No longer in the stone age

So I finally decided to add all the links to my sidebar. All of our friends in the community are on there with one addition- the "Just Because," link. Think of this as my version of Jon Stewart's Moment of Zen (or not at all). I'll (probably not) change this link about once a week or so to a web page that I like or spend/spent time on for whatever reason. It's either something I enjoy reading about, a very cool website, a time waster, something entirely goofy, and I'd be willing to bet there will be a few Xhosa grammar guides or a Nepali phrase book looming in the future. So that's something I decided to do, and comments to that regard can be directed to the most recent post. Yippee.
Just another small way for everyone to enjoy ForeignWords.
Also: I'm in the final stages of finishing up a story of mine. I sent it to one of my editors whose been reading it all along, and when I get the final word, I MAY start posting installments here. If I don't, please be assured you will get your own personal copy if you so desire (and are nice to me [after reading it]).

Sala Kahle (that's Xhosa for goodbye... do your own research)


An epiphany... Actually, a Kawai

I was out and about on Friday doing what I do, and I was with The Sister Who Shall Remain Nameless. She has been calling for a while on a gentleman who she said has a nice piano. A lot of pianos are 'nice' because people toss that word around a lot (a la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). I thought nothing of it, but then about a month ago, Br. Seersucker went with her and I got the skinny on the piano. He said the man has a Kawai, and that he told him it's worth about $50,000. Needless to say, that piqued my interest. The nicest piano I've ever played is a Baldwin baby grand, and at the time, I couldn't even really play (anything). I still can't. Anyway, I made it a point to tell Sis. Nameless that I wanted to meet this man and his piano. I did just that last Friday.
We walked into the house and turned to the left to see his Kawai. (This is about as close as I could find. This one is a 7' grand, and his is only 6'10".) It was beautiful. Beautiful. He was kind enough to notice the drooling awe-inspired look on my face, and offered to let me play. I have a Wurlitzer, and it's great for what I know and how well I play. I'm telling you, though, this piano was remarkable. I set my fingers to the keys and struck a chord, nothing fancy, just a major chord. It was the voice of angels. The clarity, depth, and resonance were outstanding. Obviously the difference between an upright and a grand piano are going to be night and day, but the depth and feeling she had was amazing. It seemed no matter how loudly or softly you played, you still had not reached the border of its ability. I got more comfortable, and played a few things I was familiar with, and he knew the words to a few of them, particularly the intro and first few minutes of Icicle (of course), and as I became comfortable with it, got a little more aggressive and realized how smoothly it played in any register at any volume. The feeling (in trying to relate it to someone who doesn't play piano) is like a little boat drifting gently across a pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't. Not really. [Plagiarism?] It's like being in a very nice sports car as compared to a Ford Pinto (or other lemon of choice). With said lemon, you can throw the pedal to the floor, and you feel nothing. There's no power there. It's very shallow. In an expensive Italian sports car, you don't even have to reach fourth gear to feel the power and depth a car like that has.
I could have spent all day playing scales, chords, and arpeggios, and would have been happy. The owner sat down when I got up and played some Chopin pieces that were incredibly impressive. He talked as he did it and described the differences between his piano and some others. He said he liked his piano on the whole, but enjoyed Steinways, Bösendorfers, or Bechsteins for different qualities. He displayed some of these, and said he had played all of the above. He also explained very well the benefits of a hand-made instrument (which would be lost on someone who DIDN'T have a decade of professional instruction or more years of professional concert experience under his belt). He said that he could play seven Steinways (or Böseys) blindfolded, and have someone assign a number to each one. Playing them for a few minutes each, he said he would have no difficulty returning to a piano at random and identifying which of the seven he had just played. This is because of their individual qualities and characteristics, which all come from not being mass produced. Remarkable.
The nice thing about his Kawai, and it may have been the people, the surroundings, etc., was that it wasn't intimidating. Much of the quality and character of a $100,000 Steinway would be lost on a novice and it would be intimidating to play someone's Steinway in their home, or at a dealer. It's like telling Einstein where to subtract, or trying to paint alongside Vermeer or Van Gogh. The Kawai was inviting; it wasn't so advanced that you couldn't enjoy it or appreciate it. Someone that enjoys cars may have no idea how to drive a Formula One racecar, but this I was able to appreciate. She was inviting and enjoyable and you could actually appreciate the craftsmanship and quality of a piano like that. I would feel almost asinine playing a Steinway, but this was very enjoyable. I had to call and share this with a few people. You just don’t understand.


Lincoln Memorial: 2

There was always a taxi waiting at the corner of Fiftieth and Virginia, and he was playing with a coin in his hand as he rounded the corner to see him standing there. He dropped it suddenly, and heard it fall, but didn’t respond. He opened the door to the taxi and sat down inside. He sunk into the backseat as he told the cab driver where he was headed; he inconspicuously looked toward the spot where he was standing when the coin fell from his hand, trying to see something, and he wasn’t sure if he did or not, but he said something under his breath.
Having reached his destination, he got out and paid the cab driver exact change plus tip, thanking him warmly and making grave eye contact that said, “Please have a good day.” Smiling now, he walked past a woman who was pushing a baby carriage and she dropped a bundle of mail that was under her arm as she reached to put the sunshade over her baby’s eyes. He stopped to pick it up and put it in her diaper bag, but not before reaching into his pocket and jingling the bottom where everything had collected. He made friendly but impersonal conversation with her and saw her on her way. As they parted ways, he mumbled something under his breath. He didn’t eat too much at home, and therefore decided to stop and have a chilidog. He had a good strong stomach and could handle beans, chili, cheese, hot sauce, and onions at 9 am on an empty stomach. He paid the stand owner in exact change and leaned against the stair-rail of a vacant apartment front as he ate. He looked across the street, starting at the bottom and following the rows of windows that reached many stories above his head and looked to get smaller as they went. His eyes reached the top and he saw the clouds moving steadily by, and in the small space between the tops of the buildings that surrounded him, the illusion made him dizzy. He looked down across the street again and there was a stairway leading up to an apartment complex. It was really a small set of stairs on either side that met halfway up on their way to the front door, creating a T-shape. The top of that T created a brick wall about shoulder height with a flowerbed at the bottom where there stood a for rent sign. He finished his brunch and walked across the street carefully. Once there he walked up the stairs and saw the lock box on the doorknob. The trim and the door were painted a bright white and fit snugly together, feigning that the apartment inside was in better shape than it truly was. His eyes followed the jamb from the bottom left, all the way around the top, and down to the bottom right. He found a suitable spot and reached into his pocket. He stuck a penny in between the door and the jamb where only half was showing. Heading down the first few stairs, he was staring directly down his street and had never noticed the view from this point before. It was a little higher and farther away from the street itself, and allowed for a nice view. Mr. Horner was compelled to walk back down in that direction, even though his original intention was to head east and then north on 110th. He was now at the bottom of the stairs and took a flyer out of the box, folded it perfectly and put it in his coat pocket. Now on the sidewalk, he saw a penny at his feet and picked it up. Looking at it, he noticed the texture was rough on the front, as if it had been run over in the street. He rubbed it with his thumb as if smoothing it out, and put it in his other pocket. He looked to his left and right, and saw automobiles in the street, but calmly walked across in the intervals between the cars heading in opposite directions.
As he was walking back down his street, he was nearing his house and simply walked, doing nothing until he was a block or so away. He wondered if his wife had left yet, and made a birdcall that he knew could be heard from her window. A few seconds later the kitchen light blinked on and off, and he walked on by.


Lincoln Memorial: 1

John Horner was always composed. He was very sharp and well-put together. Everyone felt they knew him, but no one knew too much about him. They knew that he was always kind and wasn’t much for the fancy things; he felt life was simpler without them. He walked almost everywhere.
Mr. Horner would have made a nice grandfather. He was very patient, extremely generous, and was always in the mood for a game or story of some sort, but never got carried away with anything. He was never overemotional or overbearing, and it seemed that everything in his life was in perfect harmony. He always gave the impression that he enjoyed the things he had, but that he would still be very happy without them. His happiness was not dependent on his possessions, and sometimes it seemed, on anything else, but he always valued everything.
He was an older man, and quiet; the type you would like to have as your local baker or barber, who was always welcoming and engaging, but not if you weren’t in the mood for it. He wasn’t easily noticed in a crowd; he didn’t stand out, and he liked it that way. You could tell he had had experience in life and knew what he was doing, but he was soft.
He and his wife had recently moved to the city, and they were renting a nice apartment from an Italian woman probably only a few years older than themselves. In their older age, the Horners didn’t need the upkeep a house would require, and the apartment was charming: the exterior wall was brick and had some solid wood shelves hanging on it between the windows that looked out across the street. You almost felt as if you could reach out across the street and touch the next building over, but it was quite a ways across. They were on the third floor, and the sounds from the street were muffled, although they could still be heard if you were quiet, or if the windows were open. They liked it that way, and the weather was usually nice enough that they could have the windows open, and the sounds that made their way up the walls served as background music, for they didn’t have a phonograph or television set. They didn’t need technology to entertain themselves, and Mr. Horner loved to read the newspaper. Mrs. Horner would knit or read, and she enjoyed her home so much she really didn’t have to do much of anything to be quite content for the day. She knew her husband would be home at the end of the day and they would have dinner and talk about what he did that day, or take turns reading out of their latest book.
It had been a nice evening outside and the windows were left cracked all night. Mr. Horner always slept better in a cool environment, and slept well he did. He didn’t have a hard time getting up, though, and was out of bed as soon as the clock struck seven. He was never lazy or groggy. Due to his level-headed nature, he never did things in excess, and was always able to have a nice balance: he was never up too early or to bed too late, and never overexerted himself, or was so lazy that he became groggy. This made for a healthy balance in his life so that he did not get burned out because, as he and everyone knew, he was getting older.
Mrs. Horner was already awake and was downstairs making her coffee. She had eaten breakfast and was on her way up when Mr. Horner was on his way down, dress pants in hand. He looked at her on the stairs, and, handing them to her, said, “Not too many today, if you please.” She smiled. He was downstairs by the time he heard the noise she was making. He was pouring coffee into his favorite mug, almost more suited for beer; it was copper coated, and it made your hands smell funny if your palms were sweaty. He heard the sound of clinking metal upstairs, and it made him smile. He hurriedly had his coffee and a wheat muffin, dry, and went upstairs to dress. His wife handed him his pants and she went into the laundry room to iron a few things. He picked out a shirt and tie, modest ones. They were blue and mild. He set them out on the bed and went into the bathroom to brush his teeth.
He was ready to go, and as he walked downstairs, his pockets jingled. He picked his car keys out of the small bin that lay next to the garage door. He told his wife goodbye and she stopped what she was doing until he left. His car used to be a high-end luxury automobile, and he was proud of it at one time. He didn’t feel that way now. He felt it was like him, a classic, something from the days when things were simpler and easier. He walked to the car, opened the door and sat down inside. The leather bench seat caught him and bounced a little. He opened the garage door and started the car. He stopped for a moment and reached into his right-hand pocket and shook it to make a noise. He turned the car off and put the keys in his pocket. He stepped out of the car and shut the door, walking out of the garage and down the driveway. He looked back at the house over his shoulder and waved to anyone who may be looking. It was almost like it was then.


Obviously... Just kidding

You Passed 8th Grade Spanish

Congratulations, you got 6/8 correct!


That's a good age...

You Are 26 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Which is worse?

Your Musical Tastes Match: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

See his whole playlist here (iTunes required)

This is the second time I took it. The first time it was Nicole Kidman. I only changed two answers. Hmmmm...


Movers and Shakers…

Or destroyers of all we know to be good in this world? You decide. It seems that there was a time (not ONE collective time in history, but a time for each entity) that something (everything) was at its best. Then people go and “fix” or “improve” it and it may take a while, but we soon realize the “way things used to be” was much better. Restaurants, towns, movies, prose, paintings, coffee. It’s easy to “improve” something and ruin it. Have you ever had a sketch or painting or sculpture (or whatever you do) that you really liked, but realized maybe it needed a few more touchups before you could be really proud of it? And those two extra brush strokes or that one cut fairly ruins your art? And there’s no ctrl+z, or edit-undo on canvas. People “revamp” the menu at restaurants, or get new coffee, and even if the old stuff wasn’t excellent, it was the old stuff and that’s why we liked it. Even if the “better” stuff sometimes tastes newer or fresher or whatever, it’s just not the same.
I think the feeling of a town cannot be lost in any fewer fractions of a second than when the roads are repaved/widened and traffic lights are added. My little town is the setting of my first (ostensibly) completed story about a new high school kid that lives in this town. The story is set in the town about sixty years ago, so it certainly does have a quality different from today, but not much. I am making a few final touches (I think not so unlike the final brushstrokes mentioned above… that’s okay, I’ve got two different versions, one of which is the original, the one I like. The other is the one I’m messing with, somewhat to my chagrin), but I think Little Town, even today, has largely the same qualities about it that it probably did many years ago. There’s the stoplight at the library, but that one doesn’t bother me. The intersection they just totally rebuilt and added the intersection and such is the big killer for the area, but if you ask me, that intersection is really outside of the heart of Little Town anyway, because it’s all residential at that point.
Anyway, it’s just funny how nothing is what it used to be. What right now, at this very moment, is the best it will be before somebody gets to it? Who knows? I did get word that the local bakery near the Hall that also serves pizza has very good coffee, roasted/ground/blended explicitly for them. Yummy.


Start Something

Nothing deep or introspective here. I want to start my own business. I know I’m kind of self-employed (but not) because Dad started something and I’m working with him and it’s a family affair type thing, but I’d like to put a hobby/passion/talent of mine to use for revenue producing activities and manage it, run it, grow it, etc., put some of myself into something. Too bad none of my hobbies/whateveryoucallthems are conceivable options for such an enterprise, but I would really really like to have something like that to my name. It would be very nice to do. There’s something about that that I really want to be able to do, but in what capacity? (((none)))


You can't make one word out of 'friends' and 'shenanigans' (unless it's shenanifriends) but I tried

One of the brothers that was on the dive trip with us last week emailed me a bunch of photos of the trip. For all of his haphazard snapping, some of them are quite artistic. I don’t think they were intended to be so, but backgrounds and stuff make them look like they’ve already been cropped and sized and stuff. They’re quite good. Anyway, I just got them and I haven’t even been home three days yet, but I’m looking at these and it already seems like it’s been a long LONG LONG time since the trip. Here’s why.
I seem to have difficulty continuing to be friends with people that were once only acquaintances. There have been a number of occasions lately where I spend a great amount of time with somebody in a very short period of time, (i.e. not really knowing someone very well and going to Florida with them for a week and really having a good time). That having been said, I feel like once that happens, there is never a means by which to keep in touch with someone I know I get along with really well without seeming sappy or nostalgic. Know what I mean? It always comes off (I think) as this let’s-keep-in-touch/it-was-real/we’ve-seriously-bonded type dorky thing, where it’s really a hey-had-a-blast/we-should-do-it-again/it’s-cool-to-make-new-friends situation. Know what I mean? Because I don’t have a whole lot of close friends, as in seriously close friends, and maybe I’m not supposed to (and do too much other stuff to have any), but that rather irks me. Especially friends my age… The people I spend most of my time with are between 35 and sixty-something, which means the AVERAGE age is like, people older than my parents… That’s not to say there aren’t benefits of spending time with people older and wiser than you, but that gets old (literally) after a while. I get along fine (usually) with (mature) people my age, but I really don’t know that many of them.
So now that I’ve just spilled my guts on all that, let’s have a share of something that could be a weekly treat…
-Shenanigan: Trickery, underhand action, intrigue, skulduggery.
“You’ll most commonly encounter this word in the plural. It seems to have originated in California at about the time of the Gold Rush, though it was first recorded in print only in 1855. In the years since, it has been spelt in about a dozen different ways, though recent dictionaries have settled on the version above. Where it comes from is still a matter of substantial dispute; the first five dictionaries I consulted gave four different origins (Oxford Dictionaries—as so often—opting for the ultra-cautious “origin unknown”). The word looks Irish, and there was no shortage of Irishmen in the California diggings, so it’s plausible to suggest the Irish word sionnachuighm as the source, meaning ‘I play tricks’, which is pronounced roughly as ‘shinnuckeem’. Others argue it comes from an East Anglican dialect word nannicking for playing the fool. Yet others guess at a link with the Spanish word chanada for a trick or deceit, which is another half-way plausible source, considering California’s history. Yet another theory was put forward in 1948 in American Speech for an origin in German schinnagel for a nail that holds the rim to the wheel, which produced the German slang terms schinageln, to work, and Schenigelei, a trick. As the man behind the market stall said, you pays your money and you takes your choice ...”

So you can throw this thing...

Apparently the all important results are easy to fake... like a Polygraph (not -glot)...

Significant posting after The Show


Vart tog vägen vägen? Vi åker på en åker!

You Should Learn Swedish

Fantastisk! You're laid back about learning a language - and about life in general.
Peaceful, beautiful Sweden is ideal for you... And you won't even have to speak perfect Swedish to get around!

I tried this one a few different ways, because there were a few that could have gone either way, but I got the same answer both times. Does laid back mean I'm indifferent (certainly not!) or that it doesn't take a ton of effort? You tell me... I like Swedish anyway...

Attack Banana?

Incase you have never seen this one, it's resurrected from the dead. We did this one in high school and it became wildly popular. I was originally "Angry Plaid Spork-Flinging Wildebeest," but that seems to have changed. Check it out. I love this one.

I'm pensive... I like that word

Your Blogging Type is Pensive and Philosophical

You blog like no one else is reading...
You tend to use your blog to explore ideas - often in long winded prose.
Easy going and flexible, you tend to befriend other bloggers easily.
But if they disagree with once too much, you'll pull them from your blogroll!


Welcome to me

I'm back in town, obviously. I'm highly pleased with the splendid job that H'n'B did with my blog whilst I was gone, and if you want details of the trip aside from the conversations with the dolphins, please ask. There were many exciting stories, some involving sharks and guns, and guns and sharks, and drama, and bones, and beer, and boats, and weather, and a general happiness not to be wherever else we would be had we not been where we were. (a la Cap'n Jack).
Speaking of which, (and this segment does horrible injustice to my thoughts on things at length, but to give you a beginning to my mental wanderings) as I was reclining at the helm of our new boat on a dive in which I could not participate for various reasons, I began to ponder. Facing southeast, away from land, one sees nothing but ocean. What sort of life does one live when he only comes ashore once every month or so (i.e. 19th century pirates)? What sort of life does one live when he lives on the ocean in modern times? There is a distinct something about people that have lived any (moderately) large portion of their life on the water, and this is what I want to analyze throughout the course of the next few days, with focus on a few specific people I know who are to serve as case studies. This is all in the light, though, of a certain other thought, which I feel convinced I had a discussion with someone about this very thing before I left, but it being this: one's ability to project oneself into a situation or circumstance and see the consequences (be they good or bad) is a quality/ability that is (or should be) highly valued. So, in this light, how would a maritime upbringing change you as a person? The ocean is a breeding ground for so many qualities, and to name a few, they are: an incredible use of common sense, a sense of duty, a sense of responsibility and maturity, respect in various forms, and a very strong quality of self-sufficiency and assertiveness. I'll discuss all these later with all the time I WON'T have this week while I'm catching up on things. I know it's very disjointed and sounds like anything but the narrative-type thoughts running through my head, but that's what happens when you sleep in a car for fourteen hours... mmhmmm.


Foreign Literature Greats

The Polyglot loves to discuss the "greats" of English literature - people like James Joyce, Hemingway and Poe. He's even posted lists of the greatest works of English literature so that we can go out and enlighten ourselves.

Well, I too, like great literature. I've been struggling as to how to communicate to you all who I think are the "greats" of foreign literature. I searched the web for inspiration. I found a site that so thoroughly explains these powerhouses of foreign writing, that it just doesn't make sense for me to rewrite it all. Instead, I provide you with this link. Go forth and enlighten yourselves.

Just Click Here, Mehsha



Not too long ago (just down the page, in fact), The Polyglot related his personal journey through old writings. Poly was able to look at these scribblings in their context. I believe there's much to learn from evaluating what you wrote about as a young person. You get a sense of who you were then compared with who you are now. You clarify the path your life has traveled. You can say, "I am at point N now because I turned left at point C, completely missing points D, E & F. Ah, but point J! That was a nice little spot, glad I saw that."

So, I dug through some of my early writings. I too, remember each piece as a literary masterpiece. Alas, I was overestimating my talents just a smidge. I found a piece from the 8th grade that I would now like to transcribe for you here. Please keep in mind that even though I was in 8th grade, I was actually the age of a 7th grader.

Dear Sally*,

Yo chick! Sup? I saw you under loggia this morning as you was getting off yer bus. But I did not say aything to you cuz the bell had already rang and I had to get to homeroom. Ugh. Homeroom was B O R I N G! First period stunk to. I fergot to do my homework. I going to do it but 21 Jump Street came on and you know I can't RESIST that fineness! Did you see them? They were all fine last night. And, like, fine, fine, fine. Oh fine - yeah, I saw Mr. Gorgeous in hall on the way to lunch. Wow. I wonder if he going to New Edition concert. Did your mom say you will go? No way my mom is gonna let me go. Im dying to go!!!!! Guess I'll will just go skating that night. It is a Friday, right? And maybe Mr. Gorgeous won't be at the concert and he will be skating and I will get to see him while you get to see New Edition. That would be cool. Wow. This is a long note. Gotta go before I get caught writing it. See you after school. Write back. BFF. Wanna spend the night on Friday?


* Names changed for privacy.

So that's point A. I guess I've only made it to point B or C.


My Feelings on Ships

The Polyglot has tried to explain how he feels when he sits down at a piano. He says that he tried to explain that to me with the feeling of playing pool. That's not at all what he said. What he ended up discussing were the actual physical characteristics of ornate pianos to ornate pool tables. Since we never owned an ornate pool table, I still couldn't relate to what he was talking about. I was just picturing Liberace.

Anyway, he finally made some headway by comparing pianos to ships. Ah. That I can understand. There is something about a ship. It's really undefinable, but I'm going to do my best to discuss how sailing makes me feel.

You see, it's not far down to paradise, at least it's not for me. If the wind is right you can sail away and find ... tranquility. The canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see. Believe me. It's not far to never-never land - no reason to pretend. If the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again. Fantasy gets the best of me when I'm sailing - all caught up in the reverie. Every word is a symphony. Won't you believe me? It's not far back to sanity, at least it's not for me. When the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity. Sailing takes me away to where I've always heard it could be - just a dream and the wind to carry me. Soon I will be free.

Well, there's a little window into my soul for you. Don't get me started on what happens when I get caught between the moon and New York City!

First Day in the Keys

Well, I was going to write something really witty for my first post here on Foreign Words. But being the control freak that he is, The Polyglot sent me a txt message that he wanted me to post instead. So here, in his own words, is an account of how vacation in Florida is proceeding:

My flight was quite interesting. However, that is not what I want to discuss. I will expatiate upon that at another time. I would now like to relate what happened to me on my first day of lobstering. (Yes, lobster can be used as a verb in the same vein as fish/fishing or crab/crabbing.)

Sunday, August 6, 2006
We'd been out on the ocean for a couple of hours. We had already hit a few spots with marginal success. My father's father (who I can't bring myself to call DeeDah now that I'm an adult) had speared several hogfish in each place we'd stopped. The rest of us had not been quite as fruitful in our search for lobster. Upon reaching this third or fourth location, my father and I Dunno immediately bagged several choice specimen. I was still looking under rocks and coming up with nothing but sand.

I spotted a nice head of coral about 100 feet away from the rest of the group and hoped that I could beat the others to it. Alas, I was disappointed to again find nothing but sand lurking beneath the coral. But just as I was about to resurface, I heard the clicks and whistles of a pod of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin. I looked up to see a pod of about 7 dolphin frollicking another 50 or so feet away. I tucked behind the coral head to listen unobserved, simply soaking in the moment. Suddenly it occurred to me that there was structure to this noise. Dare I say it, it even sounded vaguely familiar.

While I wouldn't classify myself as an expert, I have done a little reading on Wikipedia about the Khosian language family, particularly Ju|'hoan. Ju|'hoan contains the 5 traditional vowels that English speakers are familiar with, but based on how they are nasalized, glottalized and murmured, those 5 vowels expand into 30 unique sounds (some experts argue the number is actually higher). As with all the Khosian languages, Ju|'hoan is spoken by a very small number of people located mostly in lower Western Africa - Botswana in the case of this specific language.

Naturally, I dusted off my Ju|'hoan and volunteered a nervous "Hello, dolphin." Well, that is the rough translation. I believe the literal translation was more like, "Greetings mammals with human-like intelligence and fish-like bodies." My second statement was the incredibly trite, "I come in peace." More accurately translated to, "I would like to communicate with you, not eat you." At that point, the alpha-male appeared to signal to the pod that it was time to leave. Thankfully, the alpha-female indicated that she wanted to investigate the "bi-ped with dolphin-like intelligence." After a short disagreement, the alpha-male agreed to accompany her to within 10 feet of my location.

So there I was face to face with two Ju|'hoan speaking dolphin. What should I talk about? First, I hand signalled to them that I needed to surface for air. They seemed to understand my make-shift game of charades. After replenishing the air in my lungs, I came back down with a clear head and a topic of discussion. I decided to witness to them about the good news of God's kingdom. After just a few sentences, the alpha-male stopped me. I couldn't believe that I was being rejected by a dolphin of all creatures. However, instead of rejecting me, he said (again, loosely translated), "Yeah, yeah. We know all about the good news. We're actually on our way home from a convention. There's a little spot in the Bahamas where we can hear the programs quite well echoing through the water. In years past, lots of dolphin converged on the spot, but we have to be careful that we don't draw too much attention these days. This year, my family was chosen to attend. Now we will go back to our home waters and relate the program to the rest of the dolphin population."

You can imagine my surprise. That led into a nice little discussion about the convention program. I asked which was their favorite talk. They both seemed to appreciate the symposium about illustrations, especially the advice on imitating Jesus' illustrations. I asked if they had a favorite illustration. The alpha-female, Ursula, said that she loved the fishing illustrations. They both found it quite comical to be "fishers of men." Although they did admit that these days they don't retell the stories of the apostles letting down their nets quite as often since they have lost so many friends to the tuna fishing industry. Completely understandable.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable conversation covering a plethora of topics: favorite scriptures, water pollution, cell phones, and dolphins in captivity. During our chat, the rest of the pod gathered around us. I was particularly drawn to a sweet older female named Georgette - what a lovely woman, er, individual. Eventually I realized that I'd been away from the boat for over an hour and I had absolutely nothing to show for it - an unforgivable sin in my family. I explained that I was going to be in "hot water" which seemed to horrify them. They very sweetly offered to assist me even though they admitted to never comprehending humans' appetite for lobster. (Evidently, the lobster has a reputation similar to the cockroach amongst other sea creatures.) The whole pod joined in and within 10 minutes I had 45 beautiful lobster in my bag. The alpha-male, Josiah, even gave me a lift half way back to the boat. He wanted to take me further but didn't dare risk it.

In parting, I asked if I would see the pod tomorrow. Josiah answered that they needed to continue on their journey. He turned and rejoined the rest of the pod. As I climbed back in the boat, I looked back towards where I'd left them. I saw them leaping and breaching as a final goodbye.

So, that's his message. Pretty interesting. I can see why he wanted me to post it. Oh, and for the less linguistically gifted, Ju|'hoan is the language the African bushman spoke in "The Gods Must Be Crazy." (I had to look it up.)


What a Ship IS...

Well, I told H’n’B I would post once more before turning over the reins for a week. So I don’t have a whole bunch to say. I had this whole thing written up about how I think sometimes I can be overbearing about my enthusiasm with certain things, but it ended up sounding far more self-deprecating than I wanted it to, so that’s out. I’ve saved it, and I’ll post it later. Thoughts?
Tonight will be my first GSAM in about a month and the AM part is actually out because I can only stay for dinner. I have to come home, mow the lawn, and finish packing. This time, I have a list. I’m only packing a backpack of essential travel things, so I’ll have my music, my reading material, some Russian reading, some Urdu reading, a few dictionaries, a change of clothes (for a two-hour flight, I know, but you can never be too careful) chargers, some foreign literature incase I come across some cool foreigners at the airport (because everybody knows that’s where they hang out), and my shaving kit (which I kept with me because [first of all, I need most of the stuff in it, but also] it saved room in my suitcase. I need to round up some things in my car (like the new [old] sunglasses) and some hats and ocean type stuff. I’ll definitely be bringing my running shoes, incase I feel ridiculous enough to run (even half) a mile in the scorching heat of summer down there (but again, one can never be too careful). All of that (and more) can fit in my backpack, and that’ll make for a nice non-lugging-luggage flight.
I was asked today (because apparently I’ve become the authority on these things) what happened to Story & Clark, a piano manufacturer that has apparently changed hands a number of times. Anyway, this sister that has one thought the people went out of business, but as you can see, they did not.
What is it about the piano? I know everyone’s sick and tired of me talking about this, but I’ve got a week away from Foreign Words, and I’m going to try to figure this one out. There’s something regal or charismatic or significant about sitting down at a piano and playing something (even a little something) and having somebody go “oh, I recognize that!” Or not even people being around… just the fact that you’re at a piano, especially if it’s a larger piano, like a grand. I tried to relate to H’n’B my fascination with these things, and since she always grew up with a pool table, and we now have one, I tried to explain it in those terms. A pool table serves a purpose: it is entertainment, yadda yadda yadda, but it’s also far more than that. (like was put so well by Capt. Jack Sparrow “That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and hull and a deck and sails. That's what a ship needs. But what a ship is... what the Black Pearl really is... is freedom.”) It’s THE thing in the room, the main focus, and it’s also a piece of furniture. It’s stained and is carved and colored and demands a certain sense of respect, a pool table does, even if just a tiny bit, if for no other reason than that it is such a large, heavy piece of furniture. A piano, on a far greater scale, (aside from uprights or console or whatever you wanna call them) carries that same attitude… yes, attitude, because if you ask CERTAIN pianists (real pianists) they’ll agree that the piano is a living, breathing thing. A piano is carved and sculpted and designed and created and has a certain ~-~ about it, without even being played. It’s true. Harpsichord, (cool sound but) nah… Organ (super cool sound but strange looking and complicated so)… nah. It’s the piano. Check out some of the other links about three posts ago and look at their big, mean pianos, the concert grands or artists’ series… oh yeah.
Anyway, I’m to finish off a few things before I head to GS and then pack and then mow the lawn, etc., but I’ve got someone at the helm for the time being, and I’ll check out all the hilarity and chaos while I’m gone or after I return. I bid you all a happy adieu!


My Language

It was some time after I had written the papers that I pulled them out; memories of old favorite stories and poems from high school, and most of them sat on that shelf across the room from me, in a few textbooks together with my Latin binders.
I always loved writing and by all (my) accounts, was a good writer, and always enjoyed it. Like anything else, however, one progresses, and although the memories are fond, the subjects warm, the writing leaves plenty to be desired. That wouldn’t be the case in the eyes of a ninth-grader, though. He doesn’t know that you use “shall,” in the future only with the first person, and “will,” with second and third. He doesn’t know that a first person conditional statement is “I should like,” not I would like,” or that you never use the first or second person in a thesis or research paper. He will.
The first one was an alternative ending for an Ursula K. LeGuin story that we were to write. Fond? Not necessarily. Others, like “The Right to Rule,” or “The Cause and Effect of World War I,” were history papers and were pretty much unchangeable in the sense that the information itself wouldn’t change.
Literature (especially your own) has a way about it like old embarrassing family photos: in that day, you thought your Wayfarers and big hair (or senseless use of commas and words like ‘rather,’) were HOT. But now looking back, you see in 20/20: your mother was right. You find you have changed so much since having written that thesis or that story; your life is so different, but you remember the feelings, the emotions, the smells: everything that made that what it is, and when you wrote it, you put something in it you didn’t even know existed.
So much emotion, or feeling, or attitude, or persona, is captured in your own writing style, your voice, that you may not realize what it is, exactly, until you let it culture and age in your closet or computer or cabinet and pull it out years later, and then your own language, the subtleties throughout the work, speak to you in your very own language, and you suddenly remember things you didn’t even know you knew or had forgotten.
It is this time machine one encounters when he rereads his old favorites, only to find they had changed completely, just like when you go to your kindergarten class years later and realize the tables have shrunk. They don’t fit like they used to, and you would fix them, but you won’t be using them anyway. Besides, they look good just the way they are.


I packed yesterday/evening/this morning. I pack much more betterer if I have a list. I make a list of the thing I'll need to bring, especially when the things I need to pack are things I cannot pack until right when we leave, like my chargers and toothbrush and pillow and that sort of thing. Shoes, etc.
I didn't have enough time last night to make the list early enough to pack with it, but basically packed everything I wouldn't be able to buy when I was there, i.e. chargers, audio/electronic stuff. Also anything that cannot go on a plane in a bag that isn't checked luggage. Since I'm driving back from vacation, it's no big deal, but I sent my big luggage with the first caravan this morning. I realized I had packed a few things I should have kept to bring with me when I came, but they were things I wouldn't want to have to explain to security at the airport. I know that sounds really shady, but, for example, I have a radio transmitter for my car so I can listen to my MP3 player while I'm driving. Most people have one they plug into the device and play through the tape deck, but since I don't have a tape deck, that's out. The transmitter plugs into the cigarette lighter and has a cord that plugs into the MP3 player with twelve frequencies that match to certain high/low frequency radio stations that you can tune the radio to. Basic, I know, because Belkin sells a battery powered one with only two settings, and it's CRAP with a capital K. As simple technology as that is, it does look rather intimidating, because it has a LCD display and a fuse, etc. Since I've also got a one-way ticket, there are no further reasons to get myself searched: I'm not checking any luggage, I've got a one-way ticket, and I've got a bunch of electronics... IT'S BECAUSE I'M GOING ON VACATION!!! Whatever. We have to be there so early anyway, I don't want to delay our arrival to our gate.
So here's how I pack. I wash EVERYTHING I have, fold the clothes and categorize them: shirts, undershirts, collared shirts, shorts, gym shorts, sleep clothes, etc. Then I start throwing them into the suitcase (there's a procedure involving ziplock bags and forcing air out, that has a strange resemblance to the vacuum-packed bags in the infomercials, but since I'm not going to buy one of those, we save money and space in the suitcase by doing it with freezer bags), and the clothes that I don't wear as much don't get into the bag until everything else of importance does. Then it's a sudden death elimination of what other semi-nonimportant things I can fit in around the necessary things. I always pack to the brim...
That is all. Packing and I have a love hate relationship, but they both go the same way: if I have the time enough, I systematically pack everything I own (and some of other people's stuff); if I DON'T have enough time, I frantically pack everything I own (and some of other people's stuff). So basically I always pack everything I own (and some of other people's stuff).


Pianos, languages, and Vacation

I don’t have anything pressing to say today, but for all intents and purposes, when do I ever? ALWAYS, if you pay attention.
Things of interest I have recently learned:
1) Persian, by no small technicality, is not a Semitic language. Now, it’s obvious that it’s spoken in the Middle East and uses a variation of the Arabic script (a Semitic language) for its alphabet, but is part of the Indo-European branch of languages, which is a HUGE branch of languages that comprises most of the languages spoken in Europe and the Western world. More specifically, it is Indo-Iranian, or Indo-Aryan, and therefore shares a relationship with more of the languages of India.
2) I really really really really really enjoy running. Really.
3) The “Apple,” headphones I got from Ebay weren’t. They’re crappy as anything, were shipped from HONG KONG, and there’s only two pair in the package. There are some very definite characteristics that the “wannabe” Apple headphones don’t have, and if you’re interested in donating your pair because you don’t like them, let me ask you some questions before you do.
4) There’s a tropical storm heading towards what will be my home for the next week-ish. If you watched The Kids’ Show last night (no, that’s not the name) you’d understand why it’d be nice to have a very smart but socially developing high schooler around right now. Some predictions say it turns north before it hits the aforementioned beloved abode, some say it’s heading for it like bees to honey. Yippee…
5) Bösendorfer pianos are the coolest in the world. I looked up other piano manufacturers (or whatever) like Fazioli, Bechstein, Steinway (obviously) and Kimball (who owned Bösendorfer for a while), as well as Baldwin (who I didn’t know makes as nice a piano as they do), and Bösendorfer is by far the king. They’ve got a great story and have been doing it for a long time. Their limited edition and artist series pianos are out of this world. So I like to pretend I have a half a million dollars (and the room enough) to buy a few concert grands like they’re used books. Whatever. Also worth mentioning that I laugh at myself for having opinions of pianos that cost six figures (with my Wurlitzer in the living room[hooty hooty!]) and admitting that I couldn't play well enough (yet) to justify even sitting down at any of the above.
Happy now?