Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Four | Chapter Five
Episodes 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
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Earl Grey is a popular tea. A funny thing happened after I had written this; I was out walking yesterday, and I walked past a tea shop. When I stopped and had a look in the window, what did I see if not a small bowl of tealeaves, marked Earl Green? So, apparently, there is actually such a thing. Marco informs me this is currently his favourite tea.
Keno the Pink
Refers to Don Rosa, popular Donald Duck cartoonist. This annotation is in several parts.
title of Don
Don Rosa's first name (well, duh - but actually it's a middle name).
appearing when you utter his name
Don Rosa occasionally googles for his own name on the internet, this has brought him to afp a couple of times when his name has been mentioned there. Marco is a big fan of Rosa and this whole episode is an attempt at plugging, so that Don Rosa would find and read something Marco wrote.
"Rosa" is Swedish for pink.
O.L.E.D - Onek morf Lrac Elcnu ot Detacided
In almost all Donald Duck episodes drawn by Don Rosa there is a signature, D.U.C.K., hidden somewhere in the first, or "splash", panel of the comic. The acronym stands for "Dedicated to Uncle Carl from Keno". Keno is Don Rosa's actual first name (and the name Marco used in The Tale), and "Carl" is Carl Barks. The D.U.C.K signature is often very hard to spot in the comics because the splash frame is usually shrunk. In addition to that the coloring artist is apparently (according to the 2003 Don Rosa calendar) never informed of the D.U.C.K. dedication and often messes them up. I have also learned that before Don Rosa started to hide his D.U.C.K. dedications they were removed by his bosses. This was because artist's signatures were not allowed by Disney and they thought that the dedications were signatures. So in the early stories there usually isn't a D.U.C.K.
The Shining Ones
It is a common belief in Folk Lore that calling something by its proper name will bring it. Hence the "nicknames" for things that were perceived as dangerous, such as "The Shining Ones" for elves or "The Good People" for fairies. Wolves, bears and the devil are other creatures that have been endowed with such names.
I'm gonna trask her!
Trask is a TEUNC word that the real-life Arwen uses from time to time. Here's what the TEUNCtionary says about it: "trask (verb): to do absolutely anything, often something unpleasant: ‘I trasked my test today’; ‘Do that again, and I'll trask you.’"
And kept running...
This whole episode, with the chase, is lifted almost directly from Terminator II; the evil Terminator being played by the Dancing Rodent.
Close the gates... Open the gates!
Quoting Marco here: "A nod to the old Zorro TV series. That is the old one, from -58, which was good, with Guy Williams in the leading role. Anyway, the details are a bit hazy now, but there was one episode in which Sergeant García was about to ride out on a patrol or something and shouted to the guard at the gate to open it. He had hardly got outside before he saw something that gave him a sudden, but strong, desire to be in the safety behind the gates again."
... obligatory burning wheel.
When something blows up in movies, there will ususally come a wheel, or some other debris, spinning out of the flames - for humorous or tragic effect. Terry Pratchett has referred to this a number of times in the Discworld books.
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Alfa the Spring
Beth Winter of afp (Alfa → Beth, Spring → Winter). She is Polish and created and maintains The Discworld Compendium, one of the best Discworld sites out there.
Jenny Delaney of afp. She is usually referred to by her on-line nickname; Melusine, which is how Örjan forgot whether her real name was Jenny or Julia. Hoping it was Julia he went with Capulette - the last name of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, is Capulet. Jenny is also the real-life mate of Gideon Hallet and has horses. She recently rode all through Great Britain.
The hyapatians have appeared on afp before, in october 2000. Karen (a.k.a. hypatia) mentioned birthing pools, and slimy, chittering newborns. Of course that set Örjan's imagination off.
Dungeons & Dragons
Very well known role-playing game.
The Green Man... out well before midnight
The Green Man is, besides a trickster character in English folk lore, a pub on Great Portland Street in London. It has been the venue for quite a few afpMeets - known as the Green Man Meets. These are often organised by the above mentioned Karen/hypatia. Upon leaving the pub Örjan has been heard grumbling about "stupid licensing laws that force people to leave so early". Green Giant is also a well known brand of tinned and frozen vegetables.
truest language of poetry and Stornos of Yerseipiaye
In the 1980s there was a BBC tv-show called Bergerac about a private investigator (P.I.) on the island of Jersey. It starred John Nettles as Jim Bergerac. Another, even more famous, Bergerac, is Cyrano de Bergerac who is known for having a very large nose and an unrivalled skill with poetry. "Stor nos" means "big nose" in Swedish. Cyrano de Bergerac is French, and so, it follows, is the truest language of poetry. The sad love story of Cyrano de Bergerac has been filmed several times, most recently in 1990 with Gérard Depardieu in the title role.
The word "quark" was invented by James Joyce, used in one line in "Finnegans Wake": "Three quarks for Muster Mark!" The quark is the smallest known particle of matter and only exists coupled with an anti-quark (thus forming a meson) or in bunches of three (a baryon - the most known baryons are protons and neutrons), never on its own. Measured in the charge of the electron, the quarks' charges are 2/3 or -1/3. The quarks stick together by exchanging "gluons". There are six types of quarks: up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top.
The attributes given to the sceptical quarks in the tale (randi, sidharta, doyle, josephson, daniken and denken) are based on people/things with some link to the supernatural.
Famous for offering a prize of one million dollars to "anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event".
The name of the buddha Shakyamuni before he reached enlightenment. He is commonly known just as "Buddha".
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
He not only wrote books about the extremely rational and logical Sherlock Holmes, he also believed in fairies, and considered himself having found proof after two girls sent him pictures of themselves with fairies cut out of paper.
Josephson means son of Joseph; the most famous son of Joseph, though the Bible claims that's just what he wasn't, is Jesus Christ. There is also a Brian Josephson, who is an eminent Cambridge physicist and occasional investigator of the paranormal.
Erich von Däniken
A Swiss writer who in several books has claimed to have archaeological proof that aliens have visited the earth. On closer scrutiny his evidence is misinterpreted, unreliable and even falsified.
German for "to think" (thanks to Jürgen Starek). Something the above-mentioned Erich von Däniken may not be in the habit of doing.
two short planks
As in, "as thick as...", from the common English expression. Described as such is, among others, Detritus from the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett.
Refers to L-space; a concept found in the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett.
Footnote: A'Fair Dans'eur
Mangled French for "shop in hour". Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860, was a German philosopher.
Footnote: no dog has three tails...
There is a well known semantic riddle which goes: If no cat has two tails, and one cat has one more tail than no cat, how many tails does a cat have?
Somewhat convoluted pun going: Loshovler → low shovler → high digger → Heidegger. Martin Heidegger, 1889-1976, was another German philosopher.
Footnote: good stories co-told by people who've never met
At least at the time this was written, none of the authors of The Tale had ever met in real life.
adobe can beat a quark
Quark Express and Adobe are two competing professional Desktop Publishing programs.
no proper wizard... put a sock in it
A half brick in a sock can be a potent weapon, as demonstrated by the not quite proper "wizzard" Rincewind, in Sourcery - one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.
he's left the straw man intact
Sherilyn will not, in any discussion, be diverted by a straw-man argument.
As he left, Peterwok... sandwich
There is a scene which is almost exactly like this in one of the James Bond movies, only instead of Peterwok it's Q.
Carl Hamilton's colleague Stålhandske (Steelglove) is indeed big and blond.
I found a story... horse's head
In the book Vendetta by Jan Guillou, Hamilton climbs up a cliff using mechanical suckers, to get to the house of a Sicilian Mafia don. He puts the severed head of a mafia murderer into the don's bed. In the classical mafia movie "The Godfather" by Francis Ford Coppola, there is a famous scene with a severed horse's head in a bed.
specially treated fish meat, in a convenient format
Fish sticks, in some countries known as fish fingers, are rectangular pieces of fish covered in breadcrumbs.
Leonard of Quirm from the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett is a genius who is extremely stupid when it comes to naming things. So, it seems, is Peterwok.
[ Read episode ]
They have a very efficient metabolism, so there won't be much shit happening.
Plays on the phrase "shit happens".
... a slightly whiter shade of pale.
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" was the debut single of the band Procul Harum, written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. It has been covered several times by artists like Percy Sledge, King Curtis, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Tyler, Joe Cocker and several others.
This refers to the above mentioned Cannon Crew. The ferrets are:
Refers to Max, a dark-coated ferret who is similarly disabled. Maximillian is a name that Max might be short for.
Refers to Murphy, a dark-coated ferret who wears the red serge uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Morpheus is also the name of the Greek god of sleep, and, therefore, a name taken by Neil Gaiman's Lord of the Dreaming. It is also the name of the captain, played by Laurence Fishburne, of the ship Nebuchadnezzar in the Matrix movies.
Refers to Sammy, a white-coated ferret who wears a yarmulke. A yarmulke is the skullcap worn by male Jews, whereas a calotte is the skullcap worn by roman-catholic priests. Sambal Oelek is a kind of spicy asian sause (probably Indonesian). The ingredients in the jar in my fridge consist of: granulated chillies, salt, citric acid E330 and preservative E210. Presumably the authentic stuff doesn't have the Es.
Scrappy, Scrappy, Scrappy and Scrappy
Refers to Skippy, Skippy, Skippy and Skippy the Cannon Crew's team of albino ferret mechanics. Scrappy is also the name taken by the Discworld version of another Skippy, namely Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.
See ... amazing crew of ferrets
Allow me to quote Daibhid verbatim: "A quite apalling pun on machete, for which the author should be, as the saying goes, hung, drawn and quoted."
All right, this has finally been figured out. It is in fact Urdu, though Marco would like us all to pretend it's Arabic because that would work better for his joke. The intended meaning is "rock/cliff of the high house" and referrs to Piero Villalta - whose name indeed means "rock high-villa". Piero is Marco's father and has cut the points of the two machetes they have to resemble scimitars. All because he's a "scimitar kind of person", to quote Marco.
Daibhid had quite a lovely theory on this, which while being wrong, still deserves to be saved for posterity. He interpreted "Koh e-Imaarat" as Urdu for "hill-fort". In Gaelic a hill fort is called a "dun". Together with the machete-like knife and the Anti-Occident being verbally similiar to the Antipodes this suggested (to him) that Koh e-Imaarat was in fact Mike Dundee - Australian owner of a very big knife in the Crocodile Dundee movies. Sadly, Marco denied any such intention, and also any knowledge of gaelic.
The Occident is the west, so the Anti-Occident is the east, i.e. the Orient or Asia. It also allows for another appaling pun in the footnote:
...how to treat iron so that it wouldn't rust
A substance used to prevent rusting (oxidation) is an anti-oxidant.
the Richter scale of doubt and San Fransisco 1906
The "Richter scale of doubt" has previously been seen in Terry Pratchett's Lords And Ladies, although the quake there was far, far weaker than "The Great Earthquake". On April 18, 1906, occured what came to be ranked as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time. Largely because of the tremendous amount of scientific knowledge that has been derived from it.
It ruptured the northernmost 430 kilometers of the San Andreas fault from northwest of San Juan Bautista to the triple junction at Cape Mendocino. Analysis of the 1906 displacements and strain in the surrounding crust led Reid (1910) to formulate his elastic-rebound theory of the earthquake source, which remains today the principal model of the earthquake cycle. The earthquake was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as central Nevada.
In the public's mind, this earthquake is perhaps remembered most for the fire it spawned in San Francisco, giving it the somewhat misleading appellation of the "San Francisco earthquake". Shaking damage, however, was equally severe in many other places along the fault rupture. The frequently quoted value of 700 deaths caused by the earthquake and fire is now believed to underestimate the total loss of life by a factor of 3 or 4. Most of the fatalities occurred in San Francisco, and 189 were reported elsewhere.
Source:USGS Earthquake Hazards Program - Northern California
September is when the clueless traditionally descend on Usenet. According to Marco, however, The concept of September being the month when cluelessness reigns goes back a lot further than that - the crusades were mentioned, as the newcomers, full of burning zeal, usually arrived in September.
In Ankh-Morpork there is a gate called the Limping Gate, and both limp and hobble are words describing less than perfekt ways to walk - usually involving dragging at least one foot. As there is also a Shambling Gate on the Mappe of Ankh-Morpork it is not unlikely that these are puns on gate/gait.
Martin Wisse of afp. He is listed in AFPHRID as Örjan's and Ingvar's clone.
The dragon yawned... partial to flesh.
Adrian Morgan of afp. On Usenet he is known as 8'FED - short for the Eight Foot Tall Flesh Eating Dragon. The 8'FED persona wears brilliant orange sneakers and a purple and green striped cape with silver lining. Daibhid also says that the description reminds him of the xenomorph from the alien films. From doing some research, this is what I've come up with:
The xenomorph in Alien has in common with the dragon:
... spike things on its back.
... long, sleek head...
It's got no eyes
... a matt black or very dark grey, but depending on the ambient light it shone blue, grey or even brown.
... have teeth on its tongue. - ... the secondary jaw.
Plus the xenomorph has a stinger (like on a scorpion) on its tail where the dragon has a skewer.
For more Alien related annotations, see "This game is already over!"
He produced a head-sized watermelon and lobbed it to the creature...
It is a fairly common device in a certain type of movies to have either the villain or the good guy's gadget provider demonstrate the effectiveness of his/hers newest weapon/monster by throwing up a melon/bottle/other fruit and having it swiftly massacred/blown to bits.
Grand Mistress Peril Rat
Refers to Danger Mouse, the hero of a British cartoon of the same name, where the mouse in question is a Secret Agent. It features an intro where DM gets blown up a lot as I recall.
Terminatrix is what the new evil Terminator (T-X) in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is popularily known as. Gladia refers to the Roman sword, the gladius. Even in Roman times "sword" was used as a euphemism for penis. So her name means, roughly, "female penis terminator" - she will cut yer tonker off.
The Jedi-apprentices in the Star Wars movies are called Padawans.
Supermouse of afp. A vole is a rodent which is larger than a mouse.
Sei una ragazza intrepida...
This is the chorus of a Swedish song, translated into Italian. It goes (Italian/Swedish/English - translated into English hopefully close in spirit, and singable, if not literal):
Sei una ragazza intrepida
in imballaggio lussuoso
Una ragazza audace
in astuccio bello...
Hon är en tuff brud
en fräck brud
i snyggt fodral...
She is a tough dame
in luxury wrapping
A fresh dame
in a foxy sheath...
"Scrappy?" - "No, I'm Scrappy."
The concept of a character correcting his name, because the addresser has him confused with another character of identical name, is a fairly common comedic device. On the Discworld this is found among the people known as Igors - because they are all named Igor.
One of them just bloody called me a rodent! The nerve!
Ferrets aren't rodents, they're mustelids - part of the carnivorae family. This is a sore point to ferret breeders who continously hear their darlings referred to as rodents.
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A Note on the Annotations in Part 20
In this part of the tale there are many very long references to The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R Tolkien. The more specific has been listed as usual below, but I'll do the most general here. That is, the landscape and atmosphere the fellowship pass through. In the descriptions of the places listed below, Örjan has done his best to invoke the images of the corresponding places within the Lord of the Rings, without specifically copying any one piece of text.
The first new place they arrive to is the Green Man's home, which is a reference to the house of Beorn in The Hobbit. The specifics are different in many cases, but the general scene is very similiar.
From the house of Beorn the adventurers in The Hobbit proceed into the Mirkwood, a wood which is very dark and dense, with lots of spooky undergrowth. In this forest the water is dangerous to drink, there is very little wildlife and it is home to huge spiders.
After leaving the forest Westala's and Villtin's party reach the caves of Magdala, which is a reference to the Mines of Moria. Moria is a Dwarven mine and kingdom which was abandoned a long time ago because of some long forgotten disaster. The Fellowship of the Ring decide to go there after their passage across the mountains is made impossible by a blizzard. Inside there are halls of enourmous proportions and beauty, amazing carved pillars etc, all testament to the skill and riches of this long-lost dwarven society. However, Moria is not the home of Shelob (the female spider monster whom Sherilob is a reference to), nor is it the home of millions of spiders. Shelob does however live in a tunnel at the entrance to the wastelands of Mordor - and Westala and Villtin are going to the wastelands beyond the caves of Magdala.
Referrs to the quite popular and reputedly quite weird adventure game series Monkey Island by LucasArts. In one of these games you have to beat the swordmaster - with witty banter rather than dashing swordplay. One of the witty retorts used is: "Then you'd better stop waving it around like a feather duster."
I'll call you Bill
In the Fellowship of the Ring, book one of The Lord of the Rings, Sam names a pony Bill. This is the first of many Lord of the Rings references in this episode.
The fellowship of the... thing
The Fellowship of the Ring
It looked like some sort of handle... nothing she had ever seen before
Here Örjan describes what is commonly known as a vibrator or dildo, and what Örjan himself called "a bloody fake tonker". The last sentece betrays the fact that Mega Vole is most likely a virgin, something that can't be all too common among Dancing Rodents. The scene following this description is ripe with sexual innuendo, most of which would probably need no explaining for anyone above age 13 or so.
... lightly caressed the strange object
If you would like a real "tonker" to grow in size, one of the things to do would be to caress it.
Peril Rat... began to breathe heavier and quicker
She is becoming aroused.
A shimmering blade appeared... sighed happily
It seems the blade is experiencing ejaculation, and both it and her climax.
How quickly it comes... almost without pause
Describing different kinds of orgasms, including multiple orgasms right at the end.
And some, desperate to hide their inability... something wrong with the weapon
Orgasms can also be faked.
comes faster and stronger, and lasts longer, in the precense of a man
Well... this point can be debated. Many women claim to reach orgasm much easier and faster on their own or with a vibrator than with a man. However, sex is certainly more fun in company.
The Little Death
"La petit mort" is French poetic slang for orgasm.
... is the sound a Star Wars light-saber makes when swung.
Light-saber and also thigh-saber, punning on sword as a euphemism for penis.
See Gladia Terminatrix
Hate leads to passion. Passion leads to focus. Focus leads to Light.
In Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Yoda tells Anakin that "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
We do not fear the little death
Star Wars is by some known as a Space Opera. Another work that comes under the same heading is Dune, by Frank Herbert. In this book there is a female religious sect called The Bene Gesserit who teach that "Fear is the little death". Orjan is a bit curious about how that was rendered in the French translation.
You cannot use force
In Star Wars Luke is frequently told to "use the Force".
The man was indeed green... torn purple trousers
The comic book character The Incredible Hulk is green, huge and wears torn purple trousers.
This following scene is very similiar to a scene in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien where the adventurers come to the house of Beorn. Beorn is a very large man who raises bees and turns into a bear at night. In The Hobbit Gandalf arranges for the party to arrive in pairs to assure Beorn's help before he finds out that there are actually fourteen of them. Here the case seems to be that Ursa doesn't keep quiet long enough for Villtin to tell him how many they are. The word Beorn is bear in old English. Ursus is the latin name for the family of bears that consist of the brown bear (Ursus arctos), polar bear (Ursus maritimus), Tibetan black bear (Ursus tibetanus) and American black bear (Ursus americanus).
Don't drink the water... don't go there at all
On the album "Pink World" by Planet P Project, there is a song called "To Live Forever". Part of it goes:
Don't drink the water
Don't wade in the pool
No, don't come here at all
Now I guess i'm gonna live forever
Find myself a cave and hide me away
I made them out of our old banner... Cheinnhffllyideiei family
The real name of The Incredible Hulk (as a human) is Robert Bruce Banner, however in the TV-series he was called David Bruce Banner, which leads us to the Cheinnhffllyideiei part of this annotation. Daibhid Ceannaideach, my co-compiler, would ordinarily be called David Kennedy, but he likes to Celticly make it difficult for the rest of us... He started out as Daibhid Cheinnedelh, and I have a private (well, it was private until I wrote this) suspicion that he was inspired by the book "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland" by Diana Wynne Jones, in which she Celtifies the name Dave as "Daibhaeaidhaibh".
In The Truth by Terry Pratchett one of the villains (Mr Tulip) goes around saying "—ing" all the time instead of swearing. That isn't consorship by the way, that's what he actually says, dash and all. They're probably both related to "effing" which may or may not have started out as "F-ing".
a pale blue blanket embroidered with teddy bears carrying red buckets
A while ago on afp a "flame retardant blanket" was discussed, for use if/when it seemed that the group was in danger of turning into a flame-war. Such a blanket might be useful for members of the Cult of Me. The teddy bears refer to Smokey the Bear, who has been used to educate Americans about the dangers of forest fires since the 1950s. The red buckets are firebuckets - used in bucket chains to put out fires. Red firebuckets can be found in "Truckers" by Terry Pratchett.
An astrolabe (astrolabium in Swedish) is an old astronomical instrument which was used by the ancient Greeks to determine the position of heavenly bodies, and thus the time. A modern astrolabe is a sophisticated optical instrument used to determine the position of stars. The word "labium" is latin for lip, used in anatomy for both lips and liplike features. In English the term "labia" is used for the outer parts of the female genitalia.
Upon reading this footnote I immediately concluded it was a reference to sexual intercourse and the subsequent orgasm. Örjan says this wasn't intended, but that he can see how it'd be read that way. No kidding, I say. The bit about so-called stars at the end refers to porno magazines.
the Jolly Angel constellation
Angelina Jolie is an actress known for her large lips. When Orjan wrote this he thought "jolie" in french meant jolly, thus increasing the connection. Sadly, jolie actually means cute.
Phranz, the leader of the scouting party
Refers to a Swedish song commonly sung by drunk students. It is about the Scout leader Frasse (nickname for Frans) and is somewhat suggestive in nature.
enjoyed a quake... sense of doom
Quake and Doom are popular 3D, dungeon, first-person shoot-'em-up games. They are becoming dated now, but were all the rage in the mid-late 90s.
For Rari's sake
For Rari - Ferrari, a well known car company that has a rearing stallion as its symbol. Apparently the rearing horse started out as the personal emblem of Francesco Baracca, an Italian pilot who was shot down during WWI, and was taken in 1923 by Enzo Ferrari - then a racing driver - to have on his car. It was then used on the cars Ferrari started designing in 1929.
See Goddess of horses, eponymous with rearing in strength and freedom
punch drunk... genitalian
Boxer Rocky (played by Sylvester Stallone) was known as the Italian Stallion, he was also quite frequently punch drunk due to being punched in the head. Genitalian is also something that a stallion would quite naturally be, still having all his gear, as opposed to a gelding, who doesn't.
Now, that's a word with power
A while ago the web adress www.powergenitalia.com turned up, reputedly the homepage of the Italian division of Powergen. This aroused much sniggering at the stupidity of the people responsible. Since then Powergen has denied even having an Italian division, let alone having anything to do with the site. It seems someone saw the possibilities of the name and registered the site as a joke.
Goddess of horses, eponymous with rearing in strength and freedom
There is a Celtic horse goddess called Epona. She was worshipped in many parts of Europe and was adopted by the Roman army as protector of stables and transportations over land. It has been hinted that "rearing in strength and freedom" is the slogan of Ferrari, but I have been unable to confirm this.
See For Rari's sake
We should find that singer... He might have some food
When Bilbo and the dwarves are in Mirkwood, in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, they got quite hungry, as there was nothing there to eat. Then they heard singing and party noises, followed them and found a big elven picnic. Unfortunately, whenever they tried to approach the elves, they disappeared, like a mirage.
not even with the assurances... warmth and liveliness
Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen is an interior designer on several British TV shows. He's fond of painting rooms yellow, red and purple to create a "vibrant effect". He is also quite the dandy with frills, long hair and velvet coats.
MegaMole of afp. He is a singer, a counter tenor none the less, who here sings to counter tremors. He also wears colourful waistcoats.
Charles Cooke (a.k.a. ccooke, a.k.a. Cookie) of afp. Bikkit is baby-speak for biscuit, which is pretty much synonymous with cookie.
to give if not the whole truth then at least nothing but it
If you are a witness in a court of law in the United States you will be asked the question: "Do you swear to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" In case you were wondering, the correct answer is "yes".
the caves of Magdala when Sherilob returned
Mary of Magdala, or Mary Magdalene, was a female diciple of Christ who was the first person to see him resurrected. She was a former prostitute and some suggest that she was actually his girlfriend. Mary in gaelic is Moira, which is rather close to Moria.
Sherilyn was absent from afp for a while, but seems to have returned lately.
vessels of the Hyapatians rose on pillars of flame towards the stars
Written in modern this would be "their space ships left".
See Hyapatian lands
you have grown... something in the water
In The Two Towers Merry and Pippin enter the Fangorn Forest, where they drink Entish water which makes them grow.
a ball was thrust into her mouth... and tightened
This describes a ball gag, often used in BDSM and sold by Graham/Affor, though it should never ever be used on anyone without their prior consent.
See Affor of the Grey Hem
dropped the flower pot... Oh no, not again
In the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, there is a poor unfortunate being who keeps getting killed accidentally in various incarnations. One of these is a pot of petunias, and as that pot hurtles down towards certain destruction it thinks "Oh no, not again".
Tony Finch (a.k.a. fanf), afp old fart.
Nathan Yospe, afp old fart. He lived in Kansas, which is also where Mary Messall/Messy Marall lived at the time, and was famous for his brick-text. Brick-text is when you write in such a way that each line is exactly as long as the one before it - easy with auto-format, trickier on Usenet, where you have to do it yourself.
See Messy Marall
Gidjabolgo is the old username of none other than Örjan Westin. He took this name from an ugly, cynical ministrel in Geraldine Harris's Seven Citadels quadrology.
Colette Reap of afp. As in the case of Sambaloelec the ferret, this is a play on the yarmulke/calotte connection - with switched vowels. Colette is afp's resident net.goddess and quite an afpcelebrity too. She's even been written into one of the Discworld books.
The Belly Man
Alan Bellingham, afp old fart and married to Colette.
Tily... I have a spare, of just the kind you like
Would this by any chance be a Tilley-hat? In fact, Jenny Delaney, who is the basis for Capulette, has lost her riding hat in real life too.
Kaylad... pane of glass
Lady Kayla/Kaylad paints glass items and sells them on the web page Lady Kayla Designs. She has also recently opened a shop in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose
This is a quote of many sources. It's been attributed to Stalin, used in many articles arguing about USA's war on terrorism and featured in "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin.
It was a sheer cliff, facing a small lake
Here begins a long passage of Mines of Moria (Fellowship of the Ring) references. Two of which are listed below, the rest are listed as they come, in the usual fashion. The entrance to the mines of Moria is a carved door with writing around it. In front of this door is a small lake. The Moria inscription says "Speak friend and enter". After trying almost all he can think of to get in, Gandalf finally realises that he needs to say "friend" in the language of the inscription and the door opens. This then would be the story Newra is referring to. However, that handy little trick doesn't work in this tale.
hoping some horrible moster would rise up
In the Fellowship of the Ring movie by Peter Jackson, a horrible monster with tentacles does indeed rise up out of the lake and attacks the fellowship. In the book the lake bubbles a bit.
Westala... leave Bill behind
Sam is forced to leave Bill the pony behind when they enter the Mines of Moria in the Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R Tolkien.
Amico is Italian for friend, micro is Greek for small.
a little bird came flying... peck at the lichen
In The Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien, a bird draws Bilbo's attention to the entrance to Smaug's cave in pretty much this way.
once in a blue moon
The instructions for opening Smaug's back-door in The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien are only readable in the light of the new moon.
An annotation of many parts. To begin with: the mines of Moria were built and inhabited by Dwarves. Seven very famous dwarves are the ones out of Snow White, and they sing the "Hiho-song" as they go to work in their mine. A haha is a kind of ditch you put in your garden, instead of a fence, and Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett features a hoho - which is a haha only it's much, much too deep and people fall in it.
Speleology is the science of caves. Spellology, on the other hand, isn't the science of spelling.
no need to be grumpy... try to be bashful
Grumpy and Bashful are two of the seven dwarves in Disney's version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The other five dwarves are Doc, Dopey, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy.
A huge boulder came rolling behind the spiders
In a famous scene in "Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark", Indy is chased by a huge rolling boulder. This scene has been used by others as well, both before and after its appearance in the Indiana Jones movie. Carl Barks has it in one of his Donald Duck comics, from 1959. Fortunately for the ducks, that trap was built for taller people and they remain unharmed as the boulder rolls past over their heads.
not this byrnie. It's made of uridium
In The Fellowship of the Ring Frodo recieves a Mithril byrnie (ring-mail shirt) from Bilbo. Mithril is a metal not unlike silver in appearance, but "stronger than steel, light and silent as silk". Iridium is an actual metal (though not with those fabulous properties) but Uridium was a shoot-'em-up game for Commodore 64.
forbidden knowledge... a dark and hungry god arises... chaos and order... this day all gods die
These are all titles in the Gap series of books by Stephen Donaldson. The first book in the series is actually called "The Real Story" and carries the theme that that's what you never know.
crystal coffin... skin red as blood
Snow White, after the evil witch kills her, is buried by the seven dwarves in a crystal coffin. Snow White, of course, has "hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, and lips as red as blood".
a tall figure, dressed in a long, dark robe... hear the stranger sniff the air
The Ringwraiths in the Lord of the Rings are tall, dressed in long, dark robes and sniff the air for their prey.
smooth movements... inviting step
This passage, and the following ones describing Peril Rat's movements, describe a belly dancer's way of moving.
rammed the butt of his spear hard onto the bridge... "You shall not pass!"
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf faces down a Balrog (big fiery monster) in just this fashion on a narrow bridge in the mines of Moria. Only instead of a spear he has a staff and a sword. This encounter ends with the Balrog catching Gandalf with his whip as he falls down the chasm. Gandalf falls, hangs on the edge of the crumbling bridge, looks at his companions and whispers "Run, you fools!" before falling towards his death.
See His hair, his beard and his clothes were white as snow
set off the tight-saber... moaned and whimpered... control her body
Apparently Westala is quite the stud. Either that, or Peril Rat is really filled with religious zeal which is reflected back at her on Westala's implacability.
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