It’s amazing how much 60′s music still gets played by even the hippest modern stations, not just dino-rock… as if we were also listening to Al Jolson way back then, or maybe Rudy Vallee…. OK, Frankie Valli, sure, and maybe a little bit of Sinatra, at least in the early years, but 50-year-old music? No way! 60′s politics may have sucked, but the music rocked! It set off ripples around the world that are still being felt…
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Isn’t all war ultimately about onomatopoeia? Think about it: the rat-a-tat-tat of machine guns, the hiss of spitfires overhead, and the drone of bombing in the background. I imagine the word ‘onomatopoeia’ itself came from the trenches of WWI when a Brit and a Yank with a southern accent (OK, not so Yank, maybe Johnny Reb) passed each other in the rat-maze one too may times and the rap went something like this:
REB: I might pee right here if the Germans don’t hold their fire soon (but what the Brit heard was more like “onomatopeia rot heah,” etc…)
BRIT: You’re pissed. I told you not to drink that rotgut swill. This is a bloody trench! There’s no latrine…
REB: It’s bloody, all right, but I don’t need no Catholic rites yet. And I ain’t pissed, either, ain’t got no reason to be. I jus’ need to TAKE a piss, and I aim to do it right here, if I cain’t find no better place…
BRIT: I hope you aim that thing better than you aim your gun… and better than you speak English..
And then I woke up. It was all just a bad dream, two native English-speakers lost in translation. I must’ve ety-lotta-mology and gotten sick, had a nightmare. But that’s about how English works, isn’t it? I concede defeat on the battle fields of orthography. I’ve fought enough already, with the ploughboys in the roughest slough, and coughing up dough in the toughest boroughs, all for nought..
It’s fun to dream up weird wacko word origins, though. After all, without a true linguistic genome project, we can just make up anything we want, right?
It’s funny how, when there’s a mass murder in America, the first thing everyone thinks is ‘mental illness.’ But when a suicide bomber blows himself up in Israel, no one says that, even though, in any other circumstance, suicide is always considered as such, depression or bipolarity usually the immediate cause. “Bipolarity’ was formerly known as ‘manic depression’, of course, mania being just the opposite of depression, hence the term ‘bipolarity’. Now if you could have the mania without the depression, then you’d have something. I guess that’s what drugs try to accomplish.
My grandmother was born in Harlem around turn-of-the-previous-century, and now Chokwe Lumumba is mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. I can’t decide which is more significant, or a better lead-in to the theme of this write, but it’s obvious we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Such are the parameters of my accidental inheritance of Deep South heritage, something I’m still not totally reconciled with.
Now my grandmother probably never considered Harlem home, but if she did, she never mentioned it. How could she, what with all the changes it and she had been through? She ended up in Texas and never looked back, not to New York anyway. For even a second-generation immigrant, ‘home’ is likely to be the old country, in this case Germany, something I could never fully appreciate until I actually went there for the first time in 1996, and it all came back to me at the bed-and-breakfast table—the same white dishware, the same well-oiled furniture, the same well-oiled machinery and smiles. (More …)
Films predict it; sci-fi books thrive on it; non-fiction books expound upon it; now even half-assed TV shows like ‘Revolution’ are jumping on the Ark, with their thinly-scripted post-Apocalyptic scenario based on a B-movie premise of “Who turned out the lights?” Some of the takes are much more well-thought-out, of course, and the message is the same: we’re heading for the cliff, and no one seems to care enough about it to do anything to change it, as if our cherished out-of-control ‘way of life’ is sacrosanct, iPhone and iPad and the drone of incessant wars in the background. This is not denial; this is deliberate negligence and misguided religious eschatology. The irony, of course, is that the average world citizen has never been wealthier…as the water rises up around our knees. (More …)
Google finally confirms what we already knew, that while we’re searching out there, they’re searching in here. They probably know more about me than I do. So what will they do with the info?
Here’s a good name for a Techno band: the Algo Rhythms. The band’s got a Latin feel to it, you say? Even better: Los Algoritmos. That’s a real word BTW, just like algorithm, a formula for calculation. It’s even divisible into two words, with meanings of their own in Spanish: ‘algo’ (something) and ‘ritmo’ (rhythm), in other words, Sump’n Thump’n, not a bad name for a band either.
FYI algorithm is a word taken from the name al-Khwarismi, after the great Persian mathematician, not to be confused with ‘algebra’, from the Arabic ‘al-Jabr’, ‘restoration’, also a specialty of the same man, though the roots of both go back to the Greeks.
Did you know that almost all words in English that begin in ‘al’ (except for ‘almost’) come from Arabic, and many in Spanish, too (though many lose their beginning ‘al’ depending on the origin, like English ‘cotton/algodon’ Spanish)? Thank God for the excellent Muslim mathematicians who carried on the Greek traditions and provide a direct link to today’s computers…
I tried to pay the market vendor in Tweets for his veggies, but he’s not buying it. So I offered him FB ‘likes’, but still no sale. Whazzup with that? Don’t they know that social media is currency in every major developed country?
Too bad the country folk tend to lag behind the city-dwellers. They’re probably skeptical after the Beat Generation’s finger-snapping applause failed to catch on. They won’t get fooled again…
Did you know that finger-snapping applause originated with the Romans? You heard it here first. They stomped their feet, too. Toga-flapping worked, anything to make a show of approval. Early French opera and theaters hired clappers to form a ‘clap-track’ accompaniment of sorts.
In Boulder in 1980, Gregory Corso lived in the apartment next door, drunk ranting raving and howling at the moon almost every night, but finger-snapping was long gone by then, though ‘digging it’ and ‘hipness’ still survive today.
“Many “Beat Poet” fans of the period now suffer from severe arthritic inflammation of the thumb and middle finger”- Urban Dictionary. Now that I did not know. What will Tweeters suffer from in the remote future?
What kind of mother names their son Tamerlan? Why not something nice, like Attila, or Genghis? Oh right, that kind…