Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something/Someone Old
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Take a look at humanity's oldest surviving book.

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Well, OK. It's "thought to be the oldest multi-page book." Discovered 70 years ago in Bulgaria, it dates back to 660 B.C., which makes it around 2,673 years old. It's made out of 24-carat gold, and was created by the rather mysterious Etruscans, who apparently migrated from somewhere in what is modern-day Turkey to settle in Italy around 3,000 years ago.

On the other hand, there are those who doubt its authenticity:

Right now, the book known as the oldest in the world is a several-pages-long volume held by Bulgaria’s National Museum of History. The book is comprised of six pages of beaten 24-carat gold covered with Etruscan script, one of the few writing systems scholars have yet to decipher [source: BBC News].According to reports, the book, exhibited in 2003, was estimated at about 2,500 years old. It was found along the Strouma river in southwestern Bulgaria “in an old tomb,” and was donated to the museum by the finder, who remained anonymous. Its age and authenticity were confirmed by two independent scientists, whose names also remain unknown.

Since the donor, specific location of the book's discovery, and verifying scientists are all anonymous or unknown, I guess it makes sense that some doubt its authenticity.

The next oldest book we've unearthed is also Etruscan, and has no doubts cast on its authenticity. The Pyrgi gold plates were discovered in an archaeological dig off the coast of Italy in 1964 (I guess it helps that we know the Etruscans were actually in Italy.)

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They have been dated to be from around 500 B.C., which makes them 2,513 years old. Two are written in Etruscan and one in Phoenician. What is cool about this is that, since we know Phoenician, we can theoretically use the Phoenician version to help us decipher the Etruscan.

I don't know how we know that the Phoenician is a copy of the Etruscan, however. But I guess it makes sense that, since they were found together, come from the same time, and are made of the same substance, that they are at least on the same subject.

Here is a translation of the Phoenician text. It is a sacred text to Astarte, also worshipped in other places as Innana or Ishtar:

To lady Ashtarot,

This is the holy place, which was made, and which was given by Tiberius Velianas who reigns over the Caerites.

During the month of the sacrifice to the Sun, as a gift in the temple, he built an aedicula (an ancient shrine).

For Ashtarot raised him with Her hand to reign for three years from the month of Churvar, from the day of the burial of the divinity [onward].

And the years of the statue of the divinity in the temple [shall be] as many years as the stars above

Something New
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I don't know if I've yet recommended Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series to you all. It's an alternate history/fantasy series, in which mythical creatures actually exist, unknown to most of humankind, but are endangered because of a delightful organization called the Covenant of St. George, which believes it must protect humanity from the monsters by driving them (the monsters, not humanity) extinct. Our heroes are a renegade family who left the Covenant some generations prior to the action of the novels, because they came to understand the concept of an ecosystem. (I believe their realization occurred when, after the Covenant of St. George exterminated unicorns out of Britain, a cholera epidemic swept through London and killed lots of people. The unicorns, bloodthirsty and horrible though they were, had horns that purified water. Whoops.)

Here's the first novel in the series:

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That one is from 2012, so it's not exactly "new," though it is in comparison with 2,000-year-old books engraved on gold plates, I guess. But what's actually new is the most recent addition to the series, which I just finished reading:

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This one came out early this year, so I think it can be properly classed as "new."

Can't recommend them enough.

Something Borrowed
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As gjohnsit pointed out in a recent FP essay, lots of countries, particularly in Latin America, have been borrowing Cuban doctors for quite a while. They also have gone to many other places in the developing world. This is a picture posted earlier this year of Cuban doctors who worked in post-cyclone Mozambique.

cuban_doctors_in_mozambique.jpg_1718483346.jpgIn the 63 days of stay in that country, the Cuban contingent attended a total of 22,259 patients, 331 surgical interventions were performed, of them, 128 elderly and 203 minors.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Cuban-Doctors-Praised-for-Their-Work...

I wanted to do some more research into Cuba's international medicine program. Since these doctors have, unfortunately, become a target of counter-propaganda by the bastards running my country and most of the English-speaking world, I targeted my Google search on them to run from 2000 to 2010, to see what people said about them before they became a target. I found this 2010 article posted on the website of the World Health Organization:

Cuba answers the call for doctors

Havana’s Latin American Medical School takes passionate young people from developing countries and sends them home as doctors. It’s all about driving health equity, writes Gail Reed. Now the challenge is to get medical societies to accept them.

Dr Midalys Castilla is animated as she talks about the graduates of Havana’s Latin American Medical School (ELAM) who are serving with Cuban medical teams in post-’quake Haiti. By the end of February, 557 of these ELAM graduates from 27 countries had made their way to Port-au-Prince, swelling the ranks of teams that will staff public health facilities past the emergency phase. “Doctors willing to go where they are most needed for as long as they are needed: this is the reason our school was established,” says Castilla, academic vice-rector and a founder of the institution that was created after another disaster hit the region over a decade ago.

In 1998, hundreds of Cuban doctors were dispatched to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua after two devastating hurricanes. Their services in remote, underserved communities begged the question of what would happen when they returned home.

This dilemma of sustainability prompted the decision to establish ELAM, its central campus located on Havana’s western shoreline. The first students from Central America arrived in February 1999 and graduated from the six-year curriculum in 2005. Since then, 7248 physicians from 45 countries have obtained ELAM degrees, with current enrolment being 9362 students from 100 countries mainly in the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/88/5/10-010510/en/

Well, we can't have that. Makes us look bad, showing us there's an alternative to bloody-handed economic extraction married to a fascist authoritarian international regime.

Hmph.

Something Blue
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I was looking for a place to go, preferably with my family and dogs, from about Nov 1 2020 to March 1 2021. Not sure we'd have the money to do that, but I'd really rather not be around here during that time.

Realizing that taking the dogs overseas would be quite an endeavour (I won't put my dogs in a depressurized cargo hold, so they can't go on a plane, and there's only one ship that will take dogs between North America and Europe), I punted and went for somewhere not the U.S. in this hemisphere. Thought about Canada, and before that was nixed by Kate, who is more than usually susceptible to cold, I found this:

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Meet the Hotel de Glace in Quebec City. It's a hotel entirely made from ice.

Not to make a terrible pun, but how cool is that?

They come decorated with beautiful ice carving:

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I'm not sure I'd ever stay there. I like cold a lot better than Kate does, and even better than Nick does--but not so much when I sleep.

How are you all doing today?

Also if you have any suggestions for where to go ON the North American continent that is sufficiently remote to make tuning out the election possible, post them in the comments! If I'm going to go on any kind of a trip, time to start planning now.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@lotlizard @lotlizard @lotlizard

That gave me the best laugh I've had in a while. I may upload some of the pictures that are apparently circulating on social media.

I wish Twitter weren't, as one comic put it "the devil's asshole." It would be fun to partake in things like this.

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The caption apparently reads "Bro isn't luggage."

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This one is "Bro isn't luggage" and "Fly Victor!"
At the bottom are also: "Aircat Russian Airlines" and "2 kilos of cat is not a crime"

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

WoodsDweller's picture

First the good news. A couple of months back we had stories that the city of Chennai in India had run out of water. Now:

https://desdemonadespair.net/2019/11/chennai-water-reservoirs-to-reach-f...

Chennai water reservoirs to reach full capacity for the first time since 2015

Chennai is officially out of water shortage ... It is now shifting to conventional sources of supply mainly from waterbodies and has stopped drawing groundwater from agricultural wells ...

And, well ...

https://desdemonadespair.net/2019/11/italian-council-is-flooded-immediat...

Italian council is flooded immediately after rejecting measures on climate change

Veneto regional council, which is located on Venice’s Grand Canal, was flooded for the first time in its history on Tuesday night — just after it rejected measures to combat climate change. ... Ironically, the chamber was flooded two minutes after the majority League, Brothers of Italy, and Forza Italia parties rejected our amendments to tackle climate change ...

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The truth is never as interesting as wild speculation.

Lookout's picture

CStMS, you might consider Mexico. We fly to Cancun usually, but I bet it would be fun to drive the gulf coast. There are many cruises there too. It is very affordable and lots to do. If you have a real interest, I'll pm some additional info on some smaller towns so you can avoid the tourists (we've never been to Cancun we stay in colonial towns or on remote beaches). Great birding, cool Maya cities, nice beaches, warm. I bet you could find some inexpensive monthly rentals. We rarely rent a car, we like using and supporting the taxi drivers, and the bus system is excellent.

Good idea to start planning now! Best of luck with your journey.

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

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

Nick has told me he doesn't want to go to Mexico.

The joys of polyamory, eh? So now I'm thinking about either 1)leaving Kate here with the dogs and going to Spain (probably for a shorter time than three months) or 2)finding a place within the U.S. that is sufficiently remote to make ignoring the election a possibility.

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6 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

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7 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

created an "hispanic" theme. First with the Cuban doctors and then with someplace warm in Norte America that isn't the US - duh. I guess parts of BC might work too, but Lookout was on it immediately. Most of the really cool places have become somewhat touristy, but an still be mellow and not so over touristy if you simply make it so. Before getting into Mexico proper, I will mention La Paz. I was never there too long, but it was very mellow and I would gladly go again. We went through Guaymas (port of entry) from Az. Cabo is way crazy, but I bet you could find out of the way goodness there too. My first thought, however, was Mazatlan. They already have a sizable ex-pat community, so some temporary ex-pats would probably fit in just perfectly, cost of living is reasonable, food is great, most of the conveniences of home if you wish to partake (There's a cruise ship port/terminal and a Walmart, but you needn't go there unless you wish to.

Back to the Cuban doctors. I recall learning about them long ago. Cuba is famous for sending lots of doctors where needed in response to crises, all over the world. They have even volunteered so send some here once or twice, but, of course, we weren't receptive to the idea. They are, to the US establishment, truly terrifying beyond anything one might normally encounter for one simple reason, their business model. Their business model is that they don't have one, they aren't a business, damn. The horror, the horror! Ah well.

Yestidday on the cusp was talking about spending thanksgiving in Guatemala, and now you're looking to vanish through the election season, and now I've got myself hankering for a trip to La Paz, or, better yet, Belize or Costa Rica. Hmmmmmm.

Have a good one.

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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

I've been wondering if simply going to Mexico will be enough to escape U.S. election coverage and discussion--there will almost certainly be lots of people from the U.S. in Mexico.

Speaking of which, I know that I've been talking a lot about campaigns and candidates and elections lately. I'm likely to decrease that more and more as we approach the actual election season. By next Mar/April I'm likely to have entered my own personal brownout--maybe even a blackout. As in, I won't talk about those matters and I won't enter the essays discussing them.

Last time was bad enough.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

Mazatlan looks wonderful, and I'd like to go myself. Hey, maybe we could meet up there. Smile

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5 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal There's one classic mercado, a 2 story city block full of stalls selling every kind of foodstuff, both fresh and prepared, that you can imagine.

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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 --

or Costa Rica
getting this skinny ass outta here
head for the mountains

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@QMS

Willing to discuss it more!

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS
Turkeys, and Basilisk lizards all over the place, including your cabin porch and a twice daily pack of howler monkeys commuting through.

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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 --

Long version

for what it's worth

cheers

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

Fun, inexpensive, great food, and almost zero crime. I loved Porto. Lisboa is also lovely.
They do not seem to be interested in the US, would prefer to talk about local issues.
I, too, have almost no interest in the election. If I thought it might help us, I would care. I have little reason to believe the next president and next legislature will change anything from the current business as usual model.

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@on the cusp
Love the little town on the coast Cascais. Last town on the line from Lisboa. Trade those folks for merry canas any day, twice on sunday.

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

@QMS didn't spend time there. All those coastal towns are wonderful.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@on the cusp

but I don't speak Portuguese.

I don't exactly speak Spanish either, but I speak it a lot better than I speak Portuguese.

Don't know how much that matters?

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4 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

fortunately you can easily get by with spanish
the portugese mostly understand english
just alot of sch's at the end

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal there speak English. Lots of Europeans vacation there because it is so cheap. They all resort to English.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@on the cusp

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal except in Lisboa. It is congested there, and parking places are just extremely difficult to find. I remember seeing cars parked in alleys, in yards...
Hope you love fish, whether from the sea or from fresh water. Fish is their "thing".
(I hate fish! lol!)

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@on the cusp

And their seafood, which apparently is marvelous, is a tad less well-groomed than my family usually likes (they don't like their food looking at them). And we're all basically opposed to eating octopus and squid. I used to eat eel, but then had a bad sushi experience, and that was the end of eel for me.

I love fish, and I love some shellfish, but even I prefer not to have a fish head staring at me from my plate. I'm OK with cleaning my own shrimp, though.

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2 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I do not want anything on my plate to remotely resemble the animal from which it was sliced.
Since I do not eat fish, it was sort of difficult to find a restaurant or dish on a menu in Portugal.
That just left more room for beer.

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dystopian's picture

Just a little further south than Mazatlan, is San Blas, in Nayarit. It has full blown jungle, maybe the furthest north at that level. A sleepy beach town, with a small American ex-pat community, and some of the most famous birdwatching in Mexico. It is spectacular. You can take a day trip to the mercados in Tepic, or a few days up to Mazatlan. The mercado in Mazatlan is mind-blowing. If you want lots of conveniences Mazatlan being a big city has it all.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Lily O Lady's picture

Wherever you go, stay away from TVs such as in sports bars, etc. You might consider the Florida Keys, it it could be expensive there. There is a place on Key Largo, the Key Lime Sailing Club that is a bit shabby, but might be nice. They allow you a day sailer to use as part of the deal. It’s on the Gulf side of the key.

Good luck on your respite.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"