Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something/Someone Old
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My Something Old today is one of my favorite shallow mildly satirical Beatles songs. I literally couldn't find a really good video of this; in every damned video it seems like somebody had one speaker/channel entirely turned off. You can barely hear George Harrison's guitar. I even tried videos where people covered the song--in search of good audio quality-- and concluded that most people have a hard time rocking as hard as Paul McCartney, which is kind of sad, given that Paul McCartney is not exactly Steve Tyler, is he? On the other hand, Paul actually could rock hard when he wanted to; it's just that most of the time he preferred singing silly love songs.

What's often ignored these days is the fact that they were kind of both mocking the Beach Boys and showing that they could do the Beach Boys style as well or better than the Beach Boys could. I mean, check out the refrain!

CORRECTION! Orlbucfan, a better Beatles scholar than I, let me know that in fact the Beatles admired Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys very much for their harmonies, so I guess what I always assumed was teasing or mild mockery was actually the sincerest form of flattery! Thanks for the correction, and it's always nice to know that people were being positive toward each other.

Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC
Didn't get to bed last night
On the way the paper bag was on my knee
Man, I had a dreadful flight
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the USSR, yeah
Been away so long I hardly knew the place
Gee, it's good to be back home
Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
Honey disconnect the phone
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the US
Back in the US
Back in the USSR

Well the Leningrad girls really knock me out
They leave the west behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia's always on my my my my my my my my my mind
Oh, come on
Hu hey hu, hey, ah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boys
Back in the USSR
Well the Leningrad girls really knock me out
They leave the west behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia's always on my my my my my my my my my mind
Oh, show me round your snow peaked
Mountain way down south
Take me to your daddy's farm
Let me hear your balalaika's ringing out
Come and keep your comrade warm
I'm back in the USSR
Hey, you don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the USSR
Oh, let me tell you honey

Now you might think that this song occurred to me because of the ongoing national obsession with Russia, but actually it's because I'm creating a persona for the Society for Creative Anachronism, and my persona is from Byzantium. Thus, I'm researching ancient Byzantine garb. I had no idea how many different types of garb there were, and in particular, I had no idea how many Russians there were in Byzantium! The Russian garb is so beautiful I'm almost reconsidering my initial idea for a persona and going full-on Russian:

russian byzantium.jpg

My initial idea had nothing to do with Russia. She is a Latinate Byzantine girl of the upper classes (so I can be educated--in fact, she will be a scholar), somewhere between 800 and 1160. I'm picking moments of cultural renaissance and moments when women had more rights and powers, which puts me in the middle Byzantine period. Hilariously, it turns out that this middle period of Byzantine history is called the Macedonian Renaissance. So it turns out I am a Putin puppet by way of Macedonia. This whole SCA persona is part of a nefarious plot. You heard it here first!

Anyway, after looking at about 10,000 pictures of gorgeous medieval Russian clothing, I found myself humming "Oh, the Leningrad girls really knock me out...they leave the West behind....Bow bow bow bow..."

Something New
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My Something New this week is a new OT style I'm going to launch in coming weeks. (I was going to put this as an announcement up top, and then it occurred to me that it is Something New). I'm not getting rid of Something Old, Something New. I'm just going to alternate it with a different OT, so that one week you'll get SOSN, and the next you'll get something that I'm calling

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I will be using this OT to pull some basic ideas out of the customary frames we see them through, hopefully breaking or at least making visible some of the assumptions that underlie the way we think and talk about our world. I will also be talking about the creation of temporary and semi-permanent autonomous zones. Really this is where I will be assembling the bits and pieces of my thought into what I hope will eventually become some kind of coherent mosaic, maybe even a political philosophy, though that may be too grandiose a hope.

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At least I hope it will make how I see the world a bit clearer.

Something Borrowed
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Continuing with the Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul theme

It turns out that the Turks got the name for their city from (ahem) the Greeks!

There had been a city there for a long time, because its position is so beneficial: geographically, it is the gateway between Asia and Europe, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

The city had been called Byzantium for around 1000 years before Emperor Constantine decided to name it after himself (I guess the self-aggrandizing colonialist urge is old).

Constantine's name sticks for about 1100 years, until the city fell to the Turks in 1453. Here's where it gets funny. The Turks, newly arrived, get their name from the place from the Greek city slang "eis tin polin," or "in the city." This eventually becomes the word "Istanbul."

http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=149...

So the Turks borrowed the name for the capital of Turkey from the Greeks.

Frankly, I'm both amused and stunned.

Something Blue
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I found out something pretty amazing about the color blue: it wasn't particularly popular in Western European painting until the 12th century!

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This comes from the research of French historian Michel Pastoureau:

Pastoureau’s book on blue starts off by mentioning how neglected this color was among the ancient Greeks and Romans, who rarely wrote about it or made use of it. He even delves into the question of whether or not ancient peoples could even see blue! This neglect continued through the early Middle Ages until the twelfth-century. “Then suddenly,” writes Pastoureau, “in just a few decades, everything changes – blue is ‘discovered’ and attains a prominent place in painting, heraldry, and clothing.”

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The first part of this ‘blue revolution’ was how this color was used to represent the clothing of the Virgin Mary. The scene of Mary mourning Jesus’ crucifixion was a popular one in the Middle Ages, and once artists started depicting her cloak in a vibrant blue, it soon became the standard.

http://www.medievalists.net/2018/02/color-middle-ages/

mary blue.jpg

I hear that the blue revolution was spurred by Europe's discovery of imported lapis lazuli, and the blue pigment, ultramarine, that could be created from it:

Sometimes called “true blue,” ultramarine is made from the semiprecious gemstone lapis lazuli, which for centuries could only be found in a single mountain range in Afghanistan. Egyptian traders began importing the stone as early as 6,000 years ago, using it to adorn jewelry and headdresses. Yet they never figured out how to make a vibrant pigment from it. Riddled with minerals such as calcite, pyrite, augite, and mica, lapis loses its potency when it is ground up, turning from a bright blue to a dull gray.

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-a-brief-history-of-blue

It wasn't until some inventive 13th-century painter created a laborious, but effective, process to keep the blue of lapis blue from gemstone to palette that blue took Western Europe by storm:

At the beginning of the 13th century, an improved method came into use, described by Cennino Cennini in the 15th century. This process consisted of mixing the ground material with melted wax, resins, and oils, wrapping the resulting mass in a cloth, and then kneading it in a dilute lye solution. The blue particles collect at the bottom of the pot, while the impurities and colorless crystals remain. This process was performed at least three times, with each successive extraction generating a lower quality material. The final extraction, consisting largely of colorless material as well as a few blue particles, brings forth ultramarine ash which is prized as a glaze for its pale blue transparency.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultramarine

The laborious nature of the process, in addition to the fact that lapis for many centuries only came from one mountain range in Afghanistan, made blue the most expensive and difficult color to create for many centuries.

The 15th century artist Cennino Cennini wrote in his painters' handbook: "Ultramarine blue is a glorious, lovely and absolutely perfect pigment beyond all the pigments. It would not be possible to say anything about or do anything to it which would not make it more so."

medieval-blue.jpg

I didn't know there was a time before blue (in painting, at least).

How are you all today?

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mhagle's picture

Didn't know that blue is new. Cool.

Love the Beatles song and gorgeous costume.

Going to Waco with the male child today. Will check back later. Have a great day!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@mhagle Thanks for dropping by, Marilyn!

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

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4 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Lookout's picture

Not really, but it is a good song...from 1928

The indigo plant was the source of blue dye (now they synthesize it). Indigo was one of the first crops the colonists planted in the SE US...

In North America indigo was introduced into colonial South Carolina by Eliza Lucas Pinckney, where it became the colony's second-most important cash crop (after rice)

Blue was uncommon in Europe till Vasco de Gama found a route to India where indigo was native.

Indigo is among the oldest dyes to be used for textile dyeing and printing. The oldest known fabric dyed indigo dating to 6,000 years ago was discovered in 2009 at Huaca Prieta, Peru.[3] Many Asian countries, such as India, Japan, and Southeast Asian nations have used indigo as a dye (particularly silk dye) for centuries. The dye was also known to ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Britain, Mesoamerica, Peru, Iran, and Africa. Indigo was also cultivated in India, which was also the earliest major center for its production and processing.[4] The I. tinctoria species was domesticated in India.[4] Indigo, used as a dye, made its way to the Greeks and the Romans, where it was valued as a luxury product.[4]

India was a primary supplier of indigo to Europe as early as the Greco-Roman era. The association of India with indigo is reflected in the Greek word for the dye, indikón (Ἰνδικόν, Indian). The Romans latinized the term to indicum, which passed into Italian dialect and eventually into English as the word indigo.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigo_dye

I'll leave with Joni singing "Blue"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-ZmsyKYy_g

Here's hoping all of you have a great day.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout I think the idea was that indigo was great for cloth, but not so good for painting. I don't know why. Maybe it just didn't create that wonderful ultramarine blue.

I briefly looked into the history of indigo in SC and wished I hadn't. I thought cotton was bad, and then I looked into the history of indigo and rice.

Now I think sugar and rice are at the top of the badness scale, indigo a step below them, and King Cotton, horrible though he is, actually preferable to the others. The history of rice in the New World left me nearly speechless.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Lookout's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Al had an essay yesterday asking what are we capable of... I had just been to a new museum in Montgomery right next to the old slave market called the Legacy Museum on Monday, so my immediate thought was the horrors of slavery, and how we as humans are able to be so inhumane. The plantation system is still very much a part of the fabric of our country. And sadly slavery is still very much alive in the US...especially in our prisons.

I think we should be aware, but I can't dwell on the worst of our natures. Here wishing you all a good day!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

enhydra lutris's picture

building the fortified city of Sarkel on the Don river at the end of the Don-Volga portage. This constricted/restricted the use by the Rus Khaganate of the lower Don for trade as well as the Don-Volga portage, which, with a little effort, could get one from the black sea to the Baltic. The Kievan Rus captured Sarkel in 965, but not before first bringing their displeasure to Byzantium's attention.

In 860 a Rus fleet of around 200 vessels sailed down into the Bosphorus, siezed it and pillaged the suburbs of Constantinople. They eventually left. After the fact, the story developed that the Byzantines drove them off with miraculous/divine assistance. Since the last part is phony, it taints the first part too. A competing history is that they just up an left, having pillaged the easily pillagable (is that a word) environs without tackling the city and also figured that they had made their point.

The Beach Boys, FWIW, got their style, originally "The California Sound", from Jan and Dean, one of whom also taught Wilson what sound studios and their various pieces of equipment were all about. Both groups, of course, with an able assist from The Wrecking Crew here and there.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris @enhydra lutris Did I mention I have a ton of historical research yet to do? I have a whole cart of books at Amazon, not because I'm going to buy them there, but to keep track of the books I want in one place...they are also hundreds of dollars' worth, which is another reason why I haven't bought them yet.

Yes, I believe in libraries, but my county library, good though it is, doesn't have most of these books, and apparently ILL is now not something you get merely for having a library card in good standing, and I can't make the damned website work. I'll be going in today to see if I can set things up in person with my analog mouth.

The mouth is a primitive hole which will soon be phased out.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Granma's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal from other library systems in the US, if any of them have the book you want. Ask your librarian about it.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Granma Thanks, Granma! What was throwing me (aside from not being able to get the website to work) was that it takes more than having a library card to access ILL these days. You need an ILL account that is separate from your library card/account with the library. ? I don't know why that is, but a very nice lady helped me out. Analog and in person Wink

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris Thank you for giving me a historical jumpstart, by the way.

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3 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

detroitmechworks's picture

are so little understood by Americans. That entire area has fascinating history, and maintained a continuity of Civilization far longer than many others. No they weren't always great... and their Patriarch's brilliant idea to get the western barbarians to attack the eastern barbarians and fully expecting them to ignore the rich land in between was a tad shortsighted...

I would be a liar if I didn't say I hadn't cribbed many of my fictional ideas from them and especially western presentations of them. Smile

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@detroitmechworks That's the main reason I wanted a persona there. A truly multicultural (in our terms) city, at least in the sense of having large numbers of vastly different people from different places converging. That's not to say they all had equal amounts of power (heh).

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

detroitmechworks's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal is why it's overlooked by many pop historians. They're obsessed with the idea of "Romanization" in the west, while overlooking the cosmopolitan and integrated Empires of the Greeks and Byzantines. (Marseilles and Syracuse in particular are often overlooked as to their Greek origin and traditions by the vast majority of people. Hell, most of the Romans innovations were taken from others and simply became "Roman" because the Romans lied and claimed it was theirs through their vast entertainment... )

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@detroitmechworks I also wanted to play a scholar, and for some reason I didn't consider making my persona from an Arabic-speaking culture (nor a Farsi-speaking one). I don't know why I just assumed I'd go European, but I did.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

detroitmechworks's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal Persian culture is really hard to get a fair reading on unless you go to actual Persian sources, which is for all practical purposes verboten in the American Empire. Smile

Personally, I'm far too obviously ethnic to do anything but a northwestern European look. (Honestly with the Mutton Chops I now wear, I look almost like a comedy stereotype of a Scotsman. I just accept it and use it to my advantage as much as possible. Hence the Judo. Blum 3 )

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

orlbucfan's picture

The Beatles actually admired the Beach Boys cos of the way they harmonized. Paul McCartney tracked down Brian Wilson. Wilson's mental problems worsened with the group's fame, and he became very reclusive in the late '60s. McCartney loved "Pet Sounds." I really liked reading the Byzantium history. Blue has always been one of my favorite colors. Smile Anywho, rec'd!!

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Some yahoos make me want to change species!

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@orlbucfan Morning, orlbucfan! Thank you for correcting me on this. I thought they were making fun. Instead I guess it was the sincerest form of flattery.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

studentofearth's picture

The christian persecution taking place in the Middle East is primarily toward those practicing eastern christian faith.

The Byzantine history of Putin’s Russian empire (Best to ignore the photo - the article was probably not anti-Russian enough)

What was Byzantium?n

In a nutshell, Byzantium was Rome.

More specifically, Byzantium was the Rome that existed after Constantine I (306-337 AD) turned the Roman world from its “pagan” roots towards Christianity, and after the city of Rome ceased to be the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD.
The fall of Constantinople in 1453 to Ottoman Turks under the leadership of Mehmed II is here depicted in a diorama in the Istanbul Military Museum (Askerî Müze), Turkey.

Byzantium was an ancient Greek city that was rebuilt from its very foundations and became an imperial capital under Constantine I. This empire extended from the Atlantic Ocean across the entirety of the Mediterranean Sea, including what we consider today to be northern Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, and eastern and western Europe, extending to the Black Sea.
....
Again — we suppress Byzantium because it looks to the east and we do not.

Byzantium hearkens to Russia, which is depicted as corrupt in athletic and political spheres.

It points to Greece, which is economically disadvantaged and wrestling under the yoke of economic austerity and concerns about its bookkeeping.
Iveron Monastery, built between 980-983 AD, whose library holdings contain over 20,000 books and 2,000 manuscripts from the Byzantine era. (Theodore Christou), Author provided

It alludes to the former Soviet block and to the Balkans, which are still wrestling to find their identities.

Selected an interesting area of the world to learn more about.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

thanatokephaloides's picture

When I was an SCA, I likewise maintained a Byzantine persona, a merchant.

The source for my inspiration was the December, 1983 issue of National Geographic magazine, which was devoted to the Eastern Roman Empire and all its ways and history. The one copy of the magazine I could find on ebay had been sold; but I found this really nice video for you:

Smile

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg