Is This a Thing?

I know this is a weird question to ask. But I want to know if a gate set-up like what I am about to show you is a thing in real life.

Ugh, yes, so that’s tiny. And it’s just technically half the gate, I suppose, but bear with me. So, there’s the city wall on the left. On the right is the door, or the left of two doors, the hinge which is hidden behind a large stone or brick section, which is kind of an elaborate structure, the point of which is supposed to be that the gates can stay closed, but that people can pass in and out one at a time in the gap between the city wall and the wall of the actual door structure. The green curve there indicates where individuals would walk. Guards could then be posted where those two little circles are, if necessary, because two guys with spears or swords or guns could shoot or stab intruders who had to enter one by one. But at my gate, there’s probably not guards. People can go in and out one at a time and that’s cool.

It’s just a wholesale pouring in of an army, or worse, pouring out, that the gate would need to prevent.

Anyway, some of you are military folks and some of you are medievalists and so I’m hoping you can point me to whether this is a real thing already or if I’m going to have to invent it.


Midwesterners, Let’s Talk about “The”

I was just having a twitter exchange about a dancer at the Dejavu… and see it? A dancer at the Dejavu. Sometimes, even though I’ve lived in the South since, what, ’97? I still go to the Kroger or the Walmart.

I think that it has to do with specificity. If I need to go to Walmart, it just means I have some items I need to acquire that would best be gotten at a Walmart, any Walmart at some point. If I say that I need to go to the Walmart, it means, sometime very soon, I need to go get things at Walmart. Possibly today. And I mean that Walmart by my house.

Does that seem right to you? If I’m referring to “the X” I mean a specific one of X that I have in mind and that I think we both know or should?

It’s weird. I think of the Midwest as being bland, featureless, and historyless (though don’t let this fool you into thinking I don’t love it). But really, by contrast, you can see a lot of details.

When I lived in western Illinois, it was even a little more quirky. You might work at John Deere, but if you worked, say in Machine Shed 3, we’d say, “Oh, he works over to the Machine Shed.” You can workat a general place, but if you get specific, you work over to a location. Oh, or “the mall” works really well. I could either be going to the mall or I’m going over to the JC Penneys.

What I’m especially curious about is that there were a LOT of Swedes in that area and I wonder if the “over to” formation isn’t trying to preserve something that Swedish has–like a way to indicate general going vs. specific intent going or something?–that English doesn’t have.

Lots of Things Including an Orange Hat

1. My Grandma Doris turned 91 I thought on the 15th, but since there are pictures of her birthday party up on Facebook, I’m wondering if it was the 5th. Anyway, there she is in her jaunty new gardening hat. I wonder if she got her driver’s license for another year. I should call my mom and ask.

2. W. has written a post about what he calls a bridge. I keep looking at it, but I can’t quite make my mind believe that’s a bridge and not a walkway. It’s weird when you realize that you think you have a working definition for something–like “bridge” is just an object that connects two sides of a body of water–but then you realize “No, it has to be in the air!” Anyway, I get why W. thinks this has kind of not yet achieved its goal of not being obtrusive, but I think that, if this becomes a common kind of design at historic sites, it will be.

3. Even writing this post made me laugh so hard I almost couldn’t finish it. I’ll be ignoring the comments, which I recommend for anyone who wants to continue to have a nice day, but I’m still proud of it.

4. This is exactly half right about Franzen. What I mean is that it is exactly right in the direction it’s looking. Franzen is contrasting himself to “Status” writers. This explains so much of what I don’t like about him or his approach. Because I love weird, playful shit. “Let’s see what we can do if every third word has to be ‘blue’.” So this analysis, as far as it goes, I think is exactly spot on and perfect. But it’s only half of the issue. On the other side, we have the Franzen who is too good for Oprah, who wants to write things men will read, who wants to write real books, not like those girly things.

So you see what the real issue is, right? Daddy Bear’s book is too hard. Momma Bear’s book is too soft. Baby Franzen’s book is just right.