Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Secret of Kiltish Powers

The "second sight" possessed by the Highlanders in Scotland is actually a foreknowledge of future events. I believe they possess this gift because they don't wear trousers.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799)

77 comments:

  1. Granny Scott (my Highland Grandmother, maiden name MacLaren) claimed to have the Second Sight. She claimed it quite seriously, with various spooky stories of her wartime Red Cross nursing days (1914-18 as well as 1939-45). Then a few years after first telling me of this she said that I may have inherited it (I saw that coming :) even though "it's always stronger in the women of the line," she claimed. Daft lady. She lived past 100 though, so she dodged the hazards fairly well with her unnatural assistance.

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  2. Although knowing that actually you are living in Perth down under :), I had you in my mind when posting this, Andrew.

    Could I foresee that you'd tell me your grandma claimed to have the Ssecond Sight?
    Fascinating!
    You were (?) and hopefully felt lucky to grow up with your Granny. Did she live with your family? Ah, I could ask you holes into your stomach (German idiom); perhaps, because all my grandparents died before I was born.

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  3. "Ask me holes into my stomach"? Now that's a hard one to convert from German into Scots. When I first new Granny she lived on her own in the old family home in Perthshire. She's the reason I live here now. I spent the Summer of my 17th year living with her and working on a farm. Then when she was about 80 or so she moved to live with us in Edinburgh, when I was aged about 14 through to 20ish, when I left home. Through these years I talked with her much more than my brother, Mum or Dad did. Everybody else got bored with her stories, but I got intrigued. I told her I found life puzzling. She told me, "Don't worry, you'll understand when better when you're 85 or so, but probably even more so next time." Hmmm... She was not only a grandmother, but a grand lady. She was a heck of a stubborn one though.

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  4. Oh I got that wrong. How could she move to live with us when I was 14 when I lived with her in Perthshire in the Summer when I was 17. Wierd tricks of the memory!!! She spent long holidays with us when I was 14 - 16ish, that's what I was thinking of, but must have moved to Edinburgh when I was about 18 I suppose. When my son David was born she was totally blind but she felt his face as he was about two weeks old and told me "He looks like you." Strange lady.

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  5. Plus I wrote "new" when I meant "knew" and added a "when" that made no sense; but you'll figure it out... If you can follow James Joyce you can follow me :) I'm tired. Guid Nacht

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  6. If second sight exists I'm just as glad not to have been blessed with it. Trying to cope with my first sight is enough for me.

    Speaking of which, I thought to mention your comments link is next to invisible for me even on a zoom view.

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  7. :)Sean - Before going to the comments, as soon as I read Lichtenberg, I thought of Andrew too. I sensed he was a bit strange, not in a bad way!:) I'm not surprised at all he might have inherited his grandmother's extraordinary gift...even if he doesn't wear a kilt too often.:))

    BTW, Andrew, my 84-year-old grandfather came to live with us, in Montreal, when I was 4. He was blind. He had been a fisherman, couldn't read and write, but he was a smart wise man, who saw people and things much better than many who had good eyes. Often, he would feel my face with his hands, like your grandmother did with your son. He would say he was learning me. Je t'apprends! He taught me to close my eyes, and look within myself to understand life and people. We spent our days together and I would guide him during our walks outside.

    That's why I was so moved by Sean's poem and video: Her voice his eyes.

    Pepère Smith was a great gift in my life. I was 6 when he died. He never really left my side. A few years ago, I wrote down (in French) everything I remembered about him. I hope you'll write about your grandmother, Andrew. Those people were so very special. I don't think there are many of them anymore.

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  8. Claudia (Claude) wrote: "Pepère Smith was a great gift in my life. I was 6 when he died. He never really left my side. A few years ago, I wrote down (in French) everything I remembered about him"

    We look forward to reading it in that blog a few of us keep encouraging you to start, Dear Claude. Maybe?....

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  9. Talking about Lichtenberg, he is starting to grow on me. This declaration is very amusing. I just winked at Georg Christoph when I read it. I wonder how the people of his time reacted...

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  10. Claudia, you must must must start your own blog! I will be your ardent reader. :)

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  11. Ah, Andrew, thanks for this!
    :) The more as I see there's hope and 'you'll understand better when you're 85 or so'. Glorious, your Granny!
    And?! :) Does David look like you?

    Susan,
    despite being an agnostic and tending to think that there's an explanation for (almost) everything (and I'm just not able to find/see it), sometimes I come to think of that there are 'things' that are just not to explain.
    Re (y)our first sight: Thanks for your pointer. It's changed, so that Omnium's now a bit more eye-friendly. :)

    Claudia,
    the old hunchback would not be displeased to learn he's growing (on you). :)
    As it would take a bit too long to write his biography, only this: I think it's not wrong to say that those of his contemporaries who happened to more or less know him, will have categorised him as what the Irish call a real character. :)

    Nevin,
    may constant dripping wear away the stone that keeps Claudia from starting her blog. I can think of several bloggers who'd - being asked - be happy to be of help.
    And :) my second sight lets me see Claudia blogging before Omnium becomes three. ...

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  12. Yes he does Sean, although I couldn't see it at the time, even though I was the one with the eyes that worked (the "first sight" eyes though, not the second sight ones :)

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  13. Lovely, Andrew, just lovely!
    Ha, what a GRANDmother!

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  14. Nevin, Andrew, Sean - Sometimes, I get carried away...Thank you for your kind attention.:)

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  15. Haha an excellent quote Sean. A second sight would be worth having for me as my first sight is so bloody terrible!

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  16. Jams - Just let go down your trousers, and wear a kilt.:))
    (Sorry for butting in...):)

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  17. Personaly I'd question the foresight of a nation who would choose the kilt as national dress, in a country of waist high thistles.

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  18. C'est La Craic - Hahaha! Tu m'as donné le fou rire...:))))

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  19. Jams,
    welcome in the clan of the McMole's. :) Perhaps we should invent a new tartan.

    C'est La Craic,
    We are amused. :)

    Claudia,
    Don't be surprised when sooner or later there will be an apparition, wearing the tartan of the Scotts whose crest is a stag trippant Proper, attired and unguled or; and may its owner adhere to the motto of his clan. :)

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  20. amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant. The Clan motto "Amo" doesn't even tell the half of it. We like to spread the love, us Scott's. We were doing it long before it caught on in California, and we taught it to the Romans.

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  21. I do wholeheartedly corroborate this, Andrew. Even the tiny feud with the Kerrs of Cessford after only about 200 years was quickly settled - by marriage. :)

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  22. Sometimes it takes a wee while for people to appreciate our love.

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  23. Could not agree more, Andrew. By all means, it was all the Kerr's motto fault and their fancy for alliterations, wasn't it? Had it been Subito et serio instead of Sero sed serio (Late but in earnest), thy would have would have fallen in love with the Scott's at first sight, and not at the second. :)

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  24. Actually, I didn't mention it, because I wasn't sure if it was something to brag about. But my grandfather Smith (who couldn't speak a word of English) told me that his family, from way out, was bred by a Scottish fisherman who (with many others) often wandered in the St-Laurence Gulf stealing French Canadian abundant fish. Thomas Smith got caught in a storm and had to settle in a small village (Petite Rivière) in the Gaspé Peninsula, and married the best looking girl of the place.

    Want it, or not, there's a drop of Scottish blood in my vein, mixed with Indian blood, as the first Prévost married a Native. So the story goes...

    Let's spread l'amour...

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  25. So glad I learned to conjugate in Latin...:)))))))

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  26. "...and married the best looking girl of the place."

    That's exactly what I did Claudia! With a clan motto like that I knew I'd better pick a good one if living up to the motto was not to prove a chore :) 33 years and still, Amo...

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  27. Andrew - My grandfather was really Scottish, because he had the same train of thought than you. He would add (when speaking of the first Smith in Gaspé), "I did like him. I married the prettiest and smartest girl in the village." And he truly did. He couldn't read and write but he was the best fisherman of the place, and he married a convent-educated girl who brought up her 8 children with the same discipline and manners she had received.

    I guess Scottish men have a way about them to get the best of life, and to keep it. Your lady would agree...

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  28. I should add, that Pepère Smith knew how to count!!! I don't know if it's a Scottish quality, but he did very well with his boats and his farm.

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  29. Claudia, I'll ask Sean Connery about that next time I see him. He actually eats quite regularly in one of the pubs in our tiny village (known for its good food) when he returns to his homeland, although we haven't seen him there since it changed ownership reently. Most of the ladies of the village swoon, but my wife just shrugs her shoulders and looks back to me :) I think Sean's a bit jealous actually (Sean Connery that is, not Sean Jeating).

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  30. Haha! Totally agree with your wife....:)

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  31. Sean Connery? He's a sad old actor who threw a tantrum in my village one day shouting "Who is Andrew Scott? And how did he manage to get HER?" I just walked up to him and said...."The name ish Shcott... Andrew Shcott..." Oh how he laughed. Actually, seriously, he seems like quite a nice down to earth chap. After all, he did start out as a milkman in Edinburgh. he's just a handsome Scottish lad who got lucky, and knows it.

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  32. He is (when not compared to you) one of my favourites. And the best Bond, ever.

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  33. Best Bond without a doubt, but he does look awfully old in the flesh these days (perhaps because he is). He could very easily be mistaken for the destitute old guy in the corner, were it not for the aura of "Oh look... there's Sean Connery." Billy Connolly visits that pub too, by the way (another great Scot who keeps expecting to get "found out"), plus quite a lot of famous footballers who drop by in their flashy cars. I expect they're all just hoping to catch a glimpse of me and the wife. They seem to shy to ask for autographs though...

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  34. Better not come here....The line-up would never end. You could hardly have a pint, in peace.:)

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  35. I'll bring Sean (Connery) and Billy with me, just to offer folks a couple of "second bests" until they get to meet me. (Sorry Sean (Jeating) me and wee Claude seem to have hijacked your blog for a party tonight :)

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  36. Sean J. is invited....Actually it's not a party, but a discussion in depth on the extend and the value of fame based on true qualities. :) (Gee! Sometimes I impress even myself!!!)

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  37. Be it - lifting the secret: Sir Sean :) is one of my favourite actors.
    I consider him the best Bond, too, but I find all Bond-films pretty boring. Much more I enjoyed watching him in other character roles, such as the one as William of Baskerville.

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  38. I think Sean's here (Sean Jeating), it's just that he can't get a word in edgeways :)

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  39. But my eyes are drooping now and I have eager young students to enthrall with the chemistry of polymers and biomolecules (oh yeah) at 9am tomorrow, So the peace of the night to you.

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  40. Where has my politeness vanished to?!
    Fancy for a wine, you two? What about a Teroldego?

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  41. And with you, Andrew.

    I agree with you, Sean, about the Bond films. And Sean Connery, in other productions.

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  42. Ah, so I shall leave the bottle close, until next time. :)
    The peace of the night, Andrew.

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  43. Oh.. Sean managed to squeeze a word in. I agree Sean, Mr Connery is a much better actor than any Bond script allows. His other stuff is much ignored but very classy. Even if acting is greatly over-rated, in my humble opinion (and I know Mr Connery would agree). Praise the writers more, I'd suggest, but the world is obsessed with appearance and visual image. Goodnight.

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  44. Ah, sorry about neglecting my dear guests. I was carried away with reading the history of the Kerr's and the Scott's. And I like reading while dear freinds are sitting around and enjoying a good chat. It makes me feel such homely and comfy.

    Good night, everybody. :)

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  45. Because the subject might never come up again, let me say that the best spy ever was Alec Guinness as Mr.Smiley in Le Carré Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

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  46. Truly enjoyed your company, gentlemen.:) Cheers! And good night.

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  47. Well, despite already wearing my birthday suit: Herewith you mentioned another of my favourite actors, Claude.

    But now: Sweet dreams.

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  48. late to the party, ah well...smashing 'conversation'

    speaking of amo, amas, amat, and that wonderful quote on the kilted: Were the Highlanders then free to think with their best parts?

    Andrew,
    I like your Granny! :)

    C'est,
    "...waist high thistles"
    that was classic! thanks for the chuckle!

    Sean,
    blogging in the buff, ooh la la!

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  49. These reactions have become an article in its own right. It's even a story with quite a few characters: Claudias, Andrews, grannies, pepères, Seans, Bonds, soccerplayers, the prettiest girls amd the most handsopme blokes of quite a few places, tinkers, taylors, soldiers, spies, Scots, Californians, Romans, Canadians, Indians .... I must see this movie!

    Bertus

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  50. And last (but not least) Sean in his Birthday Suit...whatever that is!!!!!

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  51. HGF,
    actually were not too late; we were too early. :)
    Re your most interesting question: I do leave the answer to our expert, Dr. Scott. :)
    As for the Oh la la: Well, I do have to confess I exaggerated a tiny little bit.

    What hour would Mylady consider convenient for the next party to start? :)

    Bertus,
    and now we do have even a Flying Dutchman the film undoubtedly would become a blockbuster; the more when the director listened to my advice and implemented some Mouse Speak. :)

    Claudia,
    ahem ... whatever you mean ... :)

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  52. Hoo hoo, HGF,
    after 'actually' please read a you.

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  53. Ahhh well.... Personally I do find the Birthday Suit a little uncomfortable for night wear, and I fear it may distract my good lady from the sound sleep she needs on weekdays (weekends and the long holidays are a different matter entirely). So I'm a stripey pyjama man (got em on now); but it was impossible to hear of Sean's "Birthday Suit" without the mind automatically imagining, and sometimes the mind creates imaginings that I just prefer not to be there :) Do we want to discuss night attire, and provoke further imaginings? Or should we change the subject? Perhaps back to the dangers of thistles in a kilt. One thing about the kilt au naturelle - one is always dressed for battle, of whatever form...

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  54. I kneeew, I should not have mentioned my late night dress. Gosh! Where had my taciturnity vanished to, last night?!
    The more thankful I am, dear Andrew that you focus our interest on the average Scotman's advantageous outfit. Oh! How much wisdom is to be found in those protagonists of Scottish haute couture who once came to think of designing the kilt.
    By the way, you did not answer HGF's question,yet: Were - and I add: are the Highlanders free to think with their best parts?

    :) Determined to let both my worst and my best parts soon glide into the feathers, I am wishing
    the peace of the night.

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  55. Sean, define "best parts" and I will be better able to consider the question. I do know what many a Scotsman considers his best parts to be, but I am unsure if that view is shared by many others. But... may we talk biology? It is apparently true that fecundity of the male requires a cooling of the spermatazoa-generating cells, hence the vulnerable exposure to the exterior of what some males may regard their best parts; and in a kilt, au naturelle, in Scotland, the coldness can be extremely chilly,,... and... as Claude's ancestry can testify, Scottish genes have travelled widely across the world, with many more Scots and partial Scots in foreign lands than in Scotland. The cool of our climate, the exposure of sensitive parts beneath the kilt, the wild spread of out rampant genes, all things are connected. Keep warm. Sleep well.

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  56. Not missing a word...:))))But my lips are sealed. :-x

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  57. Anyway... I have had a busy day, all of my parts are tired, my pretty lady is sleeping (thank goodness) so I can take the chance to rest... Goodnight, dear friends, goodnight from chilly Scotland...

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  58. Ah, dear Andrew,
    when reminding you of HGF's question I did, of course, not know what exactly she's refering to when speaking of 'best parts'
    Although, when coming to think of a certain definition by Schopenhauer (Genitals: the sounding-board of brain), I get an idea ...

    Apropos genitals: Recently I heard one ought not to keep them too warm, as it makes the sperms a bit lazy and slow.
    Should I, therefore, like some Trojans did not trust the Danaans, even if they brought gifts, not trust your advice to keep warm?

    Fiddlesticks!! Am I keen to produce any more tiny Seans and Sineads? Nah!
    Thus, thank you, dear Andrew. I'll do my very best to keep warm. All parts.
    Which does not mean ...

    Ahem, yes! Guid nicht, everybody('s part). :)

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  59. Haha! you're both killing me....:)

    Good night to all your parts, and gray cells.:)

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  60. Am still, just..., awake, and that's the first time my best parts have been wished goodnight from an elderly lady in Canada :)

    Wife still sleeping... blissfully unaware... our secret... goodnight :)

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  61. aha, here ya'll are asleep again...sweet dreams...!

    alas, Sean, my current commitments cannot give cause for conditions conducive to consistent good craic.
    :D However, I will be more careful to click back here as often as I can...

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  62. Claudia, Andrew,
    you are - so to speak - two of the best parts of Omnium. :)

    HGF,
    I shall ask my friend Tetrapilotomos to sacrifice fifteen minutes of his precious time and invent a time leveller, so that you can join our parties whenever you feel like. :)

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  63. Ah Sean... so the Kiltish gathering continues... now, a question: what the heck is the "Tetrapilotomie" all about? My dictionaries have failed me, although I do find a few references in German, and to German blogs (is that you in another dimension? What am I missing? What does it mean?

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  64. :) Andrew,
    now, that's a question!
    Where to start?
    Well, of course, my first thought when starting blogging was to get registered as 'Omnium.blogspot.com'. Too late.
    As I did not want to become Omium2 or Omnium 2436, I chose 'tetrapilotomie' (the German spelling), which is the art to cut a hair into four pieces, made popular as far as I remember by Umberto Eco in his novel 'The Name of the Rose'. (Here we go: Sean Connery, again. :) )
    Well, and Tetrapilotomos ... impossible to tell this within a few lines.
    Thus I shall put my head on the pillow, hoping that in case I am so lucky to wake up again, the words will come easy to me. :)
    The peace of the night. :)

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  65. Well... I'm not sure if that has explained anything, but thanks anyway!
    The night of the peace to you, while I will be up trying to split hairs four ways.

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  66. Ahhhhh I've got it: "Tetrapiloctomy": http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-tet1.htm Invented by Umberto Eco. OK, was I being pedantic with the spelling? :) Anyway, now, at last, I can sleep...

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  67. Fascinating conversation.

    Sweet dreams, gentlemen:)

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  68. Well, you could (hopefully) sleep, Andrew, I almost couldn't. :)'Foucault's Pendulum' it was, of course.
    Interesting the way your source is spelling tetrapilotomy. I wonder if 'tetrapyloctomy' is to be found in the English edition of Foucault's Pendulum'.

    Claudia,
    despite your good wishes (thank you), the first thing to do this morning was to get my neck's thread adjusted, which took me about ten minutes. :)

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  69. I don't know Sean as i haven't read it, but I would have expected tetrapylotomy in English from tetra - pylus - and otomy, but maybe the octomy is an Americanism or a misprint. But since Eco invented it he could spell it as he wished :) I, on the other hand, am MUCH more pedantic even than that and tend to study decapylotomy... which is much more of a challenge because a 10-way split cannot be achieved by a succession of halves

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  70. Ah, Andrew, 'pedantic' has such pejorative a connotation. I suggest to replace it by ingenious. :)

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