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Friday, and I’m on strike

friday again!

Ugh. It’s hot and sticky and I had a crap day. I’m going to sit here and DRINK until it FEELS BETTER.


Comment from Pupster
Time: August 24, 2007, 7:00 pm

*raises glass*


My back went spastic on me today, second time in as many weeks.

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself until I ran into my old office neighbor, who had fallen off a ladder on fathers day and broke his back. He’s just now getting up and around, 2 titanium rods and 8 pins later.

He certainly made it harder for me to wallow in self pity. I’ll keep trying though.

Comment from Gnus
Time: August 24, 2007, 8:12 pm

Heh. I want one of these yellow ball-thingies. Found at Hot Air. Supposedly the crystal essence of geek. Whatever. I want one.

This’ll make ya feel better, Sweasel.

Oh, throw in a couple those robots near the end too.

Comment from winston
Time: August 24, 2007, 8:43 pm

Ah, drinking till it feels better. Perhaps an advert to cheer you up.
All this typing has been hard work. Now for a drink.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 25, 2007, 12:15 am

By the way, Mr. Weasel: I like the extended pinkie of the weasel announcing your relocation to England, the one with the stick and bag. Outstretched pinkies are so British, I say, guv’ner.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 6:29 am

Thank you, Musli. That wasn’t easy. I agonized a bit over the anatomically correct four-fingered weasel fist over the classic cartoon three-fingered weasel fist. Decisions, decisions. I think I need to dial back the weasel ass a notch, though. Even a very fat weasel wouldn’t have such extreme rumpage.

I dreamed last night that my new house was a sort of giant Georgian mansion with many tenants. It was situated such that it took up a whole city block and the front door was set into the corner. It was painted bright salmon and the door was baby blue. Very disconcerting. There were braziers ALL OVER the house, with live charcoals in them. I remember thinking, “wow. The people who owned this house before sure loved them some roasted meat.”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 8:59 am

Incidentally, that thing Weasel is carrying is called a “bindle” — a word I had totally forgoten and probably haven’t heard in 30 years, since reading Of Mice and Men in High School, or some such. However, I’ve read the word twice in the last week.

This is known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

Comment from Pupster
Time: August 25, 2007, 9:54 am

That is soooo strange…this is the second time in a week that I’ve read about Baader-Meinhof.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 11:01 am

<gives Pupster the stoat-eye>

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 25, 2007, 2:45 pm

I love this part….
How the phenomenon came to be known as “Baader-Meinhof” is uncertain. It seems likely that some individual learned of the existence of the historic German urban guerrilla group which went by that name, and then heard the name again soon afterwards. This plucky wordsmith may then have named the phenomenon after the very subject which triggered it. But it is certainly a mouthful; a shorter name might have more hope of penetrating the lexicon.
I amazed at how clever people can be.

Hey Pupster. Those shelves my hubby put up for me last weekend aggravated an injury he got playing raquetball and caused him to herniate a disk. He can barely walk and he went for an MRI yesterday. He is gonna have to get back surgery this week. Our vacation to San Diego is cancelled and I am very sad about it. I am also the worst nurse ever. I would go to the ends of the earth to help someone as long as they didn’t ask me to do it. Being asked to do something just irritates me.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 3:12 pm

Well, as it happens, Germany freed another member of the Baader-Meinhof gang this week, so if you’re an international news junkie (like wot I am), you almost certainly HAVE heard of the Baader-Meinhof gang a couple of times lately.

Which is kind of brain-hurty.

Comment from lizardbrain
Time: August 25, 2007, 3:34 pm

Ha! I ran out of cheap (but not money-cheap), crappy Stuart Woods novels yesterday and started to re-read The Final Country by James Crumley. I’m not sure how many times he uses the word “bindle” but it’s a lot.

And now I’ve been Baader-Meinhofed by Weasel.

I probably remember “bindle-stiff” from some Steinbeck book or other as an alternative for “hobo.” I wonder where the “stiff” part comes in.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 3:49 pm

Okay, now this thread has folded back on itself so many times, I’m afraid it’s going to implode like the house at the end of Poltergeist.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: August 25, 2007, 6:11 pm

Dear Stoaty – I found this site:


through a link from my sis. It’s purpose is pre-code cinema, but it has a lot of great old pix/graphics that run the gamut from movie stills to adverts and sheet music covers. I thought you might like ’em. Click to embiggen – most are large and well-scanned.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: August 25, 2007, 6:12 pm

Oh yuck, I mispelled its

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 6:18 pm

Felix! You’re alive! Shoot, I worried about you. When people drop off the internet, it activates the deeply-buried but powerful sheep-dog lobe of my brain.

Aww, man. The Code. It’s why we believe, against all the evidence, that our grandparents never heard of sex. That’s a very visit-worthy site, that is.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: August 25, 2007, 6:29 pm

🙂 Glad someone missed me. Have been having troubles – moved 2X since March, and the moves were the minor issues (and I hate moving like rat poison). I still haven’t got my own computer back together since the first move. I’m typing this … somewhere where I shouldn’t …. I will only add that I’m working lots of O.T. Will hopefully blog again … I still read you every day, and hope your move goes well, even though I’m jealous! Glad you like the site.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 6:28 pm

Ha! There’s Son of Kong.

My dad was only allowed to go to the movies on Saturdays. But movies, he said, hit town all week long, for one day only. You caught it that day, or you were out of luck (man, they must have made a HECK of a lot of movies to do it that way. It seems a stupid business model). So Son of Kong arrives on a Wednesday, and my dad wants to see it like nobody’s business. He was about eight.

My grandfather was a hardass. So my dad approached with trepidation while Grandad was reading the paper.

“Daddy, can I go see Son of Kong today?”

Didn’t even look around the paper. And that was that. I taped the thing off broadcast in the eighties. It was crap. I offered it to my dad, but the thrill had passed.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 6:33 pm

Oh, geez, sorry to hear that. But that’s *why* you get all jumped up when somebody disappears unexpectedly — you assume they have troubles.

Hope happier days are ahead, and look forward to new Wain Wednesdays.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 6:52 pm

Oh, and I spent the day holed up in the one room in the house that has air conditioning (it’s in the nineties), sorting books into “stay” and “go” boxes. I haven’t moved in 25 years, so this is fraught.

Let me just say this: I have read journals I wrote in my twenties today.


Comment from Dawn
Time: August 25, 2007, 7:41 pm

Who wants to write my paper on institutional factors influencing China’s accounting reforms and standards for me?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2007, 8:06 pm

write = boo!
institutional factors = boo!
China = yay!
acounting = boo!
reform = boo!
standards = boo!

That’s a 5/1 boo to yay ratio. Sod off, swampy.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 25, 2007, 9:24 pm

A yay for China? A yay?! For shame, Mr. Weasel! I begin to question your conservative credentials.

Everyone knows the Orange (Red Communists and yell- East Asian Chineses) Scare has only just begun.

(And I don’t really question your credentials. I was just joking.)

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 25, 2007, 9:49 pm

Hey, Mr. Weasel! I was quite glad to see that you follow Hutton’s website! Quite nice, isn’t it?

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 26, 2007, 12:53 am

Well since I had to write that whole paper all by myself (you sod off) I can tell you boatloads about what is wrong with China. Well maybe not boatloads, but I can tell you that the “independent” financial auditors are state run agancies. Think about that before you invest any money over there. Think about other stuff before you eat their cardboard filled buns or play with their lead paint toys or birth more than one of their babies.

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 26, 2007, 1:36 am

agencies – dang it!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 26, 2007, 3:24 am

Oh, sure. China is a mess. But it’s an interesting mess.

And I really like their textiles.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 26, 2007, 6:58 am

Interesting info, Dawn.

Mr. Weasel: Is there a name for the outstretched pinkie? It’s common enough that I would think there would be proper terminology for it.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 26, 2007, 7:14 am

Hm. Not that I’m aware. For the record, I’ve never seen a Brit do it.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 26, 2007, 8:21 am


So…all these years of mocking the British by raising the pinkie whilst drinking tea (or pantomining it) has been for naught for all of us South Asians?! Oh dear! Next you’ll tell me not all British people wear top-hats or say “Guv’ner”!

Comment from Anonymous
Time: August 26, 2007, 9:50 am

Oh everybody knows that the Brit’s stick that little finger out while drinking tea because of those dinky little handles on those delicate ladies’ teacups they use. Try it yourself. (Do it while Mrs. Muslihoon is out, so you don’t get in trouble for playing with the good china). You can barely get a finger into the handle, and then you need the ring finger on the outside of the handle for balance. That automatically sticks your little finger out.

It’s like the fact that the Japanese only fill your teacup half way. It seems like some cultural politeness thing, but it’s really because, since the cups don’t even have handles, if you fill the cup up all the way it gets too hot to pick up. Fill it only half way and the top half of the cup remains cool enough to pick up. (Author’s note: The Japanese tea-cup concept can’t be tested at a Japanese restaurant unless the waitress it really Japanese.

As for the tophats and “Guv’ner” questions, I have no idea. I drink a lot of tea, but I almost never wear hats, and my servants all call me ‘Master Lokki’.

Can someone else assist with those points? It’s time for scones….

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 26, 2007, 10:10 am

In the English spoken by South Asians, “Master” is a title used to refer to males who have yet to come of age. Once they do, they are referred to as “Mister”. Hence an India food producing and exporting company known as “Master Manish”: “Manish” is some kid’s name (whose chubby face is present on the label).

I believe this trend (“Master” before coming of age, “Mister” thereafter) is not followed in The United States. Can anyone tell if this trend is present in Britain? I assume the South Asians adopted this custom from the British during the glorious British Raj, but it could also be a case of South Asians taking some British practices (titling men as “Mister”) and adding local variations thereto.

For example, some South Asians use “baby” to refer to a female infant and “baba” to refer to a male infant. This has no relation whatsoever to either British practices (that I know of) or any connection to indigenous/local languages. (Indeed, more often than not, “baba” in the local languages means “father”.) But it could be that as words ending with an “ee” sound are used to refer to females (for example, in Hindi and Urdu “larkī” means “girl”) and words ending with an “ah” sound are used to refer to males (for example, in Hindi and Urdu “larkā” means “boy”), a masculine equivalent (namely, “bābā”) is created for what sounds like a feminine word (namely, “beybī”).

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 26, 2007, 10:12 am

Oh, the feminine equivalent of “Master” is “Mistress”. An unmarried woman of age is titled “Miss”. A married woman if titled “Mrs.”

Comment from Gnus
Time: August 26, 2007, 10:26 am

Man, I love me some language learning in the morning. Smells like knowledge.

I believe Master is still used in the USA as an honorific for boys/young men, mostly for ceremony and official forms of address. Sort of like “Esquire”. More used in the good old days than now.

And there’s always the story of William Bates introducing his son to Abe Lincoln.

Comment from Lokki
Time: August 26, 2007, 10:36 am

Master may have once been used in the Americas, but is now on the prohibited list, given it’s other potential connotations. Master Bates, indeed, Gnus! On a Sunday morning? Generally we cultured folks wait till at least noon. Anyhow, you’re in the wrong converation for that joke. We’re clever language anthropologists here – or if you prefer cunning linguists.

Now, back to our conversation, shall we Muslihoon?

Of course, as you are aware, we use the ‘ee’ sound for the diminutive in America as well – Elizabeth becomes ‘Becky’ and so on; so there’s an interesting lingual link there, ever if the origins of the words are from completely different sources. Still, it’s not a universal, or at least, I don’t believe it is.

In Japan, “ko” forms the diminutive and a large percentage of Japanese girls names end with ‘ko’ Mariko, Etsuko, Junko, etc.

In Spanish, I think it’s the ‘ta’ sound – senorita, etc.

I’ve been interested in this kind of thing since I took a class with a Professor (back in the 70’s) who was trying to find out if languages all had some common elements in their most basic words; something that might suggest that we really did have some sort of shared common language ancestory…. ” pre-tower of Babel”, mother tongue, if you will.

He used to go around asking all his students what they thought things like “kokoro,kokoro,kokoro” meant. It was fun.

As far as I know, he never found that basic ‘mother tongue’ but apparently they have found that the Tower of Babel really did exist. No word on in which language the “Danger, Construction” signs were written.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 26, 2007, 12:20 pm

Interesting notion, Lokki. There is certainly something curious about the enormously wide variety of languages in which some sort of ‘ma’ sound is used to denote mother.

As for ‘master’ – in England it has two meanings: the first exactly as suggested, to denote a young male child (as in ‘young master Copperfield’, or as a ‘master of his craft’ ‘ship’s master’ and so on.

The latter use, naturally, is frowned on by by self-styled ‘progressive’ language-manglers who turn a nasty shade of purple when they hear terms like ‘station master’ (now the ludicrous ‘station manager’, if you please) or ‘postmaster’.

Shame (for them) the Interweb adopted ‘postmaster’ as an official term, isn’t it?

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 26, 2007, 1:12 pm

Muslihoon, my 6 year old son and 5 year old daughter have Indian pen pals. The boy is from Nimonkarai and the little girl is from Jhirpani. The letters are sent through a translator but the handwriting is beautiful, almost art.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 26, 2007, 4:14 pm

Musli, are you Indian or Pakistani? And, ummm…apologies in advance if that’s an offensive question; I have no idea how tense the tensions are.

And who’s Hutton? I go to a lot of web sites, following links, and often have no idea where I am or how I got there.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 26, 2007, 10:39 pm

Why Harry Hutton’s Chase me, ladies, I’m in the cavalry, of course.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 26, 2007, 11:05 pm

Mr. Weasel: your answer, in a way.

I don’t mind at all. It’s just a complex question; and at that I perhaps make it too complicated than it needs be.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 26, 2007, 11:32 pm

Er, I did forget to mention: whereas I have only visited India, I have lived in Pakistan for eight years in my (recent) youth.

Comment from TattooedIntellectual
Time: August 27, 2007, 2:37 am

My Chinese-but lived in Japan until doing HS in Aus-flatmate asked me about performative verbs the other day. Working on the assumption that as a native (American) English speaker I would understand/know the basics. What the hell is a performative verb? The last time we studied grammar extensively was like 3rd grade and I still don’t think we ever covered anything that sounded like performative verbs.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 27, 2007, 5:47 am

Cheez, TI, I never heard of them either. And I thought I was a bit of a grammar hound. If this Wikipedia entry is what he’s getting at…I can’t decide if the concept is bollocks or merely extremely boring. I had one of those, “people really care about this shit?” moments reading it.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 27, 2007, 5:50 am

Aw, shoot, Musli. I didn’t realize I had asked the question and gotten my answer before. And it makes sense to me.

Comment from TattooedIntellectual
Time: August 27, 2007, 6:35 am

Yeah sweasel, I think so. To be honest, she’s explained it to me about 4 different times now and I still don’t understand what she’s trying to get at. Looks like a load of bullshit, or hair splitting for the sake of splitting hairs.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 27, 2007, 8:37 am

Mr. Weasel: I just wrote the answer for you yesterday. 🙂

And, as much as it may make me seem like some redneck rube, I refuse to consider any sentence or utterance to, of themselves, be “happy” or “felicititious” (sp?). That is simply ridiculous. I can be happy. Mr. Doe can be felicititious. But “I shall wash the dishes” cannot be described as such.

Comment from Lokki
Time: August 27, 2007, 8:54 am

… when Peter says “I promise to do the dishes” in an appropriate context then he thereby does not just say something, and in particular he does not just describe what he is doing; rather, in making the utterance he performs the promise; since promising is an illocutionary act, the utterance is thus a performative utterance

I believe I have grasped the concept, and offer the following example for the evaluation of my peers:

screw that noise “Forget that nonsense”

I suspect that Mr. Austin discovered, in 1946, a subtle distinction that could be made that had not previously been beaten to death with scholarly analysis. He then rode that pony to tenure and beyond. I so intuit.

To be fair to the instructor, however, while this kind of thing is both pointless and meaningless to native speakers, for ESL students, it is sometimes of value to provoke thought about how English sentences are properly constructed.

The grammatical habits of one’s native tongue die hard, and Mrs. Lokki and I (or should that be Mrs. Larkī, Muslihoon?) still go through hurdles because of that after these many years together.

Here’s a favorite telephone conversation of mine as an example –

Lokki: Didn’t you buy bread when you were shopping?”
Mrs. Lokki: Yes
Question for the casual listener: Did Mrs. Lokki buy bread, while shopping?
Answer: Mrs. Lokki correctly answered that: Yes, she didn’t buy bread.

So,Tattoed Intellectual, ultimately I suspect that you are best off taking the approach that I do when confronted with such arcania – explain that it’s something that native speakers understand intuitively, and don’t study, and don’t worry about in casual conversation.

I shudder, sirs, to think how America would sound if we all followed all the rules of grammer, all the time. So, yo, bro, don’t be sweatin’ it.

Comment from Gnus
Time: August 27, 2007, 9:24 am

Apropo of nothing, Geek motivational posters. In case anyone’s interested.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 27, 2007, 9:44 am

Woo! Check it out! It’s a half-evolved TROGDOR the BURNiNATOR.


I saw a huge one of these spray-painted on the pavement at a public park not long ago. I was there with a group of volunteers cleaning it up. Let me tell you, blurting out “Look, it’s TROGDOR the BURNiNATOR!” to a group of adults is a DAMN hard thing to explain.

I’m going nuts over here trying to remember an article I read very recently — like in the last few days — about subtle distinctions among verbs and how children learn them. Reminds me very much of the “performative verbs” explanation. In that it bored me silly.

I do think it’s worth making kids learn at least one other language while their brains are still mushy and vulnerable to languages. It’s good mental exercise.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 27, 2007, 10:09 am

Sorry if this offends, but “didn’t you” sentences are the bane of humanity, and those who utter them should be banned from English for life. They are confusing to comprehend, process, and even answer.

I simply avoid the whole thing and answer as I see fit.

“Didn’t you buy the bread?”

“I bought bread when I went shopping earlier today, O you perverter of the English language! Now, fie with you! Get thee to a nunnery, from whence you can torment us no more! The power of Christ compells you! The power of Christ compells you! The power of Christ compells you!” And so on.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 27, 2007, 12:09 pm

I would imagine “didn’t you?” is a contraction of some more explicable construction like “did you or did you not?” Because you would answer “did you?” and “didn’t you?” questions the same way.

Comment from Lokki
Time: August 27, 2007, 2:51 pm

Geez Muslihoon – Aren’t you being a little harsh there?

All I wanted was a bagel for breakfast….

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 27, 2007, 3:00 pm

Hey, Lokki, don’t turn your back on a free exorcism! And Musli’s been all kinds of religion, so he can probably cast out stuff you never heard of…

Comment from TattooedIntellectual
Time: August 27, 2007, 5:32 pm

“So,Tattoed Intellectual, ultimately I suspect that you are best off taking the approach that I do when confronted with such arcania – explain that it’s something that native speakers understand intuitively, and don’t study, and don’t worry about in casual conversation.”

I just look at her and tell her I have no idea what she’s talking about! 🙂 I do help where I can w/ pronunciations and sentence structure and such–only problem there is that I teach her the wrong pronunciation.

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