Friday, January 25, 2013

Orc Tease

Six-inch format figures of Azog and Bolg, from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Part of the Wave Two line-up expected to premiere next month. Picture found at

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Level of Evil

"Men may keep a sort of level of good,but no man has ever been able to keep on one level of evil. That road goes down and down." --G. K. Chesterton.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Great Historic Philosophical Statements

"I AM that I AM." --YHWH to Moses, ca. 1596-1271 BC.

"I think, therefore I am." --Rene Descartes, 1596-1650 AD.

"I yam what I yam, and tha's all I yam." --Popeye, 1929-Present.

(Not my original conception, but worth repeating.)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Master Fabio, Castle Historian

Master Fabio, castle historian, appears in the 1971 Hammer horror movie, Countess Dracula. He disguises his astute mind under the cover of elderly geniality as he investigates the disappearance of young girls and other strange happenings at the castle of the Countess, who has taken to bathing in the blood of virgins to restore her youth. Unfortunately, his efforts do not conclude happily for himself.

Master Fabio was played by Maurice Denham (1909-2002), a British actor who specialized in older characters of a somewhat befuddled nature. He appeared in (besides many other movies and TV shows) Curse of the Demon (1957, as Professor Henry Harrington), the Jackanory presentation of a selection from The Hobbit (1979, as the Reader), 84 Charing Cross Road (1987, as George Martin), and Dr. Who: The Twin Dilemma (1989, as Edgeworth/Azmael), just to name a few roles significant to me and people I know.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy 121st, J. R. R. Tolkien!

Today is the one hundred and twenty-first anniversary of the birth of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, shown here with his brother, Hilary Arthur Tolkien.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Weapon Distinctions: Mace, Flail, and Morningstar

The mace was a club-like weapon popular through many centuries and in many countries. Shapes, sizes, and patterns varied a great deal, but mostly had a long handle with a flanged, knobbed, or spiked head. They were popular with churchmen or clerics of military bent, because they were crushing or bruising weapons, and thus circumvented the scriptural ban on the shedding of blood by the sword.

The flail, as a weapon, was based on the agricultural instrument for threshing corn, and thus favored by lower orders. This devastating weapon, consisting at its simplest as a weighted end suspended from a handle by a chain or leather strip, besides landing painful blows, could strike around shields or entangle the enemy's weapon. Sometimes called, in grim humor, a 'holy water sprinkler.' It could have several heads which made it more deadly but harder to handle.

The morningstar (or 'morgenstern') was a spiked ball that could be used as the end of a mace or as the weight on the end of a flail. So-called because of its resemblance to a star.