Ask Me Anything

I was enjoying Howard Kurt’z Media Talkback page over on WaPo so much that I decided to make one of my own. So then, ask me anything. It can be on anything from gardening to politics, child rearing to astronomy or underwater basket weaving. Leave your questions in a comment, and if I like ’em, I’ll do my best to answer ’em.

I’ll start it out:

Dear Jason,

What are some obscure rock songs that make direct references to Homer’s Odyssey?

Thanks,

Nobody.

Thanks for writing, Nobody. In answer to your question, I can tell you that The Church and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds both have songs that refer to Homer’s Odyssey. Cave makes the most direct reference to The Odyssey with the song “Night of the Lotus-Eaters,” which is from his newest album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig! The lotus-eaters were people in or near present-day Libya who apparently ate lotus flowers (and fruits?) as their primary food, and were overcome by the plant’s powerful narcotic effect. Homer’s crew also was under the sway of these plants for a while.

The Church’s reference to The Odyssey is a little more oblique, and harder to find. The track “Ionian Blues” from the band’s 2006 EP Back With Two Beasts (considered by dedicated fans to be one of the band’s best releases) is filled with references to being trapped by the nymph Calypso for seven years, and the line “the old earth-shaker won’t be happy till I die” was made with reference to Poseidon, the Greek god of earthquakes, whom Odysseus had angered by killing his cyclops son.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds make a second reference to The Odyssey on their latest album in the song “More News From Nowhere.” One of the verses in that song is a retelling of the story of how the Odysseus blinded the cyclops after claiming his name was “Nobody,” (hmm…) which actually is how the cyclops knew who he was (it was prophesied.) But Cave makes no mention of facing punishment by Poseidon as a result.

Anything else I can help you with?

Dear Jason,

What can you tell me about the Linux virtual memory architecture on the IBM POWER 4 processor?

Thanks,

not jcarr

Linux is not my strong suit anymore, but I’d recommend looking at Linux on POWER: An overview for developers.

Anything else? Comment away, and I’ll do my best to answer.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

5 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything”

  1. Dear Jason,

    With Tony Zielinski(!) announcing his bid for Lt. Gov., when will you be announcing your intention run for alderman of the fightin’ 14th should it become vacant?

    Thanks,
    George Soros

  2. @Yehuda, answer hazy; ask again later.

    @Jeff Soros, I believe that TZ would have to win the LG race and the following Gov. election before his City seat would be vacated.

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