Sunday, April 08, 2018

Arons saga svarts (The Saga of Aaron Swartz)

I've been taking a MOOC in Medieval Icelandic Sagas, and one of the final assessments involved creating your own saga introduction. I thought I'd go one better and create a very short saga (short, unfortunately, by the nature of the subject matter). It's about a hero for our times, the hacktivist Aaron Swartz. Generally I've tried to keep to the William Morris/Eiríkur Magnússon style.


There was a man named Aron, bynamed svartr, who dwelled in California, far west-over-the-sea, beyond the lands of the Skraelings. He was the son of Robert svartr, who had to wife Susan, and his brothers were named Noah and Benjamin. Aron svartr was a great law-speaker, and the most open and generous of men.

In those days Earl Sevier had the kingdom of academic publishing. Earl Sevier hight build a great fortification, which men called J-stórr, surrounded it with an unbreakable wall called Pay-wall, and commanded that all academic works be placed within; but a toll was levied on those who wished to come there. This liked men ill, for that the Earl would in nowise give boot for these works, though authors had worked hard to craft them, and even the authors must pay the toll.

Now it must be said of academic works in these times that they have a wondrous property, that they multiply beyond number, so that a man may take them and they will eternally be replenished, like unto the mead that flows from Heiðrún’s teats in Valhalla; and therefore men deemed it the greatest of ills that Earl Sevier wanted all of them for himself.

Aron svartr went up to J-Stórr by night, and cunningly unlocked the trap-door that the thralls of MIT used to gain entry to the fortification by day. Aron was wise in matters of building and knew that the academic works were piled high and waxed exceeding heavy, so that they began to trickle out through the trapdoor, and lay in the open, where all men could get at them; but they also remained within Pay-wall. But before dawn, Aron returned by stealth and closed the trapdoor, and so it went for many nights.

Now an old carline of Earl Sevier's household at J-Stórr had the sharpest of ears and the meanest of spirits, and heard the trickle of academic works escaping. One evening she bade the Earl climb to the ramparts of Pay-wall, and hidden there they saw Aron svartr come to the trapdoor and prop it open.

Then the carline whetted the Earl that he should kill Aaron svartr for bringing the name of his household into disrepute. Earl Sevier said that this should not be, “for harder it is to a man wise in the law, that the law itself be his head-bane”.

That summer Aron svartr was summoned to the Thing, and friends of the Earl set down a suit against him. And men dared not speak against Earl Sevier because of his great wealth and power, though Aron svartr was a friend to all men, and he was called an outlaw, though the suit never came to an end. Aron did not come to the judgement, but he hanged himself, and that was the end of him.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Ritter Sport Spring 2018

Sampling these was extremely challenging, as I am currently on a diet that allows strictly no chocolate. I hope you all appreciate how I've deliberately forced myself to go against my own wishes for the sake of my adoring public.

Zitronen-Waffel: 7.5/10
Very potent, and has a creamy-sugary component to it too. Actually the waffle itself is largely lost in the noise, but does provide a not unpleasant crunch. The most annoying part of this one is that it tends to fall to bits when you try to eat it. Half a point off for that.

Johannisbeer-Streusel: 8.5/10
Didn’t we have this one recently? I don’t really care, since it’s excellent. Sharp, creamy, crunchy. Mmmm.

Honig Crisp: 7/10
Maybe I'm growing picky, but this one didn't quite do it for me. Is it possible for a Ritter Sport to be too sweet? If so, that's what's going on here. The crispiness isn't quite salient enough somehow. Not that I didn't enjoy eating it at all, of course.