Archive for July 2006

Waging Linguistic Warfare Against Iran

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

First they declared cultural war on the Danish (the people and the pastry). Now, they’ve taken aim at Western loanwords. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered that words of Western origin be purged from Farsi (hat tip to The Moderate Voice). For example, “pizzas” will now be known as “elastic loaves.” Mamma mia.

OK, two can play at that game. Let’s not use any words of Persian origin in English.

Hmmm…this may be harder than I thought. We’re going to have to come up with really weird circumlocutions for some of these.

Hawaii is going to have a hard time marketing itself to the world, because “paradise” is of Persian origin. Saying that Hawaii is a “very desirable place” doesn’t have that same ring.

Guys getting married will have trouble telling tuxedo shops what kind of tux they want. “That one with the cummerbund–‘waist strap thing’ looks really good.”

Then when he takes his bride-to-be out for a night on the town, they’ll have to order a “wide mouthed bottle” of wine instead of a carafe.

Also here in Hawaii, we refer to “calabash cousins.” Ixnay on the alabashcay. We have to say instead, “my mom’s brother’s cousin’s daughter’s niece.” Or something equally convoluted.

Intellectuals will be disappointed to know that they won’t be able to participate in chess tournaments anymore. They’ll have to participate in “really difficult, high-muckity-muck game” tournaments instead.

And in that game, when they win, they can’t yell out, “Checkmate.” But, no big loss. They can always say, “Yeah! I whipped your sorry ass.”

While we’re at it, stores can’t accept checks anymore. It too is of Persian origin, though by a long convoluted pedigree. They’ll have to accept “financial IOUs” instead.

The list goes on and on.

It goes to say that in this increasingly connected world, when you try to dictate how your people speak, you’ll ultimately make language that much less useful.

ADMIN: Upgrade to Movable Type 3.3

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

I just upgraded my Movable Type version to version 3.31. You might see some weirdness in the blog as I work out the bugs. Bear with me.

Park Place on Plastic? Monopoly Money Goes Electronic

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

I guess it was just a matter of time. When the U.S. Treasury decided to add colors other than green to American currency, I’m sure there were quite a few people who derided the effort as making it look like “Monopoly money.”

In the near future, you won’t hear that criticism anymore. A new version of the board game in the U.K. now uses debit cards instead of the rainbow-colored play bills that aficionados has grown to love.

And they’re Visa debit cards as well. I wonder how much they’re paying for product placement?

The times, they are a-changing.

An Open Letter to Israel

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Steve at Linkmeister has written an open letter to Israel. Of course, I have no delusions that our current administration would even think of writing anything similar.

Random Thoughts on the Situation in the Middle East

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Ever since the Israel-Hezbollah conflict ignited, Richard Silverstein, one of my favorite blog reads, has not been a happy camper. He has launched a counteroffensive of his own, with this, this, and this. And a heck of a lot more. He’s practically been blogging the Israel-Lebanon conflict 24/7 over the past week.

Not that I blame him. His blog’s raison d’être is working toward lasting peace in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on Israel’s actions vis-a-vis the Palestinians and their other Arab neighbors. And the region just took a step backward last week. Not just a step backward…a running jump backward. Summarizing his position (my words, not his…)

And the rockets red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night,
Ehud Olmert don’t care…

Of course, this conflict has been going on for centuries. When you read the Bible, hundreds of chapters and thousands of verses talk about the nation of Israel going to war against this nation, that tribe, or what have you. Of course, it’s all about territory and land. When God gave the promised land to Jacob’s descendants, he didn’t create a new island in the middle of the Mediterranean. The land that was given to the Jews was subtracted from that of the Canaanites. It’s been a zero-sum game ever since. Or at least, it’s been posed that way.

Not that ancient history excuses in any way the current behavior of the governments and groups in the Middle East toward each other. Unlike the religious right, who seem to believe that we should blindly support Israel because, well, they’re the hero of the Old Testament, I do believe that blame has to be shared by all involved.

I have to ask myself: If it’s Hezbollah that’s really behind all of this, why hasn’t Israel confined its bombing to confirmed Hezbollah targets? Why do they find it necessary to bomb Lebanon’s airport to smithereens, thus stranding foreign citizens, including Americans whose government now has to devote significant resources to getting their citizens out of harm’s way, resources that could be devoted to, oh, brokering a cease-fire?

Of course, seeing our government’s response toward its own citizens in New Orleans, I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised about our response regarding Lebanon. They’re just Lebanese, after all.

To end on a light note, though, a Lebanese blogger has decided to create some satirical cartoons on his blog (hat tip to the aforementioned Richard). Check his site for the original cartoon, but I’ll include the text of one here:

Damage to infrastructure: $200 million.
Loss of civilian property: $100 million.
Loss of civilian life: irreplaceable.
Chance to see Arab leadership for the impotent cowards they are: PRICELESS.

Since When Did Hawaiian Tel Switch My DSL Back to Dialup?

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

That’s a question I’d really like to get answered, because for the past two weeks my download speeds have been sucking wind. This is starting to piss me off.

I think it was late last month that I noticed that I was getting only half my normal download speed. Tried the normal routine when download speeds drop…reset the DSL modem. It still didn’t work. I figured it was a corroded telephone wire (I have several telephone extension cords daisy-chained from my computer to the telephone jack in the dining room), and one of the connections were rusted, so I swapped out the cord. Still, yucky speeds.

Then I found out I’m not alone. Small comfort, I guess.

Even Erika Engle, business columnist at the Star-Bulletin, remarked that her DSL connection seemed like it was “on LSD.”

Apparently, new bandwidth that HT was expected to get Wednesday may not get turned on until late next week. Argh!

What is really teeing my off is how hard it is to get information straight from the source. Verizon had a system status page that showed where in the nation network problems were occurring. How hard it would be for Hawaiian Tel to create something similar, link it off the portal page, and maintain it? I mean, sure, download speeds are not guaranteed. But if something like this is going to happen, wouldn’t it be a good idea, from a public relations point of view, to let ALL your customers know?

Maybe I should have stayed with dial-up. At least then I wouldn’t be complaining so loudly when my speed drops to 600K like I am now. My expectations have been forever changed.

Kenneth Lay: A Higher Court Has Already Sentenced Him

Friday, July 7th, 2006

What do Kenneth Lay and Slobodan Milosevic have in common? They have the dubious distinction of having escaped the prison of life before having been duly judged and sentenced.

I guess God disagreed with the maximum sentence that Lay would receive (which would have, in effect, been life in prison), and decided to impose an even harsher sentence. Death. (Not that I agree in any way, shape, or form with the death penalty…at least as imposed by humans.)

On the other hand, his lawyers can take some credit for ensuring that their client would not spend one day in prison. How they managed to negotiate with the Almighty, though, is beyond me.

I don’t know. This just seems so…surreal.

230 Years Old, and Still True Today

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

I woke up this morning to NPR listening to Morning Edition’s annual reading of the Declaration of Independence.

When I hear it now, I can’t help but think that certain passages ring true to some extent these days under the current leadership we’re under, and that some (but, thankfully, not all) of these passages would hold true if instead of the “present King of Great Britain”, it were the present President of the United States and/or his political party in Congress.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good…

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries…

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither…

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury…

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences…

Listen to it, read it…and work to ensure that no one should ever have to declare independence from us. Eternal vigilance is truly the price of freedom.