CultureLab: On the trail of Tutankhamen's penis

CultureLab: On the trail of Tutankhamen's penis

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I am so sick of Tut stuff I could vomit, but this was enough to make me post again.  Also, I suck for not keeping up with the ongoing Egyptian history and archaeology posts that I promised to do.  I'm actually hoping to start those up again soonish.

First of all, while Irwin Braverman of Yale Medical School and Philip Mackowiak of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland (doctors mentioned in the article as supporting the idea of a genetic disorder who wrote to JAMA regarding that very thing) may be perfectly good doctors, they are not Egyptologists. As I've discussed before, there is no requirement that a medical explanation be found for the "bizarre" or "androgynous" appearance of individuals in depictions from the Amarna Period as there is very good evidence that the unusual depictions have more to do with artistic convention that reality. So, that's mildly annoying, but only mildly because, really, that horse will never be fully beaten to death.

More annoying is this:
I smelled a conspiracy. Could ancient Egyptian embalmers have replaced the royal member to hide the fact that their king's manhood was somewhat lacking? What's more, the front of Tut's chest is missing, so it's impossible to check whether he did indeed have breasts. Was this part of the mummy's anatomy sabotaged too?
Yes, let's introduce unfounded speculation into an article on a site called "The New Scientist!" Woo! Never mind that there isn't really any reason to suspect that someone swapped out Tut's wang and replaced it with a bigger one or that his chest was deliberately damaged to hide evidence of moobs other than this journalist deciding she wants to be provocative.

Marchant is at least good enough to admit this later on after having spoken to John Taylor at the British Museum.  Unfortunately she doesn't mention that the recently published JAMA article indicates that  of the remains investigated by the researches, only Yuya had a cephalic index indicating an unusually elongated skull.  In fact, she suggests that photos should be taken/made available to compare the skulls of the remains identified as Akhenaten and Tutankhamun.  Bear in mind, the "unusually elongated skull" is one of the many signs that people jump all over when trying to diagnose Tut and family with various diseases, syndromes, and disorders.

For those wanting more info or citations- I direct you to The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure (King Tut) by Nicholas Reeves, pp 116-118 discuss the mummy and Carter and his team unwrapping it.  The photo on p. 117 clearly shows Tut's penis attached to his body and it's precise positioning and details of wrapping are briefly discussed on that same page.

Damage to the chest was caused by a combination of poor embalming technique and the subsequent unwrapping of the body by Carter et al.

The mummy and the unwrapping is also described by Carter in The Tomb of Tutankamen, pp 174-198, though more attention is given to the multitude of jewelry, amulets, etc., placed on the body.

And as an aside, I sincerely hope the first comment on the article itself is a joke.  Please.

I think this may also call for an addition to my Time Travel To-Do List:
1.  If someone invents a time machine and I go back to ancient Egypt, scribes better watch out. I will be pimp-slapping every last one of those bastards.
2.  Claim Europe.
3.  Print this out and take a copy to Charles Darwin.  For the lulz.
4.  Find the Trolololo guy and kill him.
5.  Take photos of Akhenaten and his extended family.  And blood samples.  And possibly penis measurements (that's totally getting farmed out to some grad student I hate).


Speedos and Pageant Ribbons

I've branched out from only using Instant Play from Netflix (and thus having DVDs sitting around unwatched for weeks) and have actually been watching DVDs. Yesterday I got Star Trek: The Animated Series.
I read the novelization of the episodes years ago, but had never seen the actual show.
Oh, it's awesome.
All the cast except Walter Koenig (Chekov) play their roles.
The music sounds like it's from The Love Boat.
The animation is at times hilariously bad.
But it's Star Trek and I love it.

Today I watched the episode Yesteryear. It involves adult Spock going back in time to rescue himself as a child from being eaten by a green scaly mountain lion. This was always one of my favorite stories.
I was knitting (in the round with DPNs, no less) while this was on so didn't see all of it so much as listen and glance up every now and then.
One of the things I glanced up to see was this:
Why are male Vulcan children typically (?) dressed in Speedos and pageant ribbons? It's a freakin' desert planet. Wouldn't there be unfortunate burns and chafing? Also, that chubby one better watch his back before the other bullies turn on him.  And do I want to know what the girls wear?
I realize it was the 70s, but seriously - who decided on this outfit?  Was it a nod the tradition of dressing females on the show in as little as possible?  More shopping at Intergalactic Disco Pimps R Us
It really is a cool episode.  We get a bit of back story for Spock and his childhood, including seeing his pet sehlat. 
Still disturbed by the outfits.

Photo credit:  Shamelessly stolen from Star Trek:  The Animated Series website

Exploration. We do it.

From this evening's walk around the Point:

I remain disappointed by the lack of bears, badgers, bats, or hobos. Survey will continue as appropriate.


Whatever, Animal Psychologists

Supposedly a good way to deal with doggies who are frightened by thunderstorms is not to comfort or soothe them because that reinforces the idea that something is wrong or that they should be afraid.  Instead, you should try to distract them by playing or something.

Yeah.  Right.

I just tried to get Oreo to play with one of his tugs and got the look of utter doggy disdain.  The expression that clearly says "Woman, what the hell is wrong with you?  There is a freakin' THUNDERMONSTER right outside and you taunt me with that stupid toy thing?"

Just a few minutes prior he was trying to claw his way into the bathroom with me.  If I hadn't already been in there, he may well have been trying to herd me in there because, apparently, he is aware that bathrooms are often the safest rooms in the event of thunderstorms or tornadoes.  He regularly tries to get me into the bathroom during storms.  The very same dog who occasionally runs to the wrong door of the apartment when Tom comes home and who still has trouble grasping the idea of looking at what you're pointing at instead of at your finger is somehow conversant with basic emergency procedure. 

I pointed out to him that I don't understand why he always comes to me when there's a storm.  Tom is much bigger and therefore likely better protection.  For once he listened to me:

Notice the paw carefully placed over one of Tom's feet so as to keep the protective shin fence in place.  Also, he looks extra pitiful.  And keeps looking at the door uneasily now and then. 

Thundermonsters:  serious business.  Water falling from the sky and leaving puddles in which I could DROWN:  also serious business. 
It's going to be a hard night for a little dog.  And probably for me too because odds are he's going to wind up sleeping on my CPAP hose trying to get as close to me as possible.


Tom found this chair during the end of academic year move-out and brought it home. Guess who spends the most time in it?
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Granny Square

I agreed to contribute a square to a sympathy afghan for a friend of a friend who had a sudden health crisis in the last few months. Finally got around to actually making the square today.
I used a pattern from SmoothFox - a Celtic Granny Square and worked it up in some Pine Simply Soft Eco. It went much faster than expected andI think it turned out lovely. The free pattern includes instructions for single or multiple colors, so I may works with this a bit more in future.
Plus I got to use one of my polymer clay handled crochet hooks.

I did most of it sitting on my zafu while watching the first episode of Elizabeth R. My back is less than pleased about this. I've now retreated to the couch and my "boyfriend pillow" and heating pad.

Not terribly much else going on lately. I had one of my very bad migraines starting Thursday night with the major pain lasting through Friday and residual suckage through today.  The concurrent thunderstorms aren't helping.
I've also been a bit depressed, but I suspect the migraine had a role in that.

Hoping to get going on some other projects this week.  I'd like to try designing my own amigurumi for sale as finished objects and/or as patterns, but keep feeling inadequate to the actual task and so keep doing loads of "research" into pattern templates, etc., etc., without actually doing anything.
The same with polymer clay stuff.  Must actually do instead of just thinking.
There's also sewing to be done.  I'm finding long-ish skirts more and more comfortable lately for a variety of reasons and would like to make some out of cotton in some good neutral colors.  I've got fabric and pattern for jammies waiting.  And I've still got an excessive amount of buckwheat hulls and a ton of fabric a lovely friend from Ravelry sent to me waiting to be made into pillows and hot/cold packs.

I also need to quit daydreaming about the homestead.  It'll happen when it happens.  Chickens!  Vegetables!  Goats!  Bunnehs!  Horsies!
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Seven Years Ago Today

Tom and I got married. It was an adventure. Continues to be one, really. Wouldn't trade it for anything.
Last two photos were taken during our first season in Sudan by one of our team-mates.  One at the end of a fairly windy day (sunscreen plus wind plus facing into the dirt = messy) and the other sitting on the bank of the Nile just before going for a quick swim.

Also, the finest ass in Buhen Temple.  And a very tasteful picture of it at that.


Finished Pug

Last night I finished making a pug amigurumi using a pattern from the wonderful June at Planet June. Despite her wonderful pattern instructions and equally wonderful on-line tutorials, I think the color changes in the eye-mask area turned out a little wonky, but she's still a cute little pug baby. I'm hoping she'll be loved by her recipient. As it is, I think I may have blisters on my fingers from all that crocheting. :P
I'm ashamed to admit I've barely used my zafu since finishing it. It seems every time I'm about to move from the couch to it Oreo decides he wants to climb in my lap and I can't resist doggie cuddle time.

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Finished Zafu

All done! Yay! Stuffing it was a bit challenging, but do-able, and it's quite comfy to sit on. Rockin'!
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Zafu Pinning and When Did I Start Getting Old

Today I finally got around to working on the zafu some more. After careful deliberation, I pretty much decided that the numbers and weirdness from the PDF pattern I had were worthless and decided to mostly wing it. Today I tried to start pinning the circles to the pleated sidewall bit. And broke my brain.
So, I started whimpering online. But, Alwen came to the rescue! Yay! I've got at least one of the damned circles pinned. I had to take a break as my back decided to start being all "Biznatch, I *know* you aren't going to make me stand up or sit and work after days of that stupid video game and walking." So, I made a cup of tea and settled back on the couch with heating pad after taking pictures of the pinned zafu and then loosing the camera and wandering around the apartment looking for it like a fool.

And then my Mom called from my nephew's graduation party. Who let him turn 18? He's joining the Army! And he sounds *just like my Dad*! Plus, he's huge - entirely too big to be taken down with a well-aimed cane swipe. What is this?!? I'm not grown up! Who let him be!?!

Anyway, pinning the zafu drove home an important point. A lot of things start to make a lot more sense once you actually start doing them than they do when you're staring at them and then at directions trying to make sense of them. It also drove home the important point that without the internet I would probably be in a corner covered in fabric and pins rocking back and forth in the fetal position.

And on a side note - that damn flying bird game on Wii Fit Plus can suck gangrenous donkey balls. And that stupid thing is going to say I'm 40 until I actually *am* 40. And my hips and back and shoulders hurt. Stupid freakin' being healthy...
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Suck It, Wii Fit Plus!

I did another body test today.  My age dropped to 34.  Wooo!

I'm also in a fair amount of pain, but whatever.

Also, the juggling game is IMPOSSIBLE!


Self-Esteem Boosting

Wii Fit Plus thinks I'm 50 and is shocked that I can walk without tripping over myself.  And Oreo likes to bark at the background noises in the meditation/Lotus Position mini-game and otherwise make a distraction of himself.  Also, I think it wants me to gain weight so my BMI is a perfect 22, but it can suck it.  Most of my clothes fit and we're keeping it that way.

It says Tom is 39 and also thinks his balance sucks, but for a different reason. 

We're of course responding to this in a completely mature reaction and at no point have I flipped off the machine or Tom.  Nor has Tom said anything like "it's okay, I am only 39 and you're 50."

Oreo weighs 15 lbs.  He doesn't get to play any games though.

All of the balance games were a challenge and even with just 5 minutes of playing, I have aches.

Also, WTF is up with the random flying Panda heads in the Soccer Ball Heading game?  Are they randomly assaulting furries and throwing their costumes at us?

Anyway, the plan is to do at least 5 minutes with it every day, probably yoga in the mornings, but possibly other things and keep up with my daily walks too.  We'll see how that goes for being enough, but not too much activity.

Tom is doing the skateboarding right now and it looks awesome but really freakin' hard.  Oreo is deeply baffled by Tom trying to speed up by moving his foot on the floor, which is hilarious.  He just sat right next to him and stared up at his face for a good minute with his head slightly tilted.  Then, since we're obviously playing some sort of game, even if it is a weird human game, he went to get his tennis ball and join in.