Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 13:52 on 02-06-2013, Dan H
It kind of is, except the only offensive move is to toss a wheel of cheese down the hill and hope your opponents chase it, and the only defensive move is to pretend you didn't see the cheese.

Truly, the only winning move is not to play.
at 12:29 on 02-06-2013, Arthur B
Also, cheese rolling. Although that isn't a martial art.

It kind of is, except the only offensive move is to toss a wheel of cheese down the hill and hope your opponents chase it, and the only defensive move is to pretend you didn't see the cheese.
at 10:50 on 02-06-2013, Dan H
If we're reading the same article I'm afraid that it probably was entirely made up (the article makes it fairly clear that it was invented for a comedy sketch show in the early 1960s).

That said, there *are* some pretty awesome sports knocking around the WMA community. In Somerset there's a sport in which people take it in turns to hit each other over the head with a stick, and in - I think - Cornwall there are annual shin-kicking contests, in which participants stuff straw down their trousers and kick each other in the shins until one person gives up.

Also, cheese rolling. Although that isn't a martial art.
at 23:14 on 01-06-2013, Pear
So. Dwile Flonking.

The pastime of dwile flonking (also dwyle flunking) involves two teams, each taking a turn to dance around the other while attempting to avoid a beer-soaked dwile (cloth) thrown by the non-dancing team.

"Dwile" is a knitted floor cloth, from the Dutch dweil, meaning "mop", and "flonk" is probably a corruption of flong, an old past tense of fling.


According to the Friends Of The Lewes Arms, "The rules of the game are impenetrable and the result is always contested."

A 'dull witted person' is chosen as the referee or 'jobanowl' and the two teams decide who flonks first by tossing a sugar beet. The game begins when the jobanowl shouts "Here y'go t'gither!"

The non-flonking team joins hands and dances in a circle around a member of the flonking team, a practice known as 'girting'. The flonker dips his dwile-tipped 'driveller' (a pole 2–3 ft long and made from hazel or yew) into a bucket of beer, then spins around in the opposite direction to the girters and flonks his dwile at them.

I was sure it must be some kind of hoax because it all sounds like a try-too-hard Monty Python sketch, but apparently it is an old English game resurrected in the 60s. Hmm.

ngl though, I could hardly breathe for laughing when I first read the article, it is too ridiculous!
at 13:59 on 01-06-2013, Arthur B
Meh, man is something that shall be overcome anyway.
at 04:19 on 01-06-2013, Melanie
All these fake men nowadays, am I right? Don't you just hate it when you're talking to some dude and then you find out he's actually a mannequin.
at 02:14 on 01-06-2013, Michal
Fucking hilarious.

"Ladies… real men do exist; there aren’t many of us, but we’re survivors and will be around for a while. Come find us."

I like to imagine they're all squirreled away in a bunker somewhere, and have left clues to their whereabouts scattered in various museums throughout Sweden and Mongolia.
at 00:01 on 31-05-2013, Shim
To anticipate some likely further questions:

The recent fire at the National Library of Wales was not suspicious. It did not start in Renovation Room 4, which is not a cover term for Secure Containment Bay D: Grimoires (Enochian). No irreplaceable books were lost in the incident, and in particular, precisely zero such tomes were reported flying over the Llyn Peninsula during the recent earthquake.

The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford, was constructed according to available land and the whims of the architect. It was not built on an unstable conflux of geomagnetic fields, and does not serve as a local nexus of temporal anomalies resulting in certain local oddities of habit. The tunnels under the Bodleian Libraries were built for the purpose of book storage and transportation, and the recent opening of the tunnels to readers is a move to provide better access to the collections, not an elaborate cover story. No readers have gone missing after wandering into regions of the tunnels with unusual physical properties, and shadowy figures do not stalk the tunnels when Aldebaran is above the horizon. The tunnels do not connect to the University of Cambridge, nor to the catacombs beneath Paris.

The omission of certain letters (to whit I, O, W and X, not to mention Ð, Þ and Ƿ) from the Library of Congress classification is a pragmatic decision taken to minimise confusion. These letters are indeed absent from the scheme, and do not serve to classify certain illicit and impossible topics which lie beyond mortal reckoning.

There exists no Dewey Decimal System shelfmark which, to the educated eye, reveals details of the beginning and end of all things, nor any which can be inscribed and manipulated to lay bare the space-time continuum itself.

Library fines serve to encourage borrowers to return books in a timely fashion for the use of other readers. There is no, I repeat no, ancient tithe of bukegild paid to certain chthonian entities in recognition of grave and terrible services; these entities do not exist, and in any case would have no use for money even if they did. Which they don't.
at 23:34 on 30-05-2013, Shim
Please tell me that you're a sworn member of the Librarians of Time and Space.

If you had the clearance to get an answer, you would already know the answer.
at 22:45 on 30-05-2013, Kit
Please tell me that you're a sworn member of the Librarians of Time and Space. I so desperately want that to be real.
at 22:14 on 30-05-2013, Shim
Shimmin as a certain orang-utan who routinely wanders off into L-space to look for books about dragons and goes "oook" a lot.
There is a surprising amount of similarity in just about all of those points. Although tragically I am not a redhead.
at 21:40 on 30-05-2013, Kit
You're just jaded because you're a professional Tome-keeper.

"Tome-keeper" has me now picturing Shimmin as a certain orang-utan who routinely wanders off into L-space to look for books about dragons and goes "oook" a lot.
at 20:27 on 30-05-2013, Dan H
Kit, I'm guessing some of Dan's excitement comes from the term's use in Call of Cthulhu to mean "book of ancient unspeakable knowledge and enormous magical power". But it's just a guess.

Cthulhu and just kind of cheap fantasy in general - the word "Tome" generally, as I understand it, gets used to mean "large, old book, often full of magic spells." I think I also like it because if we used the word for all serial fiction, then long, brick-thick fantasy series would be called things like: A Song of Ice and Fire - Tome One: A Game of Thrones which strikes me as rather fitting given how big, heavy and dense a lot of those books are.

As a librarian, I'm sort of blase about it.

You're just jaded because you're a professional Tome-keeper.
at 20:22 on 30-05-2013, Kit
Oh, okay. Thanks for clarifying that! So I apparently fail at being a geek, not at understanding English (I can't decide which is or would be worse, actually).

@Andy: Yes, that was my first thought. On the other hand, stuff like "The Tudors" has been pretty popular in France lately, so I wonder if they are just trying to jump on the bandwagon or something. A quick Google search showed me that the book and the series were often cited together in articles - so it does seems like knowledge about that particular period is still mostly connected to Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Henry Cavill in leather pants, or something. Kind of makes me want to apologize to you all on behalf of the French nation in general...
at 19:49 on 30-05-2013, Shim
Kit, I'm guessing some of Dan's excitement comes from the term's use in Call of Cthulhu to mean "book of ancient unspeakable knowledge and enormous magical power". But it's just a guess.

As a librarian, I'm sort of blase about it.
at 19:41 on 30-05-2013, Andy G
Maybe foreign historical fiction is a harder than usual sell? I'm guessing most people outside Britain wouldn't instantly know what to expect from buzzwords like "Tudors", "Henry VIII", "Booker Prize" and corresponding motifs so perhaps it needs to be laid on really really thick?
at 18:18 on 30-05-2013, Kit
Agreed, it does looks good, but it just doesn't fit the book *at all* and I suspect that's due to some marketing decision about trying to make it more palatable to some imaginary target audience. Which makes me kind of sad. What actually bothers me most is the title and the faux drama it tries to create; I loved the original title because it was sparse, effective, interesting and had a kind of double meaning, but they tried to make it all mysterious and dramatic and apparently felt they had to shove the word "Tudor" in there to make really, really sure that the readers would know what it was about.

Now I wonder if I should check it out and see how they translated the actual book...but the prospect is a bit daunting.

Oh, really? Please do tell a non-native speaker why it is so exciting :)
at 16:07 on 30-05-2013, Dan H
Okay, I clearly have terrible taste, because I've got to admit that I thought that looked *pretty awesome*.

Not, I confess, a good fit for Wolf Hall.

Also, I'm super excited to discover that the French word for books or volumes in a multi-volume series is apparently "Tome".
at 14:52 on 30-05-2013, Kit
Oh, dear. I know that the ferretcast was kind of ambivalent about Wolf Hall through most of the first Text Factor, but I really loved it; I found the prose wonderful, the style intricate but still subtle, the characterisations incredibly affecting, and it just hit all the right spots for me and was a deeply and completely satisfying read.
That is probably why I am so pissed off by something really minor: I just walked past an advert for the french translation of Wolf Hall, and it looks horrible. They retitled it The Counsellor - Part 1: In the Shadow of the Tudors, and the cover depicts a hand ominously holding an ominous dagger, presumably behind the back of the body attached to said hand, surrounded by ominous shadows, and it's just...made of fail. I mean, I'm happy that it got translated at all (translations of good or important stuff, both fiction and nonfiction, is something which happens remarkably little in this country, and when it does, it is often late and/or bad - the french translations of Murakami are godawful, for example), but did they really need to make it sound and look like another historical novel about murder! intrigue! treason! people standing in shadows behind the king and manipulating everybody! instead of the subtle and interesting and wonderfully written character study this book actually is? It's not trashy or anything, but the dissonance is really jarring.
at 10:37 on 28-05-2013, Shim
Thanks Cressida, those were pretty interesting.

I think it's hard to say with the superhero films I've seen recently, because most have at least some origin story in them (film-makers love origin stories) and those are typically dramatic. Even the Avengers, which features established heroes, is an origin story for the whole group.
at 21:33 on 27-05-2013, Drew C
Highlights from the Crusader Kings 2 1.10 patch notes (according to PC Gamer anyway).

Dead sons should no longer participate in Family Feuds
Character 455520 is no longer female
Fixes to the marriages of Frederick Barbarossa
Added the bastards of Henry Beauclerc
Added King John’s missing children
Burgonde de Bachaumont is now properly female
Increased the chance of getting the inbred traits

Did make me chuckle but it's properly more funny out of context.
Full (and extensive) notes here
at 22:55 on 26-05-2013, Cressida
Shimmin, don't worry, it didn't sound smug! But if you're interested in the subject, Laws has written several LJ posts expanding on the idea: As for where else I've been seeing the substitution, I think I first became aware of it when trying to express my frustration with some of the character rewriting in the movie versions of Lord of the Rings. Multiple iconic heroic characters in the book were dismissed as boring specifically because they weren't dramatic heroes; then they were promptly refashioned into dramatic heroes with IMVHO mixed success. For another example, I haven't been keeping up with most of the recent wave of Sherlock Holmes stuff, but from what I've seen and heard it seems like a similar transformation is at work there. And I wouldn't be surprised if the current crop of superhero movies is doing some of that as well, though someone who knows more about superheroes than I do can doubtless comment more on that speculation.
at 22:32 on 26-05-2013, Shim
I don't read any LJs

That sounded less smug in my head. It's not like a policy or anything, I just don't.
at 22:22 on 26-05-2013, Shim
(BTW, can I assume you've been reading Robin Laws' LJ if you're pondering these ideas?)

Close, but no cigar. I don't read any LJs, but I heard an interview with him on Jennisodes a few days back (it's from last year, I'm just slow).

I agree, it's a shame to exclude possibilities. Where else have you picked up that kind of pattern?