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[Tidbits] A Pool of Dark Water


What. you may well ask. does a pool of dark water have to do with

I could take you in linear fashion through a step by step process to
bring you to that moment of enlightenment you all crave. Or. I can
shoot my blunderbuss from the hip and whichever way the pellets
scatter so will I randomly scatter my trains of thought. bringing you
to the same goal through a convoluted and disconnected mish-mash of
I know many of you do not understand mish-mash. But not
to worry. it is a highly technological term which refers to an
esoteric thinking process that defies human explanation. I have heard
that there are mountain gorillas that dwell high in the peaks of
Rwanda and Uganda that know the true translation. but I think it
would be a tad much to ask them for help. So I shall muddle along as
best I can. Do try to keep won’t you. Hup hup.

We’re back in the earliest stages of mankind. This is at a time when
women began sensing their powers over hapless males and began using
rouge and other enhancements far too numerous to enumerate whilst
their men went about their humdrum daily chores of wrastling
Saber-tooths and the like. After slitting the throats of neighboring
pterodactyls in order to draw blood and enticingly redden their lips
… the women came upon a problem. They couldn’t see what they were
doing. And they couldn’t trust Mary or Irene to help them… because
then. as now. the competition was keen. And if a friend applied the
lip reddener she might easily succumb to temptation and create a
horrendous grin that literally seemed to stretch your lips from
earlobe to earlobe. Anyone out there remember “The Man Who Laughs” by
Victor Hugo? Oh what to do? What to do?

The answer was simple. Find a pool of dark water. gaze into it …
and your reflection would gaze right back. And presto-gasatz… the
first mirror was born. And later. a bit of that pool water was
collected in a vessel. and you now had a Hand Mirror. Portability was
born. Poor unsuspecting men. little did they know what was coming
down the pike. Of course. the wave reflection took on other names.
There was a Looking Glass. There was a Speculum. There was a Gaper
and an Imager among other things.

And in the blink of an eye it was circa 4000BC and you lived in
Mesopotamia and then Egypt in 3000 BC and then China in 2000 BC and
those pools of dark water became disks of polished bronze. Technology
was on the march. Light years flew by. Metal coated glass mirrors
were invented in Lebanon around the first century AD. And the
mathematicians came along. Parabolic mirrors made their presence
known in classical antiquity. This for those who sit on smug high
horses of self-esteem thinking the world started with them.

And then–oh you are going to love this–and then in the 16th century
a method of making mirrors out of plate glass was invented by
Venetian glass makers on the island of Murano. You all have heard of
Murano glass have you not? Today it’s Murano glass and jewelry. Wait
wait. This is just a nibble. A little taste. A hint of something
sweet for the sugar-starved palate.

More time passed. Hey Charlie said one seer to another. You know if
you raise your right hand in a mirror it looks like it’s your left
hand. There’s a visual analysis here. If you raise your right hand
and I’m standing in front of you. your hand is at my left. But in the
mirror. it’s at my right. Oops. I think I better think this out

And then there were convex mirrors that were used to lighten up a
dark part of the house by reflecting sunlight in that direction. I
guess perhaps light bulbs weren’t around yet.

Which animals. just for kicks. do you think can recognize themselves
in mirrors? Hmmm? Well. there’s the Asian elephant. And there are all
the great apes. chimpanzees and orangutans and such. And there are
Bottlenose dolphins. And Orcas. And even European Magpies.

And then. and then. to keep this as short as possible. a volcanic
glass was discovered. It was called Obsidian. There’s tons of jewelry
made from this stuff. Earrings and rings and bracelets and pendants.
and… yup. you guessed it. mirrors. These probably belonged to
highborn women who lived over 8000 years ago. They used them to apply
cosmetics. Nothing is original. Everything has been done before.

So. you want to see a polished obsidian mirror? This one reflects the
image of a museum worker in Ankara. The women of 8000 years ago were
a bit more shy. and didn’t much like posing in front of cameras.
Today they’d want her face. Tomorrow they’d want her nude. No no no
no no.

Okay. So go. Run. Fly. Vamoose. No dilly-dallying en route. Look.
Enjoy. Home page. Scroll down. Left side.
Tidbits. Click.

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark



Always you lift my spirits with your imaginative use of words and
historical events. Many thanks again.