Wikipedia Wednesdays - Alex Hall


Well, this is new. After clicking ‘Random Article’ this time, I was taken to a disambiguation page. Alex Hall could, apparently, refer to any of at least six different people, and that’s only counting the ones notable enough to merit a Wikipedia page.

The first one is a British actress, the four after her are all male football players (one using the American definition of football, the other three using the European definition), and the last was a theater actor before he began directing movies. Now, I could simply write about one of them, but that would be unfair – how do I pick which one? – and contrary to my rules (I am to write about the page I come to, no matter what). Another option would be to write about all six of them, but I am lazy and busy packing for college.

Instead, I’ll just have to write about the name Alex Hall. As you can tell, it’s a name with three syllables, and is gender-neutral (though, as Alex is either short for a male or a female name, and neither Alexander nor Alexandra are gender-neutral, Alex isn’t so much gender-neutral as it is non-indicative of gender). The last name, Hall, like most monosyllabic last names, is a fairly strong, sturdy one, if somewhat simple, which might explain why so many of them are athletes. Ooh, burn.

Okay, this is stupid. I can’t do this. I’ve only got a few words to go, I'm giving up. All I want to point out is that one of the footballers, the Australian one, is listed as having been born in 1869, but does not have a date of death listed. Now, Wikipedia usually just says “Date uncertain” is they aren’t sure about someone’s death, so clearly the only plausible explanation is that Mr. Hall is immortal. I’m thinking vampire, though bargain with Satan also seems like a likely explanation.

I apologize for the previous four paragraphs. I’m tired.

Dungeons of Dredmor is Obnoxiously Fun


I bought Dungeons of Dredmor on steam a few hours ago, and I actually had to force myself to stop so I could go to sleep. It's similar to Spelunky insofar as the worlds are randomly generated and death is permanent, but it's a turn-based RPG similar to Nethack (which I tried and promptly gave up on last year). What's great about it is that each time you die, you know exactly why you died, what you could have done to avoid it, and what you should do next time you start (and you will).

Every time you start a new game, you choose seven skills from a roster of forty or so, which come to define your charming adventurer, and whenever you level up, you choose one of these seven skills to earn another rank in. The first time I played, I made my guy a dashing rogue who specializes in swords - he died   after being hit with an acid bolt trap (not from the trap itself, but from the acid damage he continued to take). So after that, I tried a vampire berserker who specializes in kicking things - he died after being hit with an acid bolt trap (not from the trap itself, but from the acid damage he continued to take). So after that, I tried a wizard who's really, really good at noticing traps, particularly those of the acid bolt variety, and I'm doing pretty well thus far - though, yeah, I expect to die any minute now.

If you haven't already, you really ought to try this game out - it's only selling for five bucks, after all, though I'd gladly have paid fifty.

Wikipedia Wednesday - Cedric Phatudi


Cedric Phatudi was a South African Educational Administrator. He was several other things, too, but to describe any of those would require writing a lot of backstory. I will, naturally, but I rather like the current format of beginning each post with the name of the Wikipedia page I picked, so I had to start out with the simple stuff.

Anyway, if you’re anything like me, all you know about South Africa is stuff you gleaned from District 9. Also the word “apartheid,” which you think has something to do with racism, but you’re not quite sure what. As it turns out, that’s really all apartheid came down to (it literally means “apart-ness") – a governmental system of legalized racism under which the White minority was enabled to oppress the Black majority.

Now, in the mid-twentieth century, South Africa’s National Party began to ship the nation’s major ethnic groups to different parts of the country (known initially as homelands, and more currently as Bantustans). The idea was that these territories would eventually separate from South Africa and thusly the nation would be freed from Black influence. The plan obviously failed on account of the fact that it was ridiculous.

Meanwhile, Dr. Phatudi, as he preferred to be called, was moving up through the ranks of South Africa’s educational system – he began as a teacher, then became an Educational Administrator before being named President of the Federation of Inspectors of Schools in South Africa in 1958 – the very same year in which Ellen DeGeneres was born (probably unrelated).

He continued in this position until 1969, at which point he joined a group dedicated to bring autonomy to Lebowa, one of the aforementioned Bhatustans, which was eventually granted in 1972. Phatudi was the leader of the newly-founded nation and was characterized by being calmer and more diplomatic than the leaders of the other nine Bhatustans, with the exception of one early outburst (he wished to expand the regions of the territory to include a few white neighborhoods – the expansion also enabled the new nation to take hold of a number of universities). He died in 1987, and Lebowa was re-integrated into South Africa in 1994.

Sorry, eh!


No wikipedia posts today. I know, I know, I've left all zero of my regular readers down. Thing is, I never bothered making a post buffer like the professionals, and I'm visiting Niagara Falls right now. Apparently they get internet in Canada?

Anyway, I'm way too pooped to write anything of value right now(as opposed to my usual routine of writing nothing of value while right awake). I could note a few of the humorous differences between Canada and America; but firstly, I still have a couple more days before I get back home and secondly, The Town of Niagara Falls is nothing at all like the rest of the nation (unless Canada is filled with T-shirt vendors, tattoo parlors, haunted houses, and so-called "4-D" movie theaters).

UPDATE: Canadian Bacon is a ripoff. Don't bother, unless you really like slightly-thicker ham.

Wikipedia Wednesdays - Socialist Union of Catalonia


The Socialist Union of Catalonia is, as one might imagine, a political party in Spain falling decidedly left of center. It was formed in 1923 after splitting from the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, because apparently Catalonia is an important enough region of Spain to merit its own branch. (I have no idea how important Catalonia is). It was absorbed into a larger union in 1936.

One thing my readers (all none of them) might notice is that most of the random entries on wikipedia focus on small, insignificant entities. At first this disappointed me, but I'm now fascinated by the many and varied cultures surrounding such - okay, yeah, I'm disappointed. Still, I only need to make it another month before school starts - just three more entries. I can do this.

The union was primarily led by one J. Comorera, and oversaw the UniĆ³ general de sindicats obrers de Catalunya, which I unfortunately could not translate on my own, despite my having taken four years of Spanish. According to a Google translation of the Spanish Wikipedia (La Enciclopedia Libre), it was a general union of trade unions in Catalunia and was led by Joan Fronjosta.

Now, me being the savvy researcher that I am, I also checked out the page La Enciclopedia Libre has on the Socialist Union of Catalonia (or, rather, the UniĆ³ Socialista de Catalunya). Curiously enough, this page claims that Joan Comorera (whose first name the English Wikipedia left out) led both unions. Well, get your shit together, La Enciclopedia Libre! Which Joan was it? Huh? Fronjosta or Comorera? Well, seeing as how Comorera's page makes no mention at all of the UGSOC, whereas Fronjosta's asserts that Fronjosta founded the group, I'm inclined to believe that Fronjosta is being unfairly slighted over at the USC page.

You know, I think I'm much better qualified to discuss the merits and legacies of two Spanish Socialist leaders than any Spanish scholar, not despite the fact that I've never heard of either one until twenty minutes ago, but because I hadn't heard of either one until twenty minutes ago. See, I am totally free of any pre-existing bias towards one or the other. In fact, I'm devoid of any background knowledge on the men at all. Plus, I must admit, this did make for a pretty interesting learning experience. I might rethink my outlook on the subjects I formerly thought of as insignificant, because they do teach me some very interesting lessons. For instance, on the differences between the English and Spanish Wikipedias. Or about how the source by which one learns of a man alters one's perceptions of him. Or about how Joan is a surprisingly common name for Spanish males.