Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Tumulus, and Other Trivia


-- This picture shows the Tumulus, an odd feature on Hampstead Heath. It's a mound of earth covered by pine trees, which are not commonly found elsewhere on wild parts of the Heath, and entirely surrounded by a ditch and an iron fence. The brush around the fence has recently been cleared, so now it's more easily seen. Interestingly, no one seems to know what the Tumulus actually is, though there are a lot of theories.

-- I have to clarify that my neighbor, who I've mentioned in the last two posts, is not really named Mrs. Kravitz. I just call her that for blogging purposes, after the famous nosey neighbor on "Bewitched," because she can be a bit of a pill.

-- Remember the freedom survey? Yesterday I asked the boy in charge about the results. He hemmed and hawed, and finally said fifty percent of people at school think they are NOT free. Then he scampered away. I think that is an entirely manufactured statistic. Sounds like someone didn't finish their homework.

-- I was struck by a quote in the Nov. 28 issue of The New Yorker, in an article by David Remnick about Obama's legacy. In discussing Trump and his election, Remnick quotes a "left-leaning philosopher" named Richard Rorty, who wrote this astonishingly prescient passage in 1998: "Something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for -- someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots... One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion... All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet."

-- On a brighter note, did you know that you can rent Emily Dickinson's bedroom for an hour or two of creative work? (I also learned this from The New Yorker. Credit where credit is due!)

-- Speaking of creative celebrities, I came face to face with one of my famous neighbors while walking Olga yesterday morning. We smiled at each other and I said hi, in passing, like I would with any other neighbor. I've heard that she will occasionally stop to pet dogs but she didn't pet Olga. Maybe she's wary around staffies?

-- Yesterday I saw personal evidence that fake news continues to be a problem. A friend of a friend on Facebook posted an entirely false article about all Americans requiring a microchip implant by 2017. She believed it!


-- At the risk of turning this post into one long advertisement for The New Yorker, here's my favorite recent cartoon.

-- Finally, I did in fact do some perfunctory Christmas shopping. I won't win any prizes for creativity, but at least I'm not entirely empty-handed! I also did all the online paperwork to check in Dave and I for our upcoming Christmas cruise. In just nine days, we'll be off on that adventure!

15 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

The Tumulus is referred to in a website I have often visited - The Megalithic Portal. Even though the site has been excavated, it is unclear who did it or what if anything was discovered...
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=4724

Ms. Moon said...

Prescient indeed. Jesus.
WHO was your celebrity neighbor? I mean- isn't that the important stuff?
I think that boy with the survey was bullshitting.

Steve Reed said...

YP: Interesting! They seem reluctant to call it the Tumulus. They like "round barrow" better!

Ms Moon: Follow the link for the celebrity ID! :) I agree with you about Freedom Boy.

Red said...

The sad part about David Reminck's passage is that the split or change could have gone the other way for the same reason. In today's situation people have bought a load of BS.

Sharon Anck said...

I wondered if you would ever run into any of your famous neighbors. I just watched her in "Love Actually", one of my favorite holiday movies.
Thanks for the link to that article. I'm going to read the whole thing. That 1998 prediction is incredible and frightening at the same time. Every day that passes, I feel more and more helpless.

37paddington said...

That was an eerily prescient passage in the New Yorker. I'm so impressed about your cruise! Oh, maybe a tad bit jealous, too. Enjoy!

Catalyst said...

The more actual facts I hear about half of the voters in my country the more helpless I feel. Your choice to live in London was a good one, I think, although the Brexit vote indicates a similarity of views over there.

Sharon Anck said...

I just had to follow up to say that I read that article in the New Yorker and in spite of that rather dismal prediction that was quoted in it, the whole article made me feel a bit uplifted. Obama really is a great man. I certainly hope that he's able to do some good with his ideas to form new leaders in the Democratic party and society in general.

jenny_o said...

That was an enlightening, refreshing article in The New Yorker. Anyone who is still mourning the election results should read it and see what Obama himself says about it all.

Allison said...

Thank you so much for the link to the New Yorker article. He is such a brilliant writer. I was forced to abandon my "no politics" stance and reference it, as well. And then, of course, I had to talk about Rick Perry. The cruise sounds just delightful, I hope you enjoy it.

Alphie Soup said...

I am always grateful for your links to the New Yorker although it was a very long article and stopped working before I reached the end. Maybe I'm just a slow reader.
And the survey boy. No surprises there.

Alphie

Blondi said...

I will watch anything Emma Thompson is in. Unless she's in a horror movie. Bless her heart, I don't think she has ever been. -Kate

Shooting Parrots said...

I suspect that your juvenile pollster is the same one that predicted the Remain and Hillary victories.

ellen abbott said...

I'm surprised archeologists haven't taken cores at least. and if it was any of the theories mentioned why have an iron fence and a ditch around it? who put up the iron fence?

Steve Reed said...

Ellen, I think the mound has been excavated. As I remember, nothing of substance has yet been found. I don't know who fenced it -- it's been like that for decades and decades, probably more like centuries.