Archive | Thag

Thag angry! Teenager bad!

Hunting spear of Thag, Fonzag, et al.Having settled the issue of if the members of the Thunka Grunka tribe had free will or not, Thag settled back into life with his tribe.

For once, it was almost peaceful. He and his new mate, Twigla, were happy. Thag enjoyed the prestige and respect everyone gave him for leading the hunters so well. (Not to mention how they grokked his cave paintings and practically worshiped his beer.)

He and the other decent hunter, Fonzag, were in the process of training a new generation of young men. But they were having problems with Donjuag.

Donjuag was the son of Gnock, whom Thag had been unable to save from cave lions, so he felt even more responsibility. But Donjuag was a moody fellow. Unpredictable. He was also in love with Fonzag’s mate, the luscious Vunga.

“Heyyyyyy,” Fonzag said to Thag, as they walked out to their hunting grounds. “He’s being uncool with my lady.”

“Him not do anything,” Thag told Fonzag. “Him just infatuated.”

Donjuag ran by, his spear held high above his head, whooping with excitement.

“What him do?”

“Thag, that cat is full of energy,” Fonzag explained. “He’s not sleeping well either, at least that’s what his mom said.”

“Him crazy,” Thag said while Donjuag finished his sprint with a forward flip. The young hunter over-rotated and did a face plant. Thag laughed. “Donjuag funny.”

Donjuag, undeterred, got up, and did a back flip, whooping with delight.

Fonzag looked on, worried. Thag slapped his diminutive friend on the back (careful not to touch Fonzag’s ridiculous hair) and said, “Fonzag not worry. We wear Donjuag out on trail. Him too tired to pitch woo at Vunga.”

Donjuag started running again, landing a forward flip this time, and Fonzag grunted. “I don’t know, he’s got a lot of energy.”

New Scientist: Puppy love makes teenagers lose the plot. Photo by esterase. Look here forhumorists with too much energy. Originally published 2007.

Thag grok free will!

Thag grok free will!The journey back to the Thunka Grunkas had been a long and difficult one, but Thag had finally returned from his sabbatical with the Drunka Grunkas, learning how to make beer.

Along with this new technology, Thag also returned with the willowy and beautiful Twigla, his new mate.

Naturally, Thag had been somewhat concerned with how his old mate, Onga, was going to take this news. But he needn’t have worried. She had already moved on, mating with one of the most ancient Elders, Methusalag. This was a mating of convenience, really. Methusalag needed someone to take care of him in his dotage, and Onga was still making grunties with the Shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother.

So at first, all was well. He and Twigla settled in quickly — Thag returned to his post as leader of the hunters, and at the same time, started his first batch of beer. Twigla quickly befriended the luscious Vonga, and her mate, Fonzag, who had become a decent hunter; Thag thought he could someday lead the others when he was too old. With Thag leading the hunters and providing beer, the tribe prospered.

But in his absence, the Shaman had solidified his hold on the tribe’s religious development.

“It is the will of the gods that Thag has returned to the Thunka Grunkas, and their divine wisdom makes him brew us beer. They lead him to the mammoth,” Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother told the assembled tribe the night when everyone enjoyed the first batch of Thag’s beer.

“What?” Thag asked.

“It is not your own will, but that of the gods, that brings these good things to us.”

“You not want me go to Drunka tribe. Thag convince Elders.”

“This too was the will of the gods.”

“Where be gods?”

“All around us, Thag. Do you not see their work when the wind blows, when the rain falls? This too is their will.”

“Thag see wind. Rain. Grok no gods.”

Thag had enjoyed perhaps too many bowls of his first brew, and was feeling less inhibited than normal.

Fonzag who had also had quite a few: “Aaay! Let’s be cool.”

“What mean?” Thag asked.

“Not sure, but he is the Shaman,” Fonzag said.

“You should listen to your best hunter,” the Shaman said, “he understands it is the will of the gods that rules, not our own mortal desires.”

“Thag make own decisions,” Thag insisted as he stood up.

“No, it is an illusion. You just feel like you make your own decisions. See, you think that you made yourself stand, when in fact it was an impulse sent to you by the gods. But don’t feel down about it, Thag. A man of limited perception cannot see the will of the gods around him. That is why the Grunkas need the Shaman. Otherwise, we’d be guided by idiots like yourself.”

Thag looked thoughtful for a moment, and pretended to move away from the shaman. Then he hauled back his hunter’s fist, and punched Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother in the nose (with enough force to break said proboscis, and knock the smug Shaman off his feet).

Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother moaned in pain, and Methusalag said, “Thag, how could you?”

“Not Thag’s fault,” Thag explained. “It will of gods.”

New Scientist Story: Determining free will . Alltop also has free will, at least as far as the feeds allow. Originally published 2007.

Thag not talk much!

Mammoth by ThagThag’s year with the Drunka Grunka was drawing to a close, and he was almost ready to head back to his own tribe, the Thunka Grunkas.

His relationship with the slender and beautiful Twigla was blossoming, and his artwork was a major triumph, despite the many critics within the Elder’s council of the Drunka Grunkas. They even liked the cow, though they were most excited about Thag’s surrealistic depiction of a mammoth stomping a shaman to death. At first, the Drunka Grunka shaman, Cave-Bear-Bite-Leg-Brother, had objected to the depiction, but then Thag explained:

“Him not good shaman. Him shaman of Thunka Grunkas, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother.”

“Why don’t you like your shaman, Thag?”

“Him seduce Thag’s mate. Him demote Thag from leading hunters. Many hunters die without Thag lead them,” Thag amplified. “Him big phallus with ears.”

“Ah,” Cave-Bear-Bite-Leg-Brother said. “I grok.”

When the mural was finished, the Drunka Grunkas planned a festival to celebrate the artwork. A special brewing of the Drunka Grunka specialty, a delectable potage they called ‘beer’.

Thag had noticed that many of the Drunka Grunkas got quite chatty once they’d had a few bowls of their “beer”; in his experience, Thag was used to men not talking much, while the women of the tribe did most of the gossiping, gabbing, and generally keeping the lines of communication open within the tribe.

Because they had beer to supply calories, the Drunka Grunka men didn’t need to spend quite as much time hunting; in fact, they seemed to spend as much time hanging out talking as the women did.

On the other hand, the people of the Drunka Grunkas had noticed that Thag was laconic at best, and positively taciturn at worst. The Elders sent the shaman to find out why.

“You don’t talk much, do you Thag? But from your artwork, it’s clear you have a rich inner life. Why don’t you share it more?”

“Thag say something once, why say again?”

“But it would be nice if you could explain your artwork to some of the Grunkas that don’t get your art.”

Thag shrugged. “They not grok, Thag not make them grok.”

“But it would be –”

“Thag let art speak for itself,” Thag interrupted. “Besides, Thag go back Thunka Grunkas soon. He not be here to explain.”

“Fair enough Thag. When do you think you’ll be leaving?”

“Ah, soon. But now, Thag have something he do want talk about.”

“Oh, really?”

“Twigla,” Thag said, raising his eyebrows. “Her come with Thag?”

“Does she want to?”

“Yes. Her grok Thag.”

“Well, that will get tongues wagging around here; even more than usual,” said Cave-Bear-Bite-Leg-Brother. “Let’s have a beer and we can discuss it with the other Elders.”

“Thag talk on this. Yes!”

New Scientist story: Men talk just as freely as women. Mammoth pic by The Bucky Hermit. Other jabberers here. Originally published 2007.

Thag grok cow!

prehistoric cow painting

Thag’s sabbatical with the Drunka Grunka tribe was not as idyllic as he thought it was going to be, but on the whole, he was quite enjoying his stay.

First of all, the Drunka Grunkas had invented a delectable potage they called “beer” and it was good stuff. He’d already learned all he could about making it himself, and had even come up with the innovation of adding a plant to the mix that gave the “beer” an extra something. (The Drunka headman in charge of the beer called it “hops”.)

Then there was Twigla, who was beautiful and clearly was falling in love with Thag. Sure, she didn’t have the impressive bottom that the Drunka Grunkas valued so much in their women, but Thag was a Thunka Grunka, and they valued size in the top and the front.

But the Elders were driving him crazy.

In exchange for learning the secrets of making beer, Thag had agreed to paint the Drunka Grunkas a mural (and show his artistic techniques to anyone who was interested).

“You should make the next bull bigger,” Cave-Bear-Bite-Leg-Brother told him. On the whole, the Drunka shaman was much nicer than Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother, but he still had his own theories on art.

“And it should have an extra set of horns,” insisted Critarg, one of the Elders.

“Yes. Extra horns!” the shaman said enthusiastically.

“I think six sets would be appropriate,” suggested Critarg.

Thag sighed and continued painting. He drew the outline of a very small cow.

“That’s a cow!” Critarg shouted in horror.

“Cow good,” Thag said. “Some Grunkas drink its milk.”

“Not Drunka Grunkas. We only drink beer and water,” explained the shaman. “We don’t need pictures of cows.”

“Cows good,” Thag said, “me grok cow. Cow stay.”

Critarg threw up his arms and said, “I’m going to get the council.”

Just then Twigla walked by, waggling her firm, tiny bottom. Thag smiled at her, and continued smiling, even when the shaman, Cave-Bear-Bite-Leg-Brother said, “what if we draw a representation of the Sky God as a kind of super-sized Cave Bear with a lightning bolt-shaped phallus?”

Here’s the science of Reactance. And there is another group who might not know art, butwho know what they like. Originally published 2006.