Monday, February 18, 2008

My Last Issues

I lied to Hershel Shanks.

I told him & others that I had a complete run of BAR magazine, but actually I've been missing 1 particular issue: vol. VIII #2, Mar/Apr 1982. This week I finally obtained a copy of this last issue for my collection. Though the covers are missing, as with any decent piece of literature, it's the content that counts.

The most interesting item in this one is, "BAR Jr.: On the Surface" by Hershel Shanks. He relates the story of one of his 2 daughters (I didn't even know he had any kids) finding a very rare, post-fired incised jar handle on the surface of Hazor. In this photo straddling pp. 42 & 43, you see what is labeled "a Syro-Hittite deity incised on a pottery handle from about 1,400 B.C." on the left, & LMLK VIP, Yigael Yadin with 6-year-old Elizabeth Shanks researching it on the right:

I've been a subscriber beginning with vol. 23 #4, Jul/Aug 1997, which bore a prophetic headline (in light of my research that supports the reliability/historicity of Chronicles): Biblical Minimalists Meet Their Challengers. I love God's sense of humor! Looking back now a decade hence, this issue was full of it!

The "First Person" editorial was titled, The End of the Paper Trail: Final Reports Must Go Electronic. Now we've seen benefits from not just the final ones, but the preliminary ones, the intermediate ones, & the post-final ones!

A major boost to my legacy of LMLK research & online publication of handles came in 2002 when I obtained permission to study Mizpah artifacts excavated by William Frederic Bade. The "Backward Glance" section of this issue was titled, A Legacy of Publication: William Frederic Bade and Tell en-Nasbeh.

Thanks again to the author of that article, Jeffrey R. Zorn, for autographing this particular issue for me! Altogether, 15 issues of my collection are autographed by 16 VIPs, including vol. 1 #1 by founder/editor, Hershel Shanks.

I haven't read every single issue yet--only about half of them. It's not because I'm not interested or offended by their content; I simply haven't had time yet.

I like magazines. Besides BAR, currently I'm subscribed to 15 engineering ones, 12 social(?) ones (university, health, automotive, religion, etc.), 2 philatelic ones, & yesterday I received the latest issue of Artifax (Winter 2008) edited by Gordon Govier. (Thanks to Clyde Billington for managing to mention LMLKs on p. 16 in an article on Goliath's height & giants encountered during the Exodus, believe it or not! And some people probably think I stretch the limits on the relevance of LMLK research!)

Also this week, in another twist of irony, came my last issue of Archaeology:

Though I bought a few used copies from 1996-1998 at the main Redondo Beach public library, my subscription began with vol. 51 #3, May/Jun 1998. It contains nothing relevant to my life over the past decade. I'm sure that if I were to take the time tonight to thumb through every BAR issue, & every Archaeology issue, more than half of the BARs would contain decent, interesting, relevant material, whereas only a handful of Archaeologys might.

For the most part, Archaeology's material isn't offensive ... just spots of baloney--insults & arrogance--scattered about to let you know they're right & you're either wrong or stupid. When I consistently read unscientific Evolution-bias, the rational section of my admittedly little brain waves its figurative hands & asks, "Why are you paying them money for this?"

I want info on the world of archeology. I don't want to hear a fairytale from an atheist's imagination; I could get children's books for 25-cents each on a local library's fundraising table, & get the same net benefit. That price would be less than what I'm paying for my Archaeology subscription, & would serve the culture of my local community rather than some arrogant, closed-minded liberal in Long Island City (the magazine's headquarters).

Since this will be my final issue of Archaeology, I thought it would be fitting to give it a royal send-off by reviewing its contents.

Cover: Terrific color shot of Nefertiti's famous eyeless bust, with uninspired, uninteresting, ambiguous captions.

Inside-cover & p. 1 spread: ad for the Houston Museum of Natural Science's exhibit of Lucy, featuring an insult to every human being, "Her story is Your story", & the question, "How do you relate?" I don't, & anybody who wants to believe their ancestor was a lifeless pile of minerals should stop & think about it independently for a few hours, if they're not too willfully lazy to do so. I wouldn't mind if the caption had been something objective like, "Come see the fossil that confused, depressed, &/or masochistic people believe is their common ancestor." I hate false advertising.

P. 5, photo of contributing journalist, Mara Hvistendahl: She's hot! Too bad they didn't spread her beautiful image over the space taken by the stupid Lucy ad.

P. 6, award presented to archeologist James Wiseman: Congratulations for his contributions to the field!

P. 8, letters to the editor: Informative, though nothing of interest to me; boring compared to BAR's letters.

Pp. 10-11, World Roundup: I've enjoyed this relatively new section where they show a world-map with featured archeological happenings all over the place. Nothing of particular interest in this issue, but one annoying comment about a "500,000-year-old Homo erectus bone". Too bad the editor didn't have space for a reference to what scientific evidence that nice, round, even number was based upon. I guess we're just supposed to bow & believe, like lambs at an intellectual slaughter.

Pp. 12-5, From the Trenches: Nice article on some fake & real exhibits of Emperor Qin Shihuangdi's tomb-statue soldiers. Another article on an interesting, online virtual presentation of a site in Turkey. 5 other articles of no particular interest.

P. 16, Conversation--Evolution Overdrive--The Human Genome Is Changing Faster Than Ever: An interview with associate editor, Zach Zorich about "race, breeding with Neanderthals, & Zach's lousy education." That quote accurately represents my opinion of the article. I also agree with the first statement he makes about the belief taught in schools as fact, that human evolution stopped because our population is too large. His response: "Yeah, your teachers were all wrong [laughs]." Yes, funny indeed. Ha! Ha! Ha! We were all misinformed, but it was all in good fun I suppose, all for a good cause--the promotion of the religion known as Evolution Science. Of course, nothing Evolution's adherents are teaching students nowadays will be laughed at 50 years from now, I'm sure. (There's that voice in my head again--I actually paid for this issue of Archaeology.)

Pp. 18, 20, & 56, Insider--Do Civilizations Really Collapse: I don't have any complaints about this article, but its content is more relevant to anthropology & ecology than archeology despite its quotes from archeologists.

Pp. 22-7, Blackbeard Surfaces: I don't care about some criminal from only 300 years ago, but the discussion of retrieving his ship's artifacts is worthwhile for people interested in that era, & that technology. The most interesting part for me was the sidebar on p. 25 discussing the removal of concretion from an iron cannon. Throughout the article, they carefully label this "rock-solid" patina as "concretion" so nobody will get the idea that rocks can form in a few centuries instead of millions of years. Nice photo of a stemware encased in rock concretion on p. 27.

Pp. 28-32, Nefertiti's Eyes: Again, excellent photos throughout the article. I got a kick out of the "'royal' marker" discussion near the end, which was used for distinguishing images of the king.

Pp. 33-5, Harvard Reconnects with Its Native American Past: I actually liked this article since it mentions John Eliot's famous 1663 Bible, the first printed in America, though in an Algonquin language practically extinct now. My rare-Bible-leaf collection, which preceded my LMLK collection, contains 1 page from this 1st edition, & another page from the 2nd edition (you can distinguish them because the 2nd edition contained English comments at the beginning of each chapter).

Pp. 36-9, New Hope for a Forgotten City: Assos, an archeological site in Turkey, not a typo referring to Evolution proponents! Overall a nice, well-done article for people interested in that area. The final remarks by author Mark Rose are ironic in light of my work this past week in promoting Karel Vriezen's excavation of Chephirah: "How could a place, with such impressive remains, vast unexplored areas, & a remarkable setting be so little known?"

Pp. 40-5, Rebuilding a Treasure Ship: The article by the hot honey/babe/chick mentioned above. Of course, if I were to hand out awards for this issue, hers would win hands down. Not a single old-Earth, evolutionary suggestion in it! An exceptionally intelligent journalist! She gets an A+ for including a photo of a 15th-century porcelain rice bowl with a large ink-inscription on the bottom.

Pp. 46-9, Shovel Bums--Inside the World of Contract Archaeology: OK article on guys digging in America.

Pp. 50-3, Ghosts of the Taino: Excavation of a site in Puerto Rico with some interesting carved glyphs.

Pp. 54-5, 57-8: Ads that my subscription helped pay to print & distribute.

Pp. 59-63, 65, Letter from South Africa--Home of the Modern Mind--Did Culture Begin with the Color Red & a Stone Age Clambake?: You have got to be kidding me! I paid for this?! This genius-quote on p. 59 really takes the cake: "[P]eople living 164,000 years ago had a culture as complex as modern-day hunter-gatherers." Wow. Really? How about the people living 165,000 years ago--were they as mentally disorganized as the editors of this magazine?

Pp. 66-71: More ads that my subscription $ paid for.

P. 72, Artifact--Mycenaean krater with "spotted bull": Yes, that's exactly how it's described. I could not think of a better way to describe the past decade of Archaeology magazine. Great way to end a subscription.

A much more economical way to stay abreast of developments in the world of archeology is at Archaeologica's News page.

Song of the week: "Time To Say Goodbye" by Sarah Brightman (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 24-second sample; 328kb).
G.M. Grena

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