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Thursday: October 20, 2005

Never Send A Machine To Do A Man’s Job

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:50 PM GMT-0500

Lileks finds some coded Latin, but concludes that it must be gibberish, since the online Latin translator couldn’t handle it. That just shows how stupid machines are. It is not quite classical Latin, but close enough to have a meaning. Lileks’ text is missing the first letter — easy enough when it’s written in Morse code and the letter is an I. It should read:


Classical Latin would spell the second word GYRUM and the last one IGNE, but this is good Mediaeval (aka Vulgar) Latin. It means “At night we go into a gyre [= whirl/circle/ring] and are consumed by fire”. That’s not a very clear or satisfying meaning, but better than average for palindromes. With one more syllable at the beginning, it would be an epic (dactylic hexameter) line: again, that’s probably the best meter we can expect from a palindrome. The version with ECCE (“look!”) inserted after NOCTE fulfills (barely) the minimum requirements for a hexameter, but the meaning is even clunkier.

This site has some interesting, but not entirely accurate, information on the words (click on Palindromes – it’s the first one on the right). I don’t see anything macaronic about the line, and suspect that a moth would be at least as likely as a mayfly to fly in circles and be consumed by fire. I wonder if this gyre has anything to do with the one Yeats asked someone or other to perne in in “Sailing to Byzantium”.

The Deck In The Dock

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:34 PM GMT-0500

Gateway Pundit and others had reports yesterday on the trial of Saddam Hussein and seven of his henchmen for one particularly heinous, though (by his standards) relatively small-scale, murder. I haven’t updated my Ba’ath Poker file in a long time. However, if anyone was wondering how the first set of indicted criminals matches up with the Centcom list of 55 most wanted Iraqis, of whom the Top 52 were on the famous deck of cards, yesterday’s batch of goons included the Ace of Spades (Hussein himself), the Ten of Diamonds (his one-time Vice President), the Five of Clubs (one of his half-brothers), and five smaller fish. No doubt other flunkies will have their day in the dock for other atrocities. When I last updated my file, 41 of the 55 were in custody, and I think one or two others have since been apprehended.