Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

You won't believe this but right now I'm composing this diary entry from the interior of the new Library of Alexandria.  Built in 2002 as a kind of homage to the original, this institution is state-of-the-art and is designed with a sleek, modern look, vaguely resembling the interior of an alien spacecraft I saw back in '98.

*shudder*

I would rather not think about that particular incident again.

Nevertheless, the Egyptian government built this library with the hopes that it would one day become a world-renowned repository of human knowledge, although the Pleiadians suggest that emotions and vibrations are more important than logic and reason, and they have the ability to travel the five-hundred light years to our planet.  Not to mention how everything one needs to know (and then some) can be researched on the net.  That's how I learned of the Pleiadians.  The reptilians, on the other hand...I already knew.  Biblically.

I was hoping to get Polly's reaction to the library, but it seems that he has discovered something called a "muhmorpuhga," and refuses to pry his eyes away from the computer next to me.

Polly: It's a browser-based MMORPG called Runescape.  I'm already level fifteen and filthy, stinkin' rich.  There are so many cats in Gielinor, and some of them are purple!  Now if only I could get the Amulet of Catspeak from the Sphinx in Sophanem and start the quest to find Bob's lover....

Intriguing.  I figured Polly could already speak cat.  Polly, you do realize we are going to see the Sphinx in a couple days, don't you?

Polly:  Shut up.  I'm catassing this until I hit ninety-nine fishing.

Quitbay Citadel
I suppose I'll leave him here while I go inspect the remains of the Pharos Lighthouse.  Although the earthquake destroyed it completely, in 1477 Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa'it Bay established the Citadel of Qaitbay on the exact location on the coast of the Mediterranean where the lighthouse once stood, most likely from the same stone blocks that remained after the earthquake.  

If only my trowel were here to see it with me.  Ah well, die Einsamkeit ist die Schule der Weisheit.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Road Goes Ever On



By Marten Heemskerk
This morn I awoke to a delightful discovery: I was no longer laid under by illness. "Hence," said I, "we shall journey thither, to mighty Alexandria!"  Polly and I immediately dismantled our lodging and left to seek suitable transportation.  We eventually located a camel merchant who agreed to loan us one of his mounts for the next few days, providing we agreed to leave my precious trowel behind as collateral.  I am not too proud a man to admit that I shed a few tears during our painful farewell.  Polly did not seem pleased with this arrangement, however, and kept yowling that he wanted his own camel—one with less body odor.

"Nonsense!" I replied.  "This is the smell of adventure!"

--

The city of Alexandria was rendered celebrated owing to its possession of a wonder of the ancient world—a magnificent lighthouse beyond compare. The rest of the wonders are were as follows:

I: Great Pyramid of Egypt
Constructed: 2584-2561 B.C.
Destroyed: Still Extant
Location: Giza Plateau, Egypt

II: Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Constructed: ca. 600 B.C.
Destroyed:  After 100 B.C., by earthquake
Location: Al Hillah, Iraq

III: Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Constructed: 466-456 B.C. (Temple); 435 B.C. (Statue)
Destroyed:  5th-6th centuries, by fire
Location: Olympia, Greece

IV: Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Constructed: ca. 550 B.C.
Destroyed:  356 B.C. (Herostratus, arson); again in 262 (Goths)
Location: Izmir Province, Turkey

V: Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Constructed: 351 B.C.
Destroyed: Before 1494, by flood, earthquake, and crusaders
Location: Bodrum, Turkey

VI: Colossus of Rhodes
Constructed: 292-280 B.C.
Destroyed:  226 B.C., earthquake
Location: Rhodes, Greece

VII: Lighthouse of Alexandria
Constructed: ca. 280 B.C.
Destroyed:  1303-1480, earthquake
Location: Alexandria, Egypt

* This list is the generally accepted version compiled by Antipater of Sidon in ca. 140 B.C.

Of the seven, only one of these marvels has survived into modernity, the rest having been destroyed by earthquake and fire.  Fire also consumed the renowned Library of Alexandria, another magnificent achievement of the ancient world.  Soon, we shall see what became of both the lighthouse and the library, for their stories have not yet ended.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Polly's Day

What's up?  I thought I'd write the blog entry fer today.  You see, us treasure hunters are still in Cairo.  Rich came down with a case of Tutankhamen's Revenge, so he's a little preoccupied at the moment.  I guess it's too much to always expect to be on schedule when you travel.  Once Rich decides to stop making hourly offerings to the porcelain god, we'll be on our way to Alexandria.

I really dig this place.  It's nice and warm, just like back home.

I went to the market today.  I bought a delicious fish.  All for me.  I ain't givin' any to Rich because he'd just waste it.  Well, I guess he can have the head if he really wants it, but I'm eating the rest.  


Fishy goodness will be mine

No one has treated me like royalty so far.  I thought Egyptians were into cat-worship.  Only a few dozen people stopped to tell me how cute I am.  Maybe it's this stupid hat Rich made me wear.  I already ditched the bow tie.

I'm gonna go the Cairo Tower now.  My nails need a good sharpen and I bet it makes an awesome scratching post.
- Polyphemus, otherwise known as King Priam of Troy

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cairo, Egypt

Ah, how I yearn for simpler times.

The flight from Istanbul to Cairo took only seven hours, including the layover in Beirut, but something about taking a plane instead of journeying overland or by sea makes the process of discovery rather drab and tedious.  Additionally, after Polly sold the damaged watch I found to an unsympathetic jeweler, we only had enough lira for one ticket, meaning that one of us would be traveling as cargo.   My companion and I drew lots and, consequently, the tent and I shared a 56cm x 45cm x 25cm duffle bag for the entire voyage.  Those baggage handlers certainly have no idea how to treat a lady.

Cairo is a lot different from how I remember it.  The city has expanded significantly, and now holds the distinction of being the largest city in the Muslim world.  The residential architecture is sloppy, and mostly constructed with undecorated sand-colored bricks.   The brown is occasionally broken up by a few out-of-place patches of green and blue, and an immense cloud of smog hangs eternally over the valley in which Cairo lies.  The heat is intense, but once we ducked into the shade and set up our temporary residence, we felt quite cool.  Polly seems quite taken with the place and spent much of the morning napping in a patch of sunlight.

Fortunately for me, Internet cafes abound.  I am currently using something called “Google Maps” to chart our course to the famed city of Alexandria.  From there we will move back into the Nile delta, then to the Giza Plateau, and follow the river upstream all the way to Abu Simbel, which demarcated the southernmost expansion of the Egyptian Empire into Kush.

Alas, my time on this machine has expired, and Polly is growing impatient.  He keeps telling me not to use something called the “hunt-and-peck method” to type, “especially not with your bloody trowel, you ridiculous, anachronistic buffoon,” but I haven’t the faintest idea what he means.  Perhaps he is hungry.

Ta ta for now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Travel Day! We are going to Egypt

No official post today, as Polly and I will be spending most of our time in an airplane.  Instead, please gaze upon the following picture of the stately Seated Goddess Figurine from Catalhoyuk (ca. 6000 B.C.), currently located in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Financial Concerns

So yesterday afternoon Polly and I exited the tent I pitched in the shadow of an old Byzantine wall with the intent to acquire sustenance.  I pawned off the last of my marble noses for a half-pound of baklava and a sack of raw fish heads, the latter of which I found particularly satisfying to the pallet.  I made the astute observation that our funds had become dangerously low, and subsequently suggested that we ought to find an immediate remedy for this economic malady.

Polly:  Allow me to interject for a moment.  No, get off me!  It's my turn at the computer!

*ahem* 

I'd just like to say that I'm the one that had to point out our shortage of cold, hard cash.  You couldn't recognize a problem if it took off its pants and danced naked in front of you.  How have you gotten by all this time living in your bizarro, pseudo-intellectual la-la land?

Wunderbar, Polly!  Perhaps we could become street performers.  I've always thought busking had a certain anthropological appeal.

Polly:  Put your trousers back on.  There's no one on the planet that would pay to see that.  Although, I suspect someone might pay NOT to. 

That aside, Polly and I have been at a loss for what do do since yesterday.  If only we had a wealthy patron to fund our treasure-hunting expedition.

Polly:  What happened to all the cash in your retirement fund?

Most of my assets are tied up in real estate.  Er...and I also had some tax difficulties with the Greek government.

Polly:  Tax problems in Greece?  *There's* a surprise.  Fat lot of good your real estate investment does us.  Something smells funny in here, though.  Go give that bag of fish heads a once over, would ya? 

Oh, fascinating!  Explorer Polyphemus, I would like your professional opinion on my most recent archaeological find.  My trowel and I excavated a strange object from the jaws of one of these mackerel craniums.

Polly:  "Archaeological find"?  That's a Pezzo Troppo Costoso di Schifezza, you idiotone of the most expensive Italian watches on the market!  That fish must have tried to eat it.  This watch retails for over three-hundred thousand Turkish lira!  Looks a little waterlogged, though.

Homer has seen fit to smile upon me once again.  So, where shall we reconnoitre next, fellow adventurer?  Perhaps re-investigate Troy for Priam's trove?

Polly:  Well, now that we've got dinero to burn, I've always sort of wanted to travel the world.  And erm, I seem to be having a little trouble remembering where exactly I was buried at the moment.  It's right on the tip of my tongue....

No matter, my good man.  Where does your treasure-sniffing nose lead you?

Polly:  I hear they treat cats like royalty in Egypt....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sancta Sophia and the New Business Partner (Part 2)

I chuckled.  "I'm not sure if I believe you, Cat."

"I'll prove it to you!  I know things about King Priam that no one else does, like where my treasure is buried."

"Oh that?  I, world-famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, located Priam's cache a long time ago."

The cat looked me up and down.  "That's impossible.  What did you find?"

"Wonderful things," I replied.  "A copper shield, a copper cauldron, a copper vase...."

"Stop right there.  That is not my treasure."

"What about the gold diadems?  The rings?  The buttons?"

"Buttons?  Just who do you think I am?  I don't know what sort of archaeologist you are, but that 'treasure' you found sounds like a load of rubbish to me.  I, on the other hand, have a nose for discovery.  I could sniff out buried treasure a mile away."

I pointed my trowel directly at ex-King Priam.  "Then let us venture forth, Feline, and we shall uncover the greatest wonders ever known to man!" 

"Wait a minute, who ever said I wanted to go with you?  Besides, my owners would be ornery if I suddenly disappeared.  I'm everything to them."

Meanwhile, as the cat spoke, I purchased a kebab from a passing vendor.  Our transaction completed, the man rolled away his chart chanting, "Fresh kebabs!" in Arabic.

"If you accompany me, I will share this kebab with you."

The cat's one-eye widened and a drop of saliva dribbled down his chin.  "Fine!" he said.  "I'll help you look for treasure, but only if you're willing to split our profits 50-50."

"70-30, and I'll buy your meals," I offered, placing a particularly juicy slice of meat in front of my new business partner, who promptly devoured it.

"We have a deal, Human." 

"Hm," I pondered aloud.  "You're going to need a better name than Cat, and I'm still not sure if I believe your story about being the former king of Troy.  I think I shall refer to you as...Polyphemus, because of that missing eye of yours."

"That's not funny."

I managed to convince him to go along with the new name, arguing that our travels might be hindered should the paparazzi catch wind of an itinerant king.  From thereafter, I addressed the cat as Polyphemus, or Polly.  Although I asked him how he lost his left eye, he refused to discuss the matter and promptly changed the subject.  The next order of business I had to address was his attire.  I could not allow a respectable gentleman to parade through Istanbul entirely unclothed. 

Polly: "Hey Rich, why do you have a spare safari hat and bow-tie with you, anyway?"
Quite satisfactory.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sancta Sophia and the New Business Partner (Part 1)

Having had enough of modernity, my agenda today included a formal inspection of the Hagia Sophia—the famed Byzantine church-turned-mosque-turned-museum known for the innovative architectural feature known as a dome.  Construction of the cathedral, which occurred between 532 and 537, was ordered by the illustrious Emperor Justinian and overseen by Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.  I wanted to see for myself the quality of its upkeep at the hands of the Turkish government.

To my horror, I noticed a distinct lack of interest in conserving the one-of-a-kind mosaics (such as the Δέησις mosaic from 1261) in the Hagia Sophia.  Thus, I voluntarily searched all throughout Istanbul for art conservation supplies, finally locating them at a nearby hardware store.  (Which reminds me, I must see if the Turkish government will reimburse me, since I had no choice but to pay out-of-pocket on such short notice).  I utilized my knowledge of thirteenth century Christian iconography to meticulously return the piece to its former glory.  I'll allow my restoration efforts to speak for themselves:

A freshly-restored Deësis mosaic
Truly stunning beyond mere words.

As I exited the building, leaving behind shrieks of delight (fellow visitors having finally encountered my noble effort to preserve such an amazing monument to human ingenuity), a member of the Rodentia order happened to cross my path.  I bravely let our a war cry and pursued the filthy vermin.  At last, I had the creature trapped in a corner.  Down upon its vile cranium fell the mighty trowel!

"You know," came a high-pitched voice from nearby, "that was an Asia Minor spiny mouse, a highly endangered species."

I looked about for the source of the voice, whereupon a ragged, one-eyed cat sauntered into view.  It proceeded to consume my quarry until only its thin tail hung from the cat's mouth.  The feline slurped up the tail as one would a spaghetti noodle.

The mysterious one-eyed cat
"Then I have indeed done the nation of Turkey a great service," I answered.  "Thanks to my efforts, there is one less plague-bringing mouse to continue the species."

"I think you've missed the point," said the cat.

"Indeed!  I have yet to inquire as to your name."

"I don't have one, as far as I know.  I'm sort of the information center's unofficial pet, but they've never bothered to call me anything other than 'cat.'  Its quite disrespectful to act that way around nobility.  I wouldn't even come here if it weren't for the free food."

"Nobility?"  I raised an eyebrow incredulously.

"I'm the reincarnation of King Priam of Troy"....

To be continued.

Friday, July 22, 2011

İstanbul Boğazı

My word, how I do love travel by ferry!  The smell of salt in the air, the gentle sea spray, the chemical pollution from heavy international shipping traffic.  The oysters here taste of man's progress.  The best part is, in the three hours it took for me to complete the day tour, I only vomited for approximately forty percent of it (a consequence of a disordered inner ear ravaged by past infections).  I suppose dining lightly before I left port was the intelligent thing to do after all, because I certainly became intimately reacquainted with the plate of lamb kebabs I had for breakfast, ho ho ho!

My apologies to the young lady seated behind me during my last attempt to empty any remaining stomach contentsmy fluid dynamics calculations did not take into account sudden gusts of wind.  Quite fortunately, by then most of the semi-solid matter had already exited my digestive system, so the liquid that came flying back through the window consisted only of stomach acid and bile.  I'm certain that will wash right out, Miss.

I am about to head back out into Constantinople for supper.  Oh!  I almost forgot my lucky trowel.  How would I eat without this most essential of utensils?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Atta Boy!

Holy Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

I have never witnessed this degree of hero-worship before, barring the shrine to Homer I put together in the closet of my residence in Athens.  I hope the Negress I hired to maintain it, before I departed on that very important "business trip" in 1890, hasn't been shirking her responsibilities.  Someone has to keep the candles lit and the altar coated in the fresh blood of animal sacrifices.

You see, today I had the foreign notion to tour Turkey's capital city, Ankara.  (As a general principle, I rarely "tour" cities—I discover them).  Anyway, I took a gander at all the monuments: the Column of Julianus, the ancient hippodrome, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, then finished off the day by paying my respects at the tomb of the leader of the Turkish nationalist movement:

I sense nothing unusual about this photograph

Someone pays for this
While I cannot say that I am altogether fond of the mausoleum's gesamterscheinung—I would have preferred more Greek and Trojan, and less Seljuq and Ottoman, influence—the sheer herrlichkeit of Atatürk's Anıtkabir is something that rivals any modern architecture I've seen thus far.  Why, they've even preserved this man's strange Motorwagen, personal items, and the lifelike taxidermic corpse his pet canine.  I was utterly convinced the dog was still lebendig, until I attempted to pat the unfortunate creature on the head and it toppled over, stone dead.

Now there's a design I can get behind
The shock I received from my encounter with the stuffed dog was nothing compared to that which I received from Atatürk himself.  I was innocently peering into a monitor display hooked up to a live video-feed of the inner sanctum, when I swear upon the first dactylic hexameter of the Song of Ilium, I saw the man open his sarcophagi and peer out.  Such post-mortem public appearances must occur regularly, for why else would the interior of a tomb require real-time video streaming?  When I asked one of the caretakers about this, however, he simply glared and asked me to move along.

Truthfully, as much as I am fond of the Anatolian peninsula, I am growing slightly erschöpft with the less-than-polite treatment I've been encountering since I arrived.  I can only assume that the current geopolitical conditions, particularly the rampant anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, are responsible for my numerous misfortunes.  Thus, I have decided that I will soon cross the Bosphorus and enter the region of Turkey that is adjunct to Europe proper.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Opposing the Liberal Agenda

Ephesus
Drat.  You can add Pergamon and Ephesus to the places I've been banned from frequenting.  How was I supposed to know it's verboten to employ the use of my trowel to chisel off-, er borrow, a marble sample from a few of the less-guarded statues?  And then try to sell it back to the Turks?  Eleven times.  No one understands how costly it is to fund my expeditions.  It is quite clear to me that these undereducated, anti-intellectual proletarians can't quite grasp the fact that I'm engaged in the noble pursuit of enriching mankind.  What's the "donation" of a few sculpted noses and severed manparts when there's the education of an entire planet at stake?  At least I had the satisfaction of absconding with a small collection of the tasteful specimens I acquired at Ephesus, owing (as usual) to my quick thinking.  Thank the amply-bosomed Artemus that none of the guards thought to perform a cavity search.

Speaking of Pergamon, some of you may have encountered its supposed "Hellenistic theatre" in your art history textbooks.  As usual, my libertine colleagues have once again applied their pedantic, cultural Marxist, and completely unfounded opinions to an ancient and unrelatable culture.  Simply because much of the European tradition arose from a watered-down, reinterpreted Renaissance perception of the Classical Period, this does not necessarily imply that the ancient Grecian people were "western" as we understand the term. Unlike the pedagogues you've learned your art history from, I view the ancients as they actually lived, not through the filter of liberal modern and post-modern conceptions—multiculturalism, feminism, social and racial equality, homosexuality, communism, affordable healthcare, religious toleration, Zionism, pacifism, or any such nonsense.  As such, I am the true liberal.  That is, liberated from the constraints of the misguided ideological agenda currently advocated in most institutions of higher learning.

Pergamon's "Theatre"

One such fallacy is that, simply because a structure coincidentally "resembles" contemporary architecture, the ancient structure must then therefore serve the same purpose as its modern counterpart.  This construction is so obviously not a theatre that I am overcome with the utmost exasperation that I should even have to point this out.  Look at that image anew, with untainted eyes, and ask yourselves the following questions:

1. Why would the enlightened denizens of Pergamon build a theatre that stupid-looking?
2. Why would anyone with half a brain in their skulls build a theatre that stupid-looking?
3. What sort of illegal substance would Eumenes II have to smoke before he approved such a project?

With my heightened powers of reasoning, I can only conclude the lack of city planning, and understanding of acoustics/safety hazards/aesthetics, that building a theatre in the side of a steep cliff would imply makes the notion that this is indeed a theatre quite ridiculous.  There isn't even a stage!  Sure, some claim that "post holes" at the bottom of the "seating area" suggest the use of a wooden stage, but this theory sounds needlessly complex, and I'm a firm believer in Occam's razor.  Ergo, I propose that the ruins you see before you actually functioned as a launchpad for alien spacecraft.  This explanation is much simpler AND explains why Pergamonians would invest such a great deal of time and energy executing a suboptimal design—suboptimal for a theatre, perhaps, but ideal for the take-off of extraterrestrial transport.  Aliens, with the aid of local townsfolk, hauled starships onto the base of the cliff, with support structures for the craft fitting into those "post holes".  I imagined that the stair-like nature of the ramp would have made for a bumpy ride, but who am I to question the insight of the Ascended Ones?  Our conceptions of friction may not be applicable to the crystalline incarnations of inter-dimensional light beings.

Since the study of alien life became an accepted scientific field of study in the 1940s (an interesting fact I learned from the internet), ufologists have used the presence of extraterrestrials to explain technological advancement in cultures whose people are regarded as untermenschen by Caucasians, particularly those of negroidian or indigenous (Maya, Inca, Egyptian) origin, but never that of the superior Western cultures.  Aliens seem to have visited inferior races to help them progress in ways they couldn't have possibly done so on their own.  Oddly enough, the moment I realized Anatolian Greeks weren't ethnically pure, I found myself explaining everything with U.F.O.s.  

The scholarly advancement that has occurred since 1890 is truly remarkable.  I never could have imagined that we'd make contact with creatures from other words, then film these encounters and upload them to YouTube.  As far as my theory on the launchpad goes, I fully intend to publish a paper on my findings in the near future.  I expect it will breeze right through peer-review.


Namaste, Love and Light be upon you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Roman Baths

Once I heard Pamukkale was the filming location for the scenes about Calypso's island in the 1997 version of The Odyssey (omg!), I knew I just had to see it for myself.  So, I stopped by Hierapolis today for a quick dip in the mineral pools to soothe my tired muscles and paid a little boy twenty Turkish lira to take this picture of me.  I wish I could show you the photographs he took after I removed that constricting bathing suit, but the two rangers who ever so RUDELY dragged me out of the pools and kicked me out of the site deleted them for some reason.


I think I could use a tan.  An all-over tan.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cappadocia, Turkey

I seem to be on a horse-bender lately.  Since I'm already in Turkey, I thought I'd take a break from digging up previously-undisturbed sections of Troy and pay a visit to Cappadocia ("the land of the beautiful horses").  I'd heard good things about the place.  I was mildly intoxicated at the time, but I vaguely recalled hearing that the entire region was inhabited by fairies of the lonely bachelor variety, إن شاء الله.  These reports piqued my scientific curiosity, so I made off (quite heterosexually, mind you), armed with my safari hat, favorite trowel, and a Wagnerian tune in my heart.

Well, you can imagine my disappointment when, upon my arrival to the Nevşehir Province, I discovered that the description of lonely fairies hadn't been entirely legitimate.  That's what you get for obtaining your information from locals who don't know the first thing about the rigorous methodical standards we archaeologists must adhere to.

Standing tall
Apparently, the fairies in question are actually natural geologic formations referred to as "fairy chimneys," or "hoodoos".  They are tall, thin shafts of sedimentary rock that protrude upwards, resembling a pole or a column.  The main body of the formation is topped by these "heads"a firmer stone that protects the rest of the structure from the elements.  Alongside these are many spires, which start off thick around the base and taper into the sky.  I took numerous photographs for my "special folder".

Into these structures residents of Cappodocia carved their monastic dwellings (I suppose this is where that Mohammedan got "lonely bachelor" from).  Several underground cities also exist, where members of the then-heretical Christian cult hid from prosecution.  It is here where, within ten minutes of my arrival, I made a remarkable discovery, which I just know is going to titillate my colleagues!  With the aid of a mysterious "guide" holding a microphone and her assistants (mostly elderly men and women, oddly enough), I climbed until I couldn't go any further.  Luckily, by then we had reached our destination. Upon entering one of the larger rock faces and shoving aside a small crowd of children that had gathered thereprobably to catch a fleeting glimpse of the famed explorer that is Heinrich Schliemann (sorry children, I expect you wanted my autograph, but I simply hadn't the time in the midst of my discovery)—and lo!  An entire monastery carved into the hills and decorated with frescoes dating back to the Byzantine era!  

Most of the art was of a religious nature, including one depicting Saint Onophrius, a virgin female miraculously transformed into a man and depicted with a long beard and breasts.  I again found myself strangely intrigued.  Scientifically.

The frescoes were quite a find, indeed.  I think now you can see how I received my illustrious reputation.  In my excitement, I may have accidentally sent an elderly gentleman colliding into one of the delicate, expertly-painted icons of Christ and rubbed out a good half of the image, but I made sure to repair the minor damage to the piece with the permanent marker I always keep in my front pocket (for those occasions where I'd need to sign a head shot of myself).  Why, I think my addition of a handlebar mustache and devil horns actually improved the value of the piece!

 
My inSPIREation

The whimsey of the fairy towers inspired me to compose a poem.  I'm something of a renaissance man, you see.  I call it: Pointy Rocks.

كابادوكيا ذات ابراج عالية.
الجمال الطبيعي من هذه الارض لممثلي مشابهة يتم مواجهتها.
وأتمنى أن يقوم شخص بناء تمثال بي.
أما تمثال على طول الجبال.

Translation, for you simpletons who aren't fluent in as many languages as I am (fourteen):

Cappadocia with towers so high.
The natural beauty of this land is comparable to my handsome face.
I wish someone would build a statue of me.
A statue as tall as a mountain.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trojan Horse

Trojan Horse
Some of you think you know the storyOdysseus convinces his men to dismantle their ships and build a wooden horse, some of his men (50, 40, 23, whatever) hide inside the Δούρειος Ἵππος while one man remains outside, the horse is offered to the Trojans who, despite the warnings of Helen of Troy and Laocoön (Φοβού τους Δαναούς και δώρας φέρονταις), let the horse into the city.  The Trojans proceed to throw a huge party and get totally wasted, then that night the soldiers within the horse slay everyone in the city.  While I am not certain of the veracity of this particular account, I have recently uncovered evidence during my most recent trip to Turkey that corresponds to a fragmentary document, written by the little-known Greek historian Batalos of Kariolis, of the first attempt at a stealth Greek invasion of Troy.

Yes, that's right.  There was a Trojan Horse before the one you've read about in Virgil's Aeneid, except it wasn't really a horse.  More like a two-man quadsuit made out of a ship's sail and the remnants of Friday's Equus ferus roast.

Right now you'll probably be wondering about my sources.  I know it sounds slightly far-fetched, but I can assure you that this account is absolutely true.  I can't show you Batalos' document, though.  You see, the National Archives have a no smoking policy, but I desperately needed a dose of vitamin N and lit my pipe.  So, to make a long story short, the document no longer exists.  On the plus side, I can assure you that my interpretation of the text is entirely accurate, though admittedly I had to read the flaming scroll in the thirty seconds it took for it to turn into charcoal.

Here is the part of the account I managed to transcribe:

Yea verily, did the men under the leadership of... M[alaka]....
fashioned a horse... the weather-beaten sails of their glorious...
ships....
Steed... ate supper....remnants.


Of course, much of the original text is missing, but I am confident I can fill in the gaps using my expert understanding of the Greek language, awesome intellect, and a few premium beers.  The verse is obviously referring to a previous attempt to sneak into Troy using the clever disguise of a fursuit.

I can see it now.  Malaka and a brave companion discussing who shall occupy the hindquarters of the simulated beast.  Perhaps they engaged in some nude wrestling to decide before climbing into the costume (with Malaka occupying the front-half), still nude and dripping with sweat....

*ahem*  Where was I?  Ah, of course.

Ruins of Troy
This attempt must have failed, since we don't hear about Malaka or his infamous fursona again.  I suspect TH1 (archaeologist-speak for Trojan Horse #1) was allowed into the city, but the occupants promptly discovered when a good-natured stable-boy attempted to house TH1 with a stallion in heat.  The plan being an apparent failure, Malaka would have fallen upon his sword and his companion promptly executed for defiling a prized animal.


This is the sort of history they don't teach you in college, kinder.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Self Portrait

Hallo allerseits!  I needed a portrait to capture my rugged handsomeness, so I whipped up this little beauty in Adobe Illustrator.  What do you think?


Sunday, July 3, 2011

To my critics:

In ordnung, folks.  I think I finally have this thing figured out.  I've been busy since about 1890, so I haven't had the opportunity to get used to "computers," or "the internets," as of yet.  You'll just have to bear with me.

Essentially, I've been getting a lot of crap lately regarding my "non-traditional," "nonacademic," and "fabricated" archaeological techniques.  First of all, just because I wasn't professionally trained, per se, doesn't mean I don't know what I'm doing.  Maybe some of you out there lack my level of inspiration, but I've been doing this since long before any of you were born, and I can assure you that I am an authority in my field.

I'm not saying I haven't made a few mistakes here and there.  Maybe I wasn't exactly truthful about the origins of Priam's Treasure, but I prefer to think of it as just being creative with other scholars' interpretation of reality.  As if anyone can keep up with those fickle, uptight, pedantic snobs in their ivory towers anyway.  Sure, perhaps I did destroy a few of Troy's middens, but you have to understand that I was working without the benefit of ground-penetrating radar and archaeological "standards."  I'm looking at you, Ken Harl.  And so what I received my United States citizenship only two days after I arrived in New York under less than literal circumstances?  Those two days certainly felt like five years and, besides, I like to consider myself a "citizen of the world," anyway.  Them Mexicans don't seem to worry about silly things like borders and national sovereignty, and neither do I.  I'm busy pondering more important things, like one of my favorite bits from the Odyssey:

"'Cyclops, you ask my name and I will tell it you; give me, therefore, the present you promised me; my name is Noman; this is what my father and mother and my friends have always called me.'

"But the cruel wretch said, 'Then I will eat all Noman's comrades before Noman himself, and will keep Noman for the last. This is the present that I will make him.'

As he spoke he reeled, and fell sprawling face upwards on the ground. His great neck hung heavily backwards and a deep sleep took hold upon him. Presently he turned sick, and threw up both wine and the gobbets of human flesh on which he had been gorging, for he was very drunk. Then I thrust the beam of wood far into the embers to heat it, and encouraged my men lest any of them should turn faint-hearted. When the wood, green though it was, was about to blaze, I drew it out of the fire glowing with heat, and my men gathered round me, for heaven had filled their hearts with courage. We drove the sharp end of the beam into the monster's eye, and bearing upon it with all my weight I kept turning it round and round as though I were boring a hole in a ship's plank with an auger, which two men with a wheel and strap can keep on turning as long as they choose. Even thus did we bore the red hot beam into his eye, till the boiling blood bubbled all over it as we worked it round and round, so that the steam from the burning eyeball scalded his eyelids and eyebrows, and the roots of the eye sputtered in the fire. As a blacksmith plunges an axe or hatchet into cold water to temper it- for it is this that gives strength to the iron- and it makes a great hiss as he does so, even thus did the Cyclops' eye hiss round the beam of olive wood, and his hideous yells made the cave ring again. We ran away in a fright, but he plucked the beam all besmirched with gore from his eye, and hurled it from him in a frenzy of rage and pain, shouting as he did so to the other Cyclopes who lived on the bleak headlands near him; so they gathered from all quarters round his cave when they heard him crying, and asked what was the matter with him.

"'What ails you, Polyphemus,' said they, 'that you make such a noise, breaking the stillness of the night, and preventing us from being able to sleep? Surely no man is carrying off your sheep? Surely no man is trying to kill you either by fraud or by force?

"But Polyphemus shouted to them from inside the cave, 'Noman is killing me by fraud! Noman is killing me by force!'

"'Then,' said they, 'if no man is attacking you, you must be ill; when Jove makes people ill, there is no help for it, and you had better pray to your father Neptune.'

"Then they went away, and I laughed inwardly at the success of my clever stratagem....'"
(Read more here: http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.9.ix.html)

Haha, what a gas.  I'd totally go gay for you, Homer.

Regardless, I thought I'd just clear that up for all my critics.  In other news, I've decided to start using this blog as my explorer's diaryer, journal.  Manly journal. (You do know how I love my journal).   I'll be sure to post any interesting findings I come across in my various expeditions.

Auf wiedersehen for now.

Friday, July 1, 2011

How do I use this thing?

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