33 Comments

  1. Hopefully this is entertaining:

    How did it take all this time for me to notice that there were seven dwarfs and seven rings for dwarves. Coincidence?

  2. @ Arthur – Almost. Snow White lived with were seven dwarfs, and Tolkien gave seven rings to the dwarves. Still, it makes one wonder whether some sort of allergy was a side effect of one of those rings. That would explain the sneezing.

  3. Grr. Stupid cat. Anyway, if there is a connection, Tolkien almost certainly was influenced by the original fairy tale and not Disney.

  4. “Well, not exactly lost, but I will be home late”

    Makes sense. I understand that people sleep when they get there.

    (Is that a geezer reference?)

  5. @ Stan – I can’t be sure, because I didn’t get it. Maybe it’s a millennial thing? I don’t get those, either.

  6. My memory of the ur-fairy tale is that the number of dwarves/dwarfs involved was not stated.

    Of course, “seven” is a standard “sounds impressive” number — see also the Seven Deadly Sins; the Seven Against Thebes; tthe Seven Sleepers, he Seven Samurai, etc. Compare prevalence in popular culture of “seven” with, say, some more obscure number like “forty-three,” which features only in Squamish teams.

  7. “How did it take all this time for me to notice that there were seven dwarfs and seven rings for dwarves. Coincidence?”

    Several of the Dwarven rings were destroyed by dragonfire. Since Smoky and Ashes weren’t in the Disney film, I’d have to say yeah, coincidence.

  8. @Shrug: Depends on what you mean by the “ur-fairy tale”. If you go way back, probably not, but all the versions given by the Grimms specifically mention there being seven. When the mirror rats out Snow White’s location to the queen it says she is “hinter den sieben Bergen bei den sieben Zwergen” (behind the seven mountains with the seven dwarfs).

  9. @ Shrug – I wasn’t sure, but when I checked my copy of the Grimm’s version (in German), I discovered that the number seven is cited repeatedly, for plates, spoons, knives, forks, cups, beds, and finally the “Zwerge” (dwarfs and or dwarves, depending on your taste in typography). Snow White takes one of the seven beds, so the last one ends up sharing a bed with each of the others in turn, one hour at a time.

  10. P.S. @ J.P. – Presumably a dwarf named “Smokey” would have lived to tell the tale, but “Ashes” (and his unfortunate compatriot “Crispy”) would never have made it to the movie.
    P.P.S. I always the eighth dwarf was named “Horny” or “Sot”.

  11. The Garseddi did things in fives (or powers of five). I think the number of folks here that get that reference will be between 0 and “very few”.

  12. “but “Ashes” (and his unfortunate compatriot “Crispy”) would never have made it to the movie.”

    Then the movie would have been “Snow White and the Five Surviving Dwarves”, which it was not.

  13. I have heard that the plural of “dwarf” was always “dwarfs” until Tolkien for some reason made it “dwarves” like “knives” or “leaves”.

    Did Tolkien invent the word “orc”? I had never heard of it until I read his work.

    Here are my names for the seven dwarfs: Schmuck, Crappy, Sleazy, Slimy, Creepy, A—— and Horny. The sixth sounds a little like “Bashful” if you leave off the B and the f and separate the s and h.

  14. I once startled a friend who complained that she was feeling out of sorts and rather braindead by making a seven dwarfs pun about her being both “grumpy and dopey,” but my tang got tongueled up and it came out as me claiming she was both “dumpy and gropey.” Fortunately, she thought it was funny.

  15. @ Mark in Boston – Tolkien wrote that he was not aware that he had coined a new spelling (with “dwarves”) until he read reviews of “The Hobbit”. Apparently the reviewers (or their editors) were all careful to use the traditional orthography (“dwarfs”), but nobody explicitly mentioned the difference. In that same piece, Tolkien mentioned that the “authentic” irregular plural (from middle or old English) would have been “dwarrows”, and he expressed a little regret that he had not been so bold as to use that spelling instead.
    With regard to “orc”, Tolkien cited the prior form “orcneas“, but if that interminable article about etymology (cited by Singapore Bill) is correct, the derivation of the term (in Beowolf) may not have been as Tolkien understood it back then.

  16. So were you guys entertained well enough during Bill’s absence? I was hoping for some singing and dancing, which alas never came.

  17. @ Grawlix & Bill – That’s just because of the typical celebratory nature around here. As soon as the moderator is gone, we break out the orthography and etymology.

  18. I understand your delay Bill.

    If you take the Belt Parkway through Brooklyn it has been under construction for some years and is currently under construction for almost the entire length of it. In our saga of our 6 and half hour trip to nowhere, about 4 hours of it is on the Belt Parkway (mostly going, but also coming back out to). Recently we were driving home at maybe midnight and on the radio we heard that all lanes of the Belt were closed at one point and decided to give in and take the alternative the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway for those not in the area).

    Part way up the BQE there was a huge traffic jam and a sign that the 2 right lanes were closed for construction. (Brilliant idea – two limited access roads through Brooklyn and both of them under extended construction for years at the same time. Everyone was moving into the left lane,of course. Oh wait, a semi truck broke down in THE LEFT LANE in the middle of everyone pulling left. So we all had to go back to the right and then go back to the left again!! It took us an extra 45 minutes on what should be an hour’s ride – after midnight!

  19. I missed the exit to the Manhattan Bridge because a taxi cut me off, so I had to take the Brooklyn Bridge and then maneuver my way through lower Manhattan through construction and then fight my way into the Holland Tunnel, and then had to take the Skyway which has supposedly been rebuilt but you could have fooled me.

    And this was still an improvement over our drive TO Brooklyn.

    My takeaway was the realization that I have never had a good drive to or from Brooklyn.

    My son lives in Brooklyn now and I put him on notice that this will probably be the first and last time I see his apartment: I am too old to deal with driving to Brooklyn (or Storrow Drive in Boston). Manhattan, Chicago, even Los Angeles, that’s fine: but those are two places I’m done with.

  20. I should add that this actually has nothing to do with age: but I’m old enough that I can say “I’m too old to —” and get away with it.

  21. @Kilby “As soon as the moderator is gone, we break out the orthography and etymology.”

    You kill me, you daredevil you. Hey, that rhymes! Is that why you’re ‘Kilby’?

  22. @ Chak – I’m not that good at inventing names. Back in school I had to endure a few “killer bees” jokes, and in college someone proposed the nickname “Kilgore“, but I had read enough Vonnegut to know that was a bad idea.
    I did come up (later) with a user ID that I like, but it’s much too late to start using it here, readers here are smart enough to figure out who was writing under the new ID within a couple of weeks.

  23. Bill – Robert immediately gets into the lane he will need when he turns or exits as soon as he gets on the road – and then everyone in front of him is turning left and he screams.

    Imagine doing all this in a house on wheels. We tried to stop everything from rattling, but in NYS is impossible. Once driving along in, yes, Brooklyn, the drawer (as there is one drawer) popped open while we driving through Brooklyn and he had to figure out where to pull over so I could close it. There are two rattling noises that we have never figured out what they are. On the trip I mentioned we had been shopping at butcher we like in Lancaster, PA and had brought the RV on a day trip for its refrigerator. As we are sitting in the mess on the BQE I am watching the temperature in the RV fridge drop closer and closer to 32F and there was no place to pull over and let me turn down the temperature in it – and if anything is partially frozen when we get home it has to be frozen right away and not allowed to defrost in the interim. We finally were able to pull over near home (still at 33F) and I just shut it off as we were so close to home.

    Tomorrow I am going to a client in Manhattan. I drive to Queens – one subway stop from Manhattan and park in a garage. I then ride 3 stops into Manhattan. It used to take me 45 minutes to drive there. It now takes up to an hour and a half. Coming home the drive was an hour to an hour and a half – now it takes up to 3 hours. Going there is after rush hour; coming home starts before rush hour and continues into it.

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