Archive for the ‘language’ Category
Just a reminder : I’m still collecting Three Letter Acronyms aka TLAs
and it’s a richer world than you may think:
TLC = yes of course Tender Loving Care but also…
|Text Local Coordinates|
|The Learning Channel|
|Third Level Cache|
|Tables & Ladders & Chairs (pro wrestling)|
|TACOM (Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command) Learning Center [a marvelllous double acronym from the military-industrial complex]|
|Tactical Landing Craft|
|Tactical Leaders Course|
|Tailored Logistics Corporation (US defense contractor specializing in the development of component overhaul kits)|
|Targeted Learning Corporation|
|Tastes Like Chicken|
|Tasty Little Crackers (Kashi Company)|
|Taxi & Limousine Commission (New York City)|
|Teacher Leadership Council (Mormon Church)|
|Teaching and Learning Centre (Australia)|
|Teaching and Learning Committee|
|Team Leadership Center|
|Team Life Care Insurance Pvt Ltd (India)|
|Tech Logic Corporation (library services company)|
|Technology Learning Center|
|Technology Life Careers|
|Technology Life Cycle|
|Teen Life Conference|
|Telecommunication Line Controller|
|Telephone Line Control|
|Time to Lane Crossing|
|Tender Loving Cuisine (Five Dock, NSW, Australia)|
|Tennessee Llama Community|
|Term Loan C|
|Ternary Linear Code|
|Territory Logistics Center (FEMA)|
|Test Loop Combination|
|Texas Land & Cattle (restaurant)|
|Texas Logistics Corporation|
|Texas Lutheran College|
|The Laser Center (laser vision correction)|
|Tool Command Language|
|Top Level Care|
|The Latino Coalition (Washington, DC)|
|The Laughing Classroom (book)|
|The Leadership Center|
|The Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter website)|
|The Learning Collaborative (Columbia, South Carolina)|
|The Learning Company|
|Top Level Categories|
|The Lego Company|
|The Library Corporation|
|The Lost Creatures (gaming clan)|
|The Loveline Companion|
|Therapeutic Lifestyle Change|
|Thermochromic Liquid Crystal|
|Thin Layer Chromatography|
|Three Letter Code|
|Thunderbird Language Center (Glendale, Arizona)|
|Tiwi Land Council (statutory authority representing Aboriginal Owners of Tiwi Islands)|
|Toastmasters Learning Center|
|Tomatoes, Lettuce, and Cheese|
|Top Line Creations (Utah)|
|Total Lack of Consideration|
|Total Lateral Clearance (highway capacity, civil engineering)|
|Total Leucocyte Count|
|Total Lines of Code|
|Total Logistic Control|
|Total Lung Capacity|
|Total Lymphocyte Count|
|Tough Logging Conditions (oil industry)|
|Touro Law Center|
|Toxic Links Coalition|
|Toyota Land Cruiser|
|Toys for Local Children (charity)|
|Trac Lapping Club|
|Trades and Labor Council of Western Australia|
|Traffic Light Chart (integrated three-tiered reporting system/format)|
|Traffic Load Control|
|Transformation Life Cycle|
|Transformational Learning Connections|
|Transformative Learning Centre (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto)|
|Transformer-rectifier Line Contactor|
|Transgender Liberation and Care|
|Transitional Learning Center|
|Transitional Line Charge|
|TransLogistique, Canada (Logistics and SCM training)|
|Transmission Line Coupler|
|Transport Logical Connection (Ciena)|
|Transport-, Informatik-, Logistik-Consulting GmbH|
|Transportation & Logistics Council, Inc. (formerly Transportation Consumer Protection Council, TCPC)|
|Transportation for Livable Communities|
|Tratado de Libre Comercio|
|Tri-Level Compression (ACS Communications)|
|Trichotillomania Learning Center (Santa Cruz, CA)|
|Trinity Lutheran College|
|Tripp Lake Camp (Poland, Maine)|
|Trivial Loot Code (Everquest game)|
|Trotskyist League of Canada|
|TrueLicense Library Collection|
|Trunk Logic Circuit (Nortel)|
|Truth in Labeling Campaign|
|Tuckerton Lumber Company|
|Tunable Laser Channel (Agilent)|
|Two Letter Clan (gaming clan)|
|Talbo Lago Carrossiers|
|Total Linux Coverage|
I’m sitting here in the James Joyce Foundation in Zurich with in front of me a copy of ‘Thom’s Official Directory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the year 1904’ published in Dublin by Thom & Co. (Limited) of Middle Abbey-Street. 1904 is the year in which Joyce’s Ulysses is set. This big red volume is the reference book Joyce used to recreate the detail of Dublin from exile here in Zurich. Joyce came to the city on leaving Dublin in 1904 (hence the choice of date for the novel – it is Dublin as fixed at the point of exile) accompanied by his other half, Nora Barnacle. They moved on to Italy/Trieste, back to Zurich, and on to Paris. Much of Ulysses (1922) was written here in Zurich. Joyce left occupied France in 1940 for Zurich where he died in 1941 (aged 59) and is buried.
So I’m flying in this morning with my iPod Shuffle on and up pops Van the Man singing ‘Too Long in Exile‘ with the line “just like James Joyce, baby / Too long in exile” – one of those meant to be moments.
And on the subject of Abbey Street and occupied France, in my hands is a copy of a classy thriller ‘The 6th Lamentation‘ by William Brodrick whose two central characters are a monk and a victim of the occupation of Paris. Another key character is a refugee to Switzerland. So I’m psyched for the Stiftung James Joyce.
I’m welcolmed by a friendly American academic and by the Director and prime mover of the Foundation, Fritz Senn, a Joyce specialist and as near as a Swiss man can be to being Irish.
In the back of Thom’s is an advert for Uska-Slan – Water of Health – in the form of Cantrell & Cochrane’s Table Waters. Just the kind of ad Leopold Bloom would have dealt in. I’m fresh from a lunchtime conversation which included the benefits of Badoit and the insanity of bottled still water. There’s a wonderful passage in Ulysses about water I heard declaimed atop the martello tower in Sandycove, South Dublin on the centenary Bloom’s Day on 16th June 2004.
I can, for example, look up my sister-in-law’s street in Ballybough (PoorTown) and see exactly who lived there in 1904. Mrs Grace at No. 24. A draper at No. 1, a jeweller at No. 14 and Mr John Killen of the GPO at No. 16. It tells you where the pillar boxes were (“Pillar Letter Box adjoining Raglan-road”). I’ve just spotted my father-in-law’s namesake (Murphy, James, esq.) at No. 26 Clyde-road which was valued at 70 pounds – and a certain William McGee at Cobourg-place (next door to Jasper Monahan the spirit grocer, which I assume is a far more colourful name for an off-licence).
My wife has now lived in London – many miles away from the cemetry at Kilbroney, Co. Louth where James Murphy after James Murphy is buried – for more years than she’s lived in Ireland – she went past the mid-point a couple of years ago, very significant really.
When I was in Ireland for the summer holidays last year, staying at said sister-in-law in Ballybough, I picked up a copy (at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham) of ‘That Neutral Island‘ by Clair Wills about the Irish home front in the Second World War. I often wonder what similarities and differences there are between the Irish neutrality and the Swiss. Joyce spent most of the First World War (July 1915 to October 1919) in Zurich, as well as getting the permit for entry from occupied France in late 1940.
A few weeks ago there was a big art robbery just outside Zurich from another Foundation – the Emil Buhrle Foundation. Buhrle was a Zurich-based, German born industrialist who sold arms to the Third Reich. After the war 13 paintings in the collection, which was raided in February by armed masked men, appeared on a list of art looted by Nazis from Jews and eventually he handed them over, getting some compensation from the Swiss government. The provenance of other works in the collection remains shady. Much like the Russian collection currently on show in the Royal Academy, London (in the From Russia exhibition), where the British government had to provide an official ‘safe passage’ document to insulate the dubious pieces from any chance of investigation and return to their rightful owners – Russia’s art galleries are peppered with works ‘nationalised’ after the Revolution or looted in the Second World War, many ultimately from murdered Jews. So one has limited sympathy for the Emil Buhrle Foundation as whose work the masked raiders with the Slavic accents actually stole is a moot point.
I recently came across this quotation by the writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner (and man behind another foundation, this one a Foundation for Humanity, which bears his name) Elie Wiesel (through A.Word.A.Day – a daily email with an interesting new word – might have been Joyce’s cup of tea [my philisophical Zurchner taxi driver earlier today was tickled pink by this British idiom]):
“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
“It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.”
Reckon I’ll give the last word to Van the Man (not to be confused with White Van Man – the Buhrle robbery was carried out in a white panel van) and his collaborator on ‘Song of Being a Child‘, Peter Handke (not Swiss but Austrian like Adolf Hitler and Simon Wiesenthal, born in 1942, also a collaborator with Wim Wenders [Wings of Desire], a writer who has lived in self-imposed exile in Berlin, the US and for the last two decades Paris):
When the child was a child
It was the time of the following questions
Why am I me and why not you
Why am I here and why not there
Why did time begin and where does space end
Isn’t what I see and hear and smell
Just the appearance of the world in front of the world
Isn’t life under the sun just a dream
Does evil actually exist in people
Who really are evil
Why can’t it be that I who am
Wasn’t before I was
And that sometime I, the I, I am
No longer will be the I, I am
A little more magic from the Hiberno-Germanic melting pot.
Warum bin ich ich und warum nicht du?
Warum bin ich hier und warum nicht dort?
Just finished watching ‘The Candidate‘ – the 1972 movie starring Robert Redford as a Democratic candidate for senatorial office in California. I thought it may be fun to watch given what’s going on over the water. Jeremy Larner picked up an Oscar for his original screenplay. One of the taglines for the movie was: “Too Handsome. Too Young. Too Liberal. Doesn’t have a chance. He’s perfect!” The other was: “Nothing matters more than winning. Not even what you believe in.” The former clearly has resonance with regard to Obama. You can feel the presence of JFK throughout the film – I kept waiting for Bill McKay to cop some lead – as it happens the worst thing that happens is a fist to that blonde waspy jaw. Whether the second tagline says anything about Hilary or Barack – who am I to say…
It was the end of the film that struck me most. It reminded me of that thing about your twenties. You spend all that effort finding a mate, you get hitched and think you’ve finished something, you’ve arrived, you’ve made it …and of course marriage, it’s just a beginning. I remember a similar realisation when we arrived home with our first son. Just back from the hospital, we put him down in the middle of the living room in his Moses basket. Sat looking at him for a bit. I went in to the bedroom. Realised some kind of radar had been switched on in my head and I was constantly thinking about how he was – wherever I was. It wasn’t the end of nine months – it was the beginning of nineteen years, or twenty-nine, or forever.
At the end of ‘The Candidate’ Robert Redford momentarily escapes from his victory celebrations, ducks into a room in the hotel with his campaign manager (played superbly by Peter Boyle – veteran of Steelyard Blues, Taxi Driver, Where the Buffalo Roam and the unjustly overlooked The Dream Team) and asks him the terrifying question: “What do we do now?”
Which, of course, is the exact same sentiment as Roger McGough’s ‘The Leader’, indeed pretty much exactly the same words (just two letters difference):
I wanna be the leader
I wanna be the leader
Can I be the leader?
Can I? I can?
Yippee I’m the leader
I’m the leader
OK what shall we do?
I’m not sure whether McGough wrote the poem before or after the movie was made – I can’t see it in 1967’s The Mersey Sound nor 1983’s New Volume which exhausts my collection of his pomes and makes me wonder where and when I know it from then.
So with the words “What do we do now?” echoing in the room, McKay walks out and closes the door leaving an empty, blank, off-white room behind him as he goes to realise his ‘better way’ – “Bill McKay: For a better way”. An empty room – and the credits roll.
Barack Obama: Where’s the harm, huh?
Hilary Clinton: Let the bint* in!
[* UK slang: Noun. A woman. From the Arabic ‘bint’ meaning girl or daughter.] (Yeh, well you try rhyming with ‘Clinton’)
So let’s hope, once Bush has withered away, that the room’s not empty, the cupboard’s not bare, there’s hope and there’s care.
It’s always nice to lay down your head at night in the belief that you’ve learnt at least one thing in the day.
So here we are at 10am and I’ve bagged today’s thing – just learnt this cracking new word courtesy of A.Word.A.Day from wordsmith.org.
“hypnopompic (hip-no-POM-pik) adjective
Pertaining to the semi-conscious state before waking.”
Being still to some degree hypnopompic myself (my most lively and creative time is around midnight), I’ll have to give it a few hours before I start trying to weave my new word seamlessly into conversations today.
Unusually, for me at least, in my horizontal hypnopompic state earlier this morning I’d composed a whole four-line poem Shelley-like in the pit. Like England FC playing away, I pretty much knew I’d lose it by morning. And I did. That’s the problem with hypnopomposity – it’s great for creativity but a bit of a bugger to bring to the light.
* Brevity is the soul of lingerie.
* Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.
* You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks.
* You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.
* She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.
* If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
* Salary is no object – I want only enough to keep body and soul apart.
* Take care of luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.
* This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
* I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
* All I need is room enough to lay a hat and a few friends.
* It serves me right for keeping all my eggs in one bastard.
* That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.
* I don’t care what is written about me, so long as it isn’t true.
And, to celebrate the 40th anniversary this month of the Prague Spring, a little mash-up:
* The two most beautiful words in the English language are “cheque enclosed”. The two most beautiful words in the Czech language are “Czech freed”.
With Channel 4 Radio coming over the horizon, what better reminder of why it’s sorely needed than Radio 1’s sacrilegious censoring of Shane MacGowan’s lyrics in the best Christmas song ever – Fairytale of New York. The people who failed to censure Fatboy Moyles’ dodgy use of the word “gay” have had the bare-arsed cheek to clumsily cut the word “faggot” from that bit we all love to sing-along with:
You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it’s our last
And while we’re celebrating the genius of Shane’s lyrics (difficult to reconcile with the figure who showed up like a benign Bill Sykes at Adie Dunbar’s last gig at the Boogaloo in Highgate with the Jonahs), let’s wheel out the title track from his first post-Pogues album, the Snake:
The Snake With Eyes Of Garnet
Last night as I lay dreaming
My way across the sea
James Mangan brought me comfort
With laudnum and poitin
He flew me back to Dublin
To a public execution
Being held on Stephen’s Green
The young man on the platform
Held his head up and he did sing
Then he whispered hard into my ear
As he handed me this ring
“If you miss me on the harbour
For the boat, it leaves at three
Take this snake with eyes of garnet
My mother gave to me!
This snake cannot be captured
This snake cannot be tied
This snake cannot be tortured, or
Hung or crucified
It came down through the ages
It belongs to you and me
So pass it on and pass it on
‘Til all mankind is free.”
Now there’s a song that will be sung in a hundred years time, long after Radio 1 is history. There’s echoes in there of the greatest London-Irish poetry…
I walked, with other souls in pain,
Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
“That fellow’s got to swing.”
Dear Christ! the very prison walls
Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
My pain I could not feel.
Here’s to the wilde men of words! Mess with genius in your hole! Happy Christmas your arse! Slainte