Archive | But is it art?

Coordinates to Landing Zone XI

image of Da Vinci's The Last Supper

Famous Painting with SF Titles: Coordinates to Landing Zone XI

No doubt this painting is known to you by the title given to it by humans, L’Ultima Cena (The Last Supper). Purportedly, this work depicts the final meal eaten by Jesus and his apostles, specifically, the moment when Jesus reveals to them that one of them will betray him. They are shocked and outraged. Some of them faint. Judas looks particularly suspicious, and spills the salt. Yes, there’s tons of Christian interpretations for this painting, but they’re all just a cover for Da Vinci’s true purpose.

Da Vinci was the only surviving member of an advanced scouting party from the Betelgeuse Continuum, and he was starting to worry that all of his hard scouting work might go to waste. He had been living on Earth for many years, and the rest of his party had all succumbed to the dangers of Renaissance-age Italy: disease, poor hygiene, and of course, poetry. (The bipedal races of Betelgeuse have very low resistance to rhyming couplets.) He was legitimately worried that he might die before he could pass along his intelligence. And so, he had begun a great career of painting and sculpture to transmit his secrets to the Vanguard Fleet, which would no doubt come any day.

As many have speculated, this painting does have secret meaning. Dan Brown is way off. And there’s no hidden grail symbolism in it either. Giovanni Maria Pala had the theory that the position of the bread and hands represent the notes on a staff of music. This is the closest to the truth, for embedded withing the painting are the coordinates to what Da Vinci called “Landing Zone XI” — or LZ11, as it’s known to those of us in one of the secret societies devoted to preventing the coming Betelegeusian invasion. (This also explains the degradation of the painting.)

I would tell you where LZ11 is, but then the Betelgeusians would know, and that damned meddler Da Vinci would win.

To check out the gallery of SF Paintings with SF Titles, click here.

Alltop prefers Michelangelo.

9 old words for the modern age

Old manuscript page and the letter g


The use or choice of words.

This post is a meditation on vocabulation, particularly, old words that we may want to revivify for our current age of the Internet and excess.


The # symbol.

I learned this one from one of my journalism students who believes this is a much better term than “hashtag” and I agree. Do you? Then let’s get an octothorpe about this started on Twitter!


Throw through or out of the window.

This word is better-known than many of the others on this list, but I’m including it because it’s still pretty obscure. I learned it when I lived in Prague, and was shown by a helpful tour guide at the Castle where certain politicians were “defenestrated”, i.e., thrown out of a window, when their services were no longer required. Perhaps this is a term we should put back in practice?


A bad habit or custom; a vice [c. 900-1400]; unthewed, ill-mannered, unruly, wanton [1200- late 1300s], unthewful, unmannerly, unseemly [c. 1050-early 1300s].

This strikes me as a useful word that we could use a bit more while we’re looking at some of the crazy behavior we see, especially on the Internet. So the next time you spot a troll, you can call them “unthew” to put them in their place and confuse them at the same time.

Humbug, hoax, pretense; [from] nineteenth-century French.

This one is particularly useful, given how much of this we have to deal with on the net.


A glutton; one who over-indulges in and over-consumes food, drink, or intoxicants to the point of waste.


Food or drink that makes one idle and stupid; food with no nutritional value, junk food.

Both of these strike me as useful, given our consumerist society. Possible uses: “Dude, I was a total shumpgullion last night. Too much libberwort!”


A libertine (one who is unconstrained by convention or morality).

I like the word “libertine” but I’m always worried people think I mean the word “liberty” or “liberal” — they’re all from the same roots, of course. The use of holer is related to the previous two words, but it has the added benefit that most people will probably understand what you’re saying because of it sounds a little bit like “whore”. Of course, it’s better, because “holer” has lost its gender implications.


A low rumbling sound; hence, the motion of the bowels, produced by flatulence, attended by such a sound; borborygmus; Scotch.

Murmuring, grumbling; sometimes applied to that motion of the intestines which is produced by slight gripes. This is one of those rhythmical sort of terms for which our ancestors had a peculiar predilection. It is compounded of Suio-Gothic (the ancient language of Sweden) kurr-a, to murmur.

Okay, this one isn’t necessarily about our current age, but my theory is you can’t have enough funny ways to describe farts.

Some of these come from the excellent word-nerd blogs: Obsolete Words and A Lackadaisical Lexicon for Laggard Logophiles. If you have other favorites words and resources, please leave them in the comments!

Alltop is such a funny holer, I’m curmurring my pants.

The nature of novelists

cartoon: who writes novels

A short addendum, filed under who knows:

  • Time-travelling pirates
  • Über-chimp astrologers
  • Ham-fisted hosers
  • Over-emotional AIs

Plus this subset of writers:

  • Whisky-swilling scribblers
  • Wine-soaked hacks
  • Beery autobiographers
Alltop is a algorithm posting as a humor site.