Sunday, March 20, 2011

News from Around the World

AND, since I'm tired about reading the news of doom and gloom, I thought I'd share with you the OTHER things that are happening throughout the world.
  • Barrilita, SPAIN: Northern village in Spain celebrates 250 years of dirt farming. The residents of Barrilita have been growing the best dirt for over 7 generations. Their certified organic dirt has been all the rage in the US for the last 35 years. "The dirt from Barrilita tastes so much better than the dirt we used to get from Watsonville." said Toomi Sorts of Beverly Hills.
  • Norvogorgos, NORWAY: Up here in the frozen plains of Norway, there is a whole new way of geothermal energy. Argärd Goofersen, the mayor of Norvogorgos, has unveiled the new geothermal plant to astounded scientists who were invited to the town this weekend. As Mayor Goofersen said, "When my great-grandfather was a small boy, he started digging a small hole in his backyard. His mother said to him, 'Guföv! Do you plan on digging to the center of the earth?' He said, 'Yes.'" Apparently, for the last 80 years, the men of the Goofersen family have been digging in that hole until, finally last month, Argärd's brother, Lufska, dug into a pocket of magma 60 miles below the surface. The heat from that magma will generate the turbines of the town and create the energy needed for that whole region. Lufska, the brother of the mayor and the discoverer of the magma pocket is expected to be fine after the numerous surgeries necessary to graft new skin on his smoldering body.
  • Wacky Noodle Ranch, Arizona, US: In this small, backwater town in the unforgiving desert pan of the American Southwest, history has been made. Sheriff Clem Lacomb shot his 5,000th varmint off of the Interstate. Sheriff Lacomb has been shooting varmints off of the Interstate for years. When asked what kind of varmints he had been shooting, the humble Sheriff merely stated, "Aw, you know, varmints. Future roadkill critters. Sometimes one of the Nestor clan would wander by and I'd shoot one of them, too, but mostly just varmints." Most of the "varmints" would be given to the St. Larry Orphanage South of town, he said.
  • Small-Badger-by-the-Sea, Wolfferdshire, ENGLAND: Excitement is at an all time high here in this little village in Southern UK. A retired teacher, Edith Browntoodles, will be awarded the illustrious "Royal Green Stocking of Glamsford" from Prince Samuel later today. Apparently, Miss Browntoodles, back in World War II, was instrumental in the Battle of Slapblinkers Bay. In the early morning hours of April 20th, 1944, a regiment of German commandos tried to infiltrate into this English countryside through Slapblinkers Bay. Miss Browntoodles, then only 19 years old, was able to take different pieces of driftwood and beat off the enemy back into the sea from whence they came. This bit of heroic action was reported but summarily forgotten until the Home Office unearthed them earlier this year. When asked what Miss Browntoodles was doing down at the beach so early that morning, she simply said, "A girl never tells."
  • Xiagong, CHINA: Central China, rough, nearly uninhabited, mostly ignored. That is until archeologists in that region make startling discoveries like this. It's in Xiagong that part of the Great Wall makes its serpentine path throughout this vast nation. It's in Xiagong that part of the Great Wall has crumbled, exposing some of the inner construction and incredible engineering of that marvel. Archeologist Flavius Porcoutini and his team from Milan, Italy, noted that the Great Wall was built following the course of a previous construct, the Great Fence of China. Apparently, and research is still ongoing, before there was a Great Wall, there was a Great Fence. A nicely done and maintained picket fence that wound up and down, back and forth throughout the Chinese frontier, with little signs that said things like "No Trespassing" or "Keep Out" or "Beware of Dragon". There is a slight possibility, said Dr. Porcoutini, that even before the Great Fence, there was a Great Hedge with possibly even a Great Property Line Tape.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Short Middle Earth Encyclopaedia

We're having a LOTR movie marathon over here. Nice for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Because I've watched this a number of times, I'm able to watch it somewhat halfheartedly while also conducting some research. I've come up with a number of little known fact about "Middle Earth", the universe created by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Little known Wizards:

We all know about Saruman and Gandalf, and, perhaps to those true followers, Radagast. For years, I thought that these were it. I also thought that there were only three classifications of Wizards, e.g. Saruman the White, Gandalf the Grey and Radagast the Brown. However, I've discovered:
  • Flinkerbatt the Pastel Blue: He had the enviable job of being the Wizard over tropical beaches.
  • Percival the Paisley: Wizard of the Landed Gentry
  • Clem the Denim: Wizard of Trailer Parks and cheap, canned beer.
  • Jaye the Wool Blend: Urban areas, also known as the Metro-sexual Wizard.


Three rings were giving to the Elf Royalty. Nine went to the Kings of Men. Seven to the Dwarven Lords. There were also five rings given to English Springer Spaniels who, in short order, lost the rings under the couch.


First Age spanned from Creation to the Fall of Morgoth. Second Age was from the Fall of Morgoth to the First Defeat of Sauron. The Third Age was between the First and Second, Final Fall of Sauron. Fourth Age has been deemed the Age of Men.
  • The Fifth Age was after the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Beginning of the Age of Reason.
  • The Sixth Age spanned the years between the Age of Reason through the Industrial Age.
  • The Seventh Age was between 1973 and 1981, the Disco Age. Of this Age, none shall speak.
  • We are Currently in the Eighth Age, or the Age of TR.

Dwarves in the Hobbit:

Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Thorin Oakenshield, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, and Ori. The two youngest are Fili and Kili.

Supporting this group were lesser known dwarves at that time. Doc was there as were Grumpy and Happy. The Lollipop Kids from Oz helped out some early on, but they creeped everyone out, so they were cut loose. Professor Flitwick could only travel with them for short periods of time due to teaching responsibilities at Hogwarts.


In the Hobbit, there is only one dragon mentioned, the Dreaded Smaug. There were also other, unmentioned dragons:
  • Garlax: The dragon that ruled over Southern Detroit. Probably the most feared of all the dragons.
  • Proggy: Sort of the Uncle Dragon that no one invites to the Dragon Reunions. Likes to hang out in Honky Tonk bars in the Bayou.
  • Terri: Stealthy minx of a dragon.

Ancillary Characters not in the movies:

Many aficionados of Middle Earth were sad when Tom Bombadil was not included in the LOTR Trilogy. I was also upset at this omission with the omission of:
  • Greg Bombadil: Cousin of Tom's, tended the various, and less popular plants like Poison Oak and Kudzu.
  • Lance Pergoon: The tenth Nagul, held in reserve until needed. Supplemented his Dark Rider salary as an IRS agent.
  • Nigel Blanderhurst: Press Secretary to Denethor, Steward of Gondor. A really annoying cuss but he did have this really eloquent "spin" on the fall of Osgiliath.
  • Leroy McChurdle: One of Aragorn's fellow Rangers of the North. Along with his issued long sword, Leroy also carried a brace of the first ever mentioned Colt .45's, "The Peacemaker".
  • Doogimir: One of the Riders of Rohan, but had a severe allergy to horses. He rode around on an old, classic Schwinn Stingray with a Banana Seat. Sometimes, during parades and official duties, Doogimir would put playing cards in the spokes.
  • Lucy Uman: Wife of Saruman. Really, really hated the shaggy, long beard/hair look on her husband. Frequently nagged him to go to a reputable barber.
  • Pierre du Rond: Younger brother of Elrond, Lord of Rivendell. At the young age of 428, Pierre took his trust fund and went North. There he lived his life and pretty much squandered his inheritance on wild parties and participating in Extreme Snow Sports.
  • Rusty: Brother of Boromir and Faramir of Gondor. Listed in the annals of Gondorian history as "The Clumsiest Member of the Steward Line". It was Rusty's fault that the first, and second main tower of Minas Tirith fell down.


We all know Treebeard, the Ent who helped Merry and Pippin, but I was always at a loss as to the other names of the other Ents in the Entmoot:
  • Bendybranch (Birch): Nice enough guy, just not too bright. As the Ent saying goes, "All branch and no leaf".
  • Furrbark (Redwood): Biggest of the lot, and one of the oldest of the Ents. Furrbark comes from the mid-California coast, likes granola, long walks on the beach and frequently breaks up Entmoots with calls for prolonged Group-Hugs and campfire songs.
  • Hank (Palm Tree): Hank came to the Entmoot from the South Pacific Division, but was, after a long deliberation, kicked out of the Entmoot when it was discovered that Palms are not really trees after all, but a large bush. Last reports have Hank doing well in the region's Bushmoot.
  • BarryBerry (Blackberry bush): Not a tree at all, not even confused as a tree, but BarryBerry showed up one day at an Entmoot and no one could ever get him to leave.

Elven Clans:

Just like any other hierarchy systems, there are different clans of Elves in Middle Earth. Like the Elves of Lothlorien or the Wood Elves.
  • Elves of 9th Street: More of a gang than a proper Elven Clan, the Elves of 9th Street run the local extortion rackets of NYC.
  • Terrebonne Parish Elves: Deep Louisiana Delta Elves. Mixed with the Cajun and Creole inhabitants of the Bayous. Pretty much kept to themselves and didn't get too involved with the dealings of Middle Earth. Made killer Jambalaya instead of Lembas, the Elven Traveling Bread.
  • Cloth Elves: A very non-violent Elven Clan. Well known for their various haberdasheries and shoe shops.
  • The VonElve Family: A very endearing family of Elves that traveled the Swiss and German Alps, singing cute folk songs.


We are familiar with the Baggins clan of the Shire, from which came Bilbo and Frodo. There are other septs, or off-shoots of the Baggins line, such as the Sackville-Baggins'. Here are other relations:
  • Hoy-Baggins: Unnaturally tall hobbits with inordinately large feet.
  • Freitas-Baggins: Desert hobbits that were known to live in and among huge packs of dogs.
  • Campbell-Baggins: Hobbits of the North that would occasionally, and without provocation, paint themselves blue and attack their neighbors.
  • Gorove-Baggins: Hobbits that lived in the east and had an obsession with explosives. Legend states that the Gorove-Baggins' were the ones that created the initial eruption of Mt. Doom.
  • Marshall-Decker-Baggins: Eccentric hobbits that were best known for their advocacy of dragons.