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Richard Walker

Layers Of Meaning

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Why did the Rhode Islanders cross the chicken?

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Richard Walker

Hand-axe

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 18 Mar 2016, 11:54


 

A hand-axe but a headache too. 

What was it used for?

  • Cooking
  • Leatherworking
  • Carpentry
  • Some other craft
  • Gardening
  • Forestry
  • Hunting
  • Fighting

or some combination of these? Or some other purpose?

Was it fitted to a wooden handle ('hafted')?

If so was it?

  • Bound into a split in the handle
  • Fitted into a socket

Or perhaps it was just hand-held.

Where was it from?

Here we are on firmer ground. It was

  • Found in North Hertfordshire or South Bedfordshire 30+ years ago
  • Made about 4000 years ago in a stone axe factory in North Wales, at Penmaenmawr. BBC 'A History of the World' shows a very similar object. But the BBC site says that axe is made of a rock 'similar to slate'; I'm not sure that's right. I think it may be diorite; any geologists are watching please write in! My hand-axe also seems smaller, about 12 cm.

So it had travelled 200+ hundred miles.

How did the owner lose it (or didn't they?)

The cutting edge is sharp and the polished faces on either side unscratched. So perhaps

  • A stone-axe trader dropped it
  • The owner dropped it on the way home from the local axe-sharpener
  • The owner deliberately discarded it as a offering to supernatural beings. (But it was such a votive offering we would expect to find other objects nearby, and it was found in isolation.)
  • A hunter threw it at a prey animal, missed, then couldn't find the axe again.

We can never know exactly.

The history of objects

When anyone brings an object like this into my local The Moon Under Water, many people ask to see it. Their first question is always 'How old is it?' 

'About 4000 years.' 

'Can I touch it?

'Yes.'

And then, reverentially, 

'So apart from you I'm the first person to touch it for 4000 years.' 

'Yes'.

Everyone is very quiet and thoughtful at that point. I find the respect they display is very moving. It shows that the human race is noble, in spite of everything.



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Richard Walker

Snowflake

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 17 Mar 2016, 01:38

ice crystal before you

go

isthere

there a place with no six

or symmetry

?

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Richard Walker

Cat Haiku

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Not afraid to die.

Or to live either.

The old cat wiping against my hand.

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Richard Walker

Epitaph for a Typographer

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X

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Richard Walker

Haiku for Daffodils

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 16 Mar 2016, 00:08
Change. Change. Change.
Daffodils, please don't
Die on me too.
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Richard Walker

Clerihew

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 14 Mar 2016, 01:59

Sphinx,

I think your riddle stinx.

How can you claim

Ignorance of the Zimmer frame?

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Richard Walker

Today

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Hearing a bird, and lifting my eyes to the trees.

Seeing the fog, and peering along the lane.

What a Spring day!




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Richard Walker

The Interrogative Mood

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 10 Mar 2016, 23:28

(As grammar geeks do) I was reading a history of punctuation past and present, and it pointed me to Padgett Powell's remarkable novel The Interrogative Mood.

I took a quick Look Inside, and found an irresistible Buy with 1-Click.

Every sentence in the book is a question, but they are not random; each is a sort of surreal reflection that glues itself to your mind and makes you think what your answer is, or could be, or might be. 

The questions are grouped in sections, within those paragraphs, and there is a kind of elusive logic that binds each to its neighbours.

For example

"Do like it when your body is sore? Had you the opportunity, would you attend clown school? Will you linger to see a sunset more readily than you might get up to see a sun rise?"

(ME: Sorta. Yes. Yes.)

"Do you have a specific length shorts must be? Is Santa Claus in your view essentially a pedophile? How long would it take you to get over a house fire that destroyed everything you owned and thought dear to you?"

"Would you rather have a swimming pool or a small private gymnasium? Do you have any experience that that suggests there was a higher water table when you were a child than there is now?"

200 pages. 2000 questions. I don't know what to make of this book but I'm glad it exists. Are we in agreement on this point or would you rather read about ways of attracting woodland birds in larch forests, without employing any artificial aids?

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Richard Walker

Featherless Ones

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Featherless ones

remember us
when you pick over our bones.

For we are proud to have lived
as you are proud to live also.

Know us by our kin,
And let your hearts soar.

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Richard Walker

From the Joke Factory

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Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 5 Mar 2016, 00:30

Q. What do frogs eat their dinner off?

A. Croakery!

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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My girlfriend stood me up. Mind you, I'd fallen over first.

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Richard Walker

WELL

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Down the pub with some crockery experts. WELL we got smashed!

Down the pub with some builders. WELL we got plastered!

Down the pub with some blacksmiths. WELL we got hammered!

You get the idea.

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Richard Walker

Thumbnail Scrapers

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 4 Mar 2016, 23:22

I found these small flints on country walks and I think they have been worked into 'thumbnail scrapers'. The name is from their size; to give you an idea, the red arrow is 1 centimetre. I don't think any one really knows what they were used for, but they are very interesting objects.

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Richard Walker

Alla Barnen In Society

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 3 Mar 2016, 23:06

Everyone at the reception was sipping sherry. Except Oona.
She was knocking it back by the schooner.

Everyone at the wedding was sipping champagne. Except Dale.
He was drinking it out of the pail.

Everyone at the salon was delicately sipping pink gin. Except Rose.
She was snorting it up her nose.

Everyone at the tasting was sipping Sauternes. Except Wayne.
He was puking in the lane.

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 5 Mar 2016, 00:07

A friend told me about her whirlwind romance. It had a bad ending, because he turned out to be a twister.

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 1 Mar 2016, 22:43

In my day all schools had a whistle blowing policy, although it applied mainly on the playing field.

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Richard Walker

Alla Barnen*

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All the kids were learning financial literacy, except Honey.
She was busy laundering money.

All the kids were leaning citizenship, except Piers
He had his fingers in his ears.

All the kids were learning core values, except Mabel
She was doing something peculiar under the table.



* I've not posted any of these for a while. 'Alla barnen = 'All the kids' is a children's humorous verse form, from Denmark and Sweden. Like 'Scandinavian noir' detective writing it can be a bit dark. But still funny.





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Richard Walker

One Liner

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Apparently some drivers without GPS use a compass instead. Don't try it, if you're caught using a compass behind the wheel that's four points on your licence.

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Richard Walker

Aphorism

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 28 Feb 2016, 01:19

Many animals think about solving problems, but only humans think about problem solving.

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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I complained about the microphones, but nobody listened.
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Richard Walker

One Liner

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The number of times I've heard people say history repeats itself.

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Richard Walker

Newmansdale Man

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 25 Feb 2016, 23:13

The Neanderthals fascinate us; they were close enough to interbreed, but we know so little of them. Could they talk, for example? No-one can say.

The name is from the Neanderthal, a German valley (thaltal in modern German, the same word as English dale or dell). I always imagined it was named for a river: 'the valley of the Neander'.

But not so; the valley is called after a local 17c pastor. His family name was Neumann, but being a scholar he translated it into Greek, Neander.

So in a wry twist, the valley where the bones of our old relatives were first found is literally 'New man's dale'.

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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A prince can always raise some readies from the crown jewels. But what can frogs pawn?

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Richard Walker

Uplifting Proverb

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I'm reading The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher and he quotes this German proverb

"Keeping order is a crutch for those who are too lazy to search for things …" ("Wer Ordnung hält ist nur zu faul zu suchen").

I couldn't help feeling a lot better about my desktop when I read this (similar to the feeling I get when I see a photograph of Francis Bacon's studio).




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