MT VOID 10/04/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 14, Whole Number 2087

MT VOID 10/04/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 14, Whole Number 2087

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society 10/04/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 14, Whole Number 2087

Table of Contents

      Co-Editor: Mark Leeper, Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, Back issues at All material is copyrighted by author unless otherwise noted. All comments sent or posted will be assumed authorized for inclusion unless otherwise noted. To subscribe, send mail to To unsubscribe, send mail to

METROPOLIS Restored (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

The title of this column does not seem all that impressive. There have been a lot of restorations of Fritz Lang's science fiction classic film from 1927. This is one more, but it is dubbed and colorized. It can be found on YouTube at

It comes as close as possible to a film that has the modern conveniences. [-mrl]

[It also has subtitles, but those are automatically generated, and at times laughable, e.g., when someone says is name if "Georgi" (pronounced "yorgi"), the subtitles says "york key". -ecl]

Kasha, Part 3: The Cross Examination (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

In response to Mark's comments on kasha in the 09/13/19 issue of the MT VOID, Jim Susky writes (and Mark responds):

JS: Let me see if I connected the dots correctly.

JS: Dot 1: "(As a child you were) a very finicky eater"

MRL: Not especially, but I did run into foods I did not like. One of them was pizza

JS: Dot 2: "(since age 12 you) have liked pretty much every new food (you) have tried"

MRL: Something like that.

JS: Dot 3: "(Evelyn brought home) a can of something called "Kasha and Gravy."

MRL: My mother did. I was something like 9 years old.

JS: Dot 4: By implication you have never eaten or sniffed Kasha therefore this is not "something (you) have disliked (since childhood)

MRL: I sniffed it about age 8

JS: Dot 5: This canned product has a "smell that is amazing. It does not smell like food."

MRL: It does smell like food, but not an attractive food. It is much like Gefilte Fish in that way.

JS: Dot 6: "Pick four cans of various repair materials at a hardware store, add a fifth can--an open can of kasha--and (conduct blind trials to determine) which one was food (by smell). (You) doubt that the kasha would be picked (more than 20% of the time)"

MRL: No, Kasha smells like food, but it is not an attractive food smell.

JS: Dot 7: Evelyn "so rarely is wrong (that she will) go to ludicrous lengths to prove she was right". Since kasha's aroma is essentially indistinguishable from "repair materials", you did not "like it"--a rare occurrence much like Evelyn's being wrong. Therefore Evelyn is wrong (this time)? Wrong in that she thought you would almost certainly like kasha?

MRL: I think she wanted to see if I would like it. She surprised herself that she did not like it.

JS: I await Kasha (Part 2)--meanwhile I offer the "Omnivore 100"--link and list below. The idea here is to review the list and mark those you have sampled to date. I had to look up some of these--and still don't remember what they are.

MRL: You gave me "Kasha (Part 3): The cross-examination"

JS: I think "my number" is in the mid-60s--roughly equal to the number of elements I can recall and write down. What's your (and Evelyn's) "number"?

To clarify that a bit--so far as the Omnivore's 100 and Periodic Table go, I have sampled about 60-65 of the food items. And, last time I tried, I was able to write (if not correctly spell) the names of 60-65 chemical elements.

Some of the food items, that I allege to have eaten, are "stretchers" (to borrow from Huck Finn). For instance:

"salted lassi": I regard this as a variant on yogurt--and "lassi" evokes for me my mother's Finnish heritage. On a lengthy 1973 trip to Finland, we children had many chances to eat "fee-lee-a" ("Villi" in wikipedia entry). This is a mildly sour, "stretchy" cultured milk product.

"haggis": while I've not had a dish so-named, I do enjoy "menudo" at a local Tex-Mex restaurant. Both involve the stomach from livestock.

"heirloom tomatoes": in 1960s, my father didn't call his tomatoes "heirloom" - not that I ever heard. Given that he used mail-order seeds (and strawberry plants) some of them may have "qualified".

"Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut": the chain is a recent addition to Anchorage, at my lady friend's insistence we tried a few. Given that they cost twice as much for half the size, with little else to distinguish them, a "repeat performance" is unlikely.

Finally, I was intrigued by the reference to "baijiu", a Chinese liquor which is "the best selling spirit in the world, with 10.8 billion liters sold in 2018, more than whisky, vodka, gin, rum and tequila combined."

Though the reference is now missing from the wikipedia entry, I recall that it is used to prepare "drunken shrimp", which is sort of like sashmi - except no knives are required. Shrimp are stunned by soaking them in baijiu, which are then served.


MRL: The starred ones are ones I have tried. [ -mrl]

  1. Venison*
  2. Nettle tea
  3. Huevos rancheros*
  4. Steak tartare
  5. Crocodile*
  6. Black pudding
  7. Cheese fondue*
  8. Carp
  9. Borscht*
  10. Baba ghanoush*
  11. Calamari*
  12. Pho*
  13. PB&J sandwich*
  14. Aloo gobi*
  15. Hot dog from a street cart*
  16. Epoisses
  17. Black truffle
  18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes*
  19. Steamed pork buns*
  20. Pistachio ice cream*
  21. Heirloom tomatoes*
  22. Fresh wild berries*
  23. Foie gras
  24. Rice and beans*
  25. Brawn, or head cheese
  26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
  27. Dulce de lech*e*
  28. Oysters*
  29. Baklava*
  30. Bagna cauda
  31. Wasabi peas*
  32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl*
  33. Salted lassi*
  34. Sauerkraut*
  35. Root beer float*
  36. Cognac with a fat cigar
  37. Clotted cream tea*
  38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
  39. Gumbo*
  40. Oxtail*
  41. Curried goat*
  42. Whole insects*
  43. Phaal*
  44. Goat's milk*
  45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth #60/$120 or more
  46. Fugu
  47. Chicken tikka masala*
  48. Eel*
  49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut*
  50. Sea urchin*
  51. Prickly pear*
  52. Umeboshi*
  53. Abalone*
  54. Paneer*
  55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal*
  56. Spaetzle*
  57. Dirty gin martini
  58. Beer above 8% ABV
  59. Poutine*
  60. Carob chips*
  61. S'mores*
  62. Sweetbreads
  63. Kaolin
  64. Currywurst
  65. Durian
  66. Frogs' legs*
  67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake*
  68. Haggis
  69. Fried plantain*
  70. Chitterlings, or andouillette*
  71. Gazpacho*
  72. Caviar and blini
  73. Louche absinthe
  74. Gjetost, or brunost*
  75. Roadkill
  76. Baijiu
  77. Hostess Fruit Pie*
  78. Snail*
  79. Lapsang souchong*
  80. Bellini
  81. Tom yum*
  82. Eggs Benedict*
  83. Pocky*
  84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
  85. Kobe beef
  86. Hare*
  87. Goulash*
  88. Flowers*
  89. Horse*
  90. Criollo chocolate
  91. Spam*
  92. Soft shell crab*
  93. Rose harissa
  94. Catfish*
  95. Mole poblano*
  96. Bagel and lox*
  97. Lobster Thermidor
  98. Polenta*
  99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
  100. Snake*


Evelyn adds:

My number pretty much matches Mark's. But the list is weird. It includes bagel and lox, but not gefilte fish. It includes venison, but not moose. I've had caviar, and I've had blini, just not together. I counted crocodile, because I have had alligator, and foie gras, because I've had a lot of chopped liver. Some (like rice and beans) were standard fare when I was growing up, and now. Others are standard now (e.g., pho, mole poblano, paneer). Too many alcoholic drinks, but somehow doesn't include snake wine (which I have had) or arak (ditto) or ouzo (ditto).

As for "salted lassi", I would say it was different from yogurt (lassi has buttermilk in it).

While haggis and menudo both have stomach, haggis also has various other organs liver, lungs, and heart involved.

I also assume the tomato my father grew back then were "heirloom tomatoes", but I have also had the so-named produce recently. [-ecl]

THE BESTOWAL (Film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: Steven, a successful salesman, is depressed. After seeing the world unimproved in spite of his best effort, Steve is ready to commit suicide when who should drop in on him but Death. Not just someone calling themself Death but Death itself. It is not a skeleton carrying a scythe but the form of a beautiful woman. The two have a long (and often tedious) metaphysical discussion about questions that intrinsically have no answer. The two characters try to decide what the Universe really needs. Sam Brittan plays Steven and Sharmita Bhattacharya plays Death. Directed by: Andrew de Burgh; written by: Andrew de Burgh. Rating: high 0 (-4 to +4) or 4/10

This is a film that looks beautiful but is often every bit as awkward as its title. It is an allegory of Christian theology. Steven is about to commit suicide over the sorry state of the world when Death in the form of a beautiful woman appears in his home to avert the sin and to have a metaphysical discussion of what is life, death, and everything in between. For a film that bills itself as "a sci-fi drama" it has no science and little to appeal to a sci-fi fan. Somehow my mind rebels at the image of Death in false eyelashes. But is it really Death? Not as we know Death. When it suits her she is actually an inter-dimensional being who appears in the form of a beautiful woman, false eyelashes and all, and she is visiting "from the 17th Dimension." (No kidding. The 17th Dimension!) Death explains that suicides if allowed to be successful do all sorts damage. At long intervals Death repeatedly shows up to discuss with Steven what he has been doing since her last visit and how the world has changed and deteriorated in the decades since her last visit.

The souls of suicides run amok, we are told. Steven complains that he lost his faith because God allowed the Holocaust to happen. That is almost a cliche. Losing ones soul because God permits huge evils to happen seems a common plot and usually it is the last character you would expect to feel to be so deeply affected.

There is no denying that Bhattacharya playing Death is an attractive presence at some level. But the words she has been given to speak do not help her create her image. It is not for me to say if Britten is attractive, but he speaks in a monotone straight out of the First Dimension.

This all may be a little harsh on the film. The director de Burgh shows the viewer a nice piece of artistic design. But it is like the two actors are standing in a painting. It takes a very short time to place the two actors in this one setting, but then the two actors go into a slow dialog that is laced with some not very believable talk and more talk and some more after that. One has the feeling that the debate would be easier to appreciate if it were presented in printed text rather than spoken. I rate THE BESTOWAL high 0 (-4 to +4) or 4/10

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


RIVERDALE: (television review by Dale Skran):

I've been bingeing RIVERDALE, and am about halfway through the third season. A fourth season starts next month on the CW. I was initially put off by the dark tone of the trailers, and in any case, I've never been a fan of ARCHIE COMICS on which RIVERDALE is based. However, recently I got inspired to give RIVERDALE a try, and discovered that it was surprisingly compelling.

One way to understand RIVERDALE is to imagine that BUFFY was split into two new shows, one containing all the "rational" fears that impact high-schoolers, and the other focused on "supernatural" threats. In this taxonomy, RIVERDALE focuses on the "rational" fears, while THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA focuses on "supernatural" fears. Although RIVERDALE is on the CW, and SARBINA on Netflix, they are in the same "universe" and there has been at least one character cross-over, plus various events that leak over from one town to the other. Fans, of course, would love to see a cross-over involving the main characters.

RIVERDALE takes fairly close representations of the core characters from ARCHIE COMICS and moves them to the modern era, where they face the dark chaos of a bleak rural America. There is a nod to "Scooby Doo" here, with menaces often appearing to be supernatural, but turning out to be some form of a crook in a costume. However, unlike in "Scooby Doo" which featured a "monster of the week" RIVERDALE provides an E. E. (Doc) Smith style ascending staircase of villains, in which it is never clear who is really pulling the strings.

RIVERDALE more than nods to the super-hero genre in a minor key. ARCHIE COMICS had a line of super-hero comics featuring mostly unfamiliar characters like the Black Hood, The Fly, Flygirl, the Comet, the Web, and so on, under the moniker "Red Circle." The Black Hood is a major character in RIVERDALE, but like everything in RIVERDALE, has become a twisted yet compelling version of the heroic Black Hood in the comics. Additionally, Archie organizes teams variously called "The Red Circle" and "The Black Circle" who wear masks to engage in vigilante justice. The names are a homage to the ARCHIE COMICS super-hero titles.

Finally, some of the Archie characters have been morphed into low-power superheroes in the mold of Batman and Green Arrow. Betty Cooper is Nancy Drew growing into Veronica Mars. With her handy Nancy Drew detective handbook, the ability to pick any lock, crack any code, hot wire cars (she is a skilled mechanic), plucky girl heroine bravery, and a ruthlessness taken from older versions of Batman, she is a scary enemy. Somehow everyone she hunts ends up dead, although not directly by her hand. Cheryl Blossom is basically "Speedy" from the Arrow TV show. Nicknamed "Deadeye", and wearing her red hunting cloak, she appears to have something approximating perfect aim with a long bow. At various times she shoots a member of a rival gang in the shoulder from a truck, knocks a can off Jughead's head, and hits the Black Hood in the shoulder before hunting him through the dark woods.

Archie himself is on a journey which seems to be leading in the super-hero direction. Given his penchant for wearing hoods of various colors, his willingness to "gear up" with his favorite baseball bat, his time spent in "teen fight club" while in jail, his natural athletic abilities (football, basketball, wrestling), and summers spent working at his dad's construction firm, Archie is a formidable fighter on a path to being a better fighter under the boxing tutelage of Mr. Keller. He is shown as being both able to take down most opponents with a few punches, while able to absorb a tremendous amount of punishment in a fight, and as well as being determined and ruthless, such as when he reports Poppa Putine to Hiram Lodge, knowing Lodge will have him killed.

The strength of the group is a kind of super-power in RIVERDALE. Jughead is an intellectual writer born to be "The Serpent King"--the leader of his father's gang, a mantle he eventually takes on, if only to keep the Serpents out of the drug business. Betty becomes Jug's girlfriend, and ultimately joins the Serpents. Together Jughead and Betty are a devastating detective team, able to field soldiers to assist with virtually any plan.

Veronica wields the super-power of money, combined with keen business acumen, the allure of the femme fatale, and a knowledge of the ways of organized crime. Her skills honed by an endless conflict with her crime-lord parents, Veronica uses deception to build her power-base around her ownership of Pop's Chocolate Shop. It seems obvious that in time her nemesis will be the temptation to take on her parents' criminal empire.

Archie can assemble the Riverdale High Bulldogs football team into his "gang" on occasion, while Cheryl Blossom organizes the "Pretty Poisons," a girl gang she is training in the long bow. As Veronica builds her business empire, she recruits her own set of loyal "capos", and sometimes calls on the ROTC squad for additional muscle. She also makes a deal with the Serpents to protect her business against her father's enforcers. And of course, the foursome of Archie, Veronica, Jughead, and Betty form a core "gang" of best friends who when united are quite formidable.

RIVERDALE throws Josie and the Pussycats into this mix. Unlike the multi-racial originals in the comics, the initial version of the Pussycats is all black, but over time goes through several evolutions, and for a while includes Veronica. There is a lot of singing and dancing in RIVERDALE, with most of the cast appearing to have come straight off Broadway. Josie does not escape the darkness of RIVERDALE. Her musician father drives her constantly toward musical success, such that she sacrifices a normal live. At the same time her mother, the mayor, works as a toady for Hiram Lodge's criminal empire.

In the noir world of RIVERDALE, our heroes' parents are the villains. Veronica's parents are crime lords with an apocalyptic plan to convert RIVERDALE to a hell on Earth just for them to rule. Cheryl Blossom's parents are a maple syrup magnate who is really a drug runner, and a society mom who is a serial poisoner and brothel owner. Jug's father battles with alcohol while using the Serpents to do dirty work for several sides in "Game of Thrones"--Riverdale Edition. Betty's mother, a former Serpent, is a nasty piece of work who thinks nothing of forcibly committing her daughters to the "Sisters of Mercy"--a rogue group of nuns who provide gay conversion therapy services and test illegal drugs on their charges. Betty's father--SPOILER--turns out to be the Black Hood, a psychotic serial killer, and Betty's inheritance is his quest for justice and a growing darkness that leads Betty further from the light, possibly toward the ultimate destiny of taking up the hood herself. Jughead's mother may turn out to be the most dangerous of them all as she schemes to take the fizzle rocks trade from Hiram Lodge. Only Archie's dad is a figure of righteousness in this bizarre world, although Josie's mom turns toward good when she loses her job as mayor.

The menaces are many--drugs, gangs, organized crime, deadly memes, cults of wackos, epidemics of seizures, mass suicides--all dolloped out in a creepy, gothic style where no one is innocent and trust is an illusion. The first season villain turns out to be Cheryl Blossom's father, the second season main villain is the Black Hood, and the third season focuses on the Gargoyle King, perhaps the gang's most dangerous foe yet. In this blasted, virtually post-apocalyptic American small town, drugs are ubiquitous, the only jobs are at the prison Hiram Lodge is building to manufacture drugs, the police work for the mob, criminal gangs rule the streets, and the governor is a paid toady of Mrs. Lodge, who is perhaps more dangerous than her husband. The "adults" of RIVERDALE play a never ending "Game of Thrones" where death is only one false step away. Our only hope is a varying gang of teens led by Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica. Enmeshed in a complex web of friendship and lust/love, the friends are sometimes best friends but often rivals as they seek their ultimate destiny.

I'd love to see RIVERDALE morph into THE RED CIRCLE after a few more seasons. Betty could take on the mantle of the Black Hood after finding the cursed black hood (perhaps in Greendale during a SABRINA crossover!) that often appeared in the comics, which gave the wearer powers but led them to do only good. Archie could easily become the Shield, perhaps after finding a costume in the basement of one of the many abandoned houses hear Riverdale. Jug is a natural as the Web, with a similar origin, and I'd love to see Veronica find the technology-based Flygirl costume that was sometimes the source of Flygirl's powers. A Red Circle based only on technology and muscle would be a great, weak, super-team, and just a slight extension to what the characters already are. And, of course, Cheryl Blossom and Toni, her Serpent lover, would join as Deadeye and the Cat Burglar. The team might operate out of the basement of Pop's Chocolate shop. It would be a different show, but also one possible evolution of RIVERDALE, and also a logical response to the strength of crime in RIVERDALE. I don't think this is all that likely since RIVERDALE's writers seem interested in exploring the bad side of vigilante justice, but you never know!

This kind of show is a guilty pleasure. It's not for everyone for sure. RIVERDALE shares with a lot of other "high school" shows the conceit that 25-year-old actors are really 16. There is a lot of sex for a TV show, and scary elements galore, including drug use with "imaginary" drugs with names like "Fizzle Rocks." There are major gay/lesbian characters and relationships, with the struggle of gays/lesbians for self-determination in the face of violent hate a significant theme. Having said all this, the violence is mostly off-screen, unlike in R-rated SABRINA. RIVERDALE is not for kids, but I'm not sure RIVERDALE is any scarier than BUFFY. Our heroes are flawed, and none more than Adderall stealing cam-girl Betty. RIVERDALE feels darker than BUFFY since the menaces are more realistic. The deeply scary part of RIVERDALE is that it starts to seem like the real world after a while. RIVERDALE reflects common fears that it is no longer possible to live an honest, middle-class life in America. That the only job left is running drugs or working at a private prison. That the rich run our lives, and we are just pawns in their games. At the same time RIVERDALE evokes the can-do heroics of NANCY DREW and the HARDY BOYS, with a bit of HORATHIO ALGER and FAME thrown in. It can be a compelling mix. [-dls]

THE DAY SHALL COME (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: Moses is the head of a very tiny church in Miami--less than a handful of members--that preaches that the Great Inversion is coming. European whites will be on the bottom and blacks will be on the top. In the meantime his church is about to die of financial problems. Watching the film one is never sure what group will be skewered next by Chris Morris' bitter, toxic wit. Directed by: Christopher Morris; written by: Jesse Armstrong, Sean Gray, Tony Roche, and Christopher Morris. Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4) or 8/10

As the film opens we are told by a title card that it is "based on a hundred true stories." Moses' church is in financial difficulty. Then he gets funded by a local activist who, unknown to the preacher, is actually an undercover agent of Homeland Security. Homeland Security agent Kendra (played by Anna Kendrick) has an unenviable task. She has to prove that there is terrorist activity in her area. With no notable local examples she is instructed to frame the preacher in her area. She regrets that she is justifying her employment with what she knows is a lie. The actress manages to look almost identical to her character in UP IN THE AIR (2009), for which she received an Academy Award nomination. However, the film was stolen by Marchant Davis as Moses al Shabaz. who has a nice, comfortable acting style on the screen. His character Moses wants to do the right thing and so will be the person most hurt by the forces of justice, while Kendrick's perky young agent has high moral standards. Her attitude rubs some fellow agents the wrong way with her resistance to their scheme.

THE DAY SHALL COME was directed by and co-authored by Chris Morris, who nine years ago gave us FOUR LIONS. That latter film was about four incompetent terrorists more dangerous to themselves than to outside international terrorists. Morris's style is now more polished and more sharp. Morris repeats that point he made in FOUR LIONS. When we face an opponent we over-estimate our opponent's strength and under-estimate our own. That is true of both sides.

Morris says that ignorance in the hands of the enemy is more dangerous than is truth. I rate THE DAY SHALL COME a high +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 8/10.

Release date: September 27, 2019.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


Parkinson's and THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (letter of comment by John Hertz):

In response to Mark's comments on Parkinson's in the 02/15/19 issue of the MT VOID, John Hertz writes:

Thanks to Mark for his brave health report. My grandmother had, and two of my friends have, Parkinson's. She was and they are indomitable. Be strong and of good courage.

In response to Evelyn's comments on THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE in the 08/02/19 issue, John writes:

Stevenson's "Jekyll and Hyde" (1896) is indeed a wonder, worth reading and re-reading. It was one of the SF Classics we discussed at Midamericon II (74th Worldcon; see my report There as before and since I recommend Nabakov's brilliant treatment in his LECTURES ON LITERATURE (1980), the best I know, and I include Chesterton's. [-jh]

MUNCHHAUSEN, the Berlin Sex Museum, and the Berlin Currywurst Museum (letters of comment by Paul Dormer, Scott Dorsey, Dorothy J. Heydt, Gary McGath, and Kevin R):

In response to Taras Wolansky's comments on MUNCHHAUSEN in the 09/27/19 issue of the MT VOID, Paul Dormer writes:

[Taras Wolansky writes,] "On German tolerance for nudity in the movie MUNCHHAUSEN, many years ago I read about the woman who was West Germany's chief purveyor of 'adult toys'. She explained her sexual frankness on her 'thorough Nazi education'."

Would that be Beate Uhse? I remember reading her obituary in a UK paper back in 2001. She was a Luftwaffe pilot and as Berlin was falling, she found a plane and (according to Wikipedia) she flew out with her young son ahead of the Soviet troops into what would become West Germany.

The first time I went to Berlin in 2004, there was a huge Beate Uhse Sex Museum just round the corner from my hotel, just south of the Zoological Gardens railway station (which was then the main railway station). When I went back to Berlin a few years later, it was no longer there. [-pd]

Scott Dorsey responds:

It closed in 2015; they are looking for a new location for the exhibits but to be honest they were mostly kind of tacky. [-sd]

Paul answers:

I thought it had closed when I was there in 2010, but I might be mis-remembering.

I was really annoyed that the Currywurst museum had closed in Berlin. I only heard about it after my visit to Berlin in 2017 and it closed before I got back there this year. [-pd]

And Scott responds:

Oh no! That was actually kind of cool, because they talked about the history of currywurst being created out of foods that could be obtained from British forces during the occupation, and how it evolved. And you did get to eat a currywurst at the end of the trip. [-sd]

Paul responds:

I'd heard that the tomato ketchup was obtained from the US forces, but I'd guess curry powder was a very British thing.

I have found a recipe for currywurst online that I've tried with success:


And Dorothy J. Heydt adds:

Awwww. At the other end of the table, perhaps, I once read a review of a book of recipes devised by the wives of GIs occupying West Berlin after the war, trying to make American food out of German materials. It was long ago and I don't remember any details, except that necessity is the mother of invention. [-djh]

Gary McGath writes:

The oddest museum I've encountered in Germany is the Museum of Mustard in Cologne. It's right across the street from the Museum of Chocolate. Guess which one gets more visitors. [-gmg]

Kevin R responds:

There's a US version in Middleton, WI, formerly of Mount Horeb.

[Chocolate museums] are popular.

What you need next to a mustard museum is a sausage or pretzel museum, and a brewing museum. Chocolate museum for dessert. :-) [-kr]

Dorothy suggests:

Maybe a cheese museum as well? I seem to recall having read that the POWs on Bataan, who had nothing but rice and mule meat to eat, could be divided into two groups: those who dreamed about chocolate, and those who dreamed about cheese. [-djh]

Kevin R replies:

Cheese museums!

The Monroe, WI public high school athletic teams are nicknamed "the Cheesemakers." [-kr]

And Paul notes:

Been to Cologne a lot, but never noticed [the Museum of Mustard]. Noticed the chocolate museum, but haven't been in it.

It seems over the last few years I've at least changed trains a lot in Cologne, as if I'm travelling anywhere in Germany and points east, it's Eurostar to Brussels, and then Thalys or ICE to Cologne. I even have a favourite hotel in Cologne near the station for when I want to break my journey there. (This is not some anti-air travel thing on my part, I just like travelling by train.)

[And in response to Kevin's suggestion above of a nearby sausage or pretzel museum, and a brewing museum, with a chocolate museum for dessert,] I'll drink to that. [-pd]

This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):

I have just discovered the original "mythbuster": Palaephatus. His dates (or even his real name) are uncertain, but he's generally placed in the fourth century B.C.E., and his work is PERI APISTON (ON UNBELIEVABLE TALES). This consists of 52 chapters, each debunking a Greek myth. Like Ovid's HEROIDES, which I reviewed in the 07/05/19 issue of the MT VOID, this is one of the lesser-known classical works that gives a different perspective on what most people know (or think they know) about the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the case of PERI APISTON, Palaephatus's observations about the myths, in which he explains how the myths represent either real events misinterpreted (e.g., centaurs were just men riding horses as observed by people who had never seen this before), or are symbolic of real events (e.g., the rape of Europa), he is contradicting the idea that all the Greeks actually believed all these things.

Often the symbolism involves claiming that it was a confusion over names, e.g., there were not apples of gold on a tree guarded by a dragon, but sheep that produced beautiful wool and hence were called "gold" that were guarded by a shepherd named "Dragon". Palaephatus says some of the confusion is because "sheep" and "apple" are the same word in ancient Greek (*)--this appears to be true.

Palaephatus often begins by recounting the common version of the myth and then saying something like, "If anyone believes that there may have been such a beast, he believes in the impossible," or, "Whoever believes that a human can become a stone, or a stone a human, is a simple-minded person. The truth is this." After this he gives his version of what (probably) happened.

Ugo Bratelli notes that Palaephatus also makes errors: "Palaiphatos confuses the Gorgons, whose names he quotes, and the Greeks [sic]; it is the latter who have only one eye to them." The ones with only one eye among them were the Graeae, apparently Chrome's version of Google Translate stumbled here, so there are enough errors and mistakes to go around. Bratelli's French translation has "Grees" (with an accent acute on the first 'e'. Stand-alone Google Translate renders this as "Graians", which would be the anglicization of '"Graeae".

This work is not exactly widely available. Gutenberg doesn't have it, but the original Greek is available free on-line, as is Bratelli's French translation. If you don't read French, Chrome's automatic translation is really quite good. Various translations, including English, are also available for sale, mostly at higher prices than you would want to pay for a work of under 10,000 words.

(*) Bratelli says "mela"; other sources say "melon" or "melos"; Langenscheidt has "melon" as the root.


                                          Mark Leeper

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