Friday, June 22, 2018

Tikki Tikki Tembo

It has a clear enough meaning and the history of the word goes back nearly 600 years with little change, yet the etymology is uncertain. The OED has several guesses listed, but none is quite satisfactory. Delightfully, the original word appears to have been used in conjunction with the word "in" or "on" preceding it and only gradually shifted into the attached prefix "a-".

Well, I think it's delightful.

akimbo, adv. and adj.

A. adv.

1.

a. With hands on hips and elbows turned outwards.

b. With reference to (other) limbs, esp. the legs: spread or flung out widely or haphazardly.

2. More generally: askew, awry; in disorder.

B. adj.

Crooked, bent, or askew; that is in disorder, awry.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Roll those bones

There's a bizarre range of meanings for this word. According to the etymology it apparently started with a Sanskrit word for a place to play dice (and, as we all know, the, *ahem*, ladies love Sanskrit). The only consistent part of the meaning appears to be the fact that it is for a place where people gather.

akhara, n.

1. In India: a wrestling ring or pit; a gymnasium or outdoor exercise area.

2. Also with capital initial. In India: a convent or monastery, esp. of ascetics. Also: an order of ascetics or monks; spec. such a group forming a militant or armed regiment (now chiefly hist.).

Monday, June 18, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #25


falling to the ground
a flower closer to the root
bidding farewell

chi ni taore
ne ni yori hana no
wakare kana

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Stream? More like a trickle.

Sometimes people say to me, "Bob". "Bob", they say to me. "Bob, why do you get DVDs from Netflix instead of streaming movies?" The short and simple answer is that Netflix doesn't, by and large, stream the movies I want to see. My DVD queue tends to hover around the maximum number of 500, and rarely does it have more than a handful which are marked as being able to stream as well. In fact, at the moment, it has none. Zero of 492 movies available to stream. Hit the jump for the longer answer.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Master of the Tupperware

My wife would probably want to employ one of these people each time there's a potluck at church. Not a household office about which one hears often, but undoubtedly useful.

aker, n.

hist. Obsoleterare

A servant responsible for receiving and looking after vessels from the kitchen.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Will Ferrell is Strange

Will Ferrell is a very funny man. I've not seen the entirety of his oeuvre, but I've watched a few movies and seen number of his comedy sketches from SNL and other places. As humorous as Anchorman is, it's not his best work.

Comedies can be great movies, though they're not very often any longer. The Thin Man and It Happened One Night are a lot better as movies than a lot of comedies are today. On the other hand, you do sometimes see movies get made that have a comedic tone to them, but also deal with the serious side of things and are actually really good movies. Comic actors do their best work in these movies and can shock us when they get the chance to show the full range of their abilities.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #24


in a stork's nest
untouched by a storm
of cherry blossoms

ko no su ni
arashi no hoka no
sakura kana

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, June 04, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #23


butterflies and birds
restlessly they rise up
a cloud of flowers

cho tori no
uwatsuki tatsu ya
hana no kumo

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, May 28, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #22


spring winds
hoping the flowers burst
out in laughter

haru kaze ni
fukudashi warau
hana mogana

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Friday, May 25, 2018

Cool It

Each definition is rare or obsolete, but that just means you can save your breath to cool your porridge.



Okay, look, all the jokes can't be good. You have to expect that once in a while.

akele, v.

1. trans.

a. To make cold, to cool. Also fig.: †to make less ardent, vigorous, or vital, to assuage, quench (obs.). Now arch. and rare.

b. To refresh, reinvigorate. Also refl. Obs.

2. intr. To become cold, to cool; (fig.) to become less ardent. Obs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Japanese Wood

For @galooticus (on Twitter) who's a wood-worker and appreciates a good double-entendre. Also, generally a good bloke and one of the few people likely to see this post.

aka-matsu, n.

The Japanese red pine, Pinus densiflora, a valuable ornamental and timber tree with reddish wood; the timber itself. Cf. O-MATSU n.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #21


spring rain
a straw cape blows back
as river willows

harusame ya
mino fuki haesu
kawa yamagi

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Friday, May 18, 2018

Political Poetry

This is, basically, every English professor's dream: foreign, historical poetry by an oppressed people where the subtext is the only thing that matters.

aisling, n.

A type of allegorical poem in the Irish language, often serving as a vehicle for political or social comment, which depicts the poet's conversation with a spirit woman who is usually a personification of Ireland. Cf. vision poem n. at VISION n. Compounds 1a.

The aisling form is particularly associated with pro-Jacobite poets of the 18th cent. who used it to circumvent restrictions on political expression.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Air Cav Is Older Than You Might Think

Okay, well, that's slightly hyperbolic. The literal term "Air Cav", according to the OED, dates from the mid-60's. But the longer "air cavalry", actually has a reference as early as 1913. Which, for extra fun times, contains the phrase "especially the aeroplanists at Nancy".

air cavalry, n.

Mil. (chiefly U.S.).

A highly mobile division of an army which uses aircraft for a variety of functions, as observation, delivery of supplies and troops, aerial assault, evacuation, etc.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #20


eight or nine feet up
in the sky rain falls from
a willow

hakku ken
sora de ame furu
yamagi kama

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Saturday, May 12, 2018

BR Play Index Search: Walks

So I spent a few bucks and renewed my subscription to the Baseball Reference Play Index that I'd let lapse a few years back. It's not that expensive, but it is a frivolous item for me since I don't do anything at all professionally related to baseball. It's a lot of fun though. So, starting with a search I did a number of years ago regarding most walks given up in a shutout, I decided to see what the most walks given up in a win was.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Seems Unnecessary

I like a lot of the feminine forms of familiar words. This one seems like a stretch, even to me. But, I've kinda developed a tendency to include any and all unusual feminine words like this, so here ya go.

aideress, n.

Obs. rare.

A female helper.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Joe Green To You

Given the date of origin and the word itself, it must be related to the Verdi opera, but the actual connection is, as the etymology notes, "unclear". Cool word, though.

Good opera, too.

Aida, n.

Although the chronology suggests a connection with Verdi's opera, the reason for this is now unclear...

Needlework and Embroidery.

A loosely woven linen cloth with an even mesh, traditionally used in cross-stitch embroidery. Frequently attrib., esp. in Aida cloth. Cf. Java canvas n. at JAVA n.5.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #19


wake up wake up
I want to be your friend
little sleeping butterfly

okiyo okiyo
waga tomo ni se n
nuru ko cho

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Really, OED? Really?

The word is fine; I learned first from reading Patrick O'Brian's marvelous novels. What really gets under my skin is that the OED is citing Twitter for usage. Okay, it's the internet era, but Twitter? Really? We're all on a bobsled to Gehenna, friends.

ahoo, adv. and adj.

A. adv.

1. Unjustly, wrongfully; in error. Cf. mid or with wough at WOUGH n.2 2c. Obs.

 2. Askew, awry; crookedly, lopsidedly. Chiefly in all ahoo. Cf. HUH n. regional in later use.

 B. adj.

  Chiefly Naut. and regional. In predicative use: crooked, lopsided; askew, awry; disordered. Chiefly in all ahoo.

2015   @AMinorMuddle 10 May in twitter.com (O.E.D. Archive)    A somewhat muddly time being had. Decorators due tomorrow. House all ahoo.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Forget the Definition

The real gem here is one of the sources referenced for usage. I enjoy knowing that there's a book out there that was written with this title.

aheight, adv.

Now Eng. regional (north-east.)

  At or to a height; above, aloft.

1969   S. Dobson Larn Yersel Geordie 25   He up wi' 'is deppity's stick hoyin' it reet up ahight.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #18


old pond
a frog jumps into
the sound of water

furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Friday, April 27, 2018

Legit Technobabble

If the writers on Star Trek never used this term, they darn well should have. The definition is straight out of the nonsense technobabble for which the show was known; all it needs is a reference to a Jeffries tube.

Aharonov-Bohm, n.

Physics.


  attrib. Designating an effect whereby charged particles travelling round a region containing magnetic flux acquire a phase shift of their wave function proportional to the quantity of linked flux, even if the particles themselves are confined to regions where the magnetic field is negligible. Also: of or relating to this effect.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Many and Varied Uses

Such a range of meaning for so small a word.

ah, int.

An exclamation expressing, according to the intonation, various emotions, as

1. Sorrow, lamentation, regret, passing into the regretful expression of a vain wish. (Actual pain or suffering is now more commonly expressed by O! Oh! North. dial. have a (eː) in both senses.)

2. Surprise, wonder, admiration.

In the two prec. senses often followed by me (north. eh me!). Cf. It. ahime!

3. Entreaty, appeal, remonstrance; passing in former times into simple exclamation to excite attention, where O! would now be used. (North. dial. still have ā man!)

4. Dislike, aversion; passing into contempt, mockery, exultation over or satisfaction at misfortune.

5. Opposition, objection (to what has been said). Often followed by but.

Mod. Ah! but I know something better than that.

6. Realization, discovery, inspiration.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Words and Things

A long time ago (10+ years, I think), I ran a blog for a while that chronicled my reading through the Oxford English Dictionary. It's long gone (and now the URL is taken over by a different website), but I integrated the posts I made there to this blog's history. If anyone cared you can find them (and a few other odds and ends) by doing a label search on "language".

I'm going to restart my read through the OED (which got interrupted the first time when I changed jobs) and post here the interesting, odd, unusual, or otherwise remarkable words. This blog isn't one where I envisioned that the bulk of the posts would be scheduled in advance, and it bothers me a little bit, it looks like this is the only way I can really post significant quantities of material that is interesting to me and that I want to share.

The haikus will continue to post Mondays, but I'm going to see if I can maintain a schedule of Wednesday/Friday postings for words from the OED. Like the haikus, they're not going to be long posts with a great deal of commentary from me, but short snippets of things in passing. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #17


a hangover
is nothing as long as
there are cherry blossoms

futsuka ei
monokawa hana no
aru aida

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, April 16, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #16


ah spring spring
how great is spring!
and so on

ah haru haru
oinaru kana haru
to un nun

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, April 09, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #15


first blossoms
seeing them extends my life
seventy-five more years

hatsu hana ni
inochi shichi ju
go nen hodo

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, April 02, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #14


leave aside
literary talents
tree peony

fugetsu no
zai mo hanareyo
fukami-gusa

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, March 26, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #13


slowly spring
is making an appearance
moon and plum

haru mo yaya
hishiki totonou
tsuki to ume

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, March 19, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #12


lying down
with quilts over the head
such a cold night

kazuki fusu
futon ya samuki
yo ya sugoki

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, March 12, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #11


drooping downward
the upside-down world
of snow on bamboo

shiore fusu ya
yo wa sakasama no
yuki no take

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, March 05, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #10


coming with frost
the wind lies down to sleep with
a deserted child

shimo o kite
kaze o shikini no
sutego kana

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, February 26, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #9


a winter shower
the pine tree is unhappy and
waiting for snow

shigure o ya
modokashi gari te
matsu no yuki

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #8


without a hat
a winter rain falls on me
so what

kasa mo naki
ware o shigururu ka
ko wa nanto

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, February 12, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #7


in the saddle
the small boy rides
an uprooted radish

kuratsubo ni
ko bozu noru ya
daikon hiki

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, February 05, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #6


banked fire
on the wall a shadow
of the guest

uzumi-bi ya
kabe ni wa kyaku no
kageboshi

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Confidential Noir

I don't play a lot of computer games. I own a lot of computer games (mostly due to the amazing Humble Bundle service). With the passing of time, other competing interests and responsibilities have come to dominate my time. Family, work, books, movies; there are a lot of things that I find more worthwhile than computer games, most of the time. That said, however, I do find a particular style of game very appealing and interesting, which is the linear, narrative, single-player game. Some games are very linear (most Mario games), some have strong narratives (Zelda, anyone?), and there are many that are only for one player. But until I find all these virtues in one game, that game fails to tempt me. In this vein, then, one of my all-time favorite games is L.A. Noire. (No, I don't know why they added the "e".)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #5


a jar cracks
awakened from sleep
in a night of frost

kame waruru
yori no kori
mezame kana

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Movies in 2017

Turns out I watched a lot of movies last year. I'm fairly confident that it was more than I usually watch in a year, but since I've never kept track before, I can't say that with confidence. I do know that I read a lot fewer books than once was customary. The effort I made to watch and return my Netflix DVDs was consciously greater than before.

In any event, the list of movies watched has 175 entries and 173 distinct movies. (Not rewatching more than two is certainly unusual for me.) Because I use Movie Lens I have ratings on their 5 star scale for each film I watched. The movies I had seen before averaged about 3.6 out of 5 and the new movies were 2.8 out of 5. This fits pretty well; folks would be less inclined to watch a movie again if they didn't like it well the first time and watching new movies can be hit or miss. Herewith, some thoughts on the movies.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #4


today is the day
people grow older
first wintry shower

kyo bakiri
hito no toshi yore
hatsu shigure

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, January 15, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #3


building a bridge
between snow-covered mountains
white egrets

Hira Mikami
yuki sashiwatase
sagi no hashi

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, January 08, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #2


more reassuring
than in a dream
the real hawk

yume yori no
utsutsu no taka zo
tanomoshiki

~Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold

Monday, January 01, 2018

Weekly Basho Posts

I'm going to be posting a weekly Basho haiku on the blog here each Monday in 2018. I've sampled these few poems from a book of his complete haiku translated and edited by Jane Reichhold. It's a great book with a lot of supplementary material as well. If there are errors in the Japanese transcriptions I'm placing below her English translations (or errors in the English, for that matter) it is entirely my fault and not hers and they probably crept in while I was typing the posts. If something seems off, drop me a line using the contact form below on the right. Rest assured, your e-mail will only be used for possibly e-mailing you back and for selling to Russian hackers. Hope you enjoy them.

Weekly Basho Haiku #1


in the night
meeting a thief who also stole
the end of the year

musubito ni
ota yo mo ari
toshi no kure

~ Basho

Translated by Jane Reichhold