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APRIL, 2003 → ← JUNE, 2003

28th of May, 2003 POST·MERIDIEM 02:56

I’ve some more plaudits for ER on my hard disk at home, but I’m in the middle of moving to UFS2[1] and the FFS partition isn’t trivially accessible. Anyway.

On another subject: I have to say, if George Berkeley is unreadable, it’s not because his English is archaic—it’s more a question of if you can’t read George Berkeley, you should learn how, or reconsider studying philosophy. Cf footnote [2] below. And if “undergraduates should not be expected to read 17th or 18th-century British philosophers in the original English,” that is more symptomatic of a cancer in the pre-tertiary education system than anything else. Link from http://​www.​polyglut.​net/​.​

Jamie Zawinski’s exchange with some Debian weenie over at his Live Journal is pretty funny. Of course, the bit about ... But see, the point is, it's not like this guy is unique in this respect, or even unusual. I'm just using him as an example. He's more the rule than the exception in this pathetic little world of which I can't seem to finally-and-truly wash my hands.  is pretty depressing, and I’m not convinced of the truth of it either. People working hard for no money have a tendency to be crazy and pathetic more than the norm, admittedly; but of the people getting paid for this sort of thing, I think they’re in the main pretty sane.

I wonder if there’s going to be a Carolingian in the Matrix III? And, if someone could point me towards a source that gave a reasonable argument for the Merovingians preferring either of Vulgar Latin (uh, proto-French) or Germanic (uh, proto-Dutch) over the other, I’d be fascinated.

Argh, I still have to do my German homework. Und wie ist Ihr Traumhaus, anyway?

Addendum; Time to move to Germany. But then it always was, wasn’t it? http://​www.​rte.​ie/​news/​2003/​0527/​alcohol.​html

[1] http://​mail-index.​netbsd.​org/​current-users/​2003/​04/​02/​0005.​html

[2] http://​ftp.​mirror.​ac.​uk/​sites/​metalab.​unc.​edu/​pub/​docs/​books/​gutenberg/​etext03/​prhkn10.​txt

21st of May, 2003 POST·MERIDIEM 03:07

Rain soaked me yesterday evening, which sucked; one of my shoes has a hole in the sole (they’re good-quality shoes, I’ve just worn them exclusively since September, and done a whole lot of walking in them) so my socks got all damp, and I made it to Blanchardstown too late to get a haircut (I’m desperately in need of one). On the other hand, I did buy a decent stock of Erdinger Weiß, and some good food, so dinner was much more civilised.

(I’m going to move back to -ise spelling in general, because it occurs to me that having arbitrary rules (which, apparently, there are) that say you have to spell “revised” with an s, along with other more questionable choices, makes the language more complicated than it already is. Which is more stupid than having it not very phonemic, but very consistent.)

DSL isn’t an option for our area apparently, since Eircom (may their directors die of syphilis, soon) haven’t upgraded the exchange (umm, huge development of new housing, huge numbers of young, tech jobs in the area; we may ask Why The Fuсk Not?).

Useful web links from the last few days; first one from Metafilter, other two from http://​www.​languagehat.​com/​http://​www.​counterpunch.​org/​neumann0604.​html , especially the bit "anti-Zionism is antisemitism!" quickly alternates with: "Don't confuse Zionism with Judaism! How dare you, you antisemite!" ; there should be much more vocal criticism of the “anti-Zionism is antisemitism” stance, IMHO. Second, http://​www.​demog.​berkeley.​edu/​~gene/​migr.​html — whence the info that “Welsh,” “Walloon” and “Vlach” are cognates; the page is a summary of the various factors in ethnic definition in the Balkans. Third, huge collection of Greek and Latin texts and grammars, in PDF format; http://​www.​textkit.​com/​.​

20th of May, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 11:17

Ça fait un certain temps depuis que j’ai été dans une humeur comme l’actuelle. Je viens de passer trois mois avec de l’accès libre à la Toile (vilain néologisme que soit le mot), et j’ai lu toute l’archive de Sexy Losers, il y a trop de Boris Johnson et son politique dans le Spectator  pour mon goût actuel, et quant au Nouvel Observateur  ... bah. C’est-à-dire que je m’ennuie avec ce médium, et je commence à demander au Net de m’amuser, de rendre ma vie plus interessante. Je dois admettre que la liste pudding chez bluehouse point org est arrivé à faire la chose. Hourra! Bravo, M. Knight et ton kiss-me-I’m-syphilitic.

En plus, qu’y-a-t-il; l’un de mes collègues au cours d’allemand vient de retourner de New York—il est espagnol, et il a une copine allemande, comme la plupart de mes collègues dans le cours (ou un copain, selon sexe). Et, apparemment, (quelle surprise!) on n’a presque pas besoin de parler anglais là-bas, si on parle espagnol. Ce qui est intéressant; bien sûr que j’en avais une idée de la chose, mais je n’ai pas eu de confirmation de son étendu. De même que les histoires de Jas de la Louisiane étaient familières, mais son point de vue était si différent des points de vue des autre histoires que l’on les a trouvé fascinantes.

Une entrée en anglais demain, je vous promets. :-) .

Last comment from Mike smith on the 19th of July at 23:37
(Oops, Mike smith forgot to type any commentary.)

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14th of May, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 11:14

X-Men 2; Ah, sure, yeah, it’ll do. Hugh Jackman sounded Australian for a couple of sentences in this one, which he didn’t do in the first one at all. Famke Janssen had to choose—aww, & crap like that. Ian McKellen had to say “I would have done different” (or something like that; “different” was used thus, whatever it was)—I’m sure using an adjective instead of an adverb rendered his Shakespearean actor’s heart bitter. Alan Cumming did the biggest caricature of a German accent in the world ever; I’m sure no actual German has had an accent in English like that for seventy years now.

I’ve moved to a half-hour lunch here, and it’s making a surprising difference; much less of a feeling of doing nothing. Which is good, and bad. I’ll get over it. I should drink less coffee, because it’s making me wired to Pluto every evening, which doth suck as doth suck a tentacle monster who giveth good head.

On the eenternet; nothing interesting. Well, there is the guy from Borneo who got a little too well acquainted with the inside of a snake; check out http://​www.​parhasard.​net/​images/​borneo.​jpg Also, as Marc Slemko points out on the pudding list, http://​google.​com/​search?q=postgresql+versus+oracle is entirely sub-optimal for what a search engine should do.

9th of May, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 07:25

Anyone who read that last entry through to the end, especially Jim; I’m proud of you. Anytime you want, I’ll buy you a pint. Sucker.

And in a spirit of Less Obscure Ѕhіt, Jamie Zawinski, of Lucid Emacs, Netscape and DNA Lounge fame, has a weblog. As does Hard, creator of what used to be the Thin H Line, and is now Sexylosers with a much bigger readership. http://​livejournal.​com/​users/​jwz/​ and http://​livejournal.​com/​users/​hardartist/​ respectively.

What else ... the sun was out as I was getting up this morning, which is weird, and good. I went drinking with Jas, Dave and Jimmy last night, which was possibly a little ill-considered, given that I’m doing overtime tonight and will be dead at the end of it. I’m at IBM six months now, and all my passwords are starting to expire, which, honestly, I never expected to happen. Oh well.

In terms of programming and tech; so much cool ѕhіt in the world, so little time. As always. Ah well.

5th of May, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 08:00

Book Reviews; Roger Allen’s ‘Introduction to Arabic Literature ,’[1] is an informed and erudite compantion to his ‘Arabic Literary Heritage .’ It gives an overview of a huge field, to the extent that a lot of the book seems to be listings of authors and dates, in the sort of detail that you have no hope of absorbing without a command of the language and access to a good library of those books.

Some aspects of what he describes are fascinating, and mildly surprising to the reader new to this area. E.g. drama—as in theatre—first manifests itself (in Egypt) in reaction to exposure to the European version of same, and there doesn’t seem to have been any tradition of plays in existence. A significant contribution to the literary patrimony has been given by emigrant Lebanese and Syrian Christians  in the United States.

Also, I’ve personally had a concept of the historical Arabic world as pretty much a monolith—porous to the east, as trade and debate with Persia and modern Pakistan showed—but in the essentials, the one (or at least a primary) centre of government, of religion, whatever. Not the case at all ; these people have been fighting among themselves on questions of the Prophet’s legacy pretty much since the last time the Prophet drew breath. What’s awe-inspiring is that they managed to do that, and still have the fastest-growing religion in the world for so long.

The image it gives of today’s literature is of an Arabic-speaking world either rich and badly governed (think silly levels of censorship), or poor and subject to GB Shaw’s seven deadly sins; “Food, clothing, firing, rent, taxes, respectability and children. Nothing can lift those seven milestones from man’s neck but money; and the spirit cannot soar until the milestones are lifted.” In all, it’s a depressing state of affairs to see such a major tradition of learning be in.

[1] http://​books.​cambridge.​org/​0521772303.​htm