Tuesday, April 20, 2004

no excuses

FWIW, taking hiatus from writing blog until after May 5th. In part because not having a car at the moment (in the shop, can't get a rental) is eating a lot of travel time, in part because time spent preparing for family coming to visit, in part because of stuff I'll blog about eventually.

I have stuff I've been trying to work out in my head and write about, but I just can't get it all focused while being distracted by things that are, honestly, much more important.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

This belt can make me invincible

I have a sudden urge to grab Tucker's waist and press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Select, Start.

It's not working? Maybe we have to blow on the cart first...

Monday, April 12, 2004

Spanglish Bouncing Beybies

This morning I saw lined (not college rule), hole-punched notebook paper taped sideways to the side of a bus stop enclosure. Handwritten in pen were the words:

Si necesitas Beybicir[,] favor de
llamar al numero se encuentra aquí

followed by two local phone numbers and the name "Elizabet" (as is standard procedure, the name and numbers were repeated a few times and the paper was cut so that you could easily tear off a copy of the name and numbers and put it in your pocket).

Beybicir clearly must mean "to baby-sit". It's horrible, horrible Spanish, but it sounds wonderful. FWIW, Si necesitas is "if you need", favor de llamar a is "please call", and el numero se encuentra aquí is "the number found here". Beybicir is exactly how you would write the English word using Spanish spelling conventions plus the obligatory "ir" ending to make it a verb.

A few notes:

I think that line was a comma, but there was a stray mark higher on the paper that, if intentional, would make it look more like an accented "i". From what Spanish I know, an "í" would make even less sense.

The other verb endings, "ar" and "er" sound wrong in this context. "Ir" is the only one that sounds right, probably because there are a lot of "cir" verbs — mostly from the Latin "ducere": traducir (to translate), conducir (to drive) — and "i"-consonant-"ir" verbs: bebir (to drink), dirigirse (to head or direct oneself [towards]).

Friday, April 09, 2004

If you're not the lead dog...

I was again browsing through Amritas' linguistic notes (of late I just ignore his political stuff, though I did like this), and read this Chinese proverb (and the professor's gloss of it):


Ning wei ji shou, bu wei niu hou

Lit. ‘rather be chicken head, not be cow rear’
He also mentions a variant with "pheonix tail" instead of "cow rear".

As a happy coincidence for a Friday, since I always like a good Hebrew quote heading into Shabbas, there's a similarly patterned saying in the Talmud. I've quoted Pirkei Avot (פרקי אבות) before — it's a central Talmudic repository of ethics and general advice. Someone once taught me "Pirkei Avot is the only place where [the great competing teachers] Hillel and Shammai are right next to each other and don't disagree." As a side note, when I went to Israel a few years ago, the corner of Hillel and Shammai streets in Jerusalem was the proud home to a definitely non-kosher McDonalds.

Anyway, from Pirkei Avot, Chapter 4; mishna 20:

רַבִּי מַתְיָא בֶּן־חָרָשׁ אוֹמֵר׃
הֱוֵי מַקְדִּים בִּשְׁלוֹם כָּל־אָדָם
וֶהֳוֵי זָנָב לָאֲרָיוֹת וְאַל תְּהִי ראשׁ לַשֻּׁעָלִים

Rabii Matya ben-Ḥarash omair:
Hevai makdim bishlom col-adam,
Vehevai zanav laarayot v'al t'hii rosh lashualim.

Rabbi Mattia ben Ḥarash taught [omair lit.: says, note the present tense]:
Be the first to extend greetings to every person [col-adam: All of Adam, a common scriptural Hebrew locution for "all of humanity"].
Be a tail to lions [arayot] rather than a head to foxes [shualim].

I agree with the professor when he says "I'd rather be the 鳳尾 phoenix’s tail".

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

My mad l33t rhetorical skills

(Her changes channel to MTV, watches first minute of a recent Britney Spears video.)

Her: Okay. Now Britney is just plain creepy.
Me: Yes, but: boobs.
Her: (looks over dubiously)
Me: (Raises hands hand in air to make point) Boobs! I win!

Q. E. M-F'n. D.