Friday, July 30, 2021


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Feds Take Ownership Of Smuggled Ancient ‘Epic Of Gilgamesh’ Tablet Owned By Hobby Lobby

Feds Take Ownership Of Smuggled Ancient 'Epic Of Gilgamesh' Tablet Owned By Hobby Lobby


The Justice Department on Tuesday ordered the forfeiture of an ancient tablet containing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh from craft stores giant Hobby Lobby, which the DOJ said purchased the tablet after it was smuggled into the U.S. and later put it on display at a biblical-themed museum.Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Hobby Lobby In ACA          Contraception Case

Key Facts

The approximately 3,600-year-old tablet, known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, contains a portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh—a Sumerian poem that is among the oldest known pieces of literature.

The tablet was apparently looted from Iraq before the DOJ said it was purchased in 2003 by an antiquities dealer—which the DOJ has not named—and later sold to Hobby Lobby in 2014.

According to the DOJ, Hobby Lobby then displayed the tablet at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which Hobby Lobby's owners largely fund.

Federal agents seized the tablet in 2019 as part of the investigation into its arrival in the U.S., and the DOJ said the museum has cooperated with the investigation.

Hobby Lobby also consented to Tuesday's forfeiture order.

Big Number

More than $1.6 million. That's how much prosecutors said Hobby Lobby paid for the 5-by-6 inch tablet, according to NPR.

Crucial Quote

"Thwarting trade in smuggled goods by seizing and forfeiting an ancient artifact shows the department's dedication to using all available tools, including forfeiture, to ensure justice," said Kenneth Polite, the top prosecutor in the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

Key Background

Prosecutors claim Hobby Lobby was not aware the tablet was taken illegally, since the antiquities dealer that brought the tablet to the U.S. used a fake provenance letter stating that the tablet was found inside a box of bronze fragments purchased in 1981. But this is far from the first time Hobby Lobby's been at the center of a smuggling scandal. Over the past few years, Hobby Lobby has turned over thousands of artifacts believed to have come into the U.S. through illicit means. In 2017, Hobby Lobby agreed to pay the U.S. government a fine of $3 million and forfeit more than 5,500 artifacts believed to have been looted from Iraq. And last year, Hobby Lobby president Steve Green agreed to turn over some 11,500 artifacts to the Iraqi and Egyptian governments after acknowledging he didn't know how the pieces came to the U.S., saying he "knew little about the world of collecting." All of the artifacts were intended to be housed at the Museum of the Bible.


Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit against Christie's auction house in 2020, claiming "deceitful and fraudulent conduct" in selling Hobby Lobby the tablet. Christie's responded by saying any illegal activity involved with the piece "predated Christie's involvement," according to The New York Times.

Surprising Fact

The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet gets its name because its inscription describes the story's hero telling his mother about recent dreams. She interprets them as meaning a new friend will arrive, saying: "You will see him and your heart will laugh."

Further Reading

U.S. Authorities Say Hobby Lobby's Gilgamesh Tablet Is 'Stolen,' Must Go Back To Iraq (NPR)

Authorities Seek Forfeiture of Ancient Gilgamesh Tablet From Hobby Lobby (The New York Times)

--  Sent from my Linux system

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Clearly, the human-machine interface hasn't improved.

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Friday, July 23, 2021

I only laugh when it hurts

For your Punishment.

I have a few jokes about unemployed people, but none of them work.

Will glass coffins be a success? Remains to be seen.  

What's the difference between a hippo and a zippo? One is really heavy and the other is a little lighter.  

Two windmills are standing in a wind farm. One asks, "What's your favorite kind of music?" The other says, "I'm a big metal fan."  

Hear about the new restaurant called Karma? There's no menu - you get what you deserve.

I went to buy some camouflage trousers yesterday but couldn't find any.  

What do you call a bee that can't make up its mind? A maybe.    

I tried to sue the airline for losing my luggage. I lost my case.  

A cross-eyed teacher couldn't control his pupils.  


She had a photographic memory but never developed it. 

Is it ignorance or apathy that's destroying the world today? I don't know and don't really care.  

I wasn't originally going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.  

Which country's capital has the fastest-growing population? Ireland. Every day it's Dublin.  

My ex-wife still misses me. But her aim is starting to improve.  

The guy who invented the door knocker got a no-bell prize.    

I saw an ad for burial plots, and I thought: "That's the last thing I need!"


Need an ark? I Noah guy.

I used to be indecisive; now I'm not so sure.

Sleeping comes so naturally to me, I could do it with my eyes closed.  

What did the grape say when it got stepped on? Nothing - but it let out a little whine.

The three-term president

-- Sent from my Linux system.