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Episode Nine and 3/4
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9 and 3/4
Nine and three quarters is the platform from which the Hogswarts Express leaves in the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.
There is a fairy tale by Danish writer H.C. Andersen about a prinsess who can feel a pea through 40 matresses. Pea in Swedish is ärta. The resemblance between Ärter and Arthur (of Camelot) has also been pointed out. One of the legends that surround King Arthur, "The Once and Future King", is that he is not at all dead, but lies sleeping, and is to awake in a time of great need to save his old kingdom, Britain. So far he has managed to sleep through two world wars and innumerable smaller conflicts. The sleeping king legend has connections to Herne the Hunter and the Wild Hunt as well.
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... a gray cat...
Graycat of afp. Also known as Elin Rosén and the editor and maintainer of this site.
Lassie the Robber
Rob Collier. Lassie, the dog of movie fame, was a collie.
See The cabal
Mary Messall of afp. She is the resident explainer-of-scientific-stuff-in-an-understandable-way.
Stargazer clan of the Clench
A reference to Gideon Hallet (Gideoallet). He has a degree in astronomy, where you look, or gaze, at stars, and is an avid fan of Ian M. Banks' Culture novels. In one of those there is a group called "the Elench". They are a break-out group from the Culture, who are roaming the galaxy in search of facts and new points of view.
Mescom Icsanser If
MS Comic Sans Serif, a font found in Microsoft Windows, known as "the font from hell".
There is no cabal.
See Lassie the Robber, No-storm-in-a-bucket, Bart the woodsman and M'Pik
Colm Buckley of afp. Colm is from Ireland, and was the new chairman for the 2004 Discworld Convention (taking over from Paul A. "Bursar" Rood).
See The cabal
Bart the woodsman
Leo Breebaart of afp. Leo is from the Netherlands.
See The cabal
Mike Knell (MPK) of afp. In the olden days of afp Mike's cuteness was often referred to. The legend goes that the landlady of the now afpamous Green Man pub in London agreed to host an afp Meet after having been shown a photo of him and assured he'd be there.
See The cabal and The Green Man... out well before midnight
A double reference to Sherilyn (Andrew Sidaway) of afp and Shelob, a female spider-monster, from the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Throughout this story there is a certain uncertainty about the gender of Sherilob, this is a reference to the fact that Sherilyn is a cross-dresser.
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land beneath the sea ... west of Graindyke
The land beneath the sea is, of course, Netherlands (see Bart the woodsman), but there is more to it. Graindyke is Cornwall, west of which there in legend was a kingdom now sunken beneath the sea. This kingdom was called Lyonesse, pronounced "lioness", which is quite fitting for a Leo. The legendary king mentioned could be Arthur, the legends of whom have assimilated the stories of Lyonesse.
Now listen very carefully. I'll say this only once..."
This is a catchphrase from the sitcom 'Allo 'Allo.
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Ping is a command that sends a data packet to a networked computer and times how long it takes to respond.
When wiring networks, cat-5 cable is used.
Bluetooth®, new wireless technology.
lunkar vi så smångingom
"Så lunkar vi så småningom" is a song by 18th century Swedish troubadur Carl Michael Bellman. The lyric means "so we trot along at last". The song is often sung as a drinking song, when one is drinking Swedish schnapps, and is about living life while you can because sooner or later you'll die.
mirrors... straw men... roaring flames
References to various Usenet practises. Smoke and mirrors: Throwing up confusing and irrelevant facts/arguments to avoid dealing with an argument or point. Straw man: An argument which seems relevant at first but is based on false assumptions/created in such a way as to discredit other points of view without actually dealing with the issue at hand. Flames: Often abusive posts where one poster gives another poster hell for something he or she said.
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Newra had taken a few steps back... groin only inches away when he gave in.
In many action movies, especially James Bond movies, there is a scene where the hero or heroine is strapped spreadeagled onto a table or similiar. Then some sort of danger (a laser beam, saw blade, etc.) slowly moves towards the hero/heroine's groin, cutting the table in two as it goes. If it's the hero he amazingly manages to get loose in the nick of time; if it's the heroine the hero amazingly gets her loose in the nick of time.
Close doesn't count at the fort
There used to be a Swedish version of the french TV-show Fort Boyard, called "Fångarna på fortet" (the prisoners at the fort). The last host of this show was former cross-country skier Gunde Svan and one of the things he was fond of saying, whenever a competitor was close to completing a task but didn't quite make it, was "nära räknas inte på fortet". This translates directly as "close doesn't count at the fort".
Just recently this show has been summoned from the dead and given the shiny new and much cooler name "Fortet", or "The Fort"... Update (June 2004): I think it's died again...
See "... but nothing's inpossible either."
Jay Krow Ling... ermine-clad potter and his weasel
J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter books, which feature not only Harry Potter himself, but also his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasely.
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Aquae Sulis was actually the Roman name for the British town of Bath, named after the baths at the temple of Sulis Minerva which was placed at the site of a Celtic sacred spring. There were five hot baths, a series of hot sweat-rooms, swimming pools and cold rooms to cool down afterwards. Then there was the Great Bath, in its own hall and lined with 14 massive sheets of lead.
Wheatmiller in German becomes "Weissmüller", which was the name of a famous swimmer. He won 5 olympic gold medals in the 1920s and set numerous world-records. After his swimming career was over he became a movie star, perhaps most famously as Tarzan in the 1932 MGM movie "Tarzan the Ape Man". He died from a series of strokes in 1984.
Footnote: filters, highpass, bandpass and lowpass
These three filters are used in electronics to filter signals of high, middle or low frequencies.
... the shades, the Bronx or Rinkeby
Three city areas with reputations for poverty and crime. They are respectively in Ankh-Morpork (in the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett), New York (USA) and Stockholm (Sweden).
Footnote: the Crips and the Bloods
The Crips and the Bloods are two actual, rivalising gangs based in L.A. The Crips started as the Avenue Cribs in the 1960s with aspirations to become a black rights organisation. The name was later turned into the Crips. There are two stories as to why; the first is that it was done by the media after an assault. The victims had described their assaulters as "young cripples carrying canes" - the cane was part of the gang regalia of the Cribs. The other reason presented is that "crippin" was a verb meaning robbing and stealing, and that's where the new name came from. Failing in their political ambitions, the Crips turned to crime in the early 1970s. The Blood gangs started up as opposition to the Crips gangs, also in the 1970s, and the rivalry stands to this day. Both are now spread to many US cities and both are predominantly black.
Footnote: despised features of city life... Taxes
In Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett there is a sequence where four bikers decide to become the "other Four Horse—, um, Bikers of the Apocalypse". They name themselves after things they consider to be problems of life, such as Embarrassing Personal Problems, Ansaphones and Things Not Working Properly Even After You've Thumped Them.
Ingvar Mattsson of afp. On AFPHRID he is registered as Orjan's Clone. "Autopet" is a far-fetched pun on his last name. "Matta" is Swedish for "carpet"; "auto" is short for "automobile", i.e. "car".
Westala is the alter ego of Örjan. Smörja is, apart from sharing all but two letters with Örjan, "grease" in Swedish. Örjan says that people called him "Smörjan" (the grease) all through school, and that "it wasn't even funny the first time".
Pun involving the city of Byzantium, or Bysans, and the Swedish word for trousers, "byxor". It comes from the fact that in Viking re-enactment, the Varingians have very baggy trousers made of silk. These have been found in Viking graves and are presumably an import from the much warmer south. Ingvar got told off when appearing at an SCA meeting when wearing such, as "the Vikings didn't have those".
The word "väring" means something like "oath sworn" in old Icelandic, or viking language. In Middle Greek it became Ba'rangoi and was used to mean Norsemen/Northeners/Vikings, especially those serving in Väringagardet, or the Varingian Guard. That was an actual regiment in Byzantium, made up entirely of mercenaries and often serving as Imperial Guard, 10th to 12th centuries A.D. Many, but not all, varings were Scandinavians - there were also quite a lot of Slavs, and in the 12th century many Englishmen had joined as well. It was quite common for Vikings from especially Sweden, to go to Miklagård (Bysans/Istanbul) to serve as varings for a while. One of these varings was apparently bored while standing guard duty at the great Hagia Sofia, because he carved his name in one of the stone lions outside it.
There was once a discussion about the Norwegian comic Nemi on afp, and during the course of this discussion Ingvar Mattsson said:
"I'm not gothic, I was just named that way."
To that mrtn replied that he didn't think Ingvar was a particularily gothic name, which resulted in two different explanations.
This is what Örjan had to say about the gothishness of Ingvar's name:
" According to the migration period legends, Ing, or Yng, was the fertility God of the Gothic tribes. Ingvar, and Ingmar, Inge, Yngve, Ingrid etc, are names that signifies a blood tie to the God. It is, literally, a Gothic name. Compare with Yngve Frej, an amalgam of two different fertility Gods, or at least two names for the same God."
While Ingvar didn't in fact contradict this, he also said:
"Well, not as such. However, I do have a first name too (yes, ‘Ingvar’ is my middle name, according to my birth certificate but my first name is not my used name, this has caused problems already)."
The gothic first name is Göte, meaning just "goth" - the people, not the subculture
There is a film called "Bugsy Malone", a musical, whith only child actors. One of these is a very young Jodie Foster, who plays Tallulha, a femme fatale. She sings a song called "My Name is Tallulha" which begins:
My name is Tallulah
My first rule of thumb
I don't say where I'm going
Or where I'm coming from
custard pies, lots of custard.
In the above mentioned Bugsy Malone film everyone uses custard pies instead of guns as weapons. I thought it referred to the first Discworld computer game, where there is a lady of negotiable affections who makes custard, but Örjan says no.
Former afper Richard Bryant is also known as "Dog", and he is a ferocious troll-flamer. A troll is someone who shows up in a newsgroup and tries to make trouble, spread spam or generally be intentionally obnoxious rather than taking part. Richard is married to Israeli afper Marina.
She tried to make spiders sympathetic
There is an episode with spiders in The Chamber of Secrets, the second Harry Potter book, by J.K. Rowling.
Terry Pratchett. Apparently he has hard-to-read handwriting.
Ian "Guy" Lou and Hammer Tone
Swedish author Jan Guillou (pronounced something like "Ian Guyou"). He has written a series of books about Carl Hamilton, a secret agent under the name "Coq Rouge" (red cockerel in French).
herry the terry
Pun on "hereditary".
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The state capital of Massachusetts, USA, is Boston; Bos-ton.
... he's not total pants
Referring again to byxans → byxa → trouser.
that religion that claims... virgin mother
Christianity centers on Jesus Christ, supposedly born by a virgin, namely the Virgin Mary.
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Gid Holyoake of afp. He is a Welsh, aledrinking, beardwearing, pagan singer. He doesn't keep sheep, but according to stereotype must be buggering them, being Welsh and all. Gid was one of the instigators (though he alone is not to blame for what followed) of the infamous temple threads.
See Temple of Afpdor
Neb kyn noc...ae ketwi
This is a quote from "Preiddeu Annwn", or The Spoils of Annwn, a Welsh poem from the 14th century Llyfr Taliesin (Book of Taliesin). It is an Arthurian poem about a joyrney into the "Otherworld", taken to have the main objective of showing Taliesin's bardic prowess. The cited lines mean:
No one before him
went into it
into the heavy gray chain;
a faithful servant it held
The whole poem can be found at The Camelot Project
As a point of interest, there is a book sequence by Stephen Lawhead called "The Pendragon Cycle". The first book is entitled just Taliesin and is about how this boy from Atlantis becomes the greatest bard in Britain, and later the greatest druid and wizard as well; Merlin. The Taliesin-Merlin association occurs in many other Arthurian fictions as well.
ineffability of pie
Pie refers to the mathematical entity pi (π).
The Probing Lemma
A lemma is in maths a partial solution, meant to be a step on the way to a full solution. In searching for this explanation I stubled upon a page called The Pumping Lemma and I feel I had to include that here just because of the similarity of the names.
... wig has come to be named after the tribe.
On afp Americans are usually called "merkins", because when an American says "American" it sounds like "a merkin". A merkin is a pubic wig. No offence is meant. The fiery bush is out of the Bible, where God speaks to Moses from a burning bush. The current president of the USA is named George W. Bush and "bush" is also a euphemism for (female) pubic hair.
... bridges in a town called Kaninengrad
The Königsburg (now Kalilingrad) Bridges is a famous mathematical problem. Kanin is also rabbit in Swedish - this has no relation to the actual annotation, but is a fun fact all the same.
... amazing crew of ferrets
Paul E. Jamison (James Pauleson) has a virtual crew of ferrets called The Cannon Crew. They gather together on special occasions, such as birthdays, and perform salutes, using great wit, often singing, and a vintage Civil War cannon. In at least one of the Discworld books featuring the witches, there is mention of a man who puts weasles down his trousers. Apparently, this is an old and honoured form of entertainment in England.
It sounds like something from that weird village... white mouse.
This whole scene refers to The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. The boy is Keith and the mouse is Dangerous Beans. In this book there is a reference to a trombone with valves, which sparked a discussion on afp about whether trombones usually have valves or not. It was concluded that, yes, some do.
It is usual on afp to offer "conga rats" when congratulating someone, just because it sounds similiar and rodents are an afpthing. The earliest mention I found on Google was from 1997. Of course, here the Dancing Rodent won't exactly be congratulating anyone... even if it does start with a hug.
The original assassins, founded by al-Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah in the 11th century in South Arabia, believed, like the Dancing Rodents, that they would go to paradise when they died, or even earlier, if they followed the rules of the order. Marco Polo was in the area in 1271 or 1272 and he wrote:
"Now no man was allowed to enter the Garden save those whom he intended to be his ASHISHIN. There was a fortress at the entrance to the Garden, strong enough to resist all the world, and there was no other way to get in. He kept at his Court a number of the youths of the country, from twelve to twenty years of age, such as had a taste for soldiering... Then he would introduce them into his Garden, some four, or six, or ten at a time, having first made them drink a certain potion which cast them into a deep sleep, and then causing them to be lifted and carried in. So when they awoke they found themselves in the Garden.
"When therefore they awoke, and found themselves in a place so charming, they deemed that it was Paradise in very truth. And the ladies and damsels dallied with them to their hearts' content...
"So when the Old Man would have any prince slain, he would say to such a youth: 'Go thou and slay So and So; and when thou returnest my Angels shall bear thee into Paradise. And shouldst thou die, natheless even so will I send my Angels to carry thee back into Paradise.'"
(from 'The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian', translated by Henry Yule,London, 1875.)
There is a theory that the name assassins comes from this ritual drugging using hashish.
Ann Summers, lingerie retailer.
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