wombat1138: (Default)
Semi-randomly rummaging through Google Books due to another freeform Making Light thread.

The "Knickerbocker Glory" layered ice cream concoction seems to've originated in the US and was carried over to the UK by the 1920s, perhaps via American doughboys during/after the Great War. Oddly, it lived on in the UK despite being eventually forgotten in the US (at least by that name), so that the term was considered sufficiently exotic to be "translated" in the US editions of "Harry Potter".Read more... )
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Well, perhaps not all that random-- specifically, I've become fascinated by looking up different translations of the Costa Concordia transcript line, "Vada a bordo, cazzo!"

Language Log points out that one aspect lost in English translation is that De Falco is using the formal "you" pronoun/verbs throughout the conversation.

The reputably-sourced translations of "cazzo" in this context mostly seem idiomatic rather than literal-- emotional/rhetorical emphasis, rather than a personally-directed insult. There are some exceptions, though.

English versions from various news media are mostly sentence-final words/phrases: "Get back on board, dammit!"; "...for God's sake!"; "...for fuck's sake!".

Japanese: 船に戻れ、畜生 (chikusho) or "船に戻れ、ばか野郎" (baka yarou)

German: "Gehen Sie verdammt noch mal an Bord!"; "Gehen Sie an Bord, verflucht nochmal!"

Dutch: "Ga aan boord verdomme!" or "Ga aan boord, klootzak!"

French: "Bon sang, retournez à bord !" (Paris); "Allez à bord, bordel de merde!" (Quebec).

Brazilian Portuguese: "Volte a bordo, porra!!" (from online headlines; no link) or “Volte a bordo, caralho!”

European Spanish: "¡Suba a bordo, coño!"

Russian: "Идите на борт, черт побери!"

Ukrainian: "Быстро вернулся на борт, бл...ть!"

Hebrew: "חזור לסיפון זין!"

(I can barely limp through Cyrillic script one letter at a time and can't read Hebrew at all, so I have no real idea what those say.)

If anyone wants to contribute more, I'd love to see them.
wombat1138: (Simpsonized)
Have concluded that Naomi Novik's "Temeraire" series has succeeded in eating me as a new fandom, at least to the extent of getting me to read (or at least browse) assorted reference materials that I probably wouldn't've read otherwise, ranging from world butterfly compendia to early Qing histories/biographies.

A particularly odd book that I found in the local library system is A Manchu Monarch : an Interpretation of Chia Ch'ing by A.E. Grantham; this particular copy was a 1976 reprint with no original publication details inside. It's "odd" in that its subject breadth isn't too different from a standard popular history and it doesn't wander into historical novel by inventing dialogue, but it keeps having stylistic freakouts into florid narrative overkill; e.g., "as the newly liberated spirit passed away from the sick-bed in the early hours of a spring morning, grateful itself, it may have merged more readily into all the blossoming loveliness outlined against the blue of a cloudless sky."Read more... )
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Ascribed to an Assyrian tablet from ~2800 BC: "Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching."Read more... )

On a different note, no one seems to know when/where the "French braid" hairstyle originated. (The French names for the hairstyle translate as "African braid" and "Indian braid".) There's an 1871 mention of it as a new hairstyle, but w/o a corresponding illustration or set of instructions, there's no way to know if it meant the same thing then as it does now. However, I was chuffed to find a set of instructions from 1882 for the style now called the "fishtail braid" and then called the "Grecian braid".


Nov. 2nd, 2009 10:05 pm
wombat1138: (marker sketch)
Having succumbed to a combination of persistently window-shopping colored pencils and the imminent expiration of a few cents of eBay bucks (a trial bonus program), I have bought some mechanical pencils with refillable colored leads for no good reason.

(...well, technically I've been using colored pencils in a very simplistic way to chart out my daily activities, which doesn't really require many colors; for the past month or three, I've been using a mini-set of 12 little conventional colored pencils that fit (with a sharpener and eraser) into a boxlet about the size of a deck of cards. However, I've really only been using 6 of the colors (and have virtuously resisted the urge to buy larger sets to get more contrast), and have been anticipatorily worrying about having to replace just those colors once they're sharpened down to unusable nubs.)

In the local stores, I'd been eyeing the Crayola Twistable colored mechanical pencils, but Crayola doesn't seem to offer refills, which rather misses a main point of mechanical pencils IMHO. More recently (i.e., a few hours ago when I found it online), I was considering the Pentel PH158, which is a single pencil that can carry 8 different colors of 2mm leads (Pentel actually has 12 colors of 2mm refills, including black), but decided that the barrel would probably be uncomfortably large for me to use.

So I'm now waiting for a whole 8-piece set of the Pilot Color Eno 0.7mm plus eight refill tubes (Pilot doesn't list them on their US site, but they're available through JetPens and sundry eBay sellers). On reflection, the "soft blue" member of the set probably won't be that useful to me, but oh well.

On a slightly different note, I was somewhat tempted by the Marvy Color Tricks mechanical pencil, which produces that trippy multichromatic effect you get from a single lead subsectored into red, blue, and green (they do have refill leads), but couldn't quite convince myself to get one despite their extreme affordability. Alas.
wombat1138: (Default)
Misc. notes on Asian cultural trivia about pomegranates.Read more... )


Aug. 25th, 2007 07:03 pm
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I was going to post these snippets about Meiji education to a thread on RKDreams, but the forum has gone blinky *again* :b the pre-Meiji math stuff is pretty nifty in its own right, though.Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
No, it's not as salacious as it might sound. Yes, it's Whovian. Dang, it's cute.

The rest of her gallery just about slays me with more cuteness, esp. the Disney variations. Please ignore any high-pitched shrieks of "kawaiiii!!!" that may float over the horizon.

Similarly, this version of the Disney Princesses, as well as some irreverent depictions of Sailor Moon's Inner Senshi/Shitennou pairings and fighting like cats and dogs.

And (oh, this is just such a hopelessly girly post) a pic of TLM's Ariel that reminds me of Leighton's "Flaming June". And more princessness and another Senshi couple and chibi-evil.
wombat1138: (Default)
You'd think that "Mel Odom" would be a unique, distinctive name, but I can't clearly determine whether there's just one (semi)public figure by that name or two.

My first introduction to Mel Odom's work was the cover art for Richard Adams' Maia, which I keep expecting to be reprinted in light of the success of Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel" novels. (Then again, my impression of the "Kushiel" series is incomplete at best, since I've only managed to wade through the first book, and that with copious skimming through the last half or so.) Later, he did the covers for some of Guy Gavriel Kay's books-- Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, and The Lions of al-Rassan-- as well as various others, all in a very distinctive style which now carries through into the "Gene" collectors' dolls that were first released sometime last decade.

But also, within the past few years I've been seeing various pulp skiffy written by Mel Odom, who has a copious bibliography but no mention in his author's notes or his own website of a past artistic portfolio. Did he get born again and renounce his earlier, earthier works? What happened?

And now that I flail around for linkage mid-post, I finally find an answer (I think)-- there really are two of them: the prolific author who was born in 1957 and lives in Oklahoma, and the artist who was born in 1950 and lives in New York City. I've been wondering about this for so long that it's going to take a while for me to absorb this.


Dec. 9th, 2006 08:31 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
Dammit, I thought I collected all this info in one place before, but it was probably in an old eBay listing which has now vanished into the aether. But at least I've finally found a kanji version of Tamayori's name, though not nec'ly a definitive one (q.v.).

The main purpose of this entry is to roughly collate information about Japan's (three?) legendary sea-dragon princesses and their jewels. Of the daughters of the Dragon King(s), the names of the two sisters Toyotama (豊玉) and Tamayori (玉依?) directly contain the word "tama" (jewel).

Some sources claim that "Otohime" is merely an alias for Toyotama, but that name occurs in a completely different mythic context, the tale of Urashima-Taro, and besides whereas Toyotama is generally identified as the older sister to Tamayori, the kanji I'm finding for "Otohime" (乙姫 or 弟姫) mean "youngest princess".

(WRT the header, the tamatebako was a jewel-casket which Otohime gave to Urashima when he left the sea; I complained recently about the origami reconstruction.)Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
Just splatting down some links from a rough Google search; no informational synthesis or conclusions, just brief notes. Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
Some years ago, I ran into a Geocities-based page that attempted to intercorrelate several different sorts of personality typology; when I went looking for it again just now, I found that the latest version now has its own domain with even more material tucked around the edges.

While I have no particular Definite Faith in any of those systems, I do find this sort of thing endlessly fascinating, rather like this magnificent example that tries to do something similar with different sets of metaphysical elements and culminates toward the bottom of the page by charting all of them onto a seven-part cube (six faces plus the contained space within it).

In any case, the former page has enough bibliographic pointers that I promptly nipped elseweb to find a used copy of an interesting-sounding book on tailoring cognitive therapy to various personality disorders. The second edition came out a few years ago, suggesting that the first edition was useful/influential enough to make an update worthwhile. Amazon had much better pricing than eBay, semi-surprisingly; the best price on eBay was considerably offset by the seller padding the shipping/handling fee to over $20. For one book. Sheesh.


May. 9th, 2006 10:50 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
Found a truly awesome site with all sorts of factoids/pix/essays about Japanese cultural history: a photoessay about the Battle of Sekigahara, an RK shrine, examples of scary modern architecture, you name it. It's so large and sprawling that it practically qualifies as a linkfest all by itself.
wombat1138: (Default)
An assortment of oddments:

1.) This news item from last year was brought back to mind by a comment exchange with [livejournal.com profile] bellatrys about sauerkraut and kimchee: the ambiguous modern status of Huns in Hungary.

2.) A felted yurt Nativity set.

3.) Sometime last year, I ran across a really fascinating page by a Hungarian physicist/polymath with several essays about cultural coincidences(?) between the Magyars and the Japanese, such as this one. Evidently he's not the only person with that line of thought:

Northern China was originally a temperate and lush place full of forests, streams, and rainfall. It began to dry out, however, a few thousand years before the common era. This dessication, which eventually produced one of the largest deserts in the world, the Gobi, drove the original inhabitants south and east. These peoples pushed into Korea and displaced indigenous populations. Eventually, these new settlers were displaced by a new wave of immigrations from northern China and a large number of them crossed over into the Japanese islands. For this reason, the languages of the area north of China, the language of Korea, and Japanese are all in the same family of languages according to most linguists. Because Mongolian (spoken in the area north of China) is also part of this language family and because the Mongolians conquered the world far to the west, this means that the language family to which Japanese belongs is spoken across a geographical region from Japan to Europe. The westernmost language in this family is Magyar, spoken in Hungary, and the easternmost language in this family is Japanese.

I mean, call me a sock with holes worn through it, cause I'll be darned. Dunno how much underlying truth there is to it (I suppose Cavalli-Sforza might have some interesting pertinent data, if I ever remember to track it down), but it's a dang good story.
wombat1138: (Default)
Over the holiday weekend, the wombat-consort and I popped into the Japanese Tea Garden in SF's Golden Gate Park. This is a particularly good time of year to see it, since February/March doesn't bring a lot of tourists from out of town despite spring springing out all over the place, which also means that in the transition back out of rainy season, there are a lot of clear, beautiful days.

The Japanese garden in Portland, Oregon is larger and probably more authentic-- when we visited it a few years ago, I was floored by the sheer scale of the shimenawa hanging over the main gates, as well as spotting lots of cool things I'd been reading about in Morse at the time and have probably forgotten by now, such as houses' foundation posts standing on above-ground rocks rather than being dug in-- but you can't get tea there, and technically you're not even supposed to smuggle your own in. Portland's classical Chinese garden does serve tea, but by comparison ends up looking a bit gaudy and not quite as well-maintained; possibly it would benefit from being visited first instead of getting all Zenned out beforehand.

Hakone Gardens, down in the South Bay, probably isn't that much farther away from us than SF. Parts of Memoirs of a Geisha were filmed there, which ended up killing some of their antique custom-sized tatami. While they do allow food and bevs there for special events, and sometimes even offer tea ceremony lessons, I don't think they have an open-circulation tea booth. Which brings me back to the tea.

We got a pot of green tea for the two of us, which came with a small dish of rice crackers and some cookies. (Other options were jasmine, oolong, and various cold beverages including iced tea; there are also packets of Pocky etc. available for purchase.) The tea was actually looseleaf instead of bagged, which was nice, and arrived with sufficient pre-steepage to drink immediately, but that also meant that it became too bitter to finish after two or three contemplative cups apiece. Since we were mainly watching the little birdies swarming around for crumbs rather than observing the tea staff, I'm not sure whether they simply have a throughput system where they top off old pots with fresh hot water or whether there's a mindboggling waste of tea leaves somewhere behind the counter. IIRC from our previous visit years ago with the wombat-consort's father, they do have sugar for the tea if you request it, prompting a small bowl of golden-brown rock sugar.

The circulating tea servers are young Asian women in kimono and obi, though all of these uniforms were worn so identically that I suspect hidden instant fasteners. They were also wearing tabi and geta/zori-- I didn't get a good look at the soles, though they weren't the elevated wooden platforms with accompanying karan-koron clatter; my own feet felt cold in sympathy.

Tea is charged per person rather than per cup/pot, probably for the purpose of traffic control-- you have to consume it while seated in the tea pavilion and can't take it walkabout, though a few stray Pocky wrappers elsewhere suggested that the snacks are sometimes smuggled out. Then again, some visitors msy've brought their own Pocky. There's also a general entry charge to the tea garden itself (the pavilion is completely encapsulated within the garden), although this is waived during the first/last hour of admission; Golden Gate Park around it is free, although the street parking (also free) can get tight during the weekends/holidays esp. since the re-opening of the De Young museum last year, right next to the tea garden.

Inevitably, the Japanese family who ran the tea garden prior to WWII ended up getting interned. ISTR reading an anecdote that during that time, not only were a lot of the garden's artifacts ransacked/destroyed, but some of the antique bronzes were specifically melted down and made into artillery shells marked "return to sender".

(On the one hand, I have to wonder about the metallurgical plausibility of this. On the other, perhaps since bronze is an alloy in the first place, it can be easily tweaked in molten form to enhance its fungibility.)
wombat1138: (Default)
In the midst of trying to tessellate together small scraps of poetry, I think I've finally figured out why I've never liked "The Waste Land" On the other hand, I may be any combination of misguided, trite, or incoherent :b Read more... )


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