kemptowarlick1w650The Geek Sheet is a new feature here at MintConditionPublishing.com that features interesting facts and information on geeky subjects; like sports, sci-fi, comic books, etc. The Geek Sheet segment will be popping up on a regular basis, so think of it as an online geek encyclopedia. Some entries may be longer than others, but all are bona fide geektastic!

  • While the statement “the Buffalo Bills have never won a Super Bowl” is true, the statement that they have “never won a championship” is false. Before the NFL merged with the AFL in 1966, the Buffalo Bills were AFL Champions in 1964 and 1965. They destroyed the San Diego Chargers in both games: 20-7, 23-0.
  • The Buffalo Bills are the only NFL team to play in New York State. Both the New York Jets and the New York Giants play their games in East Rutherford, New Jersey right outside of New York City.
  • The Litany Against Fear as published in the sci-fi epic Dune, by Frank Herbert :

I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

  • An excerpt from the Dune Encyclopedia: Crysknife: A knife, whose blade consisted of a single tooth of a giant sandworm, considered most sacred by the Fremen. No off-worlder who saw one of the weapons, could be permitted, by Fremen law, to leave Arrakis without the Fremen’s consent. Once the blade was drawn from it’s sheath, it could not be returned unblooded, even if the blood it drew had to be the user’s own; to do otherwise was to insult Shai-Hulud and risk bringing his wrath on all Fremen. The blade is milky white, some twenty centimeters in length, which gave the impression of glowing in dim light– a sandworm’s tooth. The teeth were obtainable only when the Fremen found the remains of a dead sandworm. When such a find was made, as many teeth as could safely be carried were removed and taken back to the group’s sietch for blessing and manufacture into knives.

fremenThere are two types of crysknives: fixed and unfixed. A fixed blade, which could be stored for an indefinite period of time, was treated by exposure to a series of electric currents, which ‘fixed’ the blade’s electric field and kept it static. An unfixed blade remained stable only so long as it remained in contact with a living human body; deprived of exposure to that body’s electric field, it weakened and crumbled within a matter of hours. This type of blade was most commonly used by Fremen, since it was not wished that anyone should be able to obtain a crysknife by looting Fremen bodies; Fremen who could see that they were either going to be captured, or die in battle without sufficient time elapsing for their blades to disintegrate, shattered them on the nearest hard object.

The tip, the hollow once occupied by the tooth’s nerve, customarily held a small amount of the most deadly poison available, most often a mixed derivative of the native desert plants. Fremen usually attempted to avoid killing a respected enemy with the tip of the blade; poison was considered a weapon more suitable for use against animals than humans.

The mounting of the blade into the handle was patterned on the kindjal, a type of long knife popular throughout the empire, with a blade of almost identical length to that of the crysknife. Where they differed was in the shearing-guard: the kindjal generally boasted a stout guard, while the crysknife had only the raised lips of its round handle, where it joined the blade, to protect it’s user’s hand. Most authorities believe that the earliest crysknives were deliberately constructed to mimic the kindjal, a blade the Fremen were already familiar with from their many generations of service in the empire. The later changes, including the elimination of the shearing-guard, came about when the crysknife became a truly unique weapon rather than a native imitation of an off-world knife.

Considerable mythology surrounded the blades. Fremen cherished their crysknives, giving them names that were kept secret even to other troop members, protecting them from harm with their own lives. Even after the owner’s death, the crysknife was treated differently from all other possessions. A crysknife handle was the only thing that was taken to the Funeral Plain for ‘burial’ after it’s owner’s water was returned to the tribe. The one exception to this custom was in the case of a crysknife whose blade shattered during a fight. Fremen superstition held in such cases that the person had somehow offended Shai-Hulud, who had retaliated by withdrawing the strength from the tooth.

593A good deal of history surrounds crysknives as well. The initial acceptance of Paul Muad’Dib Atreides among the Fremen, for example, came about when his mother, the Lady Jessica, was tested by the Shadout Mapes and deemed worthy of possessing a crysknife. The original Duncan Idaho, who had proved himself in Stilgar’s sietch, was also allowed to keep one of the sacred blades.

The blade that has attracted the most historical attention, however, is undoubtedly that mounted in Muad’Dib’s crysknife. When the first Atreides emperor – in the guise of The Preacher – was killed, his son took his crysknife for his own. In the centuries that followed, Leto II made frequent ceremonial use of the blade, culminating in it’s use in Siaynoq. In addition, The God Emperor controlled the tiny supply of the knives which still remained during the last centuries of his rule, while his Museum Fremen carried out the old rituals with them utterly ignorant of the true reasons for their actions. The fact that one of them would copy a crysknife for sale to Siona Atreides illustrates the degeneration of the customs; no true Fremen would have permitted such a thing for any reason, least of all personal gain. Muad’Dib’s crysknife, then, could be seen as the last of it’s kind – a blade carried by one who knew the traditions and myths that held it apart from more common, less holy weapons.

While the old Fremen might have disapproved of the use to which The God Emperor put their leader’s crysknife, they would certainly have approved of the level; of veneration which surrounded it.

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