Tangled Webs

Been there. Done that.

Nightmare Alley

You can find all sorts of useful and entertaining information at your local public library.


The robots work best on a full-size monitor. But if you’ve got the screen space and bandwidth, here they are.

Here Be Dragons

For those who have wondered why I refer to domain-name squatters as dragons when everyone else is content to call them trolls:

The reference is to Calvert Watkins, “How to Kill a Dragon in Indo-European”. Or possibly How to Kill a Dragon in Indo-European, since the original article was later expanded into a book. The version I read was published in the early ’90’s in a Festschrift for . . . uh . . . some German I’ve never heard of. ’Nuff said.

Watkins’s thesis is that the role of Indo-European dragons—Chinese dragons are different—is to interfere with the smooth operation of society by taking valuables out of circulation. Think, on one side, of Smaug basking on his bed of treasure. Then think, on the other side, of those passages in the Iliad where valuable gifts are lovingly described even if it means taking time out from your depictions of mayhem and bloodshed to do so. Or consider the Sanskrit verse form known bluntly as the दानस्तुति or dānastuti (“praise of the gift”). No valuables means no ritual gift-exchange; no gifts means no greasing the wheels of society.

What’s in it for the dragon? Nothing that anyone has yet been able to discover.

But What About . . .


I, Robot



Where, you ask, are the pandas? Whither the penguins? And weren’t you saying something about hummingbirds?

Oh, they’re still around. But I like the robots best.