Introduction and Coffee

This entry is part 1 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

This is the first post in the Mythology of the Modern World: an encyclopedia of things unseen in modern day society.

Or “look, in today’s society, the nymphs and sirens who once wielded allure and song to draw sailors to their doom have cell phones and the internet like all the rest of us do. What makes you think the old ways apply.”

Today, we discuss the fundamental underpinnings of the universe. Also, we discuss coffee.

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Why does Starbucks Coffee… um… maybe you should just read it.

This entry is part 2 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

It’s monday, so it’s time for our second myth of the modern world. I promise you they won’t all be about coffee. I’m not obsessed or anything.

Anyway, with a little luck I won’t be sued over this one….

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Why can we walk past beautiful artwork without noticing it?

This entry is part 3 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

This was one of those nice, simple myths that would be fun to write that turned into seventy five hundred words. Still, I had fun doing it, and that’s a cool thing. If nothing else, it proves that yes, I am still a writer, and that’s always good.

Wednesday, when I described the premise to her, said this might be one of the most elaborate and apocalyptic solicitations to donate to public television she’d ever heard. “The world could end tomorrow if you don’t pledge now — and you get this beautiful tote bag….”

Please enjoy.

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Calliope Jones and the Writer’s Cusp

This entry is part 4 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

It’s Random Thursday yet again! It’s time to elaborate on monday’s myth a little.

Well, really what we’re doing is reprinting something I wrote in my Livejournal on my birthday back in 2005. Which actually requires a little backstory. Which seems weird, but there we are.

I have the good fortune to have been born on January the 27th. Besides making me an Aquarius and making my birthstone garnet, this also means I share a birthday with Mozart and Lewis Carroll, among others. It’s the second that we’re interested in right now.

You see, a few years back a guy named Dan Curtis Johnson declared that January 27 should be Down the Rabbit Hole Day on Livejournal. A day where like Alice we all went a little mad, and did our normal LJ posting, only from the world on the other side of the looking glass, however that fanciful nature came to the individual poster.

I found the idea charming and gave it the old college try, despite feeling ill that day (or perhaps because of it. Who can tell). I know some people have learned to despise Down the Rabbit Hole Day the same way they despise Nanowrimo or Talk Like A Pirate Day or many other events that encourage people to act out in public whether they have talent or not.

Regardless, I liked the bit of mythbuilding I did for that year’s Rabbit Hole, and it actually is informing the overall “Mythology of the Modern World” series, so it deserved at least a shot here in the Random Days.

Why isn’t it in the actual Myth block? Because the Myth block is meant to be new writing each week, not reprints of even germane subjects. So there. Nyah.

Anyway. Please enjoy Calliope Jones and the Writer’s Cusp.

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Why is the sky over Los Angeles that particular color of yellowish grey?

This entry is part 5 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

And here we have the next of our little modern myths. This one is less digressive — it also ended up being longer than I had initially thought, but it’s shorter than the last and it’s a lot more story driven. It also has a few asides here and there, but they’re brief. Let me know if it worked a little better. Or if you preferred the old style. Or if, I dunno, you’re lonely.

This is the first of the myths being told “by request” from the What Myths Do You Want To Hear open weekend thread from a couple of weeks ago. Fade Manley asked the question. I humbly submit the answer.

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What’s the real deal with gasoline prices?

This entry is part 6 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Today, we have a myth as suggested by a fellow who goes by Channing, who I know by a couple of other names but “Channing” works as well as any.

Channing asks:

What really is the deal with gasoline prices? Half the time there’s some kind of patent price-jacking going on to coincide with major travel weekends, but the other half it’s like they’ve got trained chickens selecting the price and then the media submits some kind of half-hearted unconvincing post hoc reason as to why they are what they are, either up or down. Who’s really at the switch? And what do they want?

Which is a pretty elaborate ‘question,’ but one I’m going to distill down to the following: what is the real deal with gasoline prices?

More as always after the break, but first, a note on the writing. The first couple of myths were fusions of essays (with digressions) and immediate stories (with digressions). These had their fans, but a number of people thought the combination made them too long and too uneven. And in the end, I am an entertainer, and if my spastic movements look more like a seizure than a dance, it’s time to go back to the soft shoe.

Last week’s myth was entirely story (with digressions), and it went over rather well indeed. This week’s is entirely essay (with digressions), and we’ll see how it does.

Please note, there will continue to be some essays and some fusions, as that’s how my brain works and some myths will require it.

Let me know what you think!

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The Songs of Books

This entry is part 7 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

It is Mythology Day once again, and today’s comes from… [checks notes] um… hm. Super Battle Droid.

Look, I’m not going to ask for a clarification. He (or she) might have a blaster. My skin is soft and remarkably unblasterproof.

Anyhow, SBD’s question is simple. Well, actually, it’s somewhat convoluted:

What really happens to the myriad graduate and undergraduate thesis papers after they disappear into the archives of their respective universities, never to be read, cited, peer reviewed, or heard from again?

That’s a good question, and worthy of examination. For reasons I hope will become clear, we will explore it in a myth we call:

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Why do some people stay on the train past the end of the line?

This entry is part 8 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Monday as always is Mythology day, and it’s that time once again. (And who expected we’d still be keeping this up all these weeks later?)

Today’s myth offering answers a question posed by a fellow called CrazyDave. And you know, I’m not about to mess with him. Guy’s crazy. I was going to go with a different myth this time out, but then he posted this to the last open forum and it just hit me right between the eyes. He writes:

Who are those people who don’t get off when a train reaches the end of the line? (Happens all the time on the Central Line to Ealing Broadway).

As it turns out, there’s a good answer to that, though I rephrased the question just slightly. I’m like that. So, the question is: why do some people stay on the train past the end of the line?

The answer? Follows. Because I am going to tell you.

I kind of like this one. It goes all the way back to story, with actually fewer digressions than normal. Let me know what you think.

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The Arrogant Writer and the Beached Mermaid

This entry is part 9 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Welcome once again to the Myth of the Week. I’ve been putting together a list of myth requests from those folks what answered the last couple of open calls, to make sure I don’t forget any of the ones I can answer (sadly, I don’t always have the answer. I wish that I did.)

What I find interesting this time, however, is that two of the recent requests… well, fit together. First was Moe Lane, who is always knowledgable and cool. And he asked, because he wanted to:

If Magick is a matter of Will and Imagination, then why don’t the great writers live forever?

An excellent question. One often pondered at the back ends of parking lots and in the OOP areas of LARPS since at least the mid-nineties. And one that is singularly difficult to answer.

But as I said, there was another question raised. In fact, the very next question, raised by Joel Wilcox:

Why do 99.9% of webcomics suck?

Statistically improbable? Sure. But a valid question. Mr. Lane jumped right back in, however, to say (and I quote):

Dude, 90% of *everything* sucks. Sounds fishy, sure, but it’s like a law, and everything.

Now, Mr. Lane is a solid writer in his own right. As Mr. Wilcox may be as well. I don’t mean to make this a Moe Lane tribute. But as I know Mr. Lane better, it’s easier for me to discuss such things with and about him. And one thing I know for certain is that Mr. Lane is himself a bit of a mythologist. He has intuited his fair share of things, not the least of which involves Marilyn Monroe’s post-rictus career as a vampire hunter.

But I digress.

Regardless, without even realizing it, Mr. Lane had seen a hint — just the tiniest hint — of his own answer. Which I’ll be glad to tell you in a story we like to call…

The Arrogant Writer and the Beached Mermaid.

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Why do we get spam email that’s complete gibberish or random sentences from books strung together?

This entry is part 10 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

This week, we have a myth com from reader Streon, who asks us:

Why do we get spam email that’s complete gibberish or random sentences from books strung together?

Streon’s question is a good one. He is careful, by the by, to differentiate between the spam e-mail that uses a block of gibberish like a shield, allowing the spamful content to slide in when we least expect it and tell the wife and children that you can have a large penis and low mortgage rates all at once. No, these are the e-mails that are nothing but sentences from books, nonsense phrases, bits of semi-comprehensible detritus and semiliterate ranting.

It is Streon’s thesis, unstated, that there must be some meaning behind these random e-mails. Some purpose.

As it works out, he’s half right.

Entirely right, I suppose, if one extends the defintion of the word “meaning,” but for the most part I don’t think that’s the right word for it. But that, as you can imagine, is a matter for the myth.

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