TALKING TEXAN.

Maud Newton had a post back in May in which she quoted some of the pungent phrases her Texan granny used to use; most of them are familiar (He cleans up real nice, Ain’t neither one of them got a lick a sense, I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire, He’s meaner than a junkyard dog), but there are some new to me (including the alarming He’s rich enough to burn a wet dog). Now she’s added some more in a follow-up post; again, some are well known (She couldn’t find her butt with both hands, He’s all hat and no cattle), but some are quite striking: You sound like a dying cow in a hailstorm (said to a whining child), Don’t that just take the rag off the bush? (isn’t it appalling?), Don’t just sit there looking like a tree full of owls (don’t look so surprised; said to a group). This is the kind of thing that makes lovers of vigorous speech mourn the homogenization of language.

Comments

  1. I especially love the “all hat and no cattle” comment. Brilliant.

  2. The oldest I’ve heard of the ‘all hat, no cattle’ remark was John Connally’s 1980 insight into Herbie Bush, and in particular, a reference to Herbie’s pretensions to being ‘Texan’ at all (Herbie was always a New Englander). (Connally and Herbie had a strange relationship. The story is that Connally, when Tricky Dick picked him to be a Southern ‘Democrat’ Treasury Secretary, got the Tricky Man to find an administration job for Herbie, to help Herbie’s career. Thanks, John, for Hanoi George!) The phrase sounds much older than even John Connally, though.

    The genealogy of don’t that take the rag off a bush in the link Maud Newton provides sounds like a bit of a Bowdlerization. Thinking of “to appal: to whiten (‘pale’) the skin from fear, rage, or disgust by ‘draining’ it of blood”, I wonder if “rag” and “bush” don’t have colloquial meanings to do with menstruation. The idiom would still mean ‘yikes’, but in a (socially) more squeamish-making way.

  3. I think we went into hats and cattle some time ago. My Australian version was : “The wider the brim, the fewer the sheep.”

  4. See also the “all mouth and [no] trouser” debate
    “wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire” would better be “would piss on him unless he was on fire”.

  5. John Emerson says:

    I am now imagining Texans squatting on their heels, grunting “Ugh. Tex rich man. Heap many cattle.” Or Australians and sheep.

  6. The oldest I’ve heard of the ‘all hat, no cattle’ remark was John Connally’s 1980 insight into Herbie Bush, and in particular, a reference to Herbie’s pretensions to being ‘Texan’ at all
    Interesting—I did a Google Book search with 1981 as the end date, and sure enough, the only securely dated hits that involved this expression were from 1980, one of them clearly a reference to what you’re talking about (“I read a columnist that said, Reagan was all hat and no cattle”). But the other (“Don’t aim to be all hat and no cattle forever, let me tell you!”) is from Patricia Calvert’s novel The Snowbird, which, while published in 1980, was presumably written earlier and couldn’t very well reflect the Bush reference. (The novel is set in 1883, but of course that doesn’t mean anything; I doubt Calvert did the kind of detailed linguistic research necessary to establish the expression was used back then.) My guess would be that it’s been used and locally known in Texas for some time (no way of knowing how long), and became known outside of Texas from the Connally quote.

  7. I should add that a Texan claiming that he used to hear his granddaddy say that back in the 1950s or whatever would not be evidence—people are very frequently mistaken about such things.

  8. Trond Engen says:

    mollymooly: “wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire” would better be “would piss on him unless he was on fire”.
    Not agreed. And with the risk of destruction by demolition: I wouldn’t X if Y is a strong template. It works on the opposition between the usually positive X and the usually facilitating Y: “I wouldn’t do it if you paid me”. Sometimes it can be strengthened by raising the stakes in Y: “I wouldn’t marry him if he was the last man on earth.” This one is strengthened both by the use of a demeaning X and by a deeply consequential Y: “I wouldn’t even waste my piss to demean him, if it so were to put down a fire.”

  9. As I recall, a form of “Don’t that just take the rag off the bush?” shows up in the satirical musical comedy, Lil’ Abner. Where it’s credited to Al Capp’s Appalachian folk.

  10. rootlesscosmo says:

    From fellow-railroaders of the 1970′s who were raised in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas:
    Doing well financially: “Shitting in tall cotton.”
    Seeking unfair advantage, e.g. jumping a queue: “Trying to cut a fat hog in the ass.”
    Of an incompetent brakeman: “He doesn’t know any more about handling boxcars than a cub bear does about handling his prick.”

  11. i recalled the silliest joke ever, the hare’s found in the forest a glove and thinks, that ho cow, lost her bra

  12. Trond, turn the first ‘if Y, then X’ around: If he were burning to death, that’s a case, one perhaps of many, where I wouldn’t piss on him, maybe because I hate him so much I’d rather he underwent the greater pain of burning than of my humiliating him.
    mollymooly is saying, If he were not burning, then, sure!, I’d bother to humiliate him; but I surely wouldn’t humiliate him if that humiliation would actually save him. mollymooly is adding a bit of information- or emphasizing an implication: ‘I would take the opportunity to humiliate him, but not in the case of saving him from burning.’
    I think your version of the original, ‘I wouldn’t even bother . . .’, in fact serves to blur the degree of hatred that mollymooly plucks out from the original and highlights.

  13. @Trond Engen
    Not sure what you mean by “usually positive” and how it relates to wasting piss.
    I agree that “I wouldn’t X [even] if Y” is a strong template; so strong that in this case is overcomes the, in my view, illogicality of the strict meaning.

  14. Sanford Gabin of Yardley, Pennsylvania suggests the original is big hat — no cattle, which Google books attests from 1944 as “An Indian’s definition of a tenderfoot on a dude ranch”

  15. language hat, what I (mis?)remember from the Repugnican campaign of ’80 was that Connally, who was hustled out (in a distant third place overall?) soon after South Carolina, said ‘all hat, no cattle’ of Herbie Bush, the fake-Texan who actually, that primary season, campaigned under a cowboy hat, as I remember.
    Reagan could have attracted such a comment, he living folksily on a ‘ranch’ outside of Santa Barbara as he did and grinning easily under a suspiciously crisp brim. We’ve rarely had a President as phony as Wrong Way Reagan. But I don’t remember Reagan actually pretending to be a cowpoke, just pretending to look like one, which iridescence of veneer, before it was called “postmodern”, used to be called “Hollywood”.
    As you comparative-linguistically point out, I could be misremembering an attribution (to Connally), or that attribution could (back then) have simply been mistaken. Equally, a sneer at Herbie Bush, even at that time clearly the lesser ‘legacy misunderburnishment’ material, could have migrated, among now-incredibly fanciful embellishments, to the more usefully idiotic Raygun.

  16. mollymooly, with respect to the original ‘I wouldn’t waste my piss blah blah’, it’s not really one’s piss that would have been “wasted”- that would have been well-’spent’-, but rather, one’s attention, one’s aiming of piss- which isn’t so illogical.
    You could point out that, when one bothers to say that the other person isn’t important enough even to piss on, then, talk sometimes being a kind of micturation, that expressive activity belies itself. ??

  17. cf Casablanca:
    Ugarte: You despise me, don’t you?
    Rick: If I gave you any thought I probably would.

  18. John Emerson says:

    Ronnie and Dubya were mostly into cutting brush.

  19. what I (mis?)remember from the Repugnican campaign of ’80 was that Connally, who was hustled out (in a distant third place overall?) soon after South Carolina, said ‘all hat, no cattle’ of Herbie Bush
    You’re right, of course; I conflated Bush and Reagan for reasons that are probably apparent.
    The “big hat — no cattle” thing is interesting and presumably the earlier form.

  20. I share the interpretation of Ronney the sраmmеr of ‘I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.’ Also, it’s weird to have a sраmmеr contribute positively to the conversation.

  21. Oops, I deleted Ronney the sраmmеr’s comment without reading it. What was his interpretation?

  22. That to piss on him would be to dignify him with attention he doesn’t merit, though not in exactly those words.

  23. marie-lucie says:

    Some spammers must have a job in product placement and when they see something interesting to them on a blog, they add their two cents’ worth – which occasionally is worth a lot more.

  24. Very occasionally, if I actually read the part before the spam URL and it looks interesting, I’ll delete the URL and leave the comment; I suppose I might have done so in this case, but having seen a number of other spam comments by Ronnie I just deleted the rest without bothering to read them.

  25. marie-lucie says:

    LH, that was not a reflection on you! of course most spam is spam and best deleted.

  26. Ronnie and Dubya were mostly into cutting brush! Nice blog! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Ronnie and Dubya were mostly into cutting brush! Nice blog! Thanks for sharing!

  28. John Emerson says:

    I has become clear to me. This AJP person with all those names and the silly goats is nothing but a clever bot>

  29. One of my favorites, though it was a little shocking to me when I first heard it as a kid, was a variation on one of the ones mentioned: “He couldn’t find his ass with both hands and a flashlight.” Somehow adding the flashlight increases, for me, both the actual humor and implied incompetence. My Mom still says that one.
    Another one that I bet did not start out particularly homophobic but turned that way as “queer” came to be associated with “homosexual”, was “queer as a three dollar bill.” I thought that was a funny one in Texas since for a while, when Texas was a republic, it actually issued three dollar bills. I even had a reproduction one as a kid.
    I think I might have mentioned “he ain’t got the sense god gave a goat” last time this subject came up.
    The Texan response to “How are you?” that might translate into French as “comme ci, comme ça” would be “fair to middling”.
    Emphatic negative: “not no, but hell no!” That may be Texas-specific, but it sounds better in a Texas accent.
    “If it was a snake it would’ve bit you”, when looking for something that is in fact in your immediate vicinity and while totally failing to find it.
    “I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.” Same as “I wasn’t born yesterday.” And it’s always a turnip truck.
    A good threat: “I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week.”
    Calling a fridge an “ice box”.. we were still doing that at least in the 80s.
    Extra local color: “F*** you and the horse you rode in on.” (My 11-year old is looking over my shoulder.. so forgive the asteriskerization.)
    My all time favorite, though, is “I’m the one milking this duck.” I still use that one on a fairly regular basis. It means that I don’t care if I’m doing it wrong, *I’m* doing it, *not* you, so butt the hell out.

  30. michael farris says:

    I’m wondering if hat is familiar with “Texas Crude”
    http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Crude-Ken-Weaver/dp/0525480900
    It’s been probably 20 years since I saw it (a linguistics grad student had a copy to the horror of the presumably more serious syntactitians) but I remember it as completely, horribly offensive and very, very funny and full of postable entries.

  31. Ooh, Trey, I love the milking-a-duck one.
    In Dorothy Sayers’ novel _Busman’s Honeymoon_ someone says, “She couldn’t have found anything nastier to say if she’d thought it out with both hands for a fortnight.” Hardly a folk citation, but it has stuck in my mind.

  32. “fair to middling”… “If it was a snake it would’ve bit you”
    Those are both familiar to me from my Arkie/Okie relatives, and “fair to middling” is still a normal part of my vocabulary.
    I love the milking-a-duck one.
    Me too!

  33. “he ain’t got the sense god gave a goat”
    The version I know refers to “the brains God gave squirrels”.

  34. on second thought “the sense God gave squirrels”
    Anyway, it sets the bar considerably lower.

  35. “Don’t that just take the rag off the bush?” Is it like a “red rag to a bull”, that makes someone very angry? i am just confused about this idiom.

  36. Samuel Beckett’s “Dreams of Fair to Middling Women”
    “I ain’t got the sense God gave a goose” is a lyric in a song I heard as a child. Google tells me it’s “I’m A Nut” by Leroy Pullins. I always thought the line was “I ain’t got a sense I got a gave a goose”, whatever that meant. Thanks for solving an ancient mystery.

  37. Hm.
    An American glossary (p. 884), by Richard Hopwood Thornton:

    Take the rag. To carry off the palm.
    1833 Well, Sam, you do take the rag off the bush, that’s sartin.— J. K. Paulding, ‘ Banks of the Ohio,’ i. 217 (Lend.).
    1843 There was present every chap in the settlement that could split a bullet on his knife, or take the rag off the bush.— R. Carlton, ‘ The New Purchase,’ i. 126.
    1848 [The question] not only took the rag off the bush, but took the bush itself off the ground.—Mr. Benton of Missouri, U.S. Senate, July: Cong. Glob:, p. 1017, App.
    1854 Elvira takes the rag off anything there’s about these parts.—Knick. Mag., xliv. 576 (Dec.)

    (That last sounds faintly risqué, which was probably intentional)

  38. “Carry off the palm” suggests to me that there might have been a contest like tilting at the ring — a sort of frontier hastilude — in which the object was to grab a rag from a bush. maybe from horseback. I’m just speculating wildly, mainly in order to have an excuse to use the word “hastilude”.

  39. Dictionary of American regional English, Volume 4 (pg 438), by Frederic Gomes Cassidy, Joan Houston Hall has most of the citations above regarding “take the rag [off the bush]“, as well as a couple from 1810, and suggests that the phrase originally might have been a reference to sharpshooting, as hinted by the quote above from 1843.
    The above also references the English Dialect Dictionary about a similar phrase: “take the rag off the edge”.
    Hm, again.

  40. to piss on him would be to dignify him with attention he doesn’t merit
    Of course, to say so would be to pay that attention, and in a way easier to repel than, I’m guessing, actual piss would be to absorb.

  41. mollymooly, the copy I’m reading is singular: Dream of Fair to Middling Women.
    It’s a fun read, on account of constant elbow-in-the-ribs humor:
    “[he] climbed the steep little ladder out from the well of steerage-class, if steerage can be said to have any class at all.”
    “A ridiculous mus of mucus was born in an ear-splitting eruption to the orator. He savoured it and put it away.”
    Something of the voice persisted, while much of it evolved in more austere and more gripping-and-gripped-by-logic directions. I’m enjoying the book, and think any Beckett fan would.

  42. Trey, do goats get themselves into many jams they can’t get out of?

  43. (Uh, deadgod, did you really mean to compare the ease of repulsion of one form of attention with the ease of absorption of another?)
    In demonstrating that someone was beneath my notice, the trick would be to do it without appearing to take any notice of them. But what if they didn’t notice that I was taking no notice? An option worth exploring might be to piss on them while appearing not to notice that they are there.
    But by the time I got that far with my overthinking of the problem I would have lost the I-don’t-care contest anyway.

  44. deadgod, while I am a Texan, I’m still a big city boy. Never been on a farm, and I don’t know much about goats, other than that on TV they eat tin cans. Anything that eats tin cans can’t be all that smart.

  45. emptyset (apologies if the symbol has some other meaning), the two kinds of ‘easy’ are easily compared.
    -
    “An option worth exploring might be to piss on them while appearing not to notice that they are there.”
    Then to whom would you have been “demonstrating that [the pissee] was beneath [your] notice”?
    I think the only way to communicate genuine disdain is actually to disdain, and if the contempt goes unnoticed by its provoker or some observer, so what?
    But if you’re in a pissing contest, the loftiness of your “notice” would have at least to be intelligible. (If the other person or by-standers don’t get it, well, now you have another choice (if that’s what it is) to make between real disdain / rhetorical piss.)
    Do you see what I mean? The “contest” can’t be won by actual indifference, though the ‘loser’ might feel like it has been.
    -
    I appreciate the concern about “overthinking”; the possibility must be distressing. But, in reading these threads, I’m pretty sure that the pleasure to be taken in logically ‘unpacking’ trivial word-sequences is the point of parts of these conversations; anyway, that was the small but innocuous pleasure I was indulging in.

  46. Trey, I’m neither a zoological psychologist nor a nutritionist, but I’m guessing that if a goat eats it, it works for the goat, goats being smart about being goats. There’s probably good eatin in them tin cans! (Have you seen a hungry goat on tv that wasn’t eating? Well, maybe on Dallas, trapped in marble Rolls garages that all o’ y’all have on your suburban ranches . . .)
    Sheep- now, there’s a dopey animal. Sheep, crowded into a small space, will all hunker down if a few of them start to tire and ‘kneel’– and, the space not being big enough for them on their ‘knees’ to breathe, they’ll suffocate together unless one (or a few) stand. (Or so it’s said on the mean streets under skyscrapers.)

  47. I don’t know where this tin cans thing came from. Television?
    I’ve never seen goats take an interest in eating from cans; tin cans mostly contain meaty chunks and fishy things. Goats are vegetarian. They couldn’t chew cans; they have no upper teeth, only lower ones and a special membrane attached to their upper palate.
    “he ain’t got the sense god gave a goat”. Goats at least have the sense not to live in the big city.
    To whoever said sheep are stupid (I can’t find the comment now), my great-uncle had six hundred sheep. He said people say sheep are stupid, but you try and get a sheep to do something it doesn’t want to do. That’s more than you can say for most people.

  48. John Emerson says:

    As I have pointed out elsewhere, some people are a little too close to their goats.

  49. Oh my, deadgod, I seem to have put my foot in it — in something — somehow. I have failed to achieve the light touch.
    I did not mean to suggest that you, or other commenters here, were “overthinking” (although it did cross my mind that it might seem that way to a cowboy-style Texan reading this thread). My overthinker was a hypothetical character, who wanted to communicate disdain, but who was unsuccessful either in his disdaining or in communicating his disdain, precisely because he cared about whether his disdain was getting communicated. I was trying, not very successfully it appears, to get at the irony of that. You and others have made the same point better.
    In general I am all in favor of thinking, except when it distracts from other tasks*. In regard to the sentence of yours that I asked about: I did appreciate the difference between the two forms of attention (verbal and excretory), but I didn’t understand, and still don’t understand, know why you were comparing the repelling of one with the absorption of the other. Please take it as a compliment that I am asking: you always have such interesting ideas that I didn’t want to miss one. To me, you are a valuable and enjoyable addition to our unpacking crew here.
    Yes, it’s the empty set, but I usually go by “empty”.
    * For example, I sometimes have a little trouble peeing if my mind is too much occupied.

  50. I read somewhere that the can rumor may have started when goats were seen nibbling on cans to get at the glue of the labels.

  51. Some goat cartoons (unfortunately the videos have all been removed). There was a Popeye movie The Hungry Goat in 1943 with a tin can eating goat. “A goat is starving because scrap metal drives have snapped up all the cans. He finds his way onto a battleship – a giant tin can…” apparently about war rationing.

  52. A ridiculous mus of mucus was born
    The allusion here probably goes over virtually everyone’s head these days; it’s a reference to Horace’s “Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus” (The mountains will be in labor, and a ridiculous mouse will be born), from “Ars Poetica” (line 139).

  53. i recalled the expression, ‘kak v afishu koza’ – stares ‘like a goat at the ad’ from Mayakovsky, or maybe it’s just a common colloquial expression, i don’t know
    always recall it instead of ‘it’s Greek to me’

  54. emptyset, I like your symbol; it’s a general case of which my own blogonym is an example. I just don’t know how to reproduce it on my computer, so I’m myself ‘reduced’ to translating it.
    -
    I was metaphorically comparing, from the point of view of the target, how easy it is to parry a sneer to how difficult it can be to respond effectively to a deeply felt humiliation. If someone else ignores you ostentatiously, that is, if they laboriously make a show of not pissing on you, you have a lot of options for making clear the counterproductivity of their effort to wound your feelings. But if they say or do just the maliciously effective thing (which could be by way of neglect, as we all seem to agree is possible!), that is, if they piss all over you, you might be stuck for a satisfying jiu-jitsu reply, and have to resort to the now-childish pissing match. (Not that there’s anything technically wrong with the way children fight . . .)
    So, I’m suggesting- oh alright, tediously suggesting- that if you show that you really do care that someone clowned you, you might as well go ahead and tinkle on them (instead of on your own red-faced self!).
    Do you see what I mean? Somehow communicating ‘I won’t even dignify that with a response’ is a response- a weak one.

  55. I don’t think a person can be caused to do something they don’t “want” to do; they can be deceived into defeating their own purposes (hence, a right-wing middle class), or they can be given terrible choices, between or among which the least bad choice is what they “want” only in such a context, like giving a robber one’s money.

    Dogs, in concert with human governance, routinely get sheep to quit eating and walking where the sheep want to eat and walk.
    -
    Following someone else’s lead in confusing stubborn with intelligent: anthropomorphic sheep, or sheep-like human??

  56. Whoa, language hat– the hawking (in context) I got, but that Horace is a great call. If you haven’t checked out the novel, do give it the once-over. (The phrase is on page 165 of the hard-cover edition.)

  57. I appreciate the concern about “overthinking”; the possibility must be distressing.
    Okay, deadgod, I can’t deny that there are occasional moments in life when I feel like Yosemite Sam playing cards with Bugs Bunny. (Start around 5:35. “Thinking” line at about 6:05.)
    -
    But (sorry to be so stuck on this — it may be stubbornness, or it may be intelligence), don’t you mean to say that repelling the sneer is easier than repelling the piss? Or, I see, maybe this is it: you intended absorption as a metaphor for overcoming the humiliating insult, where I just assumed that to absorb rather than repel the insult is to be defeated by it.
    -
    And you are telling me that the empty set is a dead god? This may be the most distressing of all. I don’t say I worship the empty set, but I do believe in it, or at least it serves me very well to behave as if I do. I confess that I have often felt that I pay it more attention than it deserves, though. Do you think I should be pissing on it, or maybe in it?

  58. If you pissed in the empty set, it would no longer be the empty set (but perhaps rather the container of the thing contained).
    So I think you’re stuck with disdaining to piss in it, or perhaps feeding it to a hungry goat.

  59. marie-lucie says:

    getting sheep to do what you want:
    In the French Alps where large herds of sheep are taken to pasture at high altitudes during the summer, the herds are controlled using not just dogs but often also goats. Goats do not have the strong herd instinct that causes sheep to blindly follow a leader, and therefore they won’t (for instance) jump over the edge of a cliff just because they saw a sheep do it. A goat can think for itself, which makes it a better leader than a sheep. Both sheepdogs and goats have the agility, speed and no doubt communicative ability that a human being lacks when trying to round up a herd.

  60. Just what I thought! Goats think for themselves. It’s what sets them apart from sheep, and it’s part of what earns them a bad reputation. I’m glad to have confirmation from a serious and reliable source. (Yes, I know, there are many styles of “intelligence”, and the style that saves your ass is going to depend on the situation.)
    So what about herding goats? How is it done? Is it harder than herding sheep? Or only harder if you try treating them like sheep? Or what?

  61. marie-lucie says:

    I have never herded goats (or sheep or anything), but you don’t see herds of hundreds of goats, comparable to herds of sheep of that size or even larger. They are not solitary animals, but they congregate in smaller groups.

  62. Whatever you do, don’t anybody post a link to the “Lonely Goatherd” song from “Sound of Music”; this happened once at Crown’s blog and there were some severe allergic reactions.

  63. I have never herded goats (or sheep or anything),
    mee too
    but you don’t see herds of hundreds of goats, comparable to herds of sheep of that size or even larger.
    it’s b/c it’s dangerous to keep that many goats, coz they are stupider to eat grass all down to the roots people say, hence desertification (at least in our corner of the earth)

  64.   Only a mile away from the shepherd and his flock was a goatherd and his herd. The merest accident of microgeography had meant that the first man to hear the voice of Om, and who gave Om his view of humans, was a shepherd and not a goatherd. They have quite different ways of looking at the world, and the whole of history might have been different.

      For sheep are stupid, and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.

      — Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

  65. John Emerson says:

    Goats are very lively tremendous fun to be around if you have good fencing, or if you don’t mind having having all your vegetables, shrubbery, and small trees eaten. Goats that aren’t good for anything else are still useful for clearing brush.
    The movements of goats are graceful and stylized. Some of the artificial-seeming poses goats take in heraldry and the like are actual poses of actual goats.
    I’m sorry I said anything against Crown’s goats. Goats are wonderful. It’s just that I have a vendetta against the man.

  66. A born-again pagan I know says when it’s time to “separate the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31), the sheep get eaten.

  67. Baa-aathrobe says:

    While we’re on the subject of goats, for users of iGoogle, one of the available themes is Leunig, which consists of a bucolic cartoon scene of Curly Flat, “A GOATED COMMUNITY”. Many goats can be seen, most often chewing the lush grass of the village but sometimes in harness drawing potato-shaped wagons.

  68. empty set, what I mean is that, for the person you might not piss on if they were on fire, for the person you ordinarily scorn, repelling your “I’m ‘above’ responding” response would be easier than for that person to absorb your piss– literally, nasty; metaphorically, as your first idear, like absorbing or taking a punch.
    Unless you really don’t care- which I think we all agree would forestall all this blah blah-, making a point by not pissing would be weak. Even-worse consequences for you notwithstanding, go ahead and express your bladder-blabber.
    -
    The set of dead gods is an empty set; “God is dead” is a deliberate paradox in Nietzsche, a radical performative contradiction, that is, saying something that falsifies itself logically by being true. (‘This statement is false.’) I think Nietzsche uses this kind of paradox deliberately as a way of indicating or disclosing the incommensurability of understanding with meaning, that is, tragedy. When gods are dead, what’s left for that person? What’s left when immortality is exhausted? Life.
    -
    What does it mean “to pay attention” to an empty set?

  69. I’m sorry I said anything against Crown’s goats.
    You should hear what they say about you.

  70. At this point my preference is to forestall all this blah blah, but thanks for taking the trouble.
    Thanks also for the light on the well-known Nietzsche line.
    I’ll save the empty set and for later, when I have attention to devote to the matter.

  71. The set of dead gods is an empty set
    So you and ø are one and the same? These are deep waters.

  72. No, language hat; as I said, the set that my blogonym belongs to is, categorically, in the set named by empty set’s blogonym– although I’ll have to start calling empty set (the poster) “empty”, as she/he does. As you quoted (?), the set of dead gods is an empty set (because if they died, they weren’t ‘gods’).

  73. OK, I have to clear some things up.
    First of all, to achieve the symbol ø you can type the characters &-o-s-l-a-s-h-; (including the semicolon but not the hyphens). Or, as I now know, you can get it also, if you have a Mac, from Special Characters in the Edit menu (where AJP found his Crown and other things). But by all means call me empty. I vary name sometimes anyway, just for fun.
    Secondly, there is only one empty set. The set of all numbers both less than one and greater than two is the same as the set of all numbers both less than zero and greater than one, because these two sets have the same members (viz. none). You can’t belong to either of these sets without belonging to the other. This may sound peculiar, but it is no different in kind from the statement that the set of all even numbers is the same as the set of all (whole) numbers whose squares are even. So if there is set of dead gods and if it is empty then it is the empty set.
    Sorry for the nerdspeak, but I can’t help myself.

  74. John Emerson says:

    So the brand name empty set I paid good money for is really exactly the same as the store brand empty set all the other kids have? God, I hope they don’t find out.

  75. You can’t belong to either of these sets without belonging to the other.
    So the dead god set is the empty set, but the empty set is not the dead god set. However, deadgod set is contained within empty set, which makes it look to me like empty set has either eaten and/or could give birth to…my theology fails me for the moment.
    Nietzsche uses this kind of paradox deliberately as a way of indicating or disclosing the incommensurability of understanding with meaning
    I always thought that Nietzsche used the God-is-dead paradox to describe the rise of secularism in the public sphere.
    have to start calling empty set (the poster) “empty”, as she/he does
    IIRC, empty is a “he”, American, and a mathematician; deadgod is still an enigma; why their names are lower case is yet another mystery.

  76. the store brand empty set
    There are cheap imitations out there. The cheap ones are never entirely empty, though. And the worst of it is that if you do have a (the) genuine one you will never know for sure, because the only way to find out if it’s empty is to break the seal — and then it’s not empty any more.*
    You just have to go to a reputable dealer.

  77. ..and now we have just found out the “empty set” is not empty after all because it contains the deadgod set.

  78. (forgot my footnote)
    * The same sort of thing happens with Band-Aids that are guaranteed germ-free as long as the package is unopened.

  79. John Emerson says:

    As I understand, the empty set does not include the deadgods empty set. The deadgods empty set is the empty set, and the empty set is the deadgods set, and they’re both the square circle set.
    Wait, no. All the other particular empty sets are partial, imperfect emanations of the ideal, perfect empty set.

  80. ø (we’ll see if that works), thanks; I didn’t know that there was only one empty set, but your explanation makes this uniqueness clear. It sounds like you’re saying that every set-with-no-members is identical to every other; indeed, there is no such multiplicity, only a variety (an infinitude? another ‘set’ question) of accurate names for the same ‘thing’.
    When you say, “You can’t belong to either of these sets without belonging to the other[,]” of course you mean ‘belong’; nothing can belong to either – ah! that is, nothing can belong to the empty set, period.
    And Nijma is wrong about ‘containment’. The empty set and the set of dead gods “contain”, well, nothing, not excluding each other from this ‘nothing’, the empty set not being logically a member of itself. (The empty set is itself a set as much as any other, right?. Even though it’s “empty”, it exists as a something, as a set; it has a set’s ‘outside vs. inside’ or clarity of set boundary, and isn’t, itself, not-anything, even though it ‘brackets’ no-thing.)
    -
    In fact, “empty set” was a mistaken bit of nomenclature of mine, right? How about “nullity”?

  81. Nijma, the first presentation of the ‘death of god’ that I’ve found in Nietzsche is in section 125 of The Gay Science. It’s also mentioned briefly in the prologue to Zarathustra and put in a context in ‘On the Pitying’ in the Second Part of the same book.
    Check these pages out and you’ll quickly see that, whatever relation Nietzsche and the rise of his philosophical and cultural influence have to “the rise of secularism in the public sphere”, when he talks about / proposes the word-play of ‘god dying’, public religiosity is tangential- at the closest- to his thought.
    My view is that he just wasn’t interested in such sociological issues, except in so far as they might indicate or entail his challenges to metaphysics and to the assumptions about knowledge and reality that might be implicit in a commitment to methodological rigor.

  82. belong
    You can’t belong to this empty set without belonging to that empty set (which turns out to be the same as this one, but that’s not the point at the moment), because you can’t belong to this empty set, period.
    I am using ‘X belongs to [the set] Y’ as a synonym for ‘X is an element of Y’ or ‘X is a member of Y’.
    contain
    As it happens, this word is also used in set theory, but with a different meaning. ‘Y contains X’ or ‘X is contained in Y’ means that the set X is a subset of the set Y: every element of X is an element of Y. (You can’t belong to X without belonging to Y.)
    If X is empty then X is contained in every set Y. Every set is contained in itself. The empty set has no members, but it has exactly one subset, namely itself. Two sets are equal if (and only if) each is contained in the other.
    If a set has exactly N elements, then it has exactly 2-to-the-Nth-power subsets. The set of which X is the only element is often denoted {X}. It has two subsets: itself and the empty set. Two to the power zero is one. The empty set ø is different from the nonempty set {ø}. {X} is a subset of Y if and only if X is an element of Y.
    Mathematicians are fussy about these matters in varying degrees. Even some of us who have reason and inclination to make these distinctions will sometimes express ourselves casually, for example saying ‘X is in Y’ to mean either ‘X is an element of Y’ or ‘X is a subset of Y’, relying on context to make it clear to anyone who might care. ‘X is included in Y’ is a common synonym for ‘X is a subset of Y’. One spur for the blurring of distinctions between the notions of subset and element is that there is no standard choice of verb for ‘Y verbs X’ meaning ‘X belongs to Y’. To avoid something as long as ‘has X as a member’, one is tempted to say ‘includes X’ or ‘contains X’.
    Of course, to assert that the use of any these words in ordinary language should try to follow these conventions would be not only nerdy but extremely wrongheaded (like saying that all food is organic, or that political power is a rate of expenditure of political energy.) My sense of belonging matters more to me than any membership. ‘Contained’ has very different connotations from ‘included’.
    My infatuation with the empty set, and with the number zero, may or not be part of a larger attraction to the idea of emptiness — not set-theoretic but, you know, like, just emptiness. It’s a joke and an accident that my screen name is ‘empty’, but I like it.

  83. It may be unwise to jump in at this late date, but unwisely jumping in is something of a hobby of mine.
    I remember from a philosophy course I took in the last millennium a discussion of whether “the morning star” and “the evening star” are the same thing. It turns out that they are both actually the planet Venus, but for a long time nobody much knew that.
    Clearly the two designations refer to the same physical object. Just as clearly, they two designations originally had different meanings.
    The solution, in my mind, is to realize that we are dealing with different layers of representation and meaning. Linguists do this all the time.. phonetics and phonology being the obvious and relatively easy to understand examples. Mathematicians do not do this all the time, since mathematical concepts and mathematical entities are very close to being one in the same, at least once all the proofs check out.
    In the case of Venus and the morning/evening star, two different concepts refer to the same physical object. The concepts are different, and from the concept-centric view, the fact that they refer to the same object is incidental.
    In the case of the mathematical concept of “the empty set” and the religio-philosophical concept of “the set of dead gods”, there are two clearly distinct concepts that, under certain philosophical assumptions, happen to refer to the same mathematical entity, ∅ (which, I should point out for the typographically pure-minded among you, is not the same as o-slash ø, though it is easier to type and more attractive in most fonts).
    I think the confusion comes from two things.. the closeness of the concept and the entity in a mathematician’s mind, and the definition of the “set of dead gods” such that it is necessarily empty.
    Consider “the set of all portable music players with internal power supplies that weigh less that 2 ounces”. This would have been a well-defined concept in 1950 if anyone had thought of it (and let’s assume some sci-fi fan did), though it referred to the empty set at the time. Now it does not refer to the empty set (the new iPod Shuffles qualify), though I do not believe the concept itself has changed over time.
    Similarly, if one posits that omnipotence is not limited to non-paradoxical behavior (allowing an omnipotent god to create a boulder so heavy it could not lift it, and then it go ahead and lift it), then such a god could choose to be both dead and a god at the same time. Or maybe you could just have a vampire god; they’re dead, right?
    Anyway, the concept of the set of dead gods and the concept of the empty set are completely different concepts. They happen to refer to the same mathematical entity, but that’s happenstance.
    Now, as long as no one brings up the temporal extent of physical or conceptual entities, or transfinite sets, we’re okay.

  84. J.W. Brewer says:

    Absent definitional trickery, surely the set of dead gods is non-empty insofar as it includes at a minimum Baldur. And that’s without even getting into the deep theological waters of how best to describe the events of Good Friday.

  85. Oh, you want to talk about concepts and meaning? Now I’m out of my depth.
    Yeah, look, I like to sort of pretend that sets are the stuff that other math stuff is made of, but I don’t even pretend to know what life, the universe, and everything is made of.
    But I will say that “the concept of the quadrillionth binary digit of π” is different from “the concept of the binary digit 0″ and also different from “the concept of the binary digit 1″, even though, you know …
    .. also, I suppose, that “the set of all real numbers x such that the square of x is -1″ is conceptually different from “the set of all real numbers x such that the square of x is -2″.
    But mathematical concepts are not mathematical objects (or to revert to a technical term I used above, they are not “math stuff”).
    Wasn’t Jesus once dead for a few days?

  86. Deadgods: Baldur, Jesus, Cthulhu

    That is not dead which can eternal lie,
    And with strange aeons even death may die.
    -Abdul Alhazred, Necronomicon

    “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

  87. I have decided that while “dead” can mean “nonfunctional” in a colloquial sense (“dead to the world”, meaning asleep; “Sleep is the brother of death” — Arabic proverb (or was it Persian?)), real death necessarily includes empirical permanence.
    Jesus had a bad Friday and snoozed for your sins.
    ——
    Is the empty set equivalent to “Not a number” (NaN), the result for invalid mathematical operations?

  88. ø, what you say about belong is what I meant by putting the word into scare-quotes, right? I mean, there is no belonging, just the ‘belonging’ of no elements, to the empty set.
    -
    What you say about contain causes pause.
    Here are three sets: the set of 3-d circles; the set of 3-d squares; the set of 3-d triangles. Each set has 0 members, so they aren’t really “three sets”; “they” are three names for the same one set- the empty set. Why?
    Well, here’s the contradiction. As “subset” is defined, the ‘first’ set has two subsets: By virtue of having the same members, that is, the same not-having-a-member, the set of 3-d circles and the set of 3-d squares are subsets of each other. Likewise, the set of 3-d circles and the set of 3-d triangles are subsets of each other. That means that, in terms of having identical members, or identically having-no-members, the set of 3-d circles has both the set of 3-d squares and the set of 3-d triangles as subsets.
    BUT, as you explain, the or an or every or any or some particular set-with-no-members can only have exactly one subset- itself-, because its total number of subsets is 2 to the 0, or one.
    So, which is it? the set of 3-d circles- an empty set- has two subsets or one subset?
    Do you see why I say that the set of dead gods and the empty set can’t “contain” each other? They ARE each other– it’s one set with, in this paragraph, two names.
    Anyway, thanks for the explanations; they’re pretty clear, even to me.

  89. Trey, in terms of “different layers of representation and meaning”, I’d say that ‘perspective’ is a more useful heuristic term than ‘concept’.
    Calling a planet a “star” works until the astronomer notices that the ‘star’ is wandering, and that a basic aspect, basic enough to indicate a definitive characteristic, of stars is that they don’t move relative to each other in, say, an average human lifetime.
    The location of stars with respect to each other is fantastically stable- they’re probably the most stable humanly visible things in nature?-, so when Venus is no longer usefully called a “star”, the category ‘star’ hasn’t changed; in fact, it’s even more counted on as a useful designation.
    It’s the astronomer’s perspective of Venus, in relation to an only-here-failing concept, which has empirically compelled a new ‘concept’- “planet”.
    Or have I said the same thing as you?
    -
    In terms of the concept ‘god’, Maimonidean “omnipotence” puzzles are beside the point, to me.
    The power a god has that entails ‘being a god’ is immortality; if it’s really worth calling a “god”, that wouldn’t be because of any other strength or valence. If it dies, it never was a ‘god’; if it is a ‘god’, it’s not living. Whatever a god’s relation to the realm of generation and corruption, whatever power in or over entities in that realm a god has, has nothing to do with the god’s permanence itself.
    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, at least ’til death do me part.

  90. So, which is it? the set of 3-d circles- an empty set- has two subsets or one subset?
    It has one and only one subset, but this subset has many names. Some of those names are
    ‘the set of 3-d squares’
    ‘the set of 3-d triangles’
    ‘the set of 3-d circles’
    ‘the empty set’

  91. I hope languagehat has stopped reading this thread.. we’ve gone and hijacked his lovely language site and turned it into a mathematical madhouse and astronomical asylum.
    So, which is it? the set of 3-d circles- an empty set- has two subsets or one subset?
    There’s a difference between a “subset” and a “proper subset”. A subset of set A is a set that contains no elements that are not in A. So the empty set is a subset of every set. Every set is a subset of itself. A proper subset of set A is a subset of A that is not the same as A. (Disclaimer: these rules do not necessarily apply to infinite sets, which we are not discussing at the moment.)
    Also, I believe you have devised multiple designations for the same set.. the empty set. There is only one of them.
    Is the empty set equivalent to “Not a number” (NaN), the result for invalid mathematical operations?
    No, it isn’t. NaN means the operation is either not well-defined, such as dividing by zero, or not possible on the device reporting the error (such as being too big or too small for your calculator or programming language to represent).
    Calling a planet a “star” works until the astronomer notices that the ‘star’ is wandering, and that a basic aspect, basic enough to indicate a definitive characteristic, of stars is that they don’t move relative to each other in, say, an average human lifetime.
    You’re discussing the modern understanding of stars and planets, which was not the same as when “morning star” and “evening star” were in common use. A “star” would have been any bright shiny point of light in the sky.. which is probably where the phrase “shooting stars” comes from (he said, pulling an etymology out of nowhere).
    The point is not astronomical, but referential. There were two shiny objects, one in the west at sunset and one in the east at sunrise. They had different connotations and significance, and just happened to be the same physical object.
    The power a god has that entails ‘being a god’ is immortality
    The concept of a god is not universally and unequivocally defined. Those who believed in Norse mythology certainly believed that Baldur died at some point, and it was all Loki’s fault, and that pretty much all the gods (and everything else) would die at Ragnarok. By your definition, the Norse gods weren’t really gods.
    I’m okay using any definition you like for a particular discussion, but clearly other attempts at a definition have been made. I think it’s a pretty squishy concept, and this context brings an interesting perspective to the question that parallels some of our discussion about mathematical concepts. Is Loki a god? In one sense, yes, in that he was the object of religious worship at one time. In another sense no, in that he’s not a “real” god in that no one (though, maybe there is someone out there) who believes he is real anymore and so will defend or debate his reality. So, there’s the concept of a god, like Loki, which is a well-defined concept that exists in the same way as any other well-defined concept, and then there’s the actual entity the concept refers to, which is not real. (Sorry to offend any Nordic neopagans out there who really do believe in Loki, if such people exist.. oh, crap.. I think I just recursed.)

  92. hijacked his lovely language site and turned it into a mathematical madhouse and astronomical asylum
    and religious rest home? rehab center?
    (Disclaimer: these rules do not necessarily apply to infinite sets, which we are not discussing at the moment.)
    Trey: All of what you said applies to infinite sets, and there is no need to exclude them from this discussion. You are probably thinking of the (irrelevant) fact that an infinite set can be the same size (i.e. cardinality) as a proper subset of itself — for example, there are as many even integers as there are integers because you can match them up 2n ⇄ n.)

  93. ∅ (which, I should point out for the typographically pure-minded among you, is not the same as o-slash ø, though it is easier to type and more attractive in most fonts)
    I’m having pronoun trouble; which one is more attractive?
    It says here that the people who introduced the symbol ∅ for the empty set, as well as a more ovoid variant, were “inspired” by the Norse letter. [Question: How was this new symbol typeset in the old pre-digital days? Did publishers use the Norse letter, or did they manufacture something new? Mathematicians with non-Norse typewriters surely superimposed "/" on "0" or "O".] Until AJP pointed me to the right menu on my Mac the other day, I had not known where to find it, so I had been using what I take to be the Norse letter, o-slash ø. Come to think of it, upper-case O-slash is also available: Ø.
    In the age of Unicode we can be more sure than ever that the distinction between ∅ and Ø is real. (It’s like with the morning and evening star only backwards.)

  94. You still don’t have this ∅ to yourselves you know, Empety. In the construction trade we use it to mean diameter.

  95. You still don’t have this ∅ to yourselves you know, Empety. In the construction trade we use it to mean diameter.

  96. I never wanted it all to myself.
    But the WP article on diameter says:
    The diameter symbol ⌀ is distinct from the empty set symbol ∅, from an uppercase phi Φ, and the Nordic vowel Ø.
    There is also the slashed zero.

  97. empty: But mathematical concepts are not mathematical objects (or to revert to a technical term I used above, they are not “math stuff”)….concepts and meaning? Now I’m out of my depth.
    But why not? As Trey points out, mathematicians do not do deal with different layers of representation and meaning all the time, since mathematical concepts and mathematical entities are very close to being one in the same, but other disciplines do use mathematical terminology and manipulate mathematical symbols in order to express ©omplex relationships between elements, and understand how a change in one element can effect the others. Why not try to apply it to life, the universe, and everything, including metaphysics? I mean, how far can you really get with thesis, antithesis, synthesis? And I seem to remember from 7th grade math class that the deadgod set and the empty set cannot be the same, but that they can be “equal” if there is a one-to-one correspondence between the members of one set and the members of another set. I suspect that JE has come closest to mystical precision with his partial, imperfect “emanations” of the ideal and perfect. After all, the entity has been there all along, it is only the verbal description (and perhaps the understanding) that has yet to be arrived at, in the manner of the inhabitants of Plato’s cave allegory staring at shadows on the wall.
    {“express c0m” is questionable content!}

  98. Where I come from, we have a folk saying:
    When Plato’s platypus comes out of the cave and is eaten by the allegory on the banks of the Nile before he has a chance to see his shadow, then …
    Oh, hell, I forget how it ends. Maybe either the weather changes or it stays the same?

  99. Trey, so the empty set is a subset of itself, but not a proper subset of itself (“A proper subset of set A is a subset of A that is not the same as A.”)? Ok, thanks.
    I see we agree, and with empty, that the one empty set is unique no matter how many names are drummed up for it.
    -
    I see what you mean by “reference”; if “star” refers toany point of light in the night sky’, then meteors, comets, and planets are that kind of ‘star’. When the empirical given, the points of light in the night sky, proves to need, for whatever reason, to be understood through its internal variety- for example, because some move with respect to those that are staticly related to each other-, then the names by which that given is referred to will evolutionarily multiply.
    -
    The concept of a god is not universally and unequivocally defined.
    No- not that many notional entities are defined beyond argument, as it were! But I offer my definition as a way of showing what I think people mean when they say, “God.”
    I propose that what people mean by “god” is absolute persistence. Well, Baldur ‘dies’, in the sense of being forced to leave the humanly populated ‘Earth’ and go to an underworld. At/During Ragnarok, all the gods, or all the big shots, will also ‘die’ and go to the underworld of their ‘universe’.
    But this is not “death” in the sense of ‘passing out of existence’! They don’t die-die, they go-to-hell-die– no good thing, sure, but which isn’t the case of ‘where’ the unity and coherence of a particular dog goes when you put it in the cheeseburger machine. That “death”- disarticulation to the point of non-existence- that doesn’t happen to Baldur, does it??
    I think my distinction between “god” and “deathward entity” obtains in the case of Norse mythology.

  100. Baldur didn’t go through a meat-grinder, but wasn’t he cremated? I’m thinking that that would be just as effective.

  101. J.W. Brewer says:

    Lots of people (probably a majority of both the world population and of Anglophones?) believe that when human beings “die” they don’t “die-die” in the sense of utter non-existence. Rather, their existence persists as they go to hell, go to heaven, go to some third place, get reincarnated, etc. So in attempting to avoid the Baldur counterexample, dg seems to have tweaked his definitions to the point that the set of dead humans may well also be the empty set. Probably better to accept that Nietzsche’s writing tends to the poetic and metaphorical and is not well suited for representation in set-theory jargon.

  102. Lots of people (probably a majority of both the world population and of Anglophones?) believe that when human beings “die” they don’t “die-die” in the sense of utter non-existence.
    There’s no evidence for thinking this, as far as I know. It’s certainly a rational probability.

  103. Lots of people (probably a majority of both the world population and of Anglophones?) believe that when human beings “die” they don’t “die-die” in the sense of utter non-existence.
    There’s no evidence for thinking this, as far as I know. It’s certainly a rational probability.

  104. Zombies weren’t really dead either, they were the “undead”. There were two types of zombies. the first was a chemical zombie, which doesn’t count for the purposes of this discussion, since they were given a narcotic, probably a plant known as “zombie cucumber” and disinterred later after the family believed them dead. They were used as slave labor, mostly cutting sugar cane, and kept docile with the help of another medicinal plant.
    The other type of zombie was the spiritual zombie, or the soul, which could be captured by a practitioner of magic at the moment of death and kept in a glass bottle. The soul consists of two parts, the ba and the ka. After death the ba goes somewhere, but the ka stays around for a couple of years, sometimes hovering around the person’s belongings. When you sense the presence of the dead person, the ka is the cause of this. There are various voodoo ceremonies at the end of the two-year mourning period to ease the ka of the deceased into the spirit realm where it then stays. Other cultures have end of mourning rituals also at about the two year point.
    So if by death you mean a body decomposing, maybe people can die by this definition, but do the gods have bodies or are they pure spirit, or can they go back and forth at will (resurrection, reincarnation, etc.)? Also iirc, Nietzsche’s dead god was Buddha, at least in one place.

  105. J. W., I agree that most ‘Western’ people don’t believe that humans really die; it’s exactly this wishful pre-orientation that Nietzsche is convinced he can lay bare. I think he succeeds in exposing such an anticipatory forestructure in what is mistaken to be spiritual knowledge.
    -
    The set of actually dead people comes into being and becomes empty anew each time a person really dies. There, the realm of ‘becoming’, might be a puzzler for set theorists.
    -
    By the way, J. W., if you read Nietzsche as though it does make consistent sense, as though his thought is coherent, despite his ‘message’ of de-coherent and de-cohering reality, I think you’ll discover that he’s an unusually logical thinker.

  106. i recalled ‘Untana gegch uxexiin oodos
    Uilna gegch duulaxun xelterxii’
    means
    To sleep is a fragment of death
    To cry is a splinter of a song.
    (not sure about the articles though)

  107. Nietzsche’s dead god was Buddha, at least in one place
    Where? I thought Nietzsche’s point was that the Buddha was a fantastically subtle nihilist, a guy who genuinely had no god (uebermenschlich) and nothing else (allzumenschlich).

  108. Ray Smullyan speaks of a student who defined an infinite set on an exam as “a set that is a proper subset of itself”. (In fact, an infinite set is one that can be put into one-to-one correspondence with a proper subset of itself. Thus you can match up the whole numbers with the even numbers one-to-one, so the whole numbers are an infinite set.)

  109. Owlmirror says:

    In addition to the slashed-zero and mean-diameter, and all the others, I toss in:

    So there, too.
    Regarding the Buddha and nihilism, Nietzsche may have been thinking of Śūnyatā ( शून्यता )
    (pañca skandhāṁstāṁśca svabhāvaśūnyān)

  110. qoɣusun (Mongolian)
    khooson, in the link it’s transcription from the classical script, not wrong, but o u, q h are used interchangeably, that’s why

  111. David Marjanović says:

    Goats are vegetarian. They couldn’t chew cans; they have no upper teeth

    They have no upper incisors, and (unsurprisingly) no canines at all, but all other upper teeth are there.
    This holds for all ruminants, BTW (except for those with canines, like certain deer).

  112. Nietzsche The Gay Science section 108

    After Buddha was dead, they still showed his shadow in a cave for centuries – a tremendous, gruesome shadow. God is dead; but given the way people are, there may still for millennia be caves in which they show his shadow. – And we – we must still defeat his shadow as well!

    Sounds a lot like Plato’s cave…
    It’s probably the Nietzsche’s genius (or some say the genius of his translator Kaufmann) that so many people can find so many layers of meaning it.

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