Browsing Month February, 2006

Le pornithorynque est un salopare

A little more than a week ago I posted a list of all the books on my “want” list that I couldn’t find on Amazon.com. One of those was Le pornithorynque est un salopare by Alain Créhange. It’s a dictionary of French portmanteau words. Today I received a package in the mail postmarked “Paris Saint more…

Brazilian cleaning schedules

Very interesting article on the curious custom of Brazilians in the U.S. creating and selling house-cleaning routes to other immigrants. “In classified advertisements in Portuguese-language newspapers such as Ta Na Mao, (slang for ‘you got it!’), and on Internet postings, Brazilians use the English word ‘schedule’ for cleaning routes. Notices declaring, ‘I want schedule’ or more…

Big boats, little boats

“In Cuba they have only what is cheap or free—rum, music, sex, pride. And hope. They don’t pin their hopes on Fidel Castro; they expect him to die still clutching his slingshot and staring north. What they hope, even seem to firmly believe, is that the United States under some half-imagined future leader will see more…

Technorati adds features but can’t get core search results right

I spend a large part of my day using data searches. Not just Google, but Google Groups, Factiva, Proquest, LexisNexis, Icerocket, Feedster, Newspaperarchive.com, the Oxford English Dictionary, OneLook, JSTOR, A9, Google Print, and a slew of other search front ends. I also grep against a couple gigs of XML, use my own site search, and more…

Mimi Smartypants, Mom of the Year

I want to point out that if all of North America had a mother like Mimi Smartypants the continent would be full of highly comic Chinese-American preschoolers. I point this out only because Mimi writes well, gives me a laugh, and has a book that you should be reading. Her web site is one of more…

Dictionaries based upon dictionaries based upon dictionaries…

This post from alt.usage.english demonstrates that most dictionaries are rarely, if ever, made completely from scratch: “Here’s the whole genealogy: The ‘Macquarie Dictionary’ is an expansion of the ‘Hamlyn Encyclopedic World Dictionary,’ which was based on Clarence Barnhart’s ‘American College Dictionary.’ This connects to information I contributed to Wikipedia: The ‘American College Dictionary’ was a more…

Some paradigms never shift

“People will still say that when you ask them,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “Textbooks are full of it.” In a hundred years, I bet books will still be incorrectly explaining why ice is slippery. This is how it works in the popular language trades, anyway. Terms that have solid, reliable, near-certain histories are still often accompanied more…

Váyase largo al cipote

The Guardian reports that ten days ago Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez told British Prime Minister Tony Blair to “go to hell.” It also reports that Spanish words, too, saying they have no direct translation: “váyase largo al cipote.” To anyone who knows both languages, the English is obviously milder than the Spanish. I was going more…

Hey, Rumsfeld: Change what you do, not what you say

Donald Rumsfeld, in a speech filled with the usual half-truths and hand-waving, says that American needs more and better propaganda to win the world over to our point of view. That will surely do the trick, won’t it? It doesn’t ever seem to occur to triumphalist blowhards like Rumsfeld that perhaps the best course of more…

Books not found on Amazon

I finished adding all my books on my scrap list to my Amazon wish list. These are the books that I couldn’t find on Amazon (US): Le pornithorynque est un salopare by Alain Créhange. (Mille et Une Nuits, 2004). Found on Amazon.fr. A Persian Dictionary of Argot, Mehdi Samai (Tehran: Nashr-e Markaz Publishing, 2003). Ard more…