Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Private Division I FBS Universities

Only a few of the universities participating in NCAA's Division I FBS (previously I-A) are privately owned. Most are state-owned or controlled (and three are military-controlled).

Next time you're watching college football, consider the fact that all the teams except the seventeen listed below are government-run, paid for by tax dollars.

Boston College
Brigham Young
Miami (Florida)
Notre Dame
Southern California
Southern Methodist
Texas Christian
Wake Forest

Green Lights Galore

The stop lights are all green this morning and the roads are empty. . .

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Articles of Confederation

For curiosity's sake, here is Article XI of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which created the United States of America, legally binding as of March 1, 1781 (later overridden by some other fancy document):

Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.

For some reason, Canada never took them up on their offer.

The Wataugans tried, but only got seven states' support for the State of Franklin.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Tale of Huro

Today is the Holy Day of Huro, God of Thunder and Protector of Civilization.

Protect us, Huro!

19 - North Star Clouds

Huro’s birth by Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth and Queen of the Gods, was witnessed by Nuvíní’s mother Rana, Goddess of Clouds; Rana’s mother Rakazhazhíní, Goddess of Clean Air; Nuvíní’s other grandmother Kara, Goddess of Soil; and Nuvíní’s motherly aunt Ríhíví, Goddess of Hot Springs and Poisonous Water. All the goddesses wanted to attend the birth of Huro, Who would surely become the next King of the Gods.

So as not to draw the wrath of Her husband Sozho, current King of the Gods and High God of Air, Nuvíní left infant Huro in the care of a flock of giant, fierce chickens, far from Sozho’s eagle-eye gaze and His violent, self-protective nature. She knew that Sozho would see Huro as a threat to His reign, and rightfully so. The warrior birds trained Huro well the skills He would need in life; soon Huro was the strongest and most skilled fighter in all the universe. Also, Huro was the son of Pétíso, God of Death, and not Sozho.

When Huro was fully grown and ready, Nuvíní charged Him with the task of protecting Her civilization of human beings from the forces of chaos, evil, and the malevolent wilderness and desert. This Huro did with conviction and power. When destructive winds blew down upon a city, Huro would throw His lightning bolts and stop the wind dead. When rampaging barbarians and demons threatened a town, Huro would be there to tear the invaders to pieces with His bare hands, His thunder frightening the barbarians back into the desert.

There came a time when the civilized kingdom of Rokího was invaded by the Toloans, who stole many head of cattle as well as the king’s daughter. Huro instantly leapt to the defense of Rokího. The Toloans retreated from the mighty god, Who pursued them all the way back to the ramshackle collection of huts known as Tolo. Before Huro could crush the barbarian village, a club-wielding god rose in His path: Rékaré, God of Rock.

With only His bare hands as weapons, Huro wrestled Rékaré to the ground, ripped the stone club from His grasp, and beat Rékaré senseless with His own weapon. Rékaré’s two sons, Ténuzho and Vusuzho, screamed in rage and charged Huro, but Huro smote Them dead with a pair of lightning bolts. As Their ash drifted to the earth, Huro razed the village of Tolo utterly and completely, for the Toloans had dared to attack a civilized nation. Huro would stop at nothing to uphold His vow.

Soon thereafter, Huro married the exquisitely beautiful Rézhíní, Goddess of Plants, Whose soft-flowing blonde hair was the envy of all the goddesses. After Rézhíní rebuffed the advances of Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, Zhíanoso snuck into Their bedchamber and cut off Her long, golden locks. Huro awoke to see the fire god escaping out the window, blonde hair trailing from His hand. Huro dove after Him, snagged Zhíanoso with one hand, and gripped Him tightly as They tumbled to the ground. They landed with a thud, whereupon Huro pinned Zhíanoso easily. The sky filled with lightning from Huro’s rage, His thunder shaking the earth beneath Them. Zhíanoso tried to burn Huro away, but Huro merely absorbed the flames into His own lightning, scorching trees and mountains all around. Zhíanoso changed form into a mosquito, then a bear, then a rat, then an alligator; but whatever form Zhíanoso assumed, Huro maintained His hold.

When Zhíanoso finally realized the situation, He begged for His freedom. Huro agreed, so long as Zhíanoso would provide Rézhíní with replacement hair of the finest gold thread, as well as two weapons for Himself: a war hammer that would be strong enough to knock down mountains, small enough to tuck into His belt, and nimble enough to return to His hand when He threw it, after it hit its target; and a belt that would double Huro’s strength when He wore it. Zhíanoso accepted the conditions and proclaimed that Rívorí, Goddess of Wildfire, could and would produce all these items for Huro and Rézhíní.

Huro released Zhíanoso; Zhíanoso went to Rívorí’s forge; Rívorí fashioned the hair and weapons; and Zhíanoso grudgingly presented them to Huro. Rézhíní once again was beautiful. Huro was now unstoppable. To test His new weapon, Huro threw His hammer at a distant buffalo. The hammer smashed into the beast’s head, felling it dead, whereupon the hammer turned in the air and flew back to Huro, Who snatched it easily. Pleased, Huro tucked the shaft of the hammer into His new belt.

As Huro resumed His noble task of protecting the civilized peoples of the world and scaring barbarians with His thunder, His uncle Sozho grew jealous of Huro’s popularity. Foolishly thinking He could beat the younger god, Sozho challenged Huro to a duel. Fearful of Huro’s hammer, Sozho stipulated that the gods would fight as birds: Sozho as an eagle and Huro as a rooster. Huro gladly accepted His uncle’s challenge. Numerous gods and goddess gathered to watch the fight.

With talons gleaming in the sunlight, the eagle Sozho swooped down upon the rooster Huro. At the last instant, Huro leapt into the air and met Sozho with His own sharp claws, digging deep into the eagle’s chest. As Sozho flapped away, blood stained His feathers. Before the eagle attacked again, He was stopped by ancient, heron-headed Sívorí, Goddess of Stars. Sívorí was concerned for Sozho’s safety; She did not want the King of the Gods to die. She quickly healed Sozho’s wound and released Him to fight again.

Sozho dove at Huro once more. Huro leapt up to engage, and this time He didn’t release. The two birds tumbled to the ground, Their feet latched into each other’s bodies, Their wings pounding furiously, and Their beaks stabbing to and fro. Blood streamed from both birds as They wrestled, stirring up dust all around.

Watching intently, Nuvíní could not stand to see Her favored son be injured like so. Her anguish grew to the point that She had to intervene. While the two gods twisted on the ground, Nuvíní took a spear -- enchanted it so it wouldn’t fall out -- and hurled it at Sozho. Unfortunately, She hit Huro by mistake. Huro howled in pain and released from Sozho. The eagle hobbled away, to be healed by Sívorí once again.

Huro changed back to His manly form and demanded to know who had thrown the spear. He tried to yank it from His side, but the spear wouldn’t budge. Nuvíní apologized profusely, called the spear back to Her, said She had aimed for Sozho, and healed all of Huro’s wounds. Huro glared at His mother, but accepted Her apology.

The King of the Gods transformed back to His usual shape, picked up His sword and battle gear, and demanded Huro resume the duel. With a curt nod, Huro fasted His belt and hefted His hammer. The two gods circled each other. Sozho did not want to get close enough for Huro to strike with His hammer, while Huro looked for an opening to get past His uncle’s magically impenetrable shield and around His breastplate. The breastplate was, in fact, the Tablet of Destinies, which proclaims its possessor to be the Ruler of the Universe and King of the Gods. Since it has lasted and will last the entire history of the universe, the Tablet of Destinies is naturally indestructible. Neither god bothered to throw lightning at His opponent, for They both mastered its use and it would only give energy to the other.

Suddenly a spear impaled Sozho’s back, thrown by Nuvíní. Sozho collapsed to the ground, twisting to see who had attacked Him. Seeing it was Nuvíní, Sozho begged with Her for mercy, on account of Their kinship and marriage. Meanwhile, Huro unfastened the Tablet of Destinies from His incapacitated uncle and held it aloft, proclaiming Himself to be the new King of the Gods. Exactly as all the elder goddesses had foreseen at His birth, Huro overthrew Sozho and become the Ruler of the Universe.

Just then, Nuvíní relented to Sozho’s pleading. She removed the spear from His back and healed the injury. When Huro saw this, uncontrollable lightning flickered from His fingertips as rage overcame Him. Not only had His mother hit Him with a spear, She had now compounded Her betrayal by removing Her spear from His adversary. Huro lifted His hammer and threw it at Nuvíní’s head. Before anyone could react, the hammer smashed into Her skull, shattering the bone into a thousand shards and scattering Her brains across the landscape.

As the assembled gods and goddesses stared in horror, Huro caught His returning hammer and stalked away from His mother’s lifeless body, pausing only to cow Sozho with a regal stare. Sívorí raced to the dead goddess and began a healing incantation, reshaping Nuvíní’s beautiful head and coaxing Nuvíní’s spirit back into Her form.

At the same time, red-haired Zhoro, God of Heat, declared that Sozho should go get the Tablet of Destinies back from Huro, but the air god was too scared. Thusly Zhoro rounded up a motley posse to go steal the tablet: goat-snake Zhaké, God of Rivers; Korutuzho, God of Agriculture, to Whom Zhoro had once given the tablet; golden Píríuso, God of the Sun; Zhoro’s unpredictable sister Rívorí, Goddess of Wildfire; and devious Zhíanoso, High God of Fire. From all directions, They attacked Huro. Píríuso filled the air with arrows all precisely aimed at the thunder god’s chest, Rívorí unleashed a gout of lava from the earth under His feet, Zhaké sent a torrent of water racing toward Him, Korutuzho sliced His sickle down at Huro’s head, Zhíanoso burned away the air all around Him, and Zhoro confronted Huro with sword in hand.

Huro blocked the arrows, sickle, and lava with the indestructible Tablet of Destinies, stood His ground as the river raced around Him, threw His hammer to knock Zhíanoso unconscious, but while Huro was distracted by all the other gods, Zhoro tackled Him. The hammer returned, but Huro was no longer in place to catch it. As They fell under the waves, Zhoro stabbed Huro through His heart. Huro continued to struggle, His strength still increased by His belt, but that power quickly diminished without a beating heart nor air to breathe.

Thus Huro died. Zhoro grabbed the Tablet of Destinies from His immobile hands and quickly raced back to Sozho, to Whom Zhoro gave the tablet. Sozho thanked the red god and declared Himself King of the Gods once again. Distraught, Nuvíní hurried to Her son’s body. To atone for Her earlier betrayal, She healed His wounds with Her magical script and restored life to Huro. Upon waking, Huro forgave Nuvíní. When She asked if He would attack Sozho now, Huro reminded Her that Sozho had challenged Him to a duel, not the other way around. If that eagle of the wilderness dared to attack civilization or Huro again, however, Huro would not hesitate to humiliate His uncle.

While Huro resumed His duties, Sozho continued to hold a grudge. The king’s jealousy of His nephew’s strength and popularity was now compounded by the fact that He had temporarily lost His throne to Huro and had only regained it through the actions of others. Thusly, Sozho searched for the day He could enact His revenge upon Huro.

A year or so later, Zhíanoso was in the form of a grizzly bear, frolicking in a mountain meadow, eating berries and such. Suddenly He couldn’t move His paws. They were stuck to the ground! Sozho flew down on His broomstick and laughed at the fire god, announcing that He now had Him trapped with a magic spell and would not release Zhíanoso till He agreed to do His bidding. Zhíanoso, of course, refused. He struggled to free Himself and failed, but still would not help Sozho.

Days and months passed. After eating all the berries within reach, Zhíanoso grew hungrier and hungrier. It became apparent to the fire god that if He didn’t agree to Sozho’s demands, He would die of starvation, stuck to that spot. Thus Zhíanoso relented. He asked what Sozho wanted Him to do. Gleefully, the air god instructed Zhíanoso to bring Huro to Him, but not as an adversary. He insisted that Huro think favorably of Sozho when They next would meet. Zhíanoso promised it would be so.

Upon His release, Zhíanoso ravenously emptied a nearby river of its salmon, then went to bring Huro into Sozho’s trap. To ensure that Huro would stand beside Sozho and not against Him, Zhíanoso reasoned that He needed to attack something -- or someone -- that They both held dear. Filling that description was Rézhíní, Huro’s wife and Sozho’s favored daughter. As such, Zhíanoso promptly caused Rézhíní’s death (knowing full well that Nuvíní could and would revive Her) and waited for Huro’s attack.

Thunder shook the air and lightning filled the sky long before Huro appeared. As the thunderheads burst, drenching the land in a violent deluge, Huro pointed His hammer at Zhíanoso and demanded vengeance. A sudden death would be insufficient. Zhíanoso needed an everlasting punishment.

Even though Zhíanoso held nothing back in His struggles, Huro quickly pinned Him against a large boulder. Sozho arrived with a length of enchanted iron chain and helped Huro affix the fire god to the rock. Huro then grabbed a viper out of the bushes and tied it over Zhíanoso’s immobilized face and made the snake drip venom continuously onto the captured god.

To this day and till the End of the Gods, Zhíanoso has been and will be chained to that boulder with viper venom dripping on His face, in punishment for killing beautiful Rézhíní. On the bright side, His plan worked. Huro and Sozho stood side-by-side, admiring Their work, chuckling with every scream from the fire god.

After a while, Sozho suggested Huro join Him for a drink to celebrate. Jovial, Huro agreed. Their rowdy imbibing lasted late into the night. Several hours and incalculable beer later, They were the only two remaining near the fire -- even Sozho’s brother Voro, God of Hearth Fire, had left the hearth for sleep. Eventually, uncle and nephew grew tired and decided to just lie together on the rug near the fire, in lieu of the long walk back to Their bedchambers.

As They lay together, Sozho enacted the second phase of His scheme. He inserted His penis between Huro’s legs and soon ejaculated. Unbeknownst to Sozho, Huro had put His hand between His thighs and caught His uncle’s semen. Huro would certainly never let any god have sexual intercourse with Him, but He held back His indignation to better outwit His uncle. After Sozho fell asleep, Huro crept out of the castle and washed His hand clean in the river. Knowing what Sozho would want for breakfast, Huro then proceeded to spread His own semen all over His uncle’s lettuce crop. He then returned to the hearth and laid down beside Sozho.

In the morning, Sozho gobbled down seven heads of lettuce with a big grin on His face, then called for a meeting of the gods. As everyone gathered in Sozho’s throne room, Sozho made sure that Huro stood beside Him. Almost laughing, the King of the Gods declared His dominance over Huro, for He had had His way with His nephew. At this, Huro guffawed and proclaimed Sozho a liar. He demanded Sívorí call forth Sozho’s semen to see where it actually was.

While all the gods and goddesses watched intently, Sívorí agreed and called out to Sozho’s seed. Much to Sozho’s surprise and chagrin, the reply sounded from the river outside. The assembly frowned in confusion while Sozho demanded that something was wrong. Sívorí assured everyone that Sozho’s semen was certainly not inside Huro as the air god had claimed.

At this point, Huro asked Sívorí to do the same for His own seed. Sívorí did, and to everyone’s surprise (except Huro), the semen replied from within Sozho. Huro clearly dominated Sozho, not the other way around. In a huff, Sozho flew away.

Huro stood alone beside the throne, the strongest of all the gods. In the none-too-distant future, when Zhíanoso escapes His bonds and the new age dawns, Huro will once again acquire the Tablet of Destinies and overthrow Sozho. Huro shall be the King of the Gods and the Ruler of the Universe, as is His right and privilege for being the dominant god in all the universe.

With His mighty strength, Huro defends civilization from invaders, destroyers, and Sozho’s desert wilderness. He shall strike down our enemies with lightning and thunder. Huro will always stand beside us as we protect our kingdom, for Naraka is the pinnacle of civilization and the greatest kingdom in the world.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Novel's Rough Draft Completed

I just finished the last of my holy day myth stories. Thirty-two short stories in a year, all on schedule for the relevant gods' holy days.

Now it's time to start revising. . .

Did the Puyallup (Last Saturday)

8 - Puyallup Fair Tower

3 - Cow!

5 - Alpaca

Shopping and viewing livestock can be very tiring.

7 - Tired Chunlin

But teenagers recover quickly.

9 - Christina & Her Dragon

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why Is It So Dark in the Evening?

Because today's the Autumnal Equinox, at 2:20 p.m. PDT more or less.

At least it's spring down south, right?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Tale of Nuvíní

Today is the Holy Day of Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, Queen of the Gods, Mother of Civilization, Bringer of Knowledge, and the wisest god of Them all. So say I today.

65-Willow Creek Valley

Years before She became the Queen of the Gods, Nuvíní longed for more wisdom. It was rumored that at the center of the world, there was a great tree that stretched far into the heavens, supporting the sky. Between the roots of the World Tree was the Well of Wisdom. One sip of the well’s waters would provide a person unimaginable foresight, knowledge, and cognitive powers. Thusly, Nuvíní headed for the tree.

She soon discovered that the World Tree is so large that the realm of the gods lies completely underneath one of the major roots, while the realm of demons lies underneath a second root and the realm of mortals lies underneath the third major root. Therefore it took Nuvíní many years to find the Well of Wisdom, but She succeeded. Guarding the well sat a giant named Nírío, who refused to share the water unless Nuvíní proved Herself worthy.

Nuvíní accepted the requirement. Reasoning that a truly worthy goddess would have great sacrifices made in Her honor, Nuvíní decided to sacrifice Herself to Herself. Thus with a spear, She impaled Herself onto the World Tree, where She hung upside-down. Quite impressed, Nírío nevertheless would not give Her a sip of the water, nor any food. Nuvíní was not yet worthy.

After a fourday hanging from the tree, Nuvíní spotted strange markings on a small root below Her. Despite Her weakened condition, She reached down toward the root, intrigued. Straining mightily, She inched Her fingers around the root until She had a good grip, then pulled. The oddly marked root barely budged at first, but Nuvíní used every last ounce of Her energy and so the root lifted. Suddenly a calming strength swept over Nuvíní, relieving Her tired body and spirit. At once She knew the markings were writing, She understood the concept of writing, and She knew the power it possessed. Nuvíní would thus share this power, this art of writing, with only the worthy beings of the worlds.

Before Nuvíní left the World Tree, however, Nírío acknowledged that She had indeed proved Herself and could be allowed to drink from the Well of Wisdom. The giant would not, though, give Nuvíní a sip, with nothing in exchange. Not content with just the knowledge of writing, Nuvíní offered one of Her eyes in exchange for a drink. Nírío accepted, and so Nuvíní plucked out Her left eye and handed it to the giant, who placed it in a third eye socket in his head. Thus Nírío will always see what Nuvíní sees and knows what Nuvíní knows.

Lifting a ladle of well water to Her lips, Nuvíní drank the wisdom. With the wisdom came knowledge of the intricacies of life and death, power over both, and the ability to use this strength properly. Nuvíní could command anything in the universe, if She so chose. She could kill with a wave of Her hand and raise the dead with an incantation.

When She returned to the realm of the gods, Her siblings were much impressed with Nuvíní’s new abilities. Her brother Sozho, Who flew with eagles, became jealous and decided to grab power for Himself. With the help of Their brothers Pétíso, Vasataté, and Voro, Sozho overthrew Their father Korutuzho, God of Agriculture, and became King of the Gods. As all five siblings deserved a share of the universe, They divided it among Themselves. Sozho claimed the air and the sky to be His, and thus became the High God of Air. Pétíso took control of mortal souls, and thus became the God of Death. Vasataté selected water and the seas, thus becoming the God of Oceans. Voro chose fire, and became the God of Hearth Fire. Nuvíní claimed the earth and all that grows on it, plant and animal. She is thus the High Goddess of Earth.

Soon thereafter, Sozho and Nuvíní married, as They were the strongest gods in all the universe. Since She was now the Queen of the Gods, Nuvíní fashioned Herself a crown of cow horns, suitable for an earth goddess. Sozho and Nuvíní were quite the prodigious couple; amongst Their children were Rézhíní, Goddess of Plants, Nazhoro, God of Coldness, and Vuzhí, Goddess of Life. While Rézhíní and Vuzhí were both blonde, beautiful, and pure, Nazhoro was so ugly to not bear further mention. Nuvíní and Her two daughters traveled the world, making crops bountiful, bringing plants to blossom and fruition, raising the fertility of all beings, and generally generating a beautiful, abundant, and well-fed world.

While Nuvíní was away, however, Sozho did not remain faithful. In fact, His dalliances continued even while She was home. Despite Nuvíní’s warnings and Sozho’s promises that He would stop, Sozho sired children by Rakazhazhíní, Goddess of Clean Air, Hérazha, Goddess of Wind, and countless demigoddesses and mortals. With one mortal woman, Sozho fathered Nuvíníkoríso, who grew to be as strong and strong-headed as his father.

By this point, Nuvíní had Her fill of Sozho’s infidelity. She decided that Nuvíníkoríso must be punished, to show Sozho what would happen to any future bastard children. Wherever Nuvíníkoríso traveled, Nuvíní shook the earth and wilted the crops. Famine and destruction followed Nuvíníkoríso across the land. To cause more pain and failure for the mortal, Nuvíní appeared to him and promised the man immortality if he completed thirteen tasks of Her choosing. Nuvíníkoríso did not realize that these trials would be virtually impossible to complete, so he agreed readily.

Nuvíníkoríso’s first task, as set forth by Nuvíní, was to slay the mighty Lion of Nérího and return in less than a month. Nuvíníkoríso set off at once, making arrows as he walked to Nérího. Unbeknownst to the man, the powerful lion’s hide was impenetrable to any object, no matter how sharp. When Nuvíníkoríso tracked down the lion, he started shooting arrows at it. Every one found its target, but left not a scratch. The Lion of Nérího jumped at Nuvíníkoríso and the two tumbled to the ground, fully locked in combat. Eventually, Nuvíníkoríso knocked the lion unconscious with a rock, then strangled it to death.

With the lion’s skin draped over his shoulders, Nuvíníkoríso returned to Nuvíní a day shy of the deadline. She was impressed by his prowess, but warned the mortal that his trials would each be more difficult than the preceding. She then sent him to kill the hundred-headed water demon of Lake Kolono, which terrorized the neighboring towns. The demon’s breath was poisonous and if it lost one of its befanged heads, two more heads would grow back in its place. Nonetheless, Nuvíníkoríso headed for Lake Kolono with grim determination and his sword ready.

Meanwhile, Sozho had stopped adultering, but had taken up fighting instead. For one reason or another, He and His brother Pétíso fought a duel. Sozho won, killing Pétíso. Upon seeing this, Nuvíní became very upset, for Pétíso was an honorable god and presided over the souls of the Underworld quite well. She thus recited incantations, inked mystical characters onto Pétíso’s chest, and brought Him back to life. Pétíso thanked His sister and resumed His work.

About that time, Nuvíníkoríso returned to Nuvíní with the water demon’s solitary immortal head, still dripping blood from its open neck. The rest of the beast was dead. Nuvíní reluctantly congratulated the man and sent him to capture the Golden Caribou of Tarénara, Goddess of Hunting, Who the earth goddess had already conferred with. This caribou doe had gold antlers and bronze hooves, and most importantly could outrun an arrow. Nuvíníkoríso nodded briskly and ventured forth. Before too long, he returned with the Golden Caribou in shackles, having netted her while she slept. As Nuvíníkoríso untied the doe, Nuvíní took hold of an antler, but as soon as the caribou’s feet were free, she bolted back to its mistress, Tarénara. Nuvíní was left holding a broken length of golden antler in Her hand.

Even though She no longer had the Golden Caribou, Nuvíní agreed that Nuvíníkoríso had delivered it as instructed. She therefore proceeded to give him a series of challenges, all of which Nuvíníkoríso completed. At Her command, and with the hopes of immortality, the man captured the Giant Boar of Séralamérahíro; cleaned the stables of King Rakíríso -- who had divinely healthy livestock which prodigiously produced dung -- in a single day; killed the poisonous, metallic birds of Rékaré, God of Rock, Who stood with Nuvíní to watch the fight; captured the Bull of Koríví; stole the man-eating horses from Rékaré’s castle; obtained Tarénara’s girdle; stole a herd of cattle from the monster Kéralíané, who had three bodies for his one head; and collected apples from Nuvíní’s garden in the realm of the gods.

At this point, when Nuvíníkoríso had completed eleven of his thirteen tasks, Nuvíní was getting frustrated. This was hardly the deadly punishment the bastard son of Sozho deserved. Sozho, for His part, had become consumed with garnering revenge upon Pétíso. The air god still held a grudge for some silly reason, and Nuvíní’s resurrection of Their brother didn’t sit well with Sozho. One day, when Pétíso was least expecting it, Sozho walked up behind Him and lopped off His head. Sozho then proceeded to hack up Pétíso’s body and, with the help of His eagles, scattered the pieces to the farthest corners of the world.

For two reasons in one, Nuvíní ordered Nuvíníkoríso to collect all of Pétíso’s body parts as his next task, within a month. The man set out across the land, hunting down every finger, knee, rib, tooth, and ear. After a month, Nuvíníkoríso returned to Nuvíní, missing only one eye and the god’s manhood. He apologized profusely for not having everything; Nuvíní took pity on the poor soul and kept his hope for immortality alive, despite this failure.

While She sent Nuvíníkoríso to capture Pétíso’s four-headed guard dog Sérasavasé as his thirteenth task, Nuvíní began the ceremony to revivify Her brother. She arranged the body parts in their natural configuration, with two exceptions. Since the mortal had not retrieved His manhood, Nuvíní placed the shaft of golden antler in its stead. As for the missing eye, Nuvíní had none to spare, so Pétíso would have to live without. The wise goddess then began Her incantations, simultaneously inscribing magical words with Her quill pen along every seam to be healed.

As the living power of the universe coalesced around Them, Pétíso’s body merged into one and His soul re-entered His physical form. Awash with energy and intrigued by Pétíso’s lively golden manhood, Nuvíní decided to enact another revenge against Her husband. For the first and only time in Her marriage, She mated with someone not Her husband. The residual energy of the revivification swept Nuvíní and Pétíso into a lusty frenzy that ended days later with both sated and Nuvíní pregnant.

After the energy dissipated, Pétíso thanked Nuvíní for resurrecting Him and then returned to His home in the Underworld. Nuvíní, though, could not return to Her home, for Her child was already showing. She could not let Sozho know of Her infidelity. As She wandered the countryside, trying to decide Her best course of action, Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, happened by. For a laugh, since the fire god has always enjoyed fooling Sozho, Zhíanoso gave Nuvíní His eight-legged horse, named Sarévaního. The horse, who instantly took a liking to Nuvíní, was so large that Nuvíní’s growing girth was completely unnoticeable. Sarévaního bounded across the land, as if the goddess were as light as a feather.

When the time came to give birth, Nuvíní traveled to a distant land. All alone, She delivered Huro, God of Thunder, Who as an infant was already larger than either Pétíso or Sozho and could throw lightning bolts more deftly than the air god ever could. Nuvíní left Huro in the care of a flock of giant chickens and headed back for home before Sozho would suspect anything.

While in that distant land, however, Nuvíní spotted an eye lying under a leaf. She instantly recognized it as Pétíso’s missing orb, but since His body had been reassembled without the eye, there was no longer a place for it in His body. Therefore She fit the eye into Her own empty socket. As They were siblings, the eye was a perfect match for Her other. With dual sight, Nuvíní returned home.

Waiting for Her was Nuvíníkoríso with Pétíso’s dog Sérasavasé draped over his shoulders. He demanded that since he had completed all thirteen tasks laid before him, Nuvíní should grant him immortality at once. With Pétíso’s eye now in Her skull as a reminder, Nuvíní stated that Nuvíníkoríso had failed to collect all of Her brother’s body parts and thus was not deserving of immortality. Nuvíníkoríso hung his head low, knowing the truth, and sighed. As he turned to go, Nuvíní took pity on him and said She’d give him one last chance to earn immortality: he must travel to the distant land of giant chickens and fight and beat the blond giant living in their midst, named Huro.

The mortal man raced away while the goddess followed leisurely upon Her horse Sarévaního. When Nuvíníkoríso found Huro and attacked Him, the lightning god killed the mortal instantly. He then greeted His mother and resumed His meal. Nuvíní looked down upon the deceased Nuvíníkoríso with admiration. The man had stood no chance against the god, yet attacked him with gusto and gumption. Despite his failures, Nuvíní felt She must honor the man and grant him immortality. Thusly She recited Her incantations, inked Her script, burned away Nuvíníkoríso’s mortality, and brought Him back to life as a demigod.

While Nuvíníkoríso was dead, however, his spirit traveled to the Underworld to be judged by Pétíso. While there, the departed soul happened to mention to the King of the Dead that Nuvíní now had two good eyes, which both looked just like Pétíso’s solitary oculus. Upset at Nuvíní’s betrayal, Pétíso vowed revenge. He decided that since Nuvíní had taken something which He held dearly, He would do the same to Her. He therefore went right out and kidnapped Her beautiful daughter, Vuzhí.

Nuvíní and Her other beautiful daughter, Rézhíní, looked everywhere for Vuzhí, but to no avail. She was nowhere to be found. Neither of Them thought for an instant that Vuzhí might be held prisoner in the Underworld, for She was not dead and Pétíso was so grateful to His sister Nuvíní -- or so They thought. As the earth goddess searched fruitlessly, She neglected Her duties. Crops failed without Her helping hand. Animals ceased giving birth. All across the world, starvation and disaster took hold.

Hit hard by the loss of Vuzhí, Nuvíní fell into a pit of depression. She began to lose Her grip on reality as She searched in vain for Her lovely daughter. Nuvíní abandoned Her mighty horse and began wandering the earth on foot, disguised in peasant garb, a wide-brimmed hat, and an old woman’s body. On the road, She befriended a pair of ravens, who flew all over the world in search of Vuzhí. Nuvíní granted them the gift of speech, so the birds could relate what they found, ¬¬but the ravens had no news to report on Vuzhí’s location. The Goddess of Life was simply gone.

With the two ravens perched on Her shoulders, Nuvíní walked into the kingdom of Síhosírí. To the king, She offered Her assistance as a nurse for his children. Despite Nuvíní’s melancholy and odd appearance, the king could sense Her maternal strength and fertility, so he offered Her a job. Nuvíní cared well for the king’s daughters -- for he had no sons -- and the king was pleased, even though the people of Síhosírí were beginning to starve like everyone else.

While most of the universe sank into despair along with Nuvíní, the youngest princess of Síhosírí continued to play and laugh without care. One day, the girl’s antics finally overwhelmed Nuvíní’s depression. The goddess cracked a smile, once more seeing what was good in the world. Instantly, life in Síhosírí improved -- wilted plants retook their natural shape, flowers started to blossom, and animals began bearing young again.

Soon thereafter, the queen of Síhosírí gave birth to a boy. Nuvíní was so thankful for the royal family’s hospitality, She decided to grant immortality to the young prince. While She was casting Her spell on the infant, however, the queen entered the room. Not expecting the ceremony, which required the prince be wrapped in fire to burn away his mortality, the queen shrieked and snatched her son away from Nuvíní. Before the queen could raise alarm, Nuvíní revealed Her true identity, transforming from the old woman to a goddess of amazing beauty, also changing Her floppy hat back to Her regal crown. Nuvíní’s aura radiated warmth and amazing wisdom; the queen knelt in subservience and apology.

With Her true self revealed, Nuvíní taught the people of Síhosírí the intricacies of farming, showing them how to properly plough their fields and trim their orchards. Soon Síhosírí was the center of civilization in the realm of the mortals. Their knowledge has spread far and wide throughout the years, but at the time, most of the universe still remained in eternal winter.

In the realm of the gods, Sozho was hungry. His castle had depleted its stores of food and there was no more to be found. After Nuvíní had disappeared, Sozho had learned that Vuzhí was in the Underworld, married to His brother Pétíso. Therefore, in an effort to get Nuvíní back -- and thus His food -- Sozho forced Pétíso to release Vuzhí half of the year. When Vuzhí returned to the land of the living, She quickly found Her mother. With much rejoicing, They brought fertility and growth to all the realms under the World Tree. Much pleased, Sozho devoured entire farms of food.

To this day, for half the year, Nuvíní and Her daughters travel the universe, bringing life and prosperity to all, while the other half the year, Vuzhí disappears underground and so the world falls into darkness and decay. Throughout the seasons, Nuvíní rides tall on Her eight-legged horse with Her ravens bringing Her information from across the universe. She gives us wisdom, teaches us writing and the power inherent in its symbols, and cares for every human being, animal, plant, and rock in every realm under the World Tree. Nuvíní is the Queen of the Gods and the Mother of Civilization; worship Her as She deserves!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Workload Up

Work is starting to pick up again. I'm having to write a to-do list for the first time in a few months!

Well, I guess the other option is that I'm running kinda slow today so I'm unable to store everything in my brain. . .

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Paul Bunyan's Name

If you happen to be in northern Idaho on a Labor Day Weekend, I wholeheartedly suggest dropping by St. Maries on Sunday evening to lie on their football field and watch the fireworks explode overhead. . .

101 - Burst within Burst

111 - Golden

122 - This One Knocked Me Over

124 - Green Red Golddust

127 - Purple over Orange

138 - Finale, part 1

It was the best fireworks I've ever seen. And, of course, I have more photos on flickr!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Tale of Korutuzho

Korutuzho is dead, but He will return! Harvest your crops that He helped grow, and take a day to celebrate His glorious life. The summer may now be over, but in the darkest days of winter, the Father of the Gods will be born anew! The cycle shall forever continue. The earth will again be green, come spring.

23-Thorp Field

When Korutuzho was but a youth, His father Sorosotuzho, God of the Atmosphere, was Ruler of the Universe and King of the Gods. Sorosotuzho ruled the universe well, but He was afraid of the new and the untested and anything that might upset the universal balance and harmony that He had created. To aid His tight control of the universe, Sorosotuzho granted His son Korutuzho power over vegetation so that He could ensure crops flourished on schedule and everyone could eat their full.

Well equipped for this task, Korutuzho performed brilliantly. The fields and orchards provided a never-ending supply of food for all the gods, demigods, and mortals throughout the world. Everyone loved Him. So talented was Korutuzho -- and so handsome -- that Rana, Goddess of Clouds and the most beautiful of all, eagerly became His wife. They lived in marital bliss and the universe prospered.

Trouble began, however, when Rana acted on Her desire for Her husband to gain more power. She thought so highly of Korutuzho that She decided He should rule the universe in His father’s stead. Thusly, She attempted to steal the Tablet of Destinies from Sorosotuzho. The tablet, as we all know, describes the fate of every soul throughout time, as well as proclaims the possessor to be the Ruler of the Universe.

Rana failed. Sorosotuzho imprisoned Her deep within the earth. Then, since the thought of losing power dredged up His deepest fears of change, Sorosotuzho abruptly imprisoned all the younger gods, including Korutuzho. Throughout the world, crops withered and died. People began to go hungry, starve, and perish. Imprisoned deep within the earth, Korutuzho felt ashamed that He could do nothing to help.

Soon, though, Kara, Goddess of Soil and the very earth Herself, decided that She needed to assist the younger gods to save the universe. She offered escape through Her soil to any god Who would challenge Sorosotuzho and bring new life to the universe. Korutuzho gladly accepted.

Tightly gripping His trusty flint sickle, Korutuzho burst from the earth like a babe from His mother’s womb, arriving directly in front of His father. Quite surprised, Sorosotuzho nevertheless instantly knew His reign had ended. With a quick slash of His sickle, Korutuzho castrated His father, sending the elder god running for the skies. Korutuzho held the Tablet of Destinies aloft, declared Himself to be the King of the Gods, and released His brethren from Their imprisonment below.

Thus Korutuzho ushered in a golden age of prosperity and peace. More so than before, crops flourished and everyone had endless leisure time to construct great temples, explore distant lands, and invent wondrous items ranging from the wheel to money. Slavery was abolished, for there was no work for slaves to do. With Rana, Korutuzho fathered numerous gods, such as Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, and Sozho, High God of Air. Korutuzho is truly the Father of the Gods.

With all the spare time, many mortals began to delve into debauchery, gambling, and other nonproductive activities. One kingdom in particular increasingly drew Korutuzho’s anger as the king would often give his crown for a day to any passerby while the king went carousing. All the nobles were soon following the king’s fashion, handing over their responsibilities to their servants while the nobles would get completely drunk and have raucous orgies for days and days.

When Korutuzho could no longer control His wrath, the Great Castrator unleashed storms upon the repugnant kingdom. Torrential rain, hail, and lightning pounded the land, destroying property and crops alike. The surviving vegetation quickly withered and died without Korutuzho’s loving care. When the mortals ran out of wine and food, they realized something was the matter. Soon they rushed to Korutuzho’s temple, honoring Him with what little they had remaining. Once the Father of the Gods decided that the mortals were sincere in their declarations, He rejuvenated the kingdom’s land. The mortals once again lived in the golden age under Korutuzho’s care. All was once again good and prosperous in the universe.

The day came, however, when Korutuzho’s son, Sozho, demanded it was His turn to rule the universe. Much to Korutuzho’s chagrin, the two gods faced off in single combat upon an open field. With all the freedom that Korutuzho’s beneficence and power had bestowed upon all, Sozho had had years and years to practice swordfighting. Furthermore, Sozho was equipped with a magic shield that wrapped around His body, rendering Him virtually invulnerable. Korutuzho fought reluctantly and valiantly, yet Sozho defeated Him.

With a slash of His sword, Sozho slit open Korutuzho’s belly, spilling His innards onto the soil and draining the blood from His body. As Korutuzho collapsed and died, His son lifted the Tablet of Destinies, becoming the new Ruler of the Universe and King of the Gods. Rana ran to Her husband’s body, tears streaming from Her eyes as She began to wail.

Korutuzho’s spirit descended to the Underworld, yet again removed from His splendid role as giver of bountiful harvests. Throughout the world, all beings divine and mortal joined Rana in mourning Korutuzho’s death. Fields of wheat crumbled to dust; grapes on the vine shriveled to inedible lumps; a cold wind swept over the land, carrying a first flurry of snow. Everyone quickly gathered all the food they could, for no one knew if they’d be able to grow crops ever again.

In the Underworld, Korutuzho arrived for judgment at the great hall of Pétíso, God of Death, Who was one of Korutuzho’s children. On a matching throne beside Pétíso was His wife Vuzhí, Goddess of Life and the Queen of the Dead. Her apple-green skin shone brilliantly in the dismal hall as She smiled pleasantly at Korutuzho, but the hissing viper atop Her head made Korutuzho reconsider His appraisal of Vuzhí’s beauty and charm. He did know, however, that Vuzhí’s mother Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, had been searching for Vuzhí aboveground, where nobody knew of Her marriage to Pétíso. As far as Korutuzho considered the matter, the Goddess of Life should not be buried in the Underworld, but up above, bringing life to all the universe.

Behind Pétíso stood His two counselors: heron-headed Sívorí, Goddess of Stars, and fly-faced Néhété, God of Poisonous Air, Who would assist Pétíso in ascertaining Korutuzho’s afterlife and potential reincarnation. Néhété asked never-ending questions of Korutuzho, Sívorí gave interpretations of Korutuzho’s answers, and Pétíso would make His judgment. As the interrogation progressed, the Father of the Gods became increasingly aware that Vuzhí’s gaze toward Him was transitioning from amiable to lustful. Korutuzho was quite handsome, in body and spirit, so it was only natural for a female such as Vuzhí to long to leave Her loveless marriage and be with Him.

Suddenly, Pétíso’s guard dog outside barked, whimpered, then barked some more. Néhété stopped in mid-question and stared at the entrance to the great hall. Korutuzho turned to find a dense fog seeping under the doors, quickly enveloping Him in its thick whiteness. Pétíso leapt up from His throne to do something, but He too was abruptly buried by the fog. Unseen by all, someone grabbed Korutuzho’s wrist and guided Him out of the great hall. Soon They were back in the world of the living and Korutuzho discovered His wife, Rana, gripping His wrist. They embraced in joy as the world around Them burst to life, sparked green and fresh by Korutuzho’s rebirth.

The Father of the Gods resumed His care for the crops and orchards of the world, but let His son Sozho keep the Tablet of Destinies and control of the universe. Korutuzho also told His daughter Nuvíní of the location and marriage of Vuzhí. The earth goddess tried to convince Vuzhí to return to the land of the living, but Vuzhí would not abandon Her throne and Her husband.

Despite that, Vuzhí still longed for Korutuzho. Playing upon Pétíso’s anger at having a soul stolen from Him, Vuzhí easily got Him to agree to bring Him back to the underworld. The easiest method was to kill Korutuzho yet again, and so Pétíso called upon His friend Névazhíno, God of Animals, for the task.

Névazhíno, Who never thought through anything, agreed at once to Pétíso’s request. The animal god transformed into a boar and set off across the land to find Korutuzho. Not knowing of this impending doom, Korutuzho was working mightily in the fields, under the hot sun that fed the crops. As His wife Rana coaxed a cloud overhead to give Him a brief respite, the boar Névazhíno burst through the cornstalks and gored Korutuzho with His tusks.

The boar raced away, His task complete. Rana swept down to Korutuzho’s side, only to watch Him die yet again. With Korutuzho, so went the crops. As the world mourned Korutuzho’s death, everyone hastily harvested all they could, before the cold and darkness settled upon the land once more. Down in the Underworld, Vuzhí could not contain Her enthusiasm at having handsome Korutuzho back in Her presence. She embraced Him, welcoming the Great Castrator back to the land of the dead, thus embarrassing both Korutuzho and Pétíso.

Aboveground, Névazhíno started bragging about what He had done, and on Whose direction He had done it. When Rana heard the news, She erupted in fury. She wanted to race down to the Underworld and rescue Her husband yet again, but She also knew that Vuzhí could take Him back just as easy, and the cycle would never end. No one would ever know when the crops would die and the world would grow cold. Therefore, Rana went to Sozho, since He was king, and asked Him to intercede.

Approximately on the same day, Nuvíní gave up trying to convince Vuzhí to bring Her life back to the world, and asked Sozho to make a judgment on Her behalf, as well. Since these two cases were so closely linked, Sozho considered the matters as one. In turn, He let Nuvíní, Pétíso, Korutuzho, Vuzhí, and Rana speak Their minds. He then flew away on His broomstick to deliberate in private. A fourday later, the King of the Gods made His pronouncement: Vuzhí would spend a third of the year with Nuvíní, a third of the year with Pétíso, and a third of the year as She desired; Korutuzho similarly would spend a third of the year with Rana, a third of the year as He desired, and a third with Vuzhí -- so long as it coincided with Her stay with Pétíso.

Vuzhí at once declared that She would split Her extra third evenly between Nuvíní and Pétíso. Korutuzho, on the other hand, announced that He would spend a full two-thirds of the year with His wife, Rana. Thus Vuzhí departs our world in late summer while Korutuzho remains till harvest time, and the first shoots of green in winter are brought forth by Korutuzho while Vuzhí waits slightly longer to make Her appearance.

As one would expect, nobody was happy at Sozho’s decision, and yet all abided by it. All the gods knew it was best for the universe. This way, the entire world knows when to collect food for the cold winter and when to plant crops anew. Every year in the last heat of summer, Korutuzho collapses dead while working, only to be reborn several months later, lifting the first green growths from the earth as He rises. Without the Father of the Gods, the crops would never grow and we would all perish. Do not take His beneficence for granted, however, or the Great Castrator will strike you down with the full force of His awesome wrath.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


If you ever are near Soap Lake, go play in the mud.

17 - Christina's Mud

14 - My Foot Soap Lake

Apparently the mud is good for the skin, but Christina said it just made her legs itchy.

Nevertheless, a nice place to visit.

12 - Chunlin Shore Soap Lake

25 - Chunlin Wade Soap Lake

23 - Mark Wave Soap Lk Ch

. . . More photos from Soap Lake are on flickr -- as are photos from last week's hike to Lake Lillian and the previous week's drive of Highways 26 and 27 -- see the WSU football team! I guess I haven't blogged my photos in quite a while. Oh well. . .


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Lucky lucky lucky!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Chunlin, Don't Drink My Milk

Apparently the ability to drink milk as an adult is almost exclusively a northern European trait:

Somewhat less than 40% of people in the world retain the ability to digest lactose after childhood. The numbers are often given as close to 0% of Native Americans, 5% of Asians, 25% of African and Caribbean peoples, 50% of Mediterranean peoples and 90% of northern Europeans. Sweden has one of the world's highest percentages of lactase tolerant people.

Being able to digest milk is so strange that scientists say we shouldn't really call lactose intolerance a disease, because that presumes it's abnormal. Instead, they call it lactase persistence, indicating what's really weird is the ability to continue to drink milk.

In years past, I've stopped drinking milk and eating yogurt for months at a time to see if I notice any changes, but I didn't. So I still eat and drink dairy products daily.

In normal humans, the enzyme that [digests lactose] stops being produced when the person is between two and five years old. The undigested sugars end up in the colon, where they begin to ferment, producing gas that can cause cramping, bloating, nausea, flatulence and diarrhea.

So, um. . . be careful what you drink!