Re: You're Clear Enough, Randall

1

That exercise is entertaining for 2 or 3 paragraphs, then it starts to become annoying. I can't even imagine reading a whole book written like this.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
2

It would have been much more helpful if he had written purely for ease of understanding, but that's not a conceit that sells books.

?????


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
3

I'm guessing it's that "another book that explains (x) for the layman" doesn't have an interesting catch to sell it. So instead you get a selling point like this and a lot of people go "Oh that sounds neat I want to see how he did it wow he actually pulled this off oh god this is painful to read and super hard to understand."


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
4

That is super stupid and annoying, also as a consumer of such items I know that there are many better versions of explaining general and special relativity in plain English words with no math for idiots like me. I hate this guy so much and am so glad to have this safe space for expressing this hatred; after Tina Brown, anything is possible, but this may be the New Yorker's low point. Maybe soon they'll just publish nothing but Neil DeGrasse Tyson memes.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
5

My understanding is that the book is centered around a series of his schematic-style drawings?

Anyway I ordered it for 7 year-old Noser. I figure we'll go through and add the proper names for things as we go, or something.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
6

Does this count as Oulipo?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
7

Fuck to the no


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
8

?????

Obviously there's a niche market for curious lay readers, but something like this, coming out just before the holidays, is something else altogether. Something like, "How would you like your millions delivered, Mr. Munroe?"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
9

I actually don't hate Munroe. He's a little precious and a little self-regarding, but xkcd is sometimes funny, and some of his What Ifs are amusing. Good enough.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
10

I mean, I only read xkcd when someone links to hit, so maybe his hit rate is low, and I only read a few What Ifs when I heard about them for the first time today, so I'm not the world's expert on hating Randall Munroe. I think that's Neb.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
11

Does this count as Oulipo?

Don't see why not.

3: His "Up Goer Five" thing was super popular and apparently he found it fun, so I think it actually wasn't a hook for an already otherwise planned "explanations for laymen" book.

(Also, I didn't find it annoying to read at all, and I'm predisposed to dislike his stuff!)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
12

"...please give your answer in words of no more than one syllable."


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
13

Good timing there, ogged!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
14

Contrary motherfucker.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
15

I figure we'll go through and add the proper names for things as we go, or something.
This sounds like it could be a fun, educational exercise to me. Which almost certainly means it won't be.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
16

"...please give your answer in words of no more than one syllable."

You're on.


Posted by: George Boolos | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
17

That's it, Nosflow. Abandon XKCD hatred and we're on. Nothing worse than a turncoat.


Posted by: Roberto T | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
18

11 gets it right. What's everyone so angry about?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
19

Tigre is mad, news at 11.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
20

Ugh, I remember that Boolos bit. It's so annoying because he goes all the way down and then just sort of tells you about the critical bit without telling you the actual proof for it, which is the entire point.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
21

18: This is a question I ask myself a lot. I think it's just a popular hobby.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
22

I was very amused by Up Goer 5, and didn't find this annoying at all. But I like xkcd a lot: I find it funny more often than I don't.

(Sally's Spanish is pretty fluent, but she's not a native speaker and has a restricted technical vocabulary, and she was talking about how she'd gotten lazy writing some essay on solar power, and just used words she knew rather than looking up the correct words, so she sounded like an insane kindergartner explaining photovoltaic cells. So I showed her Up Goer 5 and she cracked up and said "Exactly like that.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
23

"Explain a complex technical topic using ONLY words from this list of most frequently used words" sounds like an interesting and potentially useful assignment for an undergraduate course in technical writing. It is a terrible concept for a book.

(I mean, who is the target buyer of this book? Surely not people who don't already understand these concepts and want a lay explanation of them--there are much better books for that, and this doesn't actually explain anything in a useful way anyway. I think the target buyer has to be someone who understands all these concepts already but finds these strained explanations humorous. Which, sure, whatever makes you laugh, I don't care, but if you are still laughing at this after more than 5 pages in, there is something deeply wrong with you.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
24

I like Randall Munroe and XKCD fine in general, but I'd say that writing an entire book using the "only the ten hundred words people use the most often" conceit is taking it a bit far. To be exact, "space boat" is where I draw the line.

But in his defense, what we're seeing here is more or less the only part of the book about relativity (and might not appear in the book at all and was simply written in the style of it, I'm not sure). The rest of it seems to be about other scientific concepts, which I assume helps and at the very least would add some variety.

Also, it's all based on this comic. In addition to whatever edifying explanatory power it might have, I just plain find it funny to see concepts like that explained in terms like that. If you don't, hey, your mileage may vary, there's nothing wrong with not having a sense of humor.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
25

It's partly annoying because Simple English as an endeavor goes way overboard with simplicity. 1,000 words is a sillylow cap.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
26

Didn't Dr. Seuss write The Cat in the Hat under similar constraints? That was a popular book.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
27

To be exact, "space boat" is where I draw the line.

Because you'd prefer, what, "space ship"??


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
28

I liked Upgoer Five a bit, but mostly because it also had some really funny bits* forced by the conceit. The linked explanation really doesn't seem to have them which just makes it painful.


*("...you will not go to space today.")


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
29

I mean, who is the target buyer of this book? Surely not people who don't already understand these concepts and want a lay explanation of them--there are much better books for that, and this doesn't actually explain anything in a useful way anyway.

You know, it's mostly a joke, but I do think a reasonably intelligent person who read the New Yorker piece who had not previously had any understanding of relativity would come out of it genuinely understanding the basic concept of at least special relativity. Not that it's the best possible explanation, but I think it makes it to useful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
30

I have mixed feelings on xkcd. Sometimes it's great, and sometimes it's a little too xkcd-y. But he's been producing at least some good stuff for a long time, and is mostly a positive influence on nerdom. Plus he did us a favor once, and did a great job of it, so I'm inclined to like him.

Anyway, I was rather struck by this one from last week: http://xkcd.com/1605/


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
31

On word constrained descriptions of special relativity, no one will ever top what Hofstadter did in La ton beau de Marot.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
32

He demands hatred because he is so smug that he expects no one to hate him. It's hard to fill that role, but if no one else will take it on I will.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
33

he did us a favor once

What's the story here?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
34

Up Goer 5 was funny enough. I even thought the repeated references to the "Space Doctor" were funny. But a whole book? No. Fuck you. Just no.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
35

He gave us the title of the XKCD on the Friday of Mystery Hunt. (More precisely we gave him half a dozen options and he needed to pick one several months in advance and write a strip around it.). See the solution of:

http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/2011/puzzles/katamari_damacy/unlikely_situations/


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
36

I once did a presentation on the themes and structure of Gravity's Rainbow in baby Chinese.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
37

22: Sounds like me in French. I spoke it fluently by the end of my year there, but that was over 10 years ago by now, and what's still in my head and what's gone doesn't always seem logical. When I was in France with Cassandane in 2012 or so, she was stuck in the hotel room with a cold so I went out to a pharmacy for tissues and couldn't think of the word. (If anyone's curious, it's "mouchoir.") I asked them, in otherwise perfect French as far as I could tell, where to find "paper for when you have a runny nose."

23
I mean, who is the target buyer of this book?

Die-hard XKCD fans, and people looking for gifts for them. Also people who want lay explanations of a whole bunch of different concepts rather than just one. And I'm not sure about this, but maybe kids? I mean, there's probably at least a brief stage for some kids where they are interested in science but most "science for kids" books out there are still too technical. If I remember correctly, the way things work makes things very simple but it was still just a bunch of weird pictures when I first encountered it. Not sure about this but it I'd think about it if I knew any kids around that stage.

27: Yes.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
38

I do think a reasonably intelligent person who read the New Yorker piece who had not previously had any understanding of relativity would come out of it genuinely understanding the basic concept of at least special relativity

I can't prove this wrong, but I sort of doubt it. At minimum, their understanding would be much less well developed that they could have obtained by spending comparable time/effort reading countless other readily available introductory explanations.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
39

The Hofstadter description of general relativity is here: http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/hofstadter/einstein.html

Earlier in the book he was discussing how some constraints are just too rigid to be possible, giving the example of explaining Einstein's theory of relativity using only one-syllable words. The immediate context is talking about using only Germanic English words and not words of French or Latin origin. He's also talking about when we do or don't translate proper nouns, giving the example of Einstein meaning "one stone." Then he launches into the section quoted at the link.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
40

To be exact, "space boat" is where I draw the line.

This is right. It's not actually an attempt to be useful and clear, it's an attempt to be humorous, and an opportunity for people who already understand the things he is talking about to chuckle smugly.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
41

The immediate context is talking about using only Germanic English words and not words of French or Latin origin.

I really love "Uncleftish Beholding".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
42

41: Yes! I was just talking about it in this context.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
43

40: It's a function of abiding by an arbitrary constraint. He's not picking that word particularly to be cuter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
44

I liked the Brian Greene books for an "oh I get this" understanding of general and special relativity. I mean of course I don't "get it" but they're very clear.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
45

And I'm not sure about this, but maybe kids?

Kids, including mine, love What If.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
46

There are plenty of clever things that one could do with the constraint, this is on the other hand is part of his general repetoire of "smug people who know things already and like references can smugly laugh."


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
47

The solution link in 35 is a little hard to find. Here's the direct link: http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/2011/puzzles/katamari_damacy/unlikely_situations/answer/


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
48

43: I understand the rules of the exercise. The question is what is the point of the rules. See 23.1.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
49

Smugness surely implies a sense of superiority, though. I don't think anyone is going to be smugly superior just because they understand special relativity. That would be like boasting about your clean driving licence or your ability to cook spaghetti.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
50

49: Now that's smug.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
51

I've never heard of What If? Reading a bit about it, that sounds like a much better premise to carry a book.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
52

Maybe? It's dead easy, though. Just remember to put a bit of oil in the water as well as the salt, and take it out while it's slightly too hard to finish cooking in the sauce for a minute or two.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
53

Look, remembering that you're not allowed to turn right on a red light without waiting for it to change inside NYC isn't easy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
54

From where I am I can't even see if red lights are changing inside NYC. I have to wait for someone to liveblog it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
55

And once it's changed it isn't red anymore. They really have you coming and going.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
56

Better half once purchased an absurdly well designed and manufactured set of nail clippers from a pharmacie, all on his own, using no English. He's still pleased with himself about this years later as well he should be. World's most expensive clippers but the experience was priceless.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
57

I bet my clippers are more expensive if you include the dentist bills.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
58

When you get answers that don't fit together, it can make you feel like you're not very good at thinking. Or, if you're the kind of person who feels like you're good at thinking, it can make you think that the space doctor's numbers must be wrong. But a lot of the time it's not you or the numbers--instead, it's the picture that's wrong in some small way.

An argument for the analogy ban!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
59

I have mixed feelings on xkcd. Sometimes it's great, and sometimes it's a little too xkcd-y. But he's been producing at least some good stuff for a long time, and is mostly a positive influence on nerdom.

I agree with that, but I wouldn't even say that my feelings are mixed. He's occasionally too-clever-by-half, but he's a deservedly successful web-cartoonist who does good work.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:02 PM
horizontal rule
60

That was me.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:02 PM
horizontal rule
61

[48]...That would be like boasting about your clean driving licence or your ability to cook spaghetti....[52] It's dead easy, though. Just remember to put a bit of oil in the water..

IRONY!


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
62

I didn't know there were still people who thought one should put oil in the pasta water, he typed smugly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
63

, he typed smugly.

Neb, we all mentally append this to all of your comments already.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
64

I stand with RT on RM and XKCD.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:35 PM
horizontal rule
65

I like this idea so much, I think we should try it here. Is there a way to program Unfogged so that it will only accept comments using the 1000 most-used words?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
66

There's an online editor that will flag disallowed words for you. Turns out it's a huge pain in the ass to limit yourself that way.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
67

A sampling of words you can't use: titties hooray banned masturbate fascist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
68

I assumed 65 meant only the 1000 most-used Unlogged words, in which case most comments would read something like 67.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:54 PM
horizontal rule
69

-l +f


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
70

68: No, that would be silly.

To tell of a death we would write -- no more enjoy yourself to ....


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
71

Analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy analogy.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
72

71: Sorry! Not one of the words!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
73

No more self-body-love to . . .


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
74

One time I went into a pharmacy on the French side of Saint Martin, and I said Avez-vous des pseudoephedrine? and I got what I needed. Thats about the extent to which five years of studying French has been useful to me.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
75

74: Other than that all the French Spike needed was in a Labelle song.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
76

No more little suicides to ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
77

76: Sorry! Not one of the words!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
78

75: Then, not than! Oy!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
79

OT: Is anyone here a native-ish speaker of: Turkish, Western or Eastern Armenian, or Farsi?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
80

So banned.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
81

74: "Ich möchte das Stofftier kaufen, bitte."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
82

61:I stand corrected. clearly there actually are people who feel smug even about knowing how to cook spaghetti. I can feel smug about not being one of them.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
83

80 to 79? Seems a bit harsh.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
84

I have linguistic and cultural mastery.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
85

83

Maybe you're not allowed to mention Turkish and Farsi in the same sentence?

If 84 is true, in Farsi, can you answer 'yes' to "do you have children [child + plural feature]?" if you only have one child?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
86

61:I stand corrected. clearly there actually are people who feel smug even about knowing how to cook spaghetti. I can feel smug about not being one of them.

Are you kidding? The only thing easier than being smug about knowing how to cook spaghetti is being smug about knowing how to cook steak. The intricate secret of cooking steak: Don't cook it very much, or Americans will insult you.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
87

Hence Spaghetti's Dad.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
88

||
Do you have any recommendations for a good puberty book for a straight pre-teen boy?

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
89

||
Thank you.

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
90

"do you have children [child + plural feature]?"

There's no plural feature to make this work, so the natural way to ask it is with an unspecified count (bacheh dari--do you have child?) with a "how many?" follow-up if the answer is affirmative.

There's a plural bachehah, which means "the children," and that's used pretty much how "the children" is used in English.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
91

88/9: Fanny Hill.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
92

91 wonderful. Although we just went the boring talk with parents route, he'll have to find Ms. Hill on his own!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 6:04 PM
horizontal rule
93

90 confuses me. Presumably in that case the -hah is itself the plural suffix, even if it's not idiomatic to use it in that phrase.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
94

31: Did any one else wonder why the author of Anti-intellectualism in American Life would write an explanation of GR for the lay audience?


Posted by: marcel proust | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
95

Presumably in that case the -hah is itself the plural suffix

It is. I just said that you couldn't make the question work with that plural feature. And it's actually straightforwardly plural in some contexts. If you wanted to call all the kids to come in, for example, you'd say "Bachehah!" and no "the" implied.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:07 PM
horizontal rule
96

If you wanted to call all the kids to come in, for example, you'd say "Bachehah!"

Testing this now


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
97

90

In Farsi, do you use classifiers to enumerate plurals? If you do use them, do you not use the plural marker?

e.g. which one of these is right?
1. I have three CL child.
2. I have three CL children [child + plural feature]
3. I have three child
4. I have three children [child + PL]

Also:
1. If you want to say, "I have no children" do you use bacheh or bachehah? (or something else?)
2. If you want to say, "I have a child," can you say "I have child" or do you have to specify that you have one child?
e.g. I have bacheh vs. I have one bacheh?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:28 PM
horizontal rule
98

You'd say "I have three bacheh." You would say "bacheham" to refer to all your children. "Bacheham are lazy."

You'd say "I have no bacheh."

Either way is fine: I have bacheh, I have one bacheh, I have three bacheh.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
99

I like Randle Monroe. Those fucking stick figures? Genius. He figured out that you don't have to be able to draw to have a successful web comic.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
100

90, 98

Ok, thanks!


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
101

Do you have any recommendations for a good puberty book for a straight pre-teen boy?

At Unitarian sex class it was Changeing Bodies, Changing Lives. I assume thats still good.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
102

"Persian", please. Not "Farsi."

I will die on this hill.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
103

102.2 to 88.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
104

101.2 Isn't that supposed to be for girls?

Can't he just sneak a peak at The Hite Report?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:47 PM
horizontal rule
105

102 - would you mind explaining? V curious!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
106

We have this series for the kids of various ages:
It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
107

102

Yeah me too. What are the politics behind the terms?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
108

I'm surprised to see that the official language body in Iran prefers "Persian" to "Farsi", both since it was an Iranian decision to change the English name of the country to the endonym, and just in general people prefer native terms. But "Persian" carries a lot of cultural weight.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
109

We've had a perfectly good word for Persian in the English language for hundreds of years. Then the US gets heavily involved in Iranian internal affairs and the State Dept/CIA is so ignorant they don't realize that what they're calling "Farsi" has always been known as "Persian." You don't call German "Deutsch", or French "Français" - and get the pronunciation wrong by misplacing where the accent falls to boot.

Maybe more rant later, I have to get ready for work.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 7:57 PM
horizontal rule
110

Those fucking stick figures? Genius. He figured out that you don't have to be able to draw to have a successful web comic.

Ryan North did him one better on this count.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
111

I think they just want some of that sweet publicity from the association with the bad guy in "300."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
112

110: And half a decade earlier. Although he occasionally does insert tiny pictures of batman or whatever, so it's not purely textual differences.

If you go back through the earlier xkcds when Munroe was more experimental, he shows he does have some drawing talent. Maybe not amazing stuff, but enough that he could conceivably draw a more typical webcomic.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
113

Well, all I've got to say is "Thank goodness for Operation Ajax!"

Can you imagine if Mossadegh had been allowed to carry out his cunning plan for world domination? We'd all be speaking Farsi right now, but calling it "Persian" except in Farsi, and our pronunciation would be just awful! Everyone would be so confused.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
114

106 is what I'd say, although for preteen I'd consider going one more up from that title if you want a discussion of mechanics and consent and so on, as that one is very "your changing body" in focus, as I recall at least. I have a broken brain that always makes me forget It's Perfectly Normal and default to It's Not Unusual instead but as far as I know there's no Tom Jones-themed sex ed curriculum.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
115

You could do a whole series:
It's Quite Common
It's Utterly Banal
It's Frightfully Bland
It's Certainly Innocuous
It's Inarguably Usual
It's Manifestly Quotidian


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
116

I'm sure you could learn at least a little if women still throw underwear at him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
117

That must get embarrassing at the supermarket. Or the dentist's office.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
118

116 to Mossadegh, Randall Munroe, Leonidas, and all preteen boys, for whom the first three role models embody all you need to know about puberty.

I have zero ability to predict who's going to correct "Farsi" to "Persian" (Iranians I meet don't seem to do it consistently). Similarly Mumbai and Bombay, although I think that's begun to fade among people I encounter as a general lost cause. The casual use of "young turks" makes me jump, although I recently used the phrase and then had to do some kind of self-directed twitch.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:13 PM
horizontal rule
119

Wiktionary's list of the one tenth of ten thousand most used words in the English language doesn't match the list used for Upgoer Square Root of Twenty-Five.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
120

3 or 4 bras thrown on stage at the last concert I attended. Shakey Graves. He was pretty well amused by it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
121

113: Speaking of alternate history...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
122

Does Bombay-> Mumbai bother people? Names change. Deal with it.

Casual "Young Turks" references should go away as Rod Stewart fans dies out.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
123

113: That's pretty awful. Exploring alternate history has a place (and I did go to a Wolfenstein release party a few years ago that had a very similar vibe, but with more 60s pop), but that particular one isn't something people should be exposed to without their consent.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:27 PM
horizontal rule
124

123->121, not 113.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
125

On the plus side, through the article in 121 I learned that the Arbeter Ring still exists.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:30 PM
horizontal rule
126

How do you say: "he'll save children but not the British children" in Farsi?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:35 PM
horizontal rule
127

Quatre Bras?


Posted by: Opinionated Marshal Michel Ney | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:43 PM
horizontal rule
128

127 to 120


Posted by: Opinionated Marshal Michel Ney | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
129

Thanks for explanation!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
130

122: I read this at an impressionable point in my intellectual development, and it definitely wasn't my first encounter with the idea. But yeah, Mumbai has certainly prevailed.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
131

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEKg9qyEQmw


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:19 PM
horizontal rule
132

127 is great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:25 PM
horizontal rule
133

What is wrong with "young turks"? They were a real thing, if eventually a kinda genocidal thing.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:26 PM
horizontal rule
134

130: fair enough. And not to say that there isn't usually complicated politics in any such renaming decision, but I figure it's usually a safe bet to call places what the people who live there want it to be called, to the extent that that can be determined. Even if it reflects politics that aren't my own. Although often corrupt, India's government is democratic; that's not my cause to fight.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:33 PM
horizontal rule
135

I think there is a decent chance the hands off attitude in 134 is going to come back to bite us all majorly in the butt wrt India. Also think Cruz is going to be the gop nominee, so I'm all gloom this evening.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:51 PM
horizontal rule
136

133: nothing wrong with it as such, but I can't ever stop it from conjuring up that specific historical thing, so it always seems vaguely inappropriate to me in other contexts. It wasn't meant to continue the series of contested terms; I was just free-associating in a way that's now totally opaque to me. In fairness I have not slept much lately. (Again, I think this is based on impressionable-age reading. The accounts of the Armenian genocide freaked me out even beyond what would be reasonable. I'm not sure why that in particular was the thing to do it.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 10:59 PM
horizontal rule
137

I think there is a decent chance the hands off attitude in 134 is going to come back to bite us all majorly in the butt wrt India.

Yeah, agreed. From what little I've seen of it, Hindu nationalism is scary stuff.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:35 PM
horizontal rule
138

103: 102.2 to 91, surely


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
139

Heh.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-15 11:40 PM
horizontal rule
140

138 is great.

I hereby lay claim to127.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 12:30 AM
horizontal rule
141

I met a dude named Benoit earlier and I couldn't help but think of that Archer episode. (Holy shit I'm in this training session now and just went looking for the YouTube clip of that to link to and it started playing out loud in the conference room even though my phone is on mute. Balls.)


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 12:43 AM
horizontal rule
142

Help I'm stuck in this endless ILS demo/training. I have no idea why IT has decided we need to change systems now other than that someone makes themselves indispensable by managing chaos.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 1:43 AM
horizontal rule
143

In the fullness of time you will find exactly three things that are much easier to do with the new software, and four things that are now virtually impossible. The thought that software trainings go on night and day is not the peaceful one I had hoped for at bedtime, but... distract yourself and remember that software training is an oxymoron? Also perhaps you can tell us about the best food you've had in your new home world.


Posted by: Lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:06 AM
horizontal rule
144

I'm about to venture a veggie burger and fries here (the training is being held at a nearby uni). Best food so far is fatayer which is described as a pastry but is more like Arab pizza. They had spinach ones but the ones I liked best were the cheese and the eggs and cheese ones. Also had some wonderful vegetarian dish at a really great H yderabadi Buryani place but I never learned the name of the dish. It was red and I think had a lot of peppers in it. I've heard great things about a Yemeni place but vegetarian options were limited. And excellent Lebanese food abounds.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:30 AM
horizontal rule
145

Hyderabadi Biryani. Duh. (Once autocorrect fucks up it always insists it's right*)

Well that was a gut and diet buster but it hit that spot and now I won't feel the need to have a burger and fries for another 6 months. Also my diet only includes normal work days and not catered events or stuff like this. Back to a small handful of almonds for lunch for the next couple of days.

*also I wish autocorrect would learn that the only time I will ever want to write "ducks" instead of "fucks" is that right there.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:44 AM
horizontal rule
146

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d2b1abb0-9287-11e5-94e6-c5413829caa5.html#axzz3sJF77JQI

On the subject of Syria...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:55 AM
horizontal rule
147

Need a sub for 146


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 3:08 AM
horizontal rule
148

Sorry. The Graun's got it too now.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/24/turkey-shoots-down-jet-near-border-with-syria

The Turks just put up a couple of F-16s and shot down a Russian Frogfoot over either the Turkmen bit of Syria (per the Russians) or Turkey (per the Turks).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 3:27 AM
horizontal rule
149

Holy shit!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 3:30 AM
horizontal rule
150

My exact thoughts.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 3:35 AM
horizontal rule
151

Maybe belongs in the "Jesus fucking Christ" thread. Seriously, Jesus fucking Christ.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 3:59 AM
horizontal rule
152

I admit that living in a late John Le Carre novel wasn't great but living in an early Tom Clancy novel wasn't my preferred alternative.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 4:05 AM
horizontal rule
153

I was promised a cyberpunk dystopia. This seems like a regular dystopia.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 4:23 AM
horizontal rule
154

... he complained through a computer to his invisible, pseudonymous friends on the globe-spanning encrypted information network.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 4:26 AM
horizontal rule
155

Are eclectic web magazines cyberpunk?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 4:35 AM
horizontal rule
156

If Unfogged were a film it would be "Count Zero" as directed by Wes Anderson.

I ban myself.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 4:41 AM
horizontal rule
157

148: Oh Shit! I understand why they did it, but still.... Oh shit.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:03 AM
horizontal rule
158

I am so not keen on the prospect of the US having to support Article 5 NATO obligations to Erdogan's Turkey.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:24 AM
horizontal rule
159

Not good. Not good at all.

NATO is going to meet this afternoon (17:00 European time). Usually I'm opposed to the big guys bullying the little guys. This time I hope the US, France and Britain give them a coordinated bollocking and somebody leaks a tape of it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:40 AM
horizontal rule
160

||
Could Jeff Bezos's rocket, sorry, space boat, look any more like a penis?
|>


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:49 AM
horizontal rule
161

re: 159

Argh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:54 AM
horizontal rule
162

160 to 153 what if your dystopia includes space penis boats?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:59 AM
horizontal rule
163

Graun live feed:

Vladimir Putin said the loss of the jet "is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists". In his first comments on the incident he said: "I can't describe it in any other way."
The Russian President said the jet was downed 4km inside Syria. He claimed the pilots were not a threat.

Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:02 AM
horizontal rule
164

This event is beyond the normal framework of fighting against terrorism. Of course our military is doing heroic work against terrorism... But the loss today is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists. I can't describe it in any other way. Our aircraft was downed over the territory of Syria, using air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16. It fell on the Syrian territory 4km from Turkey.

Neither our pilots nor our jet threatened the territory of Turkey. This is obvious. They are fighting terrorists in the northern areas around Latakia, where militants are located, mainly people who originated in Russia, and they were pursuing their direct duty, to make sure these people do not return to Russia. These are people who are clearly international terrorists.

Taking into account that we signed an agreement on deconflicting with the US, and as we know Turkey was among the ones that has joined the US coalition. Since Isis has such huge resources of hundreds of millions and billions of dollars coming from illicit oil sales, and they are protected by the armed forces of other states, then it's clear why they are so brazen, why they are killing people, why they are carrying out terrorist attacks throughout the world including in the heart of Europe.

We will analyse everything, and today's tragic event will have significant consequences, including for Russia-Turkish relations. We have always treated Turkey as a friendly state. I don't know who was interested in what happened today, certainly not us. And instead of immediately getting in contact with us, as far as we know, the Turkish side immediately turned to their partners from Nato to discuss this incident, as if we shot down their plane and not they ours.


Posted by: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:09 AM
horizontal rule
165

Something similar happened last year:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26706417
and the year before:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24113553
and the Turks lost an F-4 way back in 2012:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18554246


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:11 AM
horizontal rule
166

121, 123: You PC Police don't understand the robust tradition of intellectual exploration that's fundamental to public transit in New York City.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:13 AM
horizontal rule
167

160: Blue Origin recently tried to patent the use of aerodynamic surfaces for reentry control, something that has prior art going back to the 1950s, with the most recent example being the Space Shuttle. Within the community of people developing rockets they are regarded as giant assholes.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:19 AM
horizontal rule
168

Does Bombay-> Mumbai bother people? Names change. Deal with it.

This is true: any number of horrible people seem to focus on changing the names of things for political reasons (Stalin, Mobutu, the BJP, SLORC) but I think it would have been unnecessary to insist for this reason on referring to Petrograd, Congo, Bombay and Rangoon. Whatever the people in charge call it, that's its name.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:31 AM
horizontal rule
169

I still call Pittsburgh landmarks by their original names. It's much easier to remember which street you take to get to the Sixth Street Bridge than to the Roberto Clemente Bridge. And "the old ALCOA building" not only sounds better than "Regional Enterprise Tower," it explains why somebody made a building covered in aluminum. Or aluminium.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:40 AM
horizontal rule
170

I am torn on things like this current fighter incident. One the one hand, it is certainly the case that there is certainly a history of attacks, warplane shootdowns etc. in areas of "complicated" conflicts* that do not lead to much of anything (other than a general heightening of tensions). But there does currently seem to be too many powerful political factions at the moment who are surfing an Apocalypse Now! wave. Not the least of whom are US Repubs with their craven enablers in the press.

*Two ship incidents with 30+ fatalaties for instance--Libertyand Stark. However, it is hard to imagine the media/Repub frenzy if something similar were to happen to a US ship today.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:42 AM
horizontal rule
171

Certainly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:42 AM
horizontal rule
172

Today's object lesson for the kids. Don't post when you're too busy to post.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:44 AM
horizontal rule
173

Also comment. Also.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:45 AM
horizontal rule
174

170: it's a handy excuse if you have a situation where one side already wants to make something of it. But normally they don't. This list has several hundred examples from the cold war:
http://sw.propwashgang.org/shootdown_list.html


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:47 AM
horizontal rule
175

Whatever the people in charge call it, that's its name.

It would be much easier to sell Thalidomide if they called it "Best Pregnancy Multivitamin."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:52 AM
horizontal rule
176

Apparently "the good guys" aka FSA rebels have killed the two crew after they baled out. And someone's shot down a Russian CSAR helo out searching for the crew. Fortunately a Syrian rebel someone rather than a Turkish Air Force someone, because hunting down the rescue party would be far too much bear baiting.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:53 AM
horizontal rule
177

175: now sold as Immunoprin and used for treatment of various myelomas.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
178

And someone's shot down a Russian CSAR helo out searching for the crew.

Oh, that's just great.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
179

168. But the question isn't whether to call it Petrograd or Leningrad, it's whether to call it Saint Petersburg or Sankt Peterburg. I think we can be merrily inconsistent here: I don't think that referring to the capital of Italy as Rome rather than Roma commits me to calling Livorno, Leghorn.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:03 AM
horizontal rule
180

169. Common enough. There's a location here called "Coles Corner" after Cole Brothers department store which was there. Cole Bros relocated a quarter of a mile away and is now John Lewis, while the old building is occupied by a bank. But it's still Coles Corner. When the third or fourth generation comes through it'll die out.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
181

Speaking of outrages, here's what happened last night in Minneapolis:

Some white supremacists who'd been organizing over the internet and had been occasionally harassing protesters at the 4th precinct protest/occupation in North Minneapolis showed up again last night. They were asked to leave, and several people followed them to make sure they really were leaving. About a block from the station, the racists shot 5 people, none of them fatally, thankfully. The police, despite being just down the block, and having shown their previous willingness to come out of their lair and arrest people for vandalism or jaywalking, did not respond for 20 minutes. When they did respond, they taunted the protesters and attacked people trying to film the scene with pepper spray. The allegedly non-police white supremacists were allowed to escape in a late model black Explorer, plate 719-TCA.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
182

159 clearly too optimistic:

Britain's foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, has accused a Labour MP of being an "apologist for Russian actions" after questions were raised in Parliament about Turkey's reliability as a British ally.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:17 AM
horizontal rule
183

The rhetoric in 182 reminds me of that time after Austria-Hungary selfishly got its Archduke murdered by Serbia-backed freedom fighters.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
184

168: That would mean I have to call "National Airport" by the name "Reagan National Airport", which will never, ever happen.

I have met multiple Indians who refused to call Mumbai by any name other than Bombay. I imagine this is dying out with time, though.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
185

Between fantasy denouments I'm rooting for (a) Kemalist-Halfordismo coup because democracy has failed (b) Russians install new puppet Byzantine "Emperor" in newly-renamed Constantinople.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
186

If you call Livorno Leghorn, you're required to call Firenze Foghorn.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
187

I still say "Burma" "Rangoon" and "Bombay" though they don't come up often. Also "Saigon." And almost always "Persian" instead of "Farsi." I would totally say "Leghorn" but I don't think I'e ever had a chance outside discussions of the word "Leghorn." Will never, ever, ever refer to "Reagan National" in my own voice.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
188

187 last. Would you do it if we put you in a helium room?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
189

The Spanish name for "Key West" was/is "Cayo Hueso". Growing up, I had assumed that the English heard this as "Key West" and then retronymed the notion of a "key island" out of that. I'm pretty sure that's not true.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
190

That would mean I have to call "National Airport" by the name "Reagan National Airport", which will never, ever happen.

This was exactly my thought.

I'm hoping that, by 2032, if Democrats are in control and Regan idolatry has faded a bit, it can be renamed "George Washington National Airport" in honor of the founder's 300th birthday.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
191

I was going to raise the National Airport point as well.

I'm totally inconsistent, consistently. Beijing, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Koeln, Saudia, Paris (not paree), Rome, Geneva, Naples, Japan. Sometimes Sioux, but more often Dakota. Always Salish, never Selis or Flathead. Crow and Blackfeet. Lothringen more often that Lorraine.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
192

the notion of a "key island" out of that. I'm pretty sure that's not true.

I recently visited Rum Cay. Its been throwing me off that its actually pronounced Rum Key, same pronunciation as all the other Cays around here. I'm assuming this is a disconnect between the American and British traditions of spelling, where the Americans spell things as a sensible person would, while the British, and their recent colonies, stick to archaic and unreasonable spellings that don't particularly correspond to their pronunciation.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
193

"Firenze Foghorn" would be an excellent, excellent stage name.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
194

To be clear, in 134 I meant only that the name change wasn't my fight. I haven't heard actual Mumbaístas complain about it. I agree that Hindu nationalism is worrisome in a lager sense and am not advocating ignoring it. I only brought up the democratic bit to show that the name has some legitimacy.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
195

170:

22 March 1953 A US Air Force B-50 was attacked by Soviet MiG-15 Fagots.

No doubt someone at NATO was quite pleased with themselves for having come up with that reporting name for the MiG-15.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
196

lager->larger, although I do like Kingfisher.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
197

We're planning a trip that includes Copenhagen and were asking some Danes about it, trying to pronounce it somewhat correctly as Copenhahgen, but they said that's still so wrong might as well stick with Copenhaygen.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
198

But the question isn't whether to call it Petrograd or Leningrad, it's whether to call it Saint Petersburg or Sankt Peterburg.

Well, not really. Bombay/Mumbai isn't a translation issue like Rome/Roma or Nuevo York/New York; it's not the case that the Indians all called it Mumbai in Hindi and the Brits all called it Bombay in English. The Brits and the Indians both used to call it Bombay, whether they were speaking Hindi or English (both of course are official languages of India) and then the Indians decided to rename it Mumbai, in both Hindi and English (as part of a programme of purifying Holy Hindustan of all filthy Muslim/Parsi/etc influences).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
199

Would you do it if we put you in a helium room?

sure, but not very long if there's only helium in there.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
200

195: At least it wasn't as bad as Fishbed.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
201

192: It's weird. There seems to be double-derivation going on. The "Caimans/Caymanes" are named after the Spanish pronunciation of the Carib word for crocodiles. But they also named a bunch of islands "Cayo X" depending on what they reputedly found fallen on them (in this case, rum). But then they generalized the term "Cayo" into any small island, which the English apparently all decided pronounce as "key".


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
202

Did NATO call any Soviet fighters Foghorn/


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
203

My son's school mascot is the Cayman. Allegedly they are in a nearby river, but I've never seen them. I don't know of any "cays" in that southwest corner of the Caribbean, though. Possibly its because the islands there are hilly and of tectonic origin, whereas the various Bahamas and Keys are low, sandy things built up around limestone outcroppings.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
204

201 -- interesting! The ever-trustworthy "one minute on Google" suggests that the English used "key" for "cayo" because it sounded like "kay/key/quay" which were various anglo-norman/middle english words for "sand bank" (modern french "quai."


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
205

And it looks like "Cayo" was a Spanish pronounciation of the Taino word for "small island" whereas "caiman" (the animal) comes from the Spanish pronounciation of the Carib word for the animal. I don't have any idea how close or far apart Taino and Carib were.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
206

southwestern -> southeastern


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
207

Did NATO call any Soviet fighters Foghorn

Regrettably not. Flatpack, Firebar, Fantail, Fishpot, Flagon and Fresco, yes. Also Careless, Backfire and Madge.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
208

According to the internet, "quay" is still pronounced "key" by some people who use this word in English to mean "wharf." I don't think I've ever seen the word in English, much less heard it.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
209

205. Quite far. Taino was an Arawak language, belonging to a different family from Carib. On the other hand almost all American languages are grouped in the same superfamily as I understand it, and for all I know* the whole lot are interintelligible.

*I doubt it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
210

208 This side of the pond "quay" is more common that "wharf", and it is indeed pronounced "key".


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
211

On the other hand almost all American languages are grouped in the same superfamily as I understand it

Probably joking, but: pretty sure the evidence for this argument is extremely sketchy.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
212

re: 208

Fairly standard British English usage.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
213

Island living makes for a high level of linguistic diversity. The disparate accents of the modern Caribbean are a testament to that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
214

208, 211 -- the trans-Atlantic differences never cease to amaze. I sort of think I can at least recognize Britishisms, but obviously not. That's the most surprising one to me since learning (here, of course) that "flapjack" meant "granola bar" and not "pancake."


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
215

I have a similar problem where I can't necessarily distinguish Britishisms from archaisms. I knew "quay" was modern British usage, but I had never heard it so assumed it was pronounced in a more regular fashion.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
216

A quay is however different from a pier. The House of Quays is part of the government of the Isle of Man and the House of Piers is part of the government of the UK.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
217

Wikipedia says, confusingly, that there were two mutually unintelligible Carib languages -- "island" and"mainland" Carib, with "island" Carib an Arawak language close to Taino, and non-island Carib not. There are still living speakers of the mainland Carib language. I know enough to know that the history of the Taino is both largely unknown and insanely politicized, so that Wikipedia page should probably be treated with caution.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
218

Different terminology and weird pronunciations made it almost impossible to buy groceries in Oz, until I learned to ask for capsicums, rocket, butternut pumpkins, aubergines, salad (for all lettuce), coriander (for fresh cilantro), and oregon-o (pronounced like the state with an o on the end).


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
219

They also said key for quay, but I knew about that because of the kid's book Timothy of the Quay.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
220

I have always pronounced "quay" as "key".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
221

(And have understood it to be a wharf-like structure.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
222

216 very effectively drew me out of a Wikipedia-hole of information about Carribean ethnicities and into a Wikipedia-hole about the governance of the Isle of Man. This is a fucking fantastic and incredibly deep Wikipedia-hole. I had never heard of the Tynwald, the fact that an English possession has been governed by a viking style Althing for many many centuries is amazing, as is the name "House of Keys."


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
223

Someone who was just living in Australia told me that in Australia the word "root" is very dirty.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
224

The House of Keys is almost the winner in "real British things that sound like they come from a Neil Gaiman novel", beaten only by the Shadow Cabinet.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
225

Guys, the name for a high-court judge on the Isle of Mann is "Deemster." There are three, the "First Deemster" (who is also "Clerk of the Rolls,") the "Second Deemster" and an additional Deemster. Such an awesome word. "I deem you sentenced to twenty years, because I am the Deemster!"


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
226

Which survives in the modern surname "Dempster" and also of course is related to "doom". Your doom is what the deemer's deemed.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
227

There definitely needs to be a Manx-only swipe-to-hook-up dating app called Deemstr.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
228

Not strictly speaking a Britishism, but bizarre nonetheless:
Things to do on the beach if you're English:

1.Swim
2.Sunbathe
3.Have a donkey ride

I can't image donkey beshitted beaches to be particularly pleasant.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
229

Can one bribe the Deemster with some Beemster?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
230

228: I would imagine some sort of shovel could be employed to prevent that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
231

228:

Huddle braced against rain and wind deinking tea out if a thermos and eating soggy sandy sandwiches.

There fixed that for you.

Note this is also the most common activity at no cal beaches, minus the rain for the last several years. Moss Beach - top location for cheap microdermabrasion!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
232

208 This side of the pond "quay" is more common that "wharf", and it is indeed pronounced "key".

The development next to me is a Quay, whereas I live on W/har/f St/reet.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
233

I'm falling in love with the Isle of Man. In addition to awesome cats with no tails, they have the world's most badass sheep.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
234

Huddle braced against rain and wind deinking tea out if a thermos and eating soggy sandy sandwiches.

If you've got ink in your tea, you've really messed up.

I can't image donkey beshitted beaches to be particularly pleasant.

It's not as if the unshitted beaches are particularly pleasant either.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
235

I'm falling in love with the Isle of Man. In addition to awesome cats with no tails, they have the world's most badass sheep.

Have you got to the bit about the tin bath race?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
236

Huh!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
237

235 -- just did! Best part is that this officially sanctioned national/touristic event is run by something called the "Castletown Ale Drinkers Society"'which suggests a culture that has its priorities right.

I wish I was either a tax-avoiding billionaire or a lawyer who specialized in helping billionaires avoid taxes -- if I were I would move to the Isle of Man right now.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
238

228. Not strictly on topic, but back in the day when social housing in Britain was largely owned and run by local government, the Housing Department in Sheffield got a call from a tenant on the 7th floor of a tower block that there was a terrible smell that he couldn't trace, and could they send somebody to check it out.

So a housing inspector trotted along and went up to the complainant's flat, and yes, there was a terrible smell and not obvious source. So he widened his investigation and went up to the 8th floor and knocked on the door. And the guy came out and the inspector showed him his ID and explained about the smell, and the guy said, "I knew you'd get me sooner or later."

Turned out he was keeping a donkey in his 8th floor flat. He would take it down in the lift (elevator) to exercise it around the neighbourhood in the dead of night, and at weekends he put it in a van and drove it to the seaside (about 70-80 miles) and made a small income by giving kids rides on the thing.

Unfortunately for his cunning plan, it was a girl donkey. Apparently every so often, like most mammals, girl donkeys undergo certain changes associated with sex, and one of these is that they emit a strong odour which is extremely exciting to boy donkeys, but not at all to anybody else. Hence his neighbour's complaint; had he bought a jackass, he might have got away with it. As it was, his tenancy was terminated with extreme prejudice.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
239

The House of Keys is almost the winner in "real British things that sound like they come from a Neil Gaiman novel", beaten only by the Shadow Cabinet.

What about the First Sea Lord?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
240

I wonder if that one episode of 15 Storeys High was inspired by that or if it was a coincidence.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
241

238 is a great story.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
242

And the Black Watch, and the Commissioners of the Northern Lights. (The Scottish and Manx counterpart of the Elder Brothers of the Trinity, as I am sure you know.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
243

According to the internet, "quay" is still pronounced "key" by some people who use this word in English to mean "wharf." I don't think I've ever seen the word in English, much less heard it.

Listen to "The Band Played Waltzing Matilida" it's a great anti-war song (link goes to the Pogues version).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
244

had he bought a jackass, he might have got away with it

Interesting dual to the fraud in science thread, where not being a jackass is how you get away with it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
245

I wonder how Hemingway pronounced quay. I read "On the Quay in Smyrna" long before I learned the French pronunciation and I'm not sure I've ever heard British person say it. I have no memory of the Hemingway story except the title.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
246

I was lost in Ireland in the early nineties and asked people where "quay" street was. They had no idea what I was talking about since I had no idea that "quay" was pronounced "key"


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
247

Also it's ruled by "The Lotd of Mann." (Currently Elizabeth II, but it would make a good title when you overthrow her to establish Halfordismo.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
248

Ugh, Lord.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
249

Quay Largo
the quay to the city
lock'em up and throw away the quay
quay lime pie


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
250

Don't forget comedy duo Quay and Puayle.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
251

In Florida it' pronounced kway, so I would guess that's how Hemingway would have said it. I grew up 5 minutes from http://kafka-franz.com/mobile/condo/quaysidemiami.htm/ (of course kafka-franz.com has condo listings).


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
252

You're alone and want a beer in the middle of the afternoon. You have fifteen minutes. Your choices are Red Lobster, Chuck E Cheese, or keep looking. What do you do?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
253

252: Pinch myself and hope it's just a nightmare.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
254

252: Definitely not Chuck E. Cheese. A middle-aged walks in alone and orders a beer. I think they are supposed to call the cops .


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:42 PM
horizontal rule
255

254: I left out "man". How telling.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
256

Thinking about the smell of Red Lobster would force me to keep looking, but maybe that wouldn't bother you.

Am I being helpful?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
257

The House of Keys is almost the winner in "real British things that sound like they come from a Neil Gaiman novel", beaten only by the Shadow Cabinet.

"Remembrancer" FTW.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
258

Anyway, there was no traffic around the Trump appearance last night, and only 10-20 people standing around in front of the Convention Center, so I've reached the happy conclusion that the whole Trump thing is way overblown.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
259

Anyway, failure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
260

Black Rod.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
261

A closed Italian place and a Mexican place that doesn't open yet and someplace called Granite City that was just too far. That was it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
262

"First they came" speech adapted to Trump in a bare-bones Kasich ad. Not great writing or delivery, but at long as the media isn't stating the obvious...


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
263

"Remembrancer" FTW.

Fabulous, but not as good as "Queen's Remembrancer" (listed in the "see also" section).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
264

218

Don't forget beetroot and your two kinds of cheese, bitey and tasty.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
265

The City Remembrancer is a Mr. Double, while the Queen's Remembrancer is a Ms. Fontaine. These are clearly characters in a novel.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
266

That would mean I have to call "National Airport" by the name "Reagan National Airport", which will never, ever happen.

More than once I have gotten into a DC cab and said "To National Airport, please", and had the driver respond, "So you're a Democrat, eh?"


Posted by: Salty Hamhocks | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
267

OT: I've now spent a week aggravating people who are running up tremendous Medicare bills. In other words, I'm now Fox News. Fear me. Tremble before my power.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
268

I am currently applying for the job I already do. This is annoying. Not annoying that I have to do it. It's a fairy senior position, I'm only 'interim/acting Head of $foo' and at least one other qualified person in our department would also like the job.

But annoying that when I'm completing the application and filling in all of the stuff about experience, and skills, it's tempting to keep typing, 'I already do this job, and all of the people reading this application know and work with me every day' as evidence.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
269

You could spice up your job application with a video resume. "Oh, hello there, I didn't see you. I'm Ttam NattarGcM, and I'd like to introduce YOU to a workplace ... a workplace that you already know." Best to do the intro segment in a smoking jacket and ascot.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 5:54 PM
horizontal rule
270

268: put in a bunch of stuff about disruption and revolution, that is cool now.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:07 PM
horizontal rule
271

A smoking jacket, an ascot, and nothing else.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:13 PM
horizontal rule
272

Britain's Remembrancer Containing A Narration of the Plagve lately past; A Declaration of the Mischiefs present; And a Prediction of Ivdgments to come ... by Geo: Wither ... Imprinted for Great Britaine, and are to be sold by Iohn Grismond in Ivie-Lane.
Paged continuously.


Posted by: George Withers | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
273

A Fiery Flying Roll


Posted by: Abiezer Coppe | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:23 PM
horizontal rule
274

Fabulous, but not as good as "Queen's Remembrancer" (listed in the "see also" section).

Ooh! Ooh! Did I mention before the most British thing ever, which is something the Queen's Remembrancer does every year?

At the Quit Rents Ceremony the Queen's Remembrancer receives the newly elected Sheriffs of the City of London and gives each of them their Warrant of Approbation from the Queen of their election by the Livery of the City of London. This is also the occasion on which the Corporation of London present to the Court of Exchequer presided over by the Remembrancer, two 'services' to go quit of paying rent for two pieces of land now in theory held by the City.

One piece of land is known as 'The Moors' and is situated south of Bridgnorth in Shropshire. For this land the City present to the Court two knives, one blunt and one sharp. These qualities are tested by the City's Comptroller trying to cut through a hazel rod one cubit in length (19 inches) and the thickness of the Remembrancer's forefinger. The rod must merely bend over the blunt knife but must be cut through by the sharp knife for the City to 'go quit of paying rent' by the satisfactory performance of this service. The other service is for a forge formerly in Twizzers Alley just south of St Clement Danes Church in the Strand, London. This service is performed by the Comptroller producing to the Remembrancer six large horseshoes and 61 nails, which he must count out in Court before the Remembrancer pronounces 'Good service'. These ceremonies are some of the oldest legal ceremonies dating as they do from 1211 and 1235. The horseshoes date from 1361 when the tenant of the Forge was permitted to pay 18 pence per year provided she had these shoes made for use each year. They are probably the oldest set of shoes in existence. At this Ceremony, the chequered cloth from which the Court took its name is laid out on the Bench at which the Remembrancer sits. The cloth was used as a means for checking what was owed by each Sheriff who collected the taxes due from his County. Counters were placed on the right hand side to show what was owed and different counters were placed on the left hand side as the monies due were paid in. At the end of the day the two columns of counters should tally.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:29 PM
horizontal rule
275

The City Remembrancer is a Mr. Double, while the Queen's Remembrancer is a Ms. Fontaine. These are clearly characters in a novel

There is in fact a novel inspired by the Quit Rents ceremony.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:33 PM
horizontal rule
276

Is that the most British thing or the most English thing? It seems stupider than Scotland and possibly Wales.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:34 PM
horizontal rule
277

Are all the British commentators here insomniacs?

Looping neatly back to the OP, as part of the publicity for the book xkcd has a puzzle for the UK.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:45 PM
horizontal rule
278

It's pretty great that this all shows up on the official justice.gov.uk website. Bureaucracy in action!


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
279

Strictly speaking the House of Keys isn't British anyway.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 6:54 PM
horizontal rule
280

Also really "of the Rolls" is a totally logical thing to call a senior judge! It's also completely logical to put said senior judge in charge of the national archives.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:02 PM
horizontal rule
281

211: Yes, extremely sketchy, and not widely accepted. We've discussed this before.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
282

My copy of the book described in the OP arrived today. I'm enjoying it. It's a lot more detailed than I would have guessed, but we're enjoying it.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
283

I've always pronounced "quay" as "key," but I suspect this is only because of Queens Quay ("Key") in Toronto. Without that self-consciously British Empire-y example, I might have looked at "quay" (as a kid, or a yoiunger person, or whatever), and pronounced it "kway."

According to John Grenham (who knows more about Irish genealogy than just about anyone), some of the American pronunciations of Irish surnames that often have "Irish people sniggering up their sleeves" are actually "much closer to the original Irish-language versions of the names." I wonder if there are, likewise, American pronunciations of English surnames and placenames, which now sound horribly wrong to English ears but which are much closer to the "original"* pronunciations?

*Or to the pronunciations that were most commonly heard in England, say, four hundred years ago?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
284

I wonder if there are, likewise, American pronunciations of English surnames and placenames, which now sound horribly wrong to English ears but which are much closer to the "original"* pronunciations?

I know that folklorists have found versions of English and Scottish ballads in Appalachia which are considered older and more representatively traditional than the versions that people were singing in the British isles.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
285

Also: I think Chuck E. Cheese is the most nightmarish place to hold a children's birthday party that American consumer capitalism has yet to devise. I speak from experience.

I guess Chuck E. is supposed to be a cute and fun-loving mouse? He looks like an overfed sewer rat.

Hey boys and girls! Enjoy your slice of tasteless cardboard topped by fake cheese product, while an animatronic band of ghastly, grinning vermin urge you to hit up your parents for more "tickets" to be exchanged for more worthless, plastic-junk "prizes." And what with all the flashing lights, and the discordant sounds, what with the crying kids, the bored hostess, the extra-large soft drink that somebody just spilled all over the table...your parents will no doubt hand over still more cash in a pathetic plea for mercy! (I speak from experience...).


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
286

It's objectively awful, but that's beside the point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:30 PM
horizontal rule
287

Just Plain Jane, that Irish genealogy blog is wonderful. I'm going through the posts about surnames and am fascinated. Thank you.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
288

284: If you're interested in oldey-timey English and Scottish vestiges and resonsances in Appalachia, and in folkorists exploring said living remnants, I recommend a short story by Ron Rash called "A Servant of History." A darkly humorous tale about an English folklorist who travels to Appalachia, circa 1922, to collect materials for his study, but who fails to read some local Appalachian (oldey-timey Scottish) cues.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 11-24-15 10:53 PM
horizontal rule
289

I might have looked at "quay" (as a kid, or a yoiunger person, or whatever), and pronounced it "kway."

And "quai" in French is from the same Old French root, meaning "a waterfront road" and pronounced more or less "kay". (More like "keh").

Strictly speaking the House of Keys isn't British anyway.

Sure it is, the Isle of Man is a Crown dependency. It's British but not part of the UK.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 2:51 AM
horizontal rule
290

288: I found the first few paragraphs online... any links to the whole thing?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 2:52 AM
horizontal rule
291

It's pretty common, I think, for emigrants to preserve some archaic features. Certainly people interested in, say, traditional Scottish music often study with players in Nova Scotia (Cape Breton).

I expect, though, that the preservation of archaic forms in some US dialects is swamped by the level of preservation that occurs within specific dialects _inside_ the UK. It's interesting that one or two words or some old usages survive, but that's a whole different level compared to, say, Scots, Norn (now dead) or Jèrriais/Guernésiais.

It's amusing that Parliament still uses Anglo-Norman for some things, as that hasn't been a spoken language for what, 600 years?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 2:54 AM
horizontal rule
292

I've heard linguists claim that the nearest surviving approach to how Shakespeare sounded is to be heard on the Carolina Outer Banks. Which strikes me as plausible on the basis of recordings I've heard.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 3:39 AM
horizontal rule
293

||

I've finished binge-watching Jessica Jones. It's great. And driver force behind it is clearly a woman who's fucking sick of being told to smile.

|>


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 5:38 AM
horizontal rule
294

||

293: I've seen perhaps three references to Jessica Jones in the last couple days, and this is the second one that mentions the being told to smile thing as a significant take-away. Clearly need to move this to the top of my must-watch list.

|>


Posted by: Airedale | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
295

290: Sorry, no (unless you have access to JSTOR?).


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 7:30 AM
horizontal rule
296

I don't know if I want to watch an entire series of a woman who refuses to smile.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 7:33 AM
horizontal rule
297

||

Have people been watching/finished watching Jessica Jones? It's amazing, and we could totally have an interesting thread there once enough people have watched it.

|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
298

I am surprised by the positive reaction to Jessica Jones. I thought the "personal" work of Brian Bendis would be far, far too nerd-reflexive for people with self-respect. Three cheers for adaptation, I guess.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
299

I read within the last year* that Received Pronunciation is based on a trendy pronunciation that postdates the first colonists, and thus the whole r-dropping, ah-for-a style of speech is a novelty, while the American accent is closer to 16th century English. Posh New Englanders who speak (spoke, really) that way were following the trend from across the pond.

Meanwhile the fact that Americans think Brit accents are charming reveals, perhaps, that there is something inherently pleasing about that style. That is, 300 (?) years ago, that style swept through the UK because people thought it sounded great, and some Americans picked it up as well, but the Americans who never did pick it up still think it sounds great.

*maybe linked from here? It was definitely an article, not a thread, but it sure seems like something that would have come up here


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
300

I just noticed Airedale's email address. Apparently she's actually Veronica Mars?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
301

British RP postdates the first colonists by over a century, I believe. There are still a lot of strongly rhotic dialects in Britain, and the pronunciation of long "i" as (roughly) "oy" as in High Tider is general in south western England (where speech also tends to be rhotic. Reconstructions of early modern English I have heard suggest that both these characteristics were fairly general until the early 18th century, when the long "i" started moving towards "eye". I've no idea whether that happened at the same time on both sides of the water.

I believe that the strongly affected upper class British accent you sometimes here in old movies originated as a sort of in joke among a radical Whig faction in the last years of the 18th century. It's extinct now.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
302

Not watching stuff involving superheroes is my superpower but I guess I might watch Jessica Jones.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
303

I've been ill the last few days or would have participated in this thread; I read some of it in an examining room before I fell asleep waiting.

The grisly, understated short story On the Quai at Smyrna, which begins Hemingway's In Our Time, was my introduction to the word and the pronunciation. It's backdrop is middle eastern refugees ninety years ago.

My dad's lifelong best friend, best man at his wedding, was a Syrian refugee, settled in Canada in the early twenties. My dad loved the whole family like a brother, learned some Arabic, developed a taste for middle eastern food which was exotic for small-town Nova Scotia then, and for all I know now.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
304

I liked how Adam Serwer put it: "The supervillain in Jessica Jones is a Nice Guy."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
305

What's the level of background comics knowledge you need to understand Jessica Jones? Is it fairly outsider friendly?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
306

Like Daredevil the answer is "pretty much none".

I don't know if I would call it friendly, though. It's a pretty intense show which is very openly about domestic abuse, rape and misogyny. But in the specific sense of "do I need to know about the backstory of Stiltman" or something then no, you'd be fine. There aren't, really, any superheroes in the show at all - some of the characters have super powers, and one of them eventually counts as one but not within the timeline/life story of the show.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:07 AM
horizontal rule
307

Lots of examples of recreations of Early Modern English pronunciation here, which is something that I must have found originally by being linked here. Definitely way more rhotic and probably closer to modern American than RP, though not that close to modern American.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
308

305: None.

MHPH makes a good point. Jessica Jones is not at all fun -- it's not like Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a relentless slog against a supervillain who is vain and petty, and destroys the lives around him because it's convenient.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
309

And those are reconstructions made by figuring out how rhymes would have worked, mostly Shakespeare, so it's likely (actually certain) that there were lots of other variations in early modern England.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
310

To me it sounds more like Irish English than anything else, but it's still pretty different from any variety, especially because of how the long i is pronounced (uh-ee).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
311

The grisly, understated short story On the Quai at Smyrna . . .

From that opening I was expecting it to be a Paul Bowles story.

I recommend a short story by Ron Rash called "A Servant of History." A darkly humorous tale about an English folklorist who travels to Appalachia, circa 1922, to collect materials for his study, but who fails to read some local Appalachian (oldey-timey Scottish) cues.

Thank you, I'll make a note of it.

Incidentally, I'll ask, if anybody here has access to a copy of "Folklorists & Us" from the Old Time Herald (Mac Benford: spring 89 vol.1 no.7:22-27) that they could share with me I would be interested.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
312

264

Ah yes, how could I forget beetroot, the natural hamburger topping.

Also, Australians' love of abbreviations and ending every word in -ie. I had a hard time taking all the "bikie gang" shootings seriously, even though they were obviously terrible.

I know the Brits win first prize for this, but upper class ridiculous nicknames. Margot -- > Mogs, Dave (already a nickname!) -- > Dave-o, Tim -- > Tuffy, etc.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
313

And 'root' on it's own is a vulgar term for sex, so Australians really blanch at the Americans' kid song, which implores you to "root, root, root for your home team."

Fanny has the same meaning in OZ as in the UK, so hearing that American kindergarten teachers tell kids to "sit their fannies in their seats" also gets a similar reaction.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
314

Put on your hat and your baseball suit,
Rutabagas, rutabagas, root, root, root!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
315

313: My friend would ask people in Australia which team they rooted for, because he found the reactions hilarious.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
316

Get off your fannies and root!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
317

reconstructions made by figuring out how rhymes would have worked

I've always wondered about this. There's one in particular--it's escaping me right now, annoyingly--that is a very common/well-known couplet, but super not-rhyming in modern English (with any common accent I know of), and shifting neither end of the rhyme seems very plausible. More likely, both halves meet in the middle, so to speak.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
318

Sonnet 116?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
319

314: ah, a fellow aficionado. (A friend of mine at school devoted far too much time to writing a Freak Brothers text-based adventure game in BASIC.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
320

319 Will wonders never cease? Ajay is the absolute last person I'd ever guess as being into the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
321

I am large, I contain multitudes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
322

There's an English cricketer called Joe Root, who has become a crowd favourite since the last tour of Australia. I'm waiting for him to walk out on the Melbourne Cricket Ground to the inevitable cries from his supporters of "Rooooot!! Rooooooot!!!"


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
323

Simon the Australian Barman, a character of my youth, had a story which went, roughly: "Her old man walked in while I was rooting her on the balcony. He looked like he had eaten a shit sandwich"


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
324

It's not quite "For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn," but it is very evocative.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
325

"do I need to know about the backstory of Stiltmanon"

Yes. It is the King of Cheeses.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
326

Or occasionally the Queen of Cheeses.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
327

317 is referring to "Come live with me and be my love/And we will all the pleasures prove."

I assume that it was pronounced "purve".


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
328

No: "perve"


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
329

300: nosflow, do you not know my superheroine unfogged origin story ?


Posted by: Airedale | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
330

327,328: Why is that r moving around? What's wrong with luv/pruv or loove/proove?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
331

It's like pronouncing what as "hwat" isn't it?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
332

328 gets it.

330: It was a joke about people on the internet saying "I LURVE it."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
333

On the title, did any of you hoverboard today?


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
334

I think I prefer the version where 317 is referring to 323.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
335

That said "prove" there is in the cognate sense of "test", "try", the way it is used with regard to spirits and firearms. although not, oddly, tobacco.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
336

329: I forgot!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
337

312

Yes, male nicknames and "bikies" in particular seem quite feminine or infantile to American ears. Others are just silly sounding to us (arvo, avo, bottlo, Mackers, footy, ute).

In contrast, women seem to prefer simple short nicknames without diminutives (Nick, Jo) that are exclusively male in the US.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
338

||

NMM to Setsuko Hara.

This means you too, Bob.

|>


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-25-15 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
339

In contrast, women seem to prefer simple short nicknames without diminutives (Nick, Jo) that are exclusively male in the US

Is that true, or are there just not many Josephines in the US?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-26-15 6:36 AM
horizontal rule
340

Or Joannas, I guess, though all but one of the Jos I know are Josephines.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-26-15 6:45 AM
horizontal rule
341

I know Joannes but no Joannas and it's been a very long time since I've come across a Josephine.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-26-15 6:48 AM
horizontal rule
342

I know Jonis but not Joanies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-26-15 6:54 AM
horizontal rule
343

I know two Joannas, two Josephines, and a Joanie. The Joanie is a dog though.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 11-26-15 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
344

There are islands in the Chesapeake Bay where the accent is allegedly based on Elizabethan English.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-26-15 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
345

||

NMM to Setsuko Hara.

Thinking about her a lot today.

The mysteries of Ozu and Hara haunt me, Ozu more because Hara was not putting as much of herself on screen, but Hara did have a longer life. We may learn more, but we really haven't learned much more about Ozu.

"The Eternal Virgin" mostly a persona created by writers and directors (except, like Ozu, there is absolutely zero evidence Hara ever had sex) was slightly sexy in her earliest movies, Kochiyama Soshun by Yamanaka and Daughter of the Samurai (a hoot!!), sexy in The Ball at the Anjo House, and hot as a firecracker, the force of nature she needed to be as the female lead in Kurosawa's version of Dostoevsky The Idiot.

The key to almost all the post-war Japanese actresses and roles I think is a quiet independence, maybe not resignation but acceptance. Victims of circumstances, not people. Hara was so strong.

Ozu once said he couldn't work with Ishihara Yujiro, who was as hot as a star can be in the late 50s, because Ishihara acted with his whole body. Hara could act with her eyes, making you cry or terrifying you with a glance.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-26-15 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
346

I know several Johannas whose names are not all pronounced alike.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-26-15 8:58 AM
horizontal rule