age of 9 or 10 when children's their minds are still developing native language skills - a lot of students' confusion with spelling and grammar would probably dissipate as the reasoning and methods behind a large portion of our language were taught. No need for phonics, as we'd already know how our words evolved and would understand that the gh was once pronounced but is no longer, that verbs like teach and bring have regularity and order behind them, instead of seeming like pointless rules. I learned the very first unit of high school Latin in a 5th grade extended learning class and I took away so much benefit from it and was always near the top of my class with spelling and grammar afterward. I was always extremely interested in taking apart roots of Latin-derived words. That brief period in my life did more for my language skills and in general for forming who I am as a person - I appreciate the past because of it - than anything else I learned up until high school - when I continued to take Latin and learn more about history and my own language. I'm sure adding a greater amount of Latin at that age and further instruction in Old English and Koine Greek would have boosted me even further afield - who knows where I would be then.

Anyway... I'm ending this very soon, I promise. I hope it proved informative and I do apologize and appreciate being made aware of any glaring spelling and grammatical mistakes (I did a quick spellcheck before submitting this, but I wrote this in a mad caffeine fueled orgy of feeling and writing, and I did not proofread it as much as I would for a paper!) and of course anything more than slightly wrong but mostly correct factual mistakes. Opinions about the quality of the text are ignored, because in the end while I give several well reasoned (though undocumented, sorry citation-lovers) supports, they are still my opinions and feelings. Reasons for linguistic changes happening in the past are well-formed and supported by evidence, which I'll be happy to dig up in the rare and surprising case that someone is actually interested.

Anyone who does purchase this book who doesn't have the benefit of a classroom, as well as just anyone has an interest in the evolution and relationship between the Indo-European languages as it relates to the Germanic languages would do well to start with supplemental materials by web searching for the Proto Indo-European Language, the Proto Germanic Language, and then look up if you haven't already the Great Consonant Shift, the High German Consonant Shift, Grimm's Law, Verner's Law, and finally if you haven't already followed my suggestion, the Great Vowel Shift. I'm not sure if those are in chronological order, and they may be overly technical for some, but if you do read them and follow them you can get a working idea of how languages evolve independent of loanwords.

Very interestingly, and possibly usefully both in reading comprehension and also specifically for use on those oft-maligned standardized tests, you can also use all the consonant/vowel changes chronologically to convert words of Germanic origin (that share a common root word) from German to English or vice versa, a simple example is to follow how English "to" becomes German "zu" or how English "ship" turns into German "Schiff." There are additional rules for other languages, so you can even convert words of Germanic origin into an approximate Latin cognate (word that shares a common origin or root.) Knowing these rules actually helped me on the GRE test a few times as far as figuring out unknown words' of German and Latin origin's meanings. No matter what your interest or use for them is, they should provide some illumination as to the way languages tend to follow semi-defined patterns in their evolution, with periods of great sudden change and reform, either entirely natural or guided by reformers. If you web search those terms, going to the first couple pages listed will give you a firm grasp on the topic and possibly a thirst to learn even more. Have yourself a godde daeg (good day) and ├żancie (thank you) for reading my review. I hope I have made my repetitive thoughts somewhat convincing, possibly inspiring, and you give this book a chance. At the very least, I hope it proved if not entertaining, at least not horribly dry.

While the English Empire of many centuries is long dissolved into separate countries and peoples, one thing survives from those days, and earlier, that unites many people around the world that has probably more influence because it's the very language we think and communicate it. Truly, and ignoring any sappiness, the modern version of an old but well known phrase should be: The sun never sets on those who have inherited the living English Language.

Cairo abandoned hospital

I found these negatives from college. Good times.











Cabbage \;_;/


BURNING MAN

I saw this:

Burning Man, noun

A yearly attempt to create the perfect society by gathering many thousands of people in the middle of the desert. They eventually escape, however.

BUT THIS IS MORE ACCURATE:
A yearly attempt to create the perfect society by gathering many thousands of drug addled people whose claim to fame will be being posted to sites exploring "creative whismy" (read: pretentious retardation) through photography. The reason it fails is because these sorts of people can barely produce anything resembling art, much less the basic sustenance people actually require to live.

THE CUTEST FUCKING CUPCAKE EVER

IF YOU DISAGREE YOU ARE FUCKING WRONG.

Kroger Alien Cereal is AWESOME

Seriously, this cereal is awesome. It tastes great, and it looks awesome. I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere online. I would take a picture of it, but the box has got it spot on. It looks just like that. The oat pieces, which are okay in Lucky Charms, actually have some flavor to them. Plus, you can usually get 3 boxes for $5. You can buy it at any Kroger owned store (Fry's here in Arizona, may be named something else where you are.) I love this cereal!

Christianity and Homosexuality - Proposition 8 got you down?

Originally written as a response to http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=37702 - where, hilariously, the moderator only allows messages to be posted by people being obvious idiotic trolls, but denies posts that are thoughtful and reasoned. Which, of course, mine is. Don't worry, I never let good arguments go to waste.


Ezekiel said:

"I'm grateful for Deacon Fournier's ongoing coverage of this story. His commentary on the subject matter has consistently been among the most well-reasoned and articulate available in 'the press'. Judge Walker's Prop-8 ruling represents a huge victory of emotion over ontology in today's culture war, and a new threat to people's right to hold and express beliefs consistent with traditional Christian moral teaching. "

How does this in any way require you to recognize their marriage? They can't force anyone in a church to perform these marriages. You can go on believing as you'd like. So someone down the street wants the same civil (meaning it's a legal process, not a religious one) and legally-binding rights that any other married couple can have. These rights are completely non-religious in nature. You're basically saying that these people can make a contract. That is all civil marriage is at its core. Certainly, if you don't think these rights are important or part of a marriage, I welcome you to have your marriage performed at a church and not have your marriage certificate signed, as all that truly matters is having God witness and bless your marriage, correct?

If I remember correctly, any marriage performed on a Catholic outside of a Catholic church is not recognized by the church. So why worry about a few more marriages you consider shams?

As for people saying it's sanctified (it isn't, it's a contract) perversion, why would you encourage gay people who are going to be gay anyhow to decide on the opposite alternative - that is to say, instability, promiscuity, and so on? That is, unless, you want an excuse to point your finger at them and say "I'm better than you because I don't do this. You've faced a lifetime of getting treated like second-class citizens, and this is the best you can do after being treated badly your whole lives? This is why you don't deserve marriage."

For those crying out about democracy, let us not forget the lessons that history has taught us about mob rule and its effect on groups of people who are in the minority. Our founding fathers were wise to choose a representative democracy with a system of checks and balances to protect a capricious populace that changes its opinions often based on fashion, politics, and anecdotal evidence.

Those who are crying out wishing to die because they feel our society is morally bankrupt, remember suicide is a sin as well. Speaking of sin, the Old Testament focuses on a multitude of sins. Most of them we don't even consider sins today, but most of us are guilty of them all the same. Homosexuality was mentioned as one of them. So are laws against:

-Following the laws and procedures of infectious skin diseases (Leviticus 13)
-(For women) Basically isolated yourself for 7 days during the culmination of your monthly cycle, and following the proscribed rituals in case you accidentally contaminate someone? (Leviticus 15:19-30)
-Wearing clothing of mixed material (Leviticus 19:19)
-Divination and sorcery (Leviticus 19:26) - Have you read a horoscope lately?
-Cutting hair at the sides of your head or around the edge of your beard (Leviticus 19:27) - Do you remember this at the barber?
-Tattooing (Leviticus 19:28)
-Mistreating foreigners in your land - in fact, not treating them in a friendly, welcoming, and hospitable manner (Leviticus 19:33)

Notice that I didn't mention keeping the laws of kashrut as they apply to food. The reason I don't include these is because in the New Testament, there is some scriptural basis for saying that those who follow Christ's teachings do not have to follow them, specifically at Mark 7:14-23. In the rest of the Bible, there is nowhere that Christ says that some, but not all of the sins in the Bible are no longer sins.

He certainly doesn't say, "Well, now that I have come, you're free to pick and choose which sins are actually sins." Nowhere does Christ speak about homosexuality. In fact, he chose to hang out with prostitutes and thieves - the very people who needed him the most, and not to point out their sins and condemn them, but to spread the message of God's love. Keep in mind that these are the very people who would be condemned by the laws of Leviticus. He chose to spent time with them rather than the contemporary self-anointed guardians of morality, from religious personae to the first century equivalent of a soccer mom.

Paul, in Galatians 2:16 stated "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justfied." This seems to me to be the statement of a man who agrees that the laws of the Old Testament had already been invalidated, yet in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul mentioned the effeminate not inheriting the kingdom of God. First, why the sudden change of heart? Christ had no known law about cross-dressing or acting womanly. Why must the effeminate mean a homosexual? I have known plenty of masculine homosexual men and plenty of effeminate heterosexual men. The original word "Malakoi" that Paul used means exactly what effeminate means - soft, weak, and generally feminine. Paul was warning here against overly indulging in worldly pleasures, and women at the time were considered more prone to falling prey to them. I agree that moderation is important in all of life's pleasures. Paul also mentions that thieves, adulterers, drunkards, and fornicators (this includes prostitutes) are with the effeminate ones in not inheriting the kingdom of heaven. Curiously, many of those who Christ ministered to would fall in with those terms, and he never condemned them for their behavior. It seems to me that it's possible that Paul had lost some of Christ's message.

And what was Christ's message? If you consider that he was simply an addition to the Old Testament scriptures, then it's possible that only the Messianic Jews and similar groups have gotten it right. If not, what is the new convenant with the people of the world? Christ preached love. Christ preached acceptance that all of us are sinners. He didn't want us to count sins, and he certainly didn't want us getting involved pointing out the sins of everyone around us, which modern Christianity seems preoccupied with. He definitely did not say that certain things that God had said earlier were still sins and certain things no longer were - with the possible exception of the laws regarding food. Love God, love your neighbor, and have faith.


Teach Yourself Old English by Mark Atherton - A Review (and then some!)

I originally posted a review for the book Teach Yourself Old English by Mark Atherton on Amazon a long time ago. I went to do a moderate-sized edit recently by adding an additional section about how much the book affected me and how refreshing it was to see understandable information about our own language's most ancient recorded form. I basically let it get uncontrollably huge, yet I think all of it needed to be said. I just kept writing, eventually making the case for universal Old English education at a basic level. The thoughts here have not been proofread much. Please feel free to make me aware of any grammatical errors. I tend to use parentheses and dashes far too much, but this is simply a reflection of my conversational style.

Note: This was written in a flurry of madness, but my feelings still ring true. The fact that we learn Latin and Greek in exponentially greater numbers than Old English shows that Old English still suffers from the negative view of the language originally forced on the Anglo-Saxons by the Normans over 800 years ago. Take the following thoughts with this in mind.

Dang it, I can't even head this with an appropriately long and descriptive title for something as large as this. Here is the full title it deserves:

Finally! A Book that Teaches Old English to the Everyman: An Exhaustive (and Amusingly Long) and, I hope, Very Informative and Persuasive Review about an Unassuming Book in a Rather Unspectacular Series about Language Learning that Will Surprise You and Take you on an Adventure through Time and Wherein I Will Also Make a Case for Old English as a Part of a Standard Education and Which Finally Will Allow you to Connect the Warrior Kings of England with You Right There Eating Hot Pockets in your Living Room at 4am and Could Potentially Revolutionize Modern Language Education if We Would Consider It

OR

Hot darn! This book helped me learn to read English stuff from a real long time ago and took me places I'd never thought I'd go to boot!

OR - yes, it needs three because I wrote such a long, heartfelt review - and most honestly


Buy this dang Old English Book and Read It! It Changed My Life and Could Change Yours and Potentially the Course of English-speaking Civilization! (I'll beat it into your Thick Head if it's the Last Thing I Do and I'll Abuse Syntax, Parentheses, and Dashes in the Process)

Section 1
THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE ACTUAL BOOK REVIEW

The short version (not recommended - especially if you're doing research on which book to buy for a class or for language learning):

If you're interested in the topic and history of the language from casual skimming to serious student, get the book. If you aren't you probably won't be interested, but the thing is YOU SHOULD BE if you at all want to connect with your legacy in history as an English speaker.

If you're interested in knowing why I believe you should be, read on. I promise I won't be upset if you hate my article and get sick of reading midway through or even don't read it at all and mark it as bad!

The always wordy, seemingly overly long (but I do believe every word is necessary in conveying my thoughts, though I do repeat myself when making a point), wholly unsponsored essay explaining all the benefits of this book and giving a lot of additional background knowledge explaining the full benefits of using this text over others:

To begin with, I would like to preface this by saying, if you start, try to bear with my somewhat rambling style. I have several points and several things I have to impress on people with factual historical information which I think is both interesting and relevant.

If you have a child and you feel his or her abilities (or if you've just noticed in general an increased lack of familiarity with English grammar, rules, vocabulary, and so on, read on, I have a theory about how to help. Nothing reasoned or tested, mind you. I'd have to do that scientifically. I support that, however, and think it should be tried first in test groups with controls if it were to be done.

This book is great. Better than great, it's simply a revolution in teaching Old English. This book brings the teaching of the very Germanic extinct-in-form but living-in-spirit language that forms and contains our (and I believe this includes the whole English-speaking world's) cultural, historical, and linguistic roots. I've tried unsuccessfully to pick up books on the subject in the past and quite honestly had issues with them as they all generally come in one form. Basically, what these books often provide a student with are a technical pronunciation guide, a similarly technical grammar, selected readings of primary sources, and a glossary in Old English to Modern English at the end, and if you've gotten extremely lucky, a Modern English to Old English reverse glossary. It's very likely if the book has one that someone has bribed the author. From here on, I will refer to these books as Grammar/Readers, because that's basically what they provide. A Grammar of the subject and reading. Usually these books separately are called Grammars and Readers, so why not combine them with a slash.

While those types of technical books may have an opportunity to be useful in what is usually a graduate-level classroom filled with high expectations, deadlines, and most importantly a professor who is knowledgeable in the subject and will provide an introduction to the material, supplement it, and give out the grammatical ideas as necessary, they almost entirely rely on the teacher to set the pace and fill in details; if the teacher is poor, the class is left to founder. They are also useful as self-study and reference books to students of a language who are already familiar with almost all of the grammatical concepts of a language. They are also useful for the study of linguistics for quick pre-categorized knowledge about a language. Surprisingly, this does not include the vast majority of us who would be picking a book up from Amazon or the corner bookstore or library to read and learn more about the subject without a instruction. I really do think this book could be used more than effectively as a primary textbook in classrooms with greater success than other methods.

What's so wrong with these books I have labeled as Grammar/Readers? This book is a stark contrast to these books, which is why I bring them up so much. Well, let me tell you why I personally think people interested in self-study should avoid them in the beginning. These texts are the most common texts one will find on any sort of book search and in addition being the most common in classrooms as introductory textbooks to many ancient, extinct, classical, and archaic languages. These books are as I have said before written for linguistic interest and with the serious student with a teacher providing supplemental material in mind. I know that if there is any sort of other option, anyone who wants to genuinely learn the language should stay clear of Grammar/Readers as their source of language learning until they are of at least have a solid grasp of the grammar of their language of study. Personally, I understand the differences between nominative, genitive, dative, vocative, accusative, ablative, locative, and would be able to add further concepts if necessary, and know generally how to apply these concepts to noun and adjective declension in another language, In addition I understand the concept of grammatical gender, know the difference between the different verb moods, and know what the difference between a present, present progressive, future perfect, future, future progressive, and so on verb tenses are, and yes, I can at least supply minimal definitions for far more linguistic concepts and terms, but even with a relatively good grounding in grammatical concepts from study of Latin I still do not learn very easily from a Grammar/Reader. I will admit there are terms I do not understand, namely technical phonetic descriptors used to identify sounds in the language. The only (rare) person who should consider buying one as a primary text for self-study is someone who both has a strong handle on all of these terms and their accompanying ideas and is extremely deterimined to learn a language through charts and can handle few accompanying examples. The person who starts with a Grammar/Reader outside of a classroom has his first experience reading the language basically plunging into a primary source without any aid other than the grammar, with no specific information about how to apply it to the text being read.

This book has the power to undo the damage that the Grammar/reader I so often malign have done those who have an interest in self-teaching the basic concepts of Old English. It could bring Old English studies down from the lofty Graduate Studies sections, as it already certainly has made the subject accessible to anyone who has a firm grasp on English. It could be easily understood by anyone who can read English at a relatively fluent level. I really do think this book is a revolution in the subject. All of this from a simple Teach Yourself series text, which is the series I would never have expected to do something exemplary.

Basically, the reason why this book should be considered revolutionary in the subject, is that this book catches up Old English education to the point that Latin Education was at in the 50's and 60's with the introduction and popularization of the classic, quite excellent, still revised for modern readers, and quite importantly (and speaking volumes of the method) still used today book series known as Wheelock's Latin and Latin for Americans. These marked a radical departure from the previous approach to a Classical Latin education, which was with Grammar/Reader style books. They gave these Grammar/Reader books to what were quite probably 9 year old boys, quite possibly younger, and expected them to learn how to read Latin (and Greek, with the same method) fluently. They did learn, but could not the language have been acquired in a better way, only teaching one grammatical idea at a time as well as providing a small but important amount of vocabulary per lesson? Of course it could, and this is the approach these books used, and Latin pedagogy (had to use it) has never looked back. Unfortunately, Old English has never been considered a part of a Classical Education, but, as I will reason later, I think it should be included as a part of a sort of Neo-Classical Education where fluency isn't the focus, but learning for what reason your own language forms ideas in the manner it does and the historical basis for this and also for a grounding in the languages, and by extension, culture and history of the past. History is always more interesting when you can read the words as they were written by those who made, and also if you can read and understand the same exact words that both entertained, educated, and inspired those very same people into action.

It's basically going to be as if the first time you rode a bike you had to ride 20 miles across hilly terrain and succeed. If this does not sound enjoyable, do not buy a combination Grammar/reader as your introduction to any ancient, classical, extinct, or archaic version of a language. Languages that are mostly of academic interest more often than not will have the vast majority of introductory texts written to the academic reader, and that means a Grammar/reader. There have been a few good texts that have come out recently for beginners in a few older languages, and I applaud authors who make these languages available to everyday people. If you are serious about the study of old languages, you will come across these some time in your quest for knowledge.

The opportunity to learn the most original form of one's language and read actual words as they would have been understood naturally by your if not actual, at least cultural, ancestors is something that any thinking, reasoning person ought not turn down lightly. The ability to understand one's own language better and use their own language knowing the reasons behind its grammatical constructions is a huge bonus that shouldn't be turned down, either. The amount of time a regular person would have to invest in reading this and getting a working knowledge is probably 30-50 hours. This wouldn't provide for knowing everything, but a good grasp would be had by that and possibly less of an investment. I know it seems like a lot, but a couple of hours a week doing what is basically learning to understand a very similar (quite different in others) language to your own. Since it doesn't focus on production that often, just to reinforce concepts, and since there are no native speakers, you will not have to learn to properly conjugate and decline nouns and adjectives without assistance. The endings on everything you read are all there, you just have to decipher what they mean as you read - and the word order is usually similar to modern English. You will have few Latin-derived loan words, basically all loan words commonly used at the time were religious terms

In addition to the language learning, there's also occasional historical and cultural tidbits to keep the book interesting and the reader reminded of the fact that these were living people using a living language. I tend to notice that I have looked forward to these bits, because it tends to put some context around the words in the unit and the textbook as a whole.

This book more or less does what a teacher would do, at least as far as a book can do this. It's divided into units that contain bits of vocabulary, explanations of one or two new grammatical points (which are taught in a very easy to understand way.) Interspersed in the units are various readings from real Old English texts. These are generally pretty interesting readings, as well, so at least you're not reading something dull like inventories or records of family lineage. At the end of each unit you'll have questions to quiz yourself over. There's an answer key in the back as well to allow you to figure out how well you did.

I doubt that at the end of the book (which I have reached) that I am considered fluent in the Old English language, at least I definitely do not feel fluent. However, I do know I have would have a rather good grasp on the basic grammatical concepts and have built up a somewhat decent vocabulary. From here, I feel confident in picking up a primary source reader for the student, and have felt able to work through it with a dictionary and this book in hand. I might benefit from one of those often maligned Grammar/Readers as a next step, but only for reference and possibly to read the primary sources. I do not feel comfortable at all writing, or heaven forbid, speaking in grammatically Old English, though this would just be of novelty value as I don't have anyone I know to share these hypothetical written or spoken words with. I do think if the language is taught in the classroom these should be included and emphasized so that students gain speed and get more of a native speaker's association and feeling, for lack of a better word, from the words and grammar. I do feel like my grasp of my native English has vastly increased, and most importantly from how I can form grammatical constructions. I am far more familiar with the long-ignored and rarely-taught English subjunctive mood, and while I've always been excessively wordy when I have an opinion on a topic, I think learning some Old English has helped me avoiding run-on sentences. Unfortunately, my major obvious problem with proper writing can not benefit at all from additional grammatical knowledge, it can only benefit from being slower and more careful in typing out my thoughts. Unfortunately, I have become quite impassioned in this topic and I have typed a mountain out of a molehill.

Unlike a lot of modern language books in the Teach Yourself series, this really does put emphasis on proper grammar and learning how to properly decline and conjugate properly from basically the beginning. Unlike some of the older Teach Yourself books written for classical languages, Teach Yourself Sanskrit being the most memorable for me as it started off with descriptions of the Devanagari (the Sanskrit Alphabet) letters with what were basically linguist's phonetic descriptors. To all writers of instructional language texts: please do not tell me a letter is a voiceless coronal sibilant, rather, tell me it is like the s in the English word set and then tell me I can use the Latin alphabet letter s if necessary to represent it. The Teach Yourself series is remarkably unpredictable and they generally tend to focus on conversational knowledge, but this book is a diamond in the rough. It does not bog you down and confuse you with overly scholarly terms that only a linguist or a student of classical languages would know. If you know how to read and write English fluently, you can use this book.


Primary sources (original texts written in the historic period of Old English, in this case), almost all in original form, and very rarely simplified, start as soon as the book and the sources available allow it, basically from the beginning, and increase in percentage as you learn more concepts and more sources become available. Unlike a lot of those extinct language grammar/readers you get it while learning and when it's appropriate and demonstrative rather than just getting a huge plop of prose and poetry in the second section of a combination grammar/reader that hasn't been updated significantly in nearly a century.

That segment of Old English books are great for reference and getting good exposure to primary source material, but definitely not very helpful when you're trying to acquire a second language whether it be extinct or in current use. This exposes you to the basics and important rules of the language simply, at the right pace, and with just enough explanation to make the concept sink in as easily and painlessly as it is possible too. It reinforces them with translation AND production exercises so that the concepts stay as firmly as possible in the head.

This is an Old English book that a junior high classroom could learn out of and a 80-year-old historian adding Old English to his repertoire could learn quite a bit from. Yes, I even think this would be appropriate in grad school classes, though your grad students might be disappointed that learning the basics of a long-language could be done so painlessly. You can assign them extra TA duties if they seem disappointed, trust me.


Section 2:
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE - A BACKGROUND FOR THE EVERYMAN

Understanding Old English will leave you poised to explore (almost always from your favorite comfortable reading spot) first-hand the full transformation of a language and a people from long ago and give you the knowledge that will connect them with you in the present day. The English Language's origin as a distinct language begins with Germanic groups known as the Angles and Saxons that settled in England and formed kingdoms in seperate regions that warred amongst themselves. England was not united until a warrior king named Alfred - whom history would call The Great - in the first golden age of England and the English Language. It's important to note that English was one of the first European vernacular languages to develop a body of written literature outside of Latin and Greek. The language first appeared in written form with runic writing much like Old Norse, but they quickly adapted the Latin alphabet as standard for all writing. They incorporated a few runic letels to represent sounds Latin didn't have, namely the th and the gh which sounded like the guttural "ch" in loch. The language was an inflected language, which means that nouns had suffixes in place of using word order as in modern English (this is referred to as declining a noun) along with matching declined adjectives to provide grammatical understanding. In this language, new words were rarely formed by loaning (the majority of loan words were from Latin and were foreign concepts brought by Christianity) and more often filled by making compounds out of existing thus forming a brand new word. This concept is not foreign to English, but the length of words that are experienced in Modern German which retained this feature is quite surprising to a speaker of English. If English had not evolved to accept loan words routinely, a computer could very well have been called a Metalandsiliconaddingboxwithavisualizationboxontop. Focusing further on the history of the language, written Old English had four main dialects, but most of the work was language of Winchester, the first capital of England reigned by King Alfred, who spoke in the Wessex dialect. It is most commonly known as the language of the epic poem Beowulf, known to us as Old English, and also referred to as Anglo-Saxon by historians in its very earliest forms. This is also the language of the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a history of the British Isles commissioned by the selfsame Alfred the Great. It was started in this age continued to be updated through the beginning of the next stage of the language, which began with the Norman Conquest, when England was conquered by William, the Duke of Normandy, off the northern coast of France. From there, you'll go to the subjugated people ruled by the Norman French who struggled to sustain an identity as English people, where various regions attempt to assert control and chaos and change ruled the language until one region took charge. This is how our language truly learned to borrow what it needed rather than use the old Germanic way of compounding words. By doing this, it may have given the people of other language backgrounds the ability to still have something that felt like home in their language - words that were easily recognizable - a very important thing in the creation of a modern tongue. The people who did this managed to reforge and also importantly simplify the language and make it ready for its future trials as an international, scientific language. At this stage the English language transitioned and rapidly evolved and then finally began to come into focus as a recognizable ancestor of our language. The literature from this era is largely ignored, except by scholars, for whatever reason, but what work has survived shows the people are vibrant and very human. This is the language which includes, the epic poem Brut by Layamon, which retold the history of England based on an earlier chronicle, but for the first time in its country's native tongue. It's also the language of the moderately well-known debate poem The Owl and the Nightingale, and the language that saw the first English versions of the Arthurian legends, of the foundations of chivalry and courtly love. This language, which was known as Middle English, is most famously known as the language that Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his works in, including the most well known of Middle English literature, The Canterbury Tales. Some works, of which Chaucer's are the most well known example, from the later part of the Middle English period, hold up as relatively recognizable and understandable to modern English readers with only some minor alterations in spelling and the addition of a supplemental glossary. It was at the end of this period that English was finally reigned in and given a standardized form under King Henry V under what was known as the Chancery Standard. It was intended for use on all official documents, and it was basically widely accepted by the time of the invention of the printing press - the printing press basically cemented the Chancery Standard as the basic form from which Early Modern English could be created. One should note, the only official bodies in England at the time which persisted in not using the Chancery Standard was the Catholic Church which used Latin on all of its official documents, and some legal documents, for which Law French, a pidgin of French and English used only for legal purposes, was still considered acceptable for use.

From here you move to the language of a people coming into their own in the region and then the world, asserting their dominance. You truly at this age lay the foundations of England's and their language's rule over an empire that the sun truly never set on. This second golden age was of a language showing its strength not only over their own area of the globe but also over continents and people recently unknown with a language that was reforged and afterwards fully capable of change with the times, places, and situations required. This is also the language that is most often incorrectly thought of as Old English, because it uses archaic language which is still more or less understandable. The spelling and predominant form of the printed language reached its more or less modern form because of the introduction of the printing press and by consequence vastly increased literacy at this time. It's for this reason that spellings that do not reflect the true pronunciation of words have continued to persist. The "gh" in Night, Knight, Through, Though, were once pronounced something akin to the ch in Scots "loch" - the pronunciation fell away but the spelling stayed due to the spelling standardization that was caused by the printing press. This is the now fully recognizable (to us) English language of Shakespeare, The King James Bible, and so on, Early Modern English. The pronunciation of English evolved during this time through what is known as the Great Vowel Shift to its mostly modern pronunciation (I rarely don't expound, but do a web search for it for more information.) And finally, the language continues on through the end of a golden age and on to a Renaissance of sorts as our language struggles to adapt to being the living primary language of several hundred million people around the globe and also the by far most common second language taught and spoken in all of the world. This is the language of To Kill a Mockingbird, of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, of almost every international news organization, of the BBC and MTV, of what some would say is the language of the Internet or at least the largest part, and which has done what no lingua franca before has done, which is to penetrate nearly ever corner of the globe fully. Honestly, if Alfred the Great could see what his language has done now, I wonder if he would be surprised at it's reach or disappointed at its loss of its character. This is the adventure that waits for you by learning to understand the older roots of your language, and Old English is the most logical first step.

One surprise you may have if you are unfamiliar with Old English is that Old English will first appear and sound to you nearly as foreign as Dutch or Frisian may sound. Once you get used to the sounds and do a bit of common-sense association (Old English daeg becomes Modern English day, morgenne became morwen in Middle English, then became morning in Modern English, etc) you will begin to see how some parts of Modern English formed from Old English and also start to appreciate how you are linked with a long-extinct but yet at the same time still-surviving, living language, culture, and history. You'll be reading the English of an age which begun what was basically little more than warring tribes, then at the end of the age newly-united England had its capital not in London but Winchester, and as it follows the perceived proper and educated dialect of Old English, and therefore, the most common one by far, came from the capital of Winchester instead of from the London area. Logically, this makes for an additional step of removal as modern UK English is the language of Southern England in general and the received pronunciation of the upper class of the so-called London-Oxford-Cambridge triangle. This is a language where the French had not taken over the country and begun the now ongoing transformation of English into one of the first world-wide living language that absorbs, augments, and sometimes replaces the old with the new, fashionable, and sometimes more descriptive.

Section 3:
HOW DOES THIS HAVE THE POWER TO BENEFIT SOMEONE?


Let me start this section with a question that I will pose to you. Why is it that the earliest version of English most students are exposed to is a modified form of the late Middle English of Chaucer for the rare student but most often a play or two by Shakespeare? Even when we study that, the grammar is assumed to be so similar as to need no addition but footnotes about vocabulary. Why is it so rare to learn the history of one's own language, in the English-speaking world, I wonder, when it permeates who we are and how we are formed. How is it that we learn older, more distantly removed languages far more commonly and that Old English is considered basically a subject appropriate for graduate students? Why do we disregard our own linguistic heritage in favor of others? It seems like a terrible thing to do.

Extremely importantly, and of primary benefit, through learning Old English you will finally get the answers to "Why does this happen, and why can't it be regular?" as it relates to many of those nagging quirks and inconsistencies about our current modern language that at least in my primary and secondary school years no teacher was ever able to answer to my satisfaction.. Why is are boats, countries, and other inanimate objects traditionally referred to as she instead of it? Why do we say verbs in what sounds like commands in the Lord's Prayer (and many other traditional places) "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done" when we're not ordering God (blasphemy, after all, to most Christians) to do those things, but rather expressing hopeful possibility, but without saying it thusly "Thy kingdom will come, thy will be done"? Why did English speakers once say "thou" and "thee" instead of just saying you as we do today for everything? What did you mean that thou and thee could not convey - to modern readers they just sound like an old way to say you - and why did the language evolve to not include them?

On a related note, English speakers of the far future may wonder why we say he, she, and it instead of they and them for every person and thing regardless of gender or number as we often do now informally in what is known as the "Singular They." I'll go out on a limb here and conjecture that it's very commonly accepted in informal situations simply because it's far less cumbersome than saying "he or she" (or a variant) yet still maintains gender neutrality and therefore politically correct speech, which is another very recent development in the language. If you are interested in the changes of the language, I strongly encourage you to look up these topics and learn. Your language is very much still evolving and every one of us plays a part in keeping it alive and changing it for better and worse, especially because English has no existing body similar to the French Academy that standardizes the language, but rather several bodies that influence the standard form of the language. Today's slang and common vernacular will be tomorrow's accepted standard if and when it gains acceptance. The same thing happened to thou and thee.

On the same vein that thee and thou share, have you ever wondered why they said ye in Shakespeare's time as a version of "you" but also occasionally ye is used in place of "the" as in "Ye Olde Shoppe" in old forms of English? Why do we change certain pronouns such as "he" versus "him" versus "his" based on their position in the sentence - and not with other words? Is this related, and if so, how, to the straggling -e's and -em's and other seemingly random suffixes showing up at random on Early Modern English nouns and adjectives (ye Goode Booke "The Good Book") (Gretes Smythes "Great Smiths")? Why are double negatives considered grammatically incorrect, and if they were correct, why must two negatives used together mean a positive? I will tell you the answer to this, because it requires a fuller knowledge of the language's history. This was a product of the Age of Reason where mathematical and scientific concepts were applied to language, and the double negative, previously fully acceptable from Old English down to Early Modern English, used to emphasize the negative statement: "I'm not never going to the store" would just mean you're really quite definitely not going to the store - it would be a welcome addition to ears so accustomed to hearing profanity used to emphasize statements (often negative) if we could restore this nuance of our language to acceptable vernacular use. This is just one short example of how our language has lost something in the name of progress - a lot of those changes are good, but must we follow that to its end and lose every quirk that could color meaning, replace it with words borrowed, and force our common language to be a halfway artificial construct that no one man truly thinks and speaks in?

Why do we say "If I were going to the store" versus "If I was going to the store" when they seem to mean the same thing? Why do some people say "To Whom am I speaking?" and others say "To who am I speaking?" - when is it appropriate to use whom and why? Why are some verbs considered "irregular" and change for example like "teach-teaching-taught" and other verbs considered "regular" as in "paw-pawing-pawed"? If you've made it this far, it's pretty much assured you are interested in these questions and more, so I'll give you some background on the last. The reason is that the vast majority these sorts of so-called irregular verbs were originally considered "strong" regular verbs - the others are called regular "weak" verbs - and do generally follow a set pattern and that there are only a very few truly irregular verbs in the English language. These verbs are the most very common and also the oldest. Most - perhaps all? I'm not sure and can't say for sure - Germanic languages retain the strong and weak verb classification and teachers continue to use it when teaching their students the rules of conjugating verbs. These are all unanswered questions to most students of the English language. I could also bring up all sorts of questions Middle English raises, such as why is it that we use beef for cow, pork for pig, mutton for sheep, and so on but only when we use the words for food. The answer for the curious who do not know is that French words replaced the English and by proxy Germanic roots but only when used in the more refined context of dining and cooking. Learning Middle English in addition to learning Old English can even have unintended consequences because a number of our profane terms come from germanic roots that became profane simply because the common people used them. Consider piss which was acceptable enough even for the King James Bible (see Isaiah 36:12 in the KJV) in place of urinate - most younger students would get a detention for using piss even today. There are other words, such as the one the Latin word vagina replaced, that are probably even too vulgar to write here.

Most teachers have never had the opportunity nor proper motivation to learn the original forms and history of their language, so they know that the rules of the English language are so because they are so, they do not regularly know the reasons, and anyone who has been around kids or even remembers being one themself knows that when you cannot provide a statement and then expect "because that's how I say it is" to be a reasonable answer. Kids thrive when they know the full reason behind things, even if they cannot grasp every nuance - that comes with time and age. In addition, and to the detriment of students, the teachers are ignorant of the roots of our language, and the vast majority of English textbooks understandably rely on teachers to provide the instruction in the language, no additional knowledge is imparted from textbooks to students about the history of the very language that they form their thoughts and feelings in. The textbook, which could be a vehicle for supplemental learning, is generally used in the best classrooms as needed for reference and to provide exercises. Basically, what I'm saying is that neither textbook nor teacher is doing anything to explain the origins of the language and this is basically failing the student in giving them no true understanding of the material. It's important to at least learn the basic history of your own language and the culture around it and learn the most basic forms of the history of your language to understand how our language and we ourselves, as English speakers, got to where we are today in a global culture where our language and culture has risen to dominance and we are considered, however falsely or truly it may be, the shining beacon of prosperity, knowledge, science, and all that is true and good in the world, and also the source of all of the evil and sin in the world by some.

Seriously, without reserve, and even using a double negative to show emphasis, I never-ever cannot stress enough the potential value this book may have in your and your children's lives. I could go on for ages about this book and why it is more than what it appears to be by having the power to enrich so many people's minds if we would allow it to do so. Quite succinctly, this is as close to learning Old English for the everyman I have seen. This puts it in the grasp of everyone, which is something it hasn't been in for several hundred years.

Just because I say everyman doesn't mean the book holds no scholarly merit, mind you, and despite any possibility of the book having a few spelling errors, as one guy said on Yahoo, (which will eventually be corrected in the newest editions) it more than makes up for it in potential benefit. Definitely buy it if you're interested in the topic, whether you want to fully understand Old English or are just looking for some really basic knowledge and some interesting history and culture lessons. You'll soon find yourself fascinated by the very ancient Germanic roots and the general foundations and changes that have transformed our language into the conglomeration of vocabularies with a Germanic backbone it is today.

I'll even be so bold as to say that any English speaker would know far more about how to use their own language's grammar appropriately and with a fuller array of meaning, and alsobe less likely to need a dictionary to decipher unfamiliar words if they had "Neo-Classical" education that started around a good basic grounding in Old (and Middle) English and followed with the addition the classical languages of Latin and Greek. You would quite literally have the source, reasoning, and history of our grammar and a huge percentage of our vocabulary's root words being taught. If I had my druthers, it would preferably happen around the age of 9 or 10 when children's their minds are still developing native language skills - a lot of students' confusion with spelling and grammar would probably dissipate as the reasoning and methods behind a large portion of our language were taught. No need for phonics, as we'd already know how our words evolved and would understand that the gh was once pronounced but is no longer, that verbs like teach and bring have regularity and order behind them, instead of seeming like pointless rules. I learned the very first unit of high school Latin in a 5th grade extended learning class and I took away so much benefit from it and was always near the top of my class with spelling and grammar afterward. I was always extremely interested in taking apart roots of Latin-derived words. That brief period in my life did more for my language skills and in general for forming who I am as a person - I appreciate the past because of it - than anything else I learned up until high school - when I continued to take Latin and learn more about history and my own language. I'm sure adding a greater amount of Latin at that age and further instruction in Old English and Koine Greek would have boosted me even further afield - who knows where I would be then.

Anyway... I'm ending this very soon, I promise. I hope it proved informative and I do apologize and appreciate being made aware of any glaring spelling and grammatical mistakes (I did a quick spellcheck before submitting this, but I wrote this in a mad caffeine fueled orgy of feeling and writing, and I did not proofread it as much as I would for a paper!) and of course anything more than slightly wrong but mostly correct factual mistakes. Opinions about the quality of the text are ignored, because in the end while I give several well reasoned (though undocumented, sorry citation-lovers) supports, they are still my opinions and feelings. Reasons for linguistic changes happening in the past are well-formed and supported by evidence, which I'll be happy to dig up in the rare and surprising case that someone is actually interested.

Anyone who does purchase this book who doesn't have the benefit of a classroom, as well as just anyone has an interest in the evolution and relationship between the Indo-European languages as it relates to the Germanic languages would do well to start with supplemental materials by web searching for the Proto Indo-European Language, the Proto Germanic Language, and then look up if you haven't already the Great Consonant Shift, the High German Consonant Shift, Grimm's Law, Verner's Law, and finally if you haven't already followed my suggestion, the Great Vowel Shift. I'm not sure if those are in chronological order, and they may be overly technical for some, but if you do read them and follow them you can get a working idea of how languages evolve independent of loanwords.

Very interestingly, and possibly usefully both in reading comprehension and also specifically for use on those oft-maligned standardized tests, you can also use all the consonant/vowel changes chronologically to convert words of Germanic origin (that share a common root word) from German to English or vice versa, a simple example is to follow how English "to" becomes German "zu" or how English "ship" turns into German "Schiff." There are additional rules for other languages, so you can even convert words of Germanic origin into an approximate Latin cognate (word that shares a common origin or root.) Knowing these rules actually helped me on the GRE test a few times as far as figuring out unknown words' of German and Latin origin's meanings. No matter what your interest or use for them is, they should provide some illumination as to the way languages tend to follow semi-defined patterns in their evolution, with periods of great sudden change and reform, either entirely natural or guided by reformers. If you web search those terms, going to the first couple pages listed will give you a firm grasp on the topic and possibly a thirst to learn even more. Have yourself a godde daeg (good day) and ├żancie (thank you) for reading my review. I hope I have made my repetitive thoughts somewhat convincing, possibly inspiring, and you give this book a chance. At the very least, I hope it proved if not entertaining, at least not horribly dry.

While the English Empire of many centuries is long dissolved into separate countries and peoples, one thing survives from those days, and earlier, that unites many people around the world that has probably more influence because it's the very language we think and communicate it. Truly, and ignoring any sappiness, the modern version of an old but well known phrase should be: The sun never sets on those who have inherited the living English Language.

Cairo abandoned hospital

I found these negatives from college. Good times.











Cabbage \;_;/


BURNING MAN

I saw this:

Burning Man, noun

A yearly attempt to create the perfect society by gathering many thousands of people in the middle of the desert. They eventually escape, however.

BUT THIS IS MORE ACCURATE:
A yearly attempt to create the perfect society by gathering many thousands of drug addled people whose claim to fame will be being posted to sites exploring "creative whismy" (read: pretentious retardation) through photography. The reason it fails is because these sorts of people can barely produce anything resembling art, much less the basic sustenance people actually require to live.