April 13, 2023

German imperial ethnogenesis and Easter Bunny traditions

I'm preparing a long post on the ancient Indo-European origins of several Easter / arrival-of-spring holiday traditions, but in the meantime, a quick look into those relating to the Easter Bunny. It's already known that the Easter Bunny / Hare, who brings eggs as presents to children, and leaves them around the home to be discovered in a hunt, comes from Protestant Germans, some of whom introduced the practice to America. This is a major invention, without analogs in other Indo-European cultures.

What's more interesting is the timing: it's not an ancient Germanic tradition, but probably from the second half of the 1600s (the first reference is from 1682). This post will briefly review my overall theory of ethnogenesis, and then the specific case of the German Empire, whose origins and evolution remain only halfway understood by the public.

* * *

The Easter Bunny / egg hunt fits the pattern I've been establishing for the ethnogenesis of various imperial societies, whereby transformational new cultures arise only after an empire's integrative civil war -- the Thirty Years' War, in the case of the fledgling German Empire. They're not so very German before then -- just as Americans were not very American before the Civil War & Reconstruction, nor were the Romans so distinctly Roman until after Caesar's Civil War, and so on and so forth.

The origins of imperial cohesion and expansion stem from a people lying on a meta-ethnic frontier with a very different Other, who pose a serious threat, and may be an advancing empire in their own right. But if the relationship to the Other were the main driver of cultural evolution within the Us side, why would Our culture need to change at all? It could stay exactly the same, and we would simply feel it, display it, and perform it much more intensely. It only requires more chauvinism, not the forging of entirely new cultural markers. Higher quantity, not necessarily a new quality.

Rather, it is the internal dynamic that drives these cultural innovations within Us. Because some of Us lie close to the meta-ethnic frontier with the Other, while some of Us are comfortably far removed from it, there is now variation in how Us-like -- or how opposite of the Other -- the various Us-es are.

And those closest to the frontier will want to prioritize defense and even aggression against the Other, while those farthest from the frontier will say that's no big deal, why waste our resources, time, and delegate local authority to a new central state just to combat something that we barely feel the pain of?

Sooner than later, these internal contradictions within the Us side come to a head, and there is a civil war. But it is integrative, where the winner will incorporate the loser politically, economically, and culturally, as much as possible, into a greater empire, not just let them do their own thing unmolested. Both of the Us-es need to be united in order to take on the Other, so no, the loser cannot be allowed to go back to their comfy isolation.

The most typical cause of this civil war is over how to treat the Other -- should they be militantly resisted, pursued vindictively, conquered, etc.? Or should they be appeased in some way, paid off, given safe passage to bother someone else, etc., so as to not rock the boat too much for any of the parties concerned? When there is an intense meta-ethnic frontier, usually from the Other expanding at the expense of Us, this is not an inconsequential debate.

Those among Us that are closest to the frontier are being unwillingly transformed into leaders of a broader movement against the Other. It's an apocalyptic do-or-die situation for those on the front lines. So to reflect this transformation in political and military roles, they decide to adopt new cultural markers in order to let the other Us-es know who's leading the way, who should be deferred to culturally as a standard for the broad coalition of Us-es.

For, at the outset of this process, there is little variation on the Us side for any cultural domain -- that's what makes Us close together, in contrast to the Other, with whom We have a lot of variation. We speak the same language, albeit with different accents. We eat the same foods, albeit with some regional specialties. We practice the same religion, albeit with minor ritual differences. There simply isn't much in the existing cultural variation within the Us side to amplify or intensify, if one part of Us wants to distinguish itself as the standard-bearer of all the Us-es.

Hence, the urge to forge new cultural markers for the standard-bearing part of Us, which can then be held up as qualitatively distinctive compared to the rearguard or even unwilling part of Us. Of course there is a quantitative ramp-up in intensity after the ball has gotten rolling, but crucially it is not acting on long-standing cultural markers -- but entirely new ones.

* * *

What became the German Empire began with the Duchy of Prussia, a small state centered around the Baltic port city of Konigsberg, which had become encircled by the Lithuanian Empire. Directly to Prussia's east lay the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had been expanding since the 13th C., and already by the end of the 14th C. had merged de facto with the Kingdom of Poland, to Prussia's south and west. This encirclement by an expanding empire threw up a meta-ethnic faultline around Prussia, forcing it to cohere intensely to withstand conquest.

Lithuania and Poland represented Baltic and Slavic speakers, and although Old Prussians were originally Baltic speakers as well into the early 2nd millennium, they rapidly abandoned their Baltic language (and other aspects of culture?), and began Germanicizing themselves, in addition to importing heavy numbers of Germans, as well as having Germans within the elite stratum from the region's subjugation by the Teutonic Knights.

Lithuania and Poland were also intensely Catholic -- in that era, as a contrast to the Orthodox churches to their south and east, as the Protestant Reformation had not yet started. However, as Prussian ethnogenesis began, their founding duke Albert adopted Lutheranism in 1525, at the start of the duchy's existence. This was the first Protestant state church. He was originally head of the Teutonic Order, aligned with the Roman Catholic Church, but his encirclement by Catholic superiors provided the motive to adopt a new state church, to heighten the Us vs. Them feeling with respect to religion.

Prussia was still inferior in status, though, and the dukes of Prussia had to pay homage to their Polish overlords.

Duke Albert came from the House of Hohenzollern, who had recently established themselves as the ruling house of Brandenburg (in 1415), and who made Berlin their capital. They gradually acquired the rights of succession in both Brandenburg and Prussia, which culminated in 1618. The next year, the same person (George William) became the leader of both Brandenburg (elector) and Prussia (duke), formalizing their union. But Prussia was still not a fully independent polity, having to pay homage to Poland.

The next round of Brandenburg-Prussian expansion took place during the ruinous civil war among German speakers, the Thirty Years' War, which began in 1618, at least until the German-speaking sides agreed to the Peace of Prague in 1635.

It is dubious to lump Brandenburg-Prussia with the Habsburgs (ruling the Duchy of Austria, and serving as Emperors for the fragmented and impotent Holy Roman Empire), as though they constituted two "Us" factions within a civil war, as opposed to an external war. Habsburg Austria was in fact undergoing its own intense ethnogenesis, along the meta-ethnic frontier to their south and east, where the Anatolian Muslims of the Ottoman Empire were making deep incursions into Europe through the Balkans. This pressure eventually led them to oversee the defense against the Ottomans alongside the Czech (Bohemian) and Hungarian regions. And as already mentioned, different churches within Christianity can be powerful meta-ethnic markers as well, as when Prussia had become encircled by Lithuania and Poland, or as when Orthodox Russia eventually expanded into Poland and Lithuania.

What is easier to construe as a real civil war is the struggle among the northern German Protestant states to unify around their new religion, to heighten their difference with Catholics such as Poland, Lithuania -- and yes, even their fellow German-speaking brethren in Austria. An integrative civil war eventually unites all of those who face the same meta-ethnic Other, the one who caused them to start cohering in the first place.

Because Prussia and Austria were forced into defending themselves against entirely separate meta-ethnic nemeses -- Poland-Lithuania, and the Ottomans, respectively -- there could be no civil war that would integrate both of those groups together. This fundamental difference in who their meta-ethnic nemesis was, determined the answer to "the German question," i.e. would one nation-state unite all German speakers, or would the schism remain? The solution had nothing to do with intellectual debates about romantic nationalism, language, etc.

And indeed, Prussia and Austria evolved into separate peer empires, with distinct national / imperial cultures, over the Early Modern and Modern periods. Even after their collapse during the World Wars of the 20th C., they remain separate and different from each other, notwithstanding their shared German language.

* * *

This schism among German-speaking proto-empires began during the Thirty Years' War, where in general the major Protestant groups were fighting the major Catholic groups. However, this war also served as a civil war among the Protestants themselves. Their major leader, culturally and politically, had been Saxony, with Hanover after them. And yet Brandenburg-Prussia had begun expanding, so perhaps they would become the new leaders of the northern Protestants. Protestant leadership was up in the air, raising the stakes considerably, and making a civil war amongst them inevitable.

Saxony has never become an empire during any time in history, as they have been safely ensconced in central Germany from every expanding empire that might force it to cohere and develop a new identity. They were not on the faultline against the Romans (that was the Rhine River in western Germany, which seeded the Frankish Empire). They have no coastline and there were no major cities lying on the main river, the Elbe, during the era of Viking naval raids (who instead raided Paris via the Seine and seeded the French Empire). Dresden, which does lie on the Elbe, was not a city until the early 2nd millennium, so the Vikings of several centuries earlier ignored the region. There were several bulwarks in the east against invasions from Steppe peoples, namely Lithuania and Russia (both of whom became empires). And any invasion from Anatolia or the Balkans got bogged down before reaching Germany, such as the Byzantine expansion that seeded the Bulgarian Empire, and the Ottoman expansion that seeded the Austrian Empire (including Bohemia and Hungary).

They may have been incorporated into other empires, like the Frankish, but they did not lie on a meta-ethnic faultline with anyone, so they never cohered intensely and never developed a fierce collective identity that they converted into territorial and cultural expansion.

And so, during the Thirty Years' War, Saxony, ruled by the House of Wettin, preferred to play the role of controlled opposition to the Catholic Habsburgs of Austria. Saxony would defend Protestant rights in Protestant lands, but they would remain within the Holy Roman Empire, not challenge Austria / the Habsburgs politically or militarily, not seek foreign policy contrary to them, and in general serve as junior partners to the Austrians, pacifying their fellow Protestants in the north.

This weakness of Saxon identity reached an absurd conclusion by the end of the 1600s, when the leader of Saxony, Augustus the Strong, sought the open spot of being king of Poland / grand duke of Lithuania. As a Protestant, he would be required to convert to Catholicism -- and he did! He made this worse by having his son convert, so that the future rulers of Saxony would be Catholic indefinitely, not a one-off era ruled by an eccentric. He did in fact rule as the leader of Poland-Lithuania, as did his son, after a war of succession -- and then that was it. They had jumped onto a sinking ship, as the Lithuanian Empire was already long in the tooth, impotent, and dominated by Sweden and Russia. Within a century, it would cease to exist altogether, carved up by Russia, Austria, and Prussia -- not by Saxony.

Remember that Poland-Lithuania was not just any ol' Catholic polity -- it was the very meta-ethnic nemesis that caused the expansion of Prussia in the first place. This would be like a southeast Italian leader in the 3rd C. BC deciding that, y'know, why don't I also become leader of the Gauls or the Carthagenians -- not to conquer them, but to accept an open spot at the top of their otherwise intact polity and military -- and having to convert to their culture in order to fulfill the invitation! Or if in America of the 1840s, some back-East governor decided to become the head of Mexico, not to conquer it, and having to convert to Catholicism and speak only Spanish in order to do so! Ridiculous, and a clear sign that the region that he ruled would never lead the entire empire after its integrative civil war.

Instead of weakly-held-together Saxony, it was Brandenburg-Prussia who won the internal struggle among the Protestants during the Thirty Years' War. The Saxon goal of appeasing the Habsburgs in order to be left unmolested lost out in favor of the Prussian goal of consolidation of the north and separation from Austria.

Territorially, Saxony added only Lusatia, while Brandenburg-Prussia gained Farther Pomerania, the Duchy of Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Kammin, and Minden. Soon after, Prussia won freedom from Polish vassalage (in 1657), and was more responsible than Saxony for driving out the invading great power of Sweden from the German lands (for instance, by participating in the Scanian War, which Saxony sat out). By 1701 Prussia was elevated into a kingdom, and at the end of the Great Northern War, finalized their possession of much of Swedish Pomerania.

By the mid-1700s, Saxony brought further shame upon itself by siding with the losing French side of the Seven Years' War, while Prussia was a leading member (along with Britain) of the winning side, although there was no change in territory at the end. And from there, Brandenburg-Prussia gradually unified all of modern Germany by 1871, including southern Catholic states like Bavaria. This was only the culmination of several centuries of cohesion and expansion by Prussia -- the struggle for Protestant-led German unification had already been lost by Saxony back in the mid-1600s.

Even during Russian occupation after WWII, and right through the post-Soviet era, the political and cultural capital of eastern Germany -- and Germany as a whole -- has been the Hohenzollern capital of Berlin, not the Wettin capital of Dresden or its cultural center of Leipzig.

* * *

And so, it is no surprise to see that the first reference to Easter Bunnies bringing eggs is from 1682, after the civil war in Germany had concluded, whether that is construed as one including Austria on the internal side or not. At a minimum, it was a struggle among the Protestant powers, which Brandenburg-Prussia won and Saxony lost. But after that was settled, consolidation of the Protestant north of Germany could proceed more or less unhindered by internal contradictions. They had to let bygones be bygones, and develop a new, distinctive Protestant culture in the emerging German Empire -- not only in contrast to Catholic Poland and Lithuania, but their German-speaking cousins in the emerging empire of Catholic Austria.

Far from representing a primordial Teutonic heritage, nor even the cultural status quo of the 1500s at the outset of imperiogenesis, the creations that became the standard throughout Germany were revolutionary inventions to mark the birth of a new people. Not only were they different from Poland, Lithuania, and Austria -- they were starkly different from who they themselves were only a couple centuries earlier, having been tested and transformed by their location along a meta-ethnic frontier with an expanding Other.

A new people need a new culture, and that included both a religious component, like the Lutheran Church, as well as folk rituals like the Easter Bunny and egg hunts to celebrate special holidays like the arrival of spring, not to mention high culture like German classical music (whose seminal early figure, Bach, specifically built up the Lutheran Church's new culture).


  1. The decline of Lutheranism in Germany after WWII coincides with the collapse of the German empire and its replacement with Soviet communism and American liberalism.

    1. Also the way Germany was partitioned between east and west meant that West Germany contained a disproportionate amount of catholic areas vs East Germany’s more protestant ones. The fact that the German empire/Weimar republic and Nazi regimes were supported by Protestants in the north led also to it being downplayed in west Germany for political reasons when structuring the new state.

  2. Why didn't an early modern empire form in Western Germany centered around the Rhineland in response to France's expansion into German lands?

  3. Two reasons: First, most importantly, the Rhineland had already born an empire, namely the Frankish. When empires collapse, they experience a refractory period where they can't get together even if they are under pressure to do so -- hence why the Italian peninsula remained fragmented instead of unified after the Roman Empire collapsed. It's being invaded by various Germanic groups, the Papal States including Rome itself gets occupied by the Byzantine Empire for a couple centuries, eventually Iberian kingdoms sail over to control parts of the south...

    And yet, nothing. Because the higher they rise, the harder they fall, especially in the core region of an empire, which has not been on the frontier since the very early days. It's like a hangover after drinking, refractory period after sex, etc. No less true for collective action potential (a "black hole of asabiya" as Turchin calls it).

    So when the Frankish Empire collapses in the late 9th C., its core around the Rhineland is going to go through a black hole of asabiya. That happened throughout the Holy Roman Empire, i.e. the Germanic-speaking part of the collapsed Frankish Empire, which remained fragmented forever, until the Prussians and Brandenburgians came along.

    Paris is removed from that Frankish core, defined more by the Seine. Anjou also began expanding around the same time as the nascent Kingdom of France near Paris, and that's even further removed from the Rhineland, out west. Also far from the Rhine, Aquitaine remained fairly large and integrated as a region, not split into dozens of little statelets like in Germany.

    Second, France's expansion has always been away from Germany. After cohering in response to Viking raids in Paris and thereabouts, the Parisians began unifying France by heading west (most importantly conquering Anjou, but also Normandy), northwest (against the nascent British Empire), southwest (Aquitaine), and south (Provence).

    Those are the main Gallo-Romance regions, along with Britain and the Vikings in Normandy as the meta-ethnic / external nemesis. France had no beef with the splintered German statelets to their east, who remain plunged into chaos for centuries and posed no threat to anyone.

    Also, by the Early Modern era, Paris is busy with its own wars of religion, and the Protestants (Huguenots) are all in those non-Parisian French directions -- west, southwest, and south. Subduing their own Protestant schism was more important than trying to acquire new land.

    So there has historically been little pressure from France into the Rhineland.

    After the Thirty Years' War, France did start expanding into Alsace, Lorraine, and Champagne. But everyone knew France had no designs going further into Germany, its main rival would always be Britain, and France allowed Protestants in Alsace etc. to practice their own religion, rather than subdue / reconvert them to Catholicism as they did in the Gallo-Romance Protestant regions.

  4. What was the Italian equivalent of the 30 Years' War for the Prussians and the Austrians and French and the American Civil War for the Americans?

  5. Camille Paglia says that transgenderism and androgyny is a symptom that an empire's culture is beginning its decline.


  6. Italy never had a lasting political or cultural unification, let alone a native one, after the collapse of the Roman Empire.

    The "unification" of "Italy" in the "19th century" went too fast to be an organic unification. It only kicked off after 1848, and was complete by 1871 -- complete unification of one of the most fragmented lands on Earth, in under a single generation? BS.

    Already by the 1940s, it became re-occupied by foreign empires -- the Germans in the north (in their twilight stage), and the Americans in the south. By the end of the decade, Italy was militarily occupied by the American Empire and became an original member of NATO. No more independent Italy, it's been a vassal of America ever since.

    Its unification, such as it is, since the 1940s is entirely due to it being maintained or imposed by the American Empire occupying it. Otherwise it would've Balkanized decades ago.

    From the mirage of Romantic nationalist unification to fragmentation in less than 100 years? Yes -- just like Yugoslavia (1918 - 1992). Except Yugoslavia didn't get occupied by the only empire left standing by the 1990s -- the Russian Empire was already in total collapse, so that left America. We did try to occupy and annex them, but failed. We still don't control Serbia, the major nation, as a vassal, and never will.

    We did manage to annex Italy in the '40s because we were still at our military / asabiya peak -- *right* at that peak, in fact. By the '90s, we had shifted into the forever-losing stage of the imperial lifespan, so no luck in occupying Yugoslavia in order to do what we'd already done to Italy.

  7. Too rapid of a conquest is fake. It means it won't last. Prussia eclipsing Saxony as leader of the Protestant north of Germany, and then unifying the rest of northern Germany, then several southern Catholic states as well, took centuries.

    Rome overthrowing the Etruscan monarch circa 500 BC, until their subduing of the Etruscans and the Samnites and misc Southerners wasn't complete until the 3rd C. BC, a couple hundred years.

    Future Americans land in the New World in the early 1600s, don't win independence from Britain until 150 years later, and that's only back East / original colonies. They're still fighting major Indian wars on the frontier (Great Lakes and further west) well into the 1880s.

    The birth of the French Empire under the House of Capet took 200 years to consolidate their hold over France -- from Hugh Capet circa 1000 to Philip Augustus circa 1200, taking over the Angevin-controlled west.

    What are some other fake conquests that immediately fragmented and did not represent real empires?

    Napoleon's march around Europe -- defeated and undone by 1815.

    Hitler's march around Europe -- defeated and undone, occupied by his enemies, forced to join their sphere of influence by late 1940s.

    Alexander of Macedon's march around the collapsing Achaemenid Empire -- splinters into separate kingdoms upon his death, which themselves keep splintering and weakening rather than expanding or consolidating, after that.

    Gustavus Adolphus' march around the central / eastern part of northern Europe during the Thirty Years' War. Once the Germans stop killing each other, Prussia starts to expel Sweden & take their territory by the 1670s, and the remainder of Swedish great power status is wiped out in the Great Northern War of the early 1700s.

    I think Garibaldi's march around Italy was another example of this pattern.

    Mostly it relies on exploiting the weakness of neighbors, rather than the ethnogenetic and imperiogenetic process from lying on a meta-ethnic frontier. If that weakness is temporary, your gains evaporate rapidly when they're no longer weak. If it's enduring, like the collapse of the Achaemenid Empire, your gains take a little longer to evaporate since the enemy doesn't bounce back -- but that still doesn't mean your gains were real and organic, and the just slowly decay. This decay begins right away, though -- right after Alexander's death.

    Too many "brilliant military geniuses" were simply in the right place at the right time, next to internally riven neighbors. Or they just got lucky -- good luck is another thing that can instantly revert upon the death of the brilliant world-class genius.

  8. Add Japan to the list of fake conquests / empires, during their great power days. They relied on the Qing Empire in China being in free-fall, the Korean Joseon dynasty being equally long in the tooth, the Majapahit Empire being long over in Indonesia + the Euro colonial empires in the Pacific Islands being on the verge of collapse in WWI.

    Pretty sweet set of initial conditions, if you're not a collapsing or decadent empire yourself! And Japan was never an empire, so they were not suffering from late-stage imperial hangover. Why not centralize their centuries-old practice of being pirates against the Koreans? Hehe.

    Japanese expansion lasted only two generations, from 1895 to 1945 -- BFD. Maybe another generation if you start with the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1876 (thought that was only gunboat diplomacy, not occupation, declaring them a protectorate of Japan, or outright annexation). Japan has been occupied by their victors, the American Empire, ever since.

  9. >ywn be forcibly converted to Mumei-ism by the founding guru herself

    why worship?

    Also, you can call yourself "Harowld", hehe.

    Moominthal, valley
    Moominwald, forest
    Moominwangen, meadow
    Moomfeld, field
    Moomerhaven, harbor (sounds better than Moominhaven)

    Just to get the ol' creative juices flowin'... but maybe Kiara could help you more with Continental Germanic sounds. :)

  10. Another mirage-conquest was the Huns, whose "empire" didn't last a century. Attila was in the right place at the right time -- collapse of the Roman Empire, all sorts of Germanic groups scrambling to fill the power vacuum, looking for land and hegemony but having shallow roots, especially in eastern Europe.

    Once the Huns ran into a proper empire that was ascending rather than collapsing, the Byzantines, they couldn't make their invasion stick. And when they tried invading the collapsing Roman Empire itself (Gaul and Italy), they couldn't make that stick either!

    The Huns left no genetic / demographic trace, no linguistic trace, no religious trace, or as far as anyone can tell, other sort of cultural trace where their non-empire was located. We don't even know what their language was, beyond a few proper names.

    Except for contemporaneous accounts of their invasion, we would never know they'd ever existed.

  11. Only the Franks spawned an empire and underwent intense ethnogenesis, from all the various Germanic groups of the Migration Period.

    The Visigoths who controlled Spain did not expand outward from there, did not leave a genetic trace, or linguistic, or religious, or much of anything.

    Contrast with the Romans -- they were there centuries before the Visigoths, but because they were a real empire, they left all sorts of traces.

    Or the Moorish Empire -- they were there after the Visigoths, and left all sorts of traces.

    Why is there no Visigothic heritage in Iberia? Because they were just opportunistic squatters filling a power vacuum, in the wake of a collapsing empire, until either a native empire asserted itself (way later, under Castile), or another foreign power invaded that was already an expanding empire (first, i.e. the Arabians and then Moors).

  12. A good rule-of-thumb for judging whether they were an empire with intense ethnogenesis, or something qualitatively below that, is their name for themselves and their territory. Is it a single unitary term? Or it is a wishy-washy "cultural circle" with no single term predominating?

    The Romans were Romans, from the Roman Empire -- no doubt about it. It's not Roman influence, Latin cultural diffusion, or whatever.

    The French are French, from France -- no doubt about it. Modern France is not a realm of Francophone influence or Parisian cultural diffusion.

    The Ottomans are not mere Turks, Turkomans, or whatever -- they're the Ottomans, ruling the Ottoman Empire. Not Turkic diffusion, Anatolian cultural realm, etc.

    After Alexander's non-empire immediately fragmented into four major kingdoms, none of them behaved as though they were a single unitary entity *even within* their own sphere. There was no such proud unified group called the Seleucid people, creating or spreading Seleucid culture, expanding Seleucid territory, in the Middle East.

    There's no Ptolemaic people, spreading Ptolemaic culture, etc. in Egypt.

    There was no Greco-Bactrian people, spreading Greco-Bactrian culture, in Afghanistan or India.

    Even within historically Greek-speaking lands, they did not call themselves the Macedonians or the Alexandrines, speaking a new Macedonian language or dialect, spreading their Macedonian culture.

    In these cases, it *was* a vague realm or circle of cultural influence, diffusion, etc. It was decentralized, not centralized as in an empire. And it was mainly in the eastern Mediterranean, within their historical sphere of genetic and cultural contact -- not up the Nile River, not in Mesopotamia or Persia (Seleucid kingdom was centered in Syria), not in India.

    I don't mind calling one of them a great power, with cultural influence -- sure. But none was an empire, none underwent intense ethnogenesis, and none left much of a trace in the non-Greek regions, aside from Koine Greek being the language of the New Testament.

  13. The Holo honies are plotting to overdose us on cuteness tonight! Oh nyo, anything but that... ^_^

    Faunyaaa -- no back seating this week, just happy crafting! We're grateful that you keep the magical Minecraft world alive. :)

    Mumei -- I'm not sure what about Puyo Puyo Tetris was frustrating to learn, but it belong to so-called "modern Tetris," which is a totally different game from "classic Tetris". The modern style is much easier, but it also introduces weird rules allowing blocks to pass through what is supposed to be a solid stack, so to get really good at it means memorizing and cheesing these counter-intuitive physics.

    Classic Tetris is more intuitive and about shape rotation per se, and if you're a visual learner, that may be easier for you to learn. The best example is NES Tetris, the one I still play whenever I do play Tetris. :) Looks like it's not available on Switch yet, but you could use an emulator.

    Gooba -- so many scream queen moments last night! If you have low blood pressure, occasional dizziness, etc., please get some of those rehydration drink / powder packets, like Emergen-C or the store brand. Like when you get lightheaded standing up from a crouching position, that's due to low electrolyte ("salt") levels. Have one of those a day, and it'll work wonders!

    Also, pleeease no Ensure! xD It's just starch, sugar, soy, and canola oil! And it's expensive. If you want a protein / electrolyte shake, get something like this instead:


    You can make a big batch in a blender, store it in the fridge, and drink however much you need at a time (or pour it into a portable cup if you need it on the go). It has a little stevia for sweetener, but no sugar or starch, no garbage oils, and no soy. It's just egg and cocoa! And the yolk, too, not just the whites. Mmmm, yammi...

    And it's the same price or cheaper, when you make it into the same amount of liquid drink as Ensure.

    We have to look after our widdle sharky's health, don't want those cuteness hormones to decline from inadequate nutrients. You have no idea how many chumbies want to cook for you! Speaking of which, I've got a nice corned beef roast, with carrots, cabbage, and cauliflower in the Crock Pot for later. I'll "sacrifice" an extra serving (to myself, :gremlin laugh:) in your place. ^_^

  14. And if you're a reeeally good sharky, I'll even whip you up some tzatziki-type sauce to make it even richer!

    You're all aboard the lemon train, right? No better way to get more lemon in your diet than adding lemon juice to sour cream.

    For full effect, there should be some minced garlic, dill, olive oil, maybe salt & pepper, and the shredded cucumber. But if you're in a rush or don't have that stuff, just whip some lemon juice into sour cream, and you're basically there!

    You thought you were trolling us last night about are we close enough to smell your cracker breath -- but as you ought to expect from the chumbies, we looove scents and tastes of all kinds! We're dudes, we don't need to only smell sweet & fruity things. Rich, heady shark breath -- mmmm, savor the flavor. ^_^

    Especially if those crackers are as tasty as you're making them out to be! Talking close to each other would make our mouths water, wondering "What did you have to eat, and is there still some left?!?!?!"

    Imagine hating girls so much that you wouldn't reflexively start salivating after wafting in their savory exhalations...

  15. We know you're scared to talk, after garlic bread time
    Or your glistening underarms, from Ring Fit trials
    Afraid you'll knock us out, with musk so sublime
    But we'll inhale them endlessly

    We won't let these little sniffs waft away from our snout
    But if we do, it's Goob
    Oh it's Goob that they give form to
    We're in love with you
    And all these little sniffs

  16. :::Gooobbb::: Our sweet lil' squeezable sharkmallow. Another great zatsu with tons of tangents, especially the kind where you unlock a memory and our shrimp brains feel all cozy and massaged by your tender hands.

    Did you see that Moom caught the "cracker breath" part of your stream from yesterday? Hehe. She and Fauna are shy "Midwestern nice" gals, so they're a little wary to "go there" first. But if they're following someone else's lead, then they're not to blame and it's OK. They really respond to your no-nonsense, "Oh, I'll go there" East Coast personality. You make a great instigator and ring-leader. ^_^

    And no, why would we think you smelled anything but good? There are such things as unpleasant smells, but we're not talking about those -- cracker breath, mmm, savory, aromatic! Sweat and body heat activating your deodorant or perfume chemicals -- mmm, smells like vigorous physical activity!

    They're just not the typical bland boring "ocean breeze" or fruity / floral things that girls think we need to smell in order to find you desiiirable.

    We want you smelling a little animalistic, nyaaaa..

    Even better if you're currently ovulating, which you do happen to be. ^_^ (Yes, there are blind smell test studies to that effect.)

    I know you victims of helicopter parenting never got to experience much time alone around the opposite sex, let alone in a setting like a club, so you might not have much personal experience to know this from... but we go crazy in a club, where you get sweaty and savory.

    In that animalistic setting, I think a bright fresh minty mouth would take away from the primal, just wanna eat you up, kind of mindset.

    Only unpleasant smell / taste on a girl's breath, for me, is hard alcohol, like vodka. I don't even mind cigarettes, not like anyone smokes anymore anyways. The bracing medicinal taste of high-proof alcohol is just too out of place in someone's mouth.

  17. Kiwawa visited me in my dreams the other night (no, not that kind of dream). It was her IRL self, but her hair was in very long orange twin tails, though she was wearing skinny jeans instead of an anime outfit.

    I was walking home from an airport or something, through city streets, and she happened to be going the same way, and started walking faster / closer toward me. Sneaking chicken! Hehe. She was just chit-chatting while walking briskly, strutting her very cute bubble butt, even in my dreams. ^_^

    While we're at it, I'll confess that I did have a semi-yabai dream about Fauna many months ago. It was while she was playing Pokemon Violet, and I'd just seen the stream where the attractive bully girl stands over the protag, and Fauna herself mentioned on stream "Wow, she's like towering over me..."

    So in my dream, I was the Pokemon protag (even though I've never played those games in my life), and Fauna was like 10 feet tall, and picked me up off the ground, hugging me close to nature's bounty. I'm not even a boob man! Other than that minor angle, it was't a sex dream either. It was just a reflex of watching that stream earlier in the evening. It was her vtuber model, BTW, not her IRL voice actress.

    I already confessed about the *very* sexual dream I had about the Goobinator...

    That only leaves Mumei and Irys to visit my dreams, among the vtubers I watch.

    I know girls think dreams are real, which they are not, so please don't interpret this as humble-bragging about actual experiences I've had with the world's most desirable vtubers. It's just dream-world, and my mind has a mind of its own!

  18. Fauna's off-hand, very obscure geographical reference tonight clued me in to what metro area she's from. I was pretty close with my educated guesses before! Born? Raised? Went to college? All three? I dunno, but one key location in her life at some point.

    If she gains enough fame from vtubing, maybe she could persuade the city to rename itself, only slightly, in honor of her genmate! ^_^

  19. Goob asked if we'd still like her if her name were Chelsea. Hmmm, I detected a note of derision there but couldn't quite place it... upon further inspection, both Chelsea and Kelsey peaked among babies born in 1992 -- so it's an uber-Millennial name, and Goobarama, as a Zoomer, is poking fun at how geriatric the Millennials sound. Hehe, cheeky shark.

    But she shouldn't get too comfy either -- pretty soon all the Abby's and Maddie's of her generation will sound as hilariously dated as the Chelseas and Morgans of her predecessors.

    Very few songs these days are addressed to a girl with a specific name (like "Sara Smile" from ye olden days). Wrote on that years ago here. But here's a deep cut from the band that brought you "Shake It", with this very Millennially apropos name:


  20. If Irys wants to join the Minecraft guild, after she gets settled in to her new place, the name could be SHTONK. Hehe.

  21. We are seeing the collapse of British asabiya in real time. The British imperial core (London) is currently being flooded with people from all around the world. Muslims and Hindus from India and Pakistan and Bangladesh, blacks from the Caribbean and Africa, and Slavs from Poland and Ukraine. The British cannot cohere enough to prevent more foreigners from coming into their nation because their asabiya is falling through the floor.

  22. As Americans abandon Christianity, they are still keeping Easter Bunny and Easter Egg traditions around:



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