From Dwight comes news that endurance athlete Jure Robic has died.
He was the
completely insane insanely dedicated guy I mentioned earlier this year. Sad, but I can’t really say I’m surprised…
Sometimes you go looking for a handy internet reference for something and, not finding it, create it yourself. In this case, I came across a book review that mentioned Wat Tyler’s head had been impaled on the same spike on London Bridge that would later be home to the head of Sir Thomas More. That got me thinking of who all’s heads have been displayed on a spike on London Bridge. Not finding any list online, I decided to compile one myself.
Unless otherwise noted, all of the people listed here were executed for treason, which was generally defined as “anything that pissed off the King,” from actual armed insurrection, to picking the wrong side in a fight over succession, to believing in the wrong religion, to banging the Queen. I believe most (if not all) of the people on this list had their heads hung at the southern gatehouse bridge (or “Traitor’s Gate”). German visitor Paul Hetzner counted more than 30 heads upon his visit there in 1598.
This list only includes those for which it is stated somewhere that their head was displayed on London Bridge, and doesn’t count those who had their heads strung up elsewhere, or body parts other than heads being strung up.
If you wonder why American death sentences used to state “to be hanged until dead,” it’s because that wasn’t the way things were generally done in Merry Olde England. If you were sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, you were “ritually hanged, emasculated, disembowelled, beheaded and quartered (chopped into four pieces).” In such circumstance, merely being beheaded was considered the height of mercy.
This chronology of London Bridge got me started. This Wikipedia list of people who have been beheaded was also useful (both the Yorks and the Lancasters were big on beheading). This London Bridge history was also quite handy.
And here’s a lovely period image from the Museum of London:
Somewhat related items:
by Alex Irvine
PS Publishing, 2009
This is a slight, amusing novella by the author of A Scattering of jades. It involves the owner of a “mystery spot” roadside attraction, little lizard men, drugs, pogoing teenagers and parallel worlds. It’s a decent work, but didn’t seem to be quite as amusing as it should have been, or could have been in the hands of, say, Rudy Rucker or Paul Di Filippo.
I have one copy available through Lame Excuse Books is you’re interested.
The Texans 30-27 overtime win over the Washington Redskins has to count as one of the most improbable of recent memory. If you had showed up at a Las Vegas betting window right after Donovan McNabb’s touchdown pass to Chris Cooley made it 27-10, you probably could have gotten some pretty steep odds on a Texans victory.
A few random observations:
This one is amusing enough to share. Especially the “unspeakable horror” bit.
Steven R. Boyett
Way back in The Before Time, the Long-Long Ago (i.e., the mid-1980s), there was a writer named Steven R. Boyett who wrote two popular, well-respected paperback originals, The Architect of Sleep and Ariel. Ariel was a stand-alone about a boy and his unicorn wandering across an America transformed overnight from a world ruled by technology to one ruled by magic. The Architect of Sleep imagined a world where raccoons evolved as the planet’s sentient species and ended right in the middle of the story, and pissed-off readers have been waiting almost a quarter-century for the projected sequel, The Geography of Dreams, to appear.
Then Boyett became disgusted by publishing and went off to do other things (like become a DJ). Now, some three decades later, he’s returned to writing and has finally written a sequel.
Fred, the son of the protagonist of Ariel, is an aspiring magician living with his father in a small community on the Southern Californian coast. His mother died long ago, he’s working as an apprentice to local brujo while spending his leisure time working on developing a programmatic approach to magic with his friend Yan, and has no idea that he’s named after his father’s sword. As time goes on, it becomes apparent that Yan not only wishes to understand everything possible about casting, but actually wants to reverse “the change,” no matter how many people (or magical creatures) that might kill. To do that he needs a unicorn horn, which he just happens to have taken off Ariel’s mate…
All in all, this is a more somber book than the original (which certainly had its own somber moments), but still a very good one. Boyett offers an afterword, but doesn’t mention there he’s retconned the universe since the original publication of Ariel, as in Elegy Beach, “the change” happened right about now rather than in 1983, as this book mentions iPods, the Internet, etc. (I suspect these were revised for the republication of Ariel, but I’ve only read the original.) The narrative voice is very similar to the Zelazny-esque “first person smartass” of the original, and the story is interesting and well-told (albeit a bit more traditional of a quest fantasy, complete with the gathering of plot coupon quest companions, than the original).
Also, Boyett coins the phrase “Generation Eloi,” which is too good not to steal.
If you liked Ariel (and most people, myself included, did), then you’ll probably like Elegy Beach. If you haven’t read Ariel, well, you should probably read that anyway.
Also, Boyett has put up a fairly extensive site on the novel that may be of interest.
And as for The Geography of Dreams, well, here’s Boyett’s explanation from 1998. I wouldn’t hold your breath…
(Note: I have copies of both Ariel and Elegy beach available over on the Lame Excuse Books page.)
This was probably the biggest football no-brainer since Vince Young’s Rose Bowl MVP Award.
Just how good was Arian Foster’s 231 yard game?
Taking a look at the official statistics for the modern era:
What all this suggests is that Arian Foster is extremely likely to have a very, very good season.
The Texans didn’t just beat the Colts today, they beat the Super Bowl runner-up decisively. A few random observations from watching the game.
An Executive Summary for the tl;dr crowd:
I’m not a true comics geek, but I had gotten the impression the DC almost always worked on a “work for hire” basis, which is why they were able to get the Watchmen movie done without Moore’s approval. However, this interview indicates that’s not necessarily so.
I would imagine that given our understanding of the industry standards during that time, and given the fact that, as I say, DC’s contractual stuff sometimes seems to be a bit shaky. So there may be… I mean, it’s occurred to me that I could possibly get a lawyer to look into this. There may be some problem with the contract, or some potential problem that may require my actual signature saying it’s okay to go ahead with these prequels and sequels. It might be that they can’t just do this. It may be that… it would seem that if they had gone out of their way to try and tempt me with worn-out rights to a property that was mine anyway, or sums of money… they’re offering me a million or two million, then I would imagine that what was potentially on offer to them would be higher by a couple of factors, maybe two or three factors, who knows? It could be a huge amount. So this would seem to explain their apparent desperate need to get me to put my signature upon something, which I’m not inclined to do.
If DC were to stop publishing WATCHMEN so it went out of print and then the rights automatically reverted to me and to Dave Gibbons, then you know, fair enough.
So: The rights to Watchmen are encumbered, and Moore isn’t going to be tricked or steamrolled into selling or giving them back.
Good for him.
(For more Watchmen-related goodness, take a look at Awesomely Wrong Watchmen.)