Sunday, November 27, 2022

BREAKING: Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't exist, and Jim Carrey is now Paul Giamatti

Just when you thought Google couldn't get any faker or gayer . . .








None of this has been photoshopped. I have no idea what's going on, how long it's been like this, or how long it will continue.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Doremi, Dori me

Recently on YouTube I've been listening to a lot of old Moody Blues albums, as well as some of Justin Hayward's solo work, plus a lot of Kill_mR_DJ mashups, and of course that one Jay-Z Linkin Park collaboration. So I suppose the recommendations the algorithm served up aren't really surprising.

First, there was this 1995 spot on Entertainment Tonight featuring Justin Hayward with his daughter Doremi. (Yes, I suppose it makes sense that a guy who named one of his albums Every Good Boy Deserves Favour after the line notes of the treble clef staff would have a child named after the musical scale.) I clicked on the video solely because of the daughter's name -- Doremi is Domrémy, birthplace of the Maid of Orléans, which is the sort of thing that always gets my attention. The video was quite uninteresting, though, and it turns out she pronounces her name more like Dorramy, with the stress on the first syllable, than like Domrémy.


The next suggestion was truly inevitable: Unbeknownst to me, Kill_mR_DJ had actually done a version of "Numb/Encore," mashing it up with a French New Age song called "Ameno," with plainsong-style singing in gibberish meant to sound like Latin and a video evoking the Catholic Middle Ages.


The lyrics of "Ameno" begin with "Dori me" -- which is then repeated probably 30-some times. And for a brief second the video even flashes an image reminiscent of the Maid from Domrémy.


Note added Nov. 28: I just ran across this today.

Friday, November 25, 2022

La vie c'est "chouette" . . . mais avec "qui"?

Today, following some links led me back to my own August 24 post "Michael the glove puppet and X the Owl." I noticed this comment by WanderingGondola:

Has this post been exhausted yet? Nope. (A recent comment there: "If Jordan Peele doesn't use this as a sound effect, we riot.")

This reminded me that, despite all the syncs leading up the release of the Jordan Peele film NOPE, I never actually got around to watching it. I thought I'd peruse the plot summary on Wikipedia and see what it was about. When I opened the Wikipedia page, though, I first clicked on "Reception" to see if people had generally thought it was good (they had, natch), and then I started pressing "Page Up" to get back to the plot. Two page-ups took me to the soundtrack listing, though, where the title of the third track arrested my attention: "La Vie C'est Chouette." I wondered what chouette meant. Well . . .


Although "owl" was the meaning highlighted by Google, chouette is apparently much more commonly used as an adjective, meaning "nice, pleasant," and that is how it is used in the song, by Jodie Foster. When I looked up the lyrics, this bit got my attention:

Toute une nuit, mais avec qui?
Toute une nuit, mais avec qui?
La vie c'est chouette

All night, but with who?
All night, but with who?
Life is nice ("owl")

Qui, unlike our English who, doesn't sound like owl onomatopoeia, and the possibility of a deliberate bilingual pun seems remote.

I was led to this song by my post about Michael and an Owl. When I first linked Michael and the owl, in "The Locust Grove crop circle," it was through the word qui:

If the serpent is the Metal Worm, who is Michael? He's Mr. Owl, of course. In the de Vos painting of Michael, written around his hand is the Latin motto Qui ut Deus? -- a translation of the literal meaning of the name Michael. In English, it would be Who is like God?

and then a gif of a blinking owl saying "WHO?"

Ave Maria

As a young child, I had heard Ave Maria set to music, and I was aware that Catholics and football players prayed "Hail Mary," but for a surprisingly long time (maybe until I was 11 or 12?) I never made the connection between the two. Having been raised without any knowledge of Latin, I didn't know what ave meant, but I thought of it as likely meaning "grandmother" (because of Esperanto avo, "grandfather," which I correctly guessed was probably derived from Latin) or perhaps having something to do with birds (the class Aves). The relevance of birds was obscure, so I tended toward the former interpretation: Ave Maria probably meant something like "Grandmother Mary" -- as God's children might well address the woman called the "Mother of God." I never guessed that it simply meant "hail"!

I also noticed early on the similarity of ave to the name Eve, which struck me as a meaningful coincidence. Eve was also our "grandmother," of course, and Mary was the mother of the Second Adam, Jesus, just as Eve was symbolically the "mother" of the first Adam (who called her "the mother of all living" before they had had any children together).

Much later, when I became aware of Muhammad's apocryphal statement about the goddesses of Mecca -- "these are exalted birds, whose intercession is to be hoped for" -- that idea, too, became part of the cloud of association surrounding the phrase Ave Maria.


Today I was washing the dishes and listening to the Verve song "Bitter Sweet Symphony," with its repeated line, "it's a bittersweet symphony, that's life," and it made me think of the old debate among Mormons over whether the fruit of the tree of life was bitter or sweet. Referring to the two trees of Eden, the Book of Mormon speaks of "the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter" (2 Nephi 2:15). The problem is that the fruit of the tree of life is said elsewhere to be "sweet above all that is sweet" (Alma 32:40-42), and the forbidden fruit is said to be "delicious to the taste and very desirable" -- so which fruit was bitter? When I was a missionary, one of my colleagues attempted to solve the riddle by proposing, mostly tongue-in-cheek, that the forbidden fruit was the coffee bean -- bitter but delicious, and of course forbidden to Mormons!

The bitter fruit debate passed briefly through my mind, and my attention turned to other things. I thought of the /x/ thread I linked in my November 15 post "Mandrakes, treasure-hunting, syzygy," in which one anon had, somewhat surprisingly, listed "Spelling and Etymology" as one of the factors that might bring about paranormal experiences. This made me wonder if there were any words that I used often without knowing their etymology. Not really, not in English, but then it occurred to me: a word I am in the habit or repeating 50 times a day every single day -- ave! I know now of course that it means "hail," not "grandmother" or "exalted bird," but I realized that I hadn't the faintest idea where the Latin word had come from or what other Indo-European words it might be related to. I couldn't even hazard a guess -- what a strangely opaque word! Our English hail obviously means to wish someone good health and is related to hale and heal and other such words, but where could ave possibly have come from?

After I finished with the dishes, I looked it up, and it turns out it's not an Indo-European word at all. It's of Semitic origin, borrowed from the Carthaginians, and the similarity to Eve is not a coincidence.

Borrowed with an unspelled /h/ from Punic *ḥawe ("live!", 2sg. imp.), cognate to Hebrew חוה‎ ("Eve"), and as avō from Punic *ḥawū (2pl. imp.), from Semitic root ḥ-w-y (live).

So Ave Maria is literally, etymologically, connecting Mary to Eve and to the tree of life. This reminded me of this striking passage from the Book of Mormon, in which Mary is equated with the tree of life:

And it came to pass after I had seen the tree [of life], I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.

And he said unto me: What desirest thou?

And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof . . .

And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look! . . . And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me . . . And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God . . . Knowest thou the meaning of the tree . . . ?

Then I made the connection: I had just been thinking about the tree of life, and whether its fruit was bitter or sweet. Well, doesn't the name Mary itself mean "bitter," etymologically -- related to Marah, the bitter waters? And yet to Sancta Maria, "holy bitter," we pray, Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve! -- "Hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope!"

Then there's Yeats's idea that the two trees, the sweet and the bitter, are really only one holy tree and its reflection, and that we undo the Fall when we "gaze no more in the bitter glass."

I think I'm starting to agree that there is something paranormal about etymology.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

In Mormon Russia, the Lord consecrates things unto YOU.

Here's a complete list of Bible passages where consecrate is used with the preposition to or unto -- thus excluding those passages where consecrate means "to ordain a priest": 

For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day (Ex. 32:39).

And he [a Nazarite] shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation (Num. 6:12).

But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron [taken in the pillage of Jericho], are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord (Josh. 6:19).

And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord [to help build the Temple]? (1 Chr. 29:5)

Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings (2 Chr. 29:31).

And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps (2 Chr. 31:6).

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I [the Lord] will consecrate their [the conquered heathen nations'] gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth (Micah 4:13).

Noticing a pattern here? Now here's the corresponding list for the Book of Mormon (also including passages with for, of which there are none in the Bible):

Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring (2 Ne. 1:6-7).

Wherefore, if ye [Zoram] shall keep the commandments of the Lord, the Lord hath consecrated this land for the security of thy seed with the seed of my son [Nephi] (2 Ne. 1:32).

Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain (2 Ne. 2:2).

And may the Lord consecrate also unto thee [Joseph] this land, which is a most precious land, for thine inheritance and the inheritance of thy seed with thy brethren, for thy security forever, if it so be that ye shall keep the commandments of the Holy One of Israel (2 Ne. 3:2).

Wherefore, I [God] will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me [Jacob] (2 Ne. 10:19).

But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he [the Father] will consecrate thy performance unto thee [the worshiper], that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul (2 Ne. 32:9).

And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people (2 Ne. 33:4).

For I [Jesus] will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I am he who doeth it (3 Ne. 20:19).

In the Bible, things are almost invariably consecrated by human beings to the Lord. The only exceptions are a few passages in which consecrated is passive, not making explicit who does the consecrating, and the final passage, from Micah, where the Lord consecrates something to himself. Not once in the entire Bible is anything ever said to be consecrated to anyone or anything other than the Lord.

In the Book of Mormon, on the other hand, we see the "Russian reversal" alluded to in my title: Things are always consecrated by the Lord to human beings, and the only exception is -- Jesus quoting the Bible! And which passage does he choose to quote? The only passage in the whole Bible in which (in keeping with the Book of Mormon pattern) it is the Lord who consecrates something, though in this case he consecrates it to himself rather than to mortals.

I've been reading and rereading the Bible and the Book of Mormon for nearly 40 years now. How is it that I never noticed this very striking contrast until today? Still full of surprises, these old books, no matter how many times you've been through them.

I intend to write a follow-up post later in which I attempt an interpretation of this Book of Mormon concept of "reverse consecration," but in the meantime I put the facts out there without comment and invite readers to chime in if they feel so inclined.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Alma's prayer in Latin

Latin is not among the 115 languages into which the Book of Mormon has been translated, so I had to do this myself. The original prayer of Alma the Elder at the Waters of Mormon, just prior to baptizing Helam, is:

O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart (Mosiah 18:12).

Here is my Latin rendition:

Effunde Spiritum tuum, Domine, super servum tuum, ut opus hoc faciat in sanctitate cordis. Amen.

I spent quite a lot of time fiddling with different word orders, and I'm fairly confident that this one flows the best. My only real liberty with the text was to translate with holiness of heart as in sanctitate cordis (rather than cum sanctitate cordis). I have no real explanation for this, other than that my "ear for Latin" (such as it is, trained only on the Rosary and the Vulgate Psalms) demands it. A Google search shows that cum sanctitate cordis is an attested Latin expression but that in sanctitate cordis is about 100 times more common, so I suppose I'll take that as confirmation of my hunch.

As always, I welcome feedback from (and this is a very low bar!) more competent Latinists than myself. Me, I'm just some guy with a Bible and a dictionary.

Forests of symbols in Cryer and Tomberg

In my November 18 post "Generalizing and Genesis," I noted a synchronicity that resulted from reading Valetin Tomberg's Lazarus, Come Forth! at the same time as Frederick H. Cryer's Divination in Ancient Israel., and I ended by saying it was time for me to "move on from the 'botanical' stage of simply cataloguing individual syncs" -- but here I am still botanizing, thanks to the same two books! These little syncs keep turning up, and I guess I feel a sort of duty to note them all. I had just read this in Cryer's book:

[French sociologists Marcel Mauss and Henri Hubert] sense that the individual engaged in magic either does not reason or is unconscious of his reasoning, that is of the processes by which he apprehends magical symbolism. [. . .] One wonders, of course, whether this is not simple a quality inherent in all symbolism, i.e., that symbols are supercharged with meaning.

At the end of the last sentence quoted above was a footnote, which I read:

Cf. e.g. Turner, The Forest of Symbols, pp. 27-30.

Although the note was nothing but the rather opaque name of a book, and although the sentence it was annotating was a rather vague one, the title nevertheless caught my fancy, and I made a mental note to look up Turner's Forest of Symbols in case it should turn out to be worth reading.

I then put down Cryer and picked up Tomberg. There I read this:

So there is in Anthroposophy a magnificent achievement of thought and will -- which is, however, unmystical and unmagical, i.e., in want of Life. [. . .] The search for the Grail, now become legend -- together with Rosicrucianism, which is surrounded by a forest of symbolism -- both testify that there has always existed a striving for a conscious participation in the logic of the Logos, a quest for a Christian initiation.

Just after taking note of The Forest of Symbols -- juxtaposed with the word magical and the idea of being unconscious of one's reasoning -- I encounter the nearly identical expression forest of symbolism -- this time juxtaposed with the word unmagical and the idea of conscious participation in logic.

BREAKING: Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't exist, and Jim Carrey is now Paul Giamatti

Just when you thought Google couldn't get any faker or gayer . . . None of this has been photoshopped. I have no idea what's going o...