Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm not quite dead!

Belated salutations!

After such an extended sojourn, I wouldn't be surprised if I'm talking to an empty room at this point, but to those of you still hanging around, you have Frodo's thanks, and a degree of my concern. Touching as it is, keeping Frodology permanently open and pressing F5 every half hour or so probably isn't the most productive use of your time! Surely there are some heathens you could be converting?

Anyway, I went on holiday several weeks ago, and then I came back. At that point, rather than picking the baton back up and preachin' the Good Word, I said to myself 'screw it, I'm going on another holiday'. So I did. And I'd definitely recommend it.

In the mean time, I started to channel my creative energy towards another project, and Frodology (but not Frodo) fell by the wayside. What is this secret, fun, new project, I read myself asking? After being told by at least two people that they would pay money to read things I've written (not much, but some), I decided I'd try my hand at writing a novel. Because, hey, if nothing else, that's like 2 x $12.99. Unless it never comes to fruition, or is (as I suspect it will be) totally unworthy of publication, and then it will be 2 x a fat lot of nothing. But that's still better than 1 x a fat lot of nothing.

I learned math good.

So finding myself with a limited supply of time and the imaginary disapproval of Stephen King if I didn't put down at least 2,000 words a day, I set to it. Currently I'd guess I'm about 25% of the way through a first draft. Still a long way to go, but enough to sit back, take stock, and realize how many things I've been neglecting due to my delusions of near competence.

So, in short, Frodology is not dead. I do plan to keep posting here (and I hope CodewordConduit will too if she's still reading somewhere), albeit not at the frequency I was maintaining before. I still have things to say, many of them funny, and some of them free.

Meanwhile, while no one was looking, Frodology received its 7,000th hit, thanks mainly to the intrepid Googlers responsible for such insightful search terms as dwarf sexuality, flis navi dad (I think that's just bad Spanish), and hollow man 3. What can I say, I guess I'm not the only one yearning to see Kevin Bacon tackle yet another terrible role with his enormous nostrils.

Frodo be with you, and I'll see ya'll soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Disappearing for a few days...

Dear faithful Frodologists,

Unfortunately, Frodo will be going silent for several days. As we all know, when a theist loses his uplink to his deity, he loses his ability to act morally and function in society. Sadly, there's nothing you can do to control it. You'll likely start going mad after a few hours, acting to all appearances exactly like a zombie. A zombie with bad manners. And a penchant for petty crime.

I give you my condolences ahead of time. I just thought you should know.

Apologetically yours,


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

History Lessons: Ancient Sparta (Part II)

If you haven't already, make sure to check out the first part to this lesson on Ancient Sparta.

Work ethic

The Spartan appetite for hard work was legendary and ferocious. They were universally tireless slave owners, a breed apart from the gin-sipping, porch-sitting slaver of the American colonies, a stereotype sadly responsible for giving slavery a bad name. Their workers were a race known as the helots, although the term “race” is misleading. The helots were Caucasian, as city elders determined it uneconomical to first discover and then trek all the way to Sub-Saharan Africa to capture some blacks.

In an interesting case of foreshadowing, the helots staged their own civil rights movement in the form of a violent rebellion, but were unsuccessful due to the lack of underground railroads, airplanes, or buses on which to stage protests.

Take note: if you’re planning a civil rights movement, center it around a mass transit system

The complete lack of moral philosophy in Spartan culture may also have played a role.



While Sparta might not be remembered as the great democracy that Athens was, it was undeniably egalitarian. Equality was ensured through a complex system of taxation, stringent rules on property ownership, and a rigorous policy of infanticide to weed out the weak and crippled.

This policy was enforced on the battlefield with the expectation that every soldier would profit from a campaign in equal proportion to the others, or as happened more frequently, suffer an equally brutal death.

Sparta was however notoriously backwards as regards education, in that their girls received some. Unfortunately, the decision to educate women predated the cliché that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” The influential role of women in Spartan society and their limited vocabulary of “fight,” “war,” and “stabby-stabby” are thought to have been largely responsible for much of Sparta’s constant campaigning.

Whoever educated Condoleezza Rice has a lot to answer for

Whoever named her, even more so



The policy of Fight, War, Stabby-Stabby was put into effect in the Spartans’ infamous stand at Thermopylae in 480 BC. Several months prior, Emperor Xerxes (Sexrex, really?) of Persia had crossed into Europe with an army some say was a million strong,  though fully a fifth of these were nubile young nymphs used for servicing the Emperor’s prodigious, sexy appetite. And some of these were female.

Three hundred Spartans, their helot attendants, and several thousand Peloponnesians met the Persians at Thermopylae, a narrow mountain pass overlooking the sea which trapped the advancing Persian army in a bottleneck. Several days of vicious fighting ensued, resulting in the eventual destruction of the valiant Greeks. The heavy cost in men and great delay taught Xerxes a valuable lesson: candlelight and oiled skin really help to take the edge off morally ambiguous child sex. Ok, well Xerxes wasn’t paying attention. But everyone else learned this: a rocky cliff is a dangerous place to have a battle.

Following the Persian victory at Thermopylae, the Greeks staged their last ditch defense at Plataea. Its unremarkable, gradual, downhill slope was calculated to recall in the Persians their fear of geographic features. With an army now staffed almost entirely by short-legged child prostitutes, the shallow incline was precisely the minor setback the Persians could have done without. While Plataea was a decisive victory for the Greeks, it wasn’t until legislation raised the age of sexual consent to sixteen, effectively outlawing the only thing the Persians were good at, that they finally decided to head home in defeat.


If you like the idea of more history lessons, please, do let me know, and if you have any suggestions of particular events, epochs, or civilizations, I’d love to hear them. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

100th post!

My last article on Ancient Sparta checked off yet another arbitrary blogging milestone - the legendary 100th post. She was a wily beast to slay, and the ephemeral joy of her capture was fleeting. Nevetheless, I fully intend to feast on the glory and bask in your envious adulation.

Of course, promiscuous dynamos like PersonalFailure and UNRR scratched their hundredth tally into the bedpost yonks ago, and are probably thinking "so, what? I did it, and I'll do it again." But like the mercenary caress of your first hooker, you never forget the giddy joys of your first century. Oh, sure, they might tell you they're happy. But as they soar ever closer to the seedy millennium, it's the perverse happiness of yesterday's makeup and unemployed clowns.

To those of you still furiously blogging away, beating at your keyboard and tugging at your hair with frustration, desperately trying to score that hundred, I will say only this: Frodo is watching.

Of course if we'd been designed by Frodo with eight fingers instead of ten, then this article would've been my 144th, and my history of Man - the last 303,240 years would have been my 100th. And if we had eleven fingers, we'd have to start using letters in our numbering, which is a whole new kind of crazy. The message is clear: numbers are evil.

I will be accepting gifts now.

New reader favorites?

Since by now you're no doubt in a sycophantic, fawning mood, I would like to ask you for your suggestions as to which articles to add to my reader favorites list.

If you're of the opinion that nothing you've read here has so far been any good, but you're confident that I'll come up with something worth reading in my second hundred, because seriously, it's like the freakin' law of probability or something, then you're guilty of the Blogger's Fallacy and you can shut yer hole.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

History Lessons: Ancient Sparta (Part I)

I’ve decided to try out a new type of article. It dawned on me that there are three things that everyone loves: history, ice cream, and things that comes in threes (sorry about the padding). Not only does everyone love history, but combined with a bit of creative re-imagining, it can serve to inspire and lead by its own example.

So today we’ll be hitting the history books and going back to Ancient Sparta, and hopefully, if we’re lucky, taking one or two lessons home with us. Think of it like a trip to the Creation Museum.

Since Frodology has recently experienced an influx of SMRTies who may not be used to the evidenceless-based learning we engage in here, this could be a great place to start. So, again, a trip to the Creation Museum.


Humble beginnings

In its earliest days, Sparta’s politics were dominated by the softer sex, but it wasn’t long before women muscled their way into power and set the militaristic tone of government by which it would forever be remembered.

This fun new policy of fighting kicked off with the Trojan War, a protracted conflict for which we should actually credit the Mycenaeans, the Spartans' progenitors.

Fun fact! ‘Progenitor’ means ‘in favor of genitals’ in English. 

Legend has it that the war started when Prince Paris of Troy eloped with Helen of Sparta, the betrothed of its King Menelaus. Apparently she was comely enough to warrant the launching of 1,000 ships, though this was likely inflated by hyperbole, not be confused with a hyperbola, a really bad case of Ebola; or with Hyperbowl, my local 10-pin lanes.

The Spartan army landed on the beach outside Troy and promptly fell in love with the scenery, quickly forgetting all about Helen. With the Spartans stuck outside the city gates for the better part of a decade, Troy looked impregnable, unlike the bitchin' hot Helen. Unfortunately, the dispute flared up again following a quarrel with a greedy Trojan beach vendor. Things quickly went sour for Troy when a seer in the employ of King Priam prophesized that Paris would be portrayed by the particularly effeminate Orlando Bloom in a retelling of the event three millennia later.

The news must have been shocking, because the Trojan troops opened the city gates to the Mycenaean army, captained by a large, wheeled stray horse, in a bid to hasten their own destruction and end the ignominy. The city was promptly sacked and its population enslaved.

Fun fact! The term ‘sacking’ originates from the ancient practice of placing an entire captured city inside a burlap sack as plunder. Of course, cities were much smaller then.

A version of the story has survived in the form of the Biblical telling of the Rape of Dinah. There are of course some differences, the chief one being that Dinah is thought to have been far more attractive than Helen, as thousands of adult men were willing to be circumcised merely to live in the same city as her.


Gender bender

Sparta was quick to incorporate its hard-earned lessons into a largely pragmatic legal system. They rightly concluded that the conflict was entirely the fault of the harlot Helen, and absolutely nothing to do with trade routes, greed and geopolitics.

This conclusion led to the curious marriage ritual of shaving the bride’s head and dressing her in a man’s tunic, obviously an attempt to ensure no escaping woman would be worth chasing after. This tradition has survived today, in the sense that Greek women still aren't attractive enough to be put on film. When attractive foreign actresses aren’t available, movies about Greece simply aren’t made.

Fun fact! The beautiful women in these films were not Greek: Alexander, Troy, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The 300, For Your Eyes Only, Mamma Mia!

Sad fact! My Big Fat Greek Wedding had dozens of Greek women. 


Family life

In Sparta, military service took precedence over all other areas of life. While men married around age 20, they stayed in barracks until they could live with their families at age 30. Frodologists call this “not having to live with your family until age 30.” The difference is subtle, but telling.

From an early age, Spartan boys took part in vigorous military training, called the agoge. As far as historians can determine, this was just a funny-sounded word with no actual meaning. The training was long and grueling, and if you were going to depict it in a film, I imagine you’d make an uncomfortable-to-watch montage of half-clothed boys, caked in mud and soaked with sweat, tumbling with each other on a river bank. To round out the queasy vision of youthful innocence, everyone would look like male versions of Dakota Fanning.

Oscar-worthy stuff.

But it wasn’t all hard work. Spartans knew how to love too…



Military philosophers of the time believed that a bond of love between an experienced warrior and a novice would make soldiers far more willing to fight for each other (known as “giving”), and also prepared to take a fatal blow meant for the other (“receiving”). It also engendered trust, a vital ingredient in hoplite warfare, as each man was responsible for protecting the man to his left with his own shield (known as a “reach around”).

Fun fact! Sparta’s impressive phalanxes were easily wiped out when tackled from left to right

The reach around leaves your flank exposed

Blog reader attention spans being what they are, I'm going to stop here for today. Check back in a couple of days to learn more about exciting events which may have (but probably didn't) happen, and the juicy details of 5th Century BC agricultural reform.

Carry on to Part II...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What will happen to the Rapture abortions?

Most Christians hold that fetuses, in all their gooey prenatal glory, are sacred sacs of soul-infused sanctity. Quite how they are able to distinguish a fetus from the type of organic glob that most Americans would cheerfully spray with a blast of Raid is unclear. Perhaps they have some sort of affirmative action scheme in place, though no fetus has to my knowledge been accepted to any university yet, no matter how awful. Well, maybe Brown. But definitely nowhere else.

Yet how this inviolability can be squared against the highly anticipated mass carnage of the approaching Rapture is a troubling question for Christian theologians. Babies must first be born in order for their souls to be scooped up into the abrasive burlap sack that is Christian theology. 

So what happens to the ones still floundering in the womb when the Rapture starts?

The question is a pressing one, as we are clearly living in the End Times, and have been doing for a good two thousand years or so. An obvious solution is to allow Jesus to start the show when no saved souls are pregnant. Unfortunately this is difficult to coordinate, and is most easily accomplished if everyone simply stops having sex. Thankfully, obesity and botched plastic surgery are working hard on both ends of the female spectrum to make women much less attractive, and intercourse far less appealing.

Still, universal celibacy is not something we can rely on.  Another option is to exclude pregnant women from the Rapture entirely. After all, it’d be good if they learned to abstain from something, eh? Am I right? Yeah, nice. This could make getting pregnant somewhat like Russian roulette, which it already is for people with ugly spouses, like the Mormons, and those with just one ugly spouse, like the rest of us.

A third solution would be to rapture the unborn baby part and parcel with the mother, and simply wait out the rest of the pregnancy in Heaven. Unfortunately, the mother’s options will be limited should any complications occur, as, in accordance with policy, Heaven’s surgeons have rendered unto Caesar that which are Caesarians. Nor is it guaranteed that the child, once born in Heaven, will even accept Christianity, arguments for the existence of God being what they are.

A, uh, final solution, is simply to rapture the fetus in utero, as an independent entity to the mother. Though still too young to repent of their original crimesin on Earth, the airtight nature of Christian theology all but guarantees that they will be afforded the opportunity in Heaven. As the only alternative would be to send them to purgatory, where the age difference between the unborn fetuses and unbaptized babies could lead to bullying, apologists believe this is the best answer.

While ordinarily this could make for an awkward situation if the unrepentant mother isn't raptured along with the fetus, experts believe that anyone with in an interest in enforcing state abortion laws will vanish during the Rapture, all of which forces the question: will Christians be going to Heaven, or leaving it behind?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bible tag!

As the weather improves and the little ones return to the great outdoors (sometimes for good, if natural selection has its way), parents naturally want to provide activities for their children that are both wholesome and fun. Playing ‘Guantanamo’ was all well and good until Mrs. Schroeder’s cat stopped resisting the water boarding, and you can’t really argue with the police’s opinion that ‘hunting pirates’ isn’t good for race relations.

So why not give them a game to play straight from the Bible?

You’ll need a menstruating woman to get started. This one’s probably on you, moms! She’s ‘it’ for seven days, and anyone or anything she touches becomes ‘it’ too. The ‘it’ team must then try to make as many people and as many things unclean as possible, while the opposing team must try to bathe everything in water before evening. While it sounds like the odds are stacked in favor of the menstruator and her unholy hordes, don’t worry – they’ll be handicapped by cramps and hobbled by the pain of childbirth. Thank Jehovah!

The origin of cooties shots

Bible tag truly is infectious, but you should be careful that your neighbors don’t think you’re Jewish. While they’ll undoubtedly be impressed by the hundreds of gallons of water you’re spilling on your lawn to purify yourselves, you’re not yacht club members yet! In fact, it may be wise to invite them over for a BBQ (in the evening, once you’re clean), just to be safe.

After playing Bible tag for a little while, you’ll probably start wondering “how did they manage to keep everything clean in the desert with such little water?” Well, they didn’t.

Scholars believe Bible tag (!) can explain the disappearance of several early Israelite settlements. After a few hours of vigorous play, participants would begin to run out of things to purify themselves with. When it got to the point that the water jugs themselves needed to be bathed to remain pure, scores of players would have already succumbed to dehydration and exhaustion. The self-inflicted tragedy further embittered thousands of displaced Canaanites, and one teary-eyed spectator has gone down in history with his legendary lamentation, “come on, we’re smarter than that!”

Its prodigious water demands of course mean that, just like all good games, Bible tag can only be enjoyed properly in the developed world.

Coming soon, we’ll have more Games by Leviticus, including one similar to the traditional English game of bowls. But instead of using polished balls, the Israelites used rough, dense pieces of stone, and rather than being rolled down a green, they were lobbed at people’s heads! We’ll also have ‘Guess My Abomination!’ Do I sleep with other men, wear garments woven from two different kinds of thread, or eat crustaceans?

Find out soon, and thanks for playing!