Nicholas Wade A Troublesome InheritanceA


I enjoyed the book, and am having fun take notes.  I enjoyed the excerpt in Time Magazine from Nicholas Wade’s book and was looking forward to reading the entire book.

My disclaimer.  I’m not an expert on genetics, just an interested layman.  I will throw in some of my own views on what Mr. Wade brought up.

Political Correctness and Race.  There is a fear among many that mentioning race will bring out the worst.  The American Anthropological Society considers race a recent concept.  Well, without genetics, we had no real scientific baseline.  People used to refer to the “Irish race,” for example.  In the past, race was really anything that was, “the other.”  Us and them.  Nothing scientific about it.  On page seven, he states, racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle, not science.   Also academics interested in intelligence fear a gene will prove one race with more intelligence than others.  Intelligence has a genetic basis, but no genetic variant has been found.  Look at the 100 yard dash.  All Olympians have West African ancestry.  Few question that.  There is also much about the human genome we still do not know.

On page 59, Wade mentions Marxists.  Probably see less about Marxists now, but I remember them on my college campus.  Marxists don’t like the idea of genetics driving certain things, because their entire idea was based on the idea of developing the “New Socialist Man.”

Now we get to the beginnings of agricultural society 15,000 years ago.  Hunter Gatherer societies were fairly egalitarian.  With agricultural, you had territory and something you had to protect.

Herders had even more to protect.  An agricultural village can lose some of its crop, like the peasants in the Kurosawa movie The Seven Samurai.   A pastoral society loses all its animals in a raid, they starve.   I’m thinking of the George MacDonald Fraser book The Border Reivers.   These are tough people.  No wonder they were sent first to Ulster in Ireland and then to the North American frontier.  These groups create elite warrior groups, like the Zulu.  In herder societies, you are raised to fight, you are constantly fighting.

In an agricultural society, you now have a headman, who organizes defenses for his community and diplomacy with neighboring areas.  When you grow more, you have city states.

There seems to be a pattern.  A certain size equals a certain level of civilization.  Learned behavior in culture goes along with some genetically driven social behaviors.

Wade mentions on page 71, if the races continued to be isolated, we would have drifted apart into different primate species.

OK, we come back to the question, what is race?  Some say there are three main races.

1.  Sub Saharan Africans.

2.  Caucasians.  (Including Europe, the Near East, and Indian Subcontinent).

3.  East Asians, who split apart from Caucasians about 30,000 years ago.

As we learn more about the genome, we can have some more classifications.  You might be able to consider Tibetans as a separate race, because they have the genome for surviving at high altitudes.  (Other studies have said the Ancient Denisovans mixed with them).  Australian Aborigines split apart so long ago, they can be considered a race.  Some classification schemes recognize as many as 60 races.

 

Posted in dna, Genetics | Leave a comment

A Tongue in Cheek History of Ireland


Many of my readers have read my History Made Fun stuff.  I want to travel to Ireland and thought I would do my tongue in cheek Irish History.

Why am I writing this?  I’m Jewish, not Irish.

According to DNA, Britain and Ireland were settled by people from what is now Northern Spain 10,000 years ago.    People kept heading North, these people were certainly not interested in the Costa Brava, but headed for the cold and damp.  It was before we knew about coffee, writers and Seattle.   We didn’t call them the Irish yet, nor were they writers.

They built places like Newgrange.  So that’s what the Flintstones were based on.  Who played Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty?  :)

Then the Celts came.  Great jewelers, love of poetry, song and a good fight.  DNA has now shown us, the majority of the Irish ancestry, no matter who came is still from the original settlers.  The Celts brought ideas and language.  Because of DNA, we are finding this is the pattern throughout much of the world.  A small population with ideas and possibly better weapons.  I called a previous blogposts Irish with sticks.  No insult intended here, but I need the rhyme, so here we go, Micks with Sticks.  (I would love to have someone come up with some Gaelic rhymes).  So the Celts had sticks and other toys, I mean weapons.  Hurling was better than using swords and spears…Maybe.

Posted in dna, Genetics, Genocide, H.L. Mencken, History Made Fun, How Monty Python Ruined My Life, Ireland, Things Irish | Leave a comment

John Cleese and Eric Idle Bring Monty Python to Tucson


 

John Cleese & Eric Idle Poster

 

 

 

 

Those who know me, know I’m a major fan of Monty Python.  In the Spring, we found out John Cleese and Eric Idle were invading, sorry, coming to perform in the Old Pueblo, what we call Tucson.

We bought our tickets immediately.  I’d seen Eric Idle back in 2002 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey.  I was in the balcony,  Anyone in the orchestra was fair game to for Eric to pull them out of the audience and on stage.  Newark’s incumbent mayor was a man named Sharpe James. He was being challenged by someone many Americans have heard of, Senator Cory Booker.

Eric Idle had great fun with that.  He mentioned Sharpe James, but asked, if he was sharp?  That got some laughs.

It was something to look forward to, with the crazy 2016 year.  Our crazy election year and in the United Kingdom, Brexit.  

November 22nd is an inauspicious day in the United States, for those who are history buffs.  The day of the JFK Assassination.  I digress though.

Well they were coming here from Mesa, Arizona.  Not Phoenix, Mesa, still in Maricopa County though.  

This is important, because Phoenix comes up.  Hey, I don’t know what wisecracks about Tucson they may have made, but that’s an aside.  As I stated, Mesa, is still Maricopa County, home of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department and soon to be ex Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Foreigners?  They were lucky to escape tents and pink underwear, though Sheriff Joe was defeated in the election.  They were able to escape down Interstate 10 to Tucson.  To the best of my knowledge, Sheriff Joe doesn’t have warrants out for them.  They made it on the Butterfield Stage past the Apaches, sorry that would be Tombstone.  I’m waiting for the Graham Chapman letter Dear Sir, silly just silly!  Sorry, I’m a writer, I have my flights of fancy.

We went with my childhood friend Lizzie Svenson, to the performance.  The venue?  Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus.

Centennial Hall is by the Main Gate of the University, and in front on University Blvd. is Main Gate Square with shops and restaurants.  It’s fun to be down there, especially with the Streetcar going through.  

After dinner, we walked to the hall.  I know there were tickets available, but when all were seated, not many.

We were seated in the orchestra near the back, but dead center.  The crowd was older, old enough to remember Monty Python  Some were dressed fairly formally for Tucson others in the usual Tucson outfit of jeans, tshirts, and sneakers.  Two guys behind us were dressed as the Gumbys.   There was a screen on stage where some of the skits were shown and that included the Gumbys.  

First skits were shown, then the audience had their legs pulled by an announcement, that the show would be delayed, while the performers ran out to get alcohol and drugs.  Why am I not surprised? I thought with a laugh.

There were two chairs on stage, wide red, very comfortable looking chairs.  I thought the Comfy Chairs of the Spanish Inquisition skit.  We knew which chair would be Eric’s, it had the guitar next to it.

They finally came out on stage.  I’d never seen John Cleese live before, and forgot how tall he is.  This is Tucson, and our great University of Arizona basketball team.  Where are Lute Olson and Sean Miller, when you need them?  McKale Center is just across campus, you can walk it John.

What made the evening fun, was not just skits, but the history and the asides.  They talked about working with David Frost pre-Python.  The play that ended in New York, stranding John Cleese.  See, no matter what we do, will no one, but no one rid us of this meddlesome Cleese?  Yes, I’m playing with the English Language.  I’m not as good as Winston Churchill, my hero and the master of the English Language.  

Yes, John Cleese keeps turning up in this country.  I found out there is a special Python Visa.  Someone in the State Department had a sense of humor, and I don’t think it was John Kerry.  Eric Idle lives in our fair country.  He’s on the tour to make sure John has an escort.

I enjoyed the Fish Dance skit, when John explained how the water dropped in the lock. Michael Palin is always a good guy.  In Arizona though, they would have had to do it on the imported London Bridge at Lake Havasu.  How many times would Michael Palin have to be dropped into the lake?  (Thanks to London Bridge, Lake Havasu is the second biggest tourist attraction in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon.  Like the comment in the Holy Grail about Camelot being just a model, the Grand Canyon is just a giant sinkhole.  There I said it.  What’s wrong with Tucson?  We have Mission San Xavier.  We have casinos, the Congress Hotel, John Dillinger was captured in.  Is it our fault Indiana let him go again?  We have the University, shops, museums, and a new sleek streetcar).  

Enough about the fish dance, we are in a desert.  Spiny Norman here would not be a hedgehog but a cactus, OUCH!  Jumping Cholla are no joke.  You can get all stuck up here and needled.

Then the beginnings.  They showed their college at Cambridge, only they called it Trump University and stated they majored in fraud.  Their first dig at our President-Elect.

OK, who brought us Brexit?  I shouldn’t laugh, Nigel Farage may really be presenting his credentials to President Trump.  

Ah the bookstore skit.  They took a swipe at Phoenix and their ability to read.  They have a newspaper, the Arizona Republic.  We have the Arizona Daily Star, so there!

Then came Bring Out Your Dead.  Oh just hit him over the head and be done with it.  Leading to the Brain Specialist.  Yes, the Gumbys behind us in Row Z.  

The Undertaker sketch.  Plenty of desert washes to throw up in.  

Yes, and the wisecrack, Tucson will be a nice city when they finish it.  Hey, it’s a work in progress.  So what if Stone Avenue looks as though a giant mole burrowed its way through.  Like the Norwegian Blue plumage we have a bright blue streetcar.  Of course we are building.  We’re Americans, always pushing and pushy.

Ah yes, the Guards scene from the Holy Grail.  Two days later, Thanksgiving Night I watched Father Ted.  Ted talks to Dougal, like talking to the guards all the time.  Like talking to a wall.

Of course Life of Brian.  Crucifiction.  Yes, out to the left, one cross each.  As though you would want two.  

I enjoyed the discussion of how they came up with ideas for the movies.  A Fish Called Wanda.  A steamroller, Italian, and Russian.  The things stories are built around.  Or Life of Brian.  Jesus Christ Superstar, or Meaning of Life.

I enjoyed the bit about the front row in Winnipeg dressed as caterpillars.  You told us not to bolt for the border.  Oh you meant THAT border.  When we hear border we think the one with Mexico and the one with Casa Grande, which is to us as Hadrian’s Wall is to England.  Our wall is just in our minds,  We know we are driving in Maricopa County, when the quality of the roads improves.  

The songs of course were great.  Words were up on the screen.  None of us needed them.

Then they showed Hells Grannies.  I’m picturing grannies  on motorcycles, defended by our local motorcycle law firm, the Law Tigers.  See, let Hells Grannies loose on our open roads…

    That leads to Eric telling the story about his friendship with physics professor, Brian Cox.  I enjoyed the film where he was speaking, until, what’s this?  Dr. Stephen Hawking, hotrodding and running Dr. Cox down?!  Good grief!  A bit like the horse riding the historian down in the Holy Grail (of course the only non coconut horse).  He then fled the scene.  No ticket, nothing.  

Thanks for coming, gentlemen.  Now you can write the book about the tour or I can write it and you can come back for the Tucson Festival of Books.  We have it every March at the University of Arizona.  No excuses, you know how to get here now.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Enjoy Oh My God My Wife is German.


Click on the link.

 

Hilarious German Proverbs: Part VI

 

 

 

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment

Book Review


I am going to concentrate on my series Reading History Like a Novel, but will begin here with a book review.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/19/books/200-years-later-the-xhosa-fight-on.html?pagewanted=all

Posted in History Made Fun | Leave a comment

Back from a long absence.


After a long hiatus, posting again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Absence.


I’ve been publishing heavily on Angie’s Diary and working on some short ebooks.  Will have more soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment