If you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth…

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Support Ornoth’s 2024 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge charity ride!

PMC Top 10% Heavy Hitter badge

This August I will ride my 18th Pan-Mass Challenge — my fourth as a remote rider — to raise money for lifesaving cancer research and treatment through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund.

This year, as a member of Team Kermit, the money I raise will directly underwrite pediatric brain and spinal tumor research through the Jared Branfman Sunflowers for Life Fund.

Please take a moment now to help me reach my goal of raising $4,000 in 2024. Thank you so much!

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On Ravenhill

Therindel and Daeron cover

Today, kids grow up with their entire lives digitized and at their fingertips, but those of us over sixty rarely get a high-fidelity look back into our childhoods.

Sure, there might be some faded Polaroids or 35mm slides from major holidays, but those aren’t particularly vivid or easily shared. A majority of our lives—who we were and everything we experienced—exists only in brief flickers of increasingly fragile human memory, ultimately unsharable except as tediously repetitive verbal anecdotes, like those our grandparents told us when we were kids.

So when one uncovers an item that triggers lots of childhood memories and emotions, it’s worth expending some effort to preserve it. In this case, a 40-year-old cassette tape bearing a very special song, which I recently digitized.

In 1978 I »more


Therindel and Daeron cover Therindel and Daeron On Ravenhill cassette

The Book of Balin


A couple months I ago I received an email from the eBay auction site, indicating that one of my few remaining product searches had been triggered. In this case, the search text was “MAZAR BALINŪ”. What the heck does that mean?

Welp, I recently posted that in high school I was a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. And that I was one of the founders of the New England Tolkien Society.

NETS had two publications: a monthly newsletter called Ravenhill that my friend Gary put out, and a (nominally) annual literary magazine called MAZAR BALINŪ that I produced. The name is in Tolkien’s Dwarven language and translates to “The Book of Balin”, which was an artifact that the LotR fellowship found in the mines of Moria.

It wasn’t easy to get t »more



…Or Not

Coat of arms of Orny (Switzerland)

It’s time to come clean and clear up a falsehood that I’ve been telling for decades. Ornoth is not my birth name.

I changed my legal name back in 1994. But ever since then, when someone asked where the name “Ornoth” comes from, I told them it was an old family name with no particular meaning or history or derivation other than prior use. I didn’t think it would be flattering or to my advantage to admit that I’d changed my name or to reveal its origin, so I very purposefully kept it hidden.

Why am I revealing this now? Well, at my age I no longer feel compelled to protect a career, a reputation, or a fragile ego. And in this time where people are allowed to redefine all aspects of their identities, a simple name change doesn’t carry the stigma it once did. And having first started using »more

Lordy Lordy!

O.L. Reigns!

If identity politics is your jam, you may find this post in poor taste. I’m sorry. I’m not here to criticize how you or anyone lives their life. But if you’re incapable of finding any humor in the situation, this probably isn’t suitable for you. And I admit that my stale humor’s probably ten years out of date. But having said that…

I find it interesting that folks have taken identity politics to the point where they are able to choose to alter something as objectively verifiable as their genetic race or sex and impose respect of that preference upon the population at large. Yes, I know I’m conflating sex and gender; it’s hard not to, given that most people present them as the same.

What’s interesting to me here isn’t the interplay of race/gender/sex and society, but the ability of a »more


O.L. Reign!