1. Someone found my blog by Googling “return to Castle Wittgenstein”. At first i assumed some drunk American was looking for “Return to Castle Wolfenstein” (a WW2 first-person shooter computer game). However, Google tells me otherwise:

The interesting but largely incidental plot is set in WWII Germany. You play an Allied agent investigating the SS Grammatical brigade, a group of Nazi philosophers developing a paranormal superweapon that turns people’s brains to mush by making them deeply consider the meaning of every word they utter. Seems as good an excuse to start shooting lots of people as any in the genre, really. Great period detail and intricate gameplay. Recommended.

i gather this game never came into existence; it appears to have been a hoax (alas). On the subject of Nazis and grammar, look here.

2. Via the Viking i came across a great blog with a great title – The Ochlophobist. i gather the author is an Orthodox Christian in America, a man of intelligence & insight, who has also scheduled his blog for deletion on 1 May. Initial reaction: to save it all onto MS Word, to (try to) persuade the author to let it be; then, i think one must often destroy one’s own works, to be free of them. Let words leave a trace in the mind and no more. i pray that when i die i leave nothing, not even memory. A sample from a remembered sermon, related by the Ochlophobist:

You have chosen to hold fast to the One for whom the waters do not part. You die with Him, in Him, through Him, as Him, for Him. Orthodox Christianity is the exact opposite of “health and wealth” spiritual economics, which infects not just Pentecostalism, but much of American Christianity. God will heal whom He will, God will allow the deaths of those whom He will, but in a real and certain sense, friends of God, as those who are the dead in Christ, you have given up any right to claim that God must part waters for you. As Bonhoeffer said, “when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” A dead man can claim nothing as his own.

It is in this sense, also, that both Ishtar and Woden are said to betray their initiates. Do not enter into these mysteries with the expectation of worldly happiness or prosperity. You will rather attract the enmity of the world and the worldly. You make this choice because there is no alternative – by this you may be complete, aware of your mortal incompletion, that you are broken and in a broken world. Woden knows he will be defeated at the end, in Ragnarok; this knowledge is part of who he is; to know who you are – that takes precedence over happiness, as if ignorant happiness could really be of value.

There are certain realities which remain hidden to the comfortable, the prosperous, those who live in easy certitude, padded against life. One require uncertainty and disquiet, to be troubled. Although power comes from this knowledge, it is not to be equated with ordinary, belching well-being.

3. Anecdotal Evidence is 5 years old. i cast my mind back; i have been blogging now since June 2005, though i deleted that first blog in 2009. i think, without kindred spirits such as Kurp i would have given up blogging long ago, and just written for myself in my journals. The internet is so rife with patronising, aggressive dunces, psychopathic women, and hysterically malevolent trolls, one needs the counterweight of a few good men, chaps in tweed, smoking pipes and reading P.G. Wodehouse. Kurp has an excellent habit of attracting great writers to his fellowship, e.g. Helen Pinkerton, Guy Davenport, and others in other lives. i am reminded of the definition of a “dragonlord” in one of Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea novels – one could perhaps read “dragon” as genius, wayward and inscrutable, mostly:

Dragons in Earthsea are neither good nor evil by human standards, but always extremely dangerous. There are several references to the dire consequences of looking a dragon in the eye and Ged avoids doing so on several occasions. Most dragons in the books are of a positive, though not benevolent, nature. In The Other Wind, it is revealed that dragons and men were once of the same race. However, they chose to part ways because of their very different natures.

Dragons consider most men to be uninteresting, short-lived mayflies. The exceptions are the dragonlords. In The Tombs of Atuan, the priestess Tenar asks Ged what a dragonlord is; Ged explains that it is not someone with a mastery of dragons, but “one the dragons will speak with” (rather than eat). In the setting of the five Earthsea novels, Ged, his enemy Cob, and Tenar are the only dragonlords. The most famous dragonlord is Erreth-Akbe, who is a legendary hero by Ged’s time. He and the dragon Orm killed each other in a duel.

When dragons do speak, they are worth listening to, as they have long lifespans and the opportunity to gain great wisdom. Dragons speak only in the Language of the Making, from which the language of human magic is derived. Though they cannot lie, they are able to twist what they say and mislead the unwary because it is their native tongue, while no wizard can live long enough to fully master it. Indeed, much of the true speech remains unknown to humans. Dragons have a strange connection to the true tongue; one wizard described it by saying they live in it as a fish lives in water. In Tehanu, Ged says that perhaps dragons do not learn the old speech. Rather, it seems to be inherent in them and they simply ‘are’ the language.

4. To my delight i found this video of Prince’s, a great example of his perverted style – anyone who can’t derive either humour or arousal or astonishment from this needs some medication.